Arsenal (and Wenger) Must Win the EPL And The Europa League In 2017-18
Anyone who watched the Arsenal v Leicester match – exciting as it was – would have come away with a terribly sinking feeling that with this type of display the Gunners at best would finish somewhere in the bottom half of the EPL final standings in the 2017-18 season. And this after providing for the absence of Sanchez, Koscielny and Mustafi – plus the below par show of Ozil. There was no getting away from the fact this was a typical and intrinsically somnambulant show.
Barring Kolasinac, Lacazette, Xhaka and later Giroud and Ramsey, the rest of the squad were amateurish. Our clearances were weak and hurried – panic-stricken at times. There were miss-passes, possession was given away easily, very little effort was made to win the ball back, passing was shoddy, the back-line was fragile and the mid-field unimaginative, and at times terribly naive.
It is a terribly sad fact that Arsenal started off this 2017-18 EPL season at their lowest ranking in twenty years. And it reflected in their hugely disjointed display. Arsenal’s position is shameful – any fan of Arsenal will tell you this. Their worst performance in two decades. The drama surrounding Wenger’s future at Arsenal; the fan’s genuine disappointments and angst; the uncertainty over the future of Sanchez and Ozil at the club – and so much more making negative headlines – is taking its toll. The Board has given full powers to Wenger, we have been informed. We are also told that some directors were pushing for Sanchez to be sold at £500M rather go free next year – only for the Manager to oppose this vehemently.
In another case it was widely circulated that Lemina’s entry was vetoed forcefully by Wenger. Why is the that the Powers-that-be that decide on the future of the Club are pulling in different directions? What kind of muddle-headed decision making is this?
“The priority is we are open to an exceptional player,” Wenger told Sky Sports.“ Just to remind you that we have 33, that is basically unmanageable, and all 33 players are good players, very good players. To bring one player in would be stupid, if we find an exceptional player we will do it.”
Somebody needs to point out to the great coach what these 33 “good players, very good players” achieved in the last year was something that was not achieved in the last 20 years. These “very good players” had successfully got the Arsenal into the Europa League! Such was the great quality of the players!! And now the cerebral remark of the century: “To bring one player in would be stupid, if we find an exceptional player we will do it.”
Are we to understand that the professorial coach has “ …. 33 players … are good players, very good players.” And outside this golden circle, he cannot find a single exceptional player anywhere?
It stands to logic that 33 is a very large squad to be kept well paid, well fed and idle on the sidelines. It needs to be trimmed down to about 21 or 22. Very obviously, selling some of these “very good players”, at least 12 to 13 of them, is a must. This must necessarily yield at least £125Mns apart from cutting down on the wages bill. The saving here could lessen the burden when increased wages have to paid to Sanchez or Ozil or Chamberlain and others.
Wenger reportedly started with a purse of £150 M. And a free hand on footballing matters. After the signing of Lacazette, a significant signing , and the free transfer of Kolasinac, Wenger is still left with almost at least £100M. Add to this an expected £125M after the trimming of the squad. Of-course, he has only two weeks left before the transfer window closes for him to act quickly.
The facts as of now is that Arsenal is out of ECL. They are in the Europa. Their every effort must be to get back into CL in the season of 2018-19. Their only target; Win the EPL in 2017-18 and the Europa Cup and anything that is there in-between. There can no thought other than this.This will be the only reason for them to be playing in the EPL this year. All decisions, efforts, thoughts, actions, dreams, purpose in life even, is to win the EPL and Europa. Nothing else matters. The Board and Wenger must be on the same page in this resolve.
If there is one thing that Wenger must do without wavering and with utmost determination is to retain the likes of Sanchez and Ozil. He must sign up Lemar, Ascensio, Goretzka and Seri now. These are all quality youngsters. There is plenty of experienced heads in rest of the squad.
[He has vast reserves in Giroud, Iwobi, Welbeck, Walcott, Xhaka, Ramsey, Chamberlain, Monreal, Cazorla, Bellerin, Mustafi, Elneny, Koscielny, Holding, Kolasinac, and the frontline has Sanchez, Lacazette and Ozil. Add the new signings: there is at least 120 to 130 Goals in that squad. You will need all of that and more. Our hope is that Wenger will decide wisely.
He will know that this season Arsenal will have to play 60 to 70 high intensity matches. Sometimes even two to three matches a week. That it is also a World Cup year which will bring in more pressure on the Club re: any injury to the players or over-playing them and/or letting them go stale in a World Cup year. There will be the usual quota of injuries. There will be no time to rest and recover. So much travel and so little time to prepare and plan. We saw what happened to Man United last season. And how they went for the Europa and dumped the EPL. What Wenger thinks of this is only too well known. It will be very interesting to see how he reacts to this kind of mental and physical challenge this year. We hope he will walk the talk on this one.
This small challenge : PSG is reportedly ready to offer £80M to 90M for Sanchez and that Man City will offer Sanchez £400,000 per week. Ozil, Chamberlain and others will be tempted with similar offers and the Directors may be tempted to sell. As of date Wenger has stood firm. It has been stated by squawka that Alexis Sanchez has been directly involved in 75 Goals in 103 Games for Arsenal –53 Goals and 22 assists [9th August 2017]. There is no one in this universe who has the integrity, honesty, talent and work-ethic who can fetch those goals and have those kinds of inspirational qualities and lift the entire ream to another level. No one. Not even £125M can produce those results. Only a combination of Wenger and Sanchez can do that. The Squad with the suggested changes can work miracles in the 2017-18 season. And you must build on that in the CL year in 2018-19.
If Wenger can achieve the incredible double of winning the EPL and Europa it will bring in extra hundreds of millions of Dollars to the Clubs kitty; TV Rights and Revenues; More sponsors;, advertising Contracts – especially in a World Cup year if you are in CL – and so many myriad avenues for raking in the moolah if you are the EPL Champion and Europa Cup winner and are in the CL and a small matter of having high-profile players or hugely talented stars/starlets in your squad – it will attract the big ad-spenders to the Club like nothing else does.
Arsene Wenger must understand this clearly. All the players in the Arsenal squad, not just the “very good players”, today were his first choice once. Today we see the consequences of the “very good players” bringing the club to its lowest level ever in the last 20 years. That must be reversed. A significant number of those “very good players” will have to be sold on a priority basis. At least four/five more quality players must be signed immediately. It is unlikely that if Arsenal win the EPL and Europa, anybody would want to leave. Just being in the possession of the EPL and Europa titles will bring in significant gains to the club. And note: the revenues will only keep increasing. Wenger must spend big now.There should no compromise on this. The target must be to win EPL and Europa – both.
One remembers this quote of Tony Dorsett: “To succeed…You need to find something to hold on to, something to motivate you, something to inspire you.” The answer is self-evident! Arsene Wenger!
With Wenger leading from the front there is no limit to what Arsenal can achieve this season, but he has to spend BIG.
There is no easy way out here: Arsenal has to fight and fight hard. More so, the leader, Arsene Wenger. Everything hinges on his fighting character. The great Marv Levy has said: “Football doesn’t build character, it reveals character!” Wenger’s super character — Exactly !!
And we can expect that in response to this challenge, the great Wenger will definitely underline and echo what Archie Griffin said: “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog!” And ,Oh ! Boy – do we have a humdinger of a great Arsenal and Wenger Combo season Coming up!!!!!