Spurs – Arsenal: midfield drives on, but defence and attack let us down again

Another game in which we gave away the game in the first 45 minutes; another game in which our defence was too easily breached; and another game in which our attackers lacked composure and intelligence to hurt our opponent.

Against the top seven of the PL we had just one win in all our away games: against Liverpool. We drew at Everton and Man City, and lost to MU, Chelsea, and now to Spuds; and we still have to go to Newcastle United (last game of the season). We lost all these matches with a 2-1 score, and every time we gave our game away with sloppy, undisciplined defending in the first half.

We started well and worked very hard to dominate the game against a defensively well-organised, and equally energetic Spuds team. The defence and midfield looked sharp and it looked like a goal would only be a matter of time. However, it became soon clear that our attackers had difficulties in finding each other and also struggled badly to both make clever runs and deploy composure in front of goal.  The Spuds defended well and did not allow us much space, but we still should have done better in attack.

I see more and more similarities between Giroud and Ramsey: not only do they look each other – they could easily be brothers – they are also great workers and very likeable chaps, and I would never slate them because of this, but they also lack the necessary quality for the level Arsenal should be playing at. Perhaps both players are going through a bad patch, but I have seen enough now to realise they are at best first-18 squad players, rather than automatic choices for the first-11 team.

Theo Walcott also had a disappointing game. He did not receive the best of service and Spuds did a good job defensively against him, but in games like this he needs to be more dominant and force himself into the thick of the action. In general, I felt we lacked wing-play today as both Theo and Cazorla, and of course Jenkinson and Nacho, faced strong opposition and did not have the discipline and/or skillset to add another dimension to our attacking play. Although Jenkinson managed to get a few decent balls into the box from the wing, and he had a decent game in terms of supporting our attack.

I thought Cazorla was our best player today and I loved his drive and energy. And this brings me to the one really good thing about our team today: it had drive and determination from the start and the likes of Arteta, Wilshere and Cazorla, but also Vermaelen, Nacho and Jenkinson, and of course also Ramsey and Giroud, all played with passion and a real desire to win today.

I thought we played well in midfield and were able to dominate this area for large periods of the game. In that respect, Ramsey should be credited for his  hard work and focus, and the same goes for Arteta who was a warrior for us, although not without fault, today.

I felt that Jack struggled to find the quality openings which we know he is capable of, but together with Santi he always adds something to our football, even when he is not at his best.

I won’t be telling you anything new when I say that both our defence and attack were well below par, and the main reason we lost against the Spuds. Had only one of these departments been at the required level, we would at least have drawn this game.

I don’t want to talk about our rubbish defending in the first half – in the second half it was not much better but we rode our luck a few times – as it depresses me too much right now. Let’s analyse it again during the week.

There is also not much new that can be said about our attack: plenty of hard work and willingness but not enough composure and quality; and as a unit, our attack is missing cohesion, creativity and focus.

So, to give you our current situation in a nutshell: Arsenal are in transition and there is still no light at the end of the tunnel; our defence is disorganised and lacks confidence and leadership; our attack lacks cohesion as well as individual quality, and our midfield has become our stronghold and driver of the entire team. At least we have that to build our hopes on.

Written by: Total Arsenal.

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83 Responses to Spurs – Arsenal: midfield drives on, but defence and attack let us down again

  1. Milo says:

    Theo Walcott should be ashamed of himself. He didn’t play on the wing, or as a striker. He played nowhere. I thought he would keep his form up after signing the contract, and that he actually had improved. I obviously, was wrong. I hope he never gets to play striker for us. He isn’t humble enough to work his socks off on the wing??? That’s unforgivable in my opinion. I doubt he was told to give Jenkinson absolutely NO support. IF he had the ability of Cazorla, who didn’t exactly play the wing either, all would be forgiven, but he doesn’t. He went missing again, and I hate to say this, but I think it was a mistake giving him 90k a week plus add-on’s. Herb was right on this one, he’s not worth that kind of money. He should truly be ashamed of his performance.

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Milo

    You are being very heavy handed there. I did not think Theo had a good game, but I will watch the game again to see what the cause of this could be.

  3. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Thanks for the post TA

    I agree with your analysis and have a need to get things off my chest.

    Firstly, one man is to blame for todays result and that man is Arsene Wenger

    The best manager we have had since the 30s, a true legend who i will always be grateful too and continue to admire and respect but just as he deserves great praise for his acheivments, for the first time, for me anyway, his team is now not performing to the level expected in terms of resources and personel avaliable.

    Since the move to the Grove we have been vulnerable defensivly but acheived top four because our attacking prowess ouweighed our defensive weaknesses. With players like RVP, Cesc, and to a lesser extent Nasri, Hleb etc and of course Henry near the end of his carear, we acheived what our resources dictated.

    In the summer we lost a player who last year stood out. Arsene, rather than batten down the hatches and tinker with his philosphy, has persisted with an all out attacking philosophy based extensivly on players of lesser quality.

    The result is there for all to see. The same defensive malaise but with the inefecincy of previous attacks has resulted in humilating exits from the domestic cups, near certain elimanation from the champions league, and now the coup de gra, probable non participation in next years european elite

    I do not say that arsene should go, no. I still have faith that the man can lead us into a new spring. But, if we do not make champions league this year i will always remember it for the season were his relunctence to be pragamatic cost us our place

  4. Milo says:

    Look, I’m not usually like that, but he hasn’t been performing since he signed the contract with us. You can’t deny that. I’m sick of seeing him “try his best”. He should be dominating matches with the pace that he has. I’ve never truly warmed up to him though. The only reason I wanted him to sign, was because I was afraid that one of our rivals would get the best out of him. I couldn’t see that happening either, to be honest. Hindsight is always great…

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    Fair enough Milo. 🙂

    I have learned that with Theo it will always be like this: his form fluctuates and just as we all think he is no longer going to deliver the goods, he returns to good form again. However, it is not happening for him at the moment and I will have to study him a lot closer to see why that could be.

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    Very heartfelt and fair comment Terry. The team and our tactics are all over the place and we just do not seem to make any progress/ learn any lessons at the moment. 😦

  7. Milo says:

    Why try to find the reason??? Do we need to find a reason why Cazorla and Wilshere ARE good enough??? If he can’t bring himself to perform in every match, then we might as well tell him to forget the contract and sell him to whomever. I’m not even bothered as to where he would go. I mean, to tell the manager that you want to play centrally, and then refuse to play on the wing??? Do me a favour mate, if I were Arsene, I would have laughed and told him where to shove it. He hardly touched the ball today. No need to study that!!!

  8. Milo says:

    Well I can see your point…maybe he’s injured??? Maybe he’s sick??? I don’t know…

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    Milo when I watch a game for the first time I watch it as a supporter: opinionated, passionate and with the only desire to win. To be honest, I did not see much of Theo and like you I feel he played badly.

    However, why I want to watch the game again is to see how much work he did on the wing, whether he made the right runs and whether he was spotted by the midfielders, whether he tracked back enough or not; and whether his lack of involvement in our attacks is mainly due to him or to the system of football that we are playing at the moment (or a mixture).

    That’s why I like to see the game again, because I cannot tell for sure what it is that kept Theo from performing today. If it is his attitude/workrate, I will be as angry as you are right now about him. But I reserve judgement until I watched it again… which might have to wait a few days as I cannot get myself to watch it again in a hurry.

  10. nikkko says:

    Suggest you watch a rerun of the game milo. Theo made run after run similar to bale’s and lennons but the midfield rarely found him , and in the main wiltshire was the culprit . Theo ran miles for that team today ….and if he would have been playing for spurs he would have scoed more than 1 goal

  11. afc says:

    First of all I am really disappointed in our defense to concede such cheap goals. I thought they would have learnt their lesson from the the other mistakes they have made and in a match of such importance would have got their act together. I was wrong. Kos was our best defender last season but know make countless mistakes, Mert has how many caps for Germany but cannot seem to fit in our team, Verm looks like half the player he used to be and with Sagna you never know whether he will play good or bad. This defense never seems to learn. Maybe the defense is underperforming because each playing is more concerned with playing for themselves rather than playing for their fellow defenders and each defender is playing their own style of defending rather than all the defender playing the same style. Wenger and bould is accused for not organising a defense but the players have to take more responsiblity. Our defender are experienced and are international for good countries but cannot organise a defense between them. We are now in danger of not qualifying for the Champions League and I think some serious changes need to made to the team. Firstly I think that Ramsey should not start any more matches this season. Ramsey works hard but he does seem to have no end product especially now his form is bad. I think Ramsey has had enough chances (like Gervinho did) but Wenger continues to play him, I do not know why. I say replace him with Rosicky in the starting eleven and play him next to Arteta or in the hole with Wilshere playing next to Arteta. If we are going to qualify for the CL we need to win matches and for that we need to takes our chances with a more attacking team. Secondly, Poldolski must start every game even if that means replacing Giroud up with him. Everyone else has been given a chance to play as the lone striker apart from Giroud. Santi can now do a good job on the left so it is time for Podolski to lead the attack. We know he can score goals I can imagine how many goals he would have had if he had had Giroud’s chances. He is quicker than Giroud and more clinical. Giroud has height but in some matches this is not used by the team at all. They can both fade in and out of matches but if Podolski has a chance he will take it. He done it against Bayern and he was hardly involved in the game. Other ideas I have is playing Vermaelen as a DM next to Arteta. This will add much needed protection for our back four and Verm is always willing to get stuck in and can scorer goals as well. Would be a better option than Ramsey. Another idea I have is playing Jenkinson at RB as he had a good game there today and playing Sagna at RCB. Sagna can surely not perform any worse than how Mert, Kos, Verm and had a good game early in the season when he was forced to play there and Jenkinson got sent off in that match. He seemed quite composed and matching him withg either Verm, Mert, kos could solve our defensive problems. If we do not change something fast we could not end up in the CL and go on a downwards spiral. Remember Liverpool they thought missing out on the CL was not that serious and was a blip and that they would be playing in the CL now. Now they are just a mid table playing in the Europa League.

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi AFC

    A very fine comment. In fact, it could have been used as a new post in the next few days. If you ever want to write something for the site, then just let me know or email me at bergkampesque@gmail.com

    And just a tip, it would be good to use paragraphs if and when you write such fine, long comments. 🙂

  13. afc says:

    Hi TotalArsenal, thanks for your view on my points. I would use paragraphs but I write my comments on my Blackberry so I cannot put in paragraphs. That also explains the stupid mistakes in my comments.

  14. glic says:

    Football is a funny old game and even though I said it at the start of the season that we wont get the CL spot, you never know, but the chances are getting sliimer by the game.
    As much as people say the RVP saga was an intollerable position to make him stay I say bollocks, the man is a professional and even though we jest about him, he more than likely has a lot of affection for us and would have given his all in a final season.
    AW is the face of Arsenal and must take the blame, unless he is going to come out in the open and blame the BoD, then the buck stops with him.
    As predicted by many, AFC decided to play CL roulette by selling RVP because of the greed not to lose £20m+, but it has come back to bite their arse with the inevitable £40m + loss of no CL.
    Year in year out Arsenal are making mistakes and not learning from them. My prediction of not winning anything for at least ten years looks good. FFP working is our only salvation and as a safety net, I honestly would love the Arab rumours to be true, as I said before in truthfull jest…….FUCK THE MORAL HIGH GROUND !.
    We are never going back to the pre-Abramovitch days, if FFP fails, we dont want our aloof heads stuck in the quick-sand, other than the odd Brum,Swansea,Pompey cup wins, no one without serious money is ever going to win the EPL or CL.
    The days of a Mills and Boon romantic season are long gone. The days of AW having the monopoly of finding players like Henryetc and turning them into super stars are long gone, his brilliance has been copied and alas he has no new tricks. I`m afraid It`s all down to big money, no rocket science, simply money. The moral high ground will not win trophy`s.
    Would you be happy with more of the same for years upon years or would you rather have City or Chavs riches and trophy`s ?. Do we want to change with the times or be lost in time.

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    Well afc, if this is all typed on a B-berry then I say chapeau to you for making the effort to write such in-depth comment! 🙂

  16. glic says:

    I will still never be able to get my head around fans being more upset with a loss to Manu, than a loss to the Spuds !. Without a league game for nearly two weeks, this pain is going to linger !. 😦
    Night all.

  17. William says:

    It’s time for Wenger to bite the bullet.Tactically he has gone stale. It’s very predictable. It’s incessant passing and pressing but no shots are made.As stated before the gunners build up is too slow and ponderous and predictable. By the time they want to shoot,thou shall not shoot/ score by the spurs players prevent them.
    How many times have we said the defence is porous and yet it’s the same old story.IT’s better to lose to BM than to get to the qf/sf to be beaten by the other heavyweights. It will be more painful than the Spurs defeat.
    I fear the gunners will drift into the wilderness thanks to Wenger.I believe only a change in manager and tactics besides spending the 70 million will stop the rot.It may have been a question of being too late to spend the money. Even 200 million may not be enough.The problems in the team have been allowed to accumulate over the years and come May the gunners culd even finish 7th. I have and so have most gooner fans lost faith in the fm.

  18. afc says:

    Hi TotalArsenal, I enjoy reading these great blogs and make an effort to read and comment on as any as these articles as possible. These articles are the best I read and give a really good insight on what is happening at Arsenal and how we can change this, so we are not watching out team on Channel 5.

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    Glic, if we sell out to oil it will be a very black day. Football needs to be fair competition and making huge losses to win something is categorically wrong: it is not winning something but buying trophies. If that is what you want go for it, but leave my morals alone please.

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi William, fair and heartfelt comment. We clearly are not making any progress at the moment, and Wenger is indeed not able to work his magic right now. It is very frustrating for all of us, but there are still ten games to go and all is not lost yet….

  21. TotalArsenal says:

    afc, you are too kind! 🙂

    The Spuds now have a seven points gap but they will know it aint over yet and 10 games/ thirty points is still an awful lot. They just don’t have the experience to see this sort of thing through and we just have to win the next couple of games to put real pressure on them. All is not lost yet.

  22. allezkev says:

    Difficult to do a post after losing to That mob, but a great effort TA.
    Blaming the defence for the Spud goals is certainly one way to look at it.
    Another, would be to blame the midfield for not stopping the service to Bale & Lennon in the first place…
    As for Nacho, he did ok. Hard to really judge him on the one time I’ve seen him live. Not sure that he is a massive improvement on Gibbs tbh. Competent defending, not too much to get excited about in his attacking.
    Felt sorry for Ramsey, he did work his socks off, but he really should have scored the equaliser… Hope he isn’t gonna be the Aunt Sally as usual…

  23. Highbury Harmony says:

    Allezkev, I disagree that any blame falls on the midfield for those goals. The onus is completely on the defence for both in my opinion. It was quite clear that we didn’t need to gamble with a high line on the first goal. We had great positioning for most of the game and were in position to stop Bale’s run yet again, but decided to take a risk that was miscalculated. Our CBs just need better composure there to trust their abilities to defend against Bale.

    On the second goal, there was a miscommunication between Mertesacker and Nacho. Nacho needs to follow his man in coverage and not let him run behind the play. Also, Szczesny can’t half commit to charging out from his box, either go full throttle or stay back and try and stop the shot. He ran out, re-assessed the situation and hesitated then sort of fell and the rest is history.

  24. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA,

    Great article as always and it’s admirable to shed some positivity after a tough defeat to our rivals.

    As I mentioned earlier, aside from the defensive blunders across the span of less than 5 minutes, we played a good game. I saw passion, effort and determination from most of our players, which has been severely lacking in past games. This wasn’t the team that was a story of two halves either; we were just simply not good enough quality wise to overcome the brief lapse in defending in the first half.

    If we put forth the same effort level from here on out, we’ll surely win the majority of our games. A little more quality up front would certainly help, as we had some heavy first touches that robbed us of quality scoring chances (Giroud, Walcott and Poldi, I’m looking at you!)

  25. allezkev says:

    Fair comment HH.

    I just think, if you close down your opposing midfielder, the pass isn’t made, and then the high-line doesn’t become an issue…

    As far as the high-line is concerned, Arsene surely is responsible for the team utilising that tatic?!
    It just seems that the defence is being unfairly criticised for it…
    Especially as they were only doing what they were told…

  26. allezkev says:

    Thought that Rosicky looked lively when he came on.
    Might be a case for starting him in all of our remaining EPL games…
    At least he brings the possible prospect of a goal or two, from our goal-shy midfield…

  27. Highbury Harmony says:

    Allezkev, whether it be Arsene or the defence, whatever the strategy/tactic was, it was unnecessary in that situation. I believe Jenkinson (or Arteta?) was already closing down Parker and when the pass was made, the high line gamble was just not necessary. If you watch the replay, Vermaelen had a couple steps on Bale already but decided to stop altogether to push him offside. When another player is engaged with the passer (Parker), they cannot pay attention to the rest of the defensive line. Thus, Verm and Mert should have known this and been more proactive in taking away Bale’s space or the ball.

  28. allezkev says:

    HH, I’ve not seen any replays mate, I just saw it in real time, from behind the goal, and I just saw two accurate passes, from Tottenham players, under no pressure, that dissected our back-four…
    It may or may not have been something that AVB had been working on, and it certainly worked…
    Anyway, I suppose it’s how we respond from here on, to the end of the season, that really counts…
    I didn’t think we deserved to lose, but I doubt that anyone in the Press/Media will agree, as they revel in the prospect of Arsenal missing out on a top-four finish…

  29. Highbury Harmony says:

    There wasn’t pressure on the second goal, as it was a counter attack after Santi fell. The defense weren’t organized or expecting the play to come so quickly at them and it cost us.

  30. Milo says:

    Maybe I was a bit harsh on Theo. Having watched the match again, I can remember at least two incidents where he was free but no one found him. Still he didn’t impose himself on the match whatsoever, and if he actually stayed on the wing, he would have been more available to pick up the ball and do something with it.

    I have been bordering on saying that Wenger has taken the club as far as he can. If he is not able to buy the players he wants as a result of not qualifying for the Champions League, he will have to have the season of his career to get us back to where we were even two or three seasons ago. I don’t see any tactical organization whatsoever. I have been saying this constantly. We don’t have the quality in attack to be able to pull that off, and I can’t believe Wenger hasn’t been able to figure that out yet. It’s so bloody obvious. The more I think about it, the more frustrated I become. No, I do not want us to be sold to the oil barons. I just want a fresh approach and some change to be brought about. IF we had someone who could organize the squad tactically, we should have been able to qualify for the Champions League on a trot!!! I hated hearing the constant banging on of Stewart Robson, saying that Wenger is this and that. He might have a point though, when he says that tactically, Wenger just isn’t competent enough. I used to never agree with anyone who said Wenger should go. These past few weeks though, have spelled it out plainly to me. The writing is on the wall, and I think he must go. I will give him another season to prove me wrong. If we have not made the top four again in another year’s time, he will have to move on and so will we.

  31. Arsenal Made Cesc Homesick says:

    Great analysis guys. I am just a fan that is super heart broken after we lost another crucial game. We just cant do it when it counts. Bayern Munic said that their win at the Emirates was easier than expected. Im afraid that was also a relatively easy win for the Spuds. However, it is by all accounts one that most pundits predicted. Do we not put too much emphasis on ball possession as perhaps a defensive tool (if we have it they cant score it), at the expense of the number of goal scoring opportunities created?

  32. Highbury Harmony says:

    Milo,

    I, too, found Theo to be rather invisible. It appeared as though he was looking to equalize and sneak behind the defence more than honour his wing responsibilities and contribute to the overall team play. I guess he tried to take matters into his own hand to try and produce an equalizer for us in striker fashion. Just my opinion though.

  33. Gerry says:

    Well I was sort of dreading reading today’s post, fearing the reaction. However, glic’s humour at the back end of the previous post was a nice distraction, and this morning there is the expected frustrated anger.

    I am more with HH reasoned response though.

    I thought during that first 30 minutes the high line worked well …. in so far as it allowed our midfield and front line to press and harry them. But as we all know, before and after, that a high line is vulnerable to right ball met with pace. For crying out loud, that is what we use Theo in the middle for? Great when it is successful.

    What was disappointing, to say the least, was to follow up one set back with another. When the first one went in, and fair play to TA to go and have a second viewing before commenting, I just thought, right keep it tight and go in at half time 1-0.

    Both goals came initially from passes from players who had time to play he right ball. Bale was so nearly offside that the defensive line almost got it right. Almost is not good enough, and you have to say, the linesman had a good game? But where was that early pressing that this time allowed that ball to come in? – One for you TA – The second was hesitancy because play wasn’t stopped (for a foul?) with Cazorla down, and they played to the whistle – and of course, that played a big part in the Ade incident later – Now fingers are pointing at Nacho for stepping up just at the wrong moment, and hopefully he will learn from this error. I am not sure even with Gibbs lightning pace would have been able to get back to make a tackle, so I will leave that one for the jury to decide.

    Szcz at fault? Easy with hindsight. The Bale goal he did what he could. I don’t think he could have got to Bale with the speed he picked the ball up from beyond the 18 yard line, so he did what goal keepers do .. narrow the angles, and don’t go down too early. As for the second one, it looked on one viewing only, that Lennon had time to pause, and then accelerate passed him. Boot on the other foot, you would be thoroughly p*ssed off if Theo failed to score in that position???

    Where does that leave us? With a big job to do! The Bayern game could offer a chance to test one or two alternatives perhaps. Have another try at Sagna, if fit, as RCB, as suggested above. Failing tha,t the triple CB’s, with Kos at RCB. Up front, try it with Akpon or Gnabry along side Giroud/Poldi and see if the fearlessness of youth can get results in the box where others are failing? Alas, I do not know if either qualify under the squad rules? Yes, give Rosicky the CAM role. I suspect Santi may be injured/rested for this match anyway? We need something to happen. We want a re-run of last season’s run in, not the collapse of two season’s ago?

    Stick with the positives, and results will surely follow. The players know and feel the disappointment from yesterday. Let’s use that and support them, and leave the finger wagging until the end of season.

    RA and I both said it was not going to be easy against Spurs, but our season doesn’t have to end here. We do have the players with the desire and commitment to turn this result into a springboard for better to come, rather than a lead weight that drags us all down. Shake of this morning’s gloom and get behind the team. They need it more than ever?

  34. henrychan says:

    Hi all..
    For me Bale’s goal was clearly offside.. The linesman was to blamed.. hehehe..
    The second goal should not happened.. but that is football.. we did some similar goal like that also.. Not every cross can be conquered..
    But I think.. Wenger should replace Giroud instead of Jenkinson or Arteta..
    Giroud look so frustration and did a lot of mistake..

    But COYG.. the game is not over yet..
    Chelsea still have to win again Liverpool and MU away and Swansea, Spurs and Everton home.. Spurs still have to win again Liverpool, Chelsea and Swansea away and also City and Everton home.. 5 points is not impossible to chase.. Just 3 draws or 2 lose of them will change all.. Everything can be happen.. We still have an opportunity to be at 4th place at the end of the season.. Just keep the spirit high..

    Beating Everton at home nextweek will be the real test..
    Hope we pass the test.. Go Gunners..

  35. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning all 🙂

    Thanks for overnight comments.

    Gerry supporting the team going forward and being critical of an underpar performance should go hand in hand, and the great comments last night are all reflecting this. No need to dread some negativity coming out, as search of truth needs to go hand in hand with the passion we have for the club.

    Catch you all later.

  36. Gerry says:

    TA – I don’t disagree with that. However, I don’t like to read total negativity. Which, apart from odd ones, there wasn’t.

    However, it is not our critical assessment that matters, other than to ourselves. My approach, as always, is that despite everything, I believe those in charge will be doing all they can to put right, where they can. The players will respond too, as we know they can.

    That is all I was saying. See what your second viewing brings to the table, eh?

  37. Red Arse says:

    Super Post, TA, and difficult to produce something as positive and well balanced when disappointment is the prime mover for all of us!! 🙂

    The difference between winning and losing is often based on fine margins, and that was the case yesterday.

    If the lead up play which produced the goals for Spurs were repeated, they would not score, again.
    Nacho should have gone with Lennon, Verm should have looked over his shoulder to check what was going on; Mert trying to press Bale while Verm dropped back was exactly what we were talking about yesterday, disruption in the defence knowing what everyone else was doing.

    Up front, Pod was through on goal and had a very heavy touch and boom — the chance is gone.

    Fine margins guys — that’s football, in every game for every one!

    It’s just a bugger the Spuds, of all teams, got the benefit this time!!

  38. TotalArsenal says:

    Gerry 🙂

    Our critical assessment and passion for the club is all we have. Especially without our critical assessment there is little point of blogging about football. I agree with you that it does not matter other than to ourselves, but, as supporters, what else than ourselves do we have?

    Your approach is your choice and I respect that very much, and in many ways I would like to join you under that blanket of comfort, but being critical of the things that are clearly going wrong at the moment is what matters to me most now. As I have said a few times recently, there needs to be a healthy balance between passion/devotion for/to the club and search for truth, which includes looking at all areas in need of improvement.

  39. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi RA 🙂

    Yes you are right, it is about fine margins to a large extent. I just think we are lacking quality and discipline in a few areas which is holding back the margins swinging our way at the moment. 😦

  40. Red Arse says:

    TA,

    I am repeating myself, I admit, but the first step in football, as in business, is to review performances with a clear eye, because before you can fix something, you have understand you have a problem.

    This not negativity, it is striving to be as good as you (or the team) can be by analysing the data and improving on it.

    That is what I think both you and Gerry are saying, in your different ways, and I do not think either of you would have any truck with destructive criticism, which is a whole different ball game!! 😀

    There are two areas which the club have got to realise needs attention.

    a) There is a need for better quality players, so we can match the other top clubs.

    b) There is a need to review the ‘attack at all cost’ theory, and spend more time analysing the strengths and weaknesses of other teams and responding accordingly.
    [Coaching by any other name!]

  41. glic says:

    Morning Clamlappers 🙂

    I`m all for fair competition Totes baby, but imo it will be nice to have a back up plan.
    Anyway fair competition to an extent never existed and probably never will, I`d rather us be at the front than at the back.
    An ideal world doesn`t exist. It seems even Man City want to self sustaining if you read their spill, so having oil owners may not be as bad as some think. They are building an impressive academy for the future which makes ours look like Exeter`s. Have a look, are they going to all this trouble just for the fun of it. As I`ve said previously, in an ideal world, our league would be run like the Germans Bundesliga, but it isn`t.
    I really hope my faith in FFP is fullfilled, but would rather the Mansours than Kroenke as back up, as I dont see any of Kroenke`s sports collections being power houses in their fields. Arsenal is his biggest world wide brand and I`m not sure he fully understands it or what it means to millions of gooners.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2202858/Manchester-City-training-centre-Plans-revealed-100m-complex.html

  42. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Redders 🙂

    Cheers Glic 🙂

    We just see things different on this one, but you’re still ok hahaha 😛

  43. alexgunners says:

    TA,

    Great post and i agree that it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
    It has taken me nearly 24 hours after that game to bring myself to even read any news regarding the Gunners let alone write anything.

    First of all, how many times must we start from 2 goals down at the half? Carved up twice in 2 minutes and most of our problems has been our so called offside trap. How about actually defending efficiently and not have to rely on the linesman????? They get it wrong and in the end our players become desperate and make further mistakes. The second goal was a pure example of this.

    Our attack is limp. 1 goal per game in the last 5 or so games. You cannot be expecting to win games when you only score one. 1-0 to the Arsenal is a thing of the past because we cannot defend. When was the last time that our forwards scored???? I cant even be bothered looking it up right now and. Giroud is good in patches, 5 decent games and then followed by 5 ineffective ones. As I have said many times, Walcott may have the speed but not the presence to play up front. Not strong enough on the ball and does not help in defense enough.
    Look at the spuds, they back each other, defend as a team and pressure high in the field.
    At the moment, we are a mess.

    The midfield is progressing but without the right personnel to take the chances and be clinical in front of goal, i fear this will be a continuing trend for us.

    How many of our players right now have enough class and drive to get us where we need to be??? I honestly do not know as time and time again we are left disappointed by the collective performance.

    I know that this is a rather down in the dumps reply but that’s how this game has left me.

  44. Rohan says:

    Sorry to re-open the walcott argument again but surely if he keeps making runs that aren’t being found , he should look to impose himself on the game in a different way – maybe dropping deeper to provide link-up play. Maybe not walcott’s fault as it could be wenger’s refusal to change plans, I understand its not walcott’s regular style of play but what he was trying wasn’t working out and the best players should find ways to impose themselves.

  45. Red Arse says:

    Rohan,

    I think you have a valid point.

    Are you the Rohan who went across the world to go to Uni in LA?
    If so, are you back in the UK now?

    Just being nosy! 🙂

  46. Gerry says:

    Morning Redders, I think you and I are on a similar level here, due to our pre-match fears?

    However, your two areas of consideration are interesting. I am not sure we haven’t already discussed No1, but as that is for the TW and next season I’ll concentrate on the other one.

    On No 2 brings us back to the tactical points that were made in the previous blog. I moved away from the more defensive line up on the grounds that it was too much change just ahead of this important game. So correct me if I am wrong, you actually want the squad to be flexible enough to cope with such changes, according to who we play?

    I think that might be fine when confidence is high, and players can take that confidence with them when they take up a different role/positions. This is something that annoys me the way some of the youth players are brought into the first team … ‘playing them out of position helps them get a better understanding of the game’ … I repeat, fine if you are full of confidence, but it does jack sh*t if you bomb so badly that you cannot even play your own role well? Ramsey a case in point. Since he has had a run of a few good games he has been able to drop in as an emergency FB/wing back with surprising results. I don’t believe that it had much to do with being stuck out on either wing, where his confidence was really low?

    Currently the team are struggling to get a couple of good games, with results, under their belts to risk too many changes. I went with the attacking mode and hoped with collective effort that our reasonably stable defense would see us through. As you say ‘fine margins’ …

    It interesting that prior to the Bayern match, various formations were proposed, but when I popped the question as to whether we pressed high, or stayed back and hit on the counter, I do not recall a single response. Nor was this discussed yesterday?

    Anyway, I wonder what your thoughts are on the return leg with Bayern are? Should we go there to re-group, and settle for a nil-nil draw? Go with our strongest team and hope to get early goals, but if that doesn’t happen we withdraw key players? Or should we test out alternative players, like Gnabry, who I am sure would like to impress the German supporters? I’ll stick my neck out, as I said earlier, and go with the latter. Try the triple CB against a potent attack, and with the twin German strike force, and Jack and Rosi just behind in a 3-3-2-2 formation, we could sneak an odd goal or two. Width would have to come from the backs getting forwards. This would be a game of sitting deep, and try to catch the on the break using Gnabry’s pace and Poldi and Rosi in support?

    That is my thoughts, what’s yours, …. anybody?

  47. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Alex,

    I know you are a glas half full sort of Gooner – you could not be anything else with all that sunshine and those Melbourne beauties 🙂 – and your assessment is exactly how I, and I am sure many fellow Gooners, feel right now.

    The issues at the back look now structural and can only be resolved by buying one or two new defender this summer. I hope I am wrong though as I like them all, but if after seven months into the season we still make these sorts of mistakes and with such frequency, it is time to accept that change is needed. The only other option is to get a better defensive coach…

  48. glic says:

    This thing with Theo making openspace runs and not being seen……oh for a DB10, that video I put up the other day was full of his slide rule defense splitting passes, I dont care if he is over 40 ….bring him back…I mean as a player !. Oh and as a coach !.

    Of course I`m OK Total Van Rottenedamhelmet !. We, on this site can have opposing views and still be respectfull and courteous to each other.
    Right, latterz splurgesponge muvverz . hahaha

  49. Rohan says:

    Red Arse, Thanks, sorry though,I’m not him, I’ve been in uk my whole life and go to university in Sheffield .

  50. TotalArsenal says:

    Rohan, if you are the Rohan who has just started Ashburton Arsenal, then feel free to put up a link to your site here and tell us a bit about it. 🙂

    If you are not that Rohan then just ignore the above! 😛

  51. Red Arse says:

    They seek him here, they seek him there, that pesky Rohan is everywhere! 🙂

    You are very welcome Rohan. I have seen you around the blogs and I like your comments!

  52. TotalArsenal says:

    Gerry,

    I cannot see Arsene putting out a 0-0 team when facing Die Lederhosen. We are just not able to play such footie. I reckon he will want to play with only one philosophy: go out there and try to win with as many goals as possible. It could horribly wrong but there is still a small chance left to go through and an early Arsenal goal might give us the legs and confidence to give our all.

    It would be good if Gibbs is fit for that one: he and Podolski could be real threat going forward. Same goes for Sagna and Theo. On top of that I reckon Arsene will play the Milan home formation of 4-1-2-3. Unfortunately, he does not have Song anymore, who played a tremedous game last year against Milan. But he could play Jack there for once and play Cazorla and Ox in the two and Giroud or Pod up-front.

    Sz
    Sag – Koz – Vermaelen – Gibbs
    —————Jack——————-
    ———Ox———–Santi———
    Theo——-Giroud———Podo

    Trying out Gnabry or Eisfeld would be ok too, but only one of them I reckon, as Bayern will be hard to beat and it could easily end up in disaster, as they will know no mercy…

  53. Rohan says:

    Yeah that’s me. The blog’s address is http://Ashburton-arsenal.blogspot.co.uk it’s basically just set up for me to get my views about arsenal out there. Like bergkamesque I try to stay positive about Arsenal, but am willing to criticise players if it seems warranted. All views are welcome and I am always happy to debate.

  54. Red Arse says:

    Gerry,

    You have gone into a lot of detail in your comment, and very interesting stuff, too.

    My point (b) above, related to Arsene’s oft stated comment that we ‘defend as a team and we attack as a team’, and also to his reported comment that we would not set up specially to deal with Bale.

    All very well with the right quality players who have gelled into a well rehearsed unit (particularly in defence), but I think the cock ups between, Arteta, Nacho, Per and the Verm show they have not practised enough, and had no plan, at that moment, to deal with Bale.

    I really put up the comment, which I admitted I have previously said, because I think points (a) and (b) [better quality players, and better organizational coaching] need to be taken together and are not a pick and choose menu.

    Someone is bound to ask why do I say that and what do I know about Arsene’s training regimen etc, and the answer is ‘not a lot’, but the evidence of my own eyes on Sunday and previously, tells me that whatever coaching the players are given, they need to go back and practise some more. 😀

  55. TotalArsenal says:

    Redders, you are making some valid points and at this stage we should see a lot more structure and discipline in our defending, both by our defence as well as the entire team. I would love to know how our defensive coaching is done.

  56. glic says:

    One thing I dont get or like about AW, is his reluctance to put in any plan to negate the opposition`s strength`s. His “let them worry about us” tactics may have worked in the earlier day`s of having match winners all over the park, but nowadays is a shouting out loud weakness !. Sir Alchy Scrotumface was at a Madrid game the other night to watch the opposition and have noticed this on quite a few occasions in the past, I`ve never once from memory ever seen AW in the crowd watching the oppo`.
    The threat of Lennon and Bale was highlighted as a worry by a lot of us before yesterdays game, Aw`s take on it….” There is no plan of action to deal with Bale” or words to that affect.
    He deserves a crack for the next few years with the rumoured extra money, but I do worry that he hasn`t the technical/tactical knowledge of the likes of Rancid rectum chops, as I said the days of having super talent and letting them get on with it on the field have long gone, they may return with the foundations we have built, but something tells me it will take a lot of money aswell !.

    I am glic, I thrust . hahahaha

  57. glic says:

    I think Stevie Boulds tough demeanor is overated, he wears girlie white pop socks !.
    Who`s with me in bringing in Mike Strutter to baseball bat some sense into our defense ?

  58. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Cornwall, i agree with all your points recently. Especialy Mike Strutter with a baseball bat. hahaha

  59. glic says:

    Yeah Stretch…… and with a ladder he could piss all over Philatelist Merts` head aswell !. hahaha

  60. Gerry says:

    glic – I would like to take this moment before I disappear for a few hours, on your pro money stance.

    I think it is short term madness to go down that road. because it will almost certainly many clubs going to the wall if they try and fail to compete. It will make the EPL a mini league for the rich clubs, and dwindling attendances for the also ran’s.

    And what happens the next time there is a financial crisis and the money is pulled out at a moments notice?

    You say we haven’t got the Bundesliga model, so we are stuffed if the FFP does not come good. I say there is little to stop us changing the rules if there was a sense of urgency at collapse of the league as we know it. May be if TV were to pull out in 10 years time because the finals and trophies were so predictable that audiences fell away to watch more exciting sports? What then? The rich boys would have to attend games … surely not?

    Various political parties have got involved when it comes to ‘our national sports’, so why not over this issue? Especially as more and more fraud cases emerge through money laundering and the like? Simple case of shares up to 51% holding gets returned to a trust set up by each club. Each trust could have fan based members running the trust, and therefore have an influence in the way the club is run.

    What I am saying is not just applicable in this country. The multi national free-for-all is not suited to any sport that is nationally based. The country that runs the game should do so in the interest of the sport, not for the benefit of the very rich, who will manipulate it for their own ends?

    Not the way to go at all, and we need not continue along this path either. To coin that well known phrase ‘ Be careful what you wish for ..?’

  61. Highbury Harmony says:

    I, for one, believed Bale looked very ordinary yesterday. He missed a sitter and scored a goal off a defensive blunder. Up until his goal, Vermaelen and Mertesacker did a fantastic job of cutting off his space and getting in his face. He had no space to run with the ball and was doing the exact same thing as Theo – running into space hoping to get through balls. The difference? He was on the end of one and had tons of space for a composed finish.

    I don’t buy for a second that AW never had a plan in place to counter Bale, based on our defending leading up to the goal. After we conceded, we then started to fall apart and take more risks. The high line was likely employed to counter the speed of Bale and Lennon; it really seems as though that tactic is used to mask the deficiencies of our CB’s in speed and defending capabilities/confidence (Mertesacker for the former and Vermaelen/Kos on the latter lately). If we can buy a more mobile CB like Amorebieta this summer, hopefully we’ll avoid the high line and just defend like a proper unit.

  62. glic says:

    Hi Gerry

    All I want is a fair level playing myself, I just wonder if the way the game has gone can we change it back or to the acknowledged German model. I have no problem with that as I have said and we are virtually owned by two billionaires anyway, so the same could happen to them in the worst case scenario as to any other big buck owners.
    I just like what the City lot have done with training facilities for their youth policy. If FFP makes the impact we want, then their vision with them facilities should work wonders for them in the future if the day of £80m footballer comes to an end.
    Their complex will be like a mini football university and FFP does not stop mega money being pumped into youth projects ( someone correct me if I`m wrong ). We see what happened with the Olympics, money was pumped into sports science, facilities , advanced training, top coaches etc and we got a bumper crop of medals. That imo is where City are heading, they may not be able to pay the the bucks in the future for off the shelf super stars due to FFP, but they can pump big bucks into making their own. If FFP works, then this the area where we need to be up there with them.

  63. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi GLiC, do you really believe all that Northern Oilers’ spin? How many players have made it to the first team of MC, and do you really believe they will have the patience ala Arsenal to ease players in and take the risk of not winning things for one or more seasons?

  64. glic says:

    Totes , the complex is not finished until 2014 and they haven`t brought anyone through yet as at the moment they are buying off the peg, but we cant say they wont have players coming through in the future !.
    I did say that if they abide to FFP ( if it is in full running with no loop holes) then that is surely their aim, would it not be our aim in the same circumstances ?.
    Now behave or I will call you names !. hahahaha

  65. Red Arse says:

    Gerry,

    I think there already is a small ‘rich boys league’ within the EPL, with City, Manure and the Chavs.

    Certainly I cannot see any other club winning the EPL other than one of those three, and probably the FA Cup as a bonus — and they are all talking about ‘strengthening’ in the summer T/W.

    If FFP fails, and it does already have great ‘flexibility’ in the interpretation of its rules, and no doubt more to come when City, and the Chavs play silly buggers over finances, and PSG joins them with their ‘State sponsorship’, over in France.

    We as fans have no choice in what happens, and if the ‘rich boys’ get the hump with UEFA, they have already made noises about ‘going it alone’ by setting up a new league of their own.

    Tricky years ahead of us!

  66. TotalArsenal says:

    Glic agreed. They have, however, bought a number of big talents over the last few years, who simply don’t get a look in, and I reckon this will continue to be the case with them. But maybe you are right and they will build their club properly bottom upwards and have a long-term view/strategy with regardst to this.

  67. glic says:

    Just in the nick of time with that comment Totes, I was just about to give up on making serious comments with you keep on disagreeing with me !. hahahaha

  68. glic says:

    After the losses to Bradford, Blackburn and Bayern, I really do think Vic`s has topped himself after yesterday`s result and he did say he was watching with a load of Spuds !.

  69. TotalArsenal says:

    haha Glic – it is good to see your serious side coming out now and again…

  70. Red Arse says:

    I agree with you, Glic. 🙂

    Terry’s todger is even smaller than yours — and you can’t get more serious than that!! 🙂

    Actually joking aside, you really have another side to you, as I have said before, and behind your cheeky and very naughtily funny demeanour, there is a dyed in the wool Gooner — well it must be all those sheep in Devon — who has a burning passion for the Arsenal.

    Good on you – and I want to see us compete for trophies too!! 🙂

  71. glic says:

    I`m in Cornwall Redders, are suggesting I go Ram Raiding over the border into Micky`s Devon !. hahaha

    Food beckons !.

  72. Red Arse says:

    You leave Micky’s rams alone, Glic. 🙂

    I didn’t see your Vid on AA, because I was so peed off with Speculum, but it has upset people over there, and it is probably best to keep it on BK, if TA agrees, as we do not have youngsters on here that I know of.

    I should mind my own business, of course, but you are a friend and I do not like to see you get in trouble! 😦

  73. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    hahahaha, that had me laughing out loud Redders, the pieogens were well startled, feathers everywere. And your right, that is very serious. hahaha

  74. glic says:

    Thanks for your concern Redders my cyber buddy. 🙂
    I did post a warning on said video, but unbeknown to me they have boy scouts and girl guides little gooners on there !. Which in that case how the f**k do they let gooner michael on there !. hahahaha

  75. Herb'sArmy says:

    Thanks for the Post, Total.
    A day on from the deflating NLD, it doesn’t feel any better.
    Just a weary demoralising sense of deja-vu.
    The same microscopic examination of the same problems that have plagued us for years, and every excuse in the book has been exhausted.
    Why do we have to put up with the likes of Chamakh and Arshavin, when Liverpool, a club who for a few years have fallen below us, can bring in the quality of Torres (phenomenal at Liverpool), and Suarez? There is absolutely no logic.
    I am as confused as any Arsenal fan about where the club is heading, but what I do know is that our decline has nothing to do with a lack of resources.
    Arsenal are in real danger of becoming completely insignificant among football’s elite, if we’re not already at that point.

  76. glic says:

    Hi Herbenstein 🙂

    It may be a load bollocks , but what do you think of the rumour of a Arab take-over bearing in mind they would completely wipe out the debt, make seats cheaper, make a noisy fanatical North Bank area, have substancial funds, not sell our best players and develop youth aswell !. Probably a load of bollocks, but if it did happen what would your opinion be ?.

  77. glic says:

    There`s only one way to get ” The Wheelchair Dead ” out of his rigor mortis state ( which incidently is the only time he gets a boner ! hahaha ) is to give my UMF league predictions for the coming weekend ( hehehe ).

    Erectile Dysfunctionals

    Alice in Sunderland

    Astonishingly Villanous

    The Orcs

    Sheep Shaggers

    All to win

  78. Herb'sArmy says:

    Hi GliC,
    I’ve not really given it a lot of thought, because money isn’t Arsenal’s problem. It’s the football philosophy that is flawed, yet we still waste £millions protecting and cementing something that hasn’t worked for a long time. We are rewarding people for failure and making millions of people miserable. It has become a moral vacuum.
    I understand they’re earning what market-forces dictate, but if Arsene Wenger had any real dignity, he would look at himself, look at Arsenal’s decline and admit to supporters that he isn’t worth anywhere near the £7m he takes from the club every year.

  79. VCC says:

    Hi GLiCtorious. Have been following you guys but not had the heart to comment, (plus this other new laptop has started to play up, hows your luck)

    Totally pissed off. What made things worse, I was sitting next to a Spuditte and he was telling me what Spurs would do to Arsenal during the game. Then, you’ve guessed it, exactly what he said started to happen to us. Twice within minutes, exactly as he predicted.

    Arsenal would press up on a high line and we would get picked off by Lennon and Bale. FFS.

    My patience with Wenger is thinner than a cigarette paper at the moment. When will he learn. (I’m beginning to wonder whether he ever will)

  80. Milo says:

    To answer your question Vic, I don’t think Wenger will learn. What we have to hope for is that he buys players good enough to carry out his desire of “total football”. That is the only thing that will help. I don’t think Wenger will change his way of coaching. I would like him to, but I know he will go down or up, fighting his way, and his way only.

  81. VCC says:

    Hi Milo……..The only thing the Spuditte got wrong was he said Lennon and Bale, got them the wrong way round. He was spot on with Spurs and Arsenal tactics.

    I can take a beating but when other teams supporters tell me we are so predictable and weak in certain areas it pisses me off.

    Surely Wenger must smell the coffee soon??????

    I’m giving him until the end of the summer signings and if he doesn’t bring in some quality players then I’m joining Herb.

    I mean Mertesacker, what a poor buy, you cannot tell me he saw him in the flesh when scouting him. Ramsey (his love child) is not good enough for Arsenal, and I’m not even going to put in print the name of our supposedly centre forward. What a complete joke? £12 million pounds??????

  82. VCC says:

    UMF 1

    VCC………….73
    Herb………….67
    PPP………….65
    Oz…………….60
    Red Arse……60
    Henry…………59
    HH…………….56
    Total………….53
    Rocky………..51
    Alex ………….47
    TMHT ……….41
    GLiC………….33

    Weekly table

    PPP…………7
    Red Arse….6
    Rocky………6
    Herb ……….5
    Oz……………5
    HH…………..5
    Gerry……….4
    GLiC………..4
    VCC…………4
    Alex…………3
    TMHT………3
    Henry………2
    Total………..0

    Well done to the man on form PPP. 7 points takes him to within 8 points of the leader.
    Total has taken over from GLiC as the bottom guy.

    If everyone wants to enter this week, shall we include premiership and FA Cup games?
    Please let me have some feed back guys.
    Cheers again, and all take care.

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