Peacocks of the football world: how Arsenal need a change in strategy
It’s well-known that Arsene Wenger isn’t a fan of adapting to opposition tactics, opting instead for the ‘come at me, bro’ gameplan. On numerous occasions, Le Boss has been adamant that the opposition will have to deal with us, not the other way around. But in a world where some clubs have near-limitless resources, this approach is destined to fail.
Arsenal are financial underdogs. We simply can’t compete against Chelsea or Man City in the transfer market. Sure, we can pay similar initial fees that Chelsea or Man City do, but we can’t afford the wages that those clubs usually end up paying. These clubs can afford to attract better players, better coaches, better managers, better infrastructure, better everything.
So we need to adapt. If we’re unwilling to go down the same route and press Kroenke for some sugardaddy cash, we need to accept our underdog status and shape the club around that.
Dortmund and Atletico Madrid have done just this. Both realised that they couldn’t compete with the giants in their leagues financially, so they took another approach. They started to compete in areas like team unity, tactical approach, clever gameplans and sensible player acquisitions.
These teams realised they were underdogs and fully accepted it. Atletico Madrid doesn’t go into a Barcelona game thinking Barca need to handle them, they go into a game like that well-prepared with a carefully developed strategy built around team cohesion. They go into that game expecting to adapt to Barca’s approach, not the other way around.
We can’t go into games in 2014 based on our form in 2002. We don’t have the explosiveness of Thierry Henry, the midfield dominance of Patrick Vieira, or the defensive organisation of Tony Adams. Our players aren’t bad, but they are nowhere near being able to dominate giants on a regular basis.
If we can’t compete financially, we have to compete through other means.