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Is it time for Arsenal fans to praise Stan Kroenke for a change?

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A Silence of Convenience by Neil Watson

I am fairly confident this article will meet with a record number of aggrieved reactions and disparaging comments because the truth is often the most uncomfortable thing to admit. One of the best lessons you can teach the young is ‘learn from your mistakes’ and ‘be honest when you are wrong’. In that way you can learn and as a consequence you will grow mentally. By not admitting when you are wrong means you choose not to learn.

And so let’s get down to it. Stan Kroenke and the senior management of our club. The management that have spent in excess of 150 million pounds in players in the last 2 years.

When things were very bad within our club we, as fans, blamed the manager and the owners. In truth the inner issues of a club can be speculated on by fans but we never ever know. None of us know why Ozil has such a bad run of form, why Sanchez was so keen to go anywhere… loads of things involving Ramsay, Jack, Bellerin…..

So now we find ourselves on a run of form that was last achieved 7 seasons back. The same owner yet a different manager and a few new players.

In reality should fans not be congratulating the owner and senior management for securing the services of a manager that, if form is any guide, was unjustly ignored as manager of the month? Let’s be honest was he on top of anyone’s lists when the club were looking for a replacement for Wenger? Some might say he’s had easy fixtures to accommodate and they’d be right but even the easy ones need to be won. You can do no more than win them regardless of how many goals you score.

I’m part of the majority of Arsenal fans who think poorly of Kroenke. We see him turn up at the occasional home game and have zero connection with the fans. I think most of us assume, probably quite rightly, that his ownership of our club is purely for personal gain. But isn’t that the point?

The undeniable point here is that if you’re going to blame someone individually for our team playing terribly you have to praise that same person when things turn around and the results go in your favour. We were terrible and so the manager was changed, a few new players were bought and we then went on a run. We look sharp on the pitch, the team play with smiles on their faces and we can look across London at our noisy neighbours and feel for the first time in a few years our ship is once again sailing in the right direction whereas they maybe about to embark on something less pleasant.

At the end of this season we will be able to judge Kroenke for the first time without there being an existing structure in place since the day he arrived. The Wenger regime is well and truly over and we are seeing how well the senior management and ownership can run our club and what will transpire as a consequence of their new found freedom.

To précis, and stay focused on this point when commenting, if you’re like me and most, who vehemently criticised Kroenke for causing the crisis within our club over the past couple of years then surely you have to accept that the current success we are enjoying is at the very least partially due to the new structure within the club that his money created.


Neil Watson

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'It's a mystery': O'Neill queries how 'phenomenal' Serge Gnabry slipped through Arsenal's net 

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‘It’s a mystery’: Michael O’Neill queries how ‘phenomenal’ Serge Gnabry slipped through Arsenal’s net after Germany hat-trick v Northern Ireland

Michael O’Neill says he is mystified as to why Serge Gnabry did not make more of an impact in English football after watching the Bayern Munich forward bag a hat-trick as Germany beat Northern Ireland 6-1 in Frankfurt.

Gnabry moved on to 13 goals from as many international appearances, looking a world apart from the player who struggled to make an impact at Arsenal early in his career and virtually disappeared on loan at West Brom before being sold to Werder Bremen for a reported five million euros in 2016.

His first goal was the pick of the bunch as he took a touch before swivelling in the box and unleashing a shot high into Bailey Peacock-Farrell’s goal, levelling the scores at 1-1 after Michael Smith gave Northern Ireland a shock early lead in this Euro 2020 qualifier.

Serge Gnabry scored a hat-trick for Germany as they thrashed Northern Ireland 6-1

Serge Gnabry scored a hat-trick for Germany as they thrashed Northern Ireland 6-1

But Gnabry’s movement, pace and strength caused Northern Ireland’s injury-hit defence problems until he was withdrawn nine minutes from time, leading O’Neill to describe him as ‘unplayable’ on the night.

‘Gnabry’s goal-scoring record is phenomenal,’ said O’Neill, whose side now face a play-off against Bosnia and Herzegovina next March. ‘It’s a mystery to me how English clubs didn’t get more out of him.

‘I’d be surprised if this Germany team doesn’t make a big impact (at Euro 2020).’

This was Gnabry’s second international hat-trick, and came less than two months after his four-goal display during Bayern’s 7-2 demolition of Tottenham in the Champions League.

There were precious few signs of that sort of form during an Arsenal career that yielded only one goal from 18 appearances, but Germany coach Joachim Low said he had long been aware of the 24-year-old’s talent.

‘I’ve always had the highest possible opinion of Gnabry,’ Low said. ‘Right from the start it was obvious to me he would be a fantastically important player.

‘He was always one to pass the ball to, he doesn’t play up front all the time, he lets himself fall back a bit and you can find him anywhere on the pitch and he’s able to play in many different positions.

‘These are prime qualities in any players and also his finishing is technically fantastic.’

Low put Gnabry’s difficulties in England down to injuries, but said the forward’s Arsenal team-mates Per Mertesacker and Mesut Ozil had been quick to recommend him.

‘When he was at Arsenal he was plagued by injury and all these injuries set him back,’ Low said. ‘But even at the time, around the 2014 World Cup he had always been in my thoughts.

‘He had some very good games with Arsenal and Mertesacker and Ozil would say to me, ‘Look at Gnabry, he’s a fantastic player, he keeps defences very busy’, so we had him in our sights for a long time.’

 



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Tottenham fans demand Jose Mourinho snub after Pochettino sack – ‘I’d rather have Wenger'

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Tottenham fans have told chairman Daniel Levy to avoid hiring Jose Mourinho with the Special One odds on with some bookmakers to replace the Argentine.

Mourinho’s last job was at Manchester United which ended in acrimonious circumstances.

And some Tottenham fans even went as far as to say they would rather have Arsene Wenger in charge.

One said: “I’d Rather Have Wenger Than Mourinho.”

Another added: “Dear God I am hearing people say Mourinho.

“Have they not seen the mess he has made of ALL of his latest management jobs. I’d rather have Wenger than Mourinho!!!”

A third exclaimed: “Imagine if next North London Derby, Mourinho’s Arsenal play Wenger’s Tottenham.”

Tottenham released a statement on Tuesday evening explaining why Pochettino had been sacked.

Levy explained: “We were extremely reluctant to make this change and it is not a decision the Board has taken lightly, nor in haste.

“Regrettably domestic results at the end of last season and beginning of this season have been extremely disappointing.

“It falls to the Board to make the difficult decisions – this one made more so given the many memorable moments we have had with Mauricio and his coaching staff – but we do so in the Club’s best interests.

“Mauricio and his coaching staff will always be part of our history. I have the utmost admiration for the manner in which he dealt with the difficult times away from a home ground whilst we built the new stadium and for the warmth and positivity he brought to us.

“I should like to thank him and his coaching staff for all they have contributed. They will always be welcome here.

“We have a talented squad. We need to re-energise and look to deliver a positive season for our supporters.”

Tottenham return to action against West Ham in the Premier League on Saturday (12.30pm).

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Former Chelsea and Man Utd boss Jose Mourinho early favourite to replace sacked Mauricio Pochettino

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Jose Mourinho is the early favourite to become the new Tottenham Hotspur manager. Following the north London club’s surprise announcement this…

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