Arteta and Ramsey’s limitations exposed – BFG keeps dream alive – no width = one-dimensional

BFG - The Dream Catcher's goal made the difference today

BFG – The Dream Catcher’s goal made the difference today

Three very valuable points and seven out of nine over the last week. These are the hard facts and the rest is relatively unimportant. It is now all about survival, getting in the top-four, and build further over the summer.

However, our performance today against 10-men Fulham was an absolute pain to watch. Of course, it is our third game in a week and all that bright light makes one a bit tired…… but we made this so hard for ourselves and we looked so much like a team who played together for the first time; something we have witnessed more than a few times this season. It remains a mystery to me!

Arsenal’s extra man advantage meant we could not leave Arteta and Ramsey to sit back a bit and absorb pressure – something we have done regularly in recent away games – but that they needed to play higher up the pitch and keep Fulham locked-in at their own half.

Both the Welshman and the Spaniard have given a lot for us against the Canaries and Toffees, and it was clear that they did not have the same level of energy, composure and discipline as they did in recent games. But regardless of this, it was also once again evident that both players slow our play down and struggle with the creative, attacking side of midfield play; and for me, they were the main reason for our inability to stamp our authority on the game today, once Fulham were reduced to ten men.

I believe both players are very valuable squad players and especially Arteta deserves  to be a first team starter again this season, but with Diaby being Diaby and Wilshere and Rosicky currently struggling with having the continuous health and stamina for such demanding positions, we are a bit light in midfield at the moment.

And it showed badly today. With Sidwell out, we should have dominated the midfield and worked gradually and systematically towards scoring our second goal, but we remained shapeless and clueless for large parts of the game.

It also did not help that our wings are not working at the moment. Santi and Theo did not stick to the wing enough to give the necessary  width to our game, and they also did not link up with their FB’s enough to give another dimension to our football. It is starting to look like our wings have become a dirty, infested area where no attackers want to be. This will need to change.

Most of our attacking play was focussed centrally, and was rather very laboured, slow and predictable.

We also witnessed again Arsenal’s difficulties with passing round the ball. How often do we see effective triangles between our players? We used to play close together and pass our way towards the box, centrally or via the wing, but now players do the opposite:  as soon as a pass is made towards somebody in space, the passer runs away; leaving the recipient with very few passing opportunities behind. This is sooo un-Arsenal like; it is unbelievable!

The lack of passing, combined with some bad first touches throughout most of the team, and the absence of courage to find quick and risky through-balls – especially Arteta and Ramsey seem allergic to taking a bit of risk in their passing – are making us look very mundane at the moment. In a game like this, where we played a team with a man less for eighty minutes, it really showed up.

And I don’t think this will change again this season. Rosicky tried his best to add some quality to our play, and  Cazorla always adds something, but as a team we looked laboured; lacking invention, imagination and thrust. Jack made a positive contribution but it was also not enough to regain composure, purpose and control over the game.

Luckily, the BFG had an inspired day both in defence, and especially, up-front, as his header at Fulham’s far post, from Koz’s ‘assist’ made all the difference.

Giroud and Szczesny conspired to give it almost all away in the latter stages of the game: the former by getting himself sent-off, albeit harsh, and the latter by spilling the ball from a safe he made from a free-kick which led to a goal, which luckily but rightfully, was ruled offside.

The performances of both Koz and the BFG were one of the very few positives today as they managed somehow to keep a clean sheet for us today.

We are now in a paradoxical situation where we play well below-par at times but still collect seven out of nine points during a pivotal week for us. It would be foolish to count on our luck continuing for the remainder of the season, and with Giroud out for at least one game – unless his card gets rescinded – Arsene and Steve have their work cut out to somehow get this team to play with purpose, thrust and invention again.

Written by: TotalArsenal.

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177 Responses to Arteta and Ramsey’s limitations exposed – BFG keeps dream alive – no width = one-dimensional

  1. Bond James says:

    how did we manage to win, remains a mystery to me
    Arteta is a real weak link in this team, who will always need another player alongside him so he can side pass or back pass, instead of driving it forward – with all due respect to arteta and taking into account 3 games in 7 days i do feel that because of him we play with “a handbrake on”(wenger’s words)….obviously it’s not his fault that he has been asked to play in this role but we will get slaughtered against MANCS next week – they had Arteta in their back pocket when we lost 2-1 to them (should have been 4-0, considering the amount of chances they had and a missed penalty from rooney)…..he was our weak link back then and if Wenger doesn’t do something about it now by changing it a little, perhaps bring Coq/TV in that role and play Arteta in Ramsey’s role ? we do need a tactical change…..
    they say don’t fix it if it’s not broken but i say, why wait until it’s broken ? (we didn’t deserve any points today, to get all 3 was a massive bonus).
    i have said it before and i will say it again, you know we have played rubbish when our best player has been Ramsey.
    on a more positive note, Giroud is banned for the next 3 – blessing in disguise for sure

  2. AFC says:

    TA, good post. 🙂

    I think Arteta and Ramsey are too similar. They both like to play it ‘safe’. I think when our new DM comes this will give Arteta more confidence to play the passes he wants to. Maybe Arteta and Ramsey have been told to play it safe. Also Arteta is quite old and has played in our last 3 matches so he will be tired. We were lucky to win. Thank God for BGF.

  3. AFC says:

    17ht, I am sorry for the names I called you in my comments. Our discussion just got a bit heated and I snapped. I did not mean you any offence and am happy to blogging with you in the future. 🙂

  4. AFC says:

    BJ @ 23:08, totally agreed that Giroud needs competition. 🙂

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    Arteta has a lot to offer to our team, AFC, but his forward passing / through balls are not great most of the times. You could be right that the arrival of a DM will change this again.

  6. AFC says:

    TA, you are spot on with your comment at 22:01. 🙂

  7. Bond James says:

    Arteta’s not getting any younger, he can be a valuable squad player but not a first starter for me next season, provided we do get a DM.

    if santi continues to play on the flanks next season then i doubt we will be winning much or any silver – this will only mean we haven’t got those quality 3-4 players everyone wanted hence santi has had to play on the flanks – it’s not a position he seems to be comfortable playing and offers us no width none whatsoever.

    let’s put it this way, give Carroll half the chances our midfielders gave Giroud and would have had 20+ goals easily.

    Giroud needs competition not only in this team but also in the squad , if he is to become better and more clinical.

    at the moment we’re 2 strikers short (one world class or lethal (lewaondoski/Cavani/Joveic/Suarez/Hiquain) and a decent one (Carroll/Remy/Vela/Bendtener)

    Arteta has done well this season but i just can’t help and wonder , if we had a proper DM or didn’t sell song, what could have been ?

  8. AFC says:

    BJ, even if we still had Song I would have liked to have seen a DM brought. Song is more of a box to box midfielder. Imagine we had a DM playing alonside Song. What a partnership that would have been.

  9. AFC says:

    TA, I do not know if Giroud’s ban will be overturned if Wenger appeals.

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    I am just so pleased with three points tonight! 🙂

  11. AFC says:

    TA, I am as well. 🙂

    All we need is our players to get a win or draw in the United game and we are surely in the CL once again.

  12. Bond James says:

    G’s ban overturned ? i hope not.

    AFC,

    you missed the point, you see if i was pondering Song to be playing the Arteta role then it just goes to show that Arteta isn’t the right player performing those duties.

  13. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Thanks for the post TA

    Todays performance was distinctly average and as you say, at times painful to watch.

    Who is to blame? For me the game was a big damnation of our current playing style, one that has not changed to much since 2008

    In the first half we dominated possesion and created little. How many balls were played square or in front of fulhams 2 banks of four, i lost count.

    Take man utds style in comparison. They are equaly adept at pass ball as us but choose a variety of methods in there approach that make them more efficent. When faced with 2 banks of four they double up wide and get behind the lines. Once this is acheived they then have 3 or 4 players attacking the six yard box and consequently score goals. This is a tactic that Ferguson has employed for 20 years to great success. indeed, it could be argued that Utd have claimed titles in periods when Arsenal, Chelsea, and City have had better players.

    You make a very good point about our triangles. Were have they gone? It used to be our way of breaking down stubourn defences, but unlike Utd who tend to attack the six yard box, once our wide man got behind it would be a pull back. Never the less, the result is the same, goals our scored.

    The balance of our side is wrong.i have banged on about this before but i will say it again. We have to many players that want ball to feet and lack speed and clever movement in and around the box.

    I dont blame Arsene and the coaching staff, who am i to critisice them. However, i do see fudamental structural problems both within our tactical approach and with the balance of the pool of players at our disposal.

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Terry

    All agreed. Playing Gervinho on the wing would probably have made a difference today…

  15. AFC says:

    BJ, I saw your point but it would be good to have someone like Song who can be rotated for Arteta in the more demanding matches.

  16. AFC says:

    TMHT, the midfield is really unbalanced. Arteta is trying his best to balance the defence and attack but he cannot do it on his own.

  17. AFC says:

    BJ, if you want a decent striker, who better than Michu. 🙂

  18. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Absolutly TA. Some people will say “what, Gervinho?”, but what ever any one thinks of an individual players attributes the primary objective is to bring a balance and harmony to the side which gets the best out of your players. Unlike the Utds, Barcas, etc who of course have ineffecient games as well, we have them more often.

    Players or tactics, you take your pick. But as long as we continue to have to many games were “it dosnt work”, then we wont be winning anything, and believe me that is very painful for me to write.

  19. AFC says:

    For me we have the squad players but lack the world class players to win trophies. In recent years we have had the world class players but not the squad players to win trophies. All we need is 2-4 quality players and we will be able to compete.

  20. AFC says:

    TMHT, you are totally correct. 🙂

  21. Bond James says:

    we don’t need a Michu type of striker, Javier Hernandez will do nicely if we’re going to be buying from the premiership…he’s that dynamite of a striker we could do with, actually i’ll even go as far to say that he will be better than Jovetic in our set up and style of play.

  22. TotalArsenal says:

    All agreed Terry. It looks like it will be a real scrap towards the finish line. I was really annoyed with our ‘wingers’ today though, and this can be fixed relatively easy.

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC, I reckon Michu would be a fine signing for us too.

    BJ, Hernandez would be good too but I don’t think he would be better than Michu.

  24. AFC says:

    BJ, Hernandez is class. 😉

    Just the type of striker we need. He is still learning and can only get better.

  25. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    AFC, i agree with your point about our lack of world class players.Unfortunitaly we currently live in a football climate were we cant seem to afford them, but that is another argument in itself. i know you believe we will spend this summer, but on who and what kind of quality, well i guess we will soon find out.

    i am also growing more and more concerned about Oliver Giroud. Not because i like or dont like him as a player, i appreciate what he brings to the party. But no, today i felt sorry for him. How the hell is a striker, whos main strength is attacking the six yard box going to thrive in a team who employs tactics like we did today?

  26. AFC says:

    TA, we could try to buy Hernandez for a decent fee and get Michu on the cheap. We could get both of them for the same price of Jovetic. What do you think?

  27. AFC says:

    TMHT, it is hard for Giroud to strive and this is also why we have seen the likes of Chamakh also fail at Arsenal in the past.

  28. Bond James says:

    TA,

    Giroud/Podolski and then Michu ? i hope you see the obvious point i am trying to make here.

    Hernandez is that dynamite we could do with, has had much more experience in the PL, Michu has been the surprise package this season and i am under no illusion that will be repeat the same next year, he will do well to score half the goals next season…..teams would have figured him out.

    in Hernandez you have a player, who delivers in big games, when it matters the most – that is something we most def need…not the unproven Jovetic’s but the proven clinical finishers, who’re hungry and determined…

    time for Wenger to have that nice bottle of wine with SAF ala Mourinho style and maybe talk about hernandaz as well as nani, possibly.

  29. AFC says:

    * thrive

  30. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Spot on AFC, This then beggers the question why Arsene now believes in a “target man” up front yet does not believe in width, subsequently starving such a player with service? Am i missing something.?

    I watched the game with my brother today and from a Fulham corner Giroud cleared it brilliantly. i praised him and my brother quickly said “hes better at centre half”, i had to laugh. hahaha

  31. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Any way, off to my loft bed. Night all.

  32. Winterburn's Poached Egg says:

    16 points from a possible 18 and you guys still moan. How about giving the team some credit, or is that an alien concept to you lot?

    Come on The Arsenal!

  33. AFC says:

    BJ, Nani has been inconsistant at times for United so I would be wary of trying to buy him.

    Spot on, with Hernandez, he is proven in the PL and would not need time to adapt to the PL. He really does get those important goals. Only thing is, I have not seen much of him in the CL. I would take him over Jovetic. SAF would make it as hard as possible for us to get him though.

  34. TotalArsenal says:

    BJ, Hernandez is okay but I cannot get as excited as you about him. I am sure he would end up a squad striker at Arsenal, just as at the Mancs.

    Jovetic is a different sort of player and one we need more in my view.

  35. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi WPE,

    There is credit in the blog; in fact, I made the same point in the first paragraph. Other than that, it is just all ‘eyes wide open’ stuff. 🙂

  36. AFC says:

    BJ and TA, I think Arteta will improve when a new DM is brought. The mission is for Wenger to buy one. If only we could get a DM like a certain Dutch Edgar Davids .

  37. Bond James says:

    i’m very sceptical about getting players from leagues who’re not as good as La Liga /Bundesliga.

    Hernandez wouldn’t join Arsenal if first team is not assured to him – he is good enough to be in our starting 11 and can play in all 3 positions.

    Jovetic is only been a one and a half season wonder – i’ll take Lewandowski over him based on my reasoning above.

    AFC,

    Nani has been inconsistent because of the time he spends on the bench , he is a proper winger and one that knows how to cross;)

  38. TotalArsenal says:

    haha AFC, Davids aka de stofzuiger (hoover) is one of my top-five all time favourite players!

    Arteta will remain valuable to us, but don’t be surprised if he becomes a squad player with irregular starts.

  39. AFC says:

    BJ, it is said that SAF will be looking to offload Nani. So you might get your wish. 🙂

  40. TotalArsenal says:

    All not agreed BJ, but we just see things differently and nothing wrong with that. 🙂

  41. Bond James says:

    AFC,

    we shouldn’t be looking at ways to improve Arteta, we should be looking at solutions to improve Arsenal.

    Arteta won’t improve any further, he’s a master of his trade as it is and won’t get any quicker and so on.

    Arteta/Ramsey/Rosicky/Santi = a bit too much of everything is bad for ones health.

    on a slightly different note, just watched match of the day and the so called experts reckon we won’t finish in top 4 – talk about biased and being delusional

    egg on their face as usual i reckon at the end of the season – i hope no one minds my french but allow me to get it out of the way , a bunch of Wankers the whole lot .

  42. AFC says:

    TA, I knew you would like him. After all he is dutch like yourself.

    He now plays for Barnet as a player manager I think. I recently tried to look for in FIFA 13 in the Barnet squad so I could see those legendary glasses/goggles again but he was not in the team.

    Do you know if he still wears those legendary glasses/goggles when playing for Barnet?

  43. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC, I don’t know whether he does any more.

  44. AFC says:

    BJ, I believe it was Shearer who siad that. How well did Shearer’s managerial career go by the way? Not that well from what I have heard.

  45. Bond James says:

    AFC,

    it might not be the worst signing, Wenger’s made you know that Nani one if he manages to get him over at the emirates for next season 😀

    TA,

    no probs, a healthy debate and discussion is always good, in the end if we all agreed or had similar views then it would become boring and it wouldn’t be a healthy discussion anymore – we should look at kevin strootman if the gotze deal is no longer on 😀

  46. AFC says:

    TA, Seedorf is quality as well. I think he could still do a better job than some of our midfielders. 😀

  47. TotalArsenal says:

    BJ,

    I watched PSV – Ajax last weekend and was unimpressed with de Stroot and, surprisingly, quite impressed with Erikson.

    What did they say about the Giroud red card on Match of the Twats?

  48. TotalArsenal says:

    Seedorf would have been a great mentor and just what the squad needs, AFC. A legend and a gent.

  49. AFC says:

    TA, I think one of the pundits said it was a bit harsh and the other said that even though it was accidental they can understand the red card being shown.

  50. AFC says:

    TA, why does Wenger not sign a legend near the end of his career. Good for the squad and for PR.

  51. TotalArsenal says:

    ahhh very diplomatic as usual…

    If we don’t have Giroud against the Mancs, I fear for us: we are currently not very good with adapting to change…

  52. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes AFC, why doesn’t he?! Good question..

  53. AFC says:

    TA, Seedorf would have been perfect.

    Imagine if we got Beckham, Giroud would have surely scored 20 plus goals. 😀

  54. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC,

    Giroud is being transformed into a different sort of striker, as I am pretty sure Wenger wants to keep the ball on the ground as much as possible. His strengths will always be his weapons but as per Wenger’s recent quotes he is developing him at the moment.

    I hope to issue a post this week re Giroud.

  55. AFC says:

    TA, looking forward to it. 🙂

  56. TotalArsenal says:

    BJ

    You always have interesting views and comments. Are you interested in writing a post for BK? 🙂

  57. TotalArsenal says:

    Off to bedski now.

  58. AFC says:

    BJ, I too like hearing your views. 🙂

    TA, BJ and everyone else, I’m off now as well. Speak to everyone soon. 🙂

  59. RockyLives says:

    Ooh…not often I read a TA Post with which I mostly disagree…

    Arteta was (along with the BFG) our best player at Fulham. Unfortunately, because of the failings of the supposedly “attacking” colleagues in front of him, the vast majority of his work had to be of the defensive variety and he did it quite exceptionally. Make no mistake, without Arteta’s brilliant anticipation, harrying and tackling (and let’s not forget his 92% passing success) we would have lost that game.

    The root of our problems was that TR7 and Santi both had big “off days” and were not influential. Further, the game did not suit Theo once Fulham went down to 10 men. Giroud continued his recent frustrating form. It doesn’t mean they are bad players – just that they had a bad day, probably not helped by Sidwell’s red card, ironically.

    But, having said all that, we got the points and I am absolutely confident we will beat ManUre next weekend. Some of the reaction to the defeat in the comments on here tonight strikes me as a little on the hysterical side.

    ManUre have played worse this season and won. And we have played much, much better and failed to take all three points. It’s the joy of football.

  60. JM says:

    It is not as simple as just signing a player. (The club has to deal with the selling club and more importantly, the player’s agent/agency and any solicitors that are hired to do the admin. procedures for the player.)

    Take the case of both Chicharito and Nani:

    Chicharito (Javier Hernandez) – player’s agent is his family member (Eduardo Hernandez).

    Nani – player’s agency is Gestifute. (which also own the rights’ on C.Ronaldo, Falcao, Angel di Maria, Thiago Silva, Pepe, Fabio Coentrao among many Portuguese & Brazilian professional players ; and Jose Mourinho himself). Gestifute
    is founded and headed by the “super” player’s agent, Jorge Mendes.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GestiFute

    It would not be easy negotiating with these agent(s)/agenc(ies). Many “strings” attached.

    ===================================================================

    I have to reinstate: Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere and Diaby are categorically similar-type players in our team, even though their physique and style of play are different. They have basically our “Facilitators”/ “Midfield General”.

    Arteta is deputing the role of a “Destroyer” in our regular formation, where Ramsey is doing the “Facilitator” role. However, the playing habit of being a “facilitator” first is still with Arteta and so he will be inclined to go back into his “facilitator” mode (it takes more than a season to re-learn the role of a “Destroyer”).

    When we have 3 facilitators on the pitch the same time (e.g. Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere etc), our play is expected to slow down (after having Rosicky subbed off and Cazorla playing on one of the flanks)

    The basics:

    Destroyer – Model example (What Busquets is doing for Barcelona – operates closer to the back line and is the more defensive – not flashy playing style)

    Facilitator – Model example (What Xavi is doing for Barcelona – stays in front of box and floats around midfield orchestrating)

    Creator – Model example (What Iniesta is doing for Barcelona – having the most attacking impetus by venturing into the box the most)

  61. OMGArsenal says:

    Well now that everyone has moaned about our horrible loss….oops, someone just told me we won….guess I’ll have to save my whine for another day but Im sure most of you can find the cloud behind the next silver lining..
    RockyLives is right on when he says that getting all 3 points out of a game where we were not near our best is justice for a run of 9 games unbeaten and a very tiring one at that. It was an off day, not a national disaster as some hysterical moaners would have us believe. We do have issues with too many key players not showing up and with our strikers definitely not delivering the goods, but we tend to play better away from home and also better against the top 4 teams (although we didn’t get a lot of points from these games so far this season.
    Anyway, beat or tie the Mancs and we should be almost there….the Spuds and Chavs are facing a much harder run-in than us so hopefully both will lose tomorrow and help our noble cause!

  62. kaboom says:

    TA Good morning!

    honestly, which do you prefer? playing well and opponents get away with draw or playing badly and get 3 points?

    our current crops of players are not the same calibre with henry-pires-freddie-BG10. we cant have the luxury of playing good every games.

    u are spot on with our defensive pair. solid performance!

  63. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, very well written report and it’s nice to see that even an optimistic individual as yourself can easily spot the faults on a day like today. I just finished watching MOTD and I’m pretty much in agreement that we were just lacking something today and it looked like we just expected the game to go our way once Fulham went down to 10 men. No urgency, no creativity and a lot of selfishness.

    However, I would like to give a big shout to Nacho who was brilliant for the most part on defence (there was one play that he got beat, but the same could be said about Kos and BFG when they weren’t even close to tracking Berbatov’s run on the counter). Nacho’s defensive play and stability at the back makes him much more valuable than Gibbs right now. We definitely lose something in attack when Gibbs does not play, but when Podolski is not starting, Gibbs is fairly ineffective since he has to deal with all the wing responsibilities on his own. There is more of a natural partnership between the former Malaga men and with Santi not being a natural wide player, Nacho’s defensive discipline becomes paramount.

    I’d like to state that having both Santi and Theo start games, with Giroud up front is utter stupidity (not to rag on AW by any means, but it should be evident by now). The styles of play just do not mesh, with both Santi and Theo drifting centrally and the latter offering very little in our link-up play (in forming those passing triangles as you stated TA). With the lack of delivery OG gets from the wing, it’s no wonder he makes bone-headed, selfish decisions with the ball near scoring areas – he hardly gets opportunities to score!…though it doesn’t help that he misses when he does get them unfortunately.

    Instead, I’d like to see one of Santi/Theo paired with a player who can spread the defence a bit more like Gervinho or Ox that has the pace and skill to actually take players on. Santi lacks the pace to do so, while Theo lacks the ball control, creativity and wing discipline to beat players out wide. Not sure what has happened to Theo, but it appears as though he’s unwilling to honour his wing responsibilities in an attempt to become the hero and score goals by poaching at the ST position.

    Not only has Theo mysteriously lost form, but so has Jack. I understand both players are still fighting to reach form and fitness, but both are lacking that cutting edge that makes them dangerous players. Hopefully, we’ll see more from them in the coming weeks.

    At the end of the day, 3 points is 3 points and it doesn’t matter how you got them. Not every game will be inspired and full of creativity; we just have to hope that these games will be the exception and not the norm. Our players will do well with a full week of rest and I expect them to be rejuvenated and ready to play Manure next weekend.

  64. hmz says:

    i think wenger can’t afford to not play giroud because we seriously lacking height in our squad. except for both CB, if giroud did not play, we only have 2 tall players in starting 11. with diaby out, wenger don’t have anyone else with height to replace giroud in starting 11. his height is more important defending set piece that up front scoring goal. no offense to ramsey or arteta but wenger need to buy tall center midfield in summer.

  65. HelionViking says:

    Arteta suffers from the Clichy syndrome. Of being a hesitant, cowardly prick but with decent talent none the less, when he actually decides to do something. He was a fantastic addition to replace our diva culture (Nasri/Cesc) into a more workmanlike team (along with Mertesacker). But he has long outlived his welcome, and has no place on the team playing against the likes of Bayern Munich.

    But the No1 problem is Wenger and his Championship Manager style of management. Its almost like he doesnt look at how the game is actually played. All his substitutions are decided the day before the game, and make no sense. And the worst part is when he talks after a game with no shots on target about spirit and courage.

    Arsenal at their best are a creative improvisational team. And you can only create and linkup play when you have options and dynamism. Currently everyone is behind the ball, scared shitless, making perfunctory predictable runs. When the ball is played to the top one third of the pitch it is usually just 3 Arsenal players against 5 or 6 opposition players. What do you expect them to do?

    Meanwhile, Ferguson is miles ahead with a shit team, who know how to score. Everything is synchronized and with purpose. Ball goes out to the wing, attackers flood the box; percentages mean they score eventually. Also, they are not naive, and know how to keep the ref on their side, a skill we lost along with Patrick Vieira.

    I have seen enough of Wenger to know he will never change, and this team will never win anything. Atleast as long as Ferguson has not retired. Just makes me very sad, to think about how magnificent some of our players were in the last seven years, and how Wenger destroyed all their collective confidences by being the most inept game time manager of all time to coach a major side. What he has done to Arshavin is borderline criminal.

  66. William says:

    Wenger is to be blamed for the lack of height in the team.He thought he could replicate Barcelona in the epl. Sadly it has been down the drain these last eight years. The refs in the epl are different from the other leagues and cl. First and foremost robust tackle s are part and parcel of the epl.
    The ref was right to send off Sidwell. To another ref he would not be even yc or rc or even given a verbal reprimand.
    If Wenger plays like in the Fulham game,there is only one outcome;a defeat.The red faced plays to win and doesn’t bother about frills. To Wenger scoring a goal must be added frills. That is why the gunners will continue to score against a ten man wall. The worst thing is the gunners try to thread a ball through. Imho,this will play into the hands of the rf. His cl and epl record against Wenger is testament to this.

  67. 'mair says:

    Solid analysis! I’m in complete agreement. I do hope the week’s break leaves them a bit refreshed because Man U will not make it easy at all. I’m also hoping this season’s pattern of struggling against the big boys stops. Still, three points!

  68. thomas bett says:

    what does BFG stand for?

  69. jgc says:

    TA,

    Solid analysis as always. For me, I would stress or note:

    a. Another clean sheet. Like goals, it doesnt matter how you get them, as long as you keep getting them.

    b. Regarding OG, well the ban isnt good, but, positively, all those who have wanted to see Pod up front may (repeat may) get their chance.. Or their chance to see Gerv.. 😉

    –> The debate question then is who do others want to see there presuming OG stays out? For me its Pod to start, Gerv to sub late if needed…

    In less relevant notes, the local cable channels showed Everton-DiCanio, so another game missed (sigh/mutter)…

    cheers — jgc

  70. jgc says:

    All

    Just a thought and to be positive.

    If I count right, in the PL, since Feb 1, we have had 10 games going 8-1-1 for 25/30 points. Including 5 clean sheets, and only 6 goals against (admittedly 2 to in the loss to Spurs).

    The 17 goals for at 1.7 per game might be the only thing to carp on just a very wee little bit, as I would prefer 2.0 a game average for some weird reason, but…

    IMO, not shabby!

    ps: all this presumes I can count correctly… ;^)

    cheers — jgc

  71. TotalArsenal says:

    Good, sunny morning fine fellow Gooners! 🙂

    Are we nearly there yet?! 😛

  72. TotalArsenal says:

    Rocky 🙂

    Thanks for a spirited comment and love to see your confidence re our match next weekend. Agreed Arteta did an ok job defensively; if only he could tackle! However, I was disappointed in his and Ramsey’s attacking contributions. We needed something extra from them to make the man advantage count, and we did not get it.

    Agreed on Santi and Rosicky also not firing from all cylinders.

  73. TotalArsenal says:

    JM thanks for your comment. Cannot agree with you, though, on the type-descriptions of the three Barca players. Xavi and Iniesta are pretty similar to me and I don’t see Busquets as a typical destroyer. How I wish, though, we would also play 4-1-2-3 with two out Jack, Ox and Santi in the ‘2’.

    OMG – thanks for a balanced comment. We all take the win and are thankful for it.

  74. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning kaboom 🙂

    Happy with the three points, of course. Very happy. Just concerned about the way we played and what this could mean for the remaining games. I just could close my eyes on what was going on yesterday…

  75. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi HH, I thought Nacho did ok but not more than that and that’s why I did not single him out positively or negativily.

    I really thought Jack did ok when he came, providing Santi with a good opportunity to score the second. The Spaniard needed a time consuming extra touch to convert the chance though. Jack plays in the hard of midfield/the pitch, where he needs to be, whereas Rosicky tries to find space allover the pitch.

    All agreed on Theo: we need him and Jack to find their form quickly.

  76. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi hmz 🙂

    All agreed. Giroud will be missed in many ways and especially in defence at set-pieces.

  77. TotalArsenal says:

    HelionViking,

    I switched off after your first few sentences. Nobody describes my players as pricks. Maybe others will be bothered to respond to you.

  78. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi William

    How exactly is the apparent lack of height hurting us this season? And it what way does our style of current football resemble that of Barca’s? Sorry, I don’t think I am following you..

  79. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers ‘Mair

    Are you, by any chance, working on your next post? 🙂

  80. TotalArsenal says:

    thomas b

    The BFG stands for Big Fucking German and originates from a book/character by Roald Dahl: the Big Friendly Giant (BFG). The supporters love to sing: we’ve got a big fucking German and the BFG loves to hear it, apparently.. 😉

  81. TotalArsenal says:

    jgc, sorry to hear you missed the game again. The Belgians have taste for fashion, design and food but football…..

    The stats are correct and getting 25 out of 30 is simply fantastic. After the Spuds game we have also scored more than 2 goals per game,but it is fair to say that the current mini-goal drought is a bit of a worry.

    It looks like the combination of Arteta and Ramsey in front of our defence helps us not conceding many but slowly we are starting to suffer in an attacking, creative sense: what do you think?

  82. TotalArsenal says:

    That is enough TA for a while. Catch you later. 🙂

  83. Red Arse says:

    Morning, TA, 🙂

    A very, very interesting Post.

    I could not watch the game but I read the comments on BK and I was concerned that the opinion seemed to be that Arsenal were pretty poor.

    I watched the ‘full’ game on SKY last night, without the stress of watching live, and funnily enough I had a slightly different view.

    There is no doubt that we settled into that infuriating sideways, backwards short passing, and the occasional hoick back to the Keeper that just gets nowhere, as inevitably their defense poked a toe out, got the ball and made break aways. Time and time again.

    Boring, yes – ineffectual, yes, but with plenty of possession and not looking concerned.

    We will never win anything playing that way — and it goes against the reputation for playing beautiful football that we used to have.

    Why? The answer is easy!
    We do NOT have anyone ‘special’ to dig out something exceptional or different or magical in the way that we used to with Bergkamp, or Henry, Pires.

    I know that there is a natural desire to ‘big up’ and support our current players, and when I have written that I just do not rate Walcott or Gervinho, or x, or y, I have been shot down.

    But the sad fact is, I have been comparing them with our giants of the recent past, and not simply to knock them for being poor, just that they are lacking in comparison to those magical, exceptional heroes of the early years of Wenger’s reign.

    That was not a ‘bad’ performance yesterday — those players were doing their best — it was just not good enough looking to the near future to win any trophies, without a big investment in new ‘special’ players.

    My MOTM was Kosser. He was immense in defence, speedy and committed, and without him in attack we would not have scored that goal or got the 3 points.

  84. jgc says:

    Hi TA

    I think RA has it right, just above me. We are very good, I would say, but seem to lack some magic. Some of that is I suspect we are not quite as respected/feared as we used to be. But, everyone in the PL is a professional, so I think it matters less than it would at other levels.

    For me, I think the results show:

    a. We can win ugly = a good thing

    b. We need a striker with some magic, whether internal in Pod or OG stepping up (or given chance) or externally this summer. I have been a little mixed over the Jovetic et al discussions, but it seems clear we need something there – if only for the competition for OG et al.

    –> The exact right striker? Well, everyone is right in their choices now, and only next year’s results will make one or another opinion “right” 🙂

    c. In the 3-4-5 some of Ramsey, Arteta, Cazorla, Wilshere, New DM we need to find the best balance. So far we dont seem to have it. We either defend well and attack poor or vice versa, it seems. IMO, it’s horses for courses, and we should hope for a great B2B/Beast_DM/whatever that provides the final piece that lets all these elements work best in whatever combinations. This I suspect would have something more to do wtih AW chaning formation for the players we have and going perhaps more towards a 4-4-2 or even a 4-5-1 (really 4-2-3-1) which might suit what we have to offer best… Wont hold my breath on it…

    –> All credit here to Ramsey who could be, in US team terms, the “most improved” or “comeback player” of the year.. From no one’s 2nd choice (or 1st) to relatively indispensable to have about. A great step forward for him and the team.

    So, I think what the results show is that we need the striker first and the DM/B2B/whatever second… After that we can indulge in a defender (Central/Sagna or outside) and/or an up-and-coming striker as required.

    For the last 4 games … I’d stay as is, and give Pod a run up front against ManU – unlesss he’s really seriously injured and can only do 20-30 mins, now’s the time..

    And finally, yes, another missed game, Sunderland are only fun if they score lots and you can watch DiCanio prance… Belgian fashion still nice but would prefer some more red-white.. I will be here from mid-July until early October tho so perhaps then! Hope springs eternal..

    And, last last last, is it me, or does it seem a lot of teams, top to bottom, get more sideways and conservative at the end of the season. Season fatigue? They all know each other too too well now? Something else? Maybe that is part of the problem we are seeing?

    cheers — jgc

  85. jgc says:

    Oh and here’s rooting for my two favorite teams of just-for-today, Liverpool and ManCity.. Weird what the end of the season race does for you?!? 😉

  86. alexgunners says:

    TA,

    Thanks for another post match post. The win was very laboured and it seems that Ramsey and Arteta were both tired and unable to help drive the team forward and put pressure on Fulham.
    Santi was having an off game and Theo was generally nowhere to be seen. Ok, he took the free kick that lead to Kos almost scoring and BFG finished it, but he looked like he really has lost his spark and his runs are also non existent.
    Cohesion was something that was not part of our game yesterday but we got the 3 point.
    We used to play brilliant football and lose, playing ugly and winning is a new thing for us this season and I will take the 3 points regardless this season.

    RA,

    Yes it was boring at times and I have no finger nails left, but this is a team that despite playing with one extra player, really performed well under par. I understand your argument when you say that you compare to the giants of the recent past but it is still no excuse to see the team performing this way. Yes there is no DB10 or TH14 in our team but we do have some talent that should put these teams away instead of allowing them to still be in it.

    We are missing the special players who can transform a game and make others lift their performance.

    I believe that we need the wings to work in order to break a team down. We were too predictable as usual but we got the result that we needed. We need to get ourselves ready for ManUre now and freshen up some of the legs.

    Well done lads for the 3 points. This will put pressure on the chavs and spuds

  87. Red Arse says:

    Alex,

    It is part of my analysis to look at players ‘in the round’, so to speak.

    Take Giroud, for instance. He is often pilloried for being ‘hard working, committed, but … not very good’.

    I think that is very hard on the lad. he gets into the positions that a CF should, and then …………… nothing. Walcott usually disappears, and did so again yesterday, so he gives Giroud sod all in support, or through balls. Then there is sagna, who tries to make up for the absence of Theo by going up the wing …. well sometimes, when he is not checking back and passing sideways or backwards, but anyway ……. he does try to cross the ball, but 90% of his efforts hit the nearest defender.

    What then for Giroud? Well, everyone blames him for being ineffectual, and do not stop to look at the poor support play from Sagna and Walcott.

    Of course, Theo hardly ever tackles back to help Sagna, so here I am finding some fault with Bacari, having just said Theo does not help him.

    What am I saying? You cannot judge a player just on his own contribution. A team is just that … it stands or falls together, and if Giroud is useless what does that say about those around him.

    That goes for everyone in the team, and the above is just one example of the need to work in small teams within the team.

  88. AFC says:

    Hi RA,

    when it comes to service for Giroud, for me it is about to with the crosses, pullbacks etc. Our players cannot just seem to do them. At times it looks like the Arsenal players are blinded when crossing. It is that bad. It’s like they just cross it and hope for the best. However I have seen a number of good crosses put in for Giroud and he does not score from them when he should.

    Walcott is not helping Giroud in the way he should. I am not expecting Walcott to do a Giggs type cross. All I want him to is use his pace to get into the box and then do a 5-10 yard cross to Giroud where he can tap it in.

    To solve this crossing problme we will have to buy a crosser. Not sure who.

  89. AFC says:

    * problem

  90. AFC says:

    RA, it is also about this point of who is daring enough to try something special. At times I have seen Arsenal have the ball on the edge of the box and not go a shot. What is that all about. Wilshere tries to do this but his shooting is not the best. For me Santi and Podolski have to be doing this. Ramsey gets into goal positions but just cannot finish. For Ramsey Wenger needs to give him shooting lessons on a one to one basis.

  91. alexgunners says:

    Red,

    I could not agree more. During the game yesterday, i did say how ineffectual Theo is. He doesn’t support in coming back and he plays with the mentality that he is our central striker. There have been fewer runs by Theo on the wings compared to earlier in the season. If you look at when Theo was scoring most of the lead up play or goals came from the right.
    That just seems to have disappeared. I would like to see how much Theo runs in comparison to other players.
    I know it seems like i am singling him out but i do understand that a team is exactly that. There were some tired legs on the pitch yesterday and we needed the injection of someone like OX to help as he should be more fresh than the others.

    Everyone has a role to play and it seems that they are not in their right positions thus, not allowing the team to be more cohesive and leaving a big gap between out midfielders and the forwards. You are right, OG does not get enough support when he is on the ball. It is a problem that the team is going through at the moment.

    Yes we did win the game but yesterday was a classic display of our depth and the inefficiencies that this team has at the moment.

    I will accept 3 points any day but we have to play better than this in order to close the gap on the top 2

  92. AFC says:

    Guys, correct me if I am worng. Back in the beginnig of the season when Podolski. Walcott and Giroud all used to play we were not really playing with wingers. Wenger himself said we play with 3 strikers. I think the likes of Walcott have been told to drift in and make up 3 strikers rather than 1 striker and 2 wingers. Not saying the likes of Walcott should not track back but it could explain what you guys have been talking about.

  93. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Redders 🙂

    You are making a very good point re lacking a few (more) magical players at the moment. On the other hand, magical players can be rendered ineffective if they play in a tactically badly organised team. Look at the Chavs against Citeh a few weeks ago: plenty of magical footballers on the pitch but they were outplayed by Citeh for large parts of the game.

    Cazorla has some of the magic of Pires, and Podolski can be as effective as Ljunberg, but we are missing a Vieira, Bergkamp and Henry in this team. One or two could grow from within and one or two will need to be bought. I also feel that Arsene has moved on and is no longer after 30 goal a season striker, but more about that this week.

    I genuinely believe that there is plenty of quality in our squad but as long as Arsene does not get them to play in an effective system, where players find each other automatically and which will get the best out of each of them, we are not going to be anywhere near the sum of our parts.

    Let’s add some quality this summer and build further on what we have. 🙂

  94. AFC says:

    * wrong

  95. TotalArsenal says:

    jgc – fine comment and all agreed. I am convinced a DM is our first priority as it will unlock the midfield and strengthen our overall balance. Another attacker would be great, as long as he adds real quality – close ball control, speed, wing-play and finishing would be nice! 😛

  96. AFC says:

    TA, If the system has to be changed it must. If that means playing wihout a recognised striker or playing with 3 defenders it must be done for next season.

  97. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Alex and AFC – fine comments this morning 🙂

    AFC, Wenger will change the system or get the right players – But I am mostly worried about the next four games….

  98. AFC says:

    For me we need a total of 3 strikers in our squad. A target man which at the moment is Giroud, a finisher and a creator.

  99. Red Arse says:

    Good point, TA.

    What bugs me is that we can do better with the players we have.

    AW said we played with the ‘handbrake on’ in the 2nd half, and that is undoubtedly true, but and it is a big BUT ……………. why is our default position to fall into the dreadful side to side and back again football?

    Trying to hold onto a 1:0 lead has something to do with it, but for the whole half??

    Secondly, AW must see what we see, even if he calls it a ‘handbrake’, and tell them to relax and play ‘total football’ not this negative stuff which is just asking for trouble —- and it nearly found us in the last 10 minutes!!

    This is not beautiful football, this certainly not WengerBall. 😦

    Caution: At this point of the season, points are what matters, and I accept that – it is a race for the line and 3 clubs into the two remaining CL places does not go.
    So, I suppose that explains some of what happens with strategies and the mental approach — I just think it is a mistake not to ‘take the game to the opposition’ because they become more confident, and let’s face it, anything could have happened in yesterday’s game, and, who knows, may happen in the remaining 4 games.

  100. AFC says:

    TA, I am worried as well. But I am sure Wenger knows what he is doing. 🙂

    Target man- Giroud
    Creator- e.g. Jovetic, Rooney etc.
    Finisher- Podolski, you could say Walcott as well.

    So we could turn Podolski into a striker and buy a creator. But then that could mean buying a winger to replace Giroud. Not sure.

  101. alexgunners says:

    TA,

    That’s exactly right, we are all worried about the next four games. I believe that our transfer targets will all depend on CL football. We need to finish teams off and i agree with Redders as we invite pressure on ourselves if we are not more clinical.

    Every game that is left this season, we have to fight from start to finish and that is the only way that our fate will be in our hands. Otherwise we are hoping for the other 2 to drop points.

  102. alexgunners says:

    One Nil to City

  103. JM says:

    @ TotalArsenal, April 21, 2013 08:12

    You should watch closely how Xavi and Iniesta operate differently during a match.

    Xavi’s main zone is at the heart of the midfield engine room, focusing as the link-man between defence and attack. He creates opportunity for Barcelona’s triangles between midfield, the flanking fullbacks and the 3 forwards, almost having the vision of 360 degrees of all his team players, as well as opposition’s players movement, around his zone. There lies the label of “Midfield General” or “Facilitator” of his team: All the players on the field are like chess pieces to the “Midfield General”/”Facilitator” while he makes his move to eventually check-mate the opposition.

    Iniesta is sometimes doing the double work of Rosicky + Cazorla, where he drifts to either flank (a bit like Ribery for Bayern, Goetze for Dortmund), while working close together with either Fabregas or Messi (both in their False 9 position). He has the most assists in La Liga this season (14 and counting – I would believe only Marek Hamsik has more, 16 assists in Serie A, among the Top 5 leagues in Europe. Hamsik also plays more as Napoli’s chief creator/Maestro). Thus, as the team’s chief “Creator” or “Maestro”, Iniesta’s operating theatre on the field is closer to the opposition’s penalty area, closer to his 3 main forwards while either providing the final ball to them or taking a crack at goal himself. Mind you, he did score the extraordinary winner in the finals against Holland during WC2010, playing the advance creative midfielder role, latching onto Fabregas (the False 9)’s pass.

    Busquets is a “Destroyer” – he is doing the donkey work for Barcelona sitting mostly in front of the back-line, shutting out the opposition’s creative playmaker and any runner from deep midfield. The typical silent “destroyer”/ 21st century Liberio. (or you can say he is the “invisible wall” for Barcelona as most of his work is rarely in the spotlight and unappreciated by neutral supporters – like what Gilberto Silva did for us in the past). A “destroyer” does not have to be the physical intimidating stereotype – Once a “destroyer” successfully shut out the opposition’s creative forces in an entire match by ANY MEANS necessary, he gets his job done and a 5-star rating.

  104. Arse Red says:

    Great summary as always TA. Can’t remember the last time we played in such a boring match. It was disheartening at times especially when they looked so dangerous on the counter with 10 men.

    I agree with RA. We miss that spark in the team. I don’t care what Wenger says about upsetting the apple cart. A new player can reinvigorate the whole squad. Look what AA did when he first came in, the whole team had a new lease on life!

    My aussie rules team debuted a Sudanese player (first in the sports history) and he kicked a goal in 30 secs. The team went nuts, so did the supporters, and i got an erection! We went on to smash the team thanks to a heap of momentum generated by that player early on.

    We need a spark in this team! Too many romford pele’s not enough dennis’

  105. oz gunner says:

    shit it’s arse red and he’s somehow managed to steal my BK comment!

  106. TotalArsenal says:

    Redders 🙂

    All agreed. The carrot of CL qualification is so juicy and big that it prevents us from trying things out and get back to playing Wengerball. The only time Arsene can do this is at the start of te season, but it needs to pay off straightaway, or we are back to compromise footie… 😦

  107. TotalArsenal says:

    Alex 🙂

    All agreed. The good thing is we have a week off now – eight days to be precise – and we can play with less pressure on our shoulders as a consequence of yesterday’s result. Wenger could go all attack for this and surprise the horrible Mancs.

  108. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC, agreed we need a creator who can also play up-front, in midfield and on the wing: that’s why I get so excited about Jovetic 🙂

  109. TotalArsenal says:

    JM, thanks for the detailed analysis – no surprise there! 🙂

    Agreed Busquets is a fantastic player and I like the description of invisible wall!

    Do you believe Xavi an Iniesta could not swap positions seamlessly, becasue I do?

  110. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Oz,

    Can we have that super Sudanese for Arsenal, please?! 😛

  111. JM says:

    @TotalArsenal April 21, 2013 14:45

    Which is why a reason we all “hated” Busquets for his antics and craft on the pitch (e.g. winding up players, play-acting, breaking up play, taking one for his team etc), because he is so “professional” at his role/tasks. A good “destroyer” does a fair balance act of psychologically and physically negating the opposition’s creative forces, wears them down throughout the game while at the same time protecting the backline and being an avenue to pass the ball to his more creative team-mates ahead of him.

    I would have believed that Iniesta does swop positions with any one of Barca’s 3 forwards during the match, especially their inside-left and inside-right players, whereby he is at the forefront of giving the final ball leading to a goal and collect his assists stats regularly. Xavi does his runs from deep midfield while at times he goes back in-line with his centre defenders and collects the loose ball and starts his “feeding”/”facilitating” work, when Busquets is doing his job of frustrating/stopping the opposition’s playmaker/attacking midfielder.

  112. AFC says:

    JM, so who is Man U’s midfield general?

    I am right to assume that this is Rooney right. It would be Scholes but he does not play on a regular basis.

  113. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers JM

    No doubt they will be remembered for decades as two of the finest midfielders the game has seen.

    Do you agree that as soon as we get our modern destroyer the whole team will gradually start playing better?

    Btw JM where are you based and how long have you been supporting the Arsenal?

  114. AFC says:

    TA, Xavi and Iniesta work together so well and know each other’s game so well. At times it is like they have telepathic powers. 😀

    I think Xavi is better while one of my friends say it is Iniesta.

    Who do you think is better?

  115. TotalArsenal says:

    They are both brilliant AFC and I would not want to choose between them. I will also never forget YOUNG jack Wilshere’s performance against the pair a few seasons ago! 🙂

    The Northern Oilers have led us down – no surprise there!

  116. AFC says:

    TA, I take it you are referring to the 2-1 victory.

    For me Wilshere, Song, Kos and Johan were all brilliant. 🙂

  117. TotalArsenal says:

    Yep AFC one of my happiest nights of football ever! 🙂

    CoY Dippers!!! 🙂

  118. JM says:

    @AFC April 21, 2013 15:15

    Man. United plays a slightly different formation, with SAF’s favour in a 4-4-2 setup (which can alternate in variations:

    (i) a 4-4-2 diamond midfield with 1 base midfielder just in front of the back 4, e.g. Jones, Carrick etc; 2 running midfielders on both sides, e.g. Valencia, Young, Cleverly, Nani and 1 tip midfielder just behind the 2 forwards, e.g. Giggs, Kagawa, Rooney, Scholes.

    (ii) a 4-4-2 defensive midfield with a 2-man double pivot sitting in front of the back four, e.g. Carrick and Jones, and 2 wide midfielders.

    (iii) a 4-4-2/4-2-4 offensive midfield with 2-man centre midfield, e.g. Carrick and Scholes/Giggs/Cleverly supporting 4 attacking forwards/wingers.

    (iv) a 4-4-2 in the guise of a 4-4-1-1, 2 centre midfielders (Carrick, Giggs, Scholes, Kagawa, Cleverly) with a second striker supporting the main striker (e.g. Rooney supporting RvP; RvP supporting Welback/Chicharito etc).

    As the above, do you see a “constant” midfield player in whatever variation of SAF’s 4-4-2 formation? He should be the “go to” man for Man. United or the “unofficial midfield general” for his team: Michael Carrick.

    Stop Carrick from running the show in deep midfield and United can be disrupted. (Take note for our match against them next)

    @TotalArsenal April 21, 2013 15:21

    “Do you(I) agree that as soon as we get our modern destroyer the whole team will gradually start playing better?”

    I believe so, if we can our “21st century liberio” with the right character attributes, similar in the frame of Busquets, de Rossi, J.Martinez etc. He may have to be seen by other teams and supporters as the most “hated” player in our squad, such that they do not like to see him on the pitch playing for us.

  119. AFC says:

    I could not believe it when the Van Persie and Arshavin goals went in.

    Now those are just distant memories.

  120. AFC says:

    JM, I thought Carrick was the destroyer in Man U’s team and Scholes/Rooney were the generals. Do not forget that Rooney was playing next to Carrick in their last match.

  121. TotalArsenal says:

    Those memories shine very bright for me, AFC 🙂

  122. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC how are you getting on with the Fab post? 🙂

  123. JM says:

    @ AFC April 21, 2013 15:48

    With Man. United’s 4-4-2, in a 2-men centre midfield and 2-men wide midfield players:
    Of the 2-men in the centre, 1 plays as their facilitator/destroyer(Carrick) and the other their facilitator/creator(Rooney). They share the facilitating role.
    The main instigator would be Carrick as Man. United. typically plays the counter-punch/attack game, thus he is their “unofficial midfield general”, while Rooney or whoever plays the creative role (e.g. Kagawa, Scholes, Giggs etc) is their “unofficial maestro”, supported by one of their more withdrawn forward/shadow striker (thus having 2 “creators” on the pitch).

    It is a slight different context when playing with a 3-men midfield or 5-men midfield (e.g. 3-5-2 etc).

  124. Red Arse says:

    JM,

    I have said this before, but I will say it again, your detailed, analytical and highly knowledgeable comments are absolutely superb!!

    Well done, sir!! 😀

  125. Highbury Harmony says:

    Well, those dropped points to Everton could become massive in our hopes of top 4. Spuds with Bale are just a different beast, wow…

  126. Highbury Harmony says:

    Chavs up 1-0 on Pool, well placed header off a corner by Oscar.

  127. TotalArsenal says:

    Not what we want HH. A good header though.

    Are you back home – Toronto or South Jersey?

  128. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, back in SJ but will be traveling for a bit again for work this coming Tuesday to meet with new clients.

  129. Highbury Harmony says:

    I was going over the EPL team of the year. I haven’t a clue as to who to put in at CB since every team has been fairly inconsistent this term (I would have said Kompany and Nastasic before today, might still have them there).

    So far:

    ——————-Hart——————
    Zabaleta-Nastasic-Kompany-Evra
    ——–Ramires—-Y.Toure———-
    Mata——————————-Bale
    —————–Suarez—————–
    —————van Judas—————

    Subs: De Gea (GK), Jagielka (CB), Rafael (RB), Fellaini (CM), Cazorla (CM/W), Michu (CAM/ST), Benteke (ST)

    HOM: Carrick (CM), Cole (LB), Tevez (ST), Ivanovic (CB/RB), Gerrard (CM), Hazard (LW/RW)

    Objections? Changes?

  130. Highbury Harmony says:

    Forgot about Lambert, Berbatov and Ba in the HOM.

  131. TotalArsenal says:

    Are you anywhere near Paramus or Gibbsboro? I was there once for business.

  132. TotalArsenal says:

    Nobody from the best away defence in the league, HH? 😀

  133. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, Mertesacker should have been placed in the HOM. Forgot about him too! If Koscielny had been this solid all year, he’d easily be somewhere in the first team (starter or sub), but unfortunately he has had limited playing time.

  134. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hahaha TA, Paramus is northern NJ, but Gibbsboro is not too far away :).

  135. TotalArsenal says:

    And that is why Suarez is not at a top team: genius one moment, madman the next

  136. TotalArsenal says:

    Only joking HH. I do think Cazorla deserves a spot in the first-11 (given it is his first PL season as well).

    Oh yes, I do remember we had to travel for quite a bit from Paramus to Gibbsboro. It was in February and extremely cold and barren everywhere.

  137. Highbury Harmony says:

    Neither of those two areas are well known in NJ :). I’m relatively new to the area still, but I’m sure everything is much more developed since you last came to the US for business!

    I could not place Cazorla over Bale or Mata though on the wings and he’s simply not good enough as a CM (with the exception of a CAM, but my set-up was a modified 4-4-1-1 with 2 ST up top).

  138. Highbury Harmony says:

    Mata at 10 goals and 13 assists on the year after today’s result. Could be more to come today.

  139. Highbury Harmony says:

    When I watch both play, Mata has more pace which allows him to be more influential. Santi is all about quick passing and touches, but they both have outstanding vision. Pretty hard to differentiate between the two, but I gave the nod to Mata because of pace.

  140. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, bear in mind Mata gets rotated for no apparent reason and has accomplished more in less games played.

  141. TotalArsenal says:

    HH, sorry the reference to ‘barren’ was not fully accurate: I meant frozen over and exhausted looking landscape (as per the time of year).

  142. TotalArsenal says:

    Santi goes far less to sleep compared to Mata and in general has more influence on the game – nine MOTM awards also indicate this. But it is your choice of course! 🙂

  143. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, no need to apologize :). My home away from home is supposed to be one of the top 10 towns in the states for safe neighbourhoods, clean air and best public schools so I am not offended at all. Neither of those towns you named are too close to me either!

  144. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, when I watch both, I actually think Santi goes to sleep more. Of course, it could be the product of playing with lower caliber players for Santi, but Mata looks outstanding, especially when both Hazard and Oscar also start. The one-touch triangles they are forming today are a spectacle.

    In the case of Santi, who else are you honestly going to give MOTM to in our squad? We lack quality going forward on most days and Santi happens to be by far our most talented and offensively creative player…

  145. Highbury Harmony says:

    It’s really a testament to how poor we are offensively, than how superior Santi is (though he is a top, top player).

  146. Highbury Harmony says:

    When I say poor offensively, I’m not speaking to the goal output we’ve had either. I’m referring to quality chances created and sheer skill and talent in our offensive players.

  147. TotalArsenal says:

    Ok good HH 🙂

  148. TotalArsenal says:

    hahaha HH, you were expecting me to throw those bread and butter stats at you, weren’t you?! 😛

  149. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, we have the capability to score goals for sure, it’s just our lack of creativity, ability to stay healthy, the talent to consistently take players on one on one, the ability to create on our own outside of Santi (Jack can when healthy but his finishing is still a work in progress) and form one-touch passing triangles around the opposition that bothers me most. Does the onus then fall on a lack of quality in our squad, better tactics needing to be put in place by AW or selfishness on the part of our squad in not properly supporting one another and running forward hoping for balls to get themselves goals?

    Earlier in the season, I believed it was that our players were too stationary and complacent. For me, it was simply a matter of AW needing to implement a slightly more rigid formation to better capitalize on our free flowing football (i.e. focus on one-touch passing triangles).

    Lately, it’s become a matter of selfishness for me and perhaps the lack of quality finally catching up to us. Players are not supporting one another and are in search of running forward once passing away the ball in hopes of receiving a final ball to score. Also, with the lack of true scoring opportunities we’ve been creating, players have become more inclined to shoot than pass when given the chance. It’s become evident that we need another top player to come in up front that can create on their own to further complement the current group of players we have, who are all good but are lacking that something extra special.

  150. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hahaha TA, you know me too well. I was expecting either yourself or some other bloke to come on and point to the fact that we have 65 goals scored this year!

  151. TotalArsenal says:

    And that’s why he should win the PL player of the year award! Lucky escape for us!!!!

  152. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, it’s a very valid point, but it depends how you view the stats. Mata has better stats in comparison to GP, while Santi has great stats considering the fact that he has lesser teammates. To be honest, I was split on Mata/Cazorla and wasn’t sure who to put in the starting 11.

    By the way Pool drew with Chavs at the last minute!!!!!

  153. TotalArsenal says:

    HH at 17.53

    There is a lot of truth in there. Let’s see how the season finishes.

    Catch you in a few hours.

  154. Highbury Harmony says:

    more rigid tactics* is what I meant to say in my comment @ 17:53 🙂

  155. Highbury Harmony says:

    Suarez’s season could be done. Guess he took the saying “hungry for goals” too far.

  156. VCC says:

    UMF update with one game Monday night to come =

    Overall leader board……….

    VCC……..102
    Henry……. 98
    HH……….. 88
    PPP……… 85
    RA……….. 81
    OZ………. 77
    TMHT…… 77
    Total…….. 75
    Alex……… 74
    Rocky…… 70
    GLiC…….. 47

    Weekly scoreboard..=

    Henry…….8
    TMHT…….5
    Alex……….4
    Gerry……..3
    GLiC………3 (1)
    PPP………3
    Total………3 (1)
    Oz………….2 (1)
    HH………….2 (1)
    VCC………..2
    Rocky……..1
    RA………….0 (1)

    With a fine 8 points this week Henry moves within 4 points of the leader.

    Red Arse is in danger of joining the Zero club. Mondays result still to come.

    Nice one all…

    Poor performance yesterday, but, three valuable points gained.

    Have a great week, and take care. Vicky.

  157. Danny says:

    Brilliant from Suarez! I can not agree more, TA.

    HH- the only changes i would make is Aguero for Benteke. He’s had some pretty insane moments this season. As good as ever (just a bit less consistent). Other than to that I’d say spot on (but im kinda iffy on Zab).. As for CB — Williams maybe? I definitely think Kompany deserves a spot, not cause hes been outstanding but he’s simply the best CB in the PL.

  158. Highbury Harmony says:

    Danny, Aguero has been injured too much to be considered in team of the year! I’d easily put Tevez alone from City above him, and Berbatov/Lambert deserved HOM before him.

    Kompany was tricky as he was put there based on his reputation in past seasons and City’s goals conceded record this year. Williams is a good shout though, I considered him, Vertonghen of Spuds and McAuley of WBA as well for CB.

  159. AFC says:

    TA, I am hoping to send you the Fabianski post sometime tomorrow evening.

    Do you know any news regarding Giroud? If is suspension remains I will write a post asking who should lead the line for us.

  160. AFC says:

    * Giroud’s suspension

  161. AFC says:

    HH, you could be forgetting Leighton Baines somewhere in your squad. He has been better than Cole in my opinion.

  162. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, Baines is a great shout. For some reason, I accidentally over looked him 🙂

  163. AFC says:

    HH, do you know if Wenger will appeal the ban on Giroud?

  164. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, not sure at all. I haven’t heard anything new on that yet. I’m sure there will be some news mid-week when all appeals/suspensions are announced (aka Suarez biting Ivanovic too).

  165. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, it says OG is suspended until May 19th…season’s basically over for him. However, AW is unsure on whether he’ll appeal the card. If I were you, I would write the article with a disclaimer saying that you wrote it as if OG were suspended and AW had not appealed the decision yet.

    No one will call you out anyway if the card is appealed 🙂

  166. AFC says:

    HH, thanks for that. I will write the article as if Giroud is suspended. 🙂

    How did Spurs beat City 3-1. Beyond me.

  167. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, I haven’t a clue, especially with how important that game was for their title hopes. Based on the stats, it looks like Gareth Bale beat City today.

  168. AFC says:

    HH, I off to write that post. I will catch up with you and everyone else later on. 🙂

  169. AFC says:

    TA, just been watching the Football League Show and you will never guess what. Davids still wear those glasses/goggles.

    I wonder if he has been wearing the same glasses/goggles throughout his whole career. 😀

  170. AFC says:

    * TA sorry, the show was Late Kick Off.

  171. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi AFC

    Thanks for writing a post and good to hear Davids is still goggling it! 😛

    I hope to issue a post in the morning.
    Night all.

  172. Red Arse says:

    Morning Folks! 🙂

  173. AFC says:

    TA, you’ve got mail. 🙂

  174. glic says:

    Morning Quimtessential Muffateers 😆

    Arsenal U21`s Vs Spud Paedo`s tonight. Lives Tweets on Arsenal.com and live Twats from Spuds !.

    UMF Anagram League predictions for coming weekend :

    Synthetic Cream Vs Shit, Wee, Mad Nut

    South Tampon Vs Wobbliest Inch Worm

    A Genital Witch Vs That Nut Shoot Sperm

    I Danger Vs Queer Spanks Ranger

    Bale, C**t, Ars, Ball, Fool Vs Mundane Erect Shit

    All Draws !.

  175. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post! 🙂

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