Bobby McMahon has a new article up on Forbes that, unlike most in recent days, attempts to frame Arsenal’s form this season to something other than their transfer activity:

It sounds strange to say that an Arsenal squad that includes Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gervinho lacks pace but it certainly does in key areas of the field. Arsenal has suddenly become a team that struggles to “run away” from the opposition in the midfield and just as importantly, it lacks a player who can consistently play a decisive pass into a packed opposition penalty area.

Arsenal’s ability to maintain possession has actually become a detractor. The opposition knows that if they sit deep and defend passively Arsenal will pass from side to side but rarely threaten.

Earlier in the piece, McMahon speaks of how certain teams have long been associated with a certain ‘brand’ of football. Brazil play something called ‘Samba football,’ (although they haven’t arguably since Spain 1982), Italy use catenaccio (even though they plainly don’t and arguably never did, except when Helenio Herrera coached Inter in away games in the 1960s), and Arsenal ‘pass the ball into the net.’

I think McMahon gets as close as anyone as to why this debate over their form has been limited to the ledger and not to the team’s tactics with their available personnel. First, because their ledger is an obvious outlier among top clubs in the Premier League. But second, because Arsenal’s brand of football is so entrenched in the popular imagination that no one questions whether Wenger has effectively adapted his approach to suit his club’s limited transfer strategy. Could you imagine Arsenal fans singing “You don’t know what you’re doing?” to Arsene Wenger?

It’s a given, like Brazil’s sexiness and Italian defending. Right?

Comments (2)

  1. The criticism of Arsenal and Wenger on this blog and the podcast has gone beyond silly. The same moaning and calls for Wenger’s sack. Bring something new to the table.

    - Understand the finances of Arsenal Football Club, the 400 million stadium fee that has to be taken care of. Take some time to fully realize the situation of AFC’s revenues.
    - the complete inactivity and uselessness of Stan Kroenke. Why has he became the majority shareholder? He’s done shit all. He doesn’t care about the club. He only cares about the bottom line. He is a complete wanker who needs to go.
    - At least the oil drenched owners of Man Shitty put funds into the club.
    - Why is it that journalists like Simon Kuper, pundits like Gary Neville, people actually in the business like Billy Beane all praise Wenger and argue that he is the right man for the job? Are they all daft?
    - Wenger treats the club like he’s going to run it for 60 years, not 6. The calls of Wenger to be fire are so narrow minded and shortsighted.
    - WHO are you going to replace Wenger with? Guardiola? Fine. But aside from him who is available that is substantially better than Wenger tactically, financially, etc.?
    - Wenger is tactically inept? Do you seriously believe Wenger has not thought of the “tactical brilliance” you guys espouse all the time? 4-4-2? Brilliant.
    - Before you continue on with the same boring vitriol do some reading aside from the usual blogs and crap like the dailymail.

  2. Sharman is the only one who actually looks at the situation of Arsenal and his Liverpool OBJECTIVELY.

    Is Wenger absolved of all blame? Of course not. Silverstre? Squallici? But the silliness of the hate for him on the shows is hilarious.

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