Premier League 2016-17

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Re: Premier League 2016-17

Postby M3R » 19 Aug 2016, 18:41

I've been making my weekly predictions on the BBC Sport Predictor http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/predictor
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Re: Premier League 2016-17

Postby sjg11 » 21 Aug 2016, 03:05

I'll do that when I'm back in England M3R.

As for our start to the season... it's not been brilliant but we've had some tricky games.

As ever the mass hysteria from most of the Arsenal support is embarrassing. We're, what, two games into a 38 game season? At least wait a couple of months to see how the season's panning out before completely writing the team off.

I do often think that our own fans hold us back sometimes. The ridiculously negative atmosphere surrounding the Emirates for the past couple of months can't help the team when they're playing at home.

It's difficult to say whether our recent abysmal home record is due to the team performing badly and the fans then losing patience or whether the fans lose patience too easily which negatively affects the team's home form.

I tend to think it's a bit of both, we wobble a little bit, the fans go mental and a little wobble turns into a full-blown crisis.
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Re: Premier League 2016-17

Postby Carebear » 23 Aug 2016, 05:07

sjg11 wrote:As for our start to the season... it's not been brilliant but we've had some tricky games.

Arsenal won both matches last season against Leicester City. You really think Leicester City is as good or flying as high as last season? No.

Arsenal tied both matches last season against Liverpool. This year it begins with a loss at home. I think it is reasonable to say that Liverpool has done a bit more in the transfer market than Arsenal, but that is not saying much. However, they have hardly spent anything compared to some of the other big clubs in the league this summer. If they are recovering and surpassing Arsenal, then I can see us finally slipping out of the top four for the first time in Wenger's reign.

Tricky fixtures, yes. However, we are already showing comparatively worse performances than last year.


sjg11 wrote:As ever the mass hysteria from most of the Arsenal support is embarrassing. We're, what, two games into a 38 game season? At least wait a couple of months to see how the season's panning out before completely writing the team off.

I feel your pejorative description is inaccurate. Is it hysteria to be unhappy with this "Groundhog Day" scenario in which we continually find our team? We all know where we are deficient. While they have recently spent to bring in an occasional big player, they have not spent with the consistency needed to fill the gaps. The club has shown a clear lack of resolve to take the actions that say they want to challenge for the title.

The financial state of Arsenal clearly highlights our ability to bring in some more quality players. Other clubs are spending heavily to add strength and depth to their squads. We have not. The fans are rightfully frustrated.


sjg11 wrote:I do often think that our own fans hold us back sometimes. The ridiculously negative atmosphere surrounding the Emirates for the past couple of months can't help the team when they're playing at home.

While I voice my opinion in writing, I do not prominently display the negativity at matches. I go to enjoy the play. Being more cerebral, I am also the fan that everyone hates for sitting and watching the match. With my travel, I currently only maintain a Red membership.

However, I understand the frustration and do not condemn them for their display. These are professionals and should be able to ignore the noise in the stands. How else can it be when at opposing stadiums?

Have the players show some grit (not, reckless challenges Jack), and the fans will be supportive.


sjg11 wrote:It's difficult to say whether our recent abysmal home record is due to the team performing badly and the fans then losing patience or whether the fans lose patience too easily which negatively affects the team's home form.

I tend to think it's a bit of both, we wobble a little bit, the fans go mental and a little wobble turns into a full-blown crisis.

Don't buy it. Won't buy it. Professionals have to perform in hostile stadiums. While they may not desire it at home, they certainly should be able to deal with it. If the team had the quality and the tenacity to play for the championship, the fans would not be showing their frustration.


To be clear, Arsenal is a quality team. Given their history, they will likely once again display just enough strength to finish in the top four. However, this consistency is not maintainable. With the heavy spend by other clubs, I have a worrying feeling that this is the season we finally do not win our Champions League Participation Trophy.

It is not unreasonable for the fans to want the team to strive for the EPL championship. Actions speak louder than words. The team has shown a lack of seriousness to reach for that championship through its deficient spending. It is perfectly reasonable after this year over year blase spending for the fans to not only be frustrated, but mutinous.
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Re: Premier League 2016-17

Postby sjg11 » 23 Aug 2016, 16:18

Carebear wrote:
sjg11 wrote:As for our start to the season... it's not been brilliant but we've had some tricky games.

Arsenal won both matches last season against Leicester City. You really think Leicester City is as good or flying as high as last season? No.

Arsenal tied both matches last season against Liverpool. This year it begins with a loss at home. I think it is reasonable to say that Liverpool has done a bit more in the transfer market than Arsenal, but that is not saying much. However, they have hardly spent anything compared to some of the other big clubs in the league this summer. If they are recovering and surpassing Arsenal, then I can see us finally slipping out of the top four for the first time in Wenger's reign.

Tricky fixtures, yes. However, we are already showing comparatively worse performances than last year.

That's one way of looking at the first two games.

Another way of looking at it is that... well when was the last time we did particularly well over the first couple of games of a season? Not since about 2010-11 can I actually remember us starting a season quickly.

We tend to pick up from September through to about January then we have another dip before rallying for the home straight.

Three seasons in the last 4 have started with a home defeat. The season before that started with a home draw against Sunderland. The season before that with a draw at Newcastle. In all those seasons we recovered to at least claim a top 4 spot. All those other games were against weaker opposition than Liverpool.
sjg11 wrote:As ever the mass hysteria from most of the Arsenal support is embarrassing. We're, what, two games into a 38 game season? At least wait a couple of months to see how the season's panning out before completely writing the team off.

I feel your pejorative description is inaccurate. Is it hysteria to be unhappy with this "Groundhog Day" scenario in which we continually find our team? We all know where we are deficient. While they have recently spent to bring in an occasional big player, they have not spent with the consistency needed to fill the gaps. The club has shown a clear lack of resolve to take the actions that say they want to challenge for the title.

The financial state of Arsenal clearly highlights our ability to bring in some more quality players. Other clubs are spending heavily to add strength and depth to their squads. We have not. The fans are rightfully frustrated.

I'll give you an example from the end of last season to illustrate my point.

After the defeat at Old Trafford last season, a significant portion of our fanbase went mental and declared it the end of our title challenge. At that point we were still very much in the title race. I think we were 5 points behind Leicester and, frankly, we were never massively likely to win at Old Trafford in the first place.

That negativity then filtered through to the next game at home to Swansea which we lost and which was a massive blow to our title hopes.

Our fanbase is far too quick to panic and heap far more pressure on our players after a wobble than any other club in the Premier League does.

This may be due to the frustration surrounding our "Groundhog Day" seasons... but the way it manifests itself doesn't actually help the players to perform to the best of their ability.
sjg11 wrote:I do often think that our own fans hold us back sometimes. The ridiculously negative atmosphere surrounding the Emirates for the past couple of months can't help the team when they're playing at home.

While I voice my opinion in writing, I do not prominently display the negativity at matches. I go to enjoy the play. Being more cerebral, I am also the fan that everyone hates for sitting and watching the match. With my travel, I currently only maintain a Red membership.

However, I understand the frustration and do not condemn them for their display. These are professionals and should be able to ignore the noise in the stands. How else can it be when at opposing stadiums?

Have the players show some grit (not, reckless challenges Jack), and the fans will be supportive.

My point is that the negativity and the added pressure that comes with being an Arsenal player doesn't help the club. City's fans are quiet and don't put their players under as much pressure as we do. Chelsea's fans didn't even when they were just above the relegation zone last season. Liverpool's fans don't (the only time when Liverpool entered a similar period of fan hysteria was under Hodgson). United's fans... are close to ours and it affected their home form last season. This year they won't have to face that level of hysteria from their fans and it'll probably help them. Spurs don't at the moment (they experienced similar levels of pressure under AVB).

Our players do show grit. Do you remember the game at White Hart Lane last season? When we were down to 10 men, away from home in a massive game and came back to draw and nearly managed to steal a win?

My point is that, to be successful at Arsenal, our own fanbase puts us in a position where the players need almost superhuman levels of grit to be successful due to the hostility they face from their own fans every week. Do you remember the fans booing Giroud when he scored three goals against Villa at the end of last season? How is that helpful?
sjg11 wrote:It's difficult to say whether our recent abysmal home record is due to the team performing badly and the fans then losing patience or whether the fans lose patience too easily which negatively affects the team's home form.

I tend to think it's a bit of both, we wobble a little bit, the fans go mental and a little wobble turns into a full-blown crisis.

Don't buy it. Won't buy it. Professionals have to perform in hostile stadiums. While they may not desire it at home, they certainly should be able to deal with it. If the team had the quality and the tenacity to play for the championship, the fans would not be showing their frustration.

If the fans were less negative and the players were playing in a similar environment to their competitors maybe it would turn out that they did have the quality and tenacity to play for the championship. Our players do regularly show both quality and tenacity. Often they show that quality and tenacity when they're playing away from home. But the environment at the Emirates is so poisonous that it makes life so much harder for the players than for the players of the teams we're meant to be challenging.
To be clear, Arsenal is a quality team. Given their history, they will likely once again display just enough strength to finish in the top four. However, this consistency is not maintainable. With the heavy spend by other clubs, I have a worrying feeling that this is the season we finally do not win our Champions League Participation Trophy.

To my mind this is the crux of the matter. Only Real Madrid have a more consistent record when it comes to CL qualification. We've won two trophies in the past three seasons. Last year we finished second in the League. A lot of big clubs would love to be where we are at the moment. But the atmosphere at the Emirates is almost as hostile, if not matching the hostility, as at complete basket-case clubs like Leeds, Blackburn, Bolton, Charlton etc. Which is why I use the term "hysteria" when discussing our fanbase.
It is not unreasonable for the fans to want the team to strive for the EPL championship. Actions speak louder than words. The team has shown a lack of seriousness to reach for that championship through its deficient spending. It is perfectly reasonable after this year over year blase spending for the fans to not only be frustrated, but mutinous.

There's a difference between discussing the club and discussing the team. My point is that the frustrations at the way the club is run too often manifests itself in a way that harms the team and stops the team performing to the level they could achieve. This, in my opinion, hurts our chances to a great extent. Our fans should not be a block to the team's success. Currently I think they are.
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Re: Premier League 2016-17

Postby Carebear » 23 Aug 2016, 19:04

sjg11 wrote:My point is that the frustrations at the way the club is run too often manifests itself in a way that harms the team and stops the team performing to the level they could achieve. This, in my opinion, hurts our chances to a great extent. Our fans should not be a block to the team's success. Currently I think they are.

While I agree that supporters' negativity cannot be good, I am reluctant to believe that they have significant impact to on-pitch performance. Each player is different. While I was never an emotional player that fed off of a crowd, I know that there are some that do. To play at the highest levels, I believe that most players have to tune out the crowd, especially when at opposing venues.

For the sake of discussion, let's say that your conjecture is true. The team underperforms because of fan hostility in the stadium. What is the solution?

It seems unlikely that we could sway, simply through discussion, a sufficient percentage of the fan-base to create a positive atmosphere in the stadium. This frustration is not over just current spending, but also more than a decade of miserly misery in the transfer market since we last secured an EPL championship (at WHL no less!). There must be actions.

What actions can be taken to change the negative attitude? It seems pretty simple to me that the club could address the underlying frustration by simply spending more money to strengthen and deepen the squad. Though we have spent more recently, we still have not spent near our competitors and we have a longer term deficit of comparable spending to them that highlights the reason behind our lack of depth and top strength. [data]
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Re: Premier League 2016-17

Postby sjg11 » 24 Aug 2016, 01:06

Carebear wrote:
sjg11 wrote:My point is that the frustrations at the way the club is run too often manifests itself in a way that harms the team and stops the team performing to the level they could achieve. This, in my opinion, hurts our chances to a great extent. Our fans should not be a block to the team's success. Currently I think they are.

While I agree that supporters' negativity cannot be good, I am reluctant to believe that they have significant impact to on-pitch performance. Each player is different. While I was never an emotional player that fed off of a crowd, I know that there are some that do. To play at the highest levels, I believe that most players have to tune out the crowd, especially when at opposing venues.

Sorry, I was being a little bit hyperbolic and was probably overstating the impact which the fans' negativity had on the performances on the pitch.

I do think, however, that at a club where the player's mental strength is constantly being called into question, it seems like a risk and a potentially destabilising force to have a highly negative home support. You yourself questioned the players grit and mental strength in an earlier post, surely if part of the problem is a weak mentality at the club then they would likely be the type of players who would also be affected by a negative home crowd?
It seems unlikely that we could sway, simply through discussion, a sufficient percentage of the fan-base to create a positive atmosphere in the stadium. This frustration is not over just current spending, but also more than a decade of miserly misery in the transfer market since we last secured an EPL championship (at WHL no less!). There must be actions.

This however I agree with. I was griping more than actually suggesting that was the way to turn things around. Although I would also point out that we've only been in a financial position to challenge for the championship again over the last two or three seasons. So including the rest of the decade when we were dealing with the costs of building the stadium seems a little bit harsh on the club.
What actions can be taken to change the negative attitude? It seems pretty simple to me that the club could address the underlying frustration by simply spending more money to strengthen and deepen the squad. Though we have spent more recently, we still have not spent near our competitors and we have a longer term deficit of comparable spending to them that highlights the reason behind our lack of depth and top strength. [data]

This is, again, true. For example, we need at least one CB even if Chambers suddenly emerges this season/Holding turns out to be an incredible signing (both of which are fairly unlikely to happen to the extent which we would need it to happen for it to allow us to sustain a genuine title challenge) and probably two at this point.
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Re: Premier League 2016-17

Postby Carebear » 24 Aug 2016, 01:37

sjg11 wrote:Sorry, I was being a little bit hyperbolic and was probably overstating the impact which the fans' negativity had on the performances on the pitch.

No worries. You are frustrated too! We both are.

Agreed, the stadium was a burden. However, that time is in the past. Now, we must not only equal our competitors, we should even be a little bit looser with the purse strings to mitigate the years of neglect.

Can you think of any other action that would appease the faithful?
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Re: Premier League 2016-17

Postby sjg11 » 24 Aug 2016, 01:46

Carebear wrote:
sjg11 wrote:Sorry, I was being a little bit hyperbolic and was probably overstating the impact which the fans' negativity had on the performances on the pitch.

No worries. You are frustrated too! We both are.

Agreed, the stadium was a burden. However, that time is in the past. Now, we must not only equal our competitors, we should even be a little bit looser with the purse strings to mitigate the years of neglect.

Can you think of any other action that would appease the faithful?

I would also point out that, despite years of... financial neglect... somehow we still have a good squad with a lot of positives in it. We don't need a mass structural upheaval this season, just a little tweak here or there. This, to my mind, shows Wenger's often unmentioned strengths as a manager. Considering every piece of financial data from the last 15-20 years our consistency really is remarkable. Unfortunately, it's impossible to know to what extent Wenger is responsible for the stingyness surrounding the financial side of the club and to what extent that's down to Gazidis or Kroenke. Which means there will always be question marks surrounding this period of his tenure.

Personally my worry is that we'll blow a lot of money on a shiny, new striker (which would be nice) and not spend any money on CBs in order to appease the fans.

From a squad-building point of view we need a CB more than we need a ST. Giroud is still a lot better than a lot of people think he is. If we get in a top striker... wonderful... but the CBs have to be the priority. Above everything else. Except maybe buying Arsene a coat he can actually zip up competently. That should really be priority one.
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Re: Premier League 2016-17

Postby Carebear » 24 Aug 2016, 02:00

sjg11 wrote:Except maybe buying Arsene a coat he can actually zip up competently. That should really be priority one.

I am thinking a Velcro strip in place of a zipper might be the better thing. Else, get a really big zipper. People his age really start to have fine-motor skill issues.
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Re: Premier League 2016-17

Postby sjg11 » 24 Aug 2016, 15:21

Carebear wrote:
sjg11 wrote:Except maybe buying Arsene a coat he can actually zip up competently. That should really be priority one.

I am thinking a Velcro strip in place of a zipper might be the better thing. Else, get a really big zipper. People his age really start to have fine-motor skill issues.

Velcro strip is definitely a good shout. A really big zipper might look even worse than him trying to do up the smaller zipper.
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