Arsenal have become workmanlike.
That was inevitable.
Because the once mighty Arsenal had slipped down the pyramid.
They were no longer among the elte, not even one of Europe’s top 16 teams.
They were finishing below Tottenham in the Premier League, so Wenger was sacked.
It became so boring for me to drone on and on about the Colney Creche and the vanity of King Wenger.
Poor old Ivan Gazidis had to work under a tracksuited polymath who made all the decisions. He was humiliated more often than we will ever know.
But his week Petr Cech confirmed what I first figured out years ago.
I called Wenger’s training ground the Colney Creche because the players were pampered by a babysitter. We joked about it but, in truth, it wasn’t funny, It was tragic.
The players were not accountable for their abysmal performances.
But now Petr Cech has revealed said the squad is working much harder. And he says that Wenger was more worried about the aesthetics of his precious style than winning matches.
Like Jean-Luc Godard, Wenger was an auteur and Arsene FC became a vehicle for his ideas. He controlled the team and the whole club.
Cech believes that Arsenal began to fail because Wenger’s obsession with playing in a certain way under became more important than winning matches.
Therefore a change of mentality was badly needed.
Unai Emery has brought that at last and Arsenal have now started down a different road. Success will take at least three years.
Once my mantra was: Wenger out! Sack the spin-doctor now!
Now it’s: Give Emery time! It’s a three-year turnaround.
Cech said, “What we lacked in the past – I would say the ‘Arsenal way’ was more important than getting the points sometimes, and this is not how you win the league. Sometimes you need to make sure you win an ugly game, when you are not playing completely well but you just dig deep, close the back door and win 1-0 no matter how!”
As a manager Unai Emery is more like George Graham, whose workmanlike side beat Parma in the 1994 European Cup Winners Cup Final to win a European trophy, which the snobbish Wenger never did.
That night in Copenhagen, Arsenal took the lead in 21 minutes with a shot by Alan Smith that went in off the post and t hat was the only goal of the match, despite the all the efforts of Parma’s world class forwards Zola, Brolin and Asprilla, who all featured prominently for their national teams in the World Cup the following month. But I digress……
As a young keeper at Rennes, Petr Cech was always very mature and those who knew him then said he was “Nineteen going on thirty.”
This week he’s been remarkably frank about the long-overdue culture change at the training ground.
The keeper, who won four league titles at Chelsea, admits that Emery had to start from scratch: “I think this is what we lacked over the last three years, since I arrived. Against Everton, we went through difficult moments in the game but we managed to get the win and with the clean sheet, so this is very positive. It comes from the preparation, the everyday work and from the manager’s way of playing the game as well. We work very hard every day to give ourselves the chance to compete with everybody and hopefully it will be working even better than it has been for the last four games.
“He is very demanding and this is how you improve. The manager asked for precision and hard work every day. This is how it should be. We have very healthy competition and we are actually taking the benefit of it.”
“This club hasn’t won the league for over 10 years, so obviously you need to get back to knowing how to do it. We started with the new manager from scratch basically, and we try to get this mentality of winning every game, progressing every game, working every day and, hopefully, we can build this up and win the title sooner rather than later.
“It was a great win against Everton because having lost our first two games of the season we needed to bounce back, and now we have
So there you have it: a new beginning for Arsenal.
Consistency. Four wins in a row, two away games, two at home.
My prediction for 2019: If Arsenal draw Norwich in the FA Cup, the team will go by road. Because the King of the Colney Creche won’t be there to charter a jet for his babies.
PS. There have only been 110 references to the Colney Creche on ANR.
The first was in 2009- see link below