October 01, 2006

Nice tribute to Arsene Wenger: by Lee Dixon, of Arsenal's (Dixon, Winterburn, Adams, Keown) "Famous Back Four". Almost more than anything else, Wenger introduced the concept to the Premiership that not going out the pub every night and going on the piss wasn't cheating.

posted by psmealey to soccer at 06:07 AM - 6 comments

He is an awfully good manager, and props to him for the job he's done, for as long as he's done it, with a potentially volatile team. (I don't know what type of lineups he had before a year or two ago, but the present Gunners side has a lot of talent, and not, far as I can tell, a lot of natural team-players.)

posted by chicobangs at 01:36 PM on October 01, 2006

I agree that Wenger is a hell of a manager and it appears the players are very fond of him. I like their style of play. What I cannot understand is how the Arsenal fans (in Britain, not abroad) stay so faithful to a squad that has no English players (unless you count Theo Walcott who has played about 16 premiership minutes).

posted by urall cloolis at 09:00 PM on October 01, 2006

Loyalty is to the club.

posted by igottheblues at 11:31 PM on October 01, 2006

theblues is right, their loyalty is to the club, rather than the players, but also, Wenger hasn't gone out and just bought established world stars for a ton of cash; he's actually developed his squad. Most of the foreign players he's brought in have risen to prominence while at Arsenal, so the fans get to see them grow and have affection grow alongside them. Henry was a diffident winger for Juve and a part-time attacker for a French team recognised as having no forwards, Vieira was in Milan's reserve squad, Bergkamp was a known name, but had been shocking at Inter, Anelka had his best times there and now the likes of Toure, Fabregas and Van Persie are blossoming in North London. I guess it makes a difference when you see a player come through. Regardless of what his passport says, it feels like he's "from" Arsenal.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 02:38 AM on October 02, 2006

I can understand that train of thought. I agree a lot of players have blossomed and taken their game to a new level while at Arsenal. They are definitely a lot of fun to watch. Since I am not Brittish I was just wondering, so thanks for the insight. I can see why they are loyal to the club, as they bring a high quality of play year after year. Wenger is a top notch coach and apparantly he has great respect from his players as well.

posted by urall cloolis at 07:17 AM on October 02, 2006

It's like Seinfeld says, "you root for the uniform." Those are excellent points that Mr Bismarck makes: Wenger finds very good players and turns them into world class ones with a team ethic. While I was sad to see Bergkamp go, as he was the last player to bridge to the Famous Back Four era (Tony Adams always my favorite player), I continue to support Arsenal, even though many of the current squad are still somewhat unknown to me. I do like what I see in Rosicky, Fabregas, Adebayor and van Persie, and they definitely play a much more international style of football than Chelsea, Liverpool or ManU, who despite their enormous international talent, still mostly play in the English style: (1) take a large physical forward and have him wreak havoc up front (2) have sharp shooting midfielders take shots from 20+ yards or (3) put long crosses into the box. Aresenal tend to try to create opportunities by building at midfield like a Spanish or Italian side. They still could be a little more adventurous up front, and they are not yet solid at the back, but they are starting to gel, and things are progressing nicely. Should be a great season!

posted by psmealey at 08:02 AM on October 02, 2006

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