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 Post subject: Referendum - What quantifies success this term?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:52 am 
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There has been much conjecture about the adequacy of Arsenal dealings in the market this summer with the majority feeling that it's been a missed oppurtunity to build upon last year's squad and address key weaknesses. Further the losses of Flamini and Hleb have left fans feeling that the squad is weaker than last term. Prior to the start of the season no doubt supporters would have been keenly looking for the team to build upon last season and achiece more this time around.

On this month's referendum we are asking readers 'What quantifies success this term?'

Have your expectations changed this the end of the season and do the team enough to meet your own expectations?

As per normal Arsenal-Land will select the best replies and post them as part off our Referendum feature on the home page. We are looking for short concise replies of around 100-200 words. The article will be published by Tuesday 2nd September. As per normal the thread will remain open beyond the publish date as a normal debate thread.

Look forward to your replies.


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 Post subject: Re: Referendum - What quantifies success this term?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 10:56 am 
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Frankly the time for transition and patience has come to an end for me. The only conclusion to this season that will for my mind constitute success will be a trophy.

The very minimum that I would consider a ‘successful’ season would be winning the FA Cup and finishing in the Champions League qualifying places after a very close challenge for the title.

Even this I have to say would merely be placating rather than delighting. To be honest for it to really be considered a truly successful campaign we need to be League Champions.

The Premiership is our bread and butter and we should have won it last year. Yes we did suffer some terrible luck with injuries and the men with the flags seemed on a joint crusade to derail us. However we have suffered this type of thing before, particularly in 2001-02 and we overcame the odds, Arsenal style.

Am I asking too much? Is this the sulking of a spoilt Johnny come lately? Well at the end of the day, we are The Arsenal, we have to reach for the sky and to spend another season pot-less with the manager and players we have cannot in any way be deemed a success regardless of how poor we were in the early 80’s.


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 Post subject: Re: Referendum - What quantifies success this term?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 12:25 pm 
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A success for a club like Arsenal is to win trophies. But I won't consider a success 4th place and the Carling Cup. Recent performances give me some concerns. We need one more quality midfielder, but at the same time I think Wenger is right : one more body is not a solution. Against Fulham everyone played below their level, not everyone is ready for the season, certainly it will be better later; we lacked creativity there, and a holding midf wouldn't solve the problem. I am sure we would have done better if everyone had been in required condition. We should improve what we have and the at the same time add the player the team needs.

I don't expect us to struggle this season and refuse to write us off after two or three matches. Arsenal have good chances to win PL and CL. Let Wenger get his job done. We'll see where will be in the end, we'll see if he deserves to be critisized or not. Now we should keep faith in players: may be someone will step up like Flamini did (no one, including me, saw him near the first team) Hopefuly Arsenal will win trophies this season with its trademark superstylish football. :thumbup:


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 Post subject: Re: Referendum - What quantifies success this term?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:10 pm 
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I'd like to see us pick up a cup as I think the league will go to Chelsea.

I think at this point in our history more than any other it is important to balance what the club can achieve against the resources that are available.
I'm always going to believe that with Arsene Wenger in charge that we have a chance to win the the premiership, however, when statistically balanced against the spending of our rivals, we have a disadvantage. I dont mean we have no budget, or that we should spend big- Wenger prefers to remain prudent. But even if Wenger got a touch of the 'Benitez' and decided to splash the cash would we be any closer to Chelsea and Manu Utd? I dont think so.

I belive that for two reasons-
1. We're pretty damn close anyway
2. In a cash slug-fest we'd always lose.

The fact of the matter is, we're not on the smae plane as te top two yet. Manchesters marketing and abramovichs millions mean that they can both maintain debts of over $1 Billion (though chelseas is less direct).

One Billlion!- Could arsenal ever maintain that level of debt with the spending maintained by Sir Alex? Not in any long term vue.

Arsene Wneger, prehaps more than any other boss in the top flight, concerns himself with the long term success and survival of the club. Temepering current trophies against future youth development. Banking on a golden age around the corner. Hopefully it will come, hopefully, Wilshire, Randall, Lansbury, Vela et al are the startings of it.

So success for me, will be a sign that we have a secure financial future, that our youth system is finally creating top-top talent, a Cup on the side and hopefully we'll sneak the Premier League title along the way.


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 Post subject: Re: Referendum - What quantifies success this term?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:27 pm 
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Expectations have definately changed for me. What was an overachievment in pushing for League and Euopean titles last season with a young, emerging group of players has not been adequately built upon. In addition, the departures of several of those players, have left gaps on the pitch that others have tried, and so far, failed to fill.

With all the anxiety, confusion, frustration and annoyance that really came to boil in our latest defeat to Fulham, our measure of success has been forced into Champions League survival and nothing more. A domestic cup would be a welcome luxury, but even that won't stave off the growing tension.

Then again, maybe this lowering the bar is a good thing, because more often times than not, we tend to flourish in adversity.


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 Post subject: Re: Referendum - What quantifies success this term?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:43 pm 
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Success for me as for any supporter and player is quantified with trophies. So why should it be any different this season? Well it has to be different, we have lost so many first team players, its unbelievable. But 'does Wenger really know'? He said we will be challenging for PL and CL. He says this because he believes we can with the squad we have. I do not concur with this assumption. We lost the trophy last season as we did not invest in a squad, which would have taken us the whole way.

Wenger actually said,'how do I know we were going to have injuries?'
Well now he has the benefit of foresight. So its natural we can expect him to go out an get reinforcements. He also said at the end of last season he needs to keep him team together. Well he tried unsuccessfully. Some players went out of their own intent, some we could have tried to retain. It was not meant to be.

With this depletion of the squad and no supposed additions, I would expect another season of unfulfilled promises. If Wenger thinks he can win a trophy with this team, he is clearly missing a very important synapse in his frontal lobe. I would say any similar run like last season in the league would be an over achievement. If we OVERACHIEVE like last season I will be consider it a successful season.

If kids(not first team players) get a good run in the carling cup, and we do put in decent performances, I would consider it a successful season. I am disappointed that we havent won CL yet. Wenger thinks he can win it this season with this team. Even if we get to semi finals with this team, I will call it a successful season.

I want to win the FA cup. If we do, the season is successful. If we dont achieve the other 3 goals, but we win FA cup, it is still a successful season. If we dont win FA cup, I do not think we will anything else this season.


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 Post subject: Re: Referendum - What quantifies success this term?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 3:21 pm 
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I personally think a lot of people are basing their opinions on a successful season on the current team we have at the moment and are not considering the fact that we have Diaby, Rosicky, Eduardo and Bischoff out. I believe once we are fully fit with no injuries then we have enough quality to win the title and also with a bit of luck the champions league. Anything that shows we have improved from last year will be a success for me. This includes Ade scoring 40 goals, gaining more points than last season in the league. Champions league semi final, FA cup final, League cup final (with the youth team).


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 Post subject: Re: Referendum - What quantifies success this term?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 4:47 pm 
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Id like to see more improvment from last season and try to finish in the top 2 of the league.

No im not crazy i just think that a lot of people forget having 3 key players back ( eduardo,Robin van Persie,rosicknote,) could add a great deal depth to are squad when all fit, and if we can sign a (cm) before the deadline i see know reason why won't be right up there come the end of the season.

With the current squad i think we are better suited to chase down the leaders than fight them off from the front.


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 Post subject: Re: Referendum - What quantifies success this term?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:38 pm 
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Success for me would be to finish the season playing the way we were at the start of last; with verve and confidence. I think that a top 3 finish would be a good acheivement and would like us to reach at least the Semi's of the Champions league and perhaps win a domestic cup. We need to eradicate some of the dissatisfaction through players showing their commitment and proving that the Arsenal way can deliver success.

I feel that this year we need the fringe players to establish themselves to an extent that they can be depended on and contribute in future seasons. Another important factor will be convincing the key players to stay and getting a fully fit squad. We will do well to beat our points tally from last season with the current squad but I would hope we concentrate better and don't have as much bad luck against the top teams (although we may slip up against the lesser teams more often than last year, where we did enjoy some luck)


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 Post subject: Re: Referendum - What quantifies success this term?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:49 pm 
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Success for me is measured by performance and regardless of our squads situation all I can expect is that we put up a decent fight and challenge in all competitions, I think that's all any fan of any team in the top four of their respective division can ask for. Of course I hope that we will win trophies, after all thats why the teams compete in the first place. But it's the challenge that is a minimum expectation as well as steady upward progression.

Last season I was definately more optimistic about our chances in the league but I still believe that we have the capability to challenge. As several others have already mentioned we have players out injured who we all hope will feature plenty in the upcoming campaigns, if we can keep these players fit then we certainly have the quality to do that albeit that more quality and quantity are needed to progress that bit further. However the question at the moment that bothers me is this: When we get these injured players back can we keep them fit for a sustained period without a larger squad? I fear without more depth we will end up rushing the likes of Rosicky, Diaby et al back before they are ready and shooting ourselves in the foot...


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 Post subject: Re: Referendum - What quantifies success this term?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 6:07 pm 
Sucess is winning trophies, simple as that. While for a team like Blackburn the signal of success is a top 4 finish, for the 3rd richest club in the world, who charge the most per seat in the world, with supposedly the best manager in the world......its the League or Champions League, anything less is a failure. The board and manager dont share this view however.

Liverpool, Chelsea, Man Utd, Bayern Munich, Barca, Real Madrid, Internazionale, AC Milan are all clubs that are playing squarely for sucess in the 2 big trophies......we are not in the same bracket as them, our ambition and ability falls short of these 'Giants'


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 Post subject: Re: Referendum - What quantifies success this term?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 6:26 pm 
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It is hard to say what quantifies success before the transfer window closes. But assuming that there will be one more major signing at most, I am not too positive about Arsenal's season. In fact, if somebody would guarantee me that Arsenal finish third this year, I would take it. As it looks to me, we don't have a chance in winning the Premier League or the Champions League this year, maybe we'll be lucky and win the Carling Cup, but that alone should not quantify as a success for a club like Arsenal.

Besides a league position I would say that the one thing Wenger mentioned before Flamini left will be a major challenge: Keeping the team together. That's where Wenger failed crucially, and that's where he has to be even more alerted in the future. He himself will know best that there's no point in conducting an experiment if the experimental set-up changes significantly after every season. That's why keeping the team together (after the exits are replaced properly) will be a success and the key to further success.


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 Post subject: Re: Referendum - What quantifies success this term?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 6:38 pm 
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The most common answer so far as been 'trophies', but for me it's more subtle than that. If success is defined by trophies, than supporters must accept that for the majority of every club's history, it will be unsuccessful.

Wenger has outlined the current project - to gather a group of supremely talented youngsters and develop them to maturity, immersing them in the club and its style of play and building a legendary team (admittedly 'legendary' is my own choice of words). It's an admirable goal.

Considering the long term nature of the project, immediate success is not something that I need per se to deem next season successful. What's most important for me is that we make progress on last season, and that the squad demonstrates it is making progress towards the ultimate goal of dominating English and European football.

What would be defined as progress? Coming closer to the league title (ie being in the title race longer than last season), and/or improving on our points tally. Making the Champions League quarter final and having a decent FA Cup run are almost important criteria. Equally as important as the above though is what I call 'squad progress' - ie, that by the summer of 2009 we have a much clearer picture of who will be the core groups of players that will define this era of the club.

I think we can say that Clichy, Fabregas, Toure and Sagna have cemented their places in that group, but there are questions marks over others. Can Gallas step up to the plate? Is Almunia really No.1 material? Is Djorou Arsenal material? Who is Cesc's long term partner? Can Nasri reach the same heights as Pires and Ljungberg? Will Theo make it? Can Van Persie stay fit? Can Eduardo get back to his best? Will Bendtner make it? Will Ade stay at his best, and at the club?

There are lots of question marks. With two core young players (Flamini and Senderos) having left, Wenger will be hoping that the young players he has invested much time in will step up to the plate and prevent his project from being derailed. If the likes of Theo, Van Persie, Bendtner, Djorou, Song Nasri and Denilson fail to prove their worth, Wenger might need to re-examine his project and start again from scratch. If they do, we're one step closer to a glorious era.


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 Post subject: Re: Referendum - What quantifies success this term?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:14 pm 
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It could be argued that all this focus on the "the future" is being exaggerated to quell present concerns, certainly. But to suggest that Wenger is intentionally selling us a "dream that will never come to quell discontent in the present" is ludicrous in my opinion. I have no doubt he's convinced he can build a great team, and a large part of me believes him.

What was my main criterion for success? Progress. Progress means you're closer to reaching a tangible goal, it means you're getting somewhere - it means the dream is closer, and more likely to be achieved. I didn't say my criterion was a season in which we stand still, see a high turnover of young players and hear about how that group will be great in a few years. That would fit with your statement. That's not progress - progress means this group of players getting closer to being the best team in the world.


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 Post subject: Re: Referendum - What quantifies success this term?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 10:36 am 
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For every team, success will be by making progress and how much they progressed while failure will have meant they have gone backwards. Every team in the top four has been trying to make strides to go forward yet so far Man U have sold off two pieces of defensive cover which could mean any injuries at the back will hurt them more then last year and it will be hard for them to progress from the incredible achievement last season. Chelsea will be looking to win something and be playing more attractive football, Liverpool will be looking to make a strong title challenge at last. I don't think any of the clubs below us are looking to get 4th, they will hope and look to seize on any of the big four that struggle but think Villa are looking for 5th, Spurs looking to improve into a Uefa Cup spot while Blackburn, Everton, Portsmouth and Man City look to consolidate.

Us? We did incredibly well last season but just finished off the pace due to a mixture of injuries, bad luck, poor defending and exhaustion in key players. The summer transfer dealings have left me concerned but we will see by the end of the season if the dealings have improved the squad short term or if we have taken a step back for the longer term good. In terms of cups and leagues, I expect us to finish in the top four of the league and get past the group stage of the CL, from there my expectations are simply in the knock outs to perform well and not to embarrass ourselves as we did at Old Trafford. I know cup wins take a lot of luck, it is all very well saying "I expect us to get past the third round" if we then draw Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and ties can rest on a little bit of luck. I would like a cup win to give our players a taste of being winners but it isn't vital, nor will I judge the team over how they do in cups. Group stages we can control more and we should be looking to get past that stage each season while the league, best team tends to win. I hope for a title challenge but right now think we are a bit short in a couple of area's so I'm setting my sights on third for this season, I think we can keep up with the other three and just edge out Liverpool as 4th place is going to be a real pain for CL qualification from now on thanks to our firepower. Can we challenge again? Yes, if we start building form after the England/Croatia game and play near our best, a bit more luck with injuries and we can. Do I think we are going too? I fear we are seriously weaker now due to the loss of the creative Hleb, a player who was undervalued by the fans and in tight games, we might miss his spark while our defence hasn't been strengthened considerably, two inexperienced keepers as backup while now nobody who can head the ball.

In terms of more individual matters, Almunia, Gallas and Toure have to show they can be as good a defensive trio as VDS/Vidic/Rio or at least perform better then they have been. Only one goal conceded in four suggests an improvement but there is a long way to go and when teams start to areal bombard us, they must handle it better as a group. If they can't win the ball in the air then pick when and when not to challenge for it and get to the knock downs quicker then the opposition. The other real test I feel is for the squad players to come in and make a case for inclusion, last season Cesc, Hleb, Ade and Clichy ended up running on empty as Arsene didn't seem to want to give the squad players starts if the first choices were ever fit, we need them this time to allow Arsene to give the first choices more rests due to confidence in the second strong. For the likes of Mozart and Van Persie, the challenge is simply to get fit and stay fit, for the new additions like Nasri, Bischoff, Silvestre they will want to show that they were worth the money and can be useful additions, the young players like Walcott and Denilson will be looking to improve as players this season. The team as a whole needs to defended set peices better then they did last season and have started this season. If they manage all that then it will have been a successful season.


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