I have not had a guest writer for a few weeks so I am happy to take a breather and welcome ‘Triangle Football’ to my site today. Known to many on twitter as @TAngleFootball. Like me he is a positive Gunner and keen to dispel what he feels are some popular misconceptions as to why we have gone 7 years without a trophy…..
Another disappointing season for Arsenal ensures that our trophy drought continues into its 7th year. Whilst it has been a similar season in terms of end product and end of season dip, it has been an Arsenal team in transition. Long gone are the days where we used to face premier league clubs in the Carling cup and blow them away. With signings like Arteta, Mertesacker and Benayoun showing me that Wenger has moved away from the young but promising and has opted for the experienced and hard working. An early foray into the transfer market also seems to indicate this, Wenger has learned his lesson and if reports are anything to go by, is looking at the right calibre of players to bring Arsenal back to its glory days. Whilst we hope the glory days are close, we have still gone 7 years without a trophy and one thing I have noticed is that we always look for reasons why at the end of the season. When most are upset and disappointed at the team’s short comings. Whilst I would also love to know why this is the case, only one man can truly tell us. However one thing I can do as a gooner to a fellow gooner, is tell you what isn’t going on. First we need to set some ground rules; 1) This season was completely different and could of happened to any team that had lost three of their best players and 2) Read this with an open heart and reserve judgement until you have read the full article.
Misconception #1 – The transfer policy v.1, Wenger won’t spend. The main reason according to most Arsenal fans to why we have gone so long without a trophy. An excuse also mentioned often in the media but the facts seem to suggest otherwise.
Table: (Transfers since FA Cup win)
Aleksandr Hleb £11.2Mil
Emmanuel Adebayor £7mil
Tomas Rosicky £6.8mil
Samir Nasri £15.8mil
Backary Sagna £6mil
Andrei Arshavin £15mil
Thomas Vermaelen £10mil
Laurent Koscielny £10mil
This list is not comprehensive, but includes transfer up until last summer since Arsenal’s last trophy where the player signed was over 21 and where we paid a fee of £5million or above. It seems clear therefore that Wenger will spend, but only if he feels he needs to. I have highlighted this point many times but many just don’t seem to understand, so please allow me to elaborate. When Arsenal needed a right back, Wenger bought Sagna for £6 Million. One of, if not the best right back in the league and one of the first names on the team sheet. Arsene Wenger also invested in £7million Emmanuel Adebayor knowing that he would need a successor to Thierry Henry. Whatever your feelings about Adebayor now, the season after Thierry Henry left he bagged 30 goals in 48 games. Whilst Wenger didn’t spend huge money to land these 2 players, he did spend money and bought them because he felt we needed them. Wenger also spent £15million on Samir Nasri and £15million on Andrei Arshavin, 6 months after each other, further proof that Wenger will spend on players IF he feels we need them. Whether they cost £5million or £15. So we have cleared up misconception #1, Wenger will spend if he feels he has to. So maybe the problem is he doesn’t feel he has to, but that is a different article and not for today
Misconception #2 – The transfer policy v.2, Arsenal have become a selling team. Another excuse fuelled by the media. People have only really used this towards the latter years of the trophy drought. Most recently the departures of Emmanuel Adebayor & Kolo Toure. Cesc Fabregas, Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri have since been the examples that the media use to try and imply that players leave Arsenal in search of trophies.
Starting with Adebayor he had left Arsenal for problems he created for himself. Adebayor claimed that he was ‘unloved’ at Arsenal, well doing things like this:
was hardly likely to make you fans favourite. Theo runs the length of the pitch to provide you with a tap in and you celebrate on your own while your team mates mob Walcott! Adebayor was sold for £25 million a superb price for a player that was unhappy and who had alienated the Arsenal faithful by angling for more money and a move to Milan the previous summer.
Kolo Toure himself also left due to personal problems and has since admitted that his departure was due to a breakdown in relationship with William Gallas stating ‘Gallas and me misunderstood each other at certain times and one had to leave’. Kolo Toure being honest and getting his point through without having to run half way across a pitch and more importantly without the mention of trophies. Cesc Fabregas himself said he had moved to Barcelona because ‘I thought I’d stagnated a bit, and needed a change of scenery. I needed special motivation to bring the best out of myself’.
Cesc wanted to leave Arsenal 2 or 3 seasons before he did and Wenger did a good job keeping him there for an extra 2 seasons. There are false quotes being attributed to Fabregas supposedly saying he left Arsenal in search of trophies, which he strenuously denies. So in reality the biggest player to have left Arsenal recently and has admitted not for trophies but more for the draw of playing for his home town boyhood club.
With Gael Clichy conflicting reports says that he left in search of trophies or he was in the same situation as Fabregas where he wanted a new challenge change and wasn’t focused on Arsenal. The reality was he had not had a solid consistent season for Arsenal for 2 years and had provided nothing going forwards so the reality is probably a combination.
Which leads us on to Samir Nasri?!!! Enough said….
All of the players mentioned above left Arsenal due to personal problems, whether because of the fans, other team mates or personal motivation or indeed because it suited Wenger to cash in. Each had legitimate reasons to leave and were not fully focused on Arsenal, so let me put it to you. Your player is unhappy and a £25 million bid comes in for him. Your player is unhappy and a £15 million bid comes in for him. Your player is unhappy and a £35 million bid comes in for him. The media has created a negative hype about selling players but would you rather keep an unhappy player who doesn’t chase down balls, bust a gut to get into the box or even a player who refuses to play? Suddenly selling players doesn’t sound so bad. We as Arsenal fans always want and deserve 100% from each and every player but the moment we sell a player who has ceased to offer that we rightly get upset. Misconception #2 cleared.
Misconception #3 – Competition, Arsenal just haven’t been competing. This one seems to stem from rival fans but some Arsenal fans have taken it on board and used it as a reason to why we haven’t won’t anything in the last 7 years. It would seem like a fair point but it just isn’t true.
|EPL||FA Cup||Carling Cup||Champions League|
|05/06||4th||4th Round||Semi’s||Runners Up|
|06/07||4th||5th Round||Runners Up||Round of 16|
|09/10||3rd||4th Round||5th Round||Quarters|
|10/11||4th||Quarters||Runners Up||Round of 16|
Based on the above facts I hope I have clearly demonstrated that Arsenal have been challenging for honours. However the table doesn’t paint the full picture of numerous title challenge’s that have faltered at the vital moment. Just last year for example, a win over Liverpool would of meant that all Arsenal had to do was beat United and they would be in front with 3 premier league games to go. However Arsenal conceded a last minute penalty to Liverpool just after scoring a penalty themselves and United at home was the only game they won after that draw to Liverpool. Retelling a story familiar to that of 2009/2010 & 2008/2009. However heartbreaking though a title challenge is a title challenge and if 3 runners up medals, 4 semi-finals and 3 quarter finals in those 7 years isn’t challenging, then I don’t know what is. Let us not forget we were a Cesc Fabregas injury away from winning the Carling Cup in 2011 and who know how the season might have finished had we been at full strength and won.
Hopefully I have cleared up a few issue’s for you fellow Gooners from my perspective at least, especially the transfer in’s because I feel Wenger doesn’t get enough credit for it. Year on year we are outspent however there have been seasons including in the past 7 where we have had some of the best players in the league that would walk into any team. Take last season for example, we had the perfect blend of back up and first team with a key trio of Nasri, Fabregas and Van Persie. Injury to two of those key players scuppered our season completely and once again Arsenal fell victim to bad luck. I hope you have read with an open heart and learned a few things I would however still like to end my piece on one last misconception.
Misconception #4 the media is always right.
Thanks for reading and thanks to Goonerdave66 and ‘1nildown2oneup’ for giving me a platform. Triangle Football
Please feel free to comment of follow me on twitter @TAngleFootball