Based in London and writing for a global audience our aim is to produce EliteFootballTalk. Enjoy the site and feel welcome to join in our discussion on the beautiful game.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Italy wakes up to the Wenger Masterplan (and TW)

I put into words what I had been seeing Arsene Wenger develop at Arsenal for the last three years when I wrote "The Wenger Masterplan is key to the Henry question" back in June last year (Check out the article in the sidebar to the right).

Essentially the Wenger Masterplan is to build his best ever team based on a recruitment of the best young players he can find around the world and moulding them individually and collectively into his superb vision of football which is to play pure, quick, attacking and passing football. I described that three of the four stages of the plan were well in progress the final and most exciting stage was ready to be executed- season after season of real challenge for success.

With the determined and successful Wenger at the helm I had every belief that this young third generation squad three years in the making were about to explode in the football public's conciousness.

The Wenger Masterplan was not spotted by many of the English media's so-called 'football experts' who was predicting the decline of Arsenal this season - tipping us to fall out of the top four clubs in England. The only people I came across not affiliated to Arsenal who believed they would challenge for trophies this season was Paul Jewell (now the Derby manager) Graham Taylor (former England manager and now a good radio summariser) and the excellent football writer for the Independent, James Lawton. They were notable because no one else gave Arsenal a chance.

England have since woken up during the course of the season to what Arsene Wenger has been developing and many have complimented this third generation side (although it is clear from the analysis that I read or hear that many do not seem to realise the extent of what Wenger is developing).

What was especially great about Arsenal's 2-0 win over the Champions League specialists AC Milan at the San Siro was that if they were unaware beforehand Italy have now been put on full alert to the Wenger Masterplan. The way this young third-generation Arsenal side took control of the match against their more experiened opponents and produced the supremely co-ordinated quick passing and attacking football which is the Wenger template was truly fantastic to watch.

Cesc Fabregas is the tone-setter of the team and is a big-match player. He set the excellent rhythm and absolute composure for the rest of the team to emulate (as is his trademark) and it was fitting that the 20 year old who is near to completing 200 first class games for Arsenal was the player who decided the match with a decisive dribble and finish from 30 yards into the corner of the net. The celebration says a lot about the player - the passion and the desire was evident. He is a captain in performance if not with the armband and a true Arsenal great in the making.

Theo Walcott than produced a cameo that people should remember. The 18 year old Englishman who has been the subject of unreasonable criticism from supporters in this country who seem to overlook a guy with pure talent and an obviously good mindset produced a Henry-esque sprint to beat Kakha Kaladze to a long ball in space - and then produced a magnificent Henry-esque slide-rule pass across the six-yard box for Adebayor to slot home. This follows his first two goals in the Premier League against Birmingham ten days earlier - the second a demonstration of his running prowess and finishing potential - and hopefully those TW doubters will be thinking again.

He will not produce every game - but as an 18 year old this is to be expected. For me he has superstar potential and this is the bigger picture that should be focused on.

Finally, when reading the Guardian article on the Italian press reaction to the game I enjoyed this translation of a description of Adebayor:

'the extraordinary atypical monument to modern football'.

A fantastic tribute to the Ade who has gone from strength to strength this season and played another strong match on Tuesday when Italy witnessed at first hand the continued emergence of this third-generation Wenger Arsenal squad - which Wenger has specifically designed and aimed to be the best yet.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this article. Intelligent, well researched and confidently written.

ABout 4 years ago I told anyone who would listen that Wenger could produce an improved version of Ajax 1995. The difference would be that Arsenal could afford to keep its stars and would play faster, better football.

Now I don't view things as simply as this. The Ajax template was flawed; it had a shelf life insomuch as it depended largely (and put its trust fully into) a fantastic intake of academy graduates.

Arsenal have a 2 fold strategy for recruitment:
1)The graduates coing through the system.
2)Good, targetted, well thought out signings.
I feel with players like Eduardo, Hleb, Rosicky; Wenger has proven himself adaptable enough to buy talented players that require a decent fee and integrate them into his young team.

3/09/2008 11:51 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good article. I also feel that Thierry Henry was integral to the "masterplan". There have been a lot of comments this season about how the loss of Henry has liberated the young players who felt in awe of him. There is undoubtedly an element of truth to this, but I feel it puts Henry in a bad light. It should not be forgotten that it was Henry's ability to win games on his own that allowed the young players to gain experience in the first place. This allowed Wenger to blood the young players without compromising the holy grail of Champions League football. Wenger realised that as good as the 2004 team was it had a very limited life due to the age of the players. His solution was to build a new team that had the experience to peak 5 years earlier. Jose Mourinho's comments about Wenger not winning anything for 3 years show just how short-sighted he is. Wenger is trying to build a system that will change the face of football and be seen as a blueprint for a modern football team. Just how successful he is will determine Henry's Arsenal legacy - greatest player or catalyst to an new era.

3/09/2008 1:01 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

great work! insightful and clear minded. just right!

3/09/2008 2:20 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

GunnerPete usual 't' I enjoyed your summary of the AW masterplan.The man has transformed British football for the better ie; they all want to play like AFC now. He has transformed our great club from a giant just doing enough thanks to a next to a useless board, into a thriving, sucessful and financialy stable business. This time with the help of first, David Dean, and then from the current board.

In my humble opinion (which is based on too may bad years as a gunner) AW has only made a hand full of errors in all these years. A few I remember are ..Not buying a world class left winger or keeping Pires for another two seasons. Not going after several real class goalkeeping Uk youngstres like Ben Foster, Kirkland or even Henderson of Wolves. Yes I know its my constant moan but I think its important.

But most importantly is the quality of the man. It stands out when compared with some of his counter parts ie; Fergie who gets more bad decisions in his favour than any other club Ive ever seen, but wants even more. The ignorant Jose who has no idea of how to build a whole club unless you give him billions. And dont quote his Porto I will never forget how his team cheated and dived their way to the Champions cup. Plus the man has no quality Standards, and his trophies were all bought like Real Madrid have done for 40 years.

, And if you really study his squads you will see that he has a ready made super team to follow this one!

Please keep it up Arsene

3/11/2008 10:28 am

Blogger T said...

First of all thanks for the positive comments - are much appreciated.

Agree with everything stated - the purchase of experienced players like Gallas and Rosicky to complement the young players coming through is important and for me the legacy of Henry is a great one. He gave the young players like Cesc and RVP a true role-model to emulate - he was a winner who wanted to fully exploit his talent and that is something that these Arsenal youngsters I'm sure picked up upon.

Always great to have your comments GPete. Yes, I also would still like Pires at Arsenal, I really liked him not just for his excellent quality but the way he came across as a truly decent and mature individual to have in the squad. As for Mourinho - I just shake my head at what he had to say last week!


3/11/2008 10:08 pm


Post a Comment

<< Home


Locations of visitors to this page