Time for the professor to learn from Pochettino
OPINION: The Arsene knows best strategy is leading to some strange team selections
09 November, 2017 — By Richard Osley
IT’S the north London derby coming up next week and batten down the hatches if you are an Arsenal fan, unaccustomed as we are to this new and unexciting phenomenon of entering the fixture as underdogs.
Spurs are super hot right now, having added the We Beat Real Madrid 3-1 Trophy to the prestigious Finished Above Arsenal Shield and Put Pressure On Chelsea Vase in their ram jam prize cabinet.
Be warned, their combined strength is much greater than Harry Kane’s golden boot.
More important is the settled team which Mauricio Pochettino has brought together.
The players – and fans – more or less know who is going to start and in what formation each week, and you can see the understanding that this creates on the pitch.
They are still bottly-bottle jobs whenever there is a glimpse of a real life trophy in sight, but Pochettino must be the most sought after manager in Europe to never have won anything.
He has turned Tottenham in the right direction at last, and it is remiss of me not to have already mentioned the gleaming Record Attendance Cup which they have been celebrating recently, as if none of the other big six could fill Wembley if they were displaced because THEIR STADIUM WAS SO POXY THAT THERE WAS A POLE BLOCKING THE TV CAMERA. IN 2017.
While Spurs have been copying Arsenal for decades, however, it’s time for the Gunners, or namely Arsene Wenger, to learn from Pochettino’s commitment to consistency in his team.
They call me the professor, you can almost imagine Wenger thinking, so I will simply apply linear quantum theorems and algebraic sum vectors (choose your own combination of mathsy words at home here, folks) to the problem of trying to beat Pep Guardiola and Manchester City’s billion pound squad.
And so while he talks to the moon about a soft penalty and a comically offside goal, Wenger sidesteps the fact that his maverick science of playing at least four players out of position has been debunked by the charts.
Other discredited Wenger hypotheses: that you can win by asking Alex Iwobi to bomb around like a panting five-year-old at Clown Town and leaving the club’s most expensive player – in history – on the substitutes’ bench for another major away day.
By twisting and turning the team around, and doing his best not to field Jack Wilshere, for that’s just what those silly supporters want, Wenger risks becoming a working definition of what it means to be trying to be too clever.
Coquelin shall be my master stroke, he will have told the mirror on Saturday night, I am the professor, I am.