Okay, I know this is supposed to be a preview for the Swansea game but, frankly, not much has happened in the last couple of days that could affect the task at hand.
Swansea’s striker Gomis should make it in time to face us at the Emirates (although, as the Frenchman has missed a couple of games, he’s not a guaranteed starter), Montero and Shelvey will be included as will our old pal Lukasz Fabianski. I’m not too worried about either Shelvey or Montero as long as Coquelin and Bellerin start, while Sanchez should have a trick or two up his sleeve to surprise Fabianski. The Swans have little to play for. They trail 7th Southampton by 4 points with 3 games to go, so I don’t think they’ll put up a real fight.
From our side, the news isn’t very bright, though not gloomy either. Diaby, Arteta and Oxlade are still regaining match fitness and won’t feature. Debuchy and Welbeck are nursing slight knocks, but both should be eligible against United and Ramsey is a 50/50 having been on the receiving end of a nasty tackle from Huddlestone.
I wouldn’t risk the Welshman even if he’s deemed fit, he’ll be too valuable an asset when we visit Old Trafford, so Jack for Rambo is my pick. Whether Wilshere plays wide or centrally is not so important as long as we click as a team. You can read a bit more on the upcoming game from David and Tim
While I want to concentrate on something different, namely: why it will be so hard to replace Arsene Wenger when he inevitably leaves. Who fits the mould, who should we bring in, who can do the job as well as the Frenchman?
Don’t laugh, let me explain. In an ideal world (where all the managers possess the same level of ability), I’d pick Roberto Martinez because of the image he projects. The Spaniard is always calm, elegantly-dressed and is loved by the players. He’s also well-mannered when it comes to encounters with journalists. In short, he is classy (if not quite to Arsene’s level). Arsenal is all about history, tradition and class and Martinez would certainly be a blast in this regard.
However, we do not live in an ideal world. This season, while not quite exposing Martinez’s tactical weaknesses, highlighted he’s unable (as of yet) to cope with two major tournaments at once. While he very obviously cannot challenge for major honors in both, he probably could have done a better job at least domestically. No one expects Everton (realistically) to finish in the top 4, but bottom line is, they should get into the Europa League zone. Right now the Toffees are 11th, best they can do in the remaining games is 9th. Not good enough even for them.
Martinez to Arsenal would be akin to Moyes to United. Moyes should have been given more time, no doubt about it, however, it’s risky coming into the team of reigning champions with a track record of 0 trophies. Not David’s fault, obviously, not like he could have refused to go and have a shot with the big boys, but this mess just showed that you don’t simply walk in and start collecting trophies if you don’t have such a record. Martinez, like Moyes, does not. So he’s not the one for me.
Can’t stand his guts. Not because he’s unsuccessful, far from it: he’s won everything there is to win with Barca and performed much the same way with Bayern.
It’s not about old grudges either. I’m open-minded enough to not scream: “This guy has beaten us in the CL several times, I don’t want him anywhere near our Club!” He was just doing his job (this line makes him sound almost a Bond-esque villain), I can respect that.
No, the reason I don’t want Pep at Arsenal is his tantrums. The way he behaves when not everything goes according to plan. Like a spoilt child, throwing his toys out of the pram, shouting at journos, sarcastically applauding his own medical team. The way he chastises his own players in front of the cameras (remember how he screamed at Alexis?). Mourinho-like and this is far from being a compliment.
Guardiola only seems to care about his own enormous ego and untarnished reputation. He’ll blame everyone and everything just so that his hands (figuratively speaking) can remain clean. Even Borinho doesn’t go to such lengths. The Portuguese always defends his players, that’s why they love him so much.
Guardiola has never cut such a fatherly figure like Arsene Wenger. Never produced such a class image. Not even close, not even once. Moreover, I have a suspicion lurking at the back of my mind, that the Spaniard can only do a job with world-class players like he had at Barca or Bayern. If he gets anything less, he might not be so successful.
For all the reasons above, screw him.
Having established we need BOTH a manager with a track record of challenging for and/or winning major trophies AND someone with class, our scope narrows significantly. If we throw in a simple fact that this manager is unlikely to come into the richest Club in the league, we’ll be really hard-pressed to find one. I’m starting to understand the “One Arsene Wenger” chant.
What we also want is an entertaining brand of football Arsenal is famous for worldwide. Fast attacking football with flicks and backheels and triangles and whatnot. Klopp seems the closest we can get.
He proved he can be successful with not the richest of clubs, first with Mainz, then with Borussia Dortmund. His “Stone cold crazy” (thank you, @7amkickoff!) style of football is aesthetically pleasing. His former players have nothing but love and respect for the man. He nurtured young guys like Reus or Gotze, bought Lewandowski for peanuts. Jurgen is a father to Borussia, their players, fans, board of directors, backroom staff.
Yes, he is unshaven most of the time. He likes to wear a sporting suit. His articulation on the sidelines and his overall behavior makes you think he’s not quite right in the head. But he’s passionate. Ha cares about his players, fans, the team performances, any injustices that might occur. Jurgen seems ready to jump onto the field and start kicking the ball himself. He likes to suffocate teams at Wesfalenstadion by adopting a constant pressing tac and a high defensive line.
Despite appearing cross and brash and maybe even rude, Klopp is none of these things. I do not recall a single time he sent the journos to hell the way Mourinho or Guardiola like to do. If you are not convinced by him, read this . The article deals with Tuchel as much as with Klopp himself, but makes for an entertaining and insightful read nonetheless.
Ideally, I want to clone Arsene Wenger and have him manage our Club for decades to come. If you read through the lines as well as the lines themselves, you understand that Arsene is a perfect blend of qualities for us.
If you exclude all the false prophets like Rodgers, all the good managers at lesser clubs and all the ageing guys like Ancelotti, we have a very small pool to choose from. Thus we should so wisely, when the time comes.
Over and out from me. Voice your opinion in the comment section below.
Russian Gooner. No, it’s not always cold in my home country 🙂
A staunch Arsenal supporter since 2004. Started writing about the Gunners in 2013.
Currently in London to get a degree in journalism.