Arsenal v Swansea afterthoughts: Another PL title bites the dust

For those who have not been lucky enough to go to an evening home game, I can tell you the stadium is absolutely magnificent in the evening darkness – both on the outside and inside. It shines, everything is squeaky clean and you have a feeling – especially when you are packed away right towards the back, under the gigantic roof of the North Bank – that you are ‘spectating’ the game in an enormous cinema.

I walked towards the stadium from the Highbury and Islington tube stadium, after meeting a few friends in the home-supporters-dedicated Arsenal pub ‘The White Swan’. It was great to see so many people playing football, jogging, playing netball, doing yoga, etc in the park on the way to the ground. On evenings like these London is simply irresistible. It is just great that our new stadium fits so well – so naturally – into the area, as if it has always been there; as if a gigantic spaceship has squeezed itself cosily into the warm nest of the good part of North London (go and visit the also ‘recently’ build Sunderland and Mansour City grounds for example, and you know what I mean).

The Game

Arsenal started with good intentions but it became quickly clear that this would not be an easy evening for us. It just hung there in the air. You could sense it throughout the whole stadium and the early – far too easy – goal by Bony turned this collective fear soon enough into stone cold reality. Bony’s opener was the sort of goal you expected us to score against inferior opposition a long time ago: a simple cross into the box and the striker outruns and out-jumps the defender: 1 – 0. It belonged to a different, pre-millennium era; yet we had it inflicted on us by Swansea yesterday.

The fans stayed behind the team and sent out encouragement, and the players tried their best to get back into it. But our attacking efforts looked laboured and lacked invention and movement, and everyone had to dig very, very deep to somehow make things happen. Just before we scored the equaliser in the second part of the second half, I was asking myself why we were no longer using the left wing. The pattern of our attacks was continuously the same: try to break through the middle with complicated 1-2-3s, and if we cannot get through, give the ball to Sagna.

Swansea were quite happy for the Frenchman to have it on their left: he will either cross it into the box where there is only Giroud to deal with (and there were far too few runs into the box by our midfielders), or he will play it back to one of the midfielders; who will once again try to break through the very well set up central defensive wall of the Jacks…

Luckily, within just 66 seconds, first Gibbs and then Podolski were finally able to breach the wall from the left for our two goals (which I saw right in front of me, luckily), and the supporters at last woke from their collective slumber. There was a real sense of relief and renewed hope throughout the ground. Unfortunately, this did not last long; as the team did not seem to know whether to attack for the third or sit back to protect the slender lead, the fans grew uneasy again very quickly. There was a real lack of leadership during this period on and off the pitch, and the substitutions did not help much either.

The cruel O.G. by Flamini sealed our faith, and the last bit of hope that we could still challenge for the title this season disappeared into the cold North London night for good.

In conclusion.

There was no lack of trying or hunger in the team, but what we did lack was freshness (especially Giroud looked like a spent force), imagination and self-belief. We played one-dimensional, predictable football, and as a team we just could not break the spell we were under.

The question I asked myself during the game was: How many of these players will play next season, if say we added a quality DM and CF/LW in the summer and everybody is fit?

The back four and GK will be pretty similar, with only Koscielny replacing TV5. But in midfield and attack we would not see many of yesterday night’s starters back, I reckon. All of them: Arteta, Flamini, Ox, Rosicky, Cazorla and Giroud will still have a place in our squad and they can all add value to our team; but with so many key players injured, collectively, they were just not able to reach the required level to deservedly beat Swansea.

Fatigue and low self-confidence will have played a role in this, but a lack of collective quality was also apparent. Of all these players, Ox has great potential to develop into a first team regular, but the rest will very likely become back up players or have to fight for their place. And as long as they do not have to play all at the same time, this is absolutely fine.

Theo would have added pressure and thrust on the right. Ozil and Wilshere would have added composure, thrust and invention through the middle and from the wings, and Ramsey’s box to box engine is missed more than anything else right now.

But it seems all of these players are not available for Saturday’s encounter with the Northern Oilers and Wenger and Bould will have to work their magic to somehow get this team ready for battle. Maybe KK, who did some nice stuff when he came on, will hold the key….

Let’s all flock to Cornwall on Saturday to position ourselves behind GLIC’s sofa. 😛

But as always, let’s keep the faith and support the team till the end.

TotalArsenal.

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69 Responses to Arsenal v Swansea afterthoughts: Another PL title bites the dust

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    17highburyterrace wrote at the end of the previous post:

    Well, I’ve got too much to do (leaving for Mexico tomorrow…) and maybe it’s better that my (mamby-pamby) comments get buried. IMO venting one’s frustrations are a lifelong process, not to be undertaken merely because of a bad result… (Winks at the Cockie Keeper of the Gloom…) I’m looking forward to Total’s report and maybe also Terry will give us his in-stadium impressions. I will try to keep reading at the very least… We’re bringing a ‘puter on our travels, so who knows, maybe I will be able to, er, keep people abreast, of my thoughts on the beach (and in the cities)…

    Anyhow, after the match, things look bleak–and getting bleaker with ManCity and Everton looming and nobody coming back to freshen the squad… We will, in essence, be big underdogs in those matches, not unlike Dylan’s Jamaican bobsled team… (Smiley) Boy oh boy it would be to get a point or three from those couple of games…

    Longer term solutions (or short term, more satisfying expressions of frustration…) seem to focus on whose head(s) must roll, which is not really my bag… Firing people (or just taking away the steering wheel…a great story btw, Admir…) is one way to go if blame MUST find a home, but to me it’s less satisfying than having better alternatives at hand (i.e., people to hire, things that would actually help, etc). Of course, there’s also the “let’s buy EVERYBODY approach, which is great IF you live in a fantasy world AND the only way to cope is pretending the season’s over and Summer’s begun. In the real world, where Skint Stan and his manager live, the market is skewed (by the silly money clubs) and Arsenal will always be working under the radar, leaking many a false rumor (rumour?) and (always) searching for bargains (i.e., callow youth, long-in-the-tooth retreads, etc.)… Another way to go is the ANYBODY on the bench approach. This one at least is an immediate solution and thus seems popular during the in-match commentary. Maybe you guys know these kids better than I do… Props to Milo and Gerry and the like who DO seem to know them well enough AND (while “believing” in their talent) seem aware that just because somebody is on the bench (or in the reserves or out on loan or otherwise in Arsenal-utero) it does NOT make them a necessarily better alternative to the frustrations on the pitch..Funny, yesterday, how our goals came from our (IMO–quite inadequate…) older forwards (Poldolski and Giroud) who we hoped would see us through losing RvP. If only Lu-lu (or late sub Sanogo or maybe Nacho instead…) could’ve done a bit of that hold-up/possession work that is Ollie’s bread and butter to help see out the win… As it was we need to be thankful that the two forwards got us enough goals to eke out the draw…(Real credit probably needs to go to Gibbs who actually got round a defender and turned the match our way…)

    The points would’ve been nice but only a (paper-thin) cover for the massive cracks in our depleted squad…

    Why do we have so many injuries and why can’t our boys recover from muscle strains? (If we fire the medical squad and hire the horse-placenta guy, will they all be back for Man City?…) I know it’s not a popular sentiment (and even considered a cop-out…) but sometimes luck is a factor. (Both our So’ton boys: Ox and Theo tearing ACLs in the same season, for example, seems poor luck–Or should their weak ACLs show up in their medicals? Maybe that’s why we didn’t buy Falcao… winky face…) Our injuries (to me) seem unlucky but also probably come because our squad is a combo of youth (still learning how to stay fit) and the aged (trying too hard to squeeze too much out of tired bodies)… It’s getting better (over-time–we’re no longer losing our best players as they hit their prime…) but it will take time for the luck to even out. It probably doesn’t help that (I think) our players WANT to reward the faith shown by the manager and maybe try to come back too quickly from their lesions. Of course, others (vehemently) disagree with that notion and think the players are just lazy, don’t work hard enough or (the horror…) don’t WANT it badly enough…If they did, surely they could “play through the pain,” or something…

    Similarly, the late Swansea goal was unlucky but it also came because we could not hold the ball, or maybe we had worked too hard to break them down when we did have the ball earlier. Bottom line: we’re not good enough so there’s not enough (good) luck (or, maybe, we “make our own” bad luck…). Luck will be key in the remaining matches to get the results that might make us all happy (for a minute, until we move the expectations up)…

    Anyhow, enough from me…Bury this post, please, and maybe we’ll catch up from Sur de la fronterra… (Happy face, for me at least…)

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    All good points, 17, including the tongue in cheek ones.

    Have a nice holiday and please keep us updated on what you see, hear and smell during your stay in and around Mexico. Very jealous of you! 🙂

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    Apologies for the late issuing of the post. Have been busy today.

    Catch you all tomorrow. Cocker of Doom have a safe drive. 🙂

  4. geoffchase says:

    TA

    Great post, and with injuries, I think this is to be expected. Hard run in without some of the actors missing. We are effectively missing one of the top attacking midfields around with Theo, AR, Ozil all out. So, no surprise. I am hiding behind my own couch because CM/Glic scares me just a little!

    That said, I think we can win the ones we need to on the way in to be ok and look to summer and a DM + one more strong attacker up forward …

    This year to me is still pretty good and what we see in the first 65% is that we have almost all the elements to be quite strong and top of the table. We need 1-2 missing pieces and a touch more depth. Some medical room help, per JBs tirades now seems also necessary as I am not sure if we suffer more or just “see them more” as we have less quality depth…

    For the next two games. City is a chance to really right a listing ship with some emotion and all out go for it since there is little to lose. Everton is the must win of the two. From there we do have the class to do better than this weekend.

    and there is still Wembley to think of..

    Just my 2p from a wildly busy month here…

    cheers — jgc

  5. Milo says:

    There is something I do not understand, that our fullbacks have been doing alllllllllllllll season long. They are way too close to the middle and aren’t close enough to the bloody touchline. Pardon me, but I thought that the job of a fullback was to be a wider defender and not a centre-back. We are so fu?king pre-occupied or obsessed with attacking through the middle, and it might have spread to our method of defending as well. It’s not like there is another Arsenal FC in the league, that only plays through the middle, thus meaning our full-backs can provide extra cover for the outer edges of the 18 yard area. No, only WE play through the middle, no matter what. I don’t care if both wingers are tombstones. If they can’t track back and cover the wing and the fullbacks aren’t defending the wing, then who the fuck is out there defending the wing???? It’s happened every match of the year, that I can recall anyway. Every match, I yell at the tele that no one is out on the wing defending. Without being able to watch a replay, where did the cross for the first Swansea goal come from??? It might, just might have been the left wing. Ok, you could say that most or all crosses are generated from the wing, and that would further validate my point. How many perfect goals are scored against us with one-twos or threes, through the bloody middle??? None. Not in the Premier League anyway. It’s happened all season.

    I am pretty naive when it comes to tactics, I will gladly admit to that. For me, we should field 11 players who want to kill the opposition and play simple football 😀 Joking, but sometimes I believe our players think way to much or hard, and this is because the formation as well as the balance of the team just isn’t at an optimal level. It’s 10 bloody players out there at the start of every match. That doesn’t change. Sometimes I think we are pre-occupied with players moving about freely as well, when we have possession. We aren’t Barca, Real Madrid, Bayern, or even Liverpool. What happens when we lose possession??? It’s been asked so many times before. Central midfielders should stay in the middle. How many times did you see Vieira maurading up and down the bloody wing??? Or Petit, or Song, or even Fabregas??? How many times did Lee Dixon decide to vacate his position and try his hand at centre-half??? I know we will never play like that again, but it was entertaining enough, and we were winning. Maybe that last sentence should be the other way around??? Every time we lose Wenger looks like he’s received a death sentence. It’s obvious he wants to win. If he cannot make some compromises, HE will never win.

    Maybe it’s because I was a simple player (defensive midfielder) who didn’t have much offensive imagination. I was very good at intercepting passes, harrying the opposition and being an all around pain in the ass, without racking up the assists or goals. Surprisingly (given how fucking nuts I am) I only received two bookings. Ok, ok they were both straight reds, but one huge fucker told me he was going to kill me, along with the rest of my family, and the other was when I ran through a celebration circle after the opposition scored a goal to make the scoreline 5-1. I mean who celebrates, in circle no less, a 5-1 goal??? So I ran right in the middle of it and accidentally (seriously) knocked one of those buggers on his arse. I didn’t mean to touch him, but the referee said he had never seen such an antic in his life, so he dished out a red to me. Go figure that one out. The first red card I got, I was actually scared. I was very slight back then, and this guy was literally twice my size, so I punched him in the face 😀 I figured if he was gonna knock the shit outta me (and my twin brother along with my parents, who were on the touchline in lawn chairs) I may as well strike first. He actually went down like he was hit by buckshot, and started to whine and complain. I copped an 8 match ban for that little stunt. Eight matches, that was half the season back in those days. Still, in the rematch, he never laid a finger on me and didn’t say a word 😀

    Anyways, my point is/was, sometimes simplicity goes a long way, especially for dumb footballers (athletes in general???).

    😀

  6. Alcide says:

    Not much time to post this morning, but I wanted to point out this article on Rambo’s stats that clesarly show how he is missed – on many key stats (chances created/assists, ground duels, tackles) he is still at the top despite having played 18 games only… http://eplindex.com/51654/ramsey-arsenal-miss-him-stats.html?

    Laters

  7. jane johnson says:

    Can I suggest a temporal theory of Arsenal supportership based on brain science? Some supporters have a larger Anterior Cingulate Cortexes (ACC) in their brains, while others have larger Amygdalae.

    The ACC is an organ designed to guide you towards comfort, and away from discomfort, based on experiences in the moment.

    The amygdala is an organ most often associated with the purpose of perceiving, and flagging as relevant, threat cues which indicate that in-the-moment-pain is a future outcome of present, unpainful, conditions.

    ACC Arsenal supporters would do anything to avoid short term pain so it is irrelevant to them how sustainable the club is in the long-term or growing young players for the future. They want immediate success and can’t stand any failure even a draw with Swansea. These are also the fans who would want Wenger to leave now.

    Amygdala Arsenal supporters try to minimise their pain in the long-term. They have suffered more pain in their lives and so tend to think long-term and find it easier to put things into perspective. I would guess that most Asian Arsenal fans are in this category because they have had much tougher lives than the English fans. These are the fans who would want Wenger to stay as long as possible.

    This means that it is impossible for the two types of Arsenal fans to understand each other because their basic brain structure is different.

  8. alcide says:

    *clearly shows*

  9. Admir says:

    I envy you, TA, for watching Arsenal live even if we didn’t win. 🙂 Thank you for the inside view for us less lucky Brokeback Bergkampesquers. 😉 Expect an e-mail in the forthcoming days.

    @jane, your hypothesis would have had at least a bit of sense if you had made an experiment that would have included a brain analysis of every Gooner in the world. People from my country (a European one) have suffered a lot. Gooners here – from what I’ve heard – are divided and you can hardly find two of them with similar thoughts on any issue related to Arsenal. Some of them believe in Wenger, some of them don’t. Same goes for Asian and African Gooners I’ve had pleasure to exchange thoughts. For instance, I’ve lurked a bit via Facebook on profiles of people who shared or liked my texts for http://www.allarsenal.com. Most of them come from Africa and are very religious (mostly Christians and Muslims). Some of them like Wenger, some of them ask for Wenger to leave or at least to sign a world-class striker like Henry and Bergkamp used to be.

    My point is, it’s hard enough to read biased Arsenal blogs burdened with idiotic labels “AAA” and “AKB” – from texts in which Wenger’s wanna-be-lawyers want Arsenal fans to swallow any defeat as a reasonable one due to something what happened 30 or 40 years ago to texts in which Wenger’s haters want Arsenal to lose FA Cup and CL-place so we can win trophies in the future (yes, they go THAT far) – to include in ACC and AA in the equation would have made my head explode including both my Amygdalae and Anterior Cingulate Cortexes.

  10. henrychan says:

    Hi all.. Nice to see you all again..
    We can’t blamed Flamini for that own’s goal.. It’s might happened to any players..
    just like un-finished penalty.. It’s just unlucky game..

    TA.. I agree with you.. maybe next season we will see a lot of our players out.. and some younger players in.. We can’t depend our DM to Flamini, Arteta, or Kim Kallstrom.. Younger and stronger player will be great.. And we will never bring Bender or Gundogan if none of them is out..
    I prefer to have Fabregas and Alex Song back.. together with Carlos Vela and Joel Campbell back (Park and Bendtner out).. and with Diaby and Walcott fit again.. Next season will be ours..

    Admir.. I agree with you.. Fans always like that.. some want Wenger stay, but some want Guardiola to come.. hahahaha..

    But guys.. I am afraid if next game against City we are beaten badly..
    then Wenger will give-up his hope.. and as a responsible-manager he will leave..
    I still want Wenger to stay.. but we never know.. maybe his way with us must end.. and he must find his glory out there.. somewhere.. but I still hope he stay.. hehehe..

    And guys.. Wenger know how to stay at the top.. top-four..
    At least we will still go for Champions next season.. Everton or Spurs will never chatch us.. hehehehe.. And we will win the FA Cup.. We go too far to drop that..
    Go Gunners..

  11. Tapps says:

    Some very good and some very interesting blogs. I have always been very firmly in the pro-Wenger camp and, in fact remain so. I believe that the last 5 seasons have been necessary and if either of the oilers had been forced into Arsenal’s financial position, they would have coped considerably worse that we have. I also don’t believe that throwing a shed load of cash at a situation is necessarily the answer (Erik Lamela, Steven Jovetic, Marouane Fellaini anyone?)

    I do, however, believe that we are missing ONE thing and I don’t believe that The Professor has sussed it yet. That thing is fire in the belly and an unquenchable thirst to win – whatever the cost. You can have all of the artists in the world, but without any workers, there’s very little point. Can you imagine how Tony Adams would have addressed his colleagues if he’d played in the calamitous results at The Etihad, Anfield or The Bridge? For that matter, the same applies to Dixon, Winterburn, Bould, Vieira, Keown, Parlour, Williams, Gilberto Silva and many, many others. You may think I’ harking back to ‘the good old days’ and if I am, it’s because THEY WERE GOOD DAYS!

    As a final illustration of my point (just in case you needed one), I ask you to remember the infamous celebrating of Van Nistelrooy’s penalty miss at Old Trafford. Now, I am not condoning the players behaviour on that day, but can you imagine any of the current squad being that passionate?

    Maybe Monsieur Wenger needs to do a psychometric test on all future players before signing them – AND ONLY BUY THE ONES THAT WOULD RUN THROUGH A WALL FOR THIS GREAT CLUB!

    Rant over. Thanks.

  12. Dylan says:

    Arsenal announce pre-season visit to NY to face the Red Bulls. I will (hopefully) be able to see my Arsenal in real life now!

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    Geoff, yep the season has had its highlights, and it ain’t over yet.

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    Milo the bull hahahahaha 🙂

    You are a guaranteed starter in my BK team!

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    JJ — some theory there. What about those who think long term and think it is all going wrong, which is reinforced by every heavy loss in the here and now?

  16. Bloody hell Totes !……I was expecting a Wenger death threats post !. hahaha
    My wife made the same observation when I took her to a night game, she too thought a giant space ship had landed in Islington !.

    ” I was asking myself why we were no longer using the left wing “……..come on Totes, do I have to spell it out !……that’s because we haven`t got any traditional wingers !. ( they are part of my Summer TW shopping basket list !………..and yes, it`s a long list ! )

    A question I`ve been meaning to ask you Totes !………I`ve previously commented about (imo) Wengers lack of tactical knowledge when he hasn`t the top quality players on the pitch to just let strut their stuff !. In your opinion, from a few of our last performances ( inc the win @ the Spuds which was fortuitous ) would say…for instance…..someone like….van Gaal, have a better tactical knowledge to have played formations suited to having half our first choice eleven out !. Would he have been sucked into Mourinho`s trap or even Duck Dodgers trap ?.

    jane……………………….news for you, my ACC organ is not in my brain, but in my organ !……..and as for the Amygdala organ…..well, I know just by the look on my wife`s face when I`m in trouble !. hahaha

    Dylan………..pleased for you buddy !……I know it`s a way off, but if you get to the game, post some pictures !.

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    Interesting points Hehehehenry! Would a loss against Mansour City see Wenger decide to leave? Don’t think so, but things are not easy for him right now.

  18. PS
    Tapps has some points there !
    I also think, if SAF was our manager, we might have suffered one bad result out of them games against Mansour City, Liverscum and Chavski, but no way three !. I doubt if any of our players fear Wenger !.

  19. Admir says:

    Tapps, a really good comment. Except, even when we had a great team or players that constitute a great team (Vieira, Henry, Bergkamp) we managed two lose 6:1 at Old Toilet and 4:0 at Anfield in the same season. What was different was our rwsponse to those defeats and the way Wenger handled unhappy players. Vieira was close to Manure in 2001 and claimed that our team won’t make it to Top 5. Vieira didn’t left for Manure, he became our captain and leader of The Invincibles while our team went on to win the double without a single defeáaway in Premiership (we actually won at Old Trafford and Anfield – can you see Wenger making team capable of doing that at Anfield and Stamford Bridge next season?).

  20. proudgooner says:

    I am still feeling sore after the last 2 results, not sore at Wenger or the team just sore about the results.
    Still if someone had said to me a top four finish to the league after a good challenge and an FA cup win i would have took it very happierly just to break the trophy draught.
    Wenger will have learnt from the Chelsea game and will put out a team very close to the one on Tuesday night. It is a game that we really don’t want to lose, if we can’t we it and i am sure we can, but please don’t lose it. It is a game i would love us to win, but if we do we just open the way clear for Chelsea to win the league, but all that matters is Arsenal.
    The pressure may have lifted to the team now, now we are not considered title challengers. They will hopefully take the handbrake off and get back to playing football the way we know they can. They have defo been out of sorts last few games. But this will not last, City we see us as a threat on Saturday, the pressure should be on them, they need the win more then us now.?
    TA,
    Good post, glad you had a good time, i want to go again before the season ends i am finding it hard to get tickets at the moment.The stadium really is something else even though i have been many times, every time for me is still great. It is hard to describe . Every seat great .
    Dylan,
    You have to watch them when they do the USA tour, but i am just thinking with it being a world cup year, you may not see many players sadly. Sorry be the one 1 to give you bad news. I literally just remembered as i was typing. But yeah surly must will be rested :/. Still i would watch them of course. Sayimg that most won’t go all the way in the woorld cup so you might see them hopefully not the England boys though lol 😉

  21. proudgooner says:

    On the left wing situation, we should have kept Gervinho defo, he is a good player i really liked him even though many people really did not like him. I have been playing fifa 12 and i must say it has made me really miss Gervinho and rvp. How those 2 would have really helped us this season :/ oh well rvp made it nearly impossible to keep and Gervinho Wenger did it to help him nut i think he could of really helped us.

  22. proudgooner says:

    rvp made it nearly impossible to keep him.
    And out not nut lol

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    Cocker of Doom, no Van Gaal does not make many tactical adjustments either, but he drills his players into how to play in a position more than Wenger does.

  24. TotalArsenal says:

    Good news for Dylan Smillan.

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    We have wing backs, Cocker. And Gibbser proved that point.

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi PG Tips 🙂

    Yes it is a brilliant stadium.

    We should rename it ‘The Invincibility’!

  27. proudgooner says:

    We were so unlucky to lose, lose?? draw that game on Tuesday, it really does feel like a lose. There are positives though , Podolski the biggest for me. It really is about time he shines again. I am not sure if we can afford to start him v City though. What do you think TA?I like the look of Kim too ,

  28. proudgooner says:

    I always think of it a a fortress TA, the way you go over the bridge to get in to iot and the way it floats in the middle of an island. I love the place. The Invincibility works for me lol

  29. TotalArsenal says:

    Good rant Tapps and good points.

  30. Milo says:

    I don’t understand why certain people have to go about performing psycho-analysis on our own supporters, to justify anything and everything. It makes people (me 😀 ) uncomfortable. Whether Wenger should leave or not is 50-50 for me in my opinion. Look, I have gone for 5 years without a steady job, a meaningful relationship with anyone, and no hope for a lot of it. I realized that I needed some therapy as well as a chance to make significant changes and alterations to my habits and way of living. I know things could be worse and I could be living on the street, or coked up, or dead, or what have you. Yes Arsenal could have been without Wenger in the last 3-5 seasons, and could be in the future, which some equate with death or drastic decline to our club, but don’t you think things could get a whole lot better as well??? Yes, we may experience a bit of a lull at first, but it COULD, in theory have a positive impact in the longer term. No one knows for sure.

    I know that I have been afraid of change in my own life, and it’s fear of the unknown that brings many a Gooner to come to the conclusion that Wenger should stay until he hits the grave. We are not Man United. We are Arsenal. There is nothing written in stone that declares that we will suffer if and when Wenger leaves. No one, not even Wenger himself, knows what will happen when he decides to go. There have been patterns that have emerged over the years that indicate that it will be a very bad thing for the club, if he leaves. Clough at Forrest, Kendall at Everton, Greenwood at West Ham, Fergie at United, Shankly and the gang at Liverpool, and so on. There IS evidence to support the theory that Wenger needs to stay in order to maintain our current level of whatever you want to term it. It just seems like there is a growing number of dedicated supporters, who are becoming disgruntled, young AND old, for various reasons. Some of it isn’t even associated with success, or lack there of. (That would be me).

    My nagging bug-bear of our current set-up is not that we cannot, or don’t know how to win titles, but how we go about losing them and the fact that we have been losing them in the same fashion for eight or nine seasons now. There are various means and ways to compete and still lose, in the end. It’s just getting boring and frustrating to watch us lose the same old way, nearly every time. I will admit, I have never had the pleasure of viewing an own goal and the events immediately preceding this concession, in quite the same manner as Flamini’s masterpiece against Swansea, but you get what I’m saying. And don’t forget, we DIDN’T lose the Swansea match 😀 Our losses have usually been when we have played like “shit” , for lack of a better existing term. (Is there a better one???) It’s not like we have been desperately unlucky, or undeserved to lose in any of the league matches we have lost, at least as far as I can remember.

    We are missing five impactful regulars in our starting 11, I realize this. Does Wenger??? We keep trying to play the same old footy, as if everyone were fit. Does that make sense to anyone???

  31. proudgooner says:

    The pyramids are amazing, but if they saw the Invincibility light up at night, they would be very impressed. lol

  32. TotalArsenal says:

    Pod will score if he gets a chance but his other contributions are too small, PG. For me he is Super Sub! Hope we start Sanogogogo in Saturday. They have a Yaya, WE have a YayA!

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    I share your thoughts on Wenger, Milo Smilo. Have you been playing any concertos recently?

  34. TotalArsenal says:

    Welcome to the Invincibility, the Home of Proper Football! 🙂

  35. alcide says:

    Nice Post TA. I wanted to ask you something, it’s actually been a long time since I’ve actually seen a football game live (rugby more recently), but I do remember how fantastic it can be to have a global, strategic view of the whole field. From your comments, I did not notice any observation that seems to contradict what I seem to see on TV, but I was wondering if you somehow observed anything of note that you didn’t necessarily see from typical game footage?

    Tapps, agreed on your point re: Erik Lamela, Steven Jovetic, Marouane Fellaini… I am as frustrated as any gooner when we don’t get new players, but I also understand that it is sometimes better to not move on some players that could become dead wood, and wait for the real deals – and there are not that many Vieras available out there (let’s see this summer, I am expecting and trusting Arsene to deliver on the Özil-level range).

    PG, we may have learnt from the Chelsea game – but the team we put on Tuesday night did not feel much more secure in midfield than the Chelsea one. Ox in the double pivot may have been a risk vs. Chelsea, but I am not entirely sure that FlamTeta would have been much better as indicated by the average performance against Swansea, whose midfield is much less of a threat.

    I guess I may be a bit pessimistic, but I fear the battle is at least as much about “playing better” with the same people (not many choices on the bench anyway) as it is going to be about tactics. By that I mean that no matter how I think about it, the weakness in our double DM pivot is a problem both in terms of creating plays or in shielding the back 4. If the fullbacks can’t commit forward, we’re very much stuck with “right through the middle” predictable attacks, if they do, we’re at bay in counters. It’s a bit sad to see Bac’ stop in his tracks, even when he has a chance to drive the ball down his wing – obviously following conservative instructions. In previous years he used to stress his counterpart much more regularly. I almost feel it’s what causes us “playing with the handbrake”, defensively or offensively.

    I still like to repeat it, because it’s easy to dismiss it after a while, but not only our 5 player midfield has been missing 3 first XI starters (even 4 with Jack), but those 3 (Theo, Özil and Rambo) have been the most effective players this season in terms of creating goals/chances (and for Rambo, defensive actions), and they went missing at the worst moment of the season. And we now have to add Kos to the list.

    On the other hand, I do think we are capable on playing much better with the current squad – a lot of it is about confidence, and drive. We *did* turn up a few times, and not necessarily with all our best players available.

    Laters

  36. proudgooner says:

    Milo,
    I am a big Wenger fan and why we are on the stadium issue its a good time to say Wenger nearly single handedly built that,
    Plus with the the oil money pumped in by the oilers it made it a near impossible challenge for us to win the league.
    I have not said anything personal to anyone when they have said Wenger out , but i do stick up for him. For me i just appriciate what he has done, given and his loyalty to us.
    He is a world class manager and for me i am happy for him to decide when he should step down. I hope he has at least 1 more contract i would love 2 and see him for 8 more years.
    But it does not mean i am right maybe there is better.
    Football is full of passion and it is easy to annoy someone when slatting there team or manager.
    Sorry to hear about your problems, your not alone, everyone has there problems. But this is the phase to remember its 1 my mum says to me. People have there problems, but problems can be solved. Problems can solved.

  37. Milo says:

    Hahahahaha, I haven’t been practicing or playing much of anything recently 😦 My Mother’s death prompted a delayed reaction from me. Even though it happened in October, I tried to plow on, as if nothing of any real significance had occurred. I knew something had, of course, but I thought it would make me stronger. It did, in a sense, but now I am feeling the effects of what this loss means to me and my family. My teacher recommended that I take a break and recover, I fell in to such a mess. I wasn’t practicing and didn’t really care. I feel much better now, and I actually opened the case to practice for the first time since the very beginning of March. There is still a lot of time for me to improve and become a pro and my teacher hasn’t given up, so I’m not either. The recovery and further improvement (other issues to deal with besides my Mom’s death) will take time, but it’s a good thing I have started now.

    Now, if only Arsenal could make a quicker recovery than me, I would be soooooooooo much happier!!! 😀

    Thanks for the question TA 😀

  38. TotalArsenal says:

    Alcide, you definitely see more, but nothing that really stood out.

    Back later.

  39. proudgooner says:

    Alcide,
    I agree with you on many of your points, But my main one was the pressure is kind of lifted hopefully. I want to see a fully committed performance. They need to put up a real fight , that is all i ask, you cant ask any more.
    TA
    lol The home of proper football ( Wengerball ) love it ha ha ha

  40. alcide says:

    Milo,

    “We are missing five impactful regulars in our starting 11, I realize this. Does Wenger?” I really think so, and without going into Anterior Cingulate Cortexes and Amygdalae, I have accepted our lack of cutting edge for quite a few years (with this year the first where I allowed myself to hope for more, but I’ll be happy with FA cup and top 4). I will get real disappointed this summer if I don’t see more SQ coming in, but first signs are looking good – lots of key (and some quite young) players extended way before contract expiration dates (vs. selling key players), some dead wood on their way out, some young players coming out of their adolescence (sometimes people forget how young Ox, Jack, Rambo are), and finances (with the little expertise I have) that look quite in a good state.

  41. proudgooner says:

    I like our Yaya and am happy for him to start, or OG what ever le prof boss thinks best. Wenger knows best. But we need goals lots of goals. That is the Wenger way and has been lacking a bit of late. Yaya could well be the man to put that right 🙂 hope so.

  42. proudgooner says:

    Alcide,
    If you think about the next season will see massive changes with the Puma deal and many other things and the chance to get some SG .
    It could be the year we have been waiting for, time wil tell. Again i hope so.

  43. alcide says:

    PG, sorry, I didn’t mean to sound like I was contradicting you – I actually agree with you, I just bounced on one of your point that made me think of something else 🙂

  44. alcide says:

    PG – exactly 😉

  45. proudgooner says:

    Gnabry ?

  46. proudgooner says:

    I agree with you, it has to be a lot better then Tuesday, if we are to get anything. Its a tough match, it really is.
    You don’t want to be gun-ho, but you can’t just defend or e to defensive and not have enough going forward, City are a tough challenge. They need to have a go, but be cleaver about it. Tough match. it really is.

  47. proudgooner says:

    Right i think im going to have have a hot bath or shower then bed
    Later on Gooners.

  48. TotalArsenal says:

    What I did realise properly on Tuesday was that I would like a new RB and Sagna to move on or, ideally, become a stand in CB or RB for us. I love the guy but with the system we play, I would like a bit more attacking ability from our RB.

  49. TotalArsenal says:

    Have fun PG. Nice blogging with you. 😛

  50. TotalArsenal says:

    Good to hear that you took some time off to give the huge loss of your mum a space in your heart and mind. It will take time but it sounds you are dealing with it relatively well. I can well imagine that you struggled to concentrate and practice, and good to hear you feel you are getting ready to commit your time and efforts to music again. If you can translate your emotions into the way you feel and play the music, something good could come out of it all.

    My mum was keen on me learning to play the piano. I hated it with a passion, and had absolutely no talent, but she pushed me on for a while. The only thing I can play is Frere Jacques hahaha.

    Do you have any tips for piano-violin classical music?

  51. Milo says:

    Na, not really TA. Music has helped me and hindered me in life a great deal. It has given me something to love and commit to and be proud of, but on the other hand, I never had a “normal” adolescence or young-adulthood. I’m still only 25 though 😀 Still, I never had any friends in school as I wanted to attend a music oriented high-school that was across town from where I live(d) . Also, in elementary school, I was an outcast because none of the teachers or students understood me intellectually or otherwise. I was always the “off” or “weird” person 😀 I have not retained any friends from those days. Most people haven’t though. Also, no one understands that some of the best classical musicians in history were male and not of the homosexual persuasion. Some were/are, but many weren’t/are. It was widely assumed, in my grade school days, that I was gay because I played an instrument (violin/viola) that is widely associated with femininity, for whatever reasons. (Even I don’t know exactly why) . So I either hid the fact that I played “great, great, great, greeaaaaaaaaaat Grandpa’s tunes” 😀 , or I felt ashamed. So, the thing I enjoyed doing most over the vast majority of my childhood and life, made it nearly impossible to have a contented social life. You would have thought that university would have been the remedy for that, but I hate school, and even I couldn’t make friends with the other musicians. As much as I love playing music, it cannot be all consuming for me. I need balance. Like following football and Arsenal, in particular 😀 I actually spend as much time on here as I do practicing and even though one could interpret that as a lack of true discipline and dedication, I don’t really care 😀 I’ve been down the road of obsession and it didn’t help me very much. Yes, I became better at what I would like to do for a living, but everything else was shit. When everything is shit, it makes you want to run away from the thing that made everything shit 😀 So there is definitely a love hate relationship with music 😀 Mostly love, but I will admit a fair portion or hate.

    Don’t get me wrong PG, I admire Wenger for his loyalty and passion for Arsenal. I just don’t know if he is the right man to get us to where he thinks we should be, if in fact he thinks we should be competing for major titles. I don’t know if that is realistic, but just judging from facial expressions and quotes within the media, he expects exactly that. I will give him the fact that he hasn’t told us EXACTLY when he thinks we can win…He always just keeps saying soon. Nine years ago, we would have never figured we would be without a trophy of any sort…No matter how knowledgeable we are regarding the inner workings of the club. I guess when you have lived to be 60 plus years, soon can be anywhere from 5-25 years??? 😀 I don’t know.

    I am very puzzled that it has taken Wenger and the rest of the crew, 8 or 9 seasons to realize that we DO in fact have a disturbing number of injuries to our best players, every season. Is he stupid??? Doubt it. Maybe he was waiting for strong evidence that this IS in fact a very large issue??? Most likely, but that is the thing. Why wait until 9 years after the fact to attempt to rectify the situation??? Why not after 3 or four??? That IS stupid, in my opinion 😀 Maybe it’s just his stubborn behaviour, I don’t know…Still it’s VERY frustrating to watch and read all about on the television and internet, respectively 😦

  52. TotalArsenal says:

    You describe your life and its developments really well, Milo, and I can see what you mean with the love-hate relationship for music. At 25 life is not set in stone and your music/professional/personal life will make all sorts of journeys, and you should just go with the ride. 🙂

  53. VCC says:

    Hi Milo. You have plenty of friends on here. We all enjoy your contributions to BK.

    You are so lucky to be able to play an instrument, that shows talent and commitment. You are only 25 and still a spring chicken. Take advantage of your young age, and try/discover many avenues that will be open to you.

    My Father used to say to me, the older you get the quicker life goes…….how right he was. Make the most of your youth.

    I have always wanted to do two things in life. Play an instrument and speak another language.

    A couple of years ago, a guy at work taught me to play “Jingle bells” on the harmonica. No one in my family knew about this. I practised and practised mostly all year at work. When Christmas came, and we were all sitting around the Xmas day banquet table, I stood up and said I was going to play a tune fitting for the occasion. Well you can imagine the uproar and laughter when I presented a harmonica out of my pocket. I played the tune faultlessly ( imo, haha), and received a standing ovation. 😉

    Languages……..Some ten years ago I was lucky to be able to purchase a “Casa” in Valencia Spain. Not being a millionaire I had to settle for a property inland some 30 minutes drive from the airport/coast. A typical Spanish “house” in a small village. As this was off the tourist radar, it meant my Wife and I had to get to grips with the Spanish language, because hardly any one (shops/traders/bar tenders, etc) spoke English. This was planned, because of course it forced us to learn the language. We both attended a local night school for two years and acquired a very basic knowledge of the lingo. My Wife grasped it much better than I. Her being clever and intelligent, and I, being left at the bottom of the brain chain when born.

    Although she grasped the fundamental/basic tongue far better than I, she was too nervous to experiment, whereas, I being a stupid old fart, and didn’t care less, I tried to use it whenever I could, in and around the village. Sometimes correctly and sometimes in-correctly, but the locals understood and found it amusing ( the only time in life I have been funny, hehe).

    We made many friends during the 4/5 years having the property. I’m sure we were accepted as we at least tried to learn some basics.

    It also serves a great purpose for your self esteem when you can “get by” and have some sort of conversation in another language.

    Hasta pronto Amigo.

  54. TotalArsenal says:

    .lovely stories, Vickers, and wise words! 🙂

  55. proudgooner says:

    Do you think our team is good enough to beat City, Chelsea , United and Liverpool on a day??
    I do and if the answer to the question is also yes, then we can win the league.
    We have been TOTL most of the season, the only reason we are not now is failing to beat our rivals around us. I believe we can, that said we do have injury problems AGAIN, lol it is a nightmare. But the team we are able to put out tomorrow v City have plenty to be able to win.
    —————————-Szez———————-
    Sagna————BFG———-TV5———–Gibbs
    ——————–Arteta———-Flemini——–
    Gnabry——————Cazorla————–Podolski
    ———————-Giroud or Sanogo———————

    Podolski has to play some part after his performance on Tuesday. I think it deserves a start. Plus his physical strength will be a good thing v City. It is going to be a battle i think. So LuLU starts for me.

  56. Admir says:

    Speaking of languages, a few years ago I was in Makarska at comic-book festival. Among other things, there was a work-shop for children who had a unique chance to learn a thing or two from established authors like Hermann. Anyway, some old lady from Great Britain passed by and asked me what is it all about, pointin with her finger at children. “Oh, it’s a strip-festival.” She gave a strange look and left. I realized later that South-Slavic word “strip” that means “comic book” has a slightly different meaning in English. I left Makarska before chopper with special police force could arrive.

  57. proudgooner says:

    I like Kim Kallstrom to so far from what i saw of him the other night and like what he has been saying. He says it is an honour to have got on the pitch v Swansea, he is a lot bigger then i thought and his passing was very good. I would not be surprised if he started tomorrow. A new signing that could bring something good to the team.
    I want more like the BFG- Jenkinson who love the club and will give everything for it.
    On my line-up above i will swap the OX for Gnabry on the right wing.

  58. Hey guys…Good stuff given the tough times for the club and I (personally) enjoy the digressions a lot… VCC we’re flying down to Mexico this afternoon and I’m excited about using my Spanish which was always of the Mexican (traveling) variety. My wife (who studied French in college and teaches English Lit.) was much stronger with the Andalucian Spanish when we were in Granada but I’m pretty good at communicating well with my more limited, streetwise vocabulary while she’s better at understanding/reading etc. My boy (11) is the strongest of all of us but also un poco timido (shy). My hope is to find a place tomorrow to watch the ManCity match (I assume English football is on the telly down there…) and then maybe see about attending the Mexican Clasico (Chivas de Guadalajara vs Club America) on Sunday Evening…

    Being twice Milo’s age, I fear change too (even more?), esp. in the case of Arsenal, even if it sounds like he’s ready… A lot of people assume that a new manager would let the money fly but I just don’t see that with the current ownership. Kroenke/Wenger value the bottom line, which WOULD increase with success in Europe and if we could actually hold our own in the matches against the other big clubs. How long can Int’l fans feel OK about being Arsenal supporters when we get bludgeoned in every match vs the Manc Clubs, Chelsea and the big European teams? Even Liverpool can be seen as a more “interesting” team with Suarez outdoing Ozil these days and them being able to put up the big goal tallies. In the Int’l market, trying to win over the neutrals, there’s no substitute for both star-power AND winning (in style, ideally), even if neither do much for the accountant’s bottom line…

    But back to the (difficult) moment…A pair of draws would be umber-sweet in these two matches and the FBs holding back a bit might be key. I think we need to play our best players to even have a chance of getting such results, so, for me, Giroud over Yaya is a no-brainer. Poldolski as super-sub is the way I would go but, in truth, even if he didn’t blow up vs Swans (as he did at Chavs), Ox seems like he’s only trying–not succeeding–in doing the individual thing, while team play is probably the only route through these matches. As such, for me, Flamini starts again, but I too wouldn’t mind seeing a young Gnabry on the right at some juncture. Agreed that Kallstrom, now that he’s broken his maiden, could get a run out just for the experience factor…

    At some point you have to trust the manager–no matter who he is–when it comes to match day decisions. The overall scheme, I think, is open to greater scrutiny, but, in either case, we just don’t have all the info. In particular, we don’t know the extent of the fitness and form of the players (training pitch photos only show who is smiling…) and this will remain when the next manager comes. At least (for those of us who can stand him…) we *feel* we *know* AW and it makes for a great story. Here’s hoping the tale takes a bit of an upward turn while I’m away…

  59. Funny !………..VCC told me he had some musical experiences with George Michael at a venue on Hampstead Heath, although having an organ in his mouth doesn`t quite constitute being able to play the Mouthorgan !.
    I don’t speak any other language other than English and Cockney, but I am brilliant at accents, from Asian to Italian and from French to Nigerian !. Coupled with some excellent hand signals I can pull any women with ease !.
    I could easily communicate with say….Totes….in a McClaren Flemish way !, actually it is a well known fact that Dutch is English played backwards…..if Totes were to speak anything in English on a tape recorder and then play it backwards, it would immediately translate into Dutch !….give it a try bastard and let us know !.

  60. https://twitter.com/Arsenal
    1-0 down to the spuds U21`s !………Gezzer love child Hayden is sent off again, resulting in the converted penalty !.

  61. TotalArsenal says:

    You are mad, CoD. 🙂

  62. True Totes !. 😀
    I have many abilities and I`m probably the most gifted unqualified person I know !. hahaha
    Another of my abilities is to be able to throw my voice !……so it sounds like it is coming from somewhere else !.
    As well as my humour sometimes going too far and getting myself in trouble ( sometimes the devil in side of me just cant stop ! ), it once, allied to my voice throwing ability, got me chased from a crematorium !.
    It was the funeral of my uncle Arthur and all the usual family were there, sons, daughters. brothers, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, cousins etc` and after the all the speeches etc`, the coffin was just about to roll off into the furnace when the devil inside me said….”go on do it ! “….” you know you want to ! “…..” it will be a laugh ! “. I gave into the temptation and used my voice throwing gift and made a sound of……” knock knock !”……to which, Uncle Arthur`s little granddaughter Emily said…” who`s there ? “. I then threw my voice again by saying…..” Granddad Arthur ! “.
    There was screaming and pandemonium which followed, resulting in the coffin being opened !…….I just sort of sheepishly slithered to the back of the chapel and exited, only to hear the angry cries of….” COCKIEEEE !….as I legged it !.

  63. TotalArsenal says:

    Hahaha Cocker of Doom, I can well imagine this of you

  64. Alcide says:

    PG,

    “Do you think our team is good enough to beat City, Chelsea , United and Liverpool on a day?? I do”

    I do too. If you asked how we would fare playing 5 in a row however, I’d settle easily on a win and a draw with the current squad., and in that sense I don’t disagree with 17ht that two draws wouldn’t be horrible (although insufficient for our hopes). Avoiding any send offs would be great!

    Agreed too on OG, although I wouldn’t play him the full 90″, he looks tired and doesn’t seem to weigh on CBs as much as he used too. KK had a decent few minutes, but it might be early to throw him into a tough game like that. His aerial capability would however be great, as well as his mid and long range passing, but he is not a tippy-tappy player, and with the limited training and playing he had with us, he might make mistakes under pressure. But I must say its nice to have a 1.85m 78kg midfield player as an option. Oh and he may well be our #1 free-kick taker – he would have scored many in Lyon, only he was in the same team as one of the best FK taker of all times. Anyway I don’t really know what to do in terms of DM pivot… Flamini in, but Arteta, TR7, KK – I don’t have a clear opinion, and don’t know what would be the best individual/tactical option. .

    On Podolski, I see him as a great sub, rather than a starter, over 90″ I think he his too much of a defensive liability. So maybe TR7 instead (but we then lose him for the DM position)?

  65. TotalArsenal says:

    If anybody wants to write a match preview, be my guest! 🙂

    Night all. 🙂

  66. Admir says:

    TCM: “I don’t speak any other language other than English and Cockney, but I am brilliant at accents, from Asian to Italian and from French to Nigerian !. Coupled with some excellent hand signals I can pull any women with ease !.”

    Hahahahaha! Speaking of accents…

    My wife and I were on our marital journey (together!) and, given that both of us are blond with blue eyes, a lot of Turks thought that we are Russians! At some points I was so tired of explaining that we are not Russians that I said unintentionally on pure Hollywood-movies-Russian-accent-of-English: “Vi ar not Rašans!”

  67. jgc says:

    Total you have mail …

    For the rest. Well, I’ll be asleep game time and thus, best wishes for a spacious couch hiding area..

    Cheers — jjgc

  68. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks Geoff. 🙂

  69. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post!

    Geoff the Chef has been cooking a fine preview with a daring, delicious Line-Up on the menu. Enjoy the read. 🙂

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