Platitudes From Stan As Arsène Prepares His Troops For Sunday
The NLD is firmly on the horizon, clearly in view and ready for action. It comes against a backdrop of Arsenal’s financial results, Stan Kroenke speaking for the first time about his ownership and speculation about the future of his captain this January and next summer. The latter will be the story that is remembered the longest, at least until a contract is signed although that means nothing if Manchester City come knocking. Every player has his price.
I am not sure what was expected of Kroenke’s first public utterances. Did he expect us to be like the Aliens in Toy Story and be in awe of his words? I doubt it. Did anyone expect him to be critical of the club’s start to the season, adopting a ‘doomer’ stance (which is similar to The Len Ganley Stance)? I doubt it. Did anyone expect anything that platitudes? I doubt it. It was predictably playing everything with a straight bat, as expected.
It was a shame that it took the publication of the financial results to break his silence, an all too easy link to make a criticism out of. And to be honest, nothing that was said could not have been said six months ago. Interestingly, Kroenke does not see the need to make public utterances which is entirely true. There is however, an expectation that a new owner will make some PR move and speak to supporters.
KSE want to ‘engage’ with Supporters Groups whilst they do not sell shares, seemingly the public death knell for Fanshare. For all of his publicity seeking on the subject, my suspicion is that Usmanov’s predatory shareholding is the reason for this. If KSE held 90+% of the holding, the quickest PR win is to make 4% of the overall holding available to Fanshare. Red and White’s involvement as shareholders probably ensure that a natural reticence in this area turns to absolute distrust.
It means that the supporters groups are going to need to ensure that the spectrum of views is represented, not just a narrow section; a tough job considering how entrenched opinions are.
Kroenke praised Wenger, support which was appreciated by the manager. Indeed it was enough to bring out some insecurities in Ivan Gazidis, his backing from the manager brought an irked response to the media but when Stan says nice things, smiles all the way. It’s OK Ivan; the ire of Wenger surfaced because it was Charlie Wyett asking the question.
The prospect of another 15 years from the Frenchman was not met with universal approval, belief surfacing that this season is his last. Kroenke made it clear that Wenger could choose when he goes, such is his standing and recognition of his services to Arsenal. That won’t be good enough for some but suggests that it would have to be an utterly disastrous season for Kroenke to act in that respect. And the word disastrous does not refer to not making the Champions League, more not staying in the Premier League. Even then a certain stoicism was evident from the owner so the ‘r’ word would not necessarily effect a change. You could feel blood pressures rising…
Attention turned to the match on Sunday with the biggest choice for the manager being who replaces Laurent Koscielny. Thomas Vermaelen is not due back until the end of the month whilst mercifully Squillaci is still short of match fitness. It leaves Ignasi Miquel or Alex Song. Much will depend on whether the manager thinks that the midfield will cope without Song.
Gervinho seems likely to be missing as well, opening the door for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to continue whilst Theo Walcott seems likely to be fit. The latter is key because his presence will temper some attacking instinct in the Tottenham full backs, requiring more attention than they might normally place on an opponent as they know he has the pace to exploit gaps left. They also know he has the inconsistency of delivery so they may escape unpunished although his visits to White Hart Lane last season showed otherwise.
Tottenham’s media cheerleaders were put in their place. A poor start by Arsenal’s standards has not been countered entirely by consecutive wins but suggests that the apex of the corner is definitely in sight. A win on Sunday and you would have to believe that the corner has been turned although the away form makes you suspect that being round the bend to believe it in the first place is a more appropriate analogy.
Although Tottenham are reportedly in the best form of this century, they are but two points ahead of Arsenal. As Wenger pointed out, the season ends in May. No, Arsenal have not crumbled and most media speak is rhubarb. The manager quick to point out which club has the more effective European record, a symbol of continued dominance of north London football. But such tokens can be easily shattered and Arsenal will have to work hard to achieve the win.
A sunny Saturday ahead of us before battle commences tomorrow. Make the most of the summer; for one side of the NLD, winter comes sooner than the forecasters predict.
Posted on October 1, 2011, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip. Bookmark the permalink. 123 Comments.