Well I hear tonight that Tom Hicks one of the co-owners of Liverpool FC has today asked his CE Rick Parry to resign. It’s getting to be almost Newcastle like up there. Blimey I watched the Champs League match v Arsenal the other night and it was a tremendous game and fantastic win for Liverpool. Today the party celebrations are over eh…
What did you think about the Liv/Arse tie? Lots of stuff over here emanating from the Arsenal camp about the unfairness of the penalty decision compared with the stonewaller in the first leg denied to them. I don’t know. Overall I thought Liv were the better side and deserved it. There’s a lot of gnashing of teeth from down the Holloway Rd but it looks to me that the season’s petering out is much to do with Arsenal and Wenger’s own management failings. I know this sounds like heresy but I genuinely think Wenger’s mismanaged this season. That beautiful football has been undermined by lack of forward planning.
Take a look at Man U. I know they are my side but Ferguson’s been on top form in the transfer market this last year. He secured Tevez after much faffing because he saw how effective the little tooth monster was. Did he desperately need him? No but he was evident class and better than Alan Smith, who could be sold for a decent wedge. Then in the summer he bought Hargreaves when he had Carrick, Nani when he had Giggs and Anderson when he had Scholes. More money than sense? It doesn’t look like it now. As the season’s drawing to its conclusion, Man U have ‘far more energy’ this year as Ferguson puts it; in other words a deeper squad of better quality players. Last night they played the second team in Italy without Rooney, Ronaldo, Scholes and Vidic and won comprehensively, even with that first leg advantage. Can you imagine Arsenal taking on the same side, even with a 2 goal advantage without say Fabregas, Toure, Adebayor and Van Persie? It’s inconceivable that they would do it with any confidence.
To me it looks like Ferguson’s watched Mourinho and has been building a second team to match and out-do Russia FC, knowing as the Special one did that pursuit of the FA cup and the Champs league calls for a deeper squad these days because of the physical demands on the players. Look at Utd’s first team; it’s as good as any team in the world right now:
Van der Saar
Brown Vidic Ferdinand Evra
Ronaldo Scholes Giggs
But now look at the second team:
Neville O’Shea Pique Silvestre
Park Fletcher Anderson Nani
It’s really not a lot behind. As a separate team they’d probably finish in the top 6 in the Premiership. The key thing is that all the players have featured regularly in the first team without the hideous rotation sytem employed by Benitez earlier in the season, and can slot in easily to fill gaps caused by tiredness, injury and suspension.
But look at Arsenal, I don’t believe their second team is anything like as good. Everyone knows they have great kids coming through (better than Utd’s) but they aren’t first team standard as yet. After the Emirates was completed the Arsenal board took great delight in informing the world that their revenues were ahead of expectations and purred at telling the story that the manager had something approaching £100m at his disposal but had declined to spend it. The team were playing glorious football and somewhere at the top of the Premiership. But the team have run out of steam and that lack of investment has probably menat no more silverware for yet another year at least. You look at the team and realise they need cover in the striker position, in midfield and at centre half. Why didn’t they buy Anelka – a snip at £15m or Woodgate when available? Wenger admits to looking at Torres but considered the price too steep. Well that £24m looks a decent price now given his impact in English football. And he had the money available…
Now they are going to have to chase the market and they are at least 4 purchases behind Man U, 2 behind Liverpool and surely the Abramovitch purse strings will be loosened again this summer as a team re-structuring is undertaken. So I think Wenger’s been caught out by his financial caution. His team look out on their feet and perhaps the likes of Fabregas will be thinking about moving somewhere less draining and more successful sooner than everyone anticipated. I wouldn’t blame him. The beginning of the end for a great manager?