PFA Awards Disappointing + Mourinho Learns From Arsene + Original Cesc Interview

I want to start with a mention of the PFA awards and the Team of the Year. Congratulations to Wilshere for picking up the Young Player of the Year award, and deservedly so. Gareth Bale was chosen as the Player of the Year and Nasri came in second. And in case you haven’t seen it, the team of the year is,

Van der Saar – Sagna, Vidic, Kompany, Cole – Nani, Nasri, Wilshere, Bale – Tevez, Berbatov.

Rather uninspiring if I may say so. One thing that struck me about this seasons list, and by extension the performances of the teams, is that none of the players really stood out. Last year Rooney, Cesc, and Drogba had truly great seasons. I don’t think the same can be said for the likes of Nasri or Bale who have been good in patches but have had relatively little impact in terms of goals, assists, or match winning contributions when compared to their counterparts from last year.

Even looking at the whole team, it’s difficult to say anyone apart from Nani or Wilshere would have gotten into last year’s selection. So have all these players suddenly dropped their performance levels? Has the league got that much tougher this season? Has this season been more about grinding out results than mesmerizing displays?

I don’t know the exact reasons for this change but one thing is for sure, when any team’s best player doesn’t perform at his peak the performances of the whole team suffer. In that sense it is safe to say the top three teams have been a little below par this year, for different reasons though. Rooney has been moved to a different position where he is more useful to the balance of the side but does not have enough personal stats to show for it. Cesc has struggled with injuries while Drogba was down with Malaria and more recently Torresitis (an affliction where a good player cannot get enough games/starts because a more expensive one who plays the same position is in the squad).

One interesting question that arises is – Has Wenger been justified in promoting Wilshere rather than breaking the bank on Yaya Toure as many fans wanted?

The smaller teams have certainly improved a lot. This could have led to lesser space in attacking areas, better organization and marking, more competitive games, and consequently fewer chances for any individual to truly stand out. I don’t think this is the sole or main reason for the distinctly lower quality individual efforts but it is certainly a crucial factor.

Moving on to Spain, I was watching the El Classico last weekend and noticed something interesting. Real Madrid really had a go at Barcelona in the final 15-20 minutes and almost stole a win. This might never come out but I am fairly certain Mourinho saw the way Arsenal troubled Guardiola’s side and has adapted his tactics to follow in Wenger’s path.

Of course, we will know more in the coming days as there are three more Classicos to play. Many might not understand this or believe it but to me it is a great testament to Wenger’s tactical acumen that an evil genius like Jose is copying his approach as he can’t really deploy the Inter style at Madrid. Kudos to the Special One too for being such a quick learner.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Wenger is a tactical genius (regular readers know my reservations on this topic) but it is certain that Arsene is not a tactically clueless idiot as some would have you believe. As always the truth is somewhere in between. More on this topic at some other time.

While we are still in Spain, I wanted to share a couple of links from the Don Balon site. These look like the original interview transcripts but I am not sure. Can someone who knows Spanish please provide a better, more in keeping with the tone and context, translation than the one we have seen in the English media.

On this link you will see the interview about the need for Arsenal to choose between winning and training. On this one Cesc talks about the Champions League tie, his performance, and injury. I’d really love a good translation of the second one as it seems very relevant and is quite a short one. Unfortunately, Google translate didn’t do a very good job.

I’d also like to mention that fans should not fall for the sensationalism of the tabloids or the doom mongers. Cesc is an honest person and has given his genuine opinion. It is not an ultimatum to the club and I don’t think he is trying to talk his way out. It wasn’t the best thing to say but I have said this about Arsene and the players on more than one occasion – they don’t know how to play the media and often give intelligent answers that come to bite them in the backside because the words are twisted way out of context.

Nobody including Wenger denies that there is plenty of room for improvement at Arsenal. I don’t want to get into this discussion right now, it’s a never ending argument so will leave it for the summer. But we must respect Fabregas for saying what he believes to be true. We can criticize him for the timing and perhaps a little lack of tact but it’s harsh to say he is sulking or trying to force his way out. In fact, if anything, it seems he is mentally preparing himself for the long haul.

Finally, I wanted to mention something about the last article and the responses. One chap left ten or more anti-Wenger replies under different names. I just saw them this morning and have since removed them. I don’t know how people find the time and energy to write so many pointless comments but it’s not difficult to see why many Gooners consider such commentators to be Spuds in disguise. From now on if I believe that the same person is leaving abusive comments without any real contribution I will delete the comments without any explanation.

I have no problems with those who disagree with the manager, the board, or any other part of the club. I am also quite happy to allow comments that don’t concur with my opinion. But I will not tolerate an abusive person pretending to be ten people while not making a single meaningful effort to make a point.

Those fans who genuinely support the club should also remember that if it seems there are hundreds of people against the club and Wenger, it is quite likely to be a handful of disgruntled idiots and some Spud trolls polluting the sanctity of the Arsenalsphere.

That’s it for now, I’ll do the NLD preview a little later in the day.


21 Responses to PFA Awards Disappointing + Mourinho Learns From Arsene + Original Cesc Interview

  1. critic says:

    I am glad u kept my comments 😀

    But bale winning PFA award is a joke, does PFA means POPULAR FOOTBALL A**HOLE??? If so then it was the right choice. Charlie adams has been revelation this season till january (upto which players are judged). He single handedly kept BPL competitive.

    • santori says:

      You could do with more optimism in your life.

      I wouldn’t begrudge Bale the award, he has been good this season.

      I don’t think he has quite got the consistency yet much as Nasri but he has certainly made an impact for Spurs.

      I would be most worried when we play him, er tomorrow. Hopefully Eboue gets a knock on the knee in training and Sagna has to ‘step in’.

      See any positives in that . 😀

  2. johnQ says:

    Bale only have one assists for the whole season!! The difference between Nasri and Bale is Nasri didnt have a pundit that praises him every damn minute like Redknapp Brothers did for Bale!!

    • Tim says:

      Bale clearly should not have won the award but Nasri has not done anything in the last 2-3 months.
      Nani’s 9 goals and 18 assists deserve the award without any doubt. Bale and Nasri do not deserve it. Kompany has been brilliant all season but defenders rarely get those awards.
      I do not know why Ashley Cole is in the team of the year.He has been poor this season. I do not know who is better than him at left back but he surely is not the best. Evra maybe.Baines has made 11 assists but he is not very good defensively.

  3. I like your point on Drogba – I’d happily see him in the Arsenal team. He knows how to win games and how to hold the ball up when you are winning. Oh, and Eboue might learn a few more tricks about rolling around when fouled..

  4. Milanogunnner says:

    That is exactly what i thought when i watched el classico… btw manchester united refuse to stake claim to the trophy and possibly we are still alive in the race.

  5. Jk says:

    On Facebook, the arsenal fan group “she wore a yellow ribbon” is the defenition of doom mongers.

  6. Kushagra India says:

    Desi Fair play just painted my self black and white well done to the toon army……
    Big chance 2morrorw time for a CESCY SHOW COYR ……

    Oh Oh to be a Goonah…

  7. Kushagra India says:

    Desi Thats what I am saying all along the top teams haven’t been good this year we have had the best 1st 11 ,we should have walked through but still fingers crossed…

  8. Keepin it Gooner says:

    Great. Nice to see theres still a blog that is takinng a stand against those S*rs. Yes,, they seem to have missed Scott Parker and Chalie Adam. And what has Cashley Cole done thats so great?

  9. Tim says:

    Man Utd bottled it today but with our current form we will not even get in top 10 if we play like that next season.Our chances of winning the next 6 games are 0%.
    I really hope Wenger turns it around in the summer because he is a really genuine guy. He just has to stop making childish comments in the interviews.He is 61 not 15.
    From this season, our real problems are in attack and not in defense.We are predictable.
    Nasri does not take any risks.When he is on the wing, he makes 2-3 stepovers in front of the fullback and then he passes backwards.He does not have vision to be the playmaker.Tell him to run at players or fuck off to Italy.

  10. ogundana daniel says:

    congratulations 2 jack wilsare

  11. dave highbury says:

    Man U just got kicked out of the FA cup…. “they don’t have a winning mentality”
    Man U just got a draw against Newcastle and have “blown their chance of securing the premiership”
    Man U just got done for mashing up the Wembly changing room ” the man U team needs to grow up”
    What I am saying is that we are not as shite as we think we are. The real problem lies with some of our dumb ass fans. If we just bought players, we would have lost because we would have been out bid.
    If Wenger didn’t get us a new stadium, we would have had no future.
    We have done everything right, and should be proud. We now have money to compete in the market, and a vast majority of our 70 strong squad are ON THE UP. We may yet still win the premiership THIS season. All the things I hear that Arsenal doesn’t have, are actually what our “I GIVE IN” fans have.

    • santori says:

      Spot on.

      Someone should try explaining how IF the other teams BELOW us have so dramatically improved, that we are still the only realistic challengers to United this season.

      By that measure, we must have made some advamcements with Wengers ‘philosophical’ touchstone, youth.

      Yes we have been culpable of gross naivity at times but although we are still a wee bit off the finish line, there have been marked improvements.

      I would not get your hopes up with us competing in the market though.

      I would think it would be pretty much business as usual for Wenger, although i think we might see 2 quality sigi=nings possible 3 (midfield and attack) pending on Fab and Bendtner movement.

  12. Northbanksy says:

    Man U looked as blunt this evening against Newcastle
    as we did against Liverpool at the week-end…no real creativity, lack of desire, no plan B etc etc.
    I wish the current Arsenal bashers would understand it’s not just us that can’t be 100% brilliant all the time.

  13. Byo says:

    I will take the British newspapers accounting of an interview Cesc gave in spanish with a grain of salt-we know the British cannot read in any language!

    Bale winning the award was a farce. But he’s from the neighborhood, right? What with the British press hyping him the whole season.

    After the Spurs got demolished in the CL, the papers made all kinds of excuses for them, and they may be a one season wonder in the competition too. No such for Arsenal in spite of a farcical red card to RvP. It tells you all you need to know.

  14. wenger has done his best n i dont tink d boiz av 2 xplain 2 d fans if they fail 2 clinch d epl kudos 2 nasri, sagna n wilshere.

  15. Phil23 says:

    All I can say is SHAME YOU DEFEATIST MOTHER F*&KERS!!! Come on Arsenal show those scum why were the only team in London!!!

  16. ak47 says:

    3-0 us. 🙂

  17. Arsenalzinmyheart says:

    Cong. to teen sensation jack wilshere. He deserves it. Dey r tellin 2 sell cesc, but we’ll hav no killer passer if he goes. To b honest, no one in d world can replace cesc given his age.
    If we want a cd, luk at matt hummells, very promising, consistent n young.

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