Why are Arsenal 2nd half performances so much better? A theory.

player-scrum

This is a question I am sure many of you have asked yourself recently. Most will have heard this statistic by now: if only second half performances would count in the PL, Arsenal would be top of the league! Incredible stuff!

Why is it that we start not just sluggishly in midfield and attack, but also so poorly defensively this season? Especially against the top teams we have handed the game to them through bad defensive mistakes in the early stage of the first half, time and time again.

Yet, come the second half and we are usually firing from all cylinders. The team seems to be transformed after the half time breaks: starting with real purpose and shape to our football, and fully determined to win the game at all cost. Why cannot we play with the same intensity and focus from the start? Is there something wrong with our preparations? Do our players need a rollocking at half time to make them play better; or is it more to do with tactical adjustments?

I have been thinking about this situation for quite a while and I will share some of my thoughts with you in this post. But please join in with your arguments as well, as together we might get a bit closer to the truth regarding this bizarre situation.

Paradoxically, the fact that we do so much better in the second halves of our games compared to the first ones, is both disturbing and filling us with hope. If we could only spread out our form for the entire 90 minutes of the game, our performances would increase significantly.

But why aren’t we?

I reckon Arsene and Steve do little in terms of specific tactical preparation with the team prior to a match, as in analysing an opponent’s weaknesses and strengths and determining a bespoke strategy on how to beat them. I don’t know this for sure, but going with Fabregas’ comments regarding this subject a while ago, I reckon there must be some truth in it.

Arsene is a strong believer in playing our own game/ style of football and this should overcome everything that is put in front of us. He is not alone in this: any manager who believes in a ‘total football’ approach tends to focus their energy on perfecting the system rather than adjusting it every time, depending on whom we play against. Johan Cruijff, Louis van Gaal, Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp, etc do/did it to a large extent. If the system is made perfect and maintained in that way, it will deliver the very best there is: highly attractive and very successful football.

However, it is not easy to get to a level where the team can conquer all: it takes a lot of time and effort. And it really does not help that our best players – including our two previous captains – have left us in mini-droves over the last few seasons.

I reckon, Arsene is struggling at the moment to get the team to play once more his football philosophy and tactical concept to the required levels. I really do not think our players lack the motivation when they start a game, but somehow it is not clicking between the players, and as a result, they simply underperform collectively.

At half time, Wenger and Bould can talk to the players about specifics that are not being done the way they should be done in a particular game. As a result, the players come out with a clear picture of how to be more effective and with more collective belief that they can turn things round. The turnaround in performances, from the first half to the second half, have been significant this season.

I reckon the longer the team plays together the better they will understand, and be able to execute, Arsene’s system of football and associated tactical principles. Hopefully, the team will start playing as well in the first halves as they do in the second halves, as soon as possible. It would make a big difference to the remainder of our season.

But how do you explain our underperformances in the first half, and what should Arsenal do differently?

Written by: Total Arsenal.

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131 Responses to Why are Arsenal 2nd half performances so much better? A theory.

  1. craig says:

    I like it!

  2. Dylan says:

    I completely agree with you. But Wenger should realize this and start preparing for each individual opponent until his total football team is ready.

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Craig 🙂

    Hi Dylan, that is a good point. Is it possible to develop a new total football team whilst still preparing specifically for every game? I need to think about that one.

  4. Daniel says:

    Positive again, but you are right. It does give us some hope….
    But I’m still not sure Wengerball will ever work again at top level, even if we buy some really good players and let them play together for a couple of seasons. There are better, more effective ways to play football today. And more important, today everybody got the formula to defend against Wengerball. Its so very predictable. 2/3 of all attacs got this pattern:
    1. Midfielder plays the ball to a fullback.
    2. Fullback stopps at the final third does one of two things
    a) plays the ball backwords to a midfielder and slows the attac speed down to zero
    b) try to make a longball into the goal area where there are no Arsenal players.

    I really hope you are right, that Wengerball got a future. If not, we have to rebuild like Dortmund or Liverpool. And that would certanly mean minimum 5 more years to à trophy….

  5. I agree with you. It seems our match preparation is poor as well as scouting of our opponents but I have to say that our pre-season was poor as well since Giroud, Podolski and Cazorla joined their team-mates later due to EURO 2012. We played just one match with full squad (against Koeln) in pre-season.

  6. 5am says:

    fully agree on the tactics front –

    currently though with wenger, you can’t rely on him picking the best squad, or placing them in the right position either…

    also, how many times have you ever seen a manager revitalize a squad once it’s been stuck in its rut of decline?

  7. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA,

    Fantastic post and it’s refreshing to read original material!

    You’ve hit the nail on the head TA. Wenger expects teams to adjust to our style of play and not vice versa. He figures that our possession football will either cause the opposing team to sit back or commit mistakes that opens up space down the field. You can tell it’s not part of their preparation to do otherwise, as the players just sit out there on the pitch hoping to slow the game down; instead several matches have begun at a frantic pace and we start scrambling and lose our structure, thus concede early goals.

    Wenger is the complete opposite of a tactical genius and has never been known to make the necessary adjustments in game. He’s a firm believer that patience is necessary and hopes that our playing style will eventually prevail within a game. Arsenal have not developed an alternative strategy when their playing style is not working and this has cost us time and time again. Teams like Dortmund, Ajax, AC etc. all generally play nice football, but have also developed other strategies that involve responsible defending and successful counter attacks. They generally deploy their alternative tactics to much success against the top teams. For example, Barcelona looked very ordinary today and could not break down AC’s defence and had almost no chances at goal. It really reminded me of the way Arsenal play on most days; all the possession, ok build up at the back and no creativity or movement in the final third. Barcelona is at their best when their players are constantly in motion and there’s a ton of interchanging in the link-up play. Go back and watch highlights of their game against Athletic Bilbao this year when they won 5-2 (it was one of the most fast and fluid football games I’ve ever seen and was attacking football at its best).

    I think the issue is that Wenger needs to accept that some games require different strategies. As aesthetically pleasing as it is to play beautiful, total football, it’s just not always practical nor effective. The players would be well served to develop and learn an alternative approach to the game when they are being frustrated. Instead, we throw our arms in the air, arguing and hoping for calls from the referee and become too rigid in our approach and cannot adjust. We run out of options in our build up and continue to play crosses into a crowded box where none of our players are present or pass/stand with the ball at the edge of the box contemplating how to break down a PTB defence.

    Another issue that may cause early goals is that our CBs have very poor foot skills. Mertesacker takes too long to make decisions when he has the ball at his feet and by the time he’s made up his mind, he telegraphs the pass. For instance, take yesterday’s match vs. Bayern. The first goal was caused by a slow Per pass that Mandzukic saw and he immediately pressured Koscielny to boot the ball to a Bayern player and then they countered and scored. It’s a recurring theme that our CB will take too long to make a pass and it either gets intercepted or is booted away for an interception and counter attack goal. Koscielny is also too trigger happy when the ball is at his feet and has rarely shown composure in that regard this season. Vermaelen’s on the ball ability is better than the other two, but his mishits on crucial clearances have been well documented.

  8. Alan says:

    For me its no great mystery.
    When the opposition is strong, such as Bayern, Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea and even Liverpool they score two goals in the first half and then take their foot off the gas in the second half which allows us back into the game but they still usually beat us, except Liverpool.
    They always fancy themselves to score another goal if need be when the game is stretched.
    Our best performance of the season was at Man City.
    The comeback at home to Spurs was due to Adebayor being sent off.
    We are worse at home than we are away in the first half.
    Being honest we only beat West Brom because of two dodgy penalty decisions and Stoke through a lucky deflection. West Ham scored first but sometimes against middling teams we can bang in three or four quick goals to kill them off. The West Ham game was our best performance at home this year.
    The only people who support Wenger are firstly Arsenal’s rivals who want us to continue not winning nor even coming close and secondly Arsenal FC employees who of course want to stay on the payroll.
    The club is weak from top to bottom.
    God help us.

  9. bill says:

    talking about a nil nil draw at home as a good result pre match is not a positive in my opinion ,our players look like they dont want to take risks at the moment,too scared of making mistakes, we need to take the handbrake off from the first whistle to the final .
    we have the talent ,desire and skill but not the gambelers ,risk takers and ultimately the match winners.

  10. ParkLane says:

    Basically the team is shit. It concedes goals like Jordan has men. The reason Arsenal do better later in games is because a winning team always drops off towards the end of a game. Arsenal have nothing to lose and the opposition everything. It happens all the time, in all leagues around the World. If Arsenal started games like they finish them they may go in the lead against the minnows but the better sides would just counter and pick them off.

  11. Wesley Yates says:

    Great observation. Generally Arsenal do not make tactical changes till it’s too late. A game is 90 minutes and not 9 hours, as Arsenal seem to play it. Even against Bayern we drew the second half, having scored first in it. The solution is simple. Players must look at one game as two games, and be tasked not to lose the first half. With a stronger captain the game can even be divided into four with the aim of winning the first 23 minutes, drawing or winning the next 22, instead of the current setup where we try to rectify our deficits and win a game in the last 23 minutes. Plain naive.

  12. Milo says:

    I think the reason is this…nerves…you have to want to take the match to the opposition at all costs, right from the beginning, and have utter and all confidence in your method of play AND YOUR ABILITY. Once we are behind the eight ball it is easy to not be as nervous and to play with more confidence as you have nothing to lose. We don’t have players capable of imposing their will on the opposition. Jack is probably the exception to this though. We need more players in every position capable of this. We have more than enough talent in midfield and attack, but talent means nothing, without the right mentality. I don’t think we have enough character in this squad. By character I don’t mean being a dirty player, or a cheat. I mean that we are just too mentally frail. It’s hard to explain, but I see it so much every week. Give me a team that knows how to win, and I’ll give you a successful club. We don’t know how to win when it really matters. I don’t begrudge the level of talent these players possess. Yes Cazorla won the Euro’s in 2008, but he was hardly a starting 11 member of the squad. Yes Rosicky won titles in the Czech Republic, but that league is not at the highest level or the level of the Premier League. Podolski has won fuck all, same with Arteta, same with Vermaelen, same with Koscielny, Monreal, Mertesacker, Giroud. I know that proven winners costs a lot of money, but we don’t even have ONE!!!!!!!! We need two or three in there before things change and we can truly challenge the big clubs again.

  13. elbondo says:

    Good post, I agree with all of it. Let me add, a good manager does two things – he adjusts his game plan to best counter his opposition and he tweaks his game plan to maximize the individual skills of the players at his disposal. It saddens me to have to admit to myself that our legendary manager does neither of those things. And every other team knows this. Arsenal will play tippy-tappy in midfield, eventually get near the 18 yard box and nobody will shoot unless they can clearly see a space between the keeper and the post. So they pass back, and repeat. Or they will attempt a cross into the box but that’s okay, nobody will be there. Keep a tight perimeter and a couple of men free and eventually Arsenal will commit too many forward and score on the counter. Was Blackburn better than Arsenal at the weekend? No, not even close and it could be reasonably argued that they were poor. BUT their new manager, Appleton? knew how to beat Arsenal and his team followed instructions and were therefore worthy of the win.
    I’m not one of those ‘Arsene Out’ people by any stretch of the imagination, but as a pragmatist (and a Canadian which might help you understand my analogy), how many times to you have to slip and fall on ice before you realize you need new boots?

  14. waiyuen leong says:

    I did mention many a time that players felt jittery when the game started and slowly warming up as the players went into the second half with lifely and excellent attacking encounter.Their speed improved the game after losing their first goal. In their earlier games, most of the goals came from the second half. In my opinion, some players don’t feel confident themselves as they were not exposed to big games on a regular basis. Understanding of each others position to assist is vital to oil the play effectively. Getting close to attacking players in defensive play at their own penalty area especially corners are critical …..look at the ball and at the same time, stick close to marking on the targeted strikers.

  15. h4rj says:

    The team is not good enough. The opposition go a couple of goals up in the first and try to sit back and hold on to the lead and rest for the second half which makes us look better than we really are.

    Against Bayern, that is exactly what happened.

    We look better with Monreal in the team but still need some left foot strengthening throughout the time.

  16. Nayan says:

    Or maybe oppo teams are fresher in the first half, attack us more and make the game about our dodgy defense and keeper.. In the second they tire and as our not so bad attack gets to feature we have more say in how play goes

  17. P says:

    Excellent post. Totally agree with you.

    What bugs me is why Wenger always sits on the side with his arms crossed like a little kid, or crouched down as if ready to take a dump when he he should be on the touch line trying to communicate with his players by hand gesture and verbals.
    Why does he have to wait until halftime? I have heard him say it is difficult to get messages across when the players as I. The field, but even if he could get partial instructions across it would be better than the current approach. Other managers manage to do this.
    Just another example of his stubbornness and u willingness to try new things unfortunately.
    He also needs toward some tactics and drill the team beforehand. Period.

  18. James says:

    We to comine total football with the sudy of opponents, the fact is in the second half of games all apart from the game at old Trafford we have been the far better team dominating possession, chances and territory. We need to study how to nullify other teams key players and main tactical strategy as well as playing total football.

    For e.g I did this when i Was asked to take over the coaching of my old amature team when our coach walked out. This team would do noting but lose handsomly in the first half (6-7 goals) but improve in the second where we would win the following 45 min 1 or 2 nil. My team were brimming with decent players who could play the game well and for amatures to a good standard.

    So I used the knowledge of the teams and players that I had been playing against in the same league for years. I knew who all the best players in more or less every team, the lads who made the opposition tick. So i set the team out to stop those men early, this destroyed the other teams momentum. Then using this to gain an early foot hold press the team high up the field which gave us dominance to play football in their final third with using quick simple pass to the first free man you see an move and give another option footy. By doing this after just 2 games this team who were getting stuffed sometimes by more than 5 goals started beating these same teams by more than 5 goals. The next season we won the league, the cup and end of season 11 a-side tournament.

    The key point of this story as I told my lads:

    1. You need to earn the right to play nullify the other teams strengths/ key players which in turn gives you dominance

    2. Go for the throat by pressing them back into their own half with out their key men they are stuck there with no outlet other than to give the ball back to you.

    3. Then play the football quick simple providing lots of options to the man on the ball

    Arsenal at the moment do points 2 and 3 in the final 45 of the game but never do point 1 at all during the game. Every team no matter how good has a key player who is the go to guy with the ball, cut them out you disrupt the team this earns you the right to play. We did this against Barcelona at the emirates 2 seasons ago and remained the only team to beat the in the champions league that season we need to be more consistent in this and stop other teams using their strengths. If we can go in at half time 0-0 or 1-0 up we win but in the first half we have to start earning the right to play frm the very beggining.

  19. macko says:

    Hello friends 🙂 English
    this is easy to type on the coaches but they do not course on the field
    at one time it must render it the obvious we have a generation of players who do not succeed and more experienced as Mertesaker, Arteta ever since they are with us, our game has changed, they are too slower in the recovery.
    Before we play one, two touch of the ball and when I see Casorla and especially your Whilshere has developed the bad habit of wearing the ball far too long to end up being in emplaler defenses.
    If I could express myself well I would have more things to be said but it has poor Arsene working with the worst team that we had long since;)
    But I love Arsenal 🙂

  20. Red Arse says:

    Hi TA,

    Really good Post. 🙂

    I have had a [sort of theory] regarding this ‘better in the 2nd half’ syndrome.

    Without doing any research 🙂 I suspect we have given away a high percentage of goals in the 1st half of games.

    This may be because of the prevailing tense atmosphere communicated to the team from the fans, so they play the careful, slow, “controlled” football, that drives me mad, as if they are almost waiting for something bad to happen.
    Then it does! A goal here and a goal there and suddenly we are under the cosh.

    Then in the second half, feeling they have nothing to lose, the team relax and start to play the football we all know they are capable of doing.

    We describe this as being lacking in confidence, but it is akin, in my mind,to a child shying away from a dental check up out of fear, but then realising that it is not so bad, and the kid then relaxes and the experience is better next time.

    What is going wrong with the team, at the moment, is that they are not learning from the experience, and the next time is as bad as the previous time — until the 2nd half!! 🙂

  21. Gerry says:

    I’m with you on that Redders. Also the team that scores against is morely to wnt to defend rather than attack, so we can get higher up the pitch for our quick passing game.

    I am keeping this one short so it comes close to your message Ha ha( I usually take so long writing I am about 10 messages behind …ooops doing it again!

  22. Red Arse says:

    Bonjour, Macko, 🙂

    Can I try and translate part of your comment? It may help you. 🙂

    Hello friends English

    >> Hello English friends.

    this is easy to type on the coaches but they do not course on the field

    >> It is easy to blame the coaches, but they are not on the field

    at one time it must render it the obvious we have a generation of players who do not succeed and more experienced as Mertesaker, Arteta ever since they are with us, our game has changed, they are too slower in the recovery.

    >> It is obvious that this generation of players are unsuccessful, and the more experienced players, such as Mert and Arteta, have changed our game because they are too slow to recover.

    Before we play one, two touch of the ball and when I see Casorla and especially your Whilshere has developed the bad habit of wearing the ball far too long to end up being in emplaler defenses.

    > Previously, we played one and two touch football, but when I see Cazzor and especially Wilshire, I think they have developed a bad habit of keeping the ball for too long, and being tackled (by the opposition).

    If I could express myself well I would have more things to be said but it has poor Arsene working with the worst team that we had long since;)
    But I love Arsenal

    > OK 🙂

    I hope this helps?

  23. Red Arse says:

    Morning Gerry, 🙂

    I cannot stay, but you are right in that part of our problem is that when we attack against mass defenses we seem to easily lose the ball and give away goals on the break.

    Being sneakier that Arsene, 🙂 I would hold back sometimes and draw out the oppo until it frees up space for us to make breakaways ourselves.

    The trouble with that is that Theo, Sagna and the Pod instead of running hell for leather, tend to check and cut back inside, giving the oppo time to recover. that drives me bonkers too! 🙂

    Anyway, I am sure Arsene is there ahead of me!.

    See you later! 🙂

  24. Gerry says:

    TA – Fine post, and like most of your stuff, it does open up channels for debate.

    I thought Macko made a good point, about Wenger not being on the pitch.

    I think part of his playing philosophy is that he wants the players themselves to adapt to conditions, rather than being trained like Pavlov’s dogs – You do this when they do that, and this when they ‘park the bus’, and this if they attack down the right, etc, etc,

    Of course where it falls short is they have not been adjusting as a ‘team’. You can point endlessly at individual mistakes, but really it is a lack of understanding ‘collectively’, imo.

    Compare our actions in defending with that of Bayern’s? A worlds apart. It wasn’t team mates shouting at players where they should be … As soon as we tried to spring any sort of attack you could see their players flooding back to whatever ‘they’ saw as a weak spot if they were the nearest player, and so on down the collective line.

    Milo brings in the very good point of ‘nerves’. We tend to slip into ‘not making mistakes’ mode almost as soon as the opposing side has a successful run at us, whether or not it results in a goal. I think because of our greater success in second halves, there is a mistaken belief that we have a greater stamina in matches late on. This in turn, strengthens their(the players) pre-match disposition not to be too adventurous. When it goes wrong you get the typical post match comments from AW that ‘We were too timid’ or ‘.. gave them too much rspect’ in the first half?

    I don’t believe for one minute he sends the team out with those instructions, otherwise he really would be to blame for everything that goes on the pitch?

    Another thing that is perpetuating these types of games is the fact that we have not had a run of games to build the belief in their method of play. That has to change!

    p.s. Can somebody ‘copy and paste’ glic’s serious comment from late yesterday evening?
    Or, it is worth going back for a quick read … It deserves a bigger audience than it got last night?

  25. henrychan says:

    Morning all..
    Yes.. We were awfull.. BM players was very disciplined especially their defenders..
    But we did some great attack also.. Just Imagined if Giroud score Rosicky assist.. baaang.. It will be very different.. But that football is all about.. Barca also beat by Milan lastnight..

    For me.. One thing great happened that Rosicky and Cazorla played together.. And they did good enough..
    So Wenger can run with both of them in the next games.. that’s a good news for me..

    And with the hole team have a same disappointment.. We can face the rest of EPL games with all strength and win another 10 more games.. Just like last season..
    So we can be at least at 4th position and qualified to UCL again..

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning guys 🙂

    I just ‘released’ a further nine comments which were posted by new BK bloggers (who needed to be ‘approved’ first). Really worthwhile to track them back.

    I will be responding soon, although I am due to attend my eight year old daughter’s fashion show soon 🙂

  27. There is one more thing Wenger should take in account – we conceded goal(s) from almost every key player/top scorer of our opponents. Mata scored in both fixtures for the Chavs, Bale scored for the Spuds, Verrader scored for United, Suarez scored for Liverpool, Demba Ba scored twice for Newcastle, Michu scored twice for Swansea, Fellaini scored for Everton, Džeko scored once for Oilers and earned Koscielny’s red card… Some scouting, eh?

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Daniel, I really think the rebuilding will not take that long, but many of us, including myself, lack the patience needed to see Wenger build a proper, winning team again. We had a false start at the season, when we beat Liverpool and drew at City, and it made us believe we could win something this year. But, we are only now paying the price of letting the likes of Adebarndoor, Clichy, Fabregas, Nasri, van Judas and super-Song go, I reckon, Wenger can build a team without having to let go of his stars for quite a while…

  29. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Arteta-8-ball

    Really good point about the top strikers scoring against us time and again. I reckon our defending is our biggest problem and I am disappointed that the likes of Szczesy, Mertesacker, TV and Koz have not been able to form a stronger unit centrally by now… 😦

  30. TotalArsenal says:

    5am – good question. How many times is a manager given a proper chance to revitalise a team that gets stuck in a rut? I bet Liverpool will stick with Rodgers for a long time now, and so will Dortmund with Klopp. Once the formulae works it is a good guarantee for recurring successes.

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    HH, excellent follow up comment and agreed with a lot. 🙂

    However, I don’t think Wenger will or should adopt the team/style of play to deal differently with teams depending on their strengths. The ideal is to strengthen the current style/system of play and to make it unbeatable again, just like it was during the Invincibles era.

    Barcelona lost to the Bus Parkers of Milan, but all good things come to an end. And maybe Barcelona is slowly on the wain now. However, don’t be surprised of Barca win 4-1 at the Nou Camp in three weeks time. They are capable of it.

    Good point as well about the footwork of our defenders…. food for thought…

  32. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Alan,

    Some good points there. I would agree with you if we were outplayed in the first half and conceded two goals as a result, but we more than often gift the opponent one or two goals through defensive blunders, as a result of a poor, poor start by the team.

  33. glic says:

    Morning Labia-Lasagna`s 😆

    Fine post Klompmeister 🙂

    This is one of the main thing`s I would change about AW, his stubborn arrogance as to thinking ……”let them worry about us” !.
    I brought this point up ages ago about Cesc`s revelation that they didn`t watch vid`s of other teams strength`s and weaknesses, how can this not help ? and is imo highlighted by the excellent comment by james @ 07:29. You can bet your bottom dollar other teams know our strength`s and weaknesses !.
    Study our opponent`s, identify the said above and work to an effective plan, coupled with high level tempo and our own strength`s and Bob`s your uncle. It really isn`t rocket science, it`s quite a simple game !.
    Workrate and fitness cost nothing and at the money these players are on , thats the least I would expect from them, to be as fit as a butchers dog not a pampered pussy !. Meowww !.

  34. VCC says:

    Hi Gerry.

    Is this the post you wanted ?

    glic PERMALINK
    February 20, 2013 17:08

    Unless there are any ex-professional footballers on here, I doubt any of us know what happens on a training pitch.
    I will hazard a guess though, that if you went to Clungechester and Arsenal training grounds you wouldn`t see much difference in repetition of training techniques. Being that players come and go between clubs, there are going to be no secrets on the training field.
    In all the teams I played for, none were any diffferent from another and to tell the truth a lot of it was a waste of time !. The biggest difference has always been simple hard graft and work. Myself and Oz have preached many a time the need for stamina fitness, if you had a team of players with Mo Farah`s fitness, the trophy cabinet would be fuller. Everyone seems to be saying the Munchies looked fitter than us, well, it doesn`t take a genius like me to work out, lets work on the fitness !.
    Fat Sam walked into Upton Park and the first thing he said was the players weren`t fit enough. Clichy went to Man City and said the training was harder to make them fitter !.
    Guess what, you dont need Abramobitches billions to make you fitter !.
    Personally, I never expected to win a thing for at least 10 years when we moved stadiums and would have moved the goal posts even further had I known the likes of City and Chavs were going to come along and dope the game, only the introduction of FFP has kept me thinking all the hard work will be rewarded in the next few years.
    It`s not down to being positive that we will be competing in the next few years, it`s down to using all the information and facts we have at our disposal.
    We have done the hard stuff with the move, TV money, future sponsorships are being put in place, regulations have been brought in to nullify the financial doping cheats, we have some great young talent tied down. Like I said , Is it fair that someone else takes over and takes all the credit for all the hidden hard work that went on previous.
    This summer AW will have his easiest TW ever with no pressure to sell, just cherry pick some of the top talent and in the season 2014-15 it would have all gelled together !.

    I’m a 74 year old pathetic imbecile, In glic we trust !. hahaha

  35. henrychan says:

    TA.. I think the other problem is our GK can’t catch the ball properly.. he had a good reaction and did some great block.. but not catched.. most of the goals came from the second kick.. And the cooperation between GK and CB just ain’t good enough.. If Wenger and Bould can handle this problem.. maybe we can win more games.. hehehe..

  36. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Parklane,

    You wrote: ‘Arsenal do better later in games is because a winning team always drops off towards the end of a game. Arsenal have nothing to lose and the opposition everything. It happens all the time, in all leagues around the World.’

    Our second half performances are so good we would be top of the league. Now that is some fact to deal with, and cannot simply be explained away with your generic statement.

    Have another try! 🙂

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    Good observation, Henry. I have not been overly impressed with Szczesny either, but I still reckon he’ll come good.

  38. glic says:

    I cant work out which bit it is, but I think you added a bit there Vic`s !. hahaha

  39. TotalArsenal says:

    Glic, you are in fine form this morning. 🙂

  40. VCC says:

    Total.

    Glic “IN fine form” this morning…….more like ” IN continent”

  41. TotalArsenal says:

    Bill and Wesley, thanks for your interesting comments 🙂

    Who should be our captain, Wesley?

  42. TotalArsenal says:

    VCC 🙂

    And good morning to you and the name caller as well. 🙂

  43. TotalArsenal says:

    Milo at 4.24 excellent points and all agreed. If you would ever like to write a post for the site, you would be more than welcome. Last night’s point about not having enough ‘winners’ in the team is a very good basis for a post, for example. 🙂

  44. glic says:

    I like to think I`m always in fine form Totes, not just in the evening (second half ) but also in the morning ( first half ), this is not a game of AM and PM, it`s 24 hours.
    I have trained on my treadmill to keep it high tempo, I also read the comments from other commenters and know their strength`s and weaknesses, for example…..Vicky….strength, the tubular frame of his Zimmer. Weakness…..being abused by me…..it gives him a semi and has now got to the point that he has sent his false teeth to me by parcel post so he can give me a blow-job !. They are now sat on the side of my computer as we speak grinning at me ! hahaha

  45. TotalArsenal says:

    Good points elbondo and welcome to the site (and same goes to all other new commenters today).

    It is not an easy time for us at the moment, but I am not sure whether changing boots would help us in the mid to long term. However, we need to see progress in the next few months…

  46. VCC says:

    Everybody is banging on about pre season training to get fit.

    This is what we need. Feed this to our players and we will have no trouble.

  47. VCC says:

    glic 10:24.

    F—— hilarious, Im pissing myself. 🙂

  48. Red Arse says:

    Grunty Glic and Vicious Vicky, you are both hilarious!!! 😀

  49. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Fine stuff TA

    I have expressed my view on this before. All teams set out with a game plan against Arsenal. the objective is to close us down with a high intensity pressing game in the knowledge that our players are always looking for a pass.

    This season more than others this strategy has slightly changed in that now teams our pressing us high up the pitch. in other words our back line is pressured into releasing the ball early and this has often resulted in major errors that lead to goals

    The tactic is predominatly a first half one because high levels of energy are required and 2nd half teams tend to drop into there own half. This in a sense is also tactical because when we chase games our back line pushes 10 yards up the pitch.

    Perfect examples can be found in the recent Liverpool and Munich games.

    For me the enemy to the expansive game we play, were our players are constantly looking to find space, is the pressing game. Its predominant in the first half. and once possesion is lost counter attacks are launched from within our own half.

  50. glic says:

    hahaha Vic`s, exactly what we need…..” The eye of the Mouse ” !.

  51. TotalArsenal says:

    waiyuen, nayan, P, and h4rj, thanks for commenting 🙂

    waiyuen: ‘In my opinion, some players don’t feel confident themselves as they were not exposed to big games on a regular basis. Understanding of each others position to assist is vital to oil the play effectively.’ All true. 🙂

    P, I also don’t understand the positioning on the bench by Arsene. Nothing wrong with shouting out instructions, or getting your captain (ideally a midfielder) to come and get them from Arsene on a regular basis!

  52. alexgunners says:

    Hi All,

    TA, Let me start by saying that this is a topic that we all have differing theories on. Some of us would like to believe that during half time they get a severe ass kicking and then get motivated. But where is the motivation before the game. Who do we blame??? AW for not motivating them enough or the players who actually need to be motivated despite they extremely high salaries.

    Is it arrogance or is it lack of confidence? There’s a bit of both in my opinion. Arrogance that we dont have a different game plan according to who we play, thus making it easy for our opponents to predict our game plan. This puts us under pressure instead and we then take time to find our feet. Lack of confidence does come into it as well. Jack is a leader and not only vocally but also taking the initiative to get us back in the game. TV has not been a good leader for us and instead i feel that it has affected his performances. Negativity and a lack of leadership from the captain will spread to others and cause a lack of confidence. I personally do not accept this BS. There are so many international players in our squad and if they were not confident they would not be representing their countries.

    Surely these guys dont need an ass kicking to perform. Show some pride. Yes, we are not in the same class as Bayern but there is also no need to collapse mentally or play with a lack of belief. We obviously need to invest in the right players to boost our chances of lifting this team from the lull that it is in.

    One thing that i have realized this season is that when we win, there are only a few of the starting 11 that has played well. The inconsistency in performances by our players is absolutely shocking. When we lose, generally we have 1 maybe 2 players who have played with heart.

    This team needs to find the motivation from the moment they walk out of the change rooms. F@#k all these pleasantries before a game where they talk in the tunnel, hug and chat. They nee to be focused on the task at hand. Before a game if they must huddle before kick off and have one of them try to motivate the team before kick off, do so!!!
    TV has to step up and work his ass off and lead by example and demand the same from others.

    VCC,
    Absolute hilarious clip

  53. TotalArsenal says:

    James, thanks for your fine comment and tactical views. In principle, you are making great sense and this how many top managers work. However, it is not Arsene’s approach who likes us to play our game which concurs all eventually (and hopefully). He is never going to change this as it is in his DNA.

  54. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Alex, how is our favourite Sparky doing? 🙂

    I will respond to your comment in a bit.

  55. Gerry says:

    Thanks VCC – That was indeed the re-post .. Not sure why you queried it, he doesn’t write that many serious ones? For the sake of the new poster’s who might just think glic is just a poster who has an obsession with certain sexual connotations, when really …

  56. alexgunners says:

    Hi TA,

    All is very well. Its very late here and i’m still struggling with paperwork and Invoicing. But BK is always a welcome distraction.

  57. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Redders 🙂

    Good points this morning and the lack of tempo and focus at the start of games drives me mad too. 😦

  58. TotalArsenal says:

    Hahahaha Gerry, as long as you don’t think you can change him! 😛 He has an uber oedipus complex, you know! 🙂

  59. Gerry says:

    If you want my weekend f/c results, here goes:

    Fulham v Stoke – draw

    Norwich v Everton – draw

    Reading v Wigan – away win

    W.Brom v Sunderland – home win

    Newcastle v Southhampton – away win

    Nice eleven pointer there … perhaps?

    Cheers

  60. TotalArsenal says:

    Alex, if you were living in the UK, I would have asked if I could work along you for a day or so. Just to see what you do and learn a few things!

  61. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Macko, very fine observations as always (and thank you Redders for the clarifications). I reckon Wilshere and Cazorla hold on to the ball so much because the rest is not ready, or playing were they should be. This should improve over time.

  62. macko says:

    RED you are my savior, ca me Desole of not be able to say what I really think (the language barrier)
    thank you again for the translation;)

  63. TotalArsenal says:

    Gerry, good points about our ‘defending with nerves’ earlier today. For me, this is the area I am most disappointed about. The likes of Szczesny, BFG, Koz, TV, Sagna and Arteta have been together for a while now and we should see a lot more structure, discipline and quality defending from them now.

  64. TotalArsenal says:

    Good comments by HenryC and the Glic 🙂

    Glic, I don’t think Arsene is interested in studying our opponents, and adjust our tactics subsequently. It is just not how he works, I reckon.

  65. TotalArsenal says:

    Super comment Terry, and all agreed. 🙂

  66. alexgunners says:

    TA,

    If u ever come to the land down under you are more than welcome to spend a day on the tools. Personally I love it but I hate the paperwork, getting builders to pay and all the other wonderful things.
    It’s hard work but so is everyone else’s jobs. We all have our pressures and at the end of the day it fills the gap between games.

  67. TotalArsenal says:

    It fills the gap between games… hahaha: you have got your priorities right, Alex! 🙂

  68. glic says:

    F**k !, that is one big muvver spider that has just crawled across the floor !.
    I`m terrified of the buggers, but I wont kill them, I bet there are millions out there like me who gently put the glass cup over the spider and then take painstaking care to push a piece of cardboard under it, trying not to catch or break any of it`s legs, then to open a roof light window two floors up and just chuck it out !.
    Did you know that venonmous spiders are smooth bottomed and the hairy bottomed ones are ok !. This is a good pointer for future life young BKers. I sometimes wonder if I should have persevered with that hairy arsed Iranian girl, yes it was a race to get to the Gillette 11 razor every morning, but she had a gentle nature !.

  69. TotalArsenal says:

    hahahaha Glic – you is mad! 😀

  70. James says:

    @ total arsenal Unfortunately mate Arsene needs to adapt if only for the rest of the season to get us into the champions league next year then buy the players in the summer to reinforce the total football philosophy

  71. TotalArsenal says:

    Well James, that is the question: adapt or push through. I reckon Arsene should persevere now and get the team to play his brand of footie properly, even if this could mean not making top-four this year.

  72. James says:

    Agree top four this year does not concern me too much in terms of money to spend but it would be nice to have that extra 25mil to spend on a player and top European competition to attract em. But on the other hand I think this squad would easily win the Europa league and give the boys the shot of confidence they need

  73. James says:

    Also I think we missed a trick with signings that Newcastle made they got M’Biwa, Debouchy and Sissoko for less than 15 million how much would they have strengthened us hopefully they have buyout clause I’m very worried about Newcastle next year if they stay up what a great squad their bulding

  74. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed James, all we want is to see the team grow and become better over the next 6-10 months. Once that is the case it should go from strength to strength again.

    Battling for a top-3/4 finish is just the sort ot thing that can make our team grow into a strong unit again.

    Where are you based, James?

  75. Red Arse says:

    Has anyone read the Telegraph’s Henry Winter’s open letter to kroenke, today? To save you the bother 🙂 I have copied it below. What do you think? Mmm, he was pressing my buttons!! He sounds like he supports the Arsenal.

    — ” Dear Stan

    It sounds like you’re going to give Arsène Wenger your full support at Thursday’s board meeting. Well, if you genuinely care for the Arsenal, or at the very least care for your substantial investment, please attach conditions.

    You must either persuade the manager to change his ways or face the inevitable prospect of changing the manager for another. And please tell Ivan Gazidis to stop being so darn deferential towards Wenger. No employee is bigger than the Arsenal.

    Those familiar with your business modus operandi say it’s your style to appoint individuals (including inherited ones), give them a budget to work with and leave them to get on with it. Not now. Not with Arsenal’s season in this kind of meltdown. You need to be more hands-on. It’s time to challenge the manager and the culture. We know you hate the nickname ‘Silent Stan’. So don’t be.

    Arsène looks exhausted, being crotchety with the press and opposing managers, traits that transmit a negative message to a dressing-room increasingly riddled with doubt. He needs help, Stan, a proper sounding board that he respects, a director to stop him faffing about in the transfer market. Arsène dithered over Juan Mata and Gary Cahill and Chelsea said thank you very much. He then rushed into buying Per Mertesacker, a giraffe in a sport of gazelles. You were there on Tuesday. You saw Mertesacker labour. Seriously.

    Your great club had an opportunity to bring in Hugo Lloris last summer. Arsene hesitated. Why? He worried about collateral damage to Wojciech Szczesny’s confidence. Come on. Shielding somebody’s feelings is all very well but this is sport, not a cub-scout jamboree. This is about winning, about the law of the jungle. Anyway, Szczesny has hardly looked a worthy successor to Jack Kelsey, Bob Wilson or David Seaman this season. It’s a painful truth for you and the board but the club miss David Dein. He’d tell Arsène to stop prevaricating and buy.

    You could have got Patrick Vieira on board. Or Brian Marwood. Please, tap into ex-players’ expertise. Don’t let your rivals reap the benefits.
    Stan, when Bayern Munich were in town on Tuesday, ending your season, did you meet the people on their board? You might have bumped into Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who conquered Europe with club and country, or the World Cup-winning Uli Hoeness or Matthias Sammer, he of the 74 caps and the job description on the club website that reads: “trophies are his absolute priority at FC Bayern”. Trophies. It’s the name of the game. Keep one eye on the bottom line, Stan, but why not for once make a break for the finishing line?

    When Bayern’s board makes decisions, as it did so stealthily and successfully with Pep Guardiola, it draws on decades of accumulated dressing-room wisdom. Arsenal can’t. A board full of civilians stays in awe of Wenger. I bet you stand up and salute when he walks into the room. Look, Arsène’s a fine man and a good manager but he’s not some mythical legend who cannot be questioned. Tell your chief executive to be tougher. Heaven knows, you pay Gazidis enough. Sir Alex Ferguson spoke on Wednesday of having “a million arguments” with David Gill and they’ve won trophy after trophy, built team after team.

    At the Emirates on Tuesday, you may have seen that fan with the shirt bearing the words of that Wenger mission statement: “We don’t buy world-class players. We make them.” But now you sell them. Listen to the fans, Stan.
    The growing fear is Jack Wilshere could be next. Jack’s a good kid, wholehearted, and definitely committed to your great club but what happens if there’s another season of losing out in 2013-2014? Jack wants to be No 1. Do the math.

    Talking of which, Stan, you need to revisit your remuneration policy. You’ve the fourth largest wage bill in the EPL, pushing towards £150m a year, yet the balance is wrong.

    Let’s cut to the chase. Let’s call your problem under Wenger the Squillaci Factor, an average player paid way over the odds. So divide the cake more cleverly. Promote meritocracy rather than mediocrity. Be American.

    Sorry to twist the knife, Stan, but take another glance at Bayern.
    They’ve a good blend of home-grown darling and high-class hiring, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez. And just how many of your players would get in Bayern’s team? Just Jack. We all love Theo but he doesn’t deliver like Thomas Müller. Have a word with Arsène. Ask him where his leaders are, his real “go-to guys” beyond Jack?

    Stan, in truth, you’re lucky. Arsenal fans could be picketing the ground, chaining themselves to the railings. You must understand their hurt. Supporting a “soccer” club is not an emotion switched on when crossing the stadium threshold on match-day. It lives with you, keeps you awake at night. It becomes an obsession that can wreck jobs, marriages and bank balances.

    Stan, ignore the social-media uprising. On Tuesday, there was no mutiny at the Emirates. It is hard to imagine many other supporters of leading clubs being this stoic. But do not take quietness for tacit acceptance. There are stains on a famous shirt.

    Tell Arsène that today.

    Henry Winter

  76. glic says:

    Snap Redders ! 😆

  77. glic says:

    Remove my one Totes, I feel bad that Redders has gone to all the trouble of writing it word for word and all I did was copy and paste !. hahaha

  78. Red Arse says:

    It’s OK Glicster, its just that my copy and paste is bigger — and quicker!! 😀

  79. glic says:

    I do agree though Redders, that article goes further than professionalism and sounds more like a disgruntled plea from a fan !. He must be a Gooner !.

  80. glic says:

    Oh come on Redders, none of that …..” Everything is big in America ” propganda !. hahaha

  81. Red Arse says:

    Ask Terry, Glic my boy, he thought I was carrying his telescope in my pocket, when all the time I was just pleased to see him!! 🙂

  82. Gerry says:

    I’m sorry Redders, but for me that article is a clever piece of journalism that is meant to press buttons. It does so by just being that tad over superficial that leads you into a his world of false reality.

    Never trust a journalist who pretends to be a fan.

    If he was a fan before he was a journalist, he might be a bit more credible. I don’t believe Winter ever was?

    Stick in in the file marked ‘Arsenal baiting’ and dismiss it for what it is.

  83. glic says:

    I must admit, one of the thing`s I envy about The Munchies is is their board being run by Top ex-players and blue chip company personnel, surely this is more advantageous than having some old fart from Eton who is more interested in the curve of the cucumbers used in his sandwich than what`s happening on the football field !.
    I mean you wouldn`t expect a King`s Cross brothel and abortion clinic or Ann Summers to have directors from the Vatican ( although, they will be more than happy with the discount they get on their vibrating dildo`s to to be used on their choir boy`s ) . Just as you wouldn`t expect ” Saint Mother Theresa of the immaculate penetration convent school ” to have directors from the gang bang porn industry !.
    Although I see Arsenal as having the making`s of a modern get up and go club, the upstairs needs to inject some passionate football know how in it to achieve a sensible balance !.

  84. TotalArsenal says:

    Bayern have always been the top-club in Germany, so nothing new. The fact is they did not win the league for two years, although will this year and have also not won the CL for a while.

    They are just a very rich, historical club who have been trying for decades to get close to the European top again.

    I really have more respect for Dortmund, and their blueprint would fit us a lot better.

  85. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA,

    My issue is why are we suddenly chasing Dortmund? It should have been the other way around! Though it is what it is now and it’d be a step forward towards change to admit that our past blueprint did not work. If we can follow their strategy of developing in-house and spending as much as the club earns, we’ll certainly be taking two steps forward next year. However, Klopp is a genius in his purchases and replaces players with similar, younger ones to overcome the deficit of losing top players. I’m hoping that AW will finally start spending and buy those young, immensely talented players that can have a substantial impact on our squad

  86. Highbury Harmony says:

    And I’m not advocating a massive shopping spree where we become identified as the next $hitty or Chavs either; simply that we finally spend the resources we have to improve the team. We’ve gone through so many years of selling top players that we should never be mixed in with the likes of those disdainful clubs anyway. Instead, it should be viewed as us finally spending the money we should have spent years ago to replace departing stars!

  87. glic says:

    It`s not just certain German clubs Tote`s that are a fine blue print, but the league itself, no foreign owner holding more than 49% of a club ( correct me if I`m wrong ), Lets talk fantasy now, what would have happened if that had been the same ownership rule in our league, would the Chavs and City have won the titles ?. Would we have won the double in 2005 ?. I ask this as a serious question as I dont know whether the likes of Abramobitch would have invested as much with only a 49% stake !.

  88. Mike says:

    Great post but We can discuss tactics and second half performances all day but I do not think it is Really Arsenal play much different in the 2nd half. as much as the opposition slows down a bit especially if they have a lead they take their foot off the pedal a bit and drop back to hold what they have and that allows Arsenal to push up a bit more getting the full backs into the game more. Of course against better teams they know this and will then look to strike Arsenal on the counter. IT is really not any change in Wenger’s tactics he may give a few instructions to players based on what he saw in the first half and make a few small adjustment (which he really does not have to wait till the half to do) but the over all game plan is the same.

    Yes Wenger wants to play a in a style he developed when he first arrived at the club. And he is right if it is played correctly and precisely it will break down any team. The reason it is not working is simple we no longer have the quality of players to make it work. And the more tight the space the MORE precise and quicker the play must be and against the best teams it will take a special moment of individual skill to beak the deadlock and We simple do not have that quality in the squad any more.

    You do not even need to go back and watch the best top recent goal scorers RVP, Henry or Bergkamp and Cesc. just go back and watch all 73 of Ljungberg’s goals at Arsenal http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eh_G0DjprFI and he is NOT the most prolific goal scorer. Yet watch these goals more then few were just spectacularly played true quality. (I say Podolski is the closest to Freddy we have now)
    But also many of these goals would never have happened if not for Bergkamp, Vieira and Pirès. If Wenger had that quality in the squad today the system would work.

    Also in watching these I noticed another player I have not thought about recently Nwankwo Kanu http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcgxI2PUxrE the Gervinho of that team only he could score and yet he was a controversial player many liked him others thought he was not good enough but go back and watch his goal highlights and he scored some spectacular goals and displayed unbelievable control.
    It is SO obvious even the weaker players of years ago where better then the better players we have now.
    And lastly Arsenal’s STYLE has always made them vulnerable to a counter attack the difference before was One the ability to score more then we let in and two a great back line
    Many a strong individual effort or last ditch tackle covered for that vulnerability.
    as well as two world class goal keepers in Seaman and Lehmann. (although both had mad moments but all goal keepers are a bit mad at least the good ones)

    So I do not think ANY amount of tactics is going to turn this team into a a title contender or even secure a champion’s league spot this season. BUT I will reserve that judgement until after the Spurs match if we can win this week and then Beat them we have a good chance at 4th but I am NOT confident in this squad AT all anymore they have been tested now and have repeatedly come up short. I know it is NOT very supportive of the team for a Fan to say this but let them be judged by the record. I WANT them to win more then anything but I am let down again and again by the same players over and over

    Lets think about this squad Aaron Ramsey Arsenal Debut, August 2008
    Jack Wilshere first team debut in 2008 Gibbs first team debut in 2008 Walcott first team debut February 2007 Yes Aaron and Jack had a big set back each missing a huge amount of football but IT is Time now to put up results or be replaced Walcott is hot and cold but good enough lately to be a good second striker IF he is paired with a Top player like when he was with RVP. I do not think he is a 20plus a season player BUT hay prove me worung and win me over it is results that win me over NOT potential or how many times you run past a opponent if you can’t finish the play does not matter how much skill you showed in the buildup. True quality is all about that final ball many players have the Quality up to that last moment it is how well you handle that last moment that separates the Good from the great. SO far we only have GOOD we need GREAT.

  89. VCC says:

    Gerry, thanks for your entry. Your odds are 254-1. Good luck. 4 points was a good start.

  90. VCC says:

    VCC entry 23/24/25 February 2013. =

    Fulham v Stoke…….draw
    WHU v Spurs……….draw
    Reading v Wigan…..draw
    Norwich v Everton…draw
    QPR v MU……………away

    odds = 209-1

  91. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi HH, I like what Dortmund do, but also what we do. We now have to keep hold of our key players and keep adding quality every year. Dortmund have it easy compared to us in the PL; no oilers to worry about and just really Bayern to fight with for titles and players in the very good German player market. In fact, they are were Arsenal were 15-10 years ago.

  92. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Mike 🙂

    Good, heartfelt comment and much I agree with. I ask you this though, if you would place Podolski and Cazorla in the Invincibles team and take out Ljunberg and Pires, would they have been any weaker? Don’t think so.

    We don’t have a Dennis Bergkamp in this team and no Thierry Henry, and also no Vieira or Seaman. Fair enough, more quality is needed. Let’s hope Szczesny, Jack, Theo and Ox will fill some of the gaps over the next few years. And lets get that beast of a DM this summer (or bring Songinho back 🙂 )>

  93. glic says:

    Obviously I`m not going to check back because it`s too much like hard work, but I`m sure a lot of the moans about Song were his wandering off into attack and leaving gaping holes at the back, not what I would call a DM Beast !. Unless your comment to Mike was tongue in cheek young Klompmeister !. hahaha

  94. TotalArsenal says:

    Glic, Glic, Glic, Glic, Glic….

    He is a DM beast if we asked him to do so. Last season he was asked to help with the creative side of midfield play… He did that ALSO very well. 🙂

  95. macko says:

    quick question, if A.WENGER is moved from which could replace???
    Everyone spits on him but for us French and other foreign if there had not was there, I’m not sure the club would have notoriety this, with all the respect that I have for the English coach.
    The person who has to leave and the American Kroenke and Usmanov sell their a share and auras the best team in the world!!!
    Usmanov like Arsenal / Kroenke loves money!!

  96. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA,

    You are correct to believe that Dortmund do not face the fierce competition from the oil money clubs like $hitty and the Chavs. However, had Arsenal not failed with so many poor player purchases and the sale of key players over the years, we would not be in the dire situation we are currently in. We may not be able to compete with the oil rich clubs on player transfers, but we’ve missed out on countless others that have been bought at bargain prices too (a strategy that has seemingly eluded AW since he first came to the club).

    Dortmund are sustainable because they are willing to spend the resources at their disposal on top talent to replace the talent that is poached from them. In the past few years, Arsenal has not been willing to do the same and the on-field product has suffered as a result. Replacing a like for like player is crucial to sustainability, and as you stated earlier, we are now finally starting to see it catch up with us since we have 0 world class players left to carry us (Jack will be the next).

    This summer TW should be viewed as the make it or break it period for AW and he has to bring in the level of talent to push us into contention. Despite several areas needing immediate upgrades, we cannot simply bring in players to fill those gaps if they are not of a high quality.

  97. TotalArsenal says:

    HH, I think there is a post in your last comment: What would make and what would break AW this summer, sor something down that line… 🙂

  98. Highbury Harmony says:

    Macko,

    I don’t believe any of us hate Wenger, it’s just the opposite really. I think we love him so much that we’ve not been able to see that this team has been suffering for a long time and cannot imagine the club moving forward to better things without him. We’ve deflected the blame to the move to the Emirates and the oil rich clubs inflating player salaries and transfer fees, but now we’re at a point where the stadium debt has been paid off and we have a ridiculous amount of funds at our disposal (according to the AST).

    AW is like the club’s and supporter’s first love; impossible to let go and we hold on for our dear lives because we fear that there’s nothing better out there. In fact, there may not be a better manager out there in terms of what he represents to this club, but sometimes change is necessary and the manager’s tactics become tiresome and repetitive. Much like you, I have no idea what is going on at the club right now and can only speculate that change might be necessary to show to this club and its players that complacency will not be tolerated and that players must earn their playing time and are entitled to nothing. Perhaps that will give us the inspiration to play every game and half as if it were our last and we wouldn’t come out as flat as we do!

  99. TotalArsenal says:

    Macko, Wenger is not going anytime soon. The club have a longer term strategy in place now and Wenger appears to be central in this.

  100. VCC says:

    Highbury Harmony.

    I’m off out shortly, but as you are so switched on with the European circle, would you please collate a realistic list of players that you would sign if you were the Arsenal manager.

    These are the players I would ship out, so maybe a clue as to how many we may need.

    Squi;;aci
    Park
    Bendtner
    Djourou
    Mertesacker
    Koscielny (?)
    Gervinho
    Giroud
    Rosicky
    Arteta(? age/pace concern)
    Fabianski
    Ramsey

  101. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, I think you could be on to something :). I just refuse to write such a post because of the alarming negative responses I’d surely receive from even suggesting that AW be let go if results are not achieved next year!

  102. TERRY MANCINI'S SOLICITOR says:

    Harmonious, think nothing of it my dear boy. ime sure we are all adult enough to respect your opinion

    Just remember that The Stretch Syndicate has tentacles all over the world. hahaha

  103. Highbury Harmony says:

    VCC,

    I actually had a comment yesterday that outlined exactly who we should bring in. One world-class talent, or at least a burgeoning talent with world-class potential, needs to be brought in. It’s not enough to rely on collective team scoring and our two relatively world-class talents in Santi and Jack. Also, we need to re-establish collective team responsibility in order to truly compete. Just look at how Bayern moved up and down the pitch attacking and defending like a cohesive unit. The players were in motion and running into the empty spaces to create plays and they covered for each other when mistakes were made.

    I wouldn’t replace Arteta, Rosicky, Giroud, Ramsey, Koscielny, Mertesacker and Gervinho though. Arsenal are in need of veteran players to steady the team and some of those players still have much to prove for the club, and I believe some will be integral to eventual silverware. However, I wouldn’t start any of them either for the time being, as I don’t believe they are of a high enough quality (as starters) to win silverware.

  104. Highbury Harmony says:

    VCC, here is the post from yesterday:

    Also, I think Falcao and Cavani are well out of our reach; by that I mean out of AW’s desired price range, not out of the club’s financial reach. There are too many holes in the current squad and we’d be better off long-term investing the cash across a few positions than just one.
    For example:
    Fernando Amorebieta – sign on a free. Think Mertesacker with more pace, aerial ability and better ability on the ball.
    Martin Stekelenburg – £5 million. We need a veteran back-up keeper to push Szczesny, has a history of being a fantastic keeper for Roma, he’s hungry for first team football and can adequately fill in, in case of injury or poor form.
    Jovetic, Lewandowski, Reus – £20-25 million. Any one of these would give us more versatility up front and would be an out and out striker that offers more pace, ability on the ball and consistent finishing than Giroud. Lewandowski is much better at holding the ball up and is very effective when playing with his back to the goal, while Jovetic and Reus are much faster and both have more ability on the ball (than Lewa and Giroud), but are not as good aerially and at holding up the play.
    Capoue, Wanyama, Rode – £8-12 million. Again, the need for a beast and true DM has been well documented and no further explanation is needed. I think the rumoured prices we saw in January will ultimately drop a bit in the summer window when more players become available, aka clubs are not fighting for CL and Europa berths or to avoid the relegation zone.
    In sum, that would roughly be the same amount of money we spent last summer, the only difference being that we’ll hopefully not see any departures in respect to significant players. Arshavin, Squillaci and Fabianski will be off the books, while we can always hope that Djourou, Chamakh, Park and Santos will be re-loaned or signed by another club.

  105. TotalArsenal says:

    Saying things as you see it, HH, is what this blog is all about, and we weather the storm together, even if we would not be singing from the same hymnsheet! 🙂

  106. James says:

    I’m in South Wales not far from where Rambo’s from, good to have a good rational conversation about the difficult times at are club that will undoubtably pass hopefully sooner rather than later and with our core of British guys

  107. TotalArsenal says:

    Excellent stuff James. I am based in Norwich, but originate from The Netherlands, not far from where Van Bommel is from hahaha.

  108. glic says:

    How dare you glic,glic,glic,glic,glic me Totes. hahaha
    I think Song divided opinion my Quercus Klompesque, if he was that good a Beast how come Darth Wenger let him go !. We have had Super Quality over the years….. Henry, Cesc. RVP, Jack, I`m afraid Song doesn`t doesn`t come close to wiping their boots !. A good player but imo he is no beast !.

    Same as was said yesterday, in agreement with HH. This summers TW will make or break our Sith Lord.

  109. TotalArsenal says:

    GLIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIC – he is a beast alright!

  110. glic says:

    Oh no he isn`t !

  111. Highbury Harmony says:

    http://solecollector.com/news/signature-adizero-f50-cleat-highlights-new-lionel-messi-adidas-collection/#axzz2LZ1haqTp

    Surely this is a sign Messi is coming to Arsenal! His signature boots are now red and white, plan the parade!!!

  112. TotalArsenal says:

    He is only welcome, HH, if he brings Song and Cesc with him 🙂

    Yes he is Glicose

  113. Highbury Harmony says:

    Why stop there TA, I think he should bring Iniesta with him too

  114. Highbury Harmony says:

    and Busquets

  115. TotalArsenal says:

    haha HH – he can bring Guardiola too!

  116. Highbury Harmony says:

    Guardiola’s tied with Bayern, let’s be serious here and not go overboard TA. I’d be happy with just Messi, Iniesta, Busquets, Song and Fabregas though.

  117. Milo says:

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah thanks TA, but I could never write a post!!! I mean there are too many intelligent people who frequent this site, that could tear it apart!!! 😀 hahahahahaha. I was thinking about my post last night, and the fact that there are a few other players that I didn’t mention who have not won a whole lot at the highest level…I just forgot to name them. I’m more than happy to comment, but I’ll leave the posting to the people who know more than I do about the club and the beautiful game!!! I have been an Arsenal supporter since 1998, when I was 8 going on 9, but I turned in to an absolute fanatic around the year 2002-2003. That’s not so long ago!!! People on here like glic, and Herb’s Army, have been supporters waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay longer than I have. Also, I live in Canada and have never been to a match before!!! 😦 I don’t have any money to fly to England, and whenever I go on a plane I get sick because my ears bleed 😦 So in all likely hood, I will never get to see the Arsenal play in the flesh 😦 BUT I can see EVERY match from the comfort of my home. My parents understand my fixation/addiction to football, so I’m more than happy supporting the Arsenal in this manner!!! 😀

    By the way, Spuds won late against Lyon…I actually think this is a good thing, because they will still have two competitions to worry about!!! I wasn’t cheering for them by any means, but now that they are through, I hope they put a tonne of effort in to it and tire as a result!!! 😀

  118. TotalArsenal says:

    Never too late, HH.

  119. TotalArsenal says:

    Milo, fair enough, but the length of your support for the mighty Arsenal has no value at all here. You clearly love the club and I enjoy reading your views, whether in comments (or future posts 🙂 ).

    There are a few Canada based Gooners on here. HH says he is from there, although now based in the US, and Rocky lives in Toronto. Where abouts are you based?

    Shame to hear about your flying issues, and I wholeheartedly hope you will see the good guys live rather sooner than later, somehow…

  120. Milo says:

    I live in St. Catharines, about 70 miles away from Toronto. I’m old school and I use miles instead of kilometers!!! 😀

    Being from Canada, I naturally started watching hockey, before football. Baseball too, and you’d be surprised how many similarities there are between all the sports!!! Not in how they are played, but how clubs are run, and the mentality of supporters, players…everyone involved.

    My Dad and I were the first people to gravitate towards football. Now it’s my favourite sport in the World, and aside from my cats, the thing I derive the most joy, pleasure, and yes, sorrow from!!! 😀

  121. TotalArsenal says:

    Okay, from Toronto, that is on the other side of lake Ontario (I looked it up), and it is of a similar size as Norwich (my ‘city’). Looks like a nice place to live! 🙂

    There must be so many sports to do and support, that it is quite special to opt for football, I guess. And good to know your dad is into footie as well. Are there any other Arsenal fans in your part of the world that you know of?

  122. VCC says:

    Milo, is your Dad a Gooner too?

  123. Milo says:

    Yup my Dad is a Gooner!!! 😀 I actually got him hooked on to Arsenal first!!! He was just a fan of football in general but never really supported a club. I became aware of Arsenal when they won the league in 1998. I liked their uniform the best out of anyone else’s in the league, so I decided to become a Gooner!!!:D You see, uniform design was paramount to a boy of only 9 years of age!!! 😀

    Nope, there are no other people around me that I know of who are Gooners!!! 😦

  124. glic says:

    Hi Milo, just because I`m twice as old as you doesn`t make me twice the supporter, aswell as whose been to the most games or who lives the closest, we`re all equal gooner lunatics at heart !. 🙂
    It was hard, but agree, it`s good seeing both the Spuds and Chavs get through, I only see this as working in our favour. Even if one of them wins it, it means nothing as it is a nothing Cup imo….”The I`m not good enough for the Champions League Cup” is a better name for it !.
    Now for some ZZZZZZZ, Valley of the Orcs tomorrow !.

  125. TotalArsenal says:

    Well Milo, Rocky is based in Toronto so you know now that only 70 miles from you another Gooner is supporting the mighty red and white! 🙂

  126. Milo says:

    That’s great!!! 😀 I figured in a biiiiiiiiiiig city like Toronto there were bound to be a few Gooners!!! 😀

    Yup glic, I was kinda heartbroken for Sparta Praha as that is where Rosicky played, but Chelsea took it seriously and look what they get??? MORE FIXTURES!!!!! 😀 Same with Spurs!!! 😀 I was more upset about the Sparta result though…don’t know why. Maybe because I don’t think Chelsea are our immediate competition for 4th place, while Spurs are??? So if Chelsea didn’t progress it wouldn’t be as bad as if Spurs didn’t progress??? I don’t know…I hate them both, is all I know, and it was hard to cheer for any one of them!!! :S

  127. TotalArsenal says:

    I would really not like it if either Spuds or Chavs would win the UEFA cup this season, and would have preferred them going out now. However, agreed, there are benefits too.

  128. Domhuail says:

    Sorry mate, overall a good post but imo the real issues, with rare exception, are the following:

    1) Not enough commitment from the attackers and midfield to track back, try and recover the ball and support the back 4, when the former lose the ball and opponents come at the latter.
    2) We always seem to have the majority of possession and certainly the majority of shots on goal in any one game BUT we don’t seem to be able to finish them off properly. Our goals to shots ratio is pretty good in the EPL but still well below our potential. We have shown we are capable of hitting 5-6 past any lower or mid-table team and the Spuds!!
    3) We are still way too fearful and fragile mentally at the start of and during the first half. Once Wenger gets them into the dressing-room at half time and starts refocusing their concentration and correcting their mistakes, they can win almost every time. We were much better in the 2nd half of the Bayern game and had we played like that all game, the results would have been very different.
    4) Szcesny, while a top quality keeper, makes too many amateurish mistakes and allows too many rebounds for a top 4 team. He needs real competition and pressure to perform at a higher level.
    5) Our players seem intimidated by supporters at the Emirates who are so negative and critical…some gunners have even come out publicly asking for more support and less whining and booing. This is a sad state of affairs and needs to change immediately.

    Your arguments about our Dr.Jekyl and Mr.Hyde character are quite good though.

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