Morning, a quick Saturday round-up for you.
After saying quite categorically in his press conference on Thursday that he wouldn’t be adding to his coaching staff in the close season, the manager has revealed he’s ‘open’ to it, saying:
We are open-minded. We always add people, you know. When you compare to when I arrived, how many people work with the team? Today we have so many analysts, you always add people. I don’t know yet frankly.
Interestingly he’s talking about analysts so perhaps he’ll get someone in to measure how the players posture when they drive affects their hamstrings or a highly qualified toothiologist to prevent groin strains. It doesn’t sound to me like the fabled defensive coach is arriving, especially as Arsene says:
I have enough experience to know what is important and what is less than important. It will be difficult to find a coach who teaches me how to manage a football team.
With all due deference to your experience, Arsene, perhaps you could find someone who could teach them how to defend a fucking corner. Oh yeah, 1-0 Arseblog. And I can hang onto that lead all day long, scoring from my first chance and defending from your puny corners and tippy-tappy sideways crabalicious passing in front of my penalty area. You’ll never shoot!
When you’ve been a manager as long as Arsene has and achieved as much as he has then it is difficult to find someone who can teach about managing a team. However, there’s no shame in admitting that some people might be able to do certain things better than you can or might add a freshness or, perish the thought, an effectiveness to the team. I don’t buy into the idea that Arsene has no idea how to build a defence – he did it with the Invincibles after all – but to my mind there’s little doubt a combination of poor transfer business and a fundamental weakness in the team in terms of his approach has exacerbated our defensive problems.
I know Sylvester, for example, was never signed as first choice, and maybe we’re looking at it too simplistically, but signing a United cast-off, who was never that good, who had all the pace of Slothy McTurtle, struck me as rather odd. I mean, expecting him to improve the Arsenal defence was somewhat ambitious. Or deluded. Last summer, when we had lost Slothy and Gallas, who on his day was a good player but had more baggage than David Hillier, he decided a young Frenchman and a journeyman French international were what was required.
I think Koscielny has done ok, he’s had a fairly steep learning curve and has been found wanting from time to time, while Squillaci has struggled big time. I don’t think he’s quite as bad a player as he’s looked this season, and I understood his signing at the time, but it was another little gamble that went badly. So as much as a defensive coach would be a fillip perhaps another solution is to buy better defenders. Just throwing that out there.
If Gary Cahill is one of the targets then Bolton look like they want to hang onto him. Despite only having one year left on his contract they’ve put a £17m price tag on his head. I suspect they’re just trying to get as much as possible for him, knowing that Man City have previous in this regard (spending £16m on de Jong that January when he could have moved in the summer on a free), and chancing their arm a bit. And there’s no chance Arsene will spend that kind of a money on a player in general, let alone one available for nothing the following summer.
I was thinking we could play Arsene Transfer Bingo this summer as he rolls out the stock phrases regarding his business. You know ‘Like a new signing’, ‘When we sign somebody I will tell you’, ‘We are always looking’, ‘We are not close to signing anyone’ etc etc. Then we have this old favourite:
It’s no secret that Arsène Wenger is looking to strengthen his squad this summer but the Arsenal manager insists he will only bring in players that improve his current team.
What, like Silvestre and Squillaci?! YES, 2-0! Arsene was counter-attacking, left himself wide open at the back, the Brazilian midfielder who was supposed to covering ambled forward leaving a gap open and bang, that’s the game. Well, until van Persie gets a late consolation, but still.
To be fair, he says:
We have enough quality to beat anyone in the world, even with the current squad. You have a Champions League Final and only one team has beaten both of them and that is Arsenal.
Ok, I can dig that, but:
It is not catastrophic and do not think we can go to Coventry and find the player who saves Arsenal Football Club.
Erm, so he’s saying that we’re unlikely to bring in Pete Ndlovu? Gutted. I’m not quite sure what he means by that, especially as we’re about to sign a young full back from Charlton, but there you go.
Harry Redknapp says we’re in for Scott Parker which could be the truth or it could be Harry shooting his gob off again. However, I got an email during the week from someone who played golf with Señor Tweetch during the week and apparently he was quite upset because he felt he (Parker) was very close to a deal with us. I guess time will tell.
Statistical evidence that Jack Wilshere faces burn out by going to the U21 Championships this summer. I don’t think any of it is a surprise to be honest, but what’s important is that if England refuse to do the right thing by the player that we do. That means giving him the rest he needs when that tournament finishes, and that our squad is sufficiently strong to cope with his absence for a few weeks into the start of the new season.
It might well be galling that neither Stuart Pearce, nor Fabio Capello for that matter, have any real concern for his well-being, especially with Euro 2012 next summer, but that’s no reason for us not to do the right thing. He needs to given a proper rest and he’ll need to go through a proper pre-season regime before he plays for us next season. Otherwise we’ll be just as guilty as they are and will have no cause for complaint if the inevitable does happen and he goes through an injury hit campaign.
He’s clearly a physically robust young man, he gets kicked and crunched all over the place in almost every game, but he takes those kicks and gets back up again. As frustrating as what’s happening this summer is we have the ‘antidote’ in our own hands and to do anything to compromise Jack’s overall fitness would be foolish.
Finally, if you didn’t see if via the Twitter yesterday, here’s an email I got in the last few days. Reproduced exactly as it arrived.
Right, that’s about that. A preview of the final game of the season tomorrow, until then have a good Saturday.