Those cracks look good and papered…

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I’m up. Struggling to sleep, so I’m going to pen a pre-match report before Alex wakes up for the full monty a bit. Just some topline thoughts before I leave for work.

Performance:

We put in a shift, no doubt. I thought we overran the Dortmund team. We played with style, we passed with more crispness than I’ve seen for a while and we looked genuinely exciting moving forward. I thought Chamberlain was excellent. I read a report on him being firmly under the radar for such a talent. My view is the reason that is mainly centres around his lack of impact in games. He’s starting to show that he can be that player, he hit the bar with a looping half volley which crashed against the bar. Really impressed with his explosive pace around the pitch. He’s one to watch.

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Look away, tonight could be horrendous

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Lots of sounds bites to smash through this morning. The first one is Wenger on the Usmanov comments.

‘First of all, the 18 years I have been here I have shown that I can take criticism and everybody has the right to have an opinion,’ he said. 

‘Having said that, we have values at this club. The first one is when we go through a difficult patch, we show solidarity. That is a very important one.

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Major name crocked for 8 weeks?

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The hot rumour this morning is that Jack is crocked for 8 weeks and may need surgery on damaged ligaments. The rumour has come from a total randomer online, but something as specific and negative as this is unlikely to be a complete untruth especially as the account sharing it looks fairly established.

If it is true, it’s bad news. Jack plays a dangerous game and he’s paid the price there. He likes the Roy of the Rovers scrappy play and he invites it. There was no need for him to be in possession of the ball when he was tackled. A Spanish player would have had that outwide way earlier. A harsh punishment if he is out long term.

That leaves us in an unathletic pickle. Santi, Rosicky, Arteta and Flamini are all of an age where 3 games in a week is a stretch. Wenger now has limited options and he’ll be in a panic. This could be a horrible few weeks of squad beasting. Because there aren’t options.

Still, fingers crossed the story is just some masochistic chaps idea of top INTERNETZ attention seeking.

In other news, Usmanov let fly with a piece of PR that was perfect and packed full of wisdom. The jist of his piece was that even a genius has to own up to his mistakes or he’ll never improve.

‘Potential of the team is there, but there is no critical evaluation of own mistakes and their admittance. Because not a single genius can retain its level when he does not admit own mistakes. Only when you admit your mistakes you rid of them. I wish this to my club. Nothing wrong, but we just repeat same results year by year. Quite high to secure the place in the Champions League. But we regularly lose in the first circles of play-offs. As an investor I am not happy with that.’

Admittance that maybe Wenger is a fallen star, because any businessman with half a brain can see the wood for the trees now. You’d hope stan would say something like that, eh? He’s besotted though. Champions League qualification is success to him. Because the bottom line is a trophy.

‘But we have Russia proverb which goes – ‘Even an old lady can have a roof falling on her’. Everybody makes mistakes. He can make mistakes and I know as you age that it is more difficult, more challenging to accept ones mistakes. Maybe it’s a problem today’

That Russian proverb is lost on me, but the jist of Wenger being stuck in his ways isn’t. Damning words from a man who was as enamoured with Arsene as Stan was a year ago.

I like this line.

‘I like Arsene for his principles. But principles are sort of restriction. And restrictions are always lost possibilities. ‘

Principles are valuable. Rigid principles related to style and sport aren’t. Wenger is layering 1998 freedom of expression principles over a 2014 team. His ideals need an update. He’s not dynamic enough to admit that. Which is why he’s in such a mess, because his view on almost all aspects of the game are flawed and outdated.

He’s been respectful, he’s called a spade a spade and he’s bang on the money. All this, ‘it’s just PR’… well, yeah, of course it is. Nice to hear from a major shareholder who doesn’t Own the .com. Nice to know someone has a clue what’s going on. Nice to know someone cares. Nice to read this…

‘My opinion, and I tell it openly, we need to strengthen every position to play on the level of such teams in UK as Chelsea and Manchester City, in Europe like Real, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Bavaria and other clubs.’

Maybe he dropped the ball here…

‘ I know sport pretty well and respect all on the club, including Kroenke, who has a substantial experience in sport. But we also have knowledge of sport and have investment in volleyball, basketball…’

Volleyball? You having a laugh!

The dream would be that Stan has a price and that Usmanov will meet it. Stan is an investor. He’s not proactive and he seems far from dynamic. All his sports teams are floundering. He’s not really a sports club owner. He doesn’t seem to be too interested in any of his teams. Begs the question why he bothers?

Usmanov is a speculator. Sure, it’s unlikely he’s picking out companies to invest in personally, but he has a clear strategy that involves picking up stakes in tech startups early doors. He’s had tremendous success Facebook, Vkontact and Twitter. He offers advice where he can but never interferes. He’d look to drive the club. Wenger would land a year under. He’d have carte Blanche to do what he wanted, if he failed, he’d be out on his arse. If we were to make a new managerial signing, you’d imagine we’d take a proper search and select approach to the successor… none of this pulling a rabbit out of a hat and hoping.

Anyway, Alisher has the chance to make some friends with the fans and put some pressure on the current regime. There will be a section of holier than thou people repulsed at the idea… the same people who ‘nearly’ go against the manager, but for some bizarre reason don’t despite all the evidence totally supporting that stance.

I mean, have your opinion. It’s up to you, I just find it incredible so many big Arsenal names won’t call for change. Almost corrupt, because there’s been no logic in backing the failed regime. We’ve been in decay for years. It’s an odd situation. We have a manager revered as an intellect despite that seeming to have no impact on his ability to see the problems. This results in this weird situation where people think there’s some sort of intellectual credence in aligning themselves with him.

The people calling for change are seen as digital barbarians, when in fact, they’re the smart ones. They’re the balanced group of people. They’re the the dynamic thinkers.

The malaise from that is that as a fan base, we’ve enabled the shit show to continue. Now we’re in danger of doing what we do every year… sinking to 8th, rising up from the ashes and going through the same… ‘I think he realises what’s needed’… bullshit.

He doesn’t know what we need. I know what we need. Intelligent change at the end of the season, with the manager being shunted on. We need interjection now, someone needs to force something different now. Empower some people, hold an inquiry with some actions off the back, do something to shake things up in the interim. We won’t though, unless Arsene drives it… which is unlikely. Real unlikely.

Anyway, I’m in meetings all day, fingers crossed the Jack thing is a nonsense. If it’s not, dortmund could be spectacularly horrible viewing.

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This was penned on an iPhone, therefore, typos are not my fault