Sunday, May 10, 2009
So Wenger rested Arshavin in the FA Cup to end up with this shambles?
By 1970’s Gooner
You may wonder what Arshavin and the FA Cup have anything to do with this shambolic performance against Chelsea at the Emirates. Arsene Wenger rested, if you remember, Arshavin for the FA Cup semi final against Chelsea. We all wondered why.
The real reason begins a few years ago when the finances were put in place for the construction of the Emirates.
This was, remember, the stadium that would provide financial stability and revenues that would allow Arsenal to compete against the big teams of Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea (who themselves do not need to build a new stadium because they have a benefactor shielding them from the realities of the real financial world).
But what has actually happened and is blatantly obvious is that the Arsenal Football Club have been lumbered with a massive debt that needs substantial resources each and every year to be serviced.
Enter the financial crisis and the severe downturn in the property market and Arsenal are desperately missing those revenues that would have come from the sales of the Highbury flats.
End result? Arsenal now REALLY do have to qualify each and every season for the Champions League group stage. No more, no less. And everything else becomes of secondary significance.
And if this wasn’t enough things got worse somewhere else.
Uefa have decided that third place in the Premier League would go into the group stage directly.
Fourth place as before would need to qualify but, unlike before, the draw will include teams from the stronger European Leagues.
Finishing third in the Premier League suddenly became significantly more important than before. More important than winning the League Cup or the FA Cup.
And so it proved to be that finishing third for Arsenal was deemed by Wenger to be more important than winning against Chelsea in the FA Cup semi final!
Nothing else can really explain Arshavin’s exclusion from that game. He was rested so that he could play against Liverpool in the League a few days later! So that Arsenal could make up ground on Chelsea!
In other words Wenger cared f*** all about the supporters’ hunger for winning trophies and equally importantly cared not about winning that trophy that would have given the players the confidence that they so desperately need.
So important it is for Arsenal’s finances that priority had to be given to making sure of Champions League qualification…
There seems to be a lot wrong with the finances than what they are telling us.
But there is more.
The stadium finances have also dictated Wenger’s policy of football development in going for youth rather than buying experienced established players as they would cost too much to acquire and demand high wages.
“We make the stars we don’t buy them” was a famous Wenger quote if you remember. What he doesn’t tell us is that he HAS to make the stars.
This is OK as long as it brings success. But unfortunately this football model is flawed. It is flawed for two reasons.
The first one is that it depends too, too much on one person to spot the talents from all over the world and nurture them until they become ready to produce the goods.
Wenger may not be around for so long and may not be around for the next 15 years that Arsenal will take to pay off the loans. How will Arsenal survive if Wenger stops producing the goods then?
The second reason may be even more significant.
Since winning trophies is every player’s sole aim in his football life, ending up with nothing, as this football model inevitably brings, pushes him to seek pastures new.
You simply cannot win trophies with kids. They have to be surrounded with experienced players like Manchester United do. But Arsenal cannot do that as it costs too much…remember the finances?
So once the brilliant youngsters get groomed to be able to function in the first team and become stars their disappointment at being losers gets too much and they want out.
Go back to Vieira, Henry, Flamini, Hleb and look forward, to may be, Van Persie,Clichy, Fabregas and Adebayor this year…
What you get is a vicious circle of building up a team, loosing key players every year, building up again and so on and on.
The Board may not mind so much. Their time horizon is a very long term one, they are investors remember and they don’t mind waiting for the time to come when Arsenal will have paid off most of the loans. Their investment would be worth a multiple of what they have originally paid out by then.
But the supporters have a shorter time horizon and are short of patience. They want trophies now not in 15 years time…
What Wenger needs to do is to keep the stars of today AND buy the experienced players that the team needs to compliment the young talents. And since money is not available form the club's revenues the shareholders need to cough up for this to happen.
Only then can the vicious circle be broken and Arsene’s football model become a viable one…