Will the uber-confident Szczesny learn from Bendtner’s mistakes?

Wojciech-Szczesny_1-e1323033968579-449x340

Wojciech Szczesny is one of the most interesting characters at Arsenal. The Pole in goal certainly does not lack confidence; some might even say he is too cocky for his own good. Remember the Bob Wilson/Szczesny quote? Bob Wilson: “The loan to Brentford will be good for you Wojciech?”. To which the Pole responded: “No Bob….. I will be good for them.”

However, for a 22 year old he is also very level-headed and he interviews very well. When he was interviewed after his heroic performance against Liverpool last season – especially the Dirk Kuijt double penalty save – he really impressed me with his excellent English, professionalism, calmness, and of course, his uber-confidence.

We all know that on the day, Wojciech can be brilliant, but this season, for the first time in his young career, things are not going great for him. Most of us prefer a cocky, very confident goalkeeper to a more subdued, humble one. Good goal keeping is in the end not just a matter of technical skills; having a strong, dominant personality is also very important.

But it is harder to warm to such a person if and when things are not going so well. Suddenly the arrogance, which seems to go hand in hand with very strong levels of self believe, becomes less attractive.

When Szczesny let in the Aston Villa equaliser at the weekend, I noticed him just looking ahead with no sign of disappointment in himself. It really annoyed me. I would have liked to shake him at the arm and say: wake up Wojciech, you let our team down again, and it is not good enough: own up to your mistake!

The difference with Joe Hart, who also made a mistake this weekend which led to him conceding a penalty, was very big. Hart looked disappointed with himself and showed regret for what he potentially had done to the team. When he subsequently saved the penalty, there was real relief and an outburst of pure joy. I prefer human beings, including goal keepers, to be like that.

But with Szczesny we get mostly one and the same emotion: he always wants to look in control and ooze confidence.  Sometimes, this really works; especially in games in which he is under a lot of pressure, like the recent game against Sunderland, or the mentioned earlier game against Liverpool last season. But in games in which he has very little to do, he has been, at least recently, prone to making costly errors.

In all three recent games against Blackburn, Bayern and Villa he could have done a lot better with the goals we conceded. Of course, preventing goals is a team job and all conceded goals have usually more than one guilty party, but Wojciech played a significant part in them all.

To make progress in life, work and sport, moments of self-reflection are very important. Very self-confident people tend not to do this much, if at all. Yet, a healthy dose of self-doubt and humility is sometimes required in order to learn and improve; to progress to the next stage or phase in life or work. And most important of all is to learn from mistakes.

Another Gunner who has no lack of confidence, and who truly believes he is the best of us all, is the almost forgotten, and no doubt forlorn, Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner. Nicklas totally lacks humility and the ability to allow some healthy self-doubt into his head. The Dane is an ok striker and with hard work and a strong motivation he could even  become a good one. We should not have had to buy Giroud this summer; Bendtner should have worked himself into the first team by now. But his  cockiness prevented him from listening to Arsene’s advice and give everything to force himself into the team.

Instead, he jumped at the opportunity offered by Juventus to come and join them on loan. He has made a meagre nine appearances for Juventus, and probably most of them as a (late) substitute. For many years, he has been saying that once he reaches the age of 24/25 he will be the best striker in Europe, but as he turned 25 last month, we can say now that this is clearly not going to happen.

I feel that Bendtner’s uber-confidence and arrogance is holding him strongly back from becoming a proper, settled striker who makes the best of his footballing career. And what a great shame it is.

Szczesny seems to be more level-headed and professional than Bendtner and I hope he will use this season as an opportunity to learn from his mistakes, and reflect on how he can develop further and become the all-round, quality goalkeeper that we desperately need at Arsenal.

The next few months might become the most important of his career to date.

Written by: Total Arsenal.

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82 Responses to Will the uber-confident Szczesny learn from Bendtner’s mistakes?

  1. Milo says:

    Classic comment from Szczesny about his loan to Brentford!!! 😀 I actually think that he is a pretty fragile character under all that confidence!!! Remember his error in the Euro’s??? I think that might still be affecting him, maybe??? If not, he even said it himself, that in some matches, he is not focused enough. If that be the case, at least he has acknowledged the problem, and he should be able to fix that pretty easily. Every match is important now!!! Also, he deleted his Twitter account, thank God, so I think he is well aware of his foibles and weaknesses. I think he’ll come along in leaps and bounds next season!!! especially if we bring someone else in. He was at his best when he was trying to prove to everyone that he belonged, remember??? 😀

  2. mario says:

    Get real he has never been good

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Milo,

    Fine comment and agreed. I reckon we need to get ourselves an experienced goalkeeper who comes as a nr2 to Wojciech but could push him all the way. Also, in case of injury or suspension, we need a good, calm, experienced replacement, which we don’t have at the moment. 😦

  4. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA,

    That was a fantastic read and a very unique, original and yet unexpected concept about Szczesny’s attitude to the game!

    I agree that he’s let in a soft goal here and there and his rebound control hasn’t been outstanding, but he’s also bailed us out on numerous occasions and our squad plays much better in front of him.

    However, I think Szczesny’s calm demeanour after conceding a soft goal is not correlated to him not caring, but simply a way to not allow the goal to get to his head and allows him to re-focus on the rest of the game and not put himself down over something he can no longer change. I love when a player shows emotion as much as anyone, but I believe Szczesny shows the emotion only when it is necessary (re: after he made those two saves vs. Liverpool to rally the team around him). If he starts throwing a fit and displays extreme displeasure with himself after conceding a goal like that, it could rub off on the players in front of him the wrong way (just my theory anyway).

    I am honestly very happy with Szczesny as our number 1 now and in the future. If he can remain focused throughout an entire match and get over his penchant for letting in soft goals every now and then, he could develop into a world-class stopper. In my opinion, he has the competitive spirit, the length, composure, agility and reflexes to warrant that consideration.

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    Mario, Mario one liners don’t really help the debate my friend. Just for you, have a loot at this:

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers HH 🙂

    You are making some good points re the reason why he does not show much emotion after he makes a costly mistake, and yes, he is a good, promising goalkeeper for us.

    But he has some way to go and I hope he will learn from his mistakes so he can move up another level.

  7. Milo says:

    Wow, Mario, where did you come from??? 😀 I mean, your first comment on this site couldn’t have been more inspiring and thought provoking!!! 😀 It provokes me to think that you haven’t really seen much of Szczesny at all, and therefore, you don’t know what you are talking about… 😀

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    I guess he feels better now, Milo. 🙂

    Anyway, I need to be up early so better catch a bit of sleep.

    Nice to see you back here, Herb. Please come again. 🙂

    Keep rocking Gooners!

  9. weedonald says:

    Szcesny needs this pseudo-arrogance as a bulwark against the disease that felled Almunia and Fabianski. Mannone has similar self-confidence issues but is better at managing it. Szcesny is only 22, a baby in terms of goalkeepers. His record to date is: 2nd best goals against record behind only Hart of City and tied with Cech of Chelsea but better than DeGea and all the other keepers in the other 17 teams. He has 21 wins or ties in 26 games and has 11 shutouts so far in all competitions, not a bad record for a shit keeper (according to some whiners). Here is what he seems to be missing;

    1) A senior experienced and proven backup keeper to guide him and encourage him to improve, someone like Lehman was for Almunia.
    2) Working on his ball retention. He gives too many rebounds and should be able , at 6’6 to handle almost any ball coming directly into his reach.
    3) Better confidence and connection with his back 4. There are communication and confidence issues there that need to be addresses.
    4) Improve his distribution, which has already been more effective than last season.

  10. henrychan says:

    Morning all..
    Good post bro..

    Watching the youtube make me a confirmation.. that Szesney problem is catching the ball..
    His reflect is good.. his blocking is awsome.. but he must learn to catch the ball properly..

    As I said before.. some of our lost.. happened because the ball that Szesney block is rebound and our defenders were not there to secured the wild ball..

    And if I am not wrong.. Tyton (PSV) now become Pole #1 GK.. Szesney second.. Fabs third..
    I think this summer TW.. a GK is a must.. I still disappointed when wenger failed to bring Lloris for just 10 mil.. or even Julioo Cesar for free.. hehe..

    I love Szesney but someone must teach him how to catch the ball.. and Julio Cesar can and will.. hehe..
    But a solid CB is also needed.. you can’t let Giroud do that for us.. hehe..
    Btw.. in the recend games I didn’t saw Giroud do the rescue by his heading.. hehe..

    I watch the game Spurs win.. I hate to see Lloris doing well and Bale with his – so damn lucky – kick in the injury time.. hehe..

  11. clockendjim says:

    Every time Szczesny’lets in a soft goal, someone excuses him ‘because he is only 22’. However a top team like Arsenal should not have a rookie No.1 learning his trade at their expense.
    Looking down the PL, I would take almost any keeper from any other team, even those right at the bottom. The likes of Asmir Begovic, Julio Cesar, Hugo Lloris (who should have been ours) Michel Vorm, Tim Krul and most of all Simon Mignolet who I think would be available
    We have not had a truly good goalkeeper since David Seaman. If we had signed Joe Hart some years ago when said he would like to play for Arsenal, then I would go as far as saying the trophy cupboard would not be bare now.

  12. Gerry says:

    Clockendjim – I think you named GK’s who are currently showing a bit of form, or have turned up when we played against them? But they all have a dip, Vorm for example?

    Whatever the reason is Szcz is not quite on his game right now, but as TA’s video link shows, his best tops anything the others can offer?

    If it were as simple as just getting him to watch the video himself, that would be great, Perhaps get Kos to test him out by threatening a few more og’s?

    Alas, it is much more difficult for a ‘keeper, as one mistake is remembered, strikers get several chances to make amends. So patience is the key. Especially from the fans!

  13. Jamesofsouthwales says:

    Good era again TA.

    The problem is goalkeepers apart from the odd exception, are at their best from around 25-26 to 35-36 they have a lot longer career as pros. He lacks experience does not communicate to well with his defenders and is a little reckless. But he is an excellent shot stopper, closes down well and is very strong build so you have to give him time.

    We need an older more experienced keeper in the team we missed a trick with Cesar on a free in the summer. But with QPR still fighting relegation he might be the number one candidate not to take over from Szesney but to share and rotate with each other during he season. There is a lot of expectation on Wjocech’s shoulder with a troubled defence in front of him. I think gooners may need to be patient with this guy for now.

  14. Jimmy says:

    Although everyone goes on about his confidence, i don’t really see it. He’s definitely low on confidence at the moment. I remember last season when we let in a goal he would be shouting at the defenders. Now he’s much less vocal (hardly says anything) and you can see his head has dropped.

  15. Gerry says:

    TA – I am with Milo on this. That stare into nowhere is not a show of indifference. Behind those eyes is a million thoughts, reflections of other mistakes, self doubt, and somewhere along the line is the perception of others, but top of the pile will be ‘Why didn’t I just ..’?

    Watching the video also showed that he hardly self congratulates himself either, does he?

    I am not going to pursue any theory as to his problem, wrong to do so in a public forum, but as a human being, if goalkeeping is his chosen way to express excellence then he knows that the balance between success and failure can be counted in milliseconds and millimeters?

    Knowing that and living with that knowledge is tough. If you have other issues, then more so. Fortunately, he is a strong character and he will work through it.

    The media do not help either. First reactions are always critical. The ‘tall poppy syndrome’, where anybody at the top is there to be cut down?

    Just take a listen to comments when the Bradford goalie got finger tips to Swansea’s second goal, and the margin to inside the post, and Villa’s goal … and the margin inside the post?

    I’ll bank on him coming good, with or without a scond ‘keeper arriving?

  16. futureniyi says:

    Arsenal needs a new Goalkeeping coach, preferably someone who recently retired from the game. Every young player needs someone to learn from; Fabregas; Vieira, Pires, Bergkamp, Henry… Wilshere – Fabregas, Nasri, Arteta, Cazorla… Walcott – Henry (Training spells), Van persie,

    As for Wojeich, Mannone, Fabianski – Nada

    They all have the natural ability but it seems there is no guidance

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning fellow G’s 🙂

    Thanks for the comment until now, I will get back to you after 9am.

    Keep rockin’

  18. VCC says:

    Morning all.

    Nice talking point post Total.

    Wojciech Szczesny, now there’s a name to get your tongue around.

    I’m in the pro TPIG camp. He has saved Arsene Wenger some cash, and I would like to see any available sterling this summer to be used on an out field player, as this guy will become a top keeper. He is not far away from the top already, imo.

    He needs to work on his distribution, and has to parry shots away from goal. His physique is ideal for a keeper too.

    I disagree with clockendjim, saying he “would take almost any keeper from any other team, even those right at the bottom”. This maybe because most have an outstanding day against the Arsenal, it seems. I have seen these same goal keepers play against other sides and perform well below par. Maybe coincidence, but that’s my take on it.

    Also, who would like to be playing in front of an unsettled centre back pairing that is hardly the shining light of the premiership.

  19. Willy Young says:

    Scez has potential to be very good but agree a new gk coach is required. Mannone and Flappy and Shea need to be moved on so a new gk will come in. I’d prefer a premiership experienced one such as Bergovic. Real shame we didn’t get Schwarzer 2 years ago and sell Flappy then.

    If Scez has proper competition for 1st choice he will improve he is that determined.

    At least AA and Squids contracts expire this Summer so that saves £130,000 a week on wages to afford a new keeper

  20. james says:

    until wenger makes the goal keeping position more competitive, the team will continue to let in chicky goals. he looses concentration when you expect him to be 100 per cent focused. though a brilliant goal keeper, still needs to improve on his weak points

  21. TotalArsenal says:

    WeeD, fantastic comment and all agreed: very astute observations. 🙂

    Henry, agreed on the need to improve ball catching. However, I think Arsene did the right thing not to get Lloris. It would have meant that either the Pole or the Frenchman would have become a bench warmer and that would not have done us any favours, I reckon.

  22. TotalArsenal says:

    ClockendJIm, ok you don’t rate our Wojciech very much then! 😛

    Agreed that we have not had a quality act like Seaman ever since he left, but as WeeD stats show, young Wojciech is already doing well and is likely to only get better. However, he is not having the best of seasons and I hope he will learn from his mistakes.

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    JamesofSW, excellent comment and all agreed. Interesting point about the perceived lack of good communication between Szczesny and his CB’s. I have said since the start of the season, that Vermaelen’s captaincy is wrong, and for three reasons. A) I think he performs a lot better if he can just focus on a task/job B) he does not communicate and lead enough for a captain and C) it undermines Mertesacker who is best suited to organise the defence and lead the back five.

    I guess it also does not help that we have five different nationalities in our strongest back-five: Sagna (F), Mertesacker (G), Vermaelen (B), Nacho (S)/Gibbs (E), Sz (P) – all having to communicate to each other without speaking their mother tongue…

  24. TotalArsenal says:

    Good observation, Jimmy, I will have a look at that, cheers 🙂

    Gerry, I hope you are right. I have not been impressed with his goal keeping or his body language recently. He is not there yet, and needs to keep working on his weaker areas (as per WeeD good points above). Like you, I am confident, he can grow into a world beater. 🙂

  25. glic says:

    Morning Dutch Rudders 😆

    Fine post Totes
    The boy`s having a rough time at the moment, but has all the ingredients to be one of the best. He could work on his postitioning a bit better for direct free kicks. I go the other way and think that even though he is uber confident, he is also his own worst critic and will be pissed off with Villa goal !.

    Rumours of a God statue !. 🙂

    http://www.101greatgoals.com/blog/picture-arsenal-are-to-unveil-a-new-dennis-bergkamp-statue-outside-the-emirates/

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    Futureniyi – good point. I am also a big believer of having master-pupil relationship throughout the squad

  27. Red Arse says:

    Smashing Post TA, as ever, 🙂

    Very interesting read and I also liked most of the comments, especially from WeeD who covered a lot of points I would have made.

    Gerry has the right of it, it is very difficult to come up with a reason for Chezzer sudden drop in form, unless there are any GKs on here who have had a bit of professional experience, like GIE.

    Well I say ‘sudden’ drop in form, but I think it all started to wobble in his first game for Poland in the Euros, and he has not been on top form this season.

    That is to say, his instinctive shot stopping has been fine, but making the decisions to come for a ball at corners or free kicks has often left him hanging out to dry.

    having agreed with Gerry that it is difficult to find a reason for this dip in Chezzer’s performances, I am going to venture one.

    It refers to my pet hate, so I might be biased, but, apart from the ever changing defensive unit, plagued by injury, we insist on trying to make zonal marking work.

    For zonal marking to be effective, you need the defenders to be a settled unit working as one, and that cannot happen with all the changes in personnel.

    Several times this season we have stood around like frozen peas allowing the oppo to have a run and a jump to score, or worse, to simply walk into the spaces to get a soft goal.

    When you add the own goals, skilfully scored by Kozzer, or the ridiculous fluke goals scored by Blackburn or the shots which hit the post and go in, instead of spinning out, this will all wear away at the Keeper’s confidence like acid on a statue.

    Just a thought! 🙂

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    Glicster, it is about time! The statue-to-be looks great! 🙂

  29. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning VCC, at your age you want to get your tongue around anything haha!

    Agreed on Sz not having a consistent pair of CB’s in front of him at the moment, which won’t do much good for him.

  30. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Willy Y and James,

    Not sure whether Wojciech needs the competition, but he could do with having somebody he will learn off and we could do with having a good back-up in case of injury or suspension….

  31. Red Arse says:

    Hi Glic, 🙂

    I want to come right out and say that any reference I made to the similarities between a pin and your todger was made on the instructions of that naughty Terry!! 🙂

    He said you have been trying to winkle his telescope out of him, and he has been trying to save it for the ‘Grab a Granny’ night!! Now that is outrageous!! 🙂

  32. TotalArsenal says:

    Redders, hi! 🙂

    I am not a big fan of zonal marking either, and fully agreed that in order for it to work there needs to be a strong bond and understanding between all the players.

  33. Red Arse says:

    I have not been to watch the Arsenal youth teams for quite a while, but one of the last games I saw at Barnet was when Martinez had a start.

    I did not know him, of course, but he had a blinder and reminded me of when I first saw Chezzer at Brentford.

    Martinez — another great prospect, I thought, then he had that Carling Cup (?) game when we had injuries galore with the GKers, earlier this season and he was really shaky!

    I have now retired as a goal keeper scout!! 🙂

  34. glic says:

    Hi Redders 🙂
    He`s a very naughty boy !. Beware of Greeks bearing gift`s ! Overnight I have found a huge wooden telescope parked in my grounds !. He did go under the name of Troy Johnson a little while back !. What the f**ks happening ! hahaha

  35. TotalArsenal says:

    I must admit, I really liked Fab Ian Sky when I first saw him. A very good athlete with a beautiful style. A real shame he is probably not going to make it at top-level.

    Yes, Redders, it would be good to get the view of a goalkeeper, but for you know who to come here and give his views we will have to wait forever I reckon! 😛

  36. TotalArsenal says:

    Out for a bit – Toodaloo Kangaroo 🙂

  37. glic says:

    Quentin Wilson does a Joey Barton at one stage !. 🙂
    I reckon the next big thing will be Electric Zimmers !. 🙂

  38. glic says:

    I like Total and Redders conversation at the end ! hahaha

  39. Jamesofsouthwales says:

    Yeah TA, individually all these defenders are very good but they don’t communicate or are struggling to communicate because of the language barrier perhaps. But when you look at our defensive record out of the top 6 I think we’re second best defence behind man city, equal with Chelski and better than Man UTD, Spurs and Everton. So in summary I think our problem is using the domination we get in every game and converting chances. Imagine we had a Villa, Falcao or RVP we would prob be top of the league or just behind UTD at very least.

  40. Red Arse says:

    Glic @12:22 😀 😀

  41. glic says:

    # This could offend ! # hahaha

  42. Gerry says:

    Very offensive glic – I restrained myself to the odd chuckle though.

  43. Gerry says:

    Redders – How about having Mert in the middle of the back four, make him captain, and see if he can get the best, out of whoever is either side, or behind him?

  44. Gerry says:

    Oh, and talking of GK talent spotting, I really rate Reice Cjarles-Cooke … he is now out on loan ..to a non-league club??

    We can all have our moments, eh. Mind, there are about 5 GK’s on the youth books at the moment, which is a tad greedy?

  45. Gerry says:

    Redders – i’ve just remembered one more thing – did you see that Villa’s Weiman has turned down a new contract? Perhaps he’s angling for a move?

  46. VCC says:

    GLiC 12:31…..you have far too much time on your hands.

    Get outside and finish that love shack, its a lovely day.

  47. glic says:

    Vic`s, the steel frame is down, the last time I see steel that strong was on your zimmer !.
    I spoke to the timberframer and they are building it dry in the factory, so I`m popping up to Bodmin tomorrow to have a Butchers. It should be on site in the next couple of weeks, down side is the windows are about 5 weeks away, they have to be sprayed a grey ” gunmetal ” colour. To tell the truth , there`s not much I can do really, I`ve done all the hard work !.

  48. glic says:

    I`m pooping myself with the thought of Mertsnailer and Artortoise up against Bale, he can run faster backwards than them two !. I would play Koz and Verm and have Le Cog shadow man mark Bale. Thats probably why ( amongst a thousand other thing`s ) I`m not teh manager !. Does any team actually man mark nowadays ?.
    Interesting snippet from Key`s and Gray the other day, they said Liam Brady was sent out to watch Theo, but came back recommending Bale !. Shows how much AW listens to advice, we could have had both !. 😦

  49. VCC says:

    glic, you no risten, Wenger listens to no man.

  50. Gerry says:

    VCC – While you are there, here are my weekend sels:

    All to win away
    W.Brom
    QPR
    Fulham
    Liverpool

    and Stoke v West Ham – draw

    Cheers

  51. allezkev says:

    Szczesny and his age, always seems to an issue.
    And it’s true, as a rule goalkeepers improve with age.
    But Joe Hart had been successful and the Spanish guy at ManUre is, what 22,23?
    Maybe the coaching he gets from Peyton isn’t enough or what he needs?
    Not sure what the answer is, but with Mannone and Fabianski leaving this summer, Arsene needs to bring in a goalkeeper anyway.
    I can’t see us going into next season with Shea and Martinez as back-up to Chezzer.

  52. VCC says:

    cheers Gerry. …your odds are 619-1.

  53. afc says:

    I think Bendtner would actually do quite well in the current Arsenal team. He is better than Giroud at holding up the play and bringing others into the play. Wenger should not have put him out on loan but developed him in thgis current Arsenal team. As for Szec, I would buy some who is experienced like Cesar from QPR who will not cost Wenger that much. He would be able to help Szec develop his game. If we want a younger keeper like Min from Sunderland I think we missed out when Spurs signed Lloris. We easily could have persuaded Lloris to come to us instead of them.

  54. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi AFC , if Bendtner had the same desire and workrate as Giroud he could indeed be a better option for us, but he has not.

    Hi SW James, it is about balance in each and every game. We score as many as the Mancs, or there about, and let less goals in and yet we are well behind in the league. Once we get this right – including playing really good for 90 minutes – we shall make a step improvement. 🙂

  55. Red Arse says:

    Hi Gerry, 🙂

    In no particular order;

    I have only seen Reice Charles-Cook on the TV, and he looks a handy keeper. He is out on loan with Cheltenham until the end of next month. At only 17 he fits in well with Martinez 20 (?) and TPIG 22.

    I am not a big fan of O’Shea. I saw him in the youth team and thought he was an OK shot stopper (they all are) but was too small and a bit flaky. I thought Arsenal had pushed him out at one time, but he must have something — but he would not be my choice.

    Sticking Mert in the central CB position and having a couple of faster players on either side of him, (a la George Graham), might be the answer. his experience and reading of the game with him directing faster more athletic players (Kozzer and Miguel) while he stayed put could be a winner!

    I had not seen the news about Weiman, and if he came on a free, I would not say no.
    It’s my latent uncertainty about Gerv and or Theo popping up again — maybe!! 🙂

  56. Red Arse says:

    Bendtner did not want to stay with us, and his agent was touting him all around Europe, with his preferred choice being Madrid or Barcelona — as if.

    Of course Wenger gets the blame, again! 😦 Ridiculous!

    With regard to the Bale transfer — every club in the EPL wanted him, according to Matt Le Tissier, and he would know, including Chelsea, Manure and ourselves.

    At the time we had Clichy at left back, and he chose the Spuds because he felt he would have more chance of getting first team football. Again, Wenger gets the blame – but that like so much else about the great man is untrue!

  57. RockyLives says:

    Fine piece TA – and echoes my own thoughts about Szcz.

    I think he can turn into a great ‘keeper but it’s by no means guaranteed. Every time I look at the goal we conceded to Villa it looks a bit worse from his perspective.

    I wish we had got a more experienced stopper over a year ago so that Szcz could work his way into the team gradually. But now that we’ve made him No 1 I don’t think he should be dropped, so ideally we would get a 35-ish back-up as our No 2.

    By the way, I agree with HH about Szcz’s reaction to conceding goals. People react in very different ways and I don’t think his “looking straight ahead” approach necessarily means he is less bothered by it.

  58. Herb'sArmy says:

    Hi Rocky, hope you’re okay, I keep missing your fleeting visits – not purposely!
    Great passion in your Post, over on ‘AA’, but should people support something they no longer believe in?

  59. Herb'sArmy says:

    PS: Thanks for your Post, Total. Szczesny may turn into a great, but it’s far too early in his career to make such a judgement.
    I’m sure you said earlier you were against Szcz having competition for his starting place, but IMO that’s exactly what he and the whole side need. Football is a competitive sport that requires optimum concentration and professionalism, and never is that more finely tuned than if you have someone fighting you for a place in the side. Too many players have it far too easy at Arsenal, which could explain why they don’t have that vital edge which seperates winners from also-rans.

  60. Highbury Harmony says:

    Herb,

    With all due respect, if Arsenal are not a football club you no longer believe in, what is the point of remaining a fan and not jumping ship to say Manure (I’m not suggesting you do by the way)? I mean the owner and BoD are not changing anytime soon and there’s no guarantee that a different manager could adequately replace AW either.

    Change can work in two ways, which is what a lot of fans seem to forget. Can you imagine the uproar if Arsenal do worse with a new manager? What then will the fans blame? Fire every manager each season or two that is employed by Arsenal until we win a trophy again? What kind of manager would we be able to attract with such a reputation? Chelsea are already finding it tough enough as is to acquire a classy, reputable manager (FSW does not count). Is it worth it to start playing ugly football to just try and win some silverware under a manager like Mourinho (whose tactics generally only work for one season)?

  61. Herb'sArmy says:

    Hi HH, as I said to Milo last night, The Arsenal I grew up supporting no longer exists.
    This isn’t The Arsenal that Chapman built, the club no longer carry those values, we are now the plaything of an American franchise. If Kroenke was as pro-active with our manager as the Glazers are with theirs, I might have had cause for optimism, but he isn’t.

  62. jnyc says:

    I really dont get some of you complainers. U see the record in weedonalds comment. —
    – of all the reasons we have underachieved this season, the last i would list is keeping. I cant remember very many mistakes he has made, but i do remember sone mistakes by hart, reina, degea, many by krull and others. And hart has an all star defense in front, with a defensive minded italian coach. —-
    some of u guys are not happy unless u are complaining. Even the ball he dropped earlier in the season was as he twisted his ankle falling to the ground. —- i know hes not perfect, he may screw up this week. But in general, he is solid, he is young, getting better, he cost nothing, and he is OURS. We can get a veteran as a back up in case of injury, but we dont need a player to challenge him or replace him. — maybe complain about some real problems that we do need to address.

  63. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hi Herb,

    To reiterate, what is stopping you from jumping ship to Manure then? You hold their ownership approach in high regard and are clearly not resistive to change in terms of our ownership and management. Perhaps you have to answer the difficult question, what’s left for you at Arsenal?

    I understand your discontent with the current ownership, but you never answered most of the questions I laid forth for you in my previous comment :). What if Kroenke had been as proactive with managerial replacements and the results were the same or worse? What then would be “wrong” with the club?

  64. Herb'sArmy says:

    You mean like complacency, JNYC, because no matter how poorly they perform the players know their first-team place is guaranteed. That is part of the reason we’re no longer seriously contending for any prizes.
    The Bayern Munich game was a huge disappointment, because it showed despite many player changes, from a football perspective, in the last four years we have not progressed at all. In fact we’ve regressed, because for the last three years we have timidly fallen out of the CL in the round of 16. It’s very difficult to get excited about what Arsenal represent now.

  65. Herb'sArmy says:

    HH,
    It’s not merely a case of switching alliegances like it’s a light-bulb you turn on and off. I’ve spent my life emotionally investing in Arsenal. For what? To watch them flounder about on the peripherals whilst everyone else take home the prizes? To watch annually as we fall considerably short, with zero pressure exerted on either the management or the playing staff? The continual replacement of quality players with duds, so that instead of beautiful fast counter-attacking incisive football, we are more often than not exposed to slow pedestrian-paced predictable football that often makes us look tooth-less?
    We act on and off the field, like cowards, scared to compete in the transfer-market, and scared to let the shackles off and give the supporters a real blood and guts performance on the field. That is not The Arsenal that Herbert Chapman built.

  66. Milo says:

    I hear you man, I think you should stick around though, for what it’s worth. Even though I am relatively young (24) I have a GREAT appreciation of our past and history and the history of football in general!!! I still think there is room on here and among the other supporters for old timers like you and I!!! 😀

    I tend to be a pessimist when it comes to life, but an eternal optimist concerning Arsenal!!! 😀 I don’t know why that is, but I think we are about to witness something truly glorious and fantastic, in regards to our great football club. Things could turn out to be drastically different, and I could be wrong, but I think this summer will bring about a dramatic change for the positive!!! 😀

    We still need you on here man, don’t leave!!! 😀

  67. Highbury Harmony says:

    Herb,

    That is my point though, if you’ve completely lost all sense of hope in this club, then there is no point in being a fan of the club. Why are you spending your life being emotionally invested in a cause that has no foreseeable future? You can’t change the past and what transpired in the sale of key players, but you can look forward and know that for the first time this coming summer, none of our top players are in any threat of being sold to other clubs. The stadium debt is now manageable and everyone (with the exception of Sagna) is signed to long-term deals.

    How many other teams have taken the title? Man $hitty, Chel$ea and Manure are the only other clubs to have won the title in the past decade and each one incurred serious debt in the process. Aside from Manure, those teams are struggling to compete this season despite the 50 million plus that they have poured through in transfers. Their strategies are not sustainable and their mistakes in transfer fees and wages are even more costly. Even Manure will soon have serious issues with their aging squad and lack of quality replacements coming through the ranks. Sure, they can go out and buy world-class talents to replace the older players but it’ll take time for them to bed into the squad, develop chemistry and perhaps adjust to the rigours of the EPL.

    As down as I get on Arsenal, I can always sense hope (now more than ever after signing Nacho, Santi and the British core). This does not in any way make me a superior fan, but I also never seriously considered us a serious threat as a title contender this season. However, I can finally see the direction that AW is taking this club in and hold out hope that his plan is coming to fruition and that he will add some quality talents this summer (1 top, top quality preferably too).

    If AW has taken this team as far as he can next season, even after reinforcing this team and spending on talented players this summer, then his contract is up next summer anyway and he’ll likely not be re-signed. Then, all the fans begging for change may finally get their wish and I can guarantee you that they will be worse off if a new manager comes in and does not deliver silverware immediately.

  68. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post 🙂

    Please continue your current discussions on this post/comment section as long as you like. 🙂

  69. Herb'sArmy says:

    It isn’t really about lack of silver-ware, it’s about having players who will dig the trenches and give everything they’ve got to challenge for them. We don’t have many of those – Jack Wilshere apart, and I wouldn’t rule out a £25m bid for him being accepted. Would you? Manchester United will never struggle with their current manager (top three since 1991).
    Nor am I swayed by the ‘British-core’. Jenkinson has a lot to do, Ramsey continues to divide opinion, Gibbs needs to stop copying Diaby (always injured), Oxlade-Chamberlain has regressed, and why any manager would reward Walcott with £100,000 is way beyond my comprehension.
    You are a very patient, forgiving man, HH, particularly with the length of time this has been allowed to go on unchecked.

  70. Herb'sArmy says:

    *£100,000 a week.

  71. Highbury Harmony says:

    Herb,

    I agree with you that we’re short on players who give their all for this club and play with passion and spine every time they put on the Arsenal shirt. However, I believe those can be resolved in this summer’s transfer window and is not a permanent, unchangeable concern.

    My patience is only driven by hope and the clarity of a better strategy that seemingly started this summer. It’s not so much the individual players in the British core that have signed long-term that I’m excited about, but the signal to other teams that Arsenal are no longer a club that will sell their young talent.

    My hope also stems from the winter signing of Nacho. It was reported that this signing had been put in place for quite some time but both sides wanted to wait until the summer to push through the deal. It shows that AW has a plan and is willing to spend on top quality players.

    Also, Jack will not be sold for £25 mil and he’s as committed to this club as they come.

  72. Herb'sArmy says:

    It doesn’t mean we won’t sell our young talent, HH, it means they won’t be leaving on a Bosman, and besides we only sell when they’re the finished article. We are like Ajax, but with far more restrictions on our model.
    Walcott’s agent(s) hawkrd their client around every top club in Europe during the TW, when they realised nobody else wanted him, he signed to a lucrative extention at Arsenal. Knowing what he contributes, it sickens me that one-trick ponies like him not only represent, but are lauded as some sort of special talent. If he encapsulates the quality of Arsenal Football Club, we’re in big trouble.

  73. Herb'sArmy says:

    Now you see why I retreated from blogging, HH.

  74. Highbury Harmony says:

    Herb, Herb, Herb

    Haven’t you learned to separate fiction from fact? The media took an unsolved issue and turned it into a full on crisis attack against Arsenal. They merely speculated that because Arsenal had not yet extended Theo’s contract that his agent was encouraging other clubs to sign him. There is no fact there and how you can take it as truth is beyond me.

    The FACT is that other clubs do rate Theo quite highly based on the manager’s comments each game prior to or after playing us (Laudrup, Pardew, McDermott etc.) Also, it is FACT that fans from other clubs also would love to have Theo on their team (read any of Oz’s pre-match reports as proof or ask in any forum). You simply believe that Theo is not a good footballer and that is your issue and yours alone. Is he worth 100k/week? Maybe not, but there are plenty of other footballers producing at a lesser rate being paid more. In addition, wages continue to rise with inflation so it is likely on par or fairly close to what Theo would have accrued on the open market.

    In my opinion, re-signing our young players certainly means that we won’t be selling them in the immediate few years (at least). They are all committed to our cause and want to grow together to accomplish something special, evidenced by their new contracts. Now that the stadium debt is manageable, we can hopefully usher in a new era where several of the past policies that have hurt the club can be avoided.

  75. weedonald says:

    HA…..you live in the past and see no potentially positive future (or for that matter present) success for Arsenal, but keep on coming back to the fact that this isn’t the same team you admired years ago. Nobody can deny that this version is not the Invincibles but maybe it isn’t such a team of f**kups that you seem to want to present to everyone?
    Regarding Wenger, the BOD and all their supposed incompetencies and horrible management inadequacies, as this article points out, nothing will change until the summer so is there any point in continuously whining, bemoaning and lamenting about how great Herbert Chapman was and how s**t our current team and Club is?
    It is clear to me that your objectivity went out the window when you lost faith in Wenger and the Club to achieve….that’s fair enough…..but do give us a break with your endless pessimism and less than constructive efforts to demean the Club, while ignoring their efforts and successes at trying to improve, despite significant constraints and challenges beyond their control.

  76. Milo says:

    Hey, this is a public forum!!! Everyone is allowed to express their thoughts and feelings. It’s interesting to read different perspectives of the current situation at Arsenal Football Club. Not everyone has to think the same way…at least that’s how I see it. I tend to be optimistic about the future without forgetting our glorious past…some people are completely the opposite, and some people tend to think more like I do. Trying to make people think the way I do though is something I would never consider attempting. If you don’t want to listen to what Herb says, no one is demanding that you read what he writes.

    I like it that Herb writes on here because he has something that not many of us do…a window to the past. We happened to be pretty damn good back then, so it’s not like we should shy away from the past or forget it. We shouldn’t hold on to it too much either, but that is very hard to do for any of us!!!

  77. Herb'sArmy says:

    I can hear everyone applauding you, WD, so your wish is granted.

  78. Highbury Harmony says:

    Herb :),

    You know it is not our (the regulars) wish to curb your opinion! I really enjoy everything you add to the discussion and you have a very rational, albeit pessimistic view on Arsenal.

    It’s a completely valid opinion and there is nothing wrong with that, because as you said this club has not been winning silverware and our squad has not shown the passion, determination and effort to at least give us something to cheer about in our losses. Every fan is proud of a team that gives it their all and we can never ask for more than that; we know that you cannot win every single game (save for the Invincibles 🙂 ).

    Unfortunately, we have come up short too many times in this regard and that is not acceptable. However, I still feel this particular issue is temporary and can be solved by playing for one another for a longer period of time and through buying some talented players with real character this summer.

    My discussion with you is not to persuade you that there is hope or to rationalize or excuse all the mistakes that have been made in the past; I’m simply trying to show you my perspective on why I’m hopeful of the future, while reasoning and understanding your point of view.

  79. Herb'sArmy says:

    No problem, HH, I enjoyed the debate, so thanks for that.
    Watch’ya Milo. WeeDonald visits a few Arsenal Blogs, as we are all prone to do, no doubt. I have no issue with him as long as he remembers his manners.

  80. Highbury Harmony says:

    Herb,

    No problem my friend, I enjoyed seeing you back here on BK discussing Arsenal again. I know you haven’t been around much lately, but there were several days where I was alone in my criticisms of the club!

    Also, have I done anything in helping you to understand why I still see hope with this club? I understand you may not see it, but as long as you understand my position and don’t think I’m a deluded fool hahaha!

  81. Herb'sArmy says:

    HH, you are a great addition to BK, and I’m sure the quality of your brilliant, articulate Posts have brought many new visitors to the site.
    Hope is all we have. Football is cyclicle, like everything else. I have as an Arsenal fan, had to sit through two big dominating periods that started as far back as 1973 with Liverpool, and as their time came to an end, Manchester United took over, which is where we still are. And before Liverpool’s period began in ’73, we were ahead of them both regarding trophies. Manchester United had their European Cup from 1968, but we were ahead in everything else. Our period of dominance began over 80 years ago, and with the out-break of WWII obviously didn’t last as long as theirs, plus of course there was no European football to further furnish our trophy cabinet.
    Forty years of watching first Liverpool, and then Manchester United leave us trailing way behind is not good for anyone, HH, and therein lies the root of my angst. We could and should have performed a lot better over that period of time, for a club of our stature, and the fact that we’re still not doing it angers me, as does our atrocious record in Europe. Apologies if people can’t understand that, it’s just my personal feeling.

  82. VCC says:

    Morning All.

    I enjoyed the discussions between HH/WeeD/Herb.

    Glad you stuck with it Herb and remain with us. As I have said on numerous occasions, it would be a sad/boring world if we were all the same.I enjoy your input and knowledge of our wonderful club.

    Your “dominance” periods of ManUre and the Bin Dippers Herb? what about Leeds United? I can remember them having a run under Revie that punished us too.

    I think we are of similar ages, so therefore can remember the good/bad times from the fifties. Apart from the invincibles we have been somewhat below par?? So many disappointments, I could fill a toilet roll with. One of which was the cup final in Belgium against Valencia which we lost on penalties, after being much the better side. I can remember sitting on the terraces with my pal and having tears run down my cheeks.

    I wholeheartedly agree with you about the fact we should have done better with our resources from Herbert’s days. So sad looking back that we have not had a Champions league win before now. It’s the one trophy I hope we win before I get my wings and fly off into the sunset. (FFS Wenger get your finger out it’s getting closer , lmao)

    But, looking to the future, I’m hopeful that HH/TMHT predictions could come true. Lets pass judgement after this summers break and see if Wenger does indeed strengthen the team with top quality signings.

    As the saying goes…….Watch this space.

    COYG

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