Emulate or pioneer that is the question Arsenal must answer

Tottenham were in Arsenal shadows for decades, they went through managers like a hot knife through butter, had a mediocre stadium tried to spend their way to glory all without success and then they decided to emulate us.

They bought wisely, for the most part, they put trust in their youngsters, they created stability with a new manager despite his lack of silverware, they built a new stadium and now they are in the Champions League final and starting to become regular top-four finishers.

We were once exactly like that and yet have stagnated and today, we find ourselves looking for an identity.

Arsenal used to be the club that trusted in youngsters, that bought wisely, mixed youth and experience successfully, we and Man Utd pioneered that method, but somewhere along the line, we lost our way.

Now we look at others and I have seen some comments on social media saying we should emulate Liverpool or even Tottenham, that we need to spend big on two or three players in key positions, that we should buy a certain player to do this that and everything in between but we do not have a history of emulating others, our history is as pioneers and that is how we must proceed if we are to get back to where we once were.

I do not pretend to know how we will do that, the board and experts that Arsenal employ are the men and women that need to work that out from Unai Emery and his backroom staff to the other employees at the club from nutritionists to phycologists to analysts.

They need to identify what Arsenal want to be and then put in place a mechanism to achieve that goal.

When Arsene Wenger took over he had a vision and he implemented that vision, he soon got rid of the English influence and replaced it with his continental methods from the food to the training to the tactics on the field of play, it was extremely successful but eventually became outdated and he was unable to evolve while others around did.

We have to trust that Unai Emery can be the one that can evolve us with new thinking and new methods and as fans we have to show patience because the road back is not going to be easy, we do not have the money that other clubs have to buy our way to success, we have to do it ourselves, we have to pioneer a new way, it is as simple as that.

Updated: May 26, 2019 — 11:35 am

21 Comments

  1. A astute summary of the methods that had made us successful over many years. Nothing said her that I could possibly take issue with. However, the huge difference now from the past is the emergence of corporate money to clubs from countries and huge conglomerates, Man City being the prime example in our Prem though not the only one. It saddened me to see some of our fans wanting new and corrupt money , in City, to beat old and through the fans and club money in Liverpool, in the Prem race. I was desperately hoping that decent sensibly awarded money in Liverpool FC triumphed over the corrupt oil Abu Dhabi City money. Decent money over tainted money,in fact. So many fans have neither the intent nor the breadth of forward vision to see how damaging the corporate way is to fair play , a level playing field for all and ultimately to the existence of our top level Prem . My life experience tells me, along with the obvious tribal nature of football fans, that this shortsightedness often prevents them seeing the plain truth. Bias is the enemy of truth and the ability to change for the better.

    To expand on this we can all see the damage Kreonke with his corporate and self interested philosophy is doing and has done to our beloved club. To a man and woman , it seems we want him out ASAP, AND RIGHTLY TOO. it is heavily rumoured that Abramovitch has lost interest in and his love for Chelsea and is looking to sell. It is too much to hope that he would even sell to a fans consortium , which would be the ideal and healthiest way for all top clubs to be run. But I warn anyone who supports corrupt corporate money owned clubs above traditionally run clubs, you are barking up the wrong and damaging tree. Think more fully please , I beg you!

    1. upon reading the article my thoughts were this is one for jon fox (i had not yet scrolled the pages to see you were first to contribute with a reply). I also agree there’s “Nothing said her that I could possibly take issue with”. end of quote. However, the idea of emulating spurs is bitter to the belly and had we taken advantage of umpteen chances this 2018/19 campaign to approach our fixtures better – our position our league position ought to have been above the spuds. In simple its been a matter of occasional oversight (by arsenal), inconsistency and complacency that is one noteworthy factor with the north-london sides performances, but not a factor wort us trying to ’emulate’ them.

      As for lfc – there’s a synergy between their management, fans, players and the approach/ or policy they have towards recruitment which on the face of things is worthwhile emulating. Every team is currently behind citeh and the reds (any doubt about that then ask messi) though not the same can be said regard our position compared to spurs – we’re not far behind them.

      Finally, i’m in agreement with points that *jon fox made regards fans wishing to employ a strategy modelled on either man city’s or chelski’s – i also believe that in the long term you never maintain winning when the money you rely on is dirty – that’s the caveat.

      1. I agree that LFC have found a rare type of synergy between all the stake holders. I think we could have had that if we had let go of Wenger a couple of years earlier and had gone for Klopp. He really is the glue that hold it together. Until VDV and Allison they never spent big money on a player. Mane, Slah, Firmino, Wijnaldum etc were no more expensive than Mustafi and Xhaka.
        With Kroenke and our financial inability to compete with the top teams and the fact that we need a lot of players to come into the team, I think the only sensible way forward is to have a 3-5 year plan and invest in youth.
        Our budget will not get us players that will help us make compete for the PL title, but it might get us players that will help us win the PL in a few years.

        1. I think you’re spot on about a 3-5 year plan. First year for Emery, team needing rebuilding before Emery was even brought on. We have some good pieces to build around that will still be here in 3-5 years.

          Holding looks solid, Mavro good piece, Leno is a good GK. Torreira if he’s played as DM not B2B, Chambers can be good competition. If Saka, Nelson, and ESR improve we can have a good core to build around.

          Losing Sven hurt us a lot, and not much confidence with decision makers after Suarez bust. PL is different animal than other leagues, so these guys have to get it right

  2. OT… 30 years ago today, 89 happened!! 2 years before I became a gooner, but I saw the DVD (& absolutely love it)
    Was that the last time we beat Liverpool at Anfield 😂 haha I know it’s not, just kidding….

    1. i remember that date/occasion/celebration as if it were yesterday – we had it on the big screens at work (Nine Elms Lane, Vauxhall). Michael Thomas sent much of the workplace into euphoria, apart from any spurs fans that is i can’t recall much work being done on my late shift after that 😀

      1. 👍 that sounds amazing, waal2waal & I can picture it now!!
        Haha well you had to get your priorities right… work or Arsenal – a no brainer hahahaha!!

        1. arsenal won the Day 😀 – ie when we were kings

  3. Wenger lost his old ways when he tried to recreate Barcelona’s system at Arsenal. Twenty years under the same manager should have been enough to create a better youth development and scouting systems

    We had powerful, tall and quick athletes such as Henry, Vieira, Pires, Bergkamp, Ljungberg, Lauren, Campbell and Cole, then Wenger changed his preference to collect small technical and tactical playmakers such as Fabregas, Cazorla and Ozil. No offense to those fancy-skilled small playmakers, but they have never made Arsenal into a dominant team in England, unlike in the Invicibles era

    After watching the tiki-taka Arsenal for more than one decade, I believe Arsenal would never be able to come close to the football style of Guardiola’s Barcelona in 2008/2009 season. Luckily the new regime have come and I’m excited to see the changes they would bring into the club

    1. Absolutely gotanidea well said

      1. 👍👍 A heads up from me too.

      2. Unfortunately the Arsenal has deviated from its “raison d’etre” as a football club and become a money making business asset for Stan Kroenke since he became the major shareholder. The one positive thing about this is that if Kroenke leaves and sells his shares, the Arsenal FC survives. Unlike Chelsea, Manchester City and others, Arsenal’s survival does not depend on the whims of the owner pouring in money.
        As far as Tottenham is concerned, the impact of servicing and repaying the massive (much more than the Emirates) stadium debt is yet to be seen.
        Just remind us again why Arsenal left Highbury and moved to the Emirates at great expense?

    2. It was not his preference for technically gifted players that’s was the problem but his failure to add strength and stamina to complement their weaknesses.

    3. But the situation had changed. It was bot only Arsenal vs Man United. The likes of Chelsea and City had joined the club with massive cash. That is why all of them cherry picked our best players by promising them massive wages on top of competing for serious trophies.

      I understand the frustration because that Cesc team just needed a few tweaks with the a better goal keeper, DM, Central defenders and better mature tactical input from the manager. Wenger nurtured and pandered to the teams weakness and naivety season after season
      That Fabregas team was a joy to watch. I never felt like we would be smashed or dominated in most games. We were creating clear cut chances at will but weren’t as clinical. We always dominated most teams in the premiership apart from Drogba, Bolton, Blackburn and Stock away from the Emirates. Only Barcelona in their prime would destroy us at will.

      We would lose games and were always left thinking, “How the hell did we lose this game”. We would dominate and create numerous that we never took. Then the other team would get a corner, free kick or a counterattack and woulf score from their first assault on our goal. Then they would sit back protect and defend their lead cleverly.

      We also had a weird thing with long term injuries. We would go for months with many players all out injured at the same time. Rvp, Wilshere, Rosicky, Ramsey, Diaby, Vermaelan, and even Cesc himself had started to become injury prone in his last seasons at Arsenal.

      But then wenger would always refuse to acknowledge this recurring problem each summer. He would regurgitate the same talking points each transfer window “If the right players that can improve us become available then we will sign them. But they have to be players that will imprve us. On top of that we still have Rvp, Rosicky, Ramsey, Wilshere, Diaby etc to come back from injury. Signing many players at once is not a good idea as it unbalances the whole team / squad” blah blah.

      Those wenger quotes each transfer windows will never leave my head. What a joke. Frustrating and infuriating just thinking about those tired catchphrases of his. Lol 🙂

      But I keep saying it and it is not popular. I enjoyed more the Cesc Fabregas era of beautiful football than the mechanical / sweaty disfigured football we have had since the likes of Cesc and Nasri left. We might have won a few FA CUPS but we became a complete joke of a club since. Being smashed 8-2. Arsenal being smashed by 5, 4, 6 goals by other teams is now normal. We hardly ever get surprised with scorelines like that nowadays. We finished outside of the Top 4 for 3 seasons in a row etc.

    4. And i think small players are not the problem. It’s the application of those small players. What does the manager expect from them. What does he tell them to do.

      For example. Who are these big powerful players are City and Liverpool? They are mostly small technical players that have a very high work ethic and intensity on the field. Spuds also have small players that are known for playing a high intensity style etc.

      Our wenger small players weaknesses were nurtured and defended by wenger. Listen to what the likes of Nasri, Cesc, The Ox, Clichy, Rvp etc said about the different mentality at United, City and Barcelona.

      They all said the same thing. Wenger’s methods and attitude were not challenging enough on the training field etc. No tactics, just a “Go out there and express yourself kind of attitude”.

  4. It is tiresome to hear the same old cliche trotted out, that Arsène’s methods became outdated. The fact is that Arsenal were unable to compete financially for the best players in the final ten years of his tenure. At the beginning he was forced to sell his best players: Cole, Henry, Fabregas, Van Persie. Once the stadium was paid off he was able to buy Ozil and Sanchez and won three FA Cups. but the rest of the team were not of the same standard. Emery has the same problem. How many of Arsenal’s current first team would get into Man City’s team?

    1. he also never bothered to buy a single top CDM or top defender. His last few seasons, he really had little to no variety in his gameplans. Literally just looked like he told them to go out and play and try to score. AW is known for not trying to “overcoach”, but it did not pay off in the later years. 3 FA Cups in a bit over 10 years is not successful.

      1. It didn’t look that way RSH that’s exactly how it was.. former players have said as much! Wenger wasn’t much of a tactician! His fa cup record is top notch but he failed to win a single European trophy in 22 years.. 1 Uefa cup final and 1 champions League final losing both.. everyone talks about his champions League qualifying record like he actually won the competition.. he had probably 18 or 19 attempts to win it and failed in every one!

  5. Omg I love your stories, LCM 🤣😋 👌👍 so funny

  6. Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    I think the pioneering work in developing youths for the senior team use that Arsene Wenger has evolved at Arsenal is still in my own view, very much in place at the Hale End of the club. Where Arsenal FC can draw from the pool of young talented Gunners who have developed and made the required needed grade to it’s senior team squad after they’ve been chum out. Teens or young footballers are signed in into the Arsenal Academy school to evolve to become top grade footballers for the club after they’ve been thoroughly schooled to develop in the hopes they’ll later have them play for the club’s senior team which has happened in the past and is still happening up till today at the club and should continue to happen as the club’s Academy school continues to schooled academy schoolers to develop to become top quality and world class players for the club. In this regard in recent past seasons, 2 products from the Arsenal Academy school in Ains Maintland-Niles and Alex Iwobi who have passed out from the school have progress to the senior team squad and have since started playing regularly for the Gunners. And it’s being believed that a host of other young Gunners from the club’s Academy school or who have been loaned out to enhance their quality development such as the inbound Eddie Nkethia and one or two other ones out on loan will be moved from the junior team squad to the senior team squad next season.

    In regard to Arsenal new player signings during this summer window, why can’t Arsenal go after the signings of Wilfred Ndidi and Gareth Bale from Real Madrid as a correct replacement for Aaron Ramsey. And to up the ante in goals scoring considerably at the Arsenal left wing in the mid-trio last season in the PL.

  7. Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    I think the pioneering work in developing youths for the senior team use that Arsene Wenger has evolved at Arsenal is still in my own view, very much in place at the Hale End of the club. Where Arsenal FC can draw from the pool of young talented Gunners who have developed and made the required needed grade to it’s senior team squad after they’ve been chum out. Teens or young footballers are signed in into the Arsenal Academy school to evolve to become top grade footballers for the club after they’ve been thoroughly schooled to develop in the hopes they’ll later have them play for the club’s senior team which has happened in the past and is still happening up till today at the club and should continue to happen as the club’s Academy school continues to schooled academy schoolers to develop to become top quality and world class players for the club. In this regard in recent past seasons, 2 products from the Arsenal Academy school in Ains Maintland-Niles and Alex Iwobi who have passed out from the school have progressed to the senior team squad and have since started playing regularly for the Gunners. And it’s being believed that a host of other young Gunners from the club’s Academy school or who have been loaned out to enhance their quality developments such as the in-club player Eddie Nkethia and one or two other ones out on loan will be moved from the junior team squad to the senior team squad next season.

    In regard to Arsenal new player signings during this summer window, why can’t Arsenal go after the signings of Wilfred Ndidi at Leicester and Gareth Bale at Real Madrid as a correct replacement to Aaron Ramsey. And for upping the ante in goals scoring considerably at the Arsenal left wing position in the mid-trio next season in the PL.



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