On NLIR today I am delighted to welcome Martijn Stolze (@hahostolze) . Martijn is a Dutch history student with a love for Britain and has been a Gooner since 1997. Martijn has written an extremely emotive piece and I’m sure you’re going to love it. Grab a beverage and strap in for an epic ride.Take it away Martijn…..
You can’t blame Arsène Wenger if over the last two or three seasons he has looked glum, burnt out and tired. You can’t blame him if he has felt despondent and absolutely lost. This is a man whose love for Arsenal FC is absolute and unequivocal. But also a man who has seen his hard work, on one of his finest generations, fail and falter at the last hurdle too many times, and seen the lure of money and glory rip apart the teams he set about to mould in his image. A man who was on par with the greatest manager in PL history when the influx of money set the PL alight. Yet during recent weeks Arsène Wenger seems a man repossessed. The fire in his belly that drove his incessant desire for perfection, for better, for prettier, seems to be roaring at its fullest again. And just when we needed it.
Very few things are as harsh on a person as their position in history. In the last few days the glory of Sir Alex Ferguson has been sung by all those who love him, need to suck up to him or those who respect the man’s achievements. Looking through the Guardian’s review of the titles he won it makes it very obvious that the only man who consistently got close to his all conquering teams was Arsène Wenger. But Arsène Wenger is not a man en vogue today. He is not popular. His legacy isn’t being remembered the way it should. Not even with some of the fans of the club he has helped into one of the biggest and most valuable in footballing history. That has got to sting. I know it stings me. Read more
I’ve chatted with a few buddies recently about ticket prices and arguing until I’m blue in the face that Arsenal do not have the most expensive tickets in the EPL. The two chaps I spoke with are not Arsenal fans, one is a Liverpool fan and the other is a Bristol Rovers fan (I live in Bristol these days).
The Liverpool fan hasn’t been to an away game for over 10 years and maybe makes it to Anfield about 4 times a year, once for the Merseyside derby and the other times for what we Gooners know as category C fixtures.
The Rovers fan however goes to every home game and 80% of away games with The Gas. He has never been to the Emirates although he has said he would love to but can’t justify the cost especially when him and a few other mates hop around Europe a few times a year catching games in other leagues in countries like Belgium, Czech Republic, Holland, Portugal, Austria and Denmark or any league where you can name at least one “decent” team for less than the price of day in London. Read more
Today I am delighted to welcome Jeremy, better known as BackoTheDoc , as a guest blogger to North London Is Red. Jeremy is a Franco-Australian Arsenal supporter living in Paris with a keen interest in tactics, statistics and analysis regarding the Premier League. Jeremy is an insightful and articulate blogger who wrote one of my favourite posts of 2012 and I’m delighted to have him on NLIR. Take it away Jeremy…..
Depending on what your serenity is you may think that 6th place in the Championship plus a clash against Bayern Munich in the 3rd round of the knocking stage of the Champions League plus a qualification to the 4th round of the FA Cup is not too bad. I think that is definitely not good enough especially when the club is called Arsenal. I honestly think we have a proper squad and that the team in its global meaning is still worthy of interest despite the bad results in the last couple of years (well, even though we have had some good results, strong emotions we haven’t done much concrete stuff and what people remember is what you have won… or not). Among the 80% of good players there are surely inadequate or at least not good enough ones but you have to manage to deal with them. Arsenal have quality players, most of time have decent responsibilities in their respective national squads. A lot have played a fair amount of Premier League and even Champions League games.
Moreover, in what is probably one of the hardest and most difficult periods of Arsène Wenger’s era at the head of the team, Arsenal are suffering. More than just “normal” problems, the club, (that way) I mean the coach and the players, seem to be floundering in different aspects especially tactically. One might think that what I am saying is a combination of nonsense, exaggeration and a spark of silliness. Despite that, I think we need to readjust, to rethink a few things. Consequently, I am willing to analyze what I reckon are the biggest issues. My work will be divided in, I think, three parts. Let’s have a look at them…
The most protracted contract negotiation ever has finally been sorted and I’m not talking about Theo. I’m now 11 days into married life and after being engaged for 6 years I’m sure pretty much everyone who knows me was shocked to see me sign the marriage contract.
It was a lovely day and I must admit that my wedding enforced twitter and blogging hiatus was refreshing but I’m glad to be “back” and hopefully with a fitting return piece for you to enjoy.
Theo seems to be the news at the moment and his recent comments about wanting to stay have split the camp as much as his contribution does.
For what it is worth I believe Theo when he says he wants to stay and that it’s not about money. When Theo signed in 2009 he and the boss announced that he was going to play more as a striker but that never happened and that is understandably frustrating for the lad. Some will say that he has no business deciding for himself what his best position is and should leave it to the boss but these are the same people who said that they’d prefer two midfielders at right back over Jenkinson so maybe it’s not the boss who decides what position players are best suited to? Read more
Transfer Deadline Day for most Gooners was a generally miserable affair. Many had hoped for two or three more players and ultimately we signed none (unless you count that 17-year-old Macedonian goalie).
I’m not going to lie, I too was disappointed, I had hoped for a few more players myself but only for numbers as a few injuries could scupper what this team is capable of achieving and my stance on that has not changed. I believe this team is capable of winning something this year, more than I have believed in other teams we have had since the Champions League final.
If we look at things rationally we can point to the sale of two starters and the purchase of three starters so we are technically one better depth wise and the other players we have moved on couldn’t really be considered squad players so we’ve done well to improve the team (in my opinion) as well as reduce the wage bill which will ultimately allow us to retain our best players and sign better ones too.
Our summer signings
I’m of the opinion that our squad is good enough, deep enough with a few tweaks to playing positions (more on that later) and generally better than last season (maybe not man for man in each position but overall) to do something this season but if we are concerned about depth there are a few players we can still sign despite the transfer window closing.
I’m going to get so much stick for this but before you ridicule me in the comments section, switch off from the blog and unfollow me on twitter (as happened the last time I mentioned this) please stick around for the explanations. I’m going to suggest players we could still sign and reasons for and reasons against. This is not an endorsement of any particular player, just suggestions of free agents who could bring certain qualities to the club now the window has closed. Read more