The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

Missed a Few Tricks

I choose to use black humor to look at the upsides of Nasri’s injury:

– At least now Arsenal will have new signing for January.

– This is all for the best; after all, playing Nasri was killing Wilshire. Now we just have to hurt Arshavin so Diaby can play. Who’s got a sledgehammer?

– 3 months is nothing if you judge the manager every 6 or 7 years.

– Now Eboue can start!

– Actually this is an advantage, as now Nasri will be healthy in time to be sold in January; it’ll pay for another few feet of the lower concourse.

– Mikael Silvestre is a midfielder, right? So what’s the problem?

– He was a bloody foreigner anyway, wasn’t he?

Reports are that Diaby delivered the responsible tackle, so he’s progressed from having his leg shattered by an incompetent goon to being an incompetent leg-shattering goon. This bodes well for Eduardo.

– This gives Arsene Wenger a better chance than ever to prove that you can run black in the transfer market and coach an injury-prone team to the title. By which I mean 4th place. Which is like the title. Sorta. I think there’s less parades- we’ll look into that.

– At least we have such dependable workhorses as Tomas Rosicky to fall back on.

– It’s just a little Old Time Football, Like Eddie Shore.

– One less damn Frenchy for Gallas to bitch about in a book that no one but bloggers will ever read.

– We can harvest his organs to repair several of our other busted players, which is actually like 5 new signings once you control for surgery costs. There’s actually a study on this in regards to the current American health care reform proposals.

– Nasri will be the first player to have his cast signed in 82 separate languages and dialects, including French, Spanish, Russian, Klingon and Time Lord.

– I’m sure there’s some way in which this is fans’ fault, so if we chant “NASRI” extra loud surely our player will be healed.

– At least Nasri didn’t eat some bad lasagna- he could have missed the whole of the Champions League!

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On a more serious note, this today from Arseblog:

“I just can’t see him not spending the Adebayor cash though and perhaps, to counter the speculation we have to sell a big name every summer just to keep things balanced, there’ll be a certain amount if pressure from the board, and Gazidis, to spend it.”

Arseblog is fine for what he/it is, but I find reading him of late to be like Kremlinology and/or things from the official website: you know it’s written in conjunction with information from those high up at the club, but which parts and how much, from whom and for what purpose are somewhat harder to disentangle. What I found interesting here was that it’s clear that Arseblog has some sort of functional relationship with Gazidis and/or the elements at the club in the same sphere as him- Arseblogger’s getting his inside information from somewhere, and Gazidis did an exclusive interview with Arseblog not so long ago. That being the case, it’s interesting that after spending so much time of late disparaging the primary Arsenal-blog source of the idea that Gazidis and Wenger are opposed (Myles Palmer/ANR), Arseblogger here forthrightly acknowledges the possibility of tension between the two over transfer policy. A message to Wenger? Pure speculation? Reflection of differing priorities within the board? Smokescreen? I have exactly zero idea, but it does bear thinking about.

Such is the nature of things at Arsenal right now, with so many different agendas and proxies being played, so many disingenuous gambits like Usmanov’s rights-offer. One of the most frustrating things to me about this team is just how incoherent and obfuscated everything about the club is: with any other team I follow or support I can tell you who’s in charge at the major levels (coach, GM/sporting director, owner, etc.), what their plan is, what their tactics to achieve that plan are, and what they hope to achieve in the coming season. With Arsenal the major blogs won’t mention each other or acknowledge each others’ existence with few exceptions and never when there’s a significant difference of outlook, the board is divided into at least two factions (Usmanov/Kroenke) which seem to be at perpetual daggers drawn, no one is quite sure of the manager’s relations with at least one of the factions, there’s unpredictable rogue actors like Lady Nina, no one trusts the public pronouncements of any of the major players involved with this drama, no one is sure of the financial situation of the club and any discussion of such involves a detour into the London condo market, and frankly the whole thing is poised about a half-step between Shakespeare and Hitchcock.

It’s a preposterous state of affairs, and I can’t imagine it goes on much longer.

And for what it’s worth, I agree with Arseblogger insofar as that Arsenal’s fate this season will not be determined by this injury. It will be determined by what happens in what remains of the transfer market, how lucky the team is in regards to further injuries, how the other serious teams perform and whether players step forward this year to fill the roles they’re offered. I firmly believe that the current Arsenal lineup with a new defensive mid and a lot of luck can win the league and maybe more this year; time will tell as to whether that belief is at all realistic.

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July 22, 2009 Posted by | The Arsenal | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Here’s a Shocker

Management/ownersip figure demands wage controls, guaranteed profits.

I’m too tired and busy to go over the same old arguments again and again, but three major points:

1. I watch the Bundesliga. I like the Bundesliga; it’s a fine league. But it’s been nearly a decade since a German club won the CL, and only 2 have done it in the last 25 years. The cost of unilateral wage and club financial controls is a vast drop in competitiveness.

2. Speaking of competitiveness, if Gazidis really believes in the policy he’s suggesting he should realize that he’s the last man in the world who ought to be out front advocating it. Arsenal have been borderline noncompetitive at the highest level for years now partly because they’ve chosen to unilaterally disarm in the expenditures race for players. Whether or not you believe that to be a sound policy for long term financial or timeless moral reasons, that choice means that any call from someone affiliated with the club for forced top-down restrictions on club expenditures is going to look like Arsenal trying to force themselves back into competitiveness by regulatory fiat rather than sound football management. Among the people in charge of the game in England, few if any will fail to note this and rightfully or wrongly dismiss the call on those grounds. The only people likely to be convinced are some section of fans looking for a reason to dismiss the success of other clubs, which of course may be the point of this in the end. Few clubs or franchises in Arsenal’s position have ever been above whipping up hysteria at overpaid players as a cover for their own inability or refusal to compete.

3. This needs to be said over and over and over again: salary capping without collectively bargained hard revenue-sharing agreements is unjust. It would amount to an enormous interference in the market for no discernible reason, a forced regulatory transfer of huge revenues from millionaires to billionaires, from people like Samuel Eto’o to people like, well, Alisher Usmanov. There’s no benefit or gain in that alone for fans or the sport, and if you think doing that alone is going to drop the price of your season ticket you’re dreaming- so long as the stadium stays full at current prices, the only question is when those prices will go up again. I agree that over the long term something like the general North American system would be needed- see further down our main page- and I think Gazidis is smart enough to recognize that, but when the call is for wage caps alone in a sport with much weaker unionization than, say, Major League Baseball or the NFL, I wonder. There’s a lot of money there for owners if they can convince people that players alone deserve to be blamed for the present state of affairs.

July 3, 2009 Posted by | Other Soccer, The Arsenal | , , | Leave a comment