Blog Archives

Thoughts on Moyes’ Dismissal and What the Future Holds for Wenger

As we all know, football can be a cruel and and unforgiving sport.

When Sir Alex Ferguson won the 2012/13 Premier League title, he must he felt within himself that he had gotten the very best from the players at his disposal before making his shocking announcement about his imminent retirement. He addressed everyone connected with the club to “get behind the new man” and when the time came, Everton’s stalwart, David Moyes, was announced as the manager to take the club forward.

While Moyes was still getting a hang of things at his new club, Sunderland parted ways, rather acrimoniously, with the volatile and charismatic Paolo di Canio, making him the first managerial dismissal of the season. After working hard to bring Crystal Palace up through the lottery of the Championship playoff final, Ian Holloway and the Eagles parted ways via mutual consent. December turned out to be a hot month for firing managers as Martin Jol, Steve Clarke, AVB and Malky Mackay received the axe.

AVB looking clueless as always during his time in England

When Michael Laudrup surprisingly lost his job in February, Fulham were at it again as Rene Meulensteen was sacked after just 13 games with his new team. Norwich finally terminated Chris Hughton’s employment after a run of fruitless results and many bookies believed that it was going to be the final sacking of the season, till the summer at least.

Little did we know that the hierarchy of Manchester United had something up their sleeves and inevitably, David Moyes, lost his job after 10 months in charge. The Red Devils are set to have their lowest points tally in Premier League history as well as not qualifying for the Champions League in some 18 years or so, and as expected, the naming ceremony has begun for his potential replacement.

News of Moyes sack was strangely followed with Manchester United fans celebrating wildly in various social networking platforms, even to the extent where a fan baked a cake in honor of his manager losing his job.

Former Red Devil, Gary Neville, has openly criticized the sacking of David Moyes and while I’m certainly no Man U fan, I feel that he should have been given more time to turn things around at the club. It’s true that his players struggled for form but axing him with three games to go wasn’t worth the trouble. At least, he’s walking away with £10 million.

As for his replacements, Dortmund’s Jurgen Klopp has a £5m to £10m buy-out clause while Pep Guardiola’s release fee is close to £16m allegedly but reduces as the end of his contract approaches. Media favorite, Louis Van Gaal’s clause is allegedly £2m unless he is sacked after the World Cup. Wasting £10m in relieving the services of Moyes is no where as detrimental as the impact of not featuring in EUrope’s elite football competition next season, as it’s clearly obvious that Manchester United fans would brace themselves up for some Thursday night football.

Bringing it home to “more familiar surroundings”, Arsene Wenger’s 18-year stint with the club seems to be reaching its climax and no one knows the decision the manager is going to take this summer and while we fans are hoping for the best, we are also preparing for the worst.

Arsene Wenger could win the FA Cup and bow out like Sir Alex Ferguson, then probably recommend someone that he feels would be in the best position to the take the club forward. Many fans are also hoping for him to sign the new deal and spend this summer so that he can reap the fruits of his labor.

Many have bemoaned the lack of trophies, failure to sign quality players, rigid tactics and his stubbornness could be good enough reasons for the club to decide not to retain his services but the board still has the final say, and we all know that the Arsenal hierarchy remain supportive of the manager.

The loss of David Moyes is rather unfortunate, but that’s football.

These sort of stuff are part and parcel of the game.

Sayonara.

You can follow Gooner Daily on Twitter  @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back

Feel free to visit Gooner Daily’s  Facebook page and click on the like button.

You can also join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List to get notifications of new posts by email by clicking on the Follow button

 

#Wenger1000 : What’s Your Favorite Starting XI Under Arsene Wenger?

image

In the history of the beautiful game, I can only think of Dario Gradi, Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson that have amassed up to a 1,000 games in one football club.

Sir Alex Ferguson would be heralded as one of the greatest football managers the game has ever seen. In his first 1,000 games with Manchester United, the Scot had 564 wins, 248 draws and 188 losses. Arsene Wenger on the other hand, has managed Arsenal for an amazing 999 games and in this period, he has notched up 572 wins, 235 draws and 192 losses.

In Arsene Wenger’s 18-year stint with the club, he has made over “30,000 substitutions” as he famously quoted but he has made a lot of signings and seen another lot move elsewhere.

However, Arsene Wenger would have his best XI in mind if he’s told to provide that by some chum in the Press. The question is, what’s your favorite Arsenal XI of all time?

Here’s Gooner Daily’s pick. I’ll be using the tactical 4-2-3-1 setup.

Goalkeeper: Jens Lehmann

Many Arsenal fans would go down the David Seaman bandwagon if asked, but there was something about that mad German that endeared him to my heart. I saw him for the first time in that Community Shield clash against Manchester United and he was integral in Arsenal’s unbeaten campaign. Then there was the exceptional run of 10 consecutive clean sheets in the Champions League that still stands till today.

Right Back: Bacary Sagna

It was an honor watching Lauren Etame-Mayer strut his stuff on the right full back position but a transition arrived when his position was taken by a young Emmanuel Eboue. In a sudden twist of fate, Wenger snapped up a relatively unknown right back from AJ Auxerre that became a symbol of consistency.

Left Back: Ashley Cole

Yes, he became a despicable cuntly fellow that I and many Arsenal fans out there have come to loathe but while donning the red and white, I can’t recall many left backs in world football that were on the same level with Ashley Cole.

His pace was inhuman and his rate of recovery was top notch. He always popped up with the odd important goals and his telepathic understanding with Robert Pires was a stuff made of dreams.

All this doesn’t still change the fact that he has become a cuntly c*nt. Bleeeeeh.

Center Back: Laurent Koscielny

Signed from French obscurity in 2010, Koscielny had his fair share of problems settling into life in the Premier League. There were the rash decisions, the own goals of life and of course the bookings and suspension but after taking over from the captain in March 2013, Koscielny has become a colossus in the heart of Arsenal’s defence.

His pace makes him a thorn to opposition attackers and his ability to read the game is superb. I look forward to watching this lad for years to come.

Center Back: Sol Campbell

When you sign one of your fiercest rivals key players on a free transfer, you’re likely to expect a backlash from both ends but Sol Campbell turned out to be one of the finest center backs to ever play for the club. His partnership with Kolo Toure was wonderful and both players were vital in Arsenal’s trophy-laden years of Arsene Wenger’s reign.

Central Midfield: Cesc Fabregas

Poached from Barcelona at a milk age, Wenger moulded Fabregas to one of the finest cultured midfielders in his generation. The love affair between the player and the club ended abruptly in 2011 but a part of his heart still remains in the club and he has professed his desire to come back someday, probably when Lord Voldemort gets a real nose.

While playing for Arsenal, Fabregas was renowned for his creativity and in 303 games for the club, he notched up a century of assists. If there were more clinical Henry-esque strikers in the club, that count would have vastly increased as the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor preferred to miss rather than score.

Robin van Persie was a player that would have benefited from Fabregas’ creative prowess but he and the little boy inside him spent the early part of his career in Abou Diaby’s current bed space.

Central Midfield: Patrick Vieira

The talismanic lanky Frenchman was Arsenal’s version of Chuck Norris – he was so good at marking and tacking that the opponents still checked for his presence long after the game was over.

Left Flank: Robert Pires

The dreamy winger was always remembered for his flamboyance on the pitch and his lethal finishing ability. There was something about that beard though, so distinct, it probably had a world of its own.

Right Flank: Theo Walcott

It’s not a greyhound, a cheetah or that Jamaican speed demon called Usain Bolt. It’s just Theo Walcott, one of the fastest footballers the beautiful game has ever seen. His pace was so frightening when Arsenal played Wolves in the 2010/11 season that the linesman could not reach where he was to decide if he was offside or not when he supplied that assist to van Persie.

Walcott wasn’t just all about pace – his composure in front of goal has improved drastically over a couple of seasons and his goal haul of 21 last season was a personal best.

Attacking Midfield: Dennis Bergkamp

The footballing god was forged at Ajax but endured some hardship at Internazionale. At Arsenal, he gave football a new perspective and played as a creative hub behind the center forward. There were times when he took responsibility on himself to deliver the goods and boy, did he deliver.

Center Forward: Thierry Henry

I consider myself lucky to have watched Henry score 228 goals for the club I support. I must have seen a chunk live and maybe watched the highlights of others but one thing was certain – Henry’s goals were better with each passing replay.

The fact that he came from the MLS to have a second stint with the club was messiah-esque and that goal against Leeds United sent chills down my Nigerian spine.

Truly an Igwe!!

So there you have it, Gooner Daily’s favourite Arsenal XI.

What’s yours.

Sayonara.

#Wenger1000 : What’s Your Favorite Starting XI Under Arsene Wenger?

image

In the history of the beautiful game, I can only think of Dario Gradi, Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson that have amassed up to a 1,000 games in one football club.

Sir Alex Ferguson would be heralded as one of the greatest football managers the game has ever seen. In his first 1,000 games with Manchester United, the Scot had 564 wins, 248 draws and 188 losses. Arsene Wenger on the other hand, has managed Arsenal for an amazing 999 games and in this period, he has notched up 572 wins, 235 draws and 192 losses.

In Arsene Wenger’s 18-year stint with the club, he has made over “30,000 substitutions” as he famously quoted but he has made a lot of signings and seen another lot move elsewhere.

However, Arsene Wenger would have his best XI in mind if he’s told to provide that by some chum in the Press. The question is, what’s your favorite Arsenal XI of all time?

Here’s Gooner Daily’s pick. I’ll be using the tactical 4-2-3-1 setup.

Goalkeeper: Jens Lehmann

Many Arsenal fans would go down the David Seaman bandwagon if asked, but there was something about that mad German that endeared him to my heart. I saw him for the first time in that Community Shield clash against Manchester United and he was integral in Arsenal’s unbeaten campaign. Then there was the exceptional run of 10 consecutive clean sheets in the Champions League that still stands till today.

Right Back: Bacary Sagna

It was an honor watching Lauren Etame-Mayer strut his stuff on the right full back position but a transition arrived when his position was taken by a young Emmanuel Eboue. In a sudden twist of fate, Wenger snapped up a relatively unknown right back from AJ Auxerre that became a symbol of consistency.

Left Back: Ashley Cole

Yes, he became a despicable cuntly fellow that I and many Arsenal fans out there have come to loathe but while donning the red and white, I can’t recall many left backs in world football that were on the same level with Ashley Cole.

His pace was inhuman and his rate of recovery was top notch. He always popped up with the odd important goals and his telepathic understanding with Robert Pires was a stuff made of dreams.

All this doesn’t still change the fact that he has become a cuntly c*nt. Bleeeeeh.

Center Back: Laurent Koscielny

Signed from French obscurity in 2010, Koscielny had his fair share of problems settling into life in the Premier League. There were the rash decisions, the own goals of life and of course the bookings and suspension but after taking over from the captain in March 2013, Koscielny has become a colossus in the heart of Arsenal’s defence.

His pace makes him a thorn to opposition attackers and his ability to read the game is superb. I look forward to watching this lad for years to come.

Center Back: Sol Campbell

When you sign one of your fiercest rivals key players on a free transfer, you’re likely to expect a backlash from both ends but Sol Campbell turned out to be one of the finest center backs to ever play for the club. His partnership with Kolo Toure was wonderful and both players were vital in Arsenal’s trophy-laden years of Arsene Wenger’s reign.

Central Midfield: Cesc Fabregas

Poached from Barcelona at a milk age, Wenger moulded Fabregas to one of the finest cultured midfielders in his generation. The love affair between the player and the club ended abruptly in 2011 but a part of his heart still remains in the club and he has professed his desire to come back someday, probably when Lord Voldemort gets a real nose.

While playing for Arsenal, Fabregas was renowned for his creativity and in 303 games for the club, he notched up a century of assists. If there were more clinical Henry-esque strikers in the club, that count would have vastly increased as the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor preferred to miss rather than score.

Robin van Persie was a player that would have benefited from Fabregas’ creative prowess but he and the little boy inside him spent the early part of his career in Abou Diaby’s current bed space.

Central Midfield: Patrick Vieira

The talismanic lanky Frenchman was Arsenal’s version of Chuck Norris – he was so good at marking and tacking that the opponents still checked for his presence long after the game was over.

Left Flank: Robert Pires

The dreamy winger was always remembered for his flamboyance on the pitch and his lethal finishing ability. There was something about that beard though, so distinct, it probably had a world of its own.

Right Flank: Theo Walcott

It’s not a greyhound, a cheetah or that Jamaican speed demon called Usain Bolt. It’s just Theo Walcott, one of the fastest footballers the beautiful game has ever seen. His pace was so frightening when Arsenal played Wolves in the 2010/11 season that the linesman could not reach where he was to decide if he was offside or not when hour supplied that assist to van Persie.

Walcott wasn’t just all about pace – his composure in front of goal has improved drastically over a couple of seasons and his goal haul of 21 last season was a personal best.

Attacking Midfield: Dennis Bergkamp

The footballing god was forged at Ajax but endured some hardship at Internazionale. At Arsenal, he gave football a new perspective and played as a creative hub behind the center forward. There were times when he took responsibility on himself to deliver the goods and boy, did he deliver.

Center Forward: Thierry Henry

I consider myself lucky to have watched Henry score 228 goals for the club I support. I must have seen a chunk live and maybe watched the highlights of others but one thing was certain – Henry’s goals were better with each passing replay.

The fact that he came from the MLS to have a second stint with the club was messiah-esque and that goal against Leeds United sent chills down my Nigerian spine.

Truly an Igwe!!

So there you have it, Gooner Daily’s favourite Arsenal XI.

What’s yours.

Sayonara.

New Deal for Arsene Wenger and a Quick Friday Roundup

Ahh…he has done that

Following a rather dismal start to the season with a 3-1 loss to Aston Villa, Arsenal’s fortunes have changed for the better as Arsene Wenger steadied the ship and his players are currently in top gear with Aaron Ramsey, Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil among others firing in all cylinders.

Ramsey, a player in the form of his life, has come out to say that Arsenal can beat anyone, which is a rather overconfident statement if you ask me. Ramsey also insists that the Gunners can take on last season’s finalists, Borussia Dortmund, and that fixture would be one of the major highlights of Matchday 3 coming up on Tuesday, October 22, 2013. However, BVB will play at the Emirates without their gaffer, Jurgen Klopp, as his ban following his heated rage on a fourth official has been extended by UEFA.

Elsewhere, Thomas Vermaelen has showed off his maturity after conceding the fact that he’s now behind Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker in the pecking order at defense. He has spoken about his pride in being the club’s captain and he wants to be leading off the pitch, since his chances of leading “on the pitch” are slim to none.

In the 2009/10 season, Vermaelen arrived in the club like a house on fire, and his goals and overall aggressive defensive play earned him a place in the 2010 PFA Team of the Year. He couldn’t build on it in the following season because of the long-term Achilles tendon injury he suffered and that affected form and fitness. However, Vermaelen was surprisingly shocking last season, and he deserved to lose his place but his performance in the game against Norwich (after Mertesacker received a red card against West Brom) was good.

This season, he has been reduced to a couple of substitute appearances but he made his first start against West Brom in the Capital One Cup, and he had a fine game. I believe he will get his chance this season because I don’t expect Mertesacker and Koscielny to play every game till the end of the campaign in May 2014.

Moving to the business of today, the Daily Mail has reported that the Arsenal hierarchy is preparing formal discussions with Arsene Wenger over a new three year contract worth £8 per year.

Arsene who? A relatively unknown Wenger took over at Arsenal in 1996

Wenger in 1996

Wenger has been a stalwart in North London, dedicating 17 years of his managerial career thus far to the club and with his contract expiring this summer, he was probably left with three plausible options – signing a new deal to extend his stay in North London, retiring on a high after a hugely successful campaign or agreeing not to renew his deal after another fruitless campaign.

Many Arsenal fans would want to see the manager reap the fruits of his labor, and at this frantic winning pace his team is on, the probability of winning silverware come May is very realistic as long as his players keep working hard for each other and converting the chances that come their way.

It’s also good to know that the Gunners can count on a couple of players within the team to hit the target, rather than laying all their eggs in a Olivier Giroud basket, as they did with Robin van Persie before him. Aaron Ramsey, a midfielder by trade, currently leads the club’s scoring charts with Giroud trailing behind him. Even the defenders have gotten in on the scoring act with Kieran Gibbs, Per Mertesacker and Bacary Sagna all getting in the score sheet. Players like Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny are known for the attacking prowess from set pieces so we can expect a strike or two from them.

In my honest opinion, a new deal is no less than Wenger deserves and I firmly believe that he remains the right man to turn things around at the Emirates. The Express reports that Paris St. Germain has left their sporting director’s role vacant for Wenger, after Leonardo vacated the position following a 13-month ban for shoving a referee.

Wenger has always been in high demand since he arrived at the club declining offers from Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich and the French National Team in the past. I hope he signs a new deal because he’s a vital part of Arsenal’s future.

Sayonara

To vote for Gooner Daily for the 2013 OYAA award of Best Online Media for Sport, please click here.

To nominate goonerdaily.wordpress.com as the Best Sports Blog (section 23) for the 2013 Nigerian Blog Awards, please click here.

You can download the Gooner Daily  BlackBerry App to receive notifications on your Smart Phone when a post is published.

You can follow Gooner Daily on Twitter  @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back

Feel free to visit Gooner Daily’s  Facebook page and click on the like button.

You can also join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List to get notifications of new posts by email by clicking on the Follow button

Potential Replacements for Arsene Wenger in the Future

With the Gunners not playing Stoke till tomorrow, I’ve decided to invite Samuel Iyoha, the resident blogger of an Arsenal blog called Gooner of Steel (cool name, I know!!!). So sit back and relax as this Gooner shares his thoughts on the above named subject

Over to you, Samuel

****

As Gooners in every corner of the globe prepare to celebrate Arsene Wenger’s 17th year in charge of their darling club, there would be a reminder in their hearts that the Frenchman has less than one year on his current contract. There is no doubt that Wenger has done incredibly well at Arsenal and if we want to enumerate his achievements, we would not finish writing.

However, with one year remaining in his contract there is perceived tension in the air as the Boss even acknowledged that he would put his contract talks on hold until the end of the season, where he would evaluate his performances and decide forthwith.

With such a scenario placed in front of us, there are only three plausible outcomes;

  • Arsene Wenger would decide to renew his contract with the club, citing how he has always loved it here and still has so many plans for the future with the team (this is what we all hope for)
  • Arsene Wenger would lead his team to a title, probably the Premier League, and maybe a Cup competition, and then decide to leave on a high a la Ferguson, as he has spent so many years with the club and could do with a change of scenery. :(
  • Arsene Wenger would decide not to renew his contract following another fruitless campaign that would see his team go for nine years in a row without a trophy :(

Many Arsenal fans would definitely prefer the first option, as it would be wonderful seeing Arsene Wenger sticking with the players he has worked so hard to mature their games and turn them to the superstars they are. This squad’s potential is there to see and they are on the brink of greatness, and it would be heartwarming if Wenger stays with the current lot to achieve those targets.

In any case, it would do no harm to look at the possible candidates if he decides to step down at the end of the campaign.

DENNIS BERGKAMP

Bergkamp had an extremely successful eleven year career at the club and became a huge fan’s favourite during his time at Highbury. In his honor, the club played its first ever game at the Emirates Stadium in a testimonal match against AFC Ajax, where he’s currently plying his trade as a youth coach.

Personally, I think he stands a huge chance if the post becomes available given that he knows the club very well and would be popular among the fans. Some might point at his inexperience but Pep Guardiola was a rookie when he was contracted by Barcelona.

Dennis Bergkamp Football

Dennis Bergkamp is adored as a ‘god’ by the fans and they would be elated to see such a legend in the tactical box giving his insight to his team. Bergkamp was regarded as one of the most intelligent and  best technicians in the game, and Arsenal is a team that is molded on the technical side of the game, so having Bergkamp as Wenger’s potential replacement would be a plus as he will pick up what Wenger left.

MICHEAL LAUDRUP

Michael Laudrup is among the elite set of players that have played for Barcelona and Real Madrid during his playing career. The former Denmark international is presently at Swansea and he is doing a remarkable job.

One feature that would attract him to Gooners is the fact that he practices the same style of football that they have been used to all through Arsene’s reign. Swansea’s sleek passing play earned them plaudits and there were times when they were also known as Swanse-lona, as their football was a prototype of FC Barcelona.

In Laudrup’s debut campaign with the Swans, he won the Capital One against all odds and also signed one of the revelations of last season, Miguel Michu. That signing proved that Laudrup has a keen eye for spotting good talent, a trait that can be associated with Arsenal.

STEVE BOULD

In the early part of Arsene Wenger’s career with the club, he had a very mean all-English defense with Nigel Winterburn and Lee Dixon as fullbacks while the famous ‘defensive trio’ of the mid-90s consisting of Martin Keown, Tony Adams and Steve Bould rotated in the central defensive positions.

The latter has been the club’s assistant manager since July 2012 after the retirement of Pat Rice and he’s widely known for his defensive qualities, and he was lauded when the Gunners managed three clean sheets in a row in the start of the 2012/13 campaign. He has transferred those qualities to the  present squad, as we have seen massive improved performances from Jenkinson, Koscielny, Gibbs and Sagna. Along with the aforementioned two, he is a massive favorite.

When Carl Jenkinson joined the club in 2011, his performance in the 8-2 drubbing in the hands of Manchester United was so torrid and the Gooners wondered whether the Arsenal hierarchy was right to sell Farmer Eboue to Galatasaray. Last season, more injuries to Sagna paved the way for Jenkinson to get more games and under the tutelage of Dark Defensive Lord Bouldimort, Jenko’s performances massively improved and he now inspires confidence at the back.

Kieran Gibbs is another player that has improved massively in his attacking and defensive aspects of his game. His recent outing against Marseille was a testament of how much he has improved.

Under the reins of a manager like Steve Bould, the Gunners might not possibly be as entertaining as you would expect them to be but their defense could be a force to be reckoned with.

FRANK DE BOER

Like Laudrup, the Ajax tactician is a favorite because of his qualities. He has become one of the most successful young managers in Europe; leading Ajax to three consecutive Eredivisie titles, which is certainly not an easy achievement. In addition, his experience in working with young players would bode well for the team.

De Boer’s side doesn’t have all the household names you would expect to see in world football but his dominance in the Dutch League has shown that he’s a manager that can work with the resources afforded to him, while some of his players will be poached out, such as Toby Alderweireld’s move to Atletico Madrid.

Arsenal is a team that followed this trend in the past, but this summer has proved different.

DRAGAN STOJKOVIC

Piski played under Arsene Wenger’s tutelage for two seasons, scoring 31 goals in the process. In both seasons, he won the J-League’s Player of the Year award and he also played a lot of games for Yugoslavia and Serbia before going into administrative positions after hanging his boots.

Stojkovic became the manager of Nagoya Grampus in 2008 after administrative roles with Serbia’s FA and Red Star Belgrade. His arrival at the helm was met with some criticism from the Nagoya fans because despite the fact that he had a glittering career with the club, he had never managed any other club before.

Stojkovic finally got some success for Nagoya in 2010, leading them to their first ever J-League title. The manager stated that he has constantly kept in touch with Arsene Wenger, receiving advice and he has learnt a lot from the French sensei.

Funnily enough, there was a time when Arsene Wenger stated that he would like Dragan Stojkovic to be his successor because they share the same ideas and strive for perfect football.

OUTSIDERS

Apart from the top five, other possible names that would be in the mix are: Tony Adams, Laurent Blanc, Frank Rijkaard, Thierry Henry (if he gets his coaching badges) and Roberto Martinez.

Dear Gooners, no need to panic, I don’t think Wenger would quit at the end of the season, but it is a possibility and we have to guide our loins so as not to be caught off guard.

Thanks for this insightful post Samuel. Visit his blog and feel free to like his blog’s Facebook page. You can also follow him on Twitter or send him a mail.

Sayonara.

To vote for Gooner Daily for the 2013 OYAA award of Best Online Media for Sport, please click here.

You can download the Gooner Daily  BlackBerry App to receive notifications on your Smart Phone when a post is published.

You can follow Gooner Daily on Twitter  @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back

Feel free to visit Gooner Daily’s  Facebook page and click on the like button.

You can also join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List to get notifications of new posts by email by clicking on the Follow button

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,410 other followers