Let’s move from 4-2-1-3 to 4-1-2-3: give Arsenal its identity back!

Santi Cazorla celebrates after scoring against Reading

When will Arsenal rediscover its beautiful football again?

It has been a while now since Arsenal played the sort of football that makes us all purr like a cat; the sort of football that makes the crowd go ooh and aah!

I reckon ever since Fabregas’ last season for us, Arsenal have been struggling to find their identity again. And when I say, Arsenal; I really mean Arsene. Last season we played more or less continuously Plan B: the ‘feed the Dutchman he will score’ scenario. We became very dependent on him, and despite my absolute loathing of the self-celebrating traitor now, it is fair to say that he played a big part in Arsenal finishing third last season.

This season, many of us will struggle with describing what our plan-A is. Arsene has tried a number of different player-combinations up-front, in midfield and at the back. We have seen glimpses of both effective and beautiful football, but it has been pretty ordinary most of the times. This season, I have been to Norwich and Wigan away and Blackburn at home; and last season I watched Fulham, QPR and Blackburn at home, and their was little beauty/ real quality of play to be seen in any of these matches: a far cry of how we used to play!

Whilst driving back through black and bleary motorways from London last night, I thought deep and hard how and when we will get our beautiful game back. Is it simply a matter of buying more quality players, as in players who can reach the heights of Bergkamp, Henry, Fabregas and Pires again; or is it a matter of getting a couple of solid, quality defenders/midfielders who will allow the rest to play Wengerball again?

Having analysed our recent games a bit, it is clear to me that both Wilshere and Cazorla are more than capable and willing to lead our game back to Wengerball. They are working their socks off to get this team going. However, their efforts have been wiped out by big, and mostly unnecessary, defensive mistakes. On top of that, with our strike-force still finding its feet and going through a big goal-lull at the moment, we have been unable to do a ‘Mancs United’; simply outscoring the opposition.

A simple answer to the main question in this post is to go and buy both top quality players and a couple of solid defenders. Like everybody else, I also believe that without adding these sort of players in the summer – as early as possible, ideally – we will not make much progress next season.

However, as Arsenal cannot buy any players until then, and we have still 10 games to play and with a top-four place at stake – and going with the answers in yesterday’s post, most of you believe we are still going to make the top-four this season 🙂 – let’s talk about what can be done NOW to get back to both beautiful AND effective football again.

Arsene has said on a number of occasions that his team has been playing with the handbrake on. I agree with him, but what can he do about it? For me, the answer lays with the ‘2’ of our 4-2-1-3 formation.

I would like us to play 4-1-2-3 for the remainder of the season. I cannot see us fix our defensive issues any more without buying a quality DM and CB, or at least one of them during the summer. I also cannot see us change to 4-4-2, 4-5-1 or even 3-5-2 during the remainder of the season; the change would be too drastic, whereas moving the ‘2’ forwards can be done without too many adjustments.

So I say, let’s focus on playing our game as much as possible in the opposition’s half and scoring as many goals in the process. Allow Arteta to play as our deepest laying midfielder; or maybe even move Vermaelen there. In the ‘2’ we can play Cazorla and Wilshere or Rosicky and Ox, or even bring back the Siberia working camp exiled Arshavin.

We have so many quality players to play in the double advanced midfielder positions, that we could see an instant, and much needed, positive impact.

Arsenal would be buzzing with attacking intent again, and the likes of Podolski, Walcott and Giroud would get plenty of service to start adding to their goal tally once more. In the process Arsenal might find its new identity again, and in the summer we can add the necessary steel at the back and in midfield, and add another quality flair player as well.

Let’s hope Arsene will be a bit braver now, and will try something different for the remainder of the season: throw the handbrake away and let the team go and enjoy themselves again. There is still plenty of quality in the team and it is time to allow them to throw the shackles away and dictate play again. Yes we are likely to concede a lot of goals in the process, but as recent games have shown to us, this will happen anyway.

So, we might as well go out there and play the sort of football that we are capable of and will bring joy to our Gooner hearts again. I also reckon, it is the best way to secure a top-four spot this season.

But what do you think Arsene should do to give us back our identity again; to start playing beautiful and winning football once more?

Come on You Rip Roaring Gunners!!!!!!!!!!!

Written by: TotalArsenal.

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60 Responses to Let’s move from 4-2-1-3 to 4-1-2-3: give Arsenal its identity back!

  1. Herb'sArmy says:

    I may return to the Post later, as it is, I’m far from happy with you VCC.

  2. VCC says:

    Herb …?

  3. Dylan says:

    I have always wanted to play with 2 attacking mids combing either jack and Santi up there. Or rosicky and santi. I wish I could give another option but I don’t really see any other than maybe Ox. Many people say we need a defensive mid but I also think we need one high quality attacking mid because right now if Santi or jack have a bad game, the team have a bad game.

    Also I would like to note that after yesterday predicting Wigan will win the FA Cup I’ve just watched them put 3 goals by Everton in 5 minutes and Miyachi is coming on. 😀

  4. HelionV says:

    The only reason we moved away from 442 in the first place was to accomodate Fabregas, who as Barca are finding out, has no position on the football pitch.

    Ashley Cole of all people was right on the money when he said, he quit when Wenger replaced Vieira with Cesc.

    United have been getting away with 2 ball playing central midfielders and winning title after title for years now. Just play Ramsey and Wilshere there. Problem solved.

    Give Giroud some support with another striker. Attack for f*** sake. If you play with weird formations and not enough attacking players, you give your opponent confidence and opportunities, and then your defence starts to look bad, Especially if your midfield protection is a converted attacking midfielder like Arteta without any pace or physical presence.

    But all this will not solve the fundamental problem of Arsene’s ineptitude in day to day management tasks like planning, tactics, motivation, game changing substitutes etc. We look like Barca look like now without a coach. But we have been looking like this for 8 years now.

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    Wow Dylan, chapeau to you! It is not over yet, but three goals ahead is some score!! 🙂

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    Interesting comments HelionV. I take it you’re not a big Wengerite then?! 😀

    What did you make of the Flamini-Fabregas combo in midfield?

  7. JB212 says:

    4-1-2-3 could definitely be used till the end of the season.

    With the 4-1-2-3 formation, the midfielders and wide forwards are gonna have to press like mad. The “1” in that formation should definitely be Coquelin in my opinion, he’s quick, aggressive in the tackle, has a good passing range and is very good on the ball. Arteta hasn’t got the physical ability to keep up with fast attacks against us. Ramsey is the player I would choose to rotate with Coquelin if need be.

    The two in front of Coquelin for me has to be Wilshere and Rosicky, this is because they can both dribble past opponents eliminating them and both have excellent passing and vision. Not only that, they are both aggressive in the tackle and Rosicky would also find room on the edge of the box more and try and ping shots in.

  8. HelionV says:


    Sorry, but I am the biggest Wenger fan ever. That man is a footballing wizard, who can see things so far off, and notice such minor subtleties.

    I believe under Wenger, up until 2 years ago, every season Arsenal had the best team in England, in terms of individual talent. Wenger would somehow harness the collective potential of a ragtag collection of individuals and make them all look worldclass.

    But getting the team together, and creating an environment where they thrive is one thing.
    Leading them into battle is another thing altogether. Wenger has never been cut out for this. Hence his lack luster managerial record throughout his career.

    Add to that the constant cynicism of the media and the average British fan, the backbiting and poisonous stench over the Emirates and you have a manager who just looks increasingly clueless and who has lost faith in his own strength.

    Maybe an aassistant to sort out the tactical gameplan side, and a leader on the pitch like Vieira can rejuvenate his career. But I get the feeling it is better for him to get out of the premier league circus, and go to Germany or France, where he can still win by the sheer quality of his team, and not worry about the details of the battle.

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi JB212

    Interesting call on Coquelin. I agree on his physical abilities, but I reckon he would struggle with his positioning and reading of the game. This is something that will come with time, and like you I rate him, but I am not sure whether he could be an effective sole DM in a 4-1-2-3 formation.

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    Another fine comment HelionV 🙂 And all agreed.

    He would not let an assistant prepare for tactical battle, I reckon, but with the right leadership on the pitch, things could turn right again. At the moment, the team is lacking the right leadership levels, in terms of, as you put it, going to battle. But this could still be fixed.

    Agreed, though, that it might be time for Arsene to do something different with his career.

  11. Simon Taylor says:

    What on earth are you all going on about ? A Hole did not leave because Fab took Viera’s place , he left for more money . As regards to Cesc , Wenger was right . If your replacing a great player with a player who will be a great player that’s fine , remember Gilberto was still the sitting player , perfect call I’d say . That remember was the year Flamini played exceptionally well at left back , still got overlooked as well as being injured , was then going to be sold to Birmingham , started to play because Silva was late back with Brazil and Wenger realised Cesc and Flam could play together ,and the year (we should have won the title if we had a competent manager ) only had less than a year on his contract , and duly left the club , cue schlock horror from Wenger . NO OTHER BIG CLUB WOULD ACCEPT THIS DRIVEL ! Wenger is astonishingly lucky to have us as supporters , we’re so conservative it beggars belief . Brad Friedel has been exceptional since Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg address , we could have signed him from Blackburn or later from Villa , a competent keeper and a good centre half like Samba . How fucking conservative is that ? Ten twelve million for both , but oh no lets get another untried Kermit from L’ORIENT , and of course I believe in the plumber ( Fabianski ) BELIEVE . BOLLOCKS MORE LIKE IT !

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Simon,

    Yes we have loyal, patient fans, in general. But then don’t forget what Arsene has given us over the years.

    I love this:”Brad Friedel has been exceptional since Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg address” haha 🙂

    Very true, and I agree we need a back-up experienced goalkeeper.

  13. VCC says:

    UMF 1 early sscores

    Herb………3. (2 games to come)
    HH…………2 (2)
    Total……….2 (2)
    Gerry ……..2……(2)
    Rocky …….1……(3)
    Red Arse…0……(3)
    Alex non entry
    PPP non entry

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    VCC 😛

    You are quick, I give you that, but lack accuracy. I should have 5 points: two for Villa away win and three for Norwich draw: 2+ 3 =…. 😆

  15. VCC says:

    sorry Total…When was the Norwich game on? I never see that result. Will have to check. Skysports did not show that result, I thought it might have been tomorrow????

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    It was today and finished 0-0 (v Reading), VCC.

    No worries, I was just joking amigo 🙂

  17. Herb'sArmy says:

    “Looks like we’ll be running without Alex and Herb this week…”
    Any other week you’ve drawn absentees selections out of a hat so they could take part, so has that changed? Or is it a case of favouritism, and a lack of moral fibre?

  18. VCC says:

    Sorry All I missed the Norwich games. ~Revised scores =

    Herb 3 (2)
    HH……..5 (1)
    Total…..5 (1)
    TMHT 5….(2)
    Oz ……0…..(3)
    Red Arse…0…(3)
    Alex non entry
    PPP non entry

    PLease accept my apologies.

  19. Gerry says:

    Yes, I guess we can all have a view on this, particularly with this next match in mind?

    Is it to be the pivotal match that sends our team off to a glorious finish to the season …
    or not?

    Get this one right with a great performance, rather than expecting to overturn their 3 away goals. To get a win would be great when you consider we will be without Monreal, Gibbs, and Sagna? Even a draw would be better than a collapse. That is the basic reality as I see it.

    So to do that, we need a team that has balance in both attack and defence. Starting with the back we know of one change, that of left back. TV5 or promote one of the younger guys?

    If there was any thought of playing Kos or TV5 as the DM, then I think I would go for Miguel, and just maybe instead of TV5, and hand captaincy over to Jack.

    The DM position is going to the key one to fill if you are going for pace to join in the attack?

    Keep with Arteta for his experience; Coquelin for his pace; Yennaris as an alternative with the same tenacious tackling; promote one of the ‘bulkier’ juniors; the aforementioned centre backs; and finally Miquel could be added to that list if he has been tested out in training? That latter has pace, bulk and can tackle, but as yet untried in this position.

    If the next pair are Santi and Jack to link the attackers, although Rosicky should also be considered, and give Santi a break?

    Which leaves the front trio, in sticking to the suggested formation.
    I like the idea of playing someone close to Giroud who can draw defenders away. Perhaps playing Podolski in the middle and Giroud to the not too far wide left, or even play the Ox in the middle and Poldi on the left. We are short of support strikers, and Walcott is too easily dealt with in the middle, especially if we go for the high pressing in their half? Otherwise it is back to the Pod-Giroud- Walcott, if we are without either of our young prospects likely to appear? The Santi-Giroud-Walcott has been tried, but it leaves Giroud to be marked out of it with two or tree defenders round him?

    Result of my deliberations?

    But I will be happy to try either Kos, TV5, Miguel, Coquelin to try the solo DM role, in that order of preference. It has to be tried sometime, why not here?

  20. chuolpanom says:

    i am chuolpanomjockdeng
    From south sudan I like teel lovely to arsenal it is
    My best team in my life
    I am not
    Hapyy for whats going to arsenal
    i wish we are going to be in champion league nex
    Season and like the way to play 4؛3؛3

  21. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi and big welcome to you, chuolpanom, 🙂

    You are the first to comment for South Sudan. If I am right South Sudan is the newest country of the world?!

    With a bit of luck and hard work, Arsenal can still make the Champions League, but it won’t be easy!

  22. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Herb,

    Your comment at 17.31 is inappropriate. The UMF league is just a bit of fun in which VCC puts a lot of time and effort. To suggest that he lacks ‘moral fibre’ and applies favouratism is out of order.

    You should apologise for those comments to VCC.

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Gerry,

    Your response is a great read. I still would like to write a post about how we can beat Bayern, so I am not going to say much now about it. In fact, your comment would be a very good basis for such a post!

  24. Herb'sArmy says:

    Please don’t lecture me about moral fibre, Total, check your e-mails.
    Am I lying? Has VCC not drawn selections from a hat for other UMF absentees on weeks where they couldn’t submit their selections? So what was different about this week?

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    Does anybody have any news on Miyaichi?

  26. VCC says:

    Good evening Herb.

    I am going to try and reply with the shortest post I possibly can, as I am quite shocked with your remarks towards me today.

    First and foremost, how dare you question my integrity and my ability to do what is moraly correct in this particular situation.

    I am not going to use expletives within this post, but feel mighty close to wanting to sound off towards you, I am seething with anger that you have the audacity and cheek to suggest I have favourites within the framework of a fun thing for all that wants to participate.

    This couldn’t be further from the truth. I administrate the UMF 1 league with the best of my abilities, and admit I sometimes omit some results ( see earlier post with Total) but never do so intentionally. It all comes out in the wash anyway.

    I have a spreadsheet showing all predictions and results since we started, and as far as I am aware there is no swaying towards any one person or persons. Why would I? Its after all just a fun thing.

    Although I enjoy carrying out duties and keeping records for above said league, I would like to point out it takes up a lot of time, and I like to add some spice printing the amount of homes,aways and draws so everyone can see how the pendulum swings, so would appreciate entries made before one hour before KO times, which doesn’t always happen.

    For your information I was going to draw out of the hat for Alex and PPP as and when I had time, I waited as long as I could but unfortunately I had other things to do and wanted to watch Queens Park Rangers on the web, so their predictions were not put up on screen.

    I will be making that draw tomorrow morning when I have sufficient downtime so they will not be missing out on any points for this week.

    Finally, this may appear churlish, but unless you apologise unequivocally regarding my honesty, I will refrain from answering any posts you care to make, in the future.

  27. Milo says:

    I don’t buy this theory of the Bayern match being a big turning point in our season. It’s a bonus if we do really well in it!!! That should be the mentality of the squad as well. If they put too much energy in to it, they’ll probably end up very disappointed. The less pressure, the better, I say!!! Let them go out, and if they just try their best, I’m fine with that. They have NO business thinking they can win this next match. Play like the relegation clubs do against us, play like you have nothing to lose, RELAX, for Pete’s sake!!! I’m telling this to the players if I’m Wenger. Of course he won’t, but that’s how I would prepare the squad. It’s NOT a big match. If we lost 3-2 in the first leg, or if we get and early goal and look convincing at the beginning of the second, it can turn in to a big match, but right now it’s not!!! The odds are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay against us. If we start with this attitude, we might actually surprise a few people!!! We have had terrible starts to matches in the recent past, so I feel a change in attitude for this particular fixture, could result in us going out on a high, or maybe, just maybe, advancing. I’d take either one to be honest!!!

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Milo

    We are playing Bayern and they will know no mercy my friend, if we go there with a ‘relax’ attitude. We will need to be at our best and go in with an attitude of wanting to win at all cost: anything else will lead to a severe punishment in the region of 5-0 or worse. They would love to give us, the English, a big bloody nose on Wednesday.

  29. Milo says:

    Disagree completely. We need a fresh approach anyways, and who really cares if we lose 5-0??? We probably should have in the first leg anyways. We know we are not even close to them, so why try and pretend??? We should be putting most, if not all of our energy in to the league fixtures coming up. I’m not English, so maybe I “don’t understand the rivalry between England and Germany”, but last time I checked this was Arsenal vs. Bayern, not England vs. Germany. Of course there is a rivalry between the two countries, but why think about that now??? It’s totally irrelevant in my honest opinion.

  30. TotalArsenal says:

    Oh dear Milo: ‘who really cares if we lose 5-0’. You are talking about The Arsenal my friend. Enough said.

  31. Milo says:

    No, not enough said. I support the club just as fervently as you do. You have to be realistic about things though. Do you honestly think that putting pressure on the squad for this fixture will work??? It didn’t the first time, so why would all this expectation lead to a different result??? Do you honestly believe that THIS squad of players is capable of mounting a serious threat to Bayern, if they all go in and think that this is the be all and end all??? I don’t. I don’t get how you can think that way.

  32. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks Milo, I will use your questions as motivation for the Bayern pre-match.

  33. Milo says:

    Motivation for what??? I don’t expect us to perform badly. We will probably do what we did to Milan last season….scare them a bit…But I certainly don’t expect us to win though.

  34. Highbury Harmony says:

    Helion, you’ve got to be kidding me. Play Jack and Ramsey in the two behind the strikers? Hahahahaha! Ramsey doesn’t have the qualities to play in a central attacking role and himself and Arteta are the main reasons we currently play with the handbrake on. Constant backwards movement with the ball and sideways passing with no intent or quality moving the ball up field.

    TA, I believe it’ll need to be a combination of buying players this summer and changing our formation/mentality before we can push ourselves to greater heights. However, in terms of improving for the remainder of this season, my simple answer is basically along the same premise as yours: score more than the other side.

    Forget trying to defend, be solid at the back and eventually hope for an opening; it’s quite clear that our back four isn’t worth crap and that we lack a true beast of a DM to break up the opposition’s attack. The only way our current set-up can work is if Diaby was healthy and playing like he did vs. Liverpool – he’s the current missing link as he transitioned us from defence to offence like a well-oiled machine.

    I love the idea of a 4-1-2-3. We have the players to play in such a set-up and allowing for more freedom to our advanced players will ensure that our defensive deficiencies are somewhat masked by outscoring the opposition. There’s no reason why Podolski should be kept off the field at this point, as we need Poldi, Giroud and Theo to produce in order to reach our hopes of top 4. Santi and Jack in the hole are necessities as they’re our most skilled players and best attacking threats (with Rosicky off the bench as well).

    Such a formation won’t always be successful, but it should allow for us to play with more attacking intent, especially against teams that PTB. The squad needs to start taking risks in games and not just hope that other teams around us will start collapsing or that we’ll sneak in a late winner etc.

  35. Milo says:

    TA, can’t you see??? The only pressure there is, is in your mind!!! This is the exact same scenario as the second Milan match last season. Did you think there was pressure on the squad then??? I didn’t get that impression. We played well because there was NO pressure, and that has basically been the theme all season long this year. We haven’t performed in the matches against quality opposition very well at all.

  36. TotalArsenal says:

    All agreed HH,

    I would love to see the Ox in the ‘2’ as well; at least ocassionally! 🙂

  37. Highbury Harmony says:


    Ox needs to get some playing time, I’ve actually been a little upset that he hasn’t been seeing any time on the pitch lately. He didn’t look good in his cameo appearances in the FA Cup, but to be completely fair most players can’t be instant performers without a run of good form. We could have used him against the Spuds, since we had no creativity/pace on the wing since Theo abandoned his post to try and break through the middle and score and Santi never had pace to begin with and often drifts centrally when playing in the free role on the wing.

  38. TotalArsenal says:


    We played well against Milan because there was pressure and we used it positively: to attack and play for the shirt, and our reputation across Europe was instantly restored.

    If van Pudsie had put away his ‘sitter’ it could have been even better.

  39. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes HH, he was disappointing against Blackburn, and I also believe that in our current formation he has to make the RW position his.

    In 4-1-2-3 there is a chance to play him in the ‘2’ and it would be great to see how he would do. Agreed on Theo and Santi both moving centrally too often, which puts a lot of pressure on the FB’s to offer width (and vacate their defensive positions).

  40. Milo says:

    No one outside the club expected us to play well that match, never mind make it close. That’s pressure to you??? I expect us to represent ourselves with aplomb in Munich, but do I think we will win or have a chance to??? Again, no I don’t. I guess it’s all about perception…

  41. TotalArsenal says:

    It is all about the pride of the shirt; of never believing that it does not matter; of a winners mentality. That is what happened against Milan, and the same belief and attitude are required again on Wednesday.

    This is what Arsene has to say about it:


  42. Milo says:

    I see…yeah, I guess I was wrong… 😀

  43. Herb'sArmy says:

    you and I are from a different era when Victorian morals and values were the order of the day, and people had genuine respect. I’m a low-life brought up as a kid in ‘Welfare Care’. but respect and good manners were beaten into me. Kids were ‘seen and not heard’, we wouldn’t dare swear at an elder, let alone back-chat. It is drilled into my mentality, and sometimes manifests itself through my writing, and if the tone came across a little hostile, I apologise.
    Maybe I mis-interpreted your words, because you said the UMF would be running this week without Alex and Herb, as we hadn’t submitted our selections. There was no mention of drawing selections out of a hat as you have done in previous weeks, so I assumed I was to be excluded. Had you made your intentions clearer there’d have been no mis-understanding, but my anger was mis-placed, so for that I apologise too.

  44. Highbury Harmony says:

    Milo, you have some merit we are far away from Bayern and we’ll likely get slaughtered again hahaha!

    However, I do think that if we play with passion and determination and leave it all on the field, that we’ll have nothing to be disappointed about. It’s quite clear that we’re an inferior side in terms of quality, but anything can happen on a given day (maybe Bayern gets a red early!).

    I think we need to start our strongest squad possible, as a huge loss will create further devastation to our squad morale (after losing to Spuds and being knocked out of the FA and COC by non-PL clubs).

  45. TotalArsenal says:

    Milo, you are not wrong and I am not right. We all just see things differently at times. 🙂

  46. Milo says:

    I guess what I am trying to say is this…the squad shouldn’t get too low if they lose like they did in the first leg to Bayern. 3-1 is not a hiding. We can do better than that, but I don’t think we should be too hard on ourselves regarding this fixture. I still see it as a bonus…if we do well GREAT!!! 😀 If we don’t do well, it won’t ruin our season. That is what I was trying to say. People are acting like this is THE MOST imprtant fixture we have left to play!!! Our players cannot look ahead to the league at this moment , but as fans we can afford to do so, and I would wager that the league fixtures are MUCH more important than this match…if we play to our capabilities, we will have nothing to worry about in this upcoming match. IF we don’t, we cannot act like it is the end of the world, and neither can the players afford to act like that!!! After the Champions League, there is still SO MUCH to play for!!! This fixture should be about building confidence, not the result. If we win and go through, the confidence will be even higher. If we lose, but we play well, then the confidence will still be there. So we need to concentrate on playing well. That’s what I am trying to say…If we don’t play well, then the problems COULD continue, but it doesn’t mean they SHOULD. IF we don’t play well, then we just have to tip our hats to them and say to ourselves that we were outclassed in both legs. Just because might not beat Bayern doesn’t mean we cannot finish 3rd or 4th. One thing has NOTHING to do with the other. I bet Celtic’s season won’t fall apart because they were thoroughly outclassed by Juventus, so why should ours??? Granted they are way ahead in their league, but I don’t think our season hinges on this fixture. That is the bottom line. I don’t think it does.

  47. Highbury Harmony says:

    Mito, I don’t think that losing this match would be the end to the season either, nor is that what Total was trying to say. ]]

    I think we are both saying that we must not look past this game and focus on the league matches, because we must give 110% every match. If we go in calm and without urgency, we will be embarrassed and knocked out of the CL.

    I am saying though that losing this match will be a hit to squad morale. Losing two big games in a row and being knocked out of every competition, with no realistic chance of winning your own domestic league is quite demoralizing. We’re even 5 points out of 4th right now…and finishing 4th is not an accomplishment by any means.

    The reason Celtic’s season won’t fall apart is because they’re winning the SPL and were shocked to be in the round of 16 to begin with. The problem with us is that the problems DO continue after we lose games and we’ve been riddled with inconsistency all year with no signs of improvement. THAT is why a good result in this game is of the utmost importance.

  48. Milo says:

    If our squad isn’t smart enough, or mentally tough enough to realize that there is still so much to play for besides the Champions League, then I don’t know what to say. We have no hope if that is the case. There should be NO excuse for poor morale if we go out!!! It’s too late to feel sorry for ourselves!!! We will need to pick up and kick on immediately, and the squad SHOULD be prepared for ANYTHING.

  49. Highbury Harmony says:

    Mito, I agree with you, however our squad seems to have a different mentality. Look at how inconsistent we’ve been this season. The mental strength is dastardly low, our tactics are stale and players are being played out of position to no avail. There is a lack of quality in this squad and the results are a direct correlation of this.

    While a loss in the CL normally wouldn’t normally have a devastating effect on most teams’ seasons, it could on ours. Regardless if we win or lose next week, the issue is that we can’t string together consecutive wins or decent performances. Not only that, but the only thing we have left to play for is 4th place, yet again. Until we start winning games consecutively or performing to a higher standard against teams that are better than us (or teams in general) then we will continue to exhibit a lack of mental strength and inconsistency. There is no self-belief in this squad right now and it’s evident in how we start games, how we react once we concede goals, how we react to “missed calls” and how we can’t produce goals in crucial moments of the game.

  50. Gerry says:

    Milo – I guess you will have gone by now but can catch up later. I am not sure if it was my post that sparked the 3-way debate? I thought I had said much the same as yourself, and what HH was saying?

    In short – We need a performance to proud of, irrespective of the result.

    Anything less is likely to have a negative repercussion on how well we play our next match, so in retrospect, this game will be pivotal?

    It is an opportunity to make changes, both in formation and in the roles players have, and hopefully, this has been tried and tested during this useful break?

    Part of Arsenal’s mentality is have drive and energy to push forwards with slick passing. What TA was arguing for was more of that, and doubted that if we go into the game ‘relaxed’, that that would be achievable?

    With those things all considered, I think you will find we are all more or less saying the same thing?

    If I might just point out the difference in our writing styles, where I tend to be more on the ‘cold logic’ end of the scale, so I put in ‘?’ marks after suggestions, you tend towards the more ‘hot and passionate’ end of the scale, and make statements that could easily include ‘!’ marks? We both run the risk of criticism because of it?

    Just an observation …

  51. Gerry says:

    Herb – I hope you will not take this the wrong way, but I had thought that after my last comment to you that if you take a fresh look at Arsenal, without the baggage of history that seems to cloud your views, you might actually find this a positive place to be, and give you some joy and pleasure that you once enjoyed?

    However, I am guessing that there is something going on in the outside world that is having a serious impact on your private world, and making it exceedingly difficult for you to have a positive view right now?

    I think the dispute with VCC is a manifest of that. You saw what was said and took it as a negative slight against you. Whereas, I think if you look back over the weeks, when VCC makes statements like;
    ‘It looks like we are going to be without Alex and Herb in this week’
    It has been his way of saying, get your bloody finger out there is still time to post an entry! He has not added anything previously, as best I can recall, but it usually follows several calls for entries to be in? When talking about making draws for people, that it usually comes in a separate line later.

    i am truly sorry to see your comments that portray your personal negative outlook is resulting in you pushing away people that are genuinely fond of you? Please, talk to someone. Asking for help is a way forwards. I am a stubborn, independent so-and-so, and know accepting help is the last thing I want to do …but there comes a point …?

  52. Red Arse says:

    Morning My Loverlies!! 🙂 [Glic tells me that is a Cornish phrase].

  53. Red Arse says:

    Hi Herb, 🙂

    I am glad you have apologised for your mistake/misunderstanding with VCC. It takes a man and a gentleman at that to have the courage to do so.

    We all make mistakes and the blogging world is full of misunderstandings.
    VCC has always been very supportive of you, and has often enquired after you when you are not around the blog.

    in my experience he is one of the nicest men I have come across on any Arsenal blog.

    Good that you are friends again. 🙂

  54. Red Arse says:

    Hi VCC, 🙂

    You do not need me to say this, but I will anyway. Not only do I like you, I also have the utmost respect for your efforts in contributing to the blog and running the UMF league, which frankly would drive me mad.

    I am pleased that Herb has apologised to you, and hope you will be friends again.

    Your integrity is not in question, and thank you for just being you!! 🙂

  55. TotalArsenal says:

    Hear hear Redders! 🙂

  56. oz gunner says:

    I beg to differ RA. VCC has always made me feel alienated and upset. I think he’s as corrupt as they come, and has taken brown paper bags full of money in exchange for UMF points (see PPP). I have the pictures to prove that VCC has had his hand in the cookie jar so to speak!

    The smirk on his flexible face is what irks me the most! 🙂

    I’ve got my eye on you VCC, I’m bringing the walls down!!!

  57. glic says:

    Happy Ugly Muvverz Day, Ugly Muvver F**kerz ! 😆

    Indeed Redders, I have met Vicky and he is probably the nicest Transvestite I have had the pleasure with, we had a Man hug .
    Hope all is fine now and Herb, I dont know your personel circumstances, but they are are a fine bunch on here who will listen and help if there are any problems. Alas I`m not one of them….” A friend in need , is a….pest ! ” hahaha …….just kidding ! hahaha

    Thank you for the fine posts Totes….hows the takeover going ?.

    Two pieces of news caught my attention over the last couple of days. Has the world gone mad !, some chap arrested for chucking a banana at a chimp !. What next ?…I`ll be arrested for giving my dog a boner….I mean bone or feeding birds my nuts !…crazy.
    Did anyone see that picture of the guy with a scewdriver implanted in his head which was removed by Polish doctors !. Now if you have a screw loose, dont try and tighten it yourself with a screw driver !, do what any normal person would do, get your psychiatrist to do it….f**king nutters……..personally I use Scewfix .com…I do like a trade discount !. hahaha

  58. weedonald says:

    Basically we can score enough to win games (albeit a bit tightly) like we did when 1-0 to the Arsenal was our war-cry BUT it is our back 4 who are still trying to figure out how to play together. I saw an excellent analysis of Arsenal’s and concidentially the Spuds defensive errors by Gary Neville and he astutely pointed out that the back 4 are NOt working together, with Monreal not sure whether he should play the offside trap and vermaelen often getting caught flat-footed by faster inside attacking strikers (Lennon last week). the midfield need to defend more aggressively and consistently in our half,thus allowing the back 4 to retreat to the penalty area and take a stand. Playing the offside trap and missing it has cost us 10 goals this season…..it is there we need to improve. We have the talent in Kos.,Vermaelen,Mertesacker ,Jenkinson, Gibbs and Sagna to tighten up our defense but basic defensive mistakes need to be ironed out and avoided.

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