Wenger’s creative trio PAY BACK while Di Matteo’s trio earn him the SACK


Santi and Lukas – The time was right for experience

So in a week that has seen Arsenal thrash the old enemy and qualify for the second phase of the European Champions League what has been happening to our super rich oil baron rivals? Well it is simple Man City went out of the Champions League, whilst Chelsea teeter on the brink of exit sack their manager and employ an out of work Spanish waiter.

He’s just a fat Spanish waiter!

So what went wrong for Di Matteo and his all conquering £100 million creative hub?  This was the mighty 3 that our fans moaned we could not afford, or could afford but were unwilling to bid for our match the wages for.  This is a team let us not forget who play the same formation as us with 3 play makers, 2 wide and one central behind a goal machine, is that correct? Well the formation part is but as last week’s statistical analysis proved I feel we might at present have the edge with Olivier Giroud over Fernando Torres!

The mighty 3  had the impartial media drooling and excreting hyperbole and hyperbole. We all knew Juan Mata was a class act and I along with most Gunners would not argue that fact, but the addition of Oscar and Hazard surely made this a irresistible  combination. The press compared this potential to Barcelona and I reached for the sick bag. Here is just a sample from only last month…..


Chelsea’s brio trio of Juan Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard ready for tougher tests following defeat of Spurs

What has also changed, self-­evidently, is the expansion of Chelsea’s creative department with the arrival of Eden Hazard  and Oscar, forming the three musketeers with Juan Mata, cutting defences like Spurs’ to ribbons. “We have been lucky with the way the players we signed have settled into the club quickly and into the Premier League,” Di Matteo said.

Henry Winter 21st Oct Telegraph


Are you sure Henry? – Stick to Sunday Supplement old chap!


Chelsea’s triple threat shows tremendous promise

Big money creativity and have they let their manager down?

This season Mata has been joined by Eden Hazard and Oscar. And, for that matter, Marko Marin and Victor Moses. That is five new attacking midfielders in the past 14 months, and Di Matteo’s formation is 4-2-3-1, rather than the 4-3-3 hangover from the Mourinho days. This is a new Chelsea, an overwhelmingly creative side structured to maximise the imagination of three — yes, three — playmakers. Last year, we were marvelling that they simply had one.

“When you have great players you have to use them … as many great players on the pitch, it gives you more chances to score and to win the games,” Fernando Torres said. “We’re training every day, to try to occupy the spaces and to settle in the system that we are using … all these players can play together.” 

ESPN  2nd October ( So how’s that working out for you Fernando?)

Mata, Oscar and Hazard giving off that Barca feel

Chelsea’s tasty trio have the potential to imitate Barcelona’s immortals

Citibet website 23rd October



One can only conclude that this positive multiple orgasm of talent has failed to deliver. Oh and that combined with Chelsea failing to invest in a striker to get on the end of this creative explosion. At the same time one might wish to compare the gradual bedding in of our own trio of excitement and creative wizardry purchased and marginally lower costs. But surely if they cost 50/60% less they are bargain basement and typical Wenger purchases and stop gap?


Age Competitive Club Minutes Assists Goals Minutes per telling contribution Transfer Market Value(£ Million)
Juan Mata 24 1454 10 7 85 33.5
Eden Hazard 21 1516 7 4 138 35.0
Oscar 21 1252 3 4 179 28.0
Lukas Podolski 27 1308 4 7 119 17.5
Santi Cazorla 27 1512 3 4 216 17.5
Theo Walcott 23 774 7 9 48 16.5


It’s an interesting bunch of stats and so many ways to analyse them. So here are few thoughts first off: –

1)      Juan Mata is a super player but perhaps in Oscar and Hazard despite early promise what Chelsea  have actually done is spent the best part of £60 million on young ‘potential.’  Hazard started like a train but since the going got tough and the opposition was of higher quality he has gone missing. As I pointed out on many occasions to much derision Gervinho playing with Hazard in the same role outscored and out assisted him when Liile won the league in 10/11.

2)      Oscar has hit a few wonder goals in Europe but interestingly Chelsea have only won one game in which the young Brazilian scored and his ‘huge contribution (3)’ of assists, which is why he was bought have contributed to defeats of the might Wolves in the League Cup and those giants of Denmark, Nordsjaelland. He has failed to register at all in the Premier League.

3)      Statistics can be misleading as I feel we all know that Santi Cazorla has been arguably our most creative player, but in pure goals and assists he is the least effective.

4)      Given that fact that he has only finished one game, which was this week against Montpelier Lukas Podolski’s contribution from the left of Arsenal’s trio is impressive. What is more I am 100% convinced the return of Gibbs at Left back will only enhance this contribution from our likeable German.

5)      Finally I can confirm what we have all witnessed in the past month since his return from injury suffered with England, Theo Walcott is on fire. What is particularly telling though is the improved decision making on when to cross and the accuracy of the crossing. Giroud like RVP before him has reason to hope TW14 will stay at the Emirates.

Is it all about the respective transfer policy?

To be fair to the respective managers and transfer policies though, we should look at the new signings from the summer in isolation. It would be nothing other than churlish as a Gooner to suggest that Juan Mata has been anything other than an unqualified success. In addition he was not signed by the unfortunate RDM. Likewise however great Theo’s current contribution he has been with Arsenal 6 years and was an established first team player.

What is more interesting is to note the effect of an apparent reversal in policy of Arsenal and Chelsea and the current outcome at least. Chelsea have shuffled out the older experienced winners and replaced them with players who we are told are already world class, in Oscar and Hazard. At the same time Wenger and Arsenal, so often criticised for investing in young unproven potential, when established winners were required, reversed policy in buying two 27 year old internationals in Santi and Lukas. At the time Wenger was again questioned but these two players bought close to 150 international caps worth of experience with them an close to 50 international goals. Wenger combined investment under £30 million and Chelseas’s close to £70 million.

So the question has to be asked which change in policy will prove the correct one and of course this must be truly assessed in May but right now three  months into the 2012/13 season, when the going got tough for both teams in October evidence suggests that experience and talent won out of youthful talent and potential. A familiar story for us long suffering Gunners, but in reverse – Oh the irony!

The table below looks at the games played purely in the EPL and ECL by the 4 new signings playing in the three across the pitch since both teams entered a sticky October period:

The below table looks at the 4 new signings since the start of October in the EPL and ECL the month in which sticky periods began for both teams

Games Goals Assists
Oscar 9 2 2
Hazard 10 2 2
Cazorla 10 3 1
Podolski 10 4 3


It would appear that when both teams had to dig deep in late October and into November to pull their respective sides out of a dangerous slump Arsenal had the greater resolve. When great teams go through difficult periods and they all will, they need the character and desire to win that comes with the experience of having been there and done it. Cazorla and Podolski have demonstrated the inner strength and backbone Arsenal sides have perhaps lacked since Wenger broke up the ‘Invincibles.’ Sadly for Roberto de Matteo so shortly after his triumphant conclusion to 2011/12 his signings, the signings I might add, that most Arsenal fans wanted, particularly Hazard have up to now been found wanting.

So in conclusion  as I said last week when assessing Giroud  it is early days but the signs are hugely positive in late November that the change of policy stared last year with Arteta and Mertesacker and continuing with Giroud and most particularly Podolski and Cazorla, this past summer might be beginning to pay off.  Certainly in the last few weeks it has been the bargain basement purchases that have stepped up to the plate for the Arsenal whilst the £25/30 million plus superstars have hidden and ultimately lost an honourable chap his job.

Until next time thanks for reading.

Like what you read? Agree/disagree? Leave a comment below or follow me or comment on this blog on Twitter – http://twitter.com/goonerdave66



You may also like...


  1. Pingback: Arsenal News
  2. Your blog is quickly becoming my first when i go after my daily dose of Arsenal. Quality blogs and always have some original aspects from Arsenal points of view!

    Just one quick remark before some danes point it out (and probably in a less mannered way than me). Nordskjæland is Danish, not norwegian. Kind of a big deal up in Scandinavia.

  3. All very interesting, but shouldn’t we also consider the impact of the coach. I think Hazard at Arsenal would have been fantastic, because Wenger.

    (With his manager now sacked, I wonder if Hazard is having any second thoughts about what kind of club Chelsea really is)

  4. Nice blog again Dave.. Both teams had an attacking overhaul this summer & we all know Arsenal have fared way good in this department.. The difference imo was AW and his attacking philosophy which helped our new players to settle in well.. And don’t you feel this blog is a bit too early, though I’m loving every bit of it but we’ll have a better picture at the end of winter TW..

    1. Yes way too early which is why I made the point that we should judge in May. I said same in OG blog last week but omens positive. You know I like to make reader feel good old chum.

  5. oh yes indeedy, this needed to be said, just because it hasn’t been said by the media…they never seem to give our players too much credit, and if they do it is only fleeting, or pick on 1 who is in contract talks so they can make a crisis out of it…
    Your right Mata is class, and i wish to god that he had come to us, but he didn’t, and the money his agent wanted to seal the deal to be put into perspective, could’ve bought 7 ‘Corporal’ Jenkinsons (just for the agent).
    I believe that the reason Hazard was believed to be world class ( i’m not saying he isn’t,but seems a flat-track kinda guy to me) is IMO because Wenger wanted him so badly, and therefore the media (who like to ridicule Wenger almost as much as Stoke fans do) know if Arsene wants him he must be quality (ironic, no?).. But there for me is the whole point, what a player he could’ve become if Wenger had got his hands on him, cos as far as i can see with Chelsea,theyre wouldn’t be much teaching and improvement going on, they pay massive money,point to the pitch and say play…
    And i feel that the switch to our older (cough cough) player signings 27,27 and 25 is he knew we needed experience,or a blend of experience and youth instead of all out youth, and that i feel he knows that in next year or 2 we are really going to start to see the benefit’s of our academy,and with experience in the team, we can clowly integrate these younger players (ala Gnabry,Yennaris,Aneke and co. when the loans are up) rather than throwing them in and expecting to play every game from the get go…
    Poldi seems like a real leader, Giroud also seems a calm head who has experienced winning a title last year (in a david v goliath battle) already, Santi just respected and loved,and also before he came i recall Graham Hunter and Guillem Balague saying that hes far much than a player,he tries to improve everything around the place, Arteta a beautifully sculpted natural leader haha, and Per and TV5, we’re now solid, but still have flair, youth and experience, all the ingredients for success i think…
    so we’ll tackle the choppy waters with wise captains and a great young crew…

  6. Super read!! I always enjiy reading a good blog that has great info and insights! Its a real shame really about DiMatteao there has to be something drastically wrong with abramovic’s head!! BUT we know that Wenger’s head is A-One back to the IN ARSENE WE TRUST because he always comes through for us in the end! Beautiful piece – thank you for the privilege of reading it!!

  7. In my opinion chelsea’s new stars were given too much credit for settling in quickly because nobody took into consideration how easy their start to the season was fixture wise.

    Now that they finally have seen difficult fixtures in both the league and champions league reality is kicking in and we’re getting a true-er indication of their collective quality.

  8. Interesting blog as always Dave and while I totally get your point with the comparisons have you thought what those 3 would have done in the Premier league if they were managed by a man like Arsene Wenger? Am sure you would agree that our league position would be much better than it is now

  9. Yes Dave, the feelgood factors are back after 5pud2 and being to the routine knockout stage of CL. And we shall go no further than your column to add flavors to the gold. If we count overall contribution this season, we cant deny Chelsea trio have similar stats against our Poldi-Santi and Theo (35 goals+assists against 34). But if we are to judge in terms of how much they costs to both teams, we have a louder laugh already. Also the change in transfer policy has brought in some experiences to us, it will certainly counts when the going gets tough. But hope then, the tough gets going for them. lets laugh till May!

  10. Also I was thinking if you could write about the advantage of finishing second in the group of this season’s champions league..?

  11. Loved your take on Chelsea and reminds me of a business in my town where staff come and go like clockwork and always advertising for staff, but still a top firm. I’ve been at my firm for 11 years now and seen a fair few staff come and go but what keeps me here is the stability of a fair and regular income, honest owners, and that I love my work. Now all players love their work and some have honest owners – but nearly all DO NOT believe they are on a fair income – some are deluded, some see the clock ticking, and some say they want to win trophies. In all our working environment we know that the right unit of colleagues usually makes for a successful firm, you need the inventors, then the engineers and then of course the builders and finally the sellers – if any of these do not work together well then expect of lot of refunds and no bonus payments. Us football fans cannot get refunds and supporting a team is in the blood so you cannot avoid going to the shop. Hx

  12. First comment here
    I believe Chelsea’s victories last year were more due to the squad , RDM was always an average manager and we shouldn’t forget the fact that Chavs have won the most trophies in the last decade in England . It’s still early days . Till then Schadenfreude .

  13. RDM may have gotten the sack but Do you lot really believe Wenger has got these creative players ticking. If you do then you’re watching the wrong football matches. Arteta,Jack,Santi are very good players but we’ve been average in that department. we cant even see the obvious anymore. Hanging his hopes on “almost always injured” Diaby is the most crazy decision yet

    1. Maybe Steve Bould (unfortunately) is not the answer as Coach?
      He doesn’t even hardly acknowledge that Arsene is sitting next to him and sits there with his arms crossed, as if to say ‘don’t talk to me’ so exactly how communicative is he with the players as a coach. Vermaelan’s not been the same player since Bould became coach and quite a few others too. We need a creative coach maybe that our creative players can understand and feel at ease with. Have Bould as a defensive coach only. A lot of sports have different coaches in teams for different aspects of the sport they play. So my list would be:-

      DAVID SEAMAN – Goal Keeping Coach
      TONY ADAMS – Defensive Coach
      THIERRY HENRY – Attacking Coach
      and lets have Denis Bergkamp on the pay roll for Midfield/Attack to work alongside Thierry and ( a dream of mine for a few years now) BERGKAMP to take over from Arsene when he retires. Because we wouldn’t be able to afford Pep Guardiola now would we????

      Hel xxx

      Obviously the wage bill would significantly increase but hey – got to be worth it in the long run.

      1. You don’t want much. DB10 won’t fly and Adams no thanks. Keown maybe

      2. Forgot about the flying bit Dave – we can always drug Denis before we get him on the plane aka Mr T from the A-Team (Arsenal Team is the A-Team!!).
        Or get Derren Brown on the pay roll. Keown is a good choice as Tony post-alcohol went all Dali Lama on us.
        LOL hxx

  14. ~I know the answer re Denis – Denise coach Champions League home ties and anywhere too far to ferry and drive – Thierry can fly over as a stand-in. SORTED! Hx

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *