Rival Watch

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Re: Rival Watch

Post by MJ on Tue Jul 01, 2014 9:10 pm

It really does look bad when you write it all down like that Laughing

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Re: Rival Watch

Post by El Gunner on Tue Jul 01, 2014 9:16 pm

Calma.
Soon enough Wenger will announce 3 good signings in one day. Proud

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Re: Rival Watch

Post by urbaNRoots on Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:38 am

My Vital Arsenal colleague Amos wrote a thoughtful piece some weeks back on how the transfer window has come to be viewed. In it, he contests that transfer windows are portrayed and perceived as a contest in themselves. You can see it pervade many discussions around a club’s transfer activity. The actual footballing value, in terms of tactics and player personalities, of new players has given way to the impression of activity or ‘making a statement.’

To borrow a Wengerism, a new signing has effectively become ‘like a trophy’ (not for everyone of course, but for many). A temporary lift during the summer months, something to parade in an act of one-upmanship in lieu of actual results. How you amend and improve your squad is incredibly important, but the pitch is the only arbiter that determines improvement and the training field has a role to play as well as the transfer market. Arsenal’s most important player last season was one we’d bought in 2008 that improved markedly with training ground vigour.

Many definitively judge the success of a window on deadline day without waiting to see how activity translates on the pitch. In reality, nobody knows for certain whether they’ve had a successful summer until the end of the season. Squad improvement should be the first and only condition of your activity and that tends to work best as an incremental process. The work carried out in pre-season at London Colney will prove to be just as crucial.
http://arseblog.com/2014/06/what-arsenal-need-this-summer-part-1-at-the-back/
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Re: Rival Watch

Post by Sri on Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:51 am

From the same source:

Many definitively judge the success of a window on deadline day without waiting to see how activity translates on the pitch. In reality, nobody knows for certain whether they’ve had a successful summer until the end of the season. Squad improvement should be the first and only condition of your activity and that tends to work best as an incremental process. The work carried out in pre-season at London Colney will prove to be just as crucial.


And here is my contradiction. When you do your business early, the players get a good pre-season to gel and improve their understanding and chemistry. You start the season with a settled squad. So when your rivals are doing their business early to improve their weak areas, they are also having the pre-season with a settled squad as an added advantage.

When you wait for good value on your deals on the last day, you end up signing another CAM when the need all summer had been for a striker. Or you end up getting mauled at Old Trafford or Villa Park in the beginning of the season, then make 5 stop gap signings to paper over the cracks and play catch up for the rest of the season to somehow scramble into the top four and play in Champions League again.


2014-15 is not going to be an easy season. Liverpool are back and Rodgers has proven his abilities. Chelsea have a manager who knows how to win. Van Gaal will make United a force again because he's simply that good a manager and tactician, plus they only have to worry about domestic supremacy this season. Pellegrini is no scrub and has proved in his own right, and has what was without doubt the best squad from last season. And they have all addressed their squad shortfalls early.

Where does that leave us? And that, ladies, is really my point.

Oh I am also really worried about having more of those 5-0s and 6-0s this season, because Wenger only knows to play his way. And we have 4 managers who, in recent years, have shown that they play football more tactically.

We're screwed. Sad
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Re: Rival Watch

Post by urbaNRoots on Wed Jul 02, 2014 10:26 am

Huh, so you're giving the title to Man Utd/City/Chelsea/Liverpool before the season has even started which was exactly Tim's point. Why? Because they have made a couple of signings earlier than us.

Are you kidding me? How do you know some of these guys will even be good signings? You don't, we can only see that when they step on the pitch and perform.

We are also doing our share of transfer dealings, we know Wenger has met Alexis Sanchez which means there's clear interest but that deal depends on 3 other parties. Yes we could've "won" the transfer window by paying 35m for Griezmann but I know which one I prefer. We also know we're interested in Debuchy so I don't understand the frustration so early on.
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Re: Rival Watch

Post by Sri on Wed Jul 02, 2014 10:41 am

You get me wrong, Urbi. I am in agreement, that we don't need to joust in the 'shiny new player our money buys' competition. My points of contention, based on previous summers and precedent, are:

1. We leave it late, giving insufficient time for the squad to gel, and then playing catch up for 4th place.
2. We're always one player short from the title. Sometimes, it is a striker, sometimes it is a DM, sometimes it's a CB.
3. Wenger hasn't been the visionary he once was, his tactics have been exposed on many occasions in the recent past.

I would love for Arsenal and Wenger to put these apprehensions to the grave. Unfortunately, I am unable see that with any certainty.

I most definitely am not giving the title to anyone. The case for comparison is only to show that we've not done anything tangible, other than passing up on Vela and Fabregas.

Regarding Sanchez and who ever else - I do no believe IBAs and Media and whatever. For me, the 'transfer rumours' are just a nice distraction till the real football begins again. It is just so much of smoke and usually not even a spark of fire behind it. That is why I am comparing on the basis of tangible announcements by the club.
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Re: Rival Watch

Post by Sri on Wed Jul 02, 2014 10:43 am

Someone remind me, since my memory is failing me: When was the last time we saw a tactical masterclass from Wenger against a top team in the recent years?
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Re: Rival Watch

Post by Jay29 on Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:39 pm

What's the point of comparing "tangibles" now, though? It's the 2nd July, not the middle of the August. The season starts in six weeks, not tomorrow. Of course, it's preferable you get business done early for a few reasons, but ultimately all that matters is that you have the players in before the season starts.

Incidentally:

3. Wenger hasn't been the visionary he once was, his tactics have been exposed on many occasions in the recent past.

Is it not a bit ridiculous that you're worried about this not being "put to the grave" when the only way to judge Wenger on this is by seeing us play top teams during the season?

I think people need to chill out a bit with the doom-saying. If we're a week away from the start of the season with no signings, then sure, be worried. But six weeks is still a bit too soon for that. The perception that Arsenal is merely sitting idly while everyone else does things is just wrong.
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Re: Rival Watch

Post by Sri on Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:31 pm

It's good to address the deficiencies in the squad before the window ends. It's better to do it before the season starts. It's best, when it's done before pre-season. We dither and end up with alternate solutions, some of which work, some of which don't.

Our earlier budgetary restrictions were inconvenient, but the past two transfer windows were not well managed, in my opinion. And it's not about splashing on Özil, it's about signing the players who allow you to play the style that you want to play; not tinkering around with the style based on what's available to you at the end of a transfer window. (That's not to say that tinkering is not important, but it should be a second step - not what you start with). To summarize, we are reactive and not proactive - this really is my problem.

Regarding big games - I agree with you that we can only judge when we see the team play this season. But with no changes in personnel, backroom staff or tactics, I see few reasons why the results in early-away-kick-off-Saturday games will be very different. Ofcourse, I am more than happy to see some big performances. However, if nothing changes in the next 6 weeks, and by our past precedent, that is equally likely, then there is a distinct possibility that we should be worried.

I am not doom saying, or suggesting that the club is sitting on their arses. But, like many others, I want to see a proactive squad management, now that the financial budget constraints, as well as the trophy drought bug, have been put away.

Till that comes to happen, it could just well be another summer of Higuains, M'Vilas and Benayouns.

Before someone points out: 2012: We did our business early with Podolski, Cazorla and Giroud. Till that point, it was one of our best summers in years, esp. after the 2011 catastrophy. (Then we shot ourselves by having to sell Song and the Dutchman.)
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Re: Rival Watch

Post by MJ on Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:39 pm

Have teams even begun pre-season training to have allowed their signings to "gel" ?

Last I checked, many of our targets are either at the World Cup or on vacation, as are some of the signings those clubs have made, I'm sure.

So there would be no difference with having signed a month ago and tomorrow if it takes pre-season training to gel...

This is so premature anyway.

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Re: Rival Watch

Post by Sri on Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:51 pm

The point, MJ, is that we should sign our players before pre-season. I don't have a problem if it is one month earlier or one day earlier, as long as they are there in time.

It may well be premature now, but I am atleast open to the possibility of a throwback to the summers past. I am being realistic about the club's squad management capabilities and would only be happy to be proven wrong.
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Re: Rival Watch

Post by MJ on Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:57 pm

Well if we haven't started pre-season yet...

And if waiting a bit longer is the difference between wrapping up Loic Remy a month ago and signing Alexis Sanchez I'm going with the latter. If we end up screwed instead then I'll be just as upset as the next Gooner but until then.

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Re: Rival Watch

Post by Jay29 on Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:01 pm

To summarize, we are reactive and not proactive - this really is my problem.

I don't disagree that previous windows weren't managed well, but I'm not sure about this statement. Gazidis recently said that we'd been working on signing Ozil for months before he actually signed; we didn't just decide to sign him during the last couple of days of the window. That sounds pretty proactive to me.

Regarding big games - I agree with you that we can only judge when we see the team play this season. But with no changes in personnel, backroom staff or tactics, I see few reasons why the results in early-away-kick-off-Saturday games will be very different.

You say you're not doom-saying, but that is exactly what you're doing here.

Did, at any point last season, any of us look at our squad and say "yup, there's a team that'll lose 6-0 against Chelsea at 12:30 on a Saturday?". Personnel has nothing to do with it. Arsenal signing Debuchy, Schneiderlin and Sanchez doesn't mean we're instantly going to do better in these games, nor does adding Shad Forsythe to the backroom staff. And you can't judge any changes of tactics until you see them in action against City, Chelsea, Liverpool, etc. You're certainly not going to be able to gleam anything from a friendly against Boreham Wood and New York Red Bulls.

Let's use the World Cup as an example. I'm sure very few people looked at Costa Rica's squad and history and thought that they would win their group and reach the quarter-finals, but, well, they did.

It's an old cliché, but football isn't played on paper.

However, if nothing changes in the next 6 weeks, and by our past precedent, that is equally likely, then there is a distinct possibility that we should be worried.

...

Till that comes to happen, it could just well be another summer of Higuains, M'Vilas and Benayouns.

Yeah, definitely not doom-saying.  Rolling Eyes
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Re: Rival Watch

Post by Sri on Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:16 pm

MJGunner wrote:Well if we haven't started pre-season yet...

And if waiting a bit longer is the difference between wrapping up Loic Remy a month ago and signing Alexis Sanchez I'm going with the latter. If we end up screwed instead then I'll be just as upset as the next Gooner but until then.

And I hope we don't screw it up. A bird in hand or two in the bush. Given our injury history, I would sign both, but there are noises about investigating and correcting that. Let's see where that goes.

GoonerJay29 wrote:
I don't disagree that previous windows weren't managed well, but I'm not sure about this statement. Gazidis recently said that we'd been working on signing Ozil for months before he actually signed; we didn't just decide to sign him during the last couple of days of the window. That sounds pretty proactive to me.

....

Did, at any point last season, any of us look at our squad and say "yup, there's a team that'll lose 6-0 against Chelsea at 12:30 on a Saturday?". Personnel has nothing to do with it. Arsenal signing Debuchy, Schneiderlin and Sanchez doesn't mean we're instantly going to do better in these games, nor does adding Shad Forsythe to the backroom staff. And you can't judge any changes of tactics until you see them in action against City, Chelsea, Liverpool, etc. You're certainly not going to be able to gleam anything from a friendly against Boreham Wood and New York Red Bulls.

However, if nothing changes in the next 6 weeks, and by our past precedent, that is equally likely, then there is a distinct possibility that we should be worried.

...

Till that comes to happen, it could just well be another summer of Higuains, M'Vilas and Benayouns.

Yeah, definitely not doom-saying.  Rolling Eyes

I didn't see those quotes from Gazidis, but you may well have the right of it. However, we need(ed) a striker and signing Özil did nothing to change that. We tried for Higuain and Suarez. We tried for Cavani the winter before that. But we didn't close the deal, for what ever reasons - and that's what remained at the end.

To clarify: I have apprehensions about Wenger and his (lack of) tactics in big games. That isn't linked to our transfer window or personnel directly. However, in the hypothetical situation that all factors remain the same (heavens forbid), I don't see many reasons why we would suddenly win these games. (I will not deny that injuries to Theo or Rambo also had their parts to play). This we will not know till the final whistle of those games. Last season, it started with City and then became a trend. Nobody can fault me for hoping that the trend doesn't continue this season.

Doom-saying : 'Nothing will change. We will lose every big game. We will not sign anyone except on deadline day. Wenger out. ....'

I'm saying : 'I'm waiting to see a change. We might lose big games IF things don't change. We didn't sign people proactively before, so I hope that changes. Wenger knows what needs to be done, but will he do it and in time?'

Marginally different Wink
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Re: Rival Watch

Post by Raptorgunner on Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:17 pm

So much work needs to be done on the squad. I am not getting brainwashed by the media anymore, when I talk to my friends about our targets its always a huge laugh.  

Arsenal should not have to wait or miss possible transfers because the the season starts in 6 weeks, Wenger needs to overcome this transfer phobia and stop being our weakest link.

The game has changed so much you can’t win without heavy investments in world class players. We bought one WC player won the FA cup.


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Re: Rival Watch

Post by Jay29 on Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:31 pm

To clarify: I have apprehensions about Wenger and his (lack of) tactics in big games. That isn't linked to our transfer window or personnel directly. However, in the hypothetical situation that all factors remain the same (heavens forbid), I don't see many reasons why we would suddenly win these games. (I will not deny that injuries to Theo or Rambo also had their parts to play). This we will not know till the final whistle of those games. Last season, it started with City and then became a trend. Nobody can fault me for hoping that the trend doesn't continue this season.

I'm not faulting you for hoping the trend ends; I'm faulting you for playing the game on paper and only coming up with negative hypothetical situations.

The chance of all factors being the same are slim. Can we sit here and assume Wenger wouldn't adapt his approach to those games? That the players wouldn't perform better? That the opposition team would play the same way, with the same attitude and motivation? Is it a guarantee that certain players are fit during those games? Can we rule out luck as a factor?

This is just a pointless exercise.
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Re: Rival Watch

Post by Sri on Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:36 pm

It would be a pointless exercise, if we didn't repeat those performances to the extent of it becoming a trend. What was it, 5 games last season that we got mauled by the same tactics? I can recall City, Anfield, Stamford Bridge and Everton over the top of my head - and these games were between December and April. If nothing changed in those 4 months, it is just as likely or unlikely, that the trend may span across the summer into the next season.

It's just a perspective, a possibility that I am preparing myself for.
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Re: Rival Watch

Post by Jay29 on Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:58 pm

By any chance, are you also preparing for the possibility that Arsenal might win those games next season?

Again, I think it's ridiculous to plan out a scenario where nothing changes, because the odds of that happens are so small when you consider the amount of factors that determine results in a football game. Reasonably, we cannot assume that because something happened last season, that it'll repeat itself again this season, because things change.

Our second game of the season is Everton at Goodinson Park. Based on last season's trend, we're going to get trashed, right? But the Everton that trashed us last season were one of the league's in form sides, riding a huge wave of momentum, playing with confidence with players in form. Arsenal had lost 6-0 a week before that, weren't in any kind of form, had no momentum and no in form players.

That won't be the case next season. It's the second game of the season, so nobody will any sort of form or momentum, and because it's so early there's much less at stake. Everton don't get a shot at the top four by winning; Arsenal won't fall out the top four or title race by losing.

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Re: Rival Watch

Post by Sri on Wed Jul 02, 2014 3:06 pm

Ofcourse, if we win, it would be awesome! Think of the afterglow! Very Happy

I am not saying we WILL get thrashed, I am saying I HOPE we don't repeat our mistakes from last season.

And in a tough league, every game matters. So for me, it doesn't matter if it's the second or the second last game of the season. We all remember the meltdown after Aston Villa early last season.
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Re: Rival Watch

Post by Chumlum on Sun Jul 06, 2014 7:22 pm

Some reports that Liverpool may be getting Lazar Markovic from Benfica (€25m).

I understand that's "good news" in terms of our Alexis pursuit, but still. Markovic has been a player I'd really wanted to see arrive at Arsenal sometime in the next couple years. If Liverpool get him, it'll be that much more unlikely ...  Evil or Very Mad 
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Re: Rival Watch

Post by Jay29 on Sun Jul 06, 2014 8:38 pm

Meh, already have Gnabry and Chamberlain. Chamberlain's entering his 4th season with us already. How time flies...

Liverpool also talking with Divock Origi.
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Re: Rival Watch

Post by RedOranje on Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:49 pm

Origi appears to be all but done according to BBC: http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/28188589


It's worth noting, however, that Chelsea do have a first refusal clause in Markovic's Porto contract. And would anyone really be surprised to see them sign him and loan him out just to keep a competitor from landing him at this point?

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Re: Rival Watch

Post by urbaNRoots on Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:56 pm

That would be a very Mourinho move indeed. You can replace Mourinho with other words or you can leave it like that, it's the same anyway.
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Re: Rival Watch

Post by Sina on Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:30 am

spuds 2014/2015 home shirt :coffee:


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Re: Rival Watch

Post by MJ on Thu Jul 17, 2014 8:48 pm

This is long overdue but I only read it today. (and I can't remember for the life of me where I found it but I clicked on it, left the tab open for hours and just finished it now, having forgotten who showed it to me)

Brilliant article on why Fabregas was Barcelona's most damaging signing in a generation and showing how Arsenal learned from Barca making an emotional £40m decision to sign him in 2011.

http://neymarketing.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/requiem-for-a-dream-how-barcelonas-prodigal-son-became-their-most-damaging-signing-in-a-generation/

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Re: Rival Watch

Post by Jay29 on Thu Jul 17, 2014 9:27 pm

All that hullabaloo over not signing Cesc seems so silly now that we've signed a more versatile player with attributes we needed to add to the team. A shame that few people had faith the club knew what it was doing.

With most teams playing their first pre-season games, the transfer table looks like this (with approximate transfer fees):

Man City: Sagna (Free), Fernando (£12mil) [£12mil]
Liverpool: Lambert (£4mil), Lallana (£25mil), Can (£10mil), Markovic (£20mil) [£59mil]
Chelsea: Fabregas (£35mil), Costa (£32mil) [£67mil]
Arsenal: Alexis (£30mil), Debuchy (£10mil) [£40mil]
Everton: Barry (Free) [£0]
Tottenham: Nobody
Man Utd: Shaw (£30mil), Herrera (£35mil) [£65mil]

Looks more even now than it did last time we did this. Five £30mil transfers; these used to be rare. hmm

City apparently close to spending big money on Magala (Porto/France CB; very athletic, very powerful, lacking a bit in intelligence), Chelsea close to signing Felipe Luis (Atleti LB; well balanced player).


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