I haven’t written for a long time, and honestly it has bothered me. But for Arsenal there should be something to write on and unless I find that posts in this blog shall remain rare. Now since, the season has drawn to its penultimate end, let me just throw out my opinion on the events of this season.
Arsenal finish 4th and celebrated as if they have won the champions league. I understand why the players celebrated the way they did after the Newcastle game. Getting 4th was immense for the club, and everybody including me had written them off. I for that matter, was so angry that I didn’t want them to qualify for the champions league, at least I felt that way then.
I supported the team in every match though, it was just that I told myself to accept the fact that we may not get 4th this season. The way I saw this as was not finishing 4th would force Wenger to make drastic changes to his rigid policies.
I saw the last game of the season with my Dad, who often doesn’t watch football with me, but we have the occasional banter about Arsenal. He really likes to pull my leg because I’m an Arsenal fan. I started shouting when the Walcott ran towards goal and struck the post. People in the house thought I had gone crazy.”Come on, run Theo, run, finish it, finish it, come on, ahhhhhh”
It was a hard fought victory over Newcastle, a mere 0-1 result, but that was enough. And my MOTM was Laurent Koscielny who I feel the club must hold on to under whatever circumstances.
Sir Alex Ferguson is retiring. And honestly, I am sad. I disliked him because he was in charge of United, but my respect for his immense. He is a benchmark for what managers should strive to become. He is more than a Mourinho, because of his continuous loyalty towards one club. And he has won everything. United did things in style this season, and the league was wrapped up when they established a 12 point lead over City.
I strongly believe that the quality of any team not only starts from the basics but also getting the job done in a consistent manner. My point can be well illustrated with an example. Manchester United grind out wins. Sometimes at Old Trafford, they come under a lot of pressure. They perform badly. And YET, despite all this, they grind out a 1-0 or 2-1 result. Sometimes they don’t even concede, in spite of playing in their own half for a good part of 90 mins.
And this is what Arsenal did for the latter half of the season.
I have a little stat which really commends this Arsenal team. We lost to Spurs at White Hart Lane, on 3rd March, 2013. Since then, Arsenal have played 10 games, winning 8 and drawing 2. That is 26 points out of 30. Respect.
I still think if Wenger does what he did last summer we won’t challenge for anything next season. And when I say challenge, I mean posing a realistic challenge. There is a chance he may do that, although he comments that they will be ‘proactive’ in the summer transfer window. But, haven’t we all heard that before.
In other news, I may be off to Seoul, Korea in a few days time, but when I come back I’ll start blogging regularly for next season. This year has been extremely busy and there was nothing to look out for as far as football was concerned. That is, apart from the champions league final between Dortmund and Bayern Munich.
I’m supporting the underdogs, just as those neutral people reading this post are. Human instinct, can’t really help it, can I ?
Here are the run-in’s for the premier league between Arsenal and Tottenham. Spurs currently sit on 57 points, and behind them Arsenal with 53. Chelsea is juxtaposed between the two teams on 55 points.
If you compare the below run-ins of both Arsenal and Spurs, Arsenal’s is easier. We have 5 home games, including our game in hand against Everton. Whereas Spurs have 4.
Also Spurs and Chelsea are both in the Europa League. And they are there to win it. Well, atleast it seems that way.
ARSENAL’S FIXTURE LIST :
06 Apr Gameweek 32 West Brom (A)
13 Apr Gameweek 33 Norwich (H)
16 Apr Gameweek 33 Everton (H)
20 Apr Gameweek 34 Fulham (A)
28 Apr Gameweek 35 Man Utd (H)
04 May Gameweek 36 QPR (A)
12 May Gameweek 37 Wigan (H)
19 May Gameweek 38 Newcastle (A)
SPURS FIXTURE LIST :
07 Apr Gameweek 32 Everton (H)
14 Apr Gameweek 33 Chelsea (A)
21 Apr Gameweek 34 Man City (H)
27 Apr Gameweek 35 Wigan (A)
04 May Gameweek 36 Southampton (H)
12 May Gameweek 37 Stoke City (A)
19 May Gameweek 38 Sunderland (H)
Our home games include Norwich, Everton, Manchester United and Wigan. Of these, Arsenal should be able to see of at least 4 opponent’s (excluding United). Spurs however have 4 home games, one of which is against Manchester City. Of the remaining 3, only Everton may pose to be an obstacle.
The dark horse for both teams is Everton. In comparison to Wigan, Norwich and Southampton and Sunderland (SPURS) Everton is the only side which can cause a setback to both London clubs.
AWAY GAMES :
Arsenal’s away games does pose quite the challenge. West Brom(43), Fulham(33), QPR(23) and Newcastle(33) are all good teams with QPR being the only team fighting for survival. Both Fulham and Newcastle are 9 points away from Wigan, which occupies spot 17 on the table (24). But at least 3 wins is mandatory, the dicey game being QPR/Newcastle.
For Spurs it is a little more complex. Their 4 away games include Stoke City, Wigan, Chelsea. Each tie is an obstacle – even Wigan because they are in the relegation zone.
Although Arsenal are favorites to get the 4th spot in the league yet things can change really quickly – especially because there is EVERYTHING to fight for among these 3 teams in this mini-trio league of ‘theirs.’
PS : Not considered Chelsea because the goal is to beat Spurs, who are ahead of them.
Did you catch the North London Derby ? I did. And I must say that it was exceptionally shitty. Blank for a second, ok, let me explain. I don’t find Spurs a very good club, and given the fact that they beat Arsenal with a 2-1 scoreline just goes on to prove my point even further. These says beating Arsenal is no big deal, and it will continue to be so until something changes in the club. FACT. Period
Apart from the routine shambolic defending which the club consistently display week-in and week out, this time it was the irrelevant contribution of the attack which made this derby even more atrocious. Arsenal had 2 shots on target of 11 shots taken, one of which was a deflected goal by Mertersacker…. **clapping**
As a supporter of Arsenal I now view matches in a different perspective. I don’t look towards the weekends, have stopped tracking the Arsenal news and lately I choose to ignore the ‘stinging comments’ from people in my social life.
Its not that I don’t support Arsenal anymore, its just that I have lost faith in my team due to its consistent mediocrity shown throughout the years. Arsenal believe it or not are a mediocre team and have been a mediocre team for the last 3 years. People will question my premise by saying Arsenal have consistently finished in the top 4 for more than a decade or so and that the top 4 teams of any league cannot be mediocre because they play in the highest level of club competition in Europe. Yet, do riddle me this :
In 2009-10 Arsenal finished 3rd(75) 11 points behind champions Chelsea(86). 11 points adrift of 2nd place (85)
In 2010-11 Arsenal finished 4th(68) 12 points behind champions Manchester United(80). 3 points adrift from the top 2(71)
In 2011-12 Arsenal finished 3rd (70) 19 points behind champions Manchester City/ United(89).
Please tell me you are seeing a trend here.
Right now Arsenal are 24 points behind United with 10 matches to play. Forget the rest.
I know I crib. I know I get pissed off, but is it wrong for me to get pissed off at Arsenal for not even TRYING to compete. Some idiots will consistently say, “Get behind your team, now is the time they need it the most.”
Well, have I not been behind them all these years. I don’t ask much from Arsenal. I literally don’t. All I ask is for the club to remain competitive. Is that also too much ?
I don’t live in London, so I will never have an option to go and see games. Honestly, I’m glad because I rather spends 75 pounds on something worthwhile.
Today morning, I happen to glance over news reports(BBC) that Wenger stopped Bould from holding his training sessions after the first few games of the season, opting to go back to his traditional ‘mute’ defending methods.
This has helped us in leaps and bounds. Conceding 2 in the first 5 which included City and Liverpool, now we’ve bagged 30 more.
PS : And for those who say its one more than United. lets be honest, its not that United have a fantastic defense, they just compensate the goals conceded via their attack.
I saw the Bayern Munich match with a lot of interest. As a team Bayern Munich reek of quality. They have a strong midfield and a strong foundation at the back. The statistics speak for themselves having conceded only 7 goals in the Bundesliga before yesterday’s kick off. In response to such a stat, many critics will state the quality of the Bundesliga is not at par with the premier league. While I completely agree on this point its a very shabby excuse. Arsenal have conceded 29 goals this season all be it playing 4 more games than Bayern Munich. Although I agree there is a difference between the 2 leagues yet it is not vast enough for Arsenal having any excuse to concede more than 4 times as many goals as Munich. Also, its significant to note that Munich and Dortmund both topped their champions league groups with the latter placed in the group of death.
Yesterday Arsenal started the game well, but by the 7th min Wenger’s world was turned upside down as Toni Kroos, a product of the Bayern Munich youth academy smashed in a superb volley beyond Szczesny. The Arsenal defense was thrust into the spotlight again for all the wrong reasons (this is becoming a habit), but to be honest Kroos volley was too good. From that point the Arsenal hit a mental block.
Its important for us to understand that before the 7 min Arsenal were not playing badly. But Kroos goal shell shocked the team, and they looked broken after his volley. In the 21st minute, the second goal was a shambolic one to concede. Szczesny’s fumbled as Muller capitalised. Bayern Munich had 2 away goals within 21 mins.
Posloski did pull one back in the second half. It was a cheap goal for Bayern to concede. a finger can easily be directed towards the Germans for not taking responsibility as an unmarked Podolski guided the ball home after it took a bounce from the corner.
This goal opened the game up as Arsenal had an incentive to attack. Ofcourse, this made them susceptible to a quick Bayern counter-attack. This goal should be shown to the Arsenal defense to teach them the adverse effects of holding a narrow back-line. Robben got the ball on the right moved central in turn encouraging Vermaelen towards him before playing a reverse ball to the overlapping Philip Lahm on the right. Mario Mandzukic claimed the 3rd as he finished the game with a simple poke of a Lahm assist.
It unlikely for Arsenal to knock out Bayern in the Germany. If you want to bet on it, then I guess you do have a lot of money to waste. Before this trip Arsenal have 2 important games against Spurs and Everton, both contenders for the top 4. Its important for them to win these 2 games because getting into the top 4 will be crucial for next season. (Do I sound familiar to you ?)
I strongly believe that the quality of any team not only starts from the basics but also getting the job done in a consistent manner.
My point can be well illustrated with an example. Manchester United grind out wins. Sometimes at Old Trafford, they come under a lot of pressure. They perform badly. And YET, despite all this, they grind out a 1-0 or 2-1 result. Sometimes they don’t even concede, inspite of playing in their own half for a good part of 90 mins.
In short, Arsenal have to perform in this way if they want to hear the champions league anthem next season. It just has to happen.
If you have read this blog you will know I generally and rightfully blame Wenger for Arsenal’s lacuna in performance. This time I just don’t care.
On a personal note, I WAS always convinced Arsenal would not win anything this season. Not the way they have been performing, no way in hell. But if things look up, we might get top 4, and since that is a trophy one might as well be content that our season has gone well.
You support Arsenal, and you are a worthy supporter\gooner, but does the management value you as a supporter.
Do YOU think they value your support ?
I don’t think so.
It was my decision to publish this after the Chelsea game. This one I saw. Few quick observations. Arsenal were little unlucky because the referee should have blown his whistle after Ramires’ foul on Coquelin. Giroud should not write striker in his resume. Arsenal have to sort out their defense before a TOTAL collapse. Last night, Spurs earned a well deserved point against United. For the first time in my life, I have to say, they deserved to win that match. It hurts me to even write that line.
Regarding the FA Cup match against Swansea, we won 1-0 courtesy of Arsenal’s last breed of a young world class player. I did not see the game due to other obligations.
I don’t know what has happened to me. l have lost the inclination to write on Arsenal. First, I enjoyed it. Now its become a burden. As the common wealth would think, maybe I like to blog on Arsenal during the good times.
l assure them its not that. I have been blogging since mid-2010. Between 2010 and 2013 do you recall any good time at Arsenal, speaking in strict relation to a football field ?
I have watched all the clubs holiday fixtures. But I never wrote on them. Recently I read an article on Red London categorising Arsenal in limbo. Personally, I think Arsenal are a stage below that….
In recent news, Walcott has signed a new deal with Arsenal. Walcott is a good finisher, but he is not a world class player. After the Newcastle game (7-3), he was being compared to Henry. Below was my first reaction to that :
Henry was the heartbeat of Arsenal. As a striker, apart from finishing, he had a presence. That man did things which made gooners happy. His goal against Man Utd in Highbury – I still remember Andy Gray’s commentary. “Thats majestic, thats deliberate.” That is a moment to savour.
Walcott, ONLY as a finisher is really good. But he is no Henry and he never will be. I don’t want to take anything away from Walcott. Against Newcastle was one of the best I’ve seen him play. Versus City he was a nomad on the pitch. Against Chelsea he got a few chances and he converted one. His inconsistency supplemented by some ridiculous decision making are the 2 major reasons I will never consider him world-class. But, yes, he is better than Giroud.
Speaking of inconsistency, I hope everybody noticed our new signing in the City/Chelsea game. He and Walcott are like 2 new signings. Diaby has an injury record which is immaculate. He is one of the chosen few who can get a groin injury just by peeing. If he by-chance gets injured in the next 3 games we will lose out for a good chunk of the season. Why ? Because there won”t be any back-up plan. There never is.Why should 2013 be any different ?
The ManCity game was again torture for me. I won’t bother with a huge report. Koscielny should not have seen red. It should have been orange. But his challenge shows me that he is not what he used to be. He has become inept, not to mention confused. If you grapple a player in the manner he did in the D-box, what the do you expect ? The only silver lining from that match was Jack Wilshere. He is something, and he is Arsenal’s future.
My bet is Wenger will ruin him.
A chunk of January is over and there are no new additions to the squad. When Gervinho comes back, he will be like a new signing. Let me give you my honest opinion on Gervinho.
The man is a bad joke. And the idea of playing him as a CF is preposterous. The miss which he made against Bradford should be framed, and shown to children as a horror clip. IF Arsenal put him up for sale and IF they are extremely lucky, they may get a good amount for him. His perception of the game is slow, and sometimes he makes me want to kill myself. Wenger should consider the lives of Arsenal fans before continuing to play him as a forward.
In conclusion its unlikely that there will be any more posts on this blog. I need something to write because I am tired of saying the same thing always. Given the current circumstances we will finish 6th. If our form improves it may be 4th too.
St. Totteringham’s Day looks unlikely.
l don’t understand the logic behind playing Podolski along with Walcott. Walcott can finish with his leg but he never uses his head. Wenger opted for a 4-4-1-1. Cazorla just behind Walcott.
The first goal which Arsenal conceded in my opinion should be analysed. Players should understand their mistakes. And the only way they can do that is if they and understand analyse what went wrong. It started off with Podolski, loosing the ball.
l had look at that goal again. Podolski had no one to give the ball to – Gibbs and Arteta were stationery in their positions. The German hesitated and lost the ball. It was 3 against 2 and although Sagna did well to intercept the ball his clearance was shambolic as an incoming Ramirez lashed an instep beyond Szczesny.
The equaliser was hysterical. Southampton were playing well uptil the free kick. Walcott lashed the ball in Boruc’s D as it was toed it in by Prado. Southampton shocked and so was I.
Arsenal were lucky.
The second half was far more interesting. Southampton looked threatening for the first 15 mins. In response Wenger chose to replace Podolski with Giroud changing the formation into the more familiar 4-3-3.
Ramirez had a disallowed goal late into the game. It was a ‘fair.’ The linesman flagged off-side but it was actually a foul because of a push on Koscielny.
Cazorla was taken off in the 74th min ~ l don’t know what Wengers excuse will be but I hope he refrains from saying “fatigue.” Arsenal looked less of a threat as the half bore on. And when Gervinho was brought on (same time as Cazorla was replaced) I lost all hope.
2 goals from Southampton and a point for Arsenal.
2013 has to get better…
For the first time in my life, I could not get myself to sit through an Arsenal match. I saw the first half, got bored, and decided to leave it to the Gods (went to play football) Ofcourse I wanted Arsenal to win. Although, I was not too hopeful after the first half.
Wigan back four was make-shift, and Martinez planned his tactics on the field when he realised he would get murdered if he continued to play 4 at the back. He changed 5 minutes into the game.
Switching to a more attacking and riskier 2-5-3 or 2-6-2 Arsenal had game. In the midfield there was no competition. Wilshere, Cazorla and Arteta were over-run by 6 Wigan players. They controlled possession, but failed to make much use of it. On the other hand Arsenal had chances but none bothered Al-Habsi. The best chance of the half fell to Kone who missed Szczesny goal after out pacing Mertersacker. Wigan should have been one nil up. I don’t know why Wenger chose to play a high line with Mertersacker in the defense. Chelsea play deep when they have Terry playing, and there is a reason for this. Both Terry and Mertersacker lack pace.
I’m still confused, even as I write this post.
The second half Martinez again changed his formation. this time he went to 3 at the back and 5 in the middle. Actually it was more of a 3-4-1-2. This made sense due to 2 reasons. Firstly, at one point both his defenders would get tired, and secondly, to deal with Chamberlain, Podolski, and the over-lapping runs of Sagna and Gibbs.
Here is what happened in the second half. Arsenal scored, and held on. Were Wigan unlucky not to get a goal ? No. They just did not finish well enough. If they had then the score line would have read 3-1 in my opinion.
Regarding the penalty incident here is my view. Walcott gets the ball, and initiates a delayed 1-2 with Arteta before being brought down in the box. Did he fall too easily ? Yes, he did. Was it a foul ? Yes, it was. Do Arsenal deserve a penalty ? Honestly, calls like this have been given. Also, it would be a bit hard to swallow if it was not a foul. So yes, they did.
Arsenal win against Wigan brought them to 4th in the league table. Chelsea lead us by 2 points but with a game in hand.
Interesting, very interesting.