Misconceptions of Arsenal’s 7 years with NO silverware

 

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
Eduardo £7.5mil
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
07/08 3rd 5th Round Semi’s Quarters
08/09 4th Semi’s Quarters Semi’s
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

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23 comments

  1. An excellent, well-thought out rebuttal to all the misconceptions you highlight. Too many fair-weather Arsenal fans are willing to cast doom and gloom on everything the players, manager and more positive fans say or do.

  2. Nice article and its true that we have been close to winning something several times over the last 7 years, but it doesn’t convince me. We have sold players year on year and not replaced with similar quality. In 2004 we were invincible. who can argue that we have gone backwards as a team on the pitch since then? For a team that went unbeaten for 49 games to be conceding 49 goals in the premier league is not good enough.

  3. U’v don wel by highlitin dis misconceptns.i strongly bliv dat futbal and luck walk sid by sid.if not koc and szes wudnt hav given d bal away at dying 2 martins.i bliv it’s not yet our tim.bt signin mvila and 1 or 2 more players wud do no harm.gunners til fade.

  4. thanx man 4dat insight i wish dis could drill enough 2de certain fans 4rom a certain club who r making noise n like us they r saying unfamiliar word/nxt seasnon\ by de way wea is BEBE?

  5. Nice article, well researched and I agree. But if I were to be devil’s advocate…..

    Misconception 1. Arsenal have generally made money each year in the transferring of players which bucks the trend of the big boys. The reality is that we do not spend as much as we take in. I don’t have a problem with this.

    Misconception 2. We have sold our best player every year since Vieira left.

    Misconception 3. Arsenal have not competed in the league for a number of years. Being 20 points off the league leaders isn’t competing

    As I said, I’m happy with the way the club is being run…. Just think your blog is a bit disingenuous to suggest that everything is rosy.

  6. If nothing else,it gives those knocking the club something to think about.
    Very good article,and certainly a good discussion point.

  7. This is a lovely and superb article,haven gone through this i found out our major problem is not the quality of players we do have but the poor assessment of the so called coach.Check most of the teams that had won silverware this 7 years the coaches were tough on the players,unlike mr AW he always accused the referee on the mistakes of his players.We lost to a relegated team at carling final imagine what an insult!!!!! Hazard,Giroud,Gotze,etc we find it hard at Arsenal because of the coach,most of hard working players become sluggish and lazy once they are into Arsenal fc.

    Aw should think of his policy,and release some players. Gunners for life.

  8. We’ve also got have a fantastic squad forming this coming season. Coquelin Wilshire Ox and Ryo will make the Carling cup look like the Harlem globetrotters. We should play their theme tune at the carling cup home games.
    Apart from coming 3rd, there were som serious individual performances coming to the fore. Arteta Song Van Persie Chezzer Koz Verminator Sagna Gibbs Benayoun Ox Rosicky are 11 players you can’t doubt. Our attitude improved and we began to play off the ball. And you bet! we can beat the big teams! Man City Chelski Spuds Man City got ROASTED

    1. AC Milan got a slap that was so good that it is embedded in my DNA and will be passed on to my daughter so she can do me proud and her children proud and their children proud and their children proud… and their children proud… and they’ll remember that day. It WAS that good

  9. Well, as much as I wanna agree with this post, some facts need to be pointed out. Arsenal usually falter in dire moments, especially towards the end of the season. Reason is, the players tire out, and there are no quality replacements. Wenger’s faith in “deadwood” players has cost us many points that could have taken us higher or even got us a trophy. Injury-prone players must have quality back-up. That’s the hallmark of a big team.

  10. very nice article! good job there i totally agree with you…in my opinion wenger is one of the best coaches in the world if not the best,he works in a unique way…i trust whatever he does because he knows best! in arsene we trust and don;t pay attention to the media!!

  11. Wow mister,nice articlde.the only words missing are we probably have done everything right but we have a crappy manager to take us to the finish line first.or maybe this one.what can i say for arsene and arsenal,finishing 3rd or 4th nd going trophiless for seven years is the most competitive arsenal,so faithful gunners need nt complain.just spend your hard earned cash so the board can make enough profit. Mister,aint these good for the last paragraph of your article.

  12. Good post. My main concern with Wenger over the past seven years is that when we have reached quarter , semi and even a final( carling cup against chelsea)He has seen fit to play understrength teams using fringe players to give them experience while the opposition has always fielded full strength teams. We lose and are comforted by ” I think we were a bit naive at times’ Also on the personal problems of players who have left maybe a contributing factor is the man management of the coach or lack of it.

  13. Fabregas did not leave for trophies?
    Do you think he would leave if his boyhood club were Real Zaragoza?
    Turn it as you want. Nasri and fabregas left for the same reason. fabregas made it look more convincing by going to his home club which was doing very well then.

    Wenger does not spend is a misconception. lol.
    At the start of the season, we had got Carl Jenkinson, Oxlade and Gervinho, and let go Eboue, Clichy, Nasri and Fabregas, and said he needed no more additions, till manu showed us our place. He didn’t even fix a weakened squad.

    Champions League round of 16 and quarters makes us competitive? Okay.
    19 points behind league leaders, 49 goals conceded. Competitive.

    I agree with the 4th one though.

    And everyone that does not blindly believe that the club is running well, is called a doomer, plastic etc. Keep that to yourself i would say.

  14. We’re known as a selling club because we buy young prospects and when they become the finished article we let another team reap the benefits by selling the player.

    We’re no successful because we’ve fielded teams filled to the brim with players who are young, still developing prospects for the future – mixed with a slither of experience.

    When we sell the finished articles we replace them with young prospects and the cycle starts again.

    Last Summer, a large influx of experience was drafted in and saved our season.

    I hope we can have finished, experienced articles in every position backed up by the occasional prospect in cases of injuries. I want to see the core of the team experienced players, not full of mistake prone prospects with one or two experienced players.

    We will never win anything again until the prospects are put back in the reserves and shown how it should be done by players who are 26+.

  15. Thank you so much for this,a lot many have had the misconception about our club and hope this goes a long way in proving it otherwise.

  16. although this is a good article, you must consider the facts. We are still 7 years w/o a trophey. Arsenal is suppose to be winning…almost doesnt count.those who say we are not competing are plane crazy! What im saying is we are not winning. Athletes are only remembered for winning. The transfers you listed are still in line with what we were spending 11yrs ago when wenger got here. Wiltord, Henry. Our salary cap is restrictive at times! Please dont cover s*** in glitter and then tell us it looks good

  17. Nasri said he left for trophies and within 9 months he’d won one, more than any Arsenal player for the past 7 years. Those are the facts.

  18. Thank you all for your comments and your views on the article it’s very much appreciated. Just like to clear a few things up, I am not pretending that everything is okay at Arsenal I was just highlighting what is incorrect to believe. I see people mentioning comments about players wanting to leave, If they want to leave and aren’t prepared to play for Arsenal what do you suggest we do, especially if you receive double fold what you payed for them. One more thing about the transfers of young players, Wenger buys prospects yes, but please don’t pretend he buys them to replace our key players and he sticks them on the first team.
    Keep the comments coming let me know what you think guys.

  19. Very good discussion point and the views are certainly from the optimistic gunner. Its not arsenal’s wish to sell our best players but others are nosing around us with big money offers and players are distracted [cesc apart] somehow.
    But as a true fans, we have to be critical as well if few things aren’t going well. As a well run football clubs, how good a feeling factor would be if we have few trophies to rub the noses of few of samir nasri’s around and fans of other clubs who target us always in terms of trophy drought.
    Neverthelsee, there are things to be optimistic:-)

  20. All of your rebuttals to misconceptions are flawed…

    1. Wenger won’t spend
    Of course he does. You can’t bring players in without spending. However, he has set himself a ceiling above which he has, so far, refused to go above. £15-16m today does not buy a ‘world class’ player. It buys a solid EPL experienced player (Arteta), an young English player with potential (Theo, Ox), or a foreign player with good prospects (Nasri, Arshavin, Gervinho).

    It does not get you a Mata, a Kagawa, an M’Vila, a Goetze, a Hazard etc.

    Misconception 2 – Arsenal are a selling club
    Yes they are.

    You can argue that the players left over personal problems, problems with team-mates and such like and that it wasn’t ‘in search of trophies’, but that’s bullsh*t. If Arsenal were winning (and I mean winning and not competing) for trophies, primarily the EPL and CL, then it is unlikely that Cesc, Nasri, Clichy, Ade or Toure would have left.

    Do you think if he had an EPL title in the bag that Toure couldn’t have worked out his differences with Gallas? The same goes for Clichy (who was the only one in the squad who knew what it was like to actually win something), Cesc and Nasri – all have gone on to ‘win’ trophies since leaving.

    The players know as well as anyone what is needed to win trophies (see recent Sagna interview), and that is the reason why we risk losing RvP – the players know we are not set-up to win anything at the moment – a reasonable first eleven but certainly no strength in depth when we get the inevitable injuries. ‘Challenging’ is not enough to look back on at the end of your career.

    Misconception 3 – we’re not competing
    No we’re not and that table proves it.

    4th is not a f*cking trophy. Neither is third. And second doesn’t even appear. 20+ points behind the EPL winners is far from competing. One cup final in 7 years is far from competing. And as for Champions League – let’s not get carried away – qualification from the group stage is the least we expect, but every Arsenal fan knows that as soon as we come up against Barcelona or Real or Bayern or one of the other English teams then we’re done for. The first leg against AC Milan last season was embarrassing, regardless of the achievements in the second leg. We have neither the first eleven, let alone the strength in depth to challenge for that competition. Our involvement is simply about finances and nothing more.

    As someone else above pointed out, you can’t polish a turd.

    There are indications that things might be changing, that we’re buying players with quality experience, we’ve let some players go to free up squad spaces, that we’ve made some early acquisitions.

    But there’s also a sense of deja vu as well as it seems we’ve pulled away from negotiations for M’Vila and Kagawa is joining Man Utd. Although to your final misconception – ‘the media is always right’ – let’s hope not!!

    Another good debate!

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