Arsenal’s midfield fluidity starting to resemble Total Football again?

ARSENAL V FULHAM

 

The Review

Thanking Voetbal International for today's picture

Thanking Voetbal International for today’s picture

Is this the small beginnings of not quite ‘Total Football’, but the nearest that Arsene Wenger will get to it?

I was intrigued by the first half display. They played some really delightful build up play in the first 20 or so minutes, but without finding the net. Fulham, predictably set their stall out to not concede. In that respect they were the more successful. With Brede Hangeland back, and his young partner Burn, who was very impressive, they must have the tallest centre back pairing in the league? With other players around them willing to put in a shift, it was a far cry from the side that lost 6-1 in their previous league game. So scoring was going to be difficult. And apart from some long range efforts from Gnabry, who snatched at one when the whole goal opened up before him; and instead, it went the same as his other efforts, wide or high.

However, that was not what intrigued me. It was the movement from the front five or six that was different. So Gnabry played more central? Yes and no. He moved in from the right when Ozil went wide. When he switched flanks, Cazorla came more central. If Ozil went to the left side, then Gnabry went left of centre. All this was going on throughout the first half. The only constant player who never strayed wider than the width of the box was Jack Wilshere. With Giroud going out wide and leaving Gnabry as the central striker, it was very difficult to see if it was successful, because of the lack of goals. But what it did show was that there was a conscious effort to get an understanding between all of our attacking midfielders. I say this as a back drop with the penultimate post questioning individuals to work with Mesult Ozil. And the answer was that that all bar one player, it had some great moments in this battle for space in a crowded area?

The odd one out was Mesult Ozil.

In a later post yet to be released, I posed the thought that Ozil would be able to work around the others. In this example he failed to do so. But that is for a later discussion.

Right now, I was inspired by the fluidity, and I think in a more open game it would have produced a hatful of goals. It is still a work in progress I feel, and one that Ozil may or may not become a master of? Why it failed here was mainly because Giroud was not given more space by the movement around him, and he too, looked the odd one out? Gnabry’s improved: running into spaces to get the ball led to numerous one-two touches, and switches of play, and both Monreal and Sagna providing width and crosses that should have been better used. As a work in progress, Gnabry is coming along well. As to the cohesion of the rest of the midfield, we will have to see how that unfolds later. But it is intriguing?

From the opening corner inside two minutes, a through ball from Wilshere saw an Ozil shot blocked, when he ought to have done better? A blocked shot from Cazorla from a touch on from Giroud, The wild long range effort from Gnabry, and another one-two with Giroud saw a second Cazorla effort blocked. This was followed by the snatched Gnabry shot, and a blocked effort from Ozil: a rare long shot from Ozil(?) blocked, and a Giroud shot over after a good touch from Gnabry. It shows the variety I spoke of above, and all in the first 20 minutes … it looked only a matter of time?

However, it took a superb save from Chezzer, getting his right hand to a fierce half volley from Sidwell, and turned it away to safety, to keep the score at 0-0.

The rest of the half became more a battle for control, rather than shots raining in from all angles. Gnabry had an attempted curler that went wide, and Cazorla had another shot blocked. But for the most part, Arsenal were comfortable at keeping Fulham out, and Ozil apart, who looked a little off with his thinking, so receiving and giving passes were going astray, and Gnabry’s youthful keenness to score, the rest had a pretty good game. Although, it tailed off a tad in the second quarter, perhaps missing that urgency and energy that Rosicky or Ramsey might bring?

There was a different feel about the second half. I suspect the boss had reminded them not to repeat the Villa performance? Fulham started brightly, but when Arsenal did attack, shots were on target, and brought about a string of good saves. An angled shot from Giroud on the left, Gnabry’s fierce drive to the bottom left-hand corner, a blocked shot from Cazorla all preceded a goal mouth scramble. A cross from Cazorla to the far post, Sagna shot block, Koscielny shot blocked, Gnabry shot from equally close range, blocked. You could be forgiven for thinking it was not going to be our day?

That all changed a minute later. A lovely pass and move with Monreal, Cazorla kept moving with the final assist coming from Wilshere, and a first time shot hit with more accuracy than power saw the ball nestle in the bottom right-hand corner. Cazorla was a happy boy again. Five minutes later he repeated the trick in the same corner, hitting low first time. 2-0.

With 20 minutes to go, Lukas Podolski came on for the fast developing Serge Gnabry. He too had a terrific shot saved by keeper and woodwork, but had little else to add to his claims for a first team start, but not from the lack of trying. Fulham also tried to get a consolation goal with their sub, Darren Bent, who looked clear on goal but a late intervention by Koscielny forced him to shoot wide before he was clattered in the box. Certain penalty had Bent not got his shot away first, but I’ve known refs to give it anyway?

Ox came on with about 5 minutes plus stoppage time, and he became the third sub on who might have made it on to the score sheet late on, with a backward leaning header that had direction but too much height. Just a late corner scare that ended the game, otherwise the clean sheet was never really threatened.

It would have been nice to have written this as something to put the smile on one of our number who is having to face a very tough battle in the coming days. Instead it is written for the records, and despite the background on a personal level, I hope JB will not mind if I stuck to purely my insight of the game. Our thoughts are with you, but we understand that being TOTL is a triviality in your circumstances.

Best wishes, as always, JB.

 

Written by: Gerry.

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62 Responses to Arsenal’s midfield fluidity starting to resemble Total Football again?

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Great post and excellent observations, Gerry. 🙂

    Arsenal really impressed me again on Saturday. They impressed me against Villa as well. Both Villa and Fulham were determined to make a fortress of their own box and not allow us any space through the middle, or from the sides. Villa were cracked open in the first half and Fulham in the second half. 45 minutes of high tempo, incessant pressure with intricate combination football in the opponents’ boxes was enough to ‘eliminate’ the tanker positions and come out victoriously. We had two games of one half…. that was enough; and so we won, preserved energy and avoided injury…. a result of having more older, wiser players in the first team?

    The whole team deserves recognition for its discipline and determination, but the midfielders deserve extra praise for their patient probing and incredible focus, and your post does this justice.

    Over the last two games we have seen a very effective Jack, who really is thriving in these condensed box positions…. showing us why he is wearing 10 on the back of his shirt…. A goal and two assists in five days are the hard stats to support this statement, but there is more than that to his game. He is like a wolf around a flock of sheep, ready to pounce on any weakness in the circled animals. His balls over the top in the first half were just that little bit over-hit, but he was getting close to breaking the Fulham defence up. And the cut-back from inside the box for Cazorla was simply sublime.

    Ozil had a few below par touches, but produced perhaps the best assist in the second half for Giroud who should have done better. The beauty is we have now a number of midfielders who can score and assist in each and every game. The opponent cannot prepare themselves against this easily, if at all.

    But patience is key. We are no longer attacking kamikaze style as we did sometimes in previous seasons. We are calm, we probe, we keep it tight in midfield and at the back to avoid counter attacks, and we carve defences open with invention and precision. Who needs strikers when you have such lethal midfielders… and Ox and Rambo are soon to join the party. 🙂

    Total Football? We are getting there again.

  2. alexgunners says:

    From previous post: (before TA’s timely ‘New Post’ call)

    @17ht

    Mate, what an amazing piece. I for one feel that there is nothing else to add except reiterate what you have written, “JB, if there’s anything you need, please let us know”. Whilst we are a bunch of guys with an interest in our beloved club, we are more than that. Yes, there are arguments, jokes and a lot of mateship, but that’s where i feel that we are unique on this forum as we are not here to purely criticise. We instead act like a bunch of mates who have know each other and shared great moments together
    Thank you TA for the forum that you have created and thank you to all you guys for being the crazy bunch of guys who make my day just by reading the posts. I am proud to be involved with you guys and think that this forum has brought out the best in many of you in a time when one of ‘Our Mates’ is going through an unforgiving time.

  3. alexgunners says:

    Gerry,

    Great piece. I do agree that there was great fluidity with our game. The final 3rd, we still have a little to work on.It feels laboured and the wrong choices are made most of the time. Whether it is a hurried shot or one too many passes. Having said that, it is hard to play against a team who parks the bus (actually 2, Villa and Fulham).

    The beauty is the willingness to fight for each other and i feel that this current crop has discovered an amazing word, PRIDE. Proud to play for each other, the shirt, it’s fans and their own pride.
    Whilst Ozil has been a little off lately, lets look at the fact that other have stepped up and the team has an amazing BOND.

    Thank you for your review

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks Alex and fully agreed that 17ht has produced a very fine post. 🙂

    How are you, Mrs Alex and Bella dealing with the heat right now?

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    ‘amazing Bond’ Brilliant Alex 🙂

  6. alexgunners says:

    Hi TA,
    How are you?
    All is well here in Melbourne despite the recent heatwave. It was definitely hard to work in the heat but at home luckily we had all the Air Cons running. It pays to also be licensed to install split system air conditioning.

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    You are well equipped to survive the heat, Alex. That is the beauty of having technical skills. 🙂

  8. Top Stuff Gezzer 🙂
    I know you will be interested, that’s if you don’t already know, that the U21`s are playing the Bin Dippers early today @ 13:30.
    https://twitter.com/Arsenal

  9. Dylan says:

    Great post Gerry. I think we’ve been trying to attain this fluid front four the whole season. I think the reason it really worked yesterday was because we had zero changes to the front four. Some forget that understanding is just as important on offense as it is on defense. People say we can’t switch the Mert-Kos partnership (which is true). But from experience I can also say you don’t want to change a ST and his CAM partner (or striker partner, or wing partner, whoever the playmaker is) much either. Examples:
    Suarez and Sturidge – Both good, more effective together, strike pair
    Rooney and van Persie – Both good, United clearly drop in quality without both, CF-ST pair
    Aguero and Negredo – Both good, can sometimes be just as effective by themselves, ST pair
    Adebayor and Soldado – Both struggle in the PL, suddenly become effective together, strike pair

    There are many more. But the point is a pairing between a striker and another striker/CAM/winger/etc is just a special as a CB partnership, if not more special. So the less changes made in the front for, the more we will approach total football.

  10. This is a poser. Is he a better singer or goalie ?. I can only guess what Mr Bond would think !.

    https://www.facebook.com/wojciechszczesny1.official

  11. Gerry says:

    Hi Alex, I did not say the ‘fluidity’ was perfect. I was just noting that it seemed a conscious effort to involve the likes of Cazorla, as opposed to him ‘sacrificing his game for the good of the team’, as quoted recently from the Villa game.

    I think what may be Ozil’s problem is that he is used to players being in the same general area. At RM he knew where he would find Ronaldo. Here he knows where to find Walcott. I think Ramsey is the only ‘mobile’ player he clicked with, but as I say it is a work in progress? Long term I do not see Ozil having a problem. Both Wilshere and Cazorla benefitted from this movement, as did the balance overall. It would bring greater rewards in an open game?

    However, I do think it was Ozil being less effective, and slightly peripheral at times that helped Cazorla become the driving force, which is when he is at his best?

    I don’t want to go too deeply into that as Dylan’s analysis may well add more.

    But thanks for the comments

  12. Ox playing in what looks a decent strength team !.

  13. Gerry says:

    TA – Agreed. They are learning on the job, and evolving into something that has tremendous potential for the future?

  14. Gerry says:

    TCM – Thanks for the reminder. I got burgled while I was out with the dogs this morning, so apart from fitting a new bolt with padlock on the front door, I have the ‘soco’ boys coming round to try and get finger prints. But I’ll try and keep up with it.

    Don’t start on chezzer. You’ll be asking next if Rosicky is better on the guitar. I rcekon between them they could make a good rock band? With Mert and Podolski on vocals?

  15. Oh dear Gezzer !. Best of luck in catching the bastards !.

  16. Gerry says:

    No chance Cocker. They must have thought I was a dotty pensioner hiding money in biscuit tins or under my pillow. Or I was really an eccentric millionaire who’s putting on an act of being poverty stricken?

    How disappointing .. all that trouble holding their noses while they searched, and all they got was about £4 in loose change 😀 They probably came in with more money than I had, the theiving scumbags.

    I do believe they went off with my Arsenal membership card, as I have’t found that since.

    Guess what? the female officer doing the ‘crime scene’ is an Arsenal fan. She saw their website up on the computer, as I was following the tweets. She is going to the Emirates for the next league game, and she is really looking for to her first visit. Small world, eh?

    I also told her to check out this site, so mind your language.

    I made the woman officer on the end of the 101 line when logging the details. She ask my age and I told her. ‘So do you have any disabilities? I replied ‘ Yes, Irritability!’ … She nearly fell off her chair laughing.

    To be honest, apart from the invasion, I am more peed off because my ankles are killing me because I have been up all afternoon fixing the new bolt.

  17. The lady officer is a Gooner and may visit BK !…………Disclaimer….any dodgy comments I may have ever made in the past were all fictitious !. hahaha
    Your Arsenal membership card was stolen !……sounds like the Gooner copper should be looking for a Gooner thief !.

  18. Gezzer.
    I meet lots of Gooners on my travels and it`s usually because I wear something “Arsenal” most of the time at work !. My deliveries take a bit longer as I always have a chat with Gooner Chefs at a few establishments, especially at Charlestown`s Pier House and Wreckers, which funny enough the owners are Spuds but the Chefs are Gooners !.
    I had the local electrical store come and fit something and the engineer was a Gooner. A chap near the Springer Spaniel Pub ( I think you once remarked about it ! ) near me, popped in about cleaning windows and got the job because he`s a Gooner !.
    When I worked at Ambrosia most were Gooners who were interested in football ( most wre not into football ).
    Four of the timber framers doing my sons love Shack were gooners !.
    We`re all over the place !. My boss told me the owner of a Pasty Shop at Kew Highway is a Gooner, so next time I drive past I shall go in and have a word !.
    I`m not being biased, but driving about ( and when in Bath ), the most shirts, hats etc` I see are Arsenal ones !. I know Man Std and Liverpool claim to be the biggest and I don’t argue with that, but may be Gooners like to show their colours in public more than most !.
    Oh and yes, I do tell everyone about BK and know some do read, but have yet to comment !.

  19. If we get anymore injuries just before the TW deadline expect this……..

  20. Gerry says:

    There you go CM. I just hope I dog get further dog reduction visits now.

    Even the local CID bobby couldn’t my address without ring up first.
    I don’t think thee is much hope of catching them though, unless there get caught doing something else and ‘cough’ for this too?

    They will not get in so easily next time anyway, that’s for sure. The padlock cost more than twice what the bolt did.

    The under 21’s got a bit done over with quick counters it seems. But at least the Ox got a bit more playing time, and Toral got an assist at the end. I guess a couple could end up playing some part on Friday?

  21. Gerry says:

    That clip reminds me. When I was trying to report my membership card loss on the phone to Arsenal, I ended up pressing the wrong option somewhere along the way, and I got the options for Corporate boxes and season ticket inquiries. It was fun listening to Arsene Wenger go through the list of option for me, that I just let it run through a second time 😀

  22. Gerry says:

    Error alert – @19.11 that was ‘don’t get further dog ….’

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    Gerry, sorry to hear you got burgled 😦

  24. Gerry says:

    TA – Yes annoying. But as I haven’t had a lock on the front door for the last 8 or 9 years I have probably been lucky? Although it is only in the last 18 months or so that i Have been taking ALL he dogs out together.

    I still think whoever it was probably came in with more that they took from me? At least the word will get out I am as stony broke as I look’ 🙂

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    Good to approach it with a sense of humour, Merry Gerry.It is understandably quiet tonight, but this is no reflection on your excellent post.

  26. VCC says:

    Gerry…..Gutted to hear about the robbery today. They need their hands cut off, bastards.

    Cracking post. I wish I could comment more, but my enthusiasm for football at the moment has dwindled with the JB heartache.

  27. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Nice Gerry.

    Your posts are certainly richer than your wallet. Four bloody quid? It probably cost them a fiver in Bus fares. They never robbed you, you robbed them. I thought you were loaded and was planning to visit, preferably when you were out, but now I know the truth dont think i will bother. hahaha

    Yes Gerry, fluidity. I think as your post alludes, Gnarbry plays a big part in this. Hes a very mobile lad, and for his age very clever. if he keeps improving we will have one hell of a player

    Know what you mean about Ozil, but the guy is class. Hes the kind of bloke that when it appears hes not having a good game still contributes through his motion and intelligence.

    We have a very good group here that will only get better. Very exciting.

  28. Yes Stretch….. all that planning we did to kidnap Gezzer and send the ransom note to his dogs was a waste of time !. Re-spraying the Cortina to a Devon Green with fake seagull shit and some XXL Chloroform has left us short changed !. His dogs would probably have asked for some proof that we had him, by demanding some of his bones be sent to them, so they could chew it over !.
    Gezzer should reimburse us for our losses for a wasted planned abduction !. What a selfish bastard for being so poor !.

  29. Gerry says:

    TA – I fully appreciate that not many will respond. Like I said, it is one for the archives. I think it will be a subdued week, for very understandable reasons.

    You will have a post later …

    As you can tell, I bury my head in to work, if not here then on racing, when things are hanging over. No disrespect. I just know there is a limit to what I can do … so I keep busy.

  30. Right, whose next on the list ?…………Totes !…….where about`s do you live in Norwich ?…..and can we have some bank/saving`s details etc` first before we even think about taking you on a tour of the Broads !.

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed Gerry. Hard to talk footie right now.

  32. TotalArsenal says:

    Stupid question mini cocker. Where does a clog wearing, pipe smoking, Heiniken guzzling Dutchie live in Norfolk? 😕

  33. Gerry says:

    VCC – Don’t worry Vics, It will be there to be revisited.

  34. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    TA’s skinter than Gerry Cornwall. If someone burgled TA they would probably feel pity and end up giving him money.

    I have a sneaky feeling heheHenry is a far eastern millonaire.

    That could be the big one mate

  35. Hmmm……….Is Norfolk known as little Holland or Holland known as little Norfolk ?.

  36. Gerry says:

    TMHT – Yes, if it happened last week they would have had another couple of quid, but I used it on bus fare.

    I don’t think for a moment that Ozil will not ‘work it out’, but it will take a game or two … but then he will have Ramsey back in the mix to confuse him?

    Lot of promise, and I see JD slipping into it like a glove 😀

  37. No way Stretch !. Totes is always off to London, Scotland and even Cornwall, speaks more languages than Arsene , comes from the world capital of drugs, porn, klompendildos and uses BK as front for my filth !. Fcuking loaded !.

  38. Gerry says:

    TCM@ 20.55 – 😀 😀 …. Now where is that nice lady’s number that visited me today …

  39. Shit Gezzer, I forgot about Plod Gooner and after all that I have just said about Totes !……..she will probably arrest him for being a pipe smoker !.

  40. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    TA’s to nice to be rich Cornwall. He probably travels to all these different places by bartering a goat for a lift.

    Draxler is intriguing Gerry. The rumour is that Arsene sees a potential striker there

  41. Anyone who has “Total” as their first name is going to be filthy rich !. Total Arsenal…..Total Football……Total Rich Bastard !. hahaha

  42. TotalArsenal says:

    We all know you are loaded Cocker, building and renting out love shacks all over horny Cornwall. And we all know what you mean when you say I’ve been for a run in the hills…..

  43. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Forget about “Totally Skint” Cornwall. Wont even pay for a re-spray on the Cortina

  44. Talking of running. I`ve had calf problems for about 2 years now and went to see the quack the other day and been told my running days are over !. It`s because of the scar tissue from an injury, it`s always going to be a weak point and keep playing up !.
    The quack is a runner himself and gave me a really good talk about injuries. Mine is weird in so much that I have a good running style of an athlete being light on my feet, but it has the disadvantage of putting too much pressure when my foot lands ( front of foot ), whereas my neighbour has a heavy running action ( you can hear him coming miles away ! ) and lands on his heel with less pressure !.
    I am now going to have to go to the local gym and use bikes and stuff and have to look at all the Jack and Danny instead of looking at sheep and cows of before !. I will probably have use my mini towel holder quite often !.

  45. How much a gym membership up London ?………£4.99 per week here !.

  46. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    About three times the cost Cornwall

    I have the same problem at Gyms. I got myself banned from the local David Llyods for drilling a hole in the wall facing the womens changing rooms. Got caught without the mini towel, so was thrown out.

    To make sure there was no temptation I joined the YMCA Gym in Great Russell street but got fed up with every one else donning a mini towel accept me. I left when changing one afternoon I spotted that some Bastard had drilled a hole in the wall and was clocking me get changed

  47. Hahaha Stretch, may I apologise on behalf of Vickers as he has no memory of it !. I can assure you though that it was not someone peeping at you, it was down to the fact that I had Vickers as my dogs body on a building job there and made him stick his knob in the hole in the wall as a temporary replacement for a screw fix wall plug, so it wasn`t an eye looking at you, more of a one – eyed monster !. The bastard has since been banned by the NHBC and Guild of Master Craftsman !.

  48. I was wondering if Totes could give us a run down and opinion on Arsenal`s new head of youth development…..Andries Jonker !. With the Neanderthalands being a small country with a population the size of a small fishing village in Scotland…..you probably know him personally !. 😆

  49. Xavier says:

    Good morning Bkers (my time),
    So I woke up this morning thinking bout arsenal and I was wondering… Are we really as thin as some people think?? I’m also wondering about the injuries(wengjuries) our players have. Notice how someone always is there to backup when someone gets seriously injured? Or are we just lucky? See how we didn’t hear nothing, not a peep, about monreal’s injury and somehow he plays 90mins in the next game. Is this wengers ploy? Unpredictability? It’s kinda working so far.

    Whew! Way too many questions. The more I’m typing the more other scenarios keep coming up. Oh well, time to take that morning coffee and ponder all day (while working of course :D).

    And have a good day Bkers and the Superspy! 👊

  50. Gerry says:

    TCM – You were on good form last night, and I am sure it is your way of coping with the ‘off blog’ sadness. So you will not take it personally that you had such a small audience, anymore than others do if they don’t feel up to letting your humour into their silence?

    Form my sins, I just write a lot of stuff, because the football world keeps turning, and events ought to be logged.

    Different ways of coping, but thoughts as ever, go to JB …

  51. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Cocker 🙂

    Shame you have to stop running au naturel: who is going to ‘look after’ your love shags now?

    I don’t know Jonker at all, Cocker. But he worked with Van Gaal, who I rate higher than anybody else in terms of coaching tactics and total football philosophy. It sounds like a really shrewd move by Arsenal. I wonder how many times the players will mutter under their breath ‘Jonker you Plonker’ though, hahaha 🙂

  52. TotalArsenal says:

    Xavier, good questions and brilliant ingredients for a maiden post?! 🙂

    We are not thin at all. Who has more creating, scoring midfielders than we have? There are two to three injuries to worry about: BFG, Flamini, and Giroud. Replacements: Sagna/TV (not too shabby), Arteta/? (too vulnerable imo), Bendtner/Pod/Sanogo (potential vulnerable/ too much impact on our style of football).

    That is why for me a beast of a DM is our priority, followed by a RB or a striker. But I can see Wenger not making a move unless he can get super quality and this would make sense.

    What do you think?

  53. Morning Gezzer.
    Yes, my comments do take my mind off our BK Buddy JB`s torture, but it`s fair to say that I`m probably the same as most on here in that I think about JB quite a lot through the day.
    Same with Mrs Monsters condition, I worry like fcuk, but I would go mad ( yes, I know , some will say I was already there !. hahaha) if I just sat around twiddling my fingers and like I said before…Arsenal/BK is my escapism . Right, tons of Gee Gee Dollops to pick up….any Roses Gezzer ?…..Dollops are free to a fellow Gooner, you will have collect though, but walking 60 miles along the A388 with two Tesco`s carrier bags full of Dollop you will be gone furlong time !. 🙂

  54. Hi Totes 😀
    It wasn’t completely au naturel. I did used to wear my mini monster hand puppet on my knob !……to which the local ladies would scream…….” What`s that coming over the hill is it a Monster…is it a Monsterrrr ! “.

  55. TotalArsenal says:

    Hahahaha the Cockie Monster with his award manlihood 😀

  56. For those not fully up to the concept of Totaalvoetbal (Total Football ), here is a link !.
    Apparently, the foundations were laid by an Englishman !….Jack Reynolds ( I did here this on talksport last week )
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_football

  57. Gerry says:

    TCM – Having just read the link above, the Cruyff reference does make my comment seem pretty close to the mark. Our problem is that ‘our’ Cruyff is not a sublime goal score, more a creator of sublime goals .. Is this the missing link?

    All will be revealed in my next post, currently being amended because of the delay from Tote post last week. It was meant to be a response to that, but developed into something bigger.

    Xavier – It sounds like you are going through a similar process? Our themes may cross, but coming from a different angle … so keep scribing away.

  58. Gerry says:

    But talking of links, I liked this one. 17HT will love the reference to Rooney and referees 😀

    http://positivelyarsenal.com/2014/01/21/why-theres-no-hope-for-humanity/?

  59. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post 🙂

    BK Post 447 is, once more, dedicated to 007. Despite the bitter cold of winter in East Coast USA, Dylan still managers to warm his and our hearts with an uplifting post. Enjoy. 🙂

  60. Nice one Gerry…The link of yours (just above) is good too. Here’s another along the same lines… http://arseblog.com/2014/01/tactics-column-cazorla-steps-up-as-wilsheres-influence-grows/ I haven’t read ToTL’s yet (on total football) but I will…

    For me, we’ve got some repeated themes this season which keep popping up. One of them is: Is it all about Ozil? Has he been a disappointment, etc. On this account I’m in the mode of wishing I had an Ozil-cam–or that I could attend the matches and keep my eye on the man…

    I think his presence is changing things in significant ways that we’re only starting to appreciate. Our Messy, I believe, is helping us take a nascent style of defense-first pitch control (which we hinted at during last years run-in…) to the next level. With our game over early on Saturday I watched a bit more of the rest this past round and I think we’re close to being the only team that can actually get beyond the “every pass is a chance” (for both teams) style which characterizes English football. City and Chelsea are a tiny bit more developed (the former offensively, the latter by sitting deeper…) but most of what I see (in the English game) is all about big (scary) passes where every ball invites a challenge (and a potential break the other way) OR a chance to beat that challenge (usually with a run) and create a break upfield (and a chance) with the original ball-holders. Plenty of excitement, no doubt–aided, as always, by referees who seem promoted on the number of times they DON’T use their whistles–but also not a lot of collective control nor much in the way of more interesting ideas…

    It’s a pretty “deep” topic and one that’s not easy to convey. Far easier to talk about results or individual players (including just “names,” i.e., transfers) and/or positions and formations. Suffice it to say that I like what we’ve got going but I still see massive room for improvement. That the transfer news seems to be getting away from a pure striker target towards more adaptable types makes me hopeful that the Arsenal “audience” is starting to see it too… I’m still of the mind that we may find ourselves missing and/or needing a player who really represents a threat to get past defenders or behind the lines (i.e. do that thing which makes the English game hum) and makes individual players (the world over) into “super-quality.” Ronaldo and Messi seem content at their current clubs, but this guy Dribblaxler intrigues me. I’m referencing the “will we miss Theo” theme here, but I’m excited by young guys Gnabry and the Ox and curious where AW will slot these characters plus Ramsey upon his return. Indeed Xavier, it’s a pretty intriguing triangle of depth, injuries and lies we have going at the moment…

    I’m still shaken by the news/troubles amongst my brethren here and a bit glad that the matches are a little spread out and that the next one *seems* on the easier side. A chance to see if a few of the youngsters can play the team game, maybe?…

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