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.
How about yours ?
The media has always linked Arsenal to a host of players. Young players, old players, new players dubbed as old players, and so on. Sadly, the club never goes for these targets because quite realistically they seem to be beyond the budget.
I criticise Wenger for his transfers and my reasons are pretty simple. Before I explain my criticism towards Wenger let me first clarify that I am not a fan of paying extra ordinary wages to players. And neither do I endorse paying huge transfer fees for players, unless ofcourse they are worth it.
Although I agree with Wenger on these 2 points, yet my criticism is aimed towards Wenger regarding his decisions. The best example for this will be Wenger for not breaking the club’s wage structure in order to keep Van Persie. People can say what they want but Van Persie is the sole reason why Arsenal qualified for the champions league last season. There is no doubt about this, and more importantly there shouldn’t be any.
United are paying Van Persie about 235,000 pounds a week. This expenditure will already be majorly covered using sales of shirts of the Dutch-man. That makes alot of sense because commercially Manchester United as a brand is known worldwide.
For qualifying into the champions league each club gets roughly 25 million pounds. Why could Arsenal not pay Van Persie 235,000 a week. For a one year contract that would amount to 12,20,000. Can the club not afford 12.2 million pounds on a player who helped them get 25.
I have seriously started to question the wage structure at Arsenal. Players like Chamakh get 60,000 a week whereas valuable players like Giroud get 60,000 a week. What sense does this make ?
Yesterday I saw the Manchester Derby. It was a good match, and I think points should have shared. United were lethal, effective and this just proves how important it is to be efficient rather than dominant. Van Persie won the game for his team. He was helped by Nasri ofcourse, but the goal is his to keep.
I think Arsenal have to incur some really heavy expenditure to fix this wage issue of theirs. It is this inequality in wages that brings about conflicts when contract discussions take place. Arsenal is a top club, and as a bare minimum they should qualify for the champions league. Hence the wage structure of the club should be build around this proposition. Ofcourse as a back up there should be a plan B. But this SHOULD be treated as a contingency/emergency and not a possibility.
People think that we should link players wages to their contributions to the team. That makes perfect sense, but in reality this is not feasible. Players are humans too, and they have their own issues. So the approach for fixing wages should be more subtle and flexible in my opinion.
The issue with wages is that it is sometimes so difficult to fix that it ruins the entire wage structure of the club. This is a reason why Arsenal start paying players low wages. It’s because the club is not sure if the player is worth it. For example if Arsenal paid Giroud 120,000 pounds in the beginning, it would not be worth it. So they chose 60,000. That appears to be a safe number. The advantage with such a system is that if the player has not performed to what was expected of him, then the funds utilised are only restricted to a certain amount. Giroud’s wages in my opinion should be increased to about 75,000 based on his contribution to the team. On the other hand Chamakh who also gets 60,000 should be told to look for other clubs.
The problem with the club is their reluctance to pay players what they are worth. The next fiasco which will appear soon is the Bacary/Bacari Sagna one. Sagna will almost be 30, and he depends on a large contract to run out his playing career at Arsenal. But the club will decline and allow him to leave. Here Arsenal have an advantage because they have a good youth prospect in Carl Jenkinson to back up the team. The case was not the same with Van Persie. I would offer Sagna a heavy contract (120,000 pounds with performance based add-ons) because in my opinion he was loyal to the club when the club needed him. But that is just me. Arsenal are unlikely to do the same.
There are alot of reports in the media involving Arsenal spending alot of money – about 50-60 million. Apparently Wenger has lost faith in his squad. These are reports and if you believe them its good for you. I don’t, but thats just me. The entire Arsenal squad does not need an over-hauling in my opinion. There are certain positions which require more depth, and alot of training and teaching is required to fix some basic issues like defending, and keeping the ball.
The transfer market doesn’t address the latter. That is one ‘con’ under it.
I watched the Swansea game yesterday. I didn’t bother about a report because I never even saw the goals. It was so painful that I forced myself to fall asleep (late into the second half). When I got up, I asked my brother the score and he said 0-2. Michu brace.
This is probably the second time in my life when I went to sleep during an Arsenal match. The first time was last season against Milan (first leg). Gervinho was put upfront alongside Podolski and Walcott. First reaction of most Gooners was probably Podolski central, and Gervinho left. Or, Walcott central, and Gervinho right. None of them happened as Wenger chose to to stick to his plan.
The first real chance of the match fell to Gervinho whose header was woeful, that is if you can call it a header. On the otherhand Swansea should have had atleast 2. Moreover the football they were playing was immaculate. Fast, pacy, crisp, any neutral would enjoy it. People at the Emirates had the privilege for watching such football. It reminded them of their own team.
In the 87th min the goal was one to watch. From the right, Michu received a slick chip. His receive was soft, he turned and played a fantastic 1-2 with Luke Moore before going one-on-one with Szczesny. 3 seconds later, it was 0-1.
And then Jenkinson whose entire game revolves around going back instead of trying for a cross, conceded possession courtesy of a persistent Nathan Dyer to Michu. The spaniard this time had work to do as he raced towards Szczesny. Every eye in the Emirates fell on 2 men. Michu drew closer before shooting beyond a helpless Szczesny. It was 0-2. Done and dusted.
Actually, the game was over when the first goal went in – the second was a confirmation slip. Similar to invoices received when one makes purchases at the local grocery store.
As the final whistle blew, people booed the team of the match. Most of the them were directed at the manager and the board. Wenger’s post match interview was interesting. He said the circumstances which the club is in right now, gives an opportunity for it to show how strong it really is. And then there was something about judging him at the end of the season.
Interesting reports from the media today.
They say Wenger may consider quitting at the end of the season. I soiled myself when I read that.
The 3-5-2 formation has always been an interesting thing to dwell on. It was the formation used by the Polish National team between the years 1994-2000. For any side to carry out such a strategy involves a lot of hard work, and patience. This is not only because it is different, but also because the focus while defending falls on the 3 men at the back and the wing-backs who drop down.
If you go to the Arsenal a similar type of the 3-5-2 can be seen on the wall at the entrance. It looks like this :
I guess you have to turn your head left for this. Sorry for the inconvinience.
The fruitfulness of the 3-5-2 has been well exhibted by Juventus. Those of you who have not heard of Juventus – they are the current Italian champions and recently had a run of 49 matches unbeaten terminated at the hands of Inter Milan. Can Arsenal play the 3-5-2 ? Ideally I would like the club to go for the 3-5-2. It requires alot of organisation and discipline. Not to mention high quality players.
A clarification at this point will be useful. Often people get confused with the 3 defenders at the back and their exact positions. The 3 defenders at the back consist of 2 centre-backs’s and 1 sweeper. The player on either side of the sweeper are crucial and the sweeper himself . They form the last line of defense and synchronisation between them is crucial incase the team is subject to a swift counter-attack from the opposition.
Firstly, you cannot have defenders who do not have a proper idea of the game. Defenders like Djourou – if he plays in such a formation would be suicidal. Also a good defender like Mertersacker cannot be placed in this formation. This is not because he lacks in any aspect of the game. But its all down to his pace. I am not saying that he is not eligible for this formation. He can play however the risk to concede will be a little higher. Incase Mertersacker does play, the team will have to defend deep. Chelsea played like this to compensate the pace of Terry.
Djourou on the otherhand will not even be eligible.
Roughly estimating, the line up would look like this :
Ideally I would place Sagna and Koscielny alongside Vermaelen. I feel Vermaelen is physically well built and strong. He certainly has the potential to be, and the role of the sweeper would suit him the best. Koscielny has played left back before for France, and for the club. Therefore he can play on the left whereas Sagna can occupy the space on the right. Reading a few articles before this I came across the term ‘Libero’ for the first time in my life. Basically a ‘Libero’ is a defender in the last 3 who performs both offensive and defensive duties for his team. That in my opinion will happen automatically if we are losing by 1-0 with 2 minutes to go. One CB would go up, and there would remain 2 at the back. Little dangerous when facing a counter-attack, but the 6 to 7 players in the midfield are responsible to break up the play before the defense is called into action.
The 5 midfielders contain 2 central defensive midfielders, 2 wingers, and one CM. Wilshere and Arteta shall be the 2 players in front of the defense. This is because both of them can play long and also break up the opposition play when required. The 2 wing backs shall comprise Gibbs and Walcott. Walcott is known to track back and help out, and under this formation his role to defend will get enhanced. Gibbs is already a left back, so for him it will be more about developing his offensive side of the game for example crosses, runs etc.
When defending both wing-backs will fall back, and the 3 CB’s shall become more compact and narrower. It turns into a 5-3-2. There are ofcourse alot of loop-holes that can only be addressed via a complete analysis. For example, incase one full back cannot track back, then one CDM has to take his place, and clean up after him. The other CDM will sit infront of the defense.
Cazorla can occupy the space in the middle, and in front of him the 2 strikers. Podolski’s space for me is crucial in this formation. It is that point in this formation which forms a link between the midfield and the attack. And any player in this spot can add 1 more man to each segment (midfield or attack). Therefore, it may be common for Cazorla/Walcott and Podolski to change places. Giroud is the target man and his place in this formation is fixed. He is the guy everybody should aim at while crossing, and is responsible for the goals.
Whether Arsenal will be able to do this completely depends on the manager. But I believe it is possible. However, to get a top side the certain ‘better’ players can fill in. Also it will take a considerable amount of time to inculcate this side with this strategy. It not something new , but it is NEW to this Arsenal team. Alot of skills, training and discipline is required for this – not to mention a change in one’s approach of the game.
Possible, but unlikely. Don’t you think so ?