This is not The Arsenal I have been supporting for 15 years

First I think I have to start with the game against Monaco. It has been a while since I was so furious, and this was when we were still at nil-nil. The performance was lackadaisical, complacent and lazy, and any other term you can think of. Tentative, SLOWΒ passing, no effort to win the ball back when we lost the ball, which is fast becoming an Arsenal trade mark. Even after we concede twice, not much changed until the 89th minute. Honestly the less said about that game, the better.

Then there was the victory against Everton. A game which we won, but were dominated almost throughout. I mean we won yes, but I wasn’t impressed at all. This is not the Arsenal I have been supporting for a decade and a half. We cannot hold on to the ball in midfield to save our lives. Our passing is slow and laboured. That movement we had off the ball that allowed us to play the slick fluid game we were so well known for has vanished into thin air. Watching us try to force passing moves in a congested Everton box just wore my patience thin. Something has to change.

From where I sit, I feel like we need to go back to basics. Simply training harder on passing & more importantly moving. Training our technically gifted players on how, where & when to move in order to receive a pass and open up space for the rest and keeping the rhythm going.

So far it is like when Santi/ Ozil/Sanchez receive the ball, the rest watch him and wait to see what they will conjure up. Result? Dispossessing Arsenal has become like taking candy from a baby.

It is worth noting that another consequence of this is that every time we approach the opposition box, the player on the ball (usually Santi/Ox/Sanchez) is left to try something on their own, which again usually ends up one of three ways; wayward shots or shots directly at the keeper, losing the ball or passing backwards. There is an instance against Everton where I was watching Sanchez & Santi at the edge of the penalty box trying to pick a way into the opposition box and almost screamed. All the players around them were static so passing was slow and tedious, nobody had ideas and the result was just frustrating.

Many argue that teams sit deep and defend against us but those are just excuses IMO. Don’t they do the same against MCFC, CFC, LFC, even the Spuds? Haven’t they been doing that since we won the league unbeaten? So then why is it that because this current squad is struggling against those tactics it all of a sudden has become an issue? If you ask Cesc, Hleb & Rosicky what they had to contend with back in 2007, they will tell you the exact same thing. Defences parking buses in front of them. Somehow though, that never stopped them.

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I feel like a broken record saying this but I will say it anyway. With the kind of players we have, this is the last thing I should be talking about.

I am not sure playing Ozil & Santi together is working. Why isn’t TR7 ever on the first team line-up? When he plays, we look more assured in possession. When he comes on we look more dangerous, more purposeful. I am not a coach so I won’t try to tell Wenger how to do his job but we do need to see results. And soon. Otherwise, we’ll just start losing our stars like we did for so long.

We surely can do much better.

COYG!!

By Marcus

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86 Responses to This is not The Arsenal I have been supporting for 15 years

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Well written post, Marcus, and you will not be alone with your disappointment. πŸ™‚

    I am actually disappointed in the fanbase. I am all for beautiful football; it has been the inspiration for Bergkampesque. But right now it is about the team fighting for every point and our recent record in the PL has been great. We are third now, just four points behind the Northern Oilers FFS. We are about to play Manure for the FA cup as well, but instead of standing behind the team and giving them collective confidence, we are winching about our style of football, and single out players for their perceived attitude rather than how they add to our results. Just does not wash with me. 😈

    We had a poor game against Monaco: I am not going to argue with you over that. We were good against Everton: it was a calm and professional performance. We were not dominated at all, but just played a more controlled game. We had 47% possession and managed 17 shots of which almost half were on target – Everton had 53% possession, and just four shots, with two on target.

    We all want caviare, champagne and strawberry cake, but let’s not forget the bread and butter stuff first. We just won a vital game that settled us in the top four. Happiness is sometimes just a choice. πŸ™‚

  2. Retsub says:

    Well written Marcus you have said what a number of people believe. Not sure who came up with the title but it’s how I feel..

    I guess the 6 million dollar question is are the team playing to orders, or are they simply not capable of breaking out of that style of play. Personally I was more disappointed by the Everton game, than Monaco. To me they looked clueless against an equally clueless Everton

    QPR will be an interesting game and it will be interesting to see which team turns up.. I’d like to see Rosicky and Theo in the starting line up

    Surely if we are going to win at QPR we need less tippy tappy more passion. One thing for sure QPR will be playing with passion

  3. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey TA, I need to finish up my match preview this morning and send it along…but… reading the above really sucks the motivation right out of me. In fact, I’m not clear why you’ve chosen to publish it. To me it’s just another whine about unmet expectations. If this is the reaction to winning, albeit in a rather functional style, woe be upon the club if the luck doesn’t fall our way…

    The result vs Monaco was disappointing and I’d agree with Marcus that something didn’t look right even at nil-nil. For me, it was mostly about our fullbacks pushing too far forward and even making darts into an already crowded box. Still, with a little bit better finishing the first goal could easily have been ours. After that, a lack of positional discipline, with some of our less experienced players reacting to the panic in the home support, combined with some great work by Monaco on the break and we were punished. I think Wenger has made it clear enough that orders favoring discipline and reminders that it was a 180 minute tie were ignored…

    Marcus’ remedy seems to be faster passing and more movement. Retsub, in his comment sees tippy-tappy football and a generally clueless approach. Both views (which are quite divergent) would be solved by “passion,” i.e., guys wanting it more and just throwing themselves around a bit? It’s not at all what I see at all, and if anything I think our guys are trying too hard. (Example: our only injury vs Everton was caused by two of our players throwing their heads at the same ball!!!) I think what both want (and so many other Gooners seem to demand) are just dominating performances and results, even if there are claims that the results are not what disappoints. We’re not there at the moment and I wouldn’t predict us getting there. Even if we played the most scintillating football and crushed opponents I still believe plenty of Gooners would find something to moan about. As such, the next match–no matter what the results–will not satisfy, as will the one after that and the one after that, etc., etc. (And I’ve agreed to write previews for ALL of them, making me the biggest idiot of them all…) I kinda don’t know what to say, except to suggest that other forms of entertainment are chosen…

    Overall, then, I 2nd your disappointment with the support, not the team…

    OK, back to work on the preview…

    😦

  4. steve says:

    hahaha needless to say i’m in your mindset Marcus as i am sure many are atm.

    I think there is a distinct blurring of the lines here regarding support and becoming some blind sheep that just bows down to Wenger and sees every average performance through rose tinted glasses as a calm and professional performance.

    Trust me i support! from the moment that whistle blows to the final kick of the game i am cheering every player on whether i personally don’t rate them or not, i’m not a booing type person when the game is in motion i feel it doesn’t do anyone any good after all the players aren’t out there purposely trying to be shit lol.

    BUT!!

    After the match is over, that’s the time we should all be given the chance to analyse the performance and suggest would you think should be done for the good of the team at no bloody perceived detriment to your level of support, that is just total nonsense!!

    For months i myself cheered on Arteta, Flamini and BFG WHEN THEY WERE ON THE PITCH, but afterwards continually suggested replacing them with more youthful, fitter, pacier players – FOR THE GOOD OF THE TEAM. Now we have Le Coq in there as DM and Gabriel as CB and the team looks better for it and you don’t here any fucker complaining about the switch, but at the time (before the change was made) you can guarantee those calls for change and complaints about the play were met which just the same bullshit about lack of support as we hear now.

    These games against teams lying 14th and 17th in the league will do just enough to lure most into a false sense of security before we are brought back to earth in games against CL opponents and Man U in the FA cup, i truly hope we put in much better performances in those games otherwise i don’t think we will ever get Cockie out from behind the sofa again lol.

    As far as you comment about the passers having no-one to pass to because they are all static and not making runs, well ask yourself this question; who’s going to make those runs??
    Giroud comes deep, Sanchez likewise, Cazorla on Ozil are the ones doing the passing, OX as much as i love him does not make darting runs into the box so who the fuck are they supposed to pass to because like you say most are static waiting to make a pass of their own not to make a run and score.
    If you put Welbeck, Walcott, Akpom in a system with Ozil and Cazorla doing the passing still, just watch how that situation changes, selfish striker runs all over the place mate πŸ™‚

    Oh and i’m all for Rosicky as a starter mate been saying it for a while now – pissing in the wind matey πŸ™‚

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    17HT πŸ™‚

    The title is not Marcus’ but it is how quite a lot of the fanbase think. I thought it would be fair to issue it, but you know how I think about the matter. Live and let live πŸ˜›

  6. Retsub says:

    17ht I have supported this team for in excess of 50 years. If you knew me you would know I don’t often complain about my beloved team. That said I have invested heaps of time, passion, money, love etc etc in this team and consider it perfectly acceptable to critisise when I think it is appropriate. I may not be right in what I am saying, but I most certainly believe in what I am saying I have to say I find your comment about not bothering to publish Marcus’s close to insulting. Just because you don’t agree with it doesn’t mean it’s wrong it’s just another opinion… Which I think you will find a number of people agree with…

    Maybe your pretty-match should carry a health warning. “. Only read this if you are looking through rose coloured spectacles”

  7. Retsub says:

    To clarify two things. Last line should read pre match… Damn corrective typing

    The rose coloured spectacles was entirely independent of Steves comment

  8. steve says:

    hahah great minds Retsub πŸ™‚

  9. Marcus says:

    TA,
    Trust me when I tell you that there is no perceivable situation that would make me turn on the Arsenal. None. But I can’t be Ok with a team with so much ability, so much talent just coasting by. Because that is what has been happening. We may have lost to MUFC but did you watch that game? We gave it our all and it all just boiled down to bad luck. That I can get behind.

    But watching top players put in Mediocre performances is not Ok. Notice I have said NOTHING about Giroud’s off game against Monaco because as much as things did not go his way, he tried. He played. This football we’ve been playing is just crap. And I am not talking about the defensive game. We played a defensive game away to City that I thoroughly enjoyed watching. It is the complacency of playing like we’ve already won the game that I absolutely can’t stand.

  10. steve says:

    yep i think in all fairness you may have made a little bit of a mistake there HT in questioning peoples strength of support just because they dare to criticize the team performances whilst winning or otherwise.

    Retsub, that point about “are the team playing to orders” is one quite a few bring up (including myself) but it never really gets looked at any further. What would be worse? Its the players who are incapable or the manager who’s tactics and direction are inept – pretty bad either way lol

  11. Marcus says:

    Retsub,

    You seem to know how I feel. And another frustrating thing is why aren’t TR7 & Theo not playing? We have such a big squad, I don’t understand why some players can be dropped and some can’t.

  12. Gerry says:

    Sorry HT, I hope to spare you that.
    These blighters from Planet ‘Spoilt Bastards’ just seem to land unexpectedly.
    Personally, and I guess HT, would rather you did your moaning minnie act in the privacy of your own home.
    Good grief. We all want to see better football. But the team is in the process of a rebuild. AW is still getting the pieces in place to handle the ‘high pressers’ and ‘park the bus’ types. But we are not City or Chelsea who can wave the magic wad of money and get it done whenever they have a mind.

    The players don’t out there with the intention of playing badly.

    But to start your piece off with a rant about the Monaco game, and finish it with’ the least said about it the better’, would be funny if it were not for the fact that we have another tricky game coming up tomorrow and they need all the support they can get.

    We got past the above picking up 3 points against a potentially dangerous opponent. Far from dominating us, they were more afraid of losing, whereas our lads delivered.

    I have said it myself that ther is an underlying problem that has yet to be solved, but I don’t go around calling the players lazy.

    Like HT, I have other things to do. I just hope his preview can still be a ray of light for the players, and us supporters that understand that in sport there are winners and losers, and just sometimes winning ugly is the best thing, given how high the stakes are?

  13. steve says:

    Tempo Marcus, there just seems to be no tempo whatsoever – a quality that often teams that play well get plaudits for, its certainly revitalizing Liverpool atm.

  14. Marcus says:

    17HT,
    You still do not get my point. In the 1st half against Monaco we had all the possession but no desire, no initiative. It was just pass sideways & backwards and hope someone can pull a rabbit out of a hat.
    Again, you are looking at what i say from a narrow perspective. Slow passing and poor movement are just symptomatic of a lackadaisical attitude. And that’s what I am against.

    Besides if with the squad we have you are content with where we are now then a lot can be said about your expectations for the team.

  15. steve says:

    Gerry,
    “the team is in the process of a rebuild. AW is still getting the pieces in place to handle the β€˜high pressers’ and β€˜park the bus’ types.”
    Come on man, its the same team as last year!! apart from the added bonus of Sanchez, how can that be a rebuild lol
    We haven’t looked this consistently average for quite a few years mate imo.

    I would be quite happy to do my moaning at home if you wish but i did think that is what a blog with comments for debate was all about, otherwise it would just be you, HT and TA chatting about how wondefull we always are without fail and whatever the performance lol

  16. Marcus says:

    Steve,
    Agreed. Even if we score 5 own goals & lose 5-nil to QPR I will still cheer the lads on VS MUFC. I am a gooner till time ends. But I will always say it as it is, or at least as I see it.

  17. Retsub says:

    Marcus

    If I knew the answer I guess I would be a highly paid football coach, but players like Rosicky and Theo look to me Like they care and make things happen.

    People seem to have a problem with my my definition of passion. My least favourite player is John Terry, but what I wouldn’t give for a player displaying his level of commitment and passion.

    I remember when Van Nistelrooy missed that last minute penalty against us. Martin keown took them opportunity to give him a clout round the ear. Clever? No, skillful? No. Passionate? You bet and guess what Keown was a winner

  18. Marcus says:

    I guess me and every other pundit out there is wrong for pointing out our flaws.

  19. Marcus says:

    Retsub,
    To add to you point, there are players in our team who show the level of commitment that you would want to see. You will never hear me berate the Ox, Sanchez, Giroud & Santi.

  20. steve says:

    to be quite honest this has been an amazing season for us in reality because if you are going to have a shit season better to do it in one where most of the others are also in the same boat. Only Chelsea this season have maintained the level of previous seasons and are reaping the rewards.
    Man U, City, Pool, Spuds have all had a crazy season also with high levels of inconsistency throughout so we should count ourselves very lucky imo, its very telling that a team like Southampton that have done nothing special other than put in solid performances week in week out are were they are in the league atm.

    Hey look at that i found a positive lol πŸ™‚

  21. Marcus says:

    17HT,
    You seem to only want to read posts that say how good we are…unfortunately, I speak my mind.

  22. Retsub says:

    Gerry

    I am confused about the term rebuild. Last season we had a great start to the season and if Rambo had maintained his early season form and fitness we would have been very close to winning the league. We have added a world class striker and we are still rebuilding.. I just don’t get bit

  23. steve says:

    Retsub, why do you think players like Sanchez and Coquelin have been a revelation – passion and commitment exactly like you say. Just look at what that committed, purposeful, passionate sliding tackle from Ospina meant to the crowd the other day, that’s what i want to see from everyone – the way it used to be!!

  24. steve says:

    Marcus @ 17:13. Exactly matey!

  25. Retsub says:

    Steve if you weren’t.an ocean apart (artistic licence). I am sure we could share a beer. Spot on about le Coq, Ospina etc

  26. steve says:

    Retsub, not a doubt in my mind bud! Damn Ocean! lol

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    ‘Trust me, I support’ hahahahahahaha πŸ˜›

    You support 10%, the rest is moaning about not playing enough young Englishman, Steve. And it shines through time and again.

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    Marcus, how many games did we win recently? You are missing the big picture. The football could indeed be better and we have the players for it, but let’s not confuse things by saying they are not working hard, or don’t want it enough. Bah, I say to that. 😦

  29. TotalArsenal says:

    ‘Its the players who are incapable or the manager who’s tactics and direction are inept – pretty bad either way lol’ what fecking planet do you live on Steve? Are we third or what?

  30. steve says:

    TA, on here yes but not game time mate – that was the point i was trying to make, i support who’s out on the pitch, then voice my crazy agendas elsewhere.

    btw Gnabry, Sanchez, Coquelin, Rosicky, Ospina, Cazorla even the new boy Gabriel, fully endorse the lot mate and none of them are English. Its the passion and commitment i strive for mate, the English thing is just a dream ive had for years but that’s all it is, a dream.

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    Bloody hell, the passion thing again….. Vermaelen had passion…. not good enough. Eboue had passion….. not good enough, Gallas had passion….. not good enough, Ox has passion….. not yet good enough. Passion is nice but let’s not confuse it with quality football.

  32. steve says:

    We are third mate yes but its because its been a crazy old season this year bud, most of the other teams have been shit also – i covered this above.
    I live on a planet where although we are third, when we come up against a quality side i can almost guarantee a poor performance.

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    Steve, what you are like during the game, I have not got a clue. But it is irritating to see you criticise the team on here time and again. And your comments are often focussed on not playing enough youngsters… for some bizarre reason.. πŸ˜•

  34. Retsub says:

    Vieira had passion.Adams, Keown, henry, Lehmann. They were half decent

  35. TotalArsenal says:

    We are third and once again in the top four. The PL is super strong and any team can be beaten by anybody on the day. In that environment we are once again surviving and in fact thriving. Ooh to be..

  36. steve says:

    they should have both!!! Thats our fucking point TA lol
    Quality football is hard to teach but luckily we have it, passion is just a state of mind and its what we should be demanding from these players as well!!

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    So there you go, Retsub. Dennis, Pires, Lauren were the more introvert types and they were half decent too. πŸ™‚

  38. steve says:

    The PL is super strong
    hahahahahahahaha

    best line of the day
    hahahahahahahahahaha

    how are we all doing on the international front atm hahahahahahaha

  39. TotalArsenal says:

    Your fucking point is pointless, Steve. And that is why you don’t get Ozil.

  40. steve says:

    Dennis, Pires, Lauren

    They all gave as good as they got!!! none of them went hiding!!

  41. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Steve, I am done with you. Time to go and suck your eleventh.

  42. 17highburyterrace says:

    TA, you have mail…

    Look, retsub, steve, Marcus… I’m not saying go and support another club or anything like that, nor am I saying that people cannot criticize. I’m also not saying that I think everything is great. There is a lot of talent in the squad but we seem very unsettled and the confidence is extremely fragile. Do I think some of that is because of unrealistic expectations amongst the support? Yes, I do…

    I think we blew it (badly) against Monaco. In very nervous environs, we righted the ship vs Everton, however, which I think merits a bit of praise. Also–in both matches, if anything, I think we’re suffering from players trying TOO HARD (rather than not enough) and players who are being lauded for their efforts (Giroud and the Ox and even Le Coq…) hurt us with by rushing chances and pushing too far forward (in the Monaco match, things went better vs Everton). Routinely the call goes out for MORE passion, but I’d like to see more wise football and a sense of calm. I just see things differently, it appears…

    The real thing I see is a situation where no amount of success or good football will satisfy large segments of the support and that seems a truly bad state of affairs…to me. I’ll repeat myself… there’s nothing wrong with critique, but what would actually satisfy?

    My one solace is that I believe, despite the toxic environment around the club, the group is holding together and I’m confident they’ll give (and I will see…) another strong effort at Loftus road tomorrow night and again next Monday at Old Trafford. (At this point, I hate to say it, it’s probably easier for the team to play away from the home pitch.) I’m also confident that no matter what the result, it simply won’t be good enough for many…

    Is that a rose-tinted view? Actually, I think it’s a pretty depressing one…

    Anyhow, I hope folks enjoy the match preview…

  43. steve says:

    TA! don’t be like that bud, come back, its only a debate boss man

  44. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers 17, I will have a look in a bit. πŸ™‚

  45. TotalArsenal says:

    Steve, I am not going anywhere; I am just saying I will not continue this discussion any further as you were getting flippant. Time to agree to disagree… πŸ™‚

  46. St. Henry says:

    Hey Marcus! Interesting post (understatement? πŸ™‚ ). To your point, yes the movement was not as fluid as we have come to expect in the Monaco game. But, there were certainly some great moves against Everton (after ~20 minutes). They just did not result in a spectacular goal (e.g. Giroud’s two header misses, Ozil’s block, Bellerin block and a few other great defensive efforts from Jagielka & Howard).

    To a certain degree, like TA & others say, perhaps we are too quick to lambast the team for 90 / 6000 minutes of play? Not an excuse, but there are times I feel like the team is like a little kid trying desperately to please a parent who wants the kid to be like Einstein, Messi, Henry, Maldini rolled into one on the first try! πŸ™‚ This is certainly not helped by some TV commentators who seem to have decided that the best way to comment is to pick on Ozil / Per / Wenger and keep prattling on this for 90 mins! (at least that’s how I find it here in the US). When you look at the overall performance, this is an unwelcome but very brief blip.

    But hang in there Marcus – the pain & frustration is only temporary. As we all know there is no better team than the Gunners right? πŸ™‚

  47. Nik says:

    I’ve been to both games and I have to agree on a lot of things. Monaco was definitely one of the worst Champions League games I’ve ever seen us play.
    The Everton game I see a little different. I would not say that we were dominated by Everton. Yes Everton had more possession, but it’s also about where they had it. Everton played most of their passes far away from our goal and created only two real chances all game (Lukaku and Lennon in the second half). We however had most of our possession futher in their half and created more clear cut chances than they did.
    One thing that irritated me a bit against Everton was that whenever we had possession one of our full backs always stayed further back to protect us from counter attacks. But imo it hurt our own offense more than it protected our defense. Normally in football when you get stuck on one side you try to switch the play to the other side as quickly as possible (ideally with one long passes or with two passes through the defensive midfielder). We were not really able to do so because the full back on the opposition side always stayed too far back. Because of that and a rather slow movement and passing game overall we did get stuck a lot of times and ended up losing the ball or being forced into a poor cross or shot.
    Generally it is difficult to play against teams that park the bus but the fact that we are ahead of Spurs, Liverpool, United and Southampton shows that we deal with these teams better than they do. Looking at Chelsea’s and Man City’s squad it’s obvious that they are simply better than us (and I’m certainly not happy about saying that).
    Now the hard part πŸ˜€ In terms of general progression of the club I believe that the growing income through the new Premier League TV money deal, growing Champions League money, increase of merchandise and all that other stuff and through a more forcefull financial fairplay approach by UEFA and the Premier League all top clubs will be on a similar financial level. That means the top clubs will all be able to attract the same players. Money should become a less deciding factor when signing for a club for the top players. That means through the clubs philosophy and garantuee of a CL football and the fact that we are based in London (see Alexis) we will be able to attract top class players.
    Because of that it will be more and more difficult to raise yougsters at our club meaning that we should take more advantage of the loan system and buyback clauses.
    On the football style front I think we need to improve tactically. We need to find more ways to break down quality defenses. For example by changing systems and personal during games.
    We need to improve our work without the ball. Everytime I see Bayern, Barcelona, Germany or even Chelsea I’m thinking why on earth can’t we defend and press like that. One of the reasons is definitely our personnel. IE with Mertesacker at the back you can’t press too far up the field. Cazorla and Γ–zil certainly aren’t the high energy pressing guys either.
    For the rest of the season I expect us to finish 3rd behind Chelsea and City with either Liverpool or Utd to finish 4th. I expect us to perform a lot better at Monaco, but to still go out. And we might just win the FA Cup again.
    Upwards and Onwards!

  48. James Bond says:

    Nik, is that you or has 17HT hacked into your account ?

  49. steve says:

    flippant wow lol, no-ones called me that since my mum back when i was a wee nipper lol.
    My apologies then bud, just thought it was a good debate, i will try and be a bit more reserved in the future – didn’t mean to offend πŸ™‚

  50. Nik says:

    Oh and I have to agree with TA on our fanbase from my experience at the stadium.
    I expect fans to go to the stadium and support the team throughout the entire game. It’s absolutely fine for me to boo the team off at half time and at the final whistle to show the team how you feel. BUT while the team is playing it does not help any player to be booed when he looses the ball or plays a backward pass. Believe me it does not make them play any better when you boo them.
    I admire teams like Crystal Palace and almost any German team for their supporters because whatever happens they sing and try to push their team forward. A lot of our supporters instead start turning on the team as soon as we concede a goal…..just saying πŸ˜€

  51. James Bond says:

    it’s either black or white with you @ Steve

    sometimes best to take the middle road πŸ˜‰

    but since I like you –

    I will indulge with you .

    for starters,

    define “Passion” for us, will you ?

  52. steve says:

    another time JB that ship has sailed me thinks, better to leave sleeping dogs lie at this moment in time and behave myself for a while, definately another time though bud πŸ™‚

  53. James Bond says:

    ahahahhahahahahahahhahahahahah fair enough πŸ™‚

    what’s your predicted starting 11 for tomorrow ?

  54. The Cockie Monster says:

    Thanks Marcus !.

    To tell the truth…..This is not the Arsenal I have been supporting for over 50 years !……the Wengers years have been the best I have ever seen over the 50+ years !.
    Only trouble being is, is that over the last 10 years we have 4 other teams who are better than the pre-Wengers years !……bastards !.
    Fcuk !!!…..Marcus !!!….. you cucky lunt !, In all your years as a Gooner, you`ve never seen The Spuds higher than us !. πŸ˜†
    I`ve never seen the Spuds higher than us since I moved to Cornwall !…….fcuking award winning Cornwall !…..I shall never leave !. hahaha
    Come on guys, there must be something you have also done or started etc` and in that time the Spuds have never been above us !…..think fcukers, what is it ?. Tell us your experience !.

    The Spuds have never been above us since Total started his drug and porn empire !.

    The Spuds have never been above us since 3 Goals ( Old Gerry = Geriatric = Gerry Hat Trick = 3 Goals ) last had sex with a woman !

    The Spuds have never been above us since JB started stalking Polish men with large hands !.

    The Spuds have never been above us since 17HT started his (bracket) obsession !.

    The Spuds haven`t been above us since VC could remember anything !.

    The Spuds were last above us when TMHT was called TERRY MANCINI FULL HEAD OF HAIR !.

  55. steve says:

    Its a strange one mate, i think its got to be time to bring Walcott in and also (sounds crazy) maybe give Sanchez a rest or play him up top in partnership with Giroud, but i don’t think that will happen.

    i would like to see;

    Bellerin——–GP5———Kos———Gibbs
    ———————-Coquelin———————
    ———–Rosicky————-The OX———-
    —————–Cazorla or Sanchez————
    ————Walcott—————Giroud———-

    But in reality probably the same as against Everton i expect with maybe Walcott in for OX

    What do you think?

  56. James Bond says:

    ahahhahahahahhahahhahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahhahahaha

    The spuds have never been above us since you started sitting (h) behind the sofa πŸ˜‰

  57. James Bond says:

    I reckon that Gibbs, Santiago, Bellerin and possibly Giroud will get a rest or be on the bench .

    so you will have something like this :

    ——————- The best keeper in the EPL based on the last 7/8 games —————

    Chambers—————Koc—————Paulista——————————-Nacho

    ———————————–Le Coq——————Ramsey———————–

    ========================Rosicky————————–

    Theo—————————-Welbeck———————————-Ox

    The front 3 can interchange and Rosicky can also interchange with the OX and Theo – so it’s a very fluid front 3 .

    Ozil, Santiago, Giroud , Alexis – on the bench .

    Santi is due a rest, Ozil has just returned from injury not so long ago – so let’s bring him at some point in the 2nd half where he will have more space .

    don’t see Gibbs starting 3 games in a row in such a short time period .

    if we can’t play Ramsey , then we will have to play Santiago .

  58. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Nice one marcus

    15 years hey? Dont get me wrong, thats a long time. Imagine been with the same bird 15 years in a row? You would become psychotic at the sight of a touched toothbrush and commit mass murder at a misplaced dressing gown.

    Thing is mate, the new breed of Arsenal fan is experiencing something all the older generations didnt. One manager.

    Does this make a difference? I think it does. Why? because once you have experienced the Don Howe period, George Grahams Hillier/Selly/Morrow midfield, and Terry Neils 11 dustbins losing 5-0 to Totnumb, it gives you a different perspective.

    Though I respect your passion, I dont agree with your “outburst” marcus,

    We have played some great stuff this year and are up to third in the league. The Monaco game was a big disapointment and I accept we look we look miles away from ever winning the champions league.

    But hey, it beats going up to Middlesborgh in the early eighties, getting into a fight with a fat northerner becuase he thinks you are wearing flash shoes, beaten with truncheons by the old bill for the audacity of coming from London, losing five nil, and realising that when you get home the Mrs has moved your dressing gown.

  59. steve says:

    wow i would definitely not have a problem with that line up mate, thats even more hopeful than mine lol, you really think the stubborn one would be that adventurous?
    Plus Ramsey is still out i think, only just back in training the other day i heard.
    so maybe like you say Cazorla in there, or my preference – OX πŸ™‚
    been waiting for a Rosicky and Ox midfield onslaught for a while now and before Jack and Ramsey get back lol.

  60. James Bond says:

    am being a tad more realistic in my wishful thinking purely because Loftus road isn’t a big ground and we need more width and pace in there .

    QPR are one of VCC’s favoured teams so it will be interesting what his thoughts are going to be on this one.

    but yeah, I think we might what I have wished for as we do play the mancs on monday – so he will want to keep everyone interested even Giroud to come on and score a few to keep his confidence on the up .

    I do see Nacho, Welbeck and Theo playing in this one and as you say, Alexis being given a breather ?

    3-0 to the Arsenal is what am gonna predict .

    but for tonight, let’s hope the saints don’t win – I see they have put a very strong starting 11 out on the pitch .

  61. steve says:

    forgot they were playing! nice one JB, I’m outta here
    back in a bit

  62. The Cockie Monster says:

    Don’t be stupid Oh Oh Seven !……VCC knows fcuk all !….didn`t you read my line that The Spuds haven`t been above us since VCC could remember anything !….the cnut cant remember what the holes on his missus are for let alone what a QPR is !.

  63. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    5-0 Bondy.

    Cornwall, I remember the first time some one told me I was going bald. It was back in the early eighties at some party. I walked into the kitchen and some one was asking “Who the fuck is Lionel Ritchie?”, when in the bright light another quipped “Fuck that Ritchie geezer, Mancinis going bald” hahaha

  64. James Bond says:

    aahhahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahaahahahahahahaah

    well, you know what they say @ TMHT – they balder you get the more your bank balance increases – you must be loaded considering you starting going bald back when Glics was a geezer in London !

  65. James Bond says:

    *started

    let’s win our next 3 games and we will be buzzing as well as this place !!!

  66. The Cockie Monster says:

    PS…………….in case you are wondering ?……the last time the Spuds finished above us was in the 1994/95 season !…….in the last millennium !……in the 20th century !……nearly two decades ago !…….if all goes to plan, at the end of this season it would have been over 6300 days and counting !……………that’s a long time in a dark shadow !……..Them Morlocks need some vitamin D tablets !.

  67. The Cockie Monster says:

    Hahaha Stretch……I was the geezer at that party who you saw shagging all the girls because they thought I was Charlie Nicholas !……………..Bring back the Mullet !. hahaha

  68. James Bond says:

    ahahhahahahahhahahahahahha I have that T-shirt – bring back the mullet !

    class .

  69. TotalArsenal says:

    That Ben Foster is full of passion, never-say-die attitude, isn’t he? πŸ˜‰

    Night all. πŸ™‚

  70. FLO8 says:

    Provocative post Marcus though I can’t say I disagree with you about our current style of play. Im not a big fan of the team playing a high defensive line and slow tedious passing with a lack of off the ball movement. Defensively I think that approach is too risky, whilst offensively our attacks break down too easily due to the predictability of our approach and simply a lack of space for our forward players to operate in.

    It’s not really a massive shock to me that Giroud seems our most potent forward option under our current system. Unlike others he has the physicality to operate in the opposition’s penalty box despite the congested environment and often being marked by both centre backs. The flow on effect of that is that our play becomes naturally geared to chipping or crossing the ball into the box and seeing if the big Frenchman can win his duals.

    Whilst personally I would much prefer to see our defenders sit deep, be protected by three similarly deep lying but tenacious central midfielders and with our front three players playing higher up the pitch to allow them the space to effectively combine on the counter attack, you can’t really argue with our recent results (Monaco aside).

    For me we are in a similar situation to where Man Utd are at the moment – it doesn’t look fluid in attack (like Liverpool) or assured in defence (like Chelsea) but in the main the results keep coming. That said I think there are key structural issues in the side which will need to be addressed before we can progress further.

    Having a quick look at our and our rivals’ respective league matches between now and seasons end, I think we’ll end up in fourth on 75 points. I think Liverpool will just pip us for third on 76 points and Man City – 80 points – and Chelsea – 84 points will take 2nd and 1st place respectively.

  71. Admir says:

    Hello, people!

    @Marcus, you wrote a lovely piece even if I don’t agree with…a lot of it.

    First of all, I don’t think we were that bad against Monaco. The thing is, some of our players had, er, too much passion and desire to do a John Rambo – kill ’em all by yourself and come home safely. No, that’s not happening against the well-organized sides like Monaco (or Chelsea for that matter). I didn’t watch the game again but I recall that it had looked much better when we used triangles to open them (especially Γ–zil-Bellerin-Giroud one that should have ended with an opener) than when Cazorla and Alexis tried to dribble their way to the goal. We had enough chances to win the game and bring some sort of advantage to Monte Carlo but the lack of defensive balance and poor finishing by Giroud and Welbeck did us big time. Also, SubaΕ‘iΔ‡ is not the world-class goalkeeper so we should try more of Chambo’s route – bring the ball to 30 yards and fire. The Bayern plan is a good one (I will believe until I don’t die that Wenger had planned to divide the game in three periods of 30 minutes with a single goal in each one with a solid defending as a foundation between the goals).

    Then, the game against Everton came. Now, let’s not forget that our team had had problems to respond after big defeats last term. After big defeats, there was a handbrake in our game and that psychological barrier affected our game. The same thing happened against Everton in the opening minutes – we looked more oriented on not conceding or not over-committing going forward than to produce a free-flow football. Nevertheless, we scored the first goal of the game and things looked much brighter from that moment on.

    Now, if you’ve been an Arsenal fan for 15 years, you might have noticed a few things:

    -Arsenal have always performed worse after the international tournaments,
    -Arsenal haven’t had a dynamic defensive midfielder since 24-year-old Mathieu Flamini in 2007-08,
    -Arsenal have had an injury crisis this (and pretty much every) season that rarely allowed Wenger to put anything close to our Best XI,
    -the referees don’t like us,
    -we haven’t had too many transfer windows when we had to gel so many new players like this season.

    Then, I wouldn’t compare us to City for many reasons. First of all, they are a team with more physical approach than ours. Yaya Toure uses his strength in the middle that doesn’t get tolerated all the time in Europe like it happens in England. Second of all, they have also looked rather flat unless AgΓΌero decides to do things on his own.

    I agree with you that we look more lively with Rosicky on the pitch. I’d like to see our formation with Rosicky, Γ–zil and Cazorla where Rosicky would add drive, direct passing and shooting.

    I think that the best things from this Arsenal will be seen next season when we get Schneiderlin from Southampton. I expect something like:

    Ospina-Debuchy, Gabriel, Koscielny, Gibbs-Schneiderlin, Ramsey-Γ–zil-Walcott, Welbeck, Alexis.
    Szczesny-Bellerin, Mertesacker, Chambers, Monreal-Coquelin, Wilshere-Cazorla-Chamberlain, Giroud, Gnabry.

    100+ goals in the league should not be a problem.

    And, the Spuds’ game:

    they haven’t been above us since I’ve been an Arsenal supporter,
    they haven’t been above us since the war in Bosnia had ended,
    they haven’t been above us since I had been sixth grade – I’ve finished my elementary school, high school, graduated law, passed judicial exam and got married since then,
    they haven’t been above us since the clubs could have only three foreign players on the pitch at the same time,
    they haven’t been above us since 20th century,
    they haven’t been above us since Serge Gnabry was born.

  72. Admir says:

    Damn, Cockie has already mentioned the 20th century one. 😦

  73. goonered25 says:

    So you’ve been ‘supporting’ us for 5minutes & you’re not happy because we’re not winning everything in sight?!? Well, boo-hoo. Poor you. Come back when you’ve experienced relegation battles, protests in Avenell Road, bung scandals & our players being banged up or doped up. In the meantime, you can always jump on some other bandwagon if you’re not happy with this one; in supporting terms, you’re still ‘on probation’ after all.

  74. Gerry says:

    After reading the earlier comments agreeing with Marcus,TA and HT apart, I was all set to give it another angry blast.
    But then along came TCM, to whom I will apologise. Sorry Cocker, I had you down in the non-rose tinted brigade.
    Instead. You came up with an entirely opposite view, unfortunately based entirely on your previously mentioned hatred of Spurs – I say ‘unfortunately’, because, heaven forbid, should we suddenly go into free fall and they end the season above us, your wrath would make Marcus’s post seem like high praise? πŸ˜€ – But nevertheless our constant position in the top reaches is something very few managers could carry off.
    Alas, there might have been the odd hidden truth in there …. ? πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    Terry, was it the post or Cocker’s response that Lazarus-like you have risen from the dead?

    Like Terry says, supporting Arsenal for 15 years has given you a narrow view of the footballing world.
    To have witness the greatest strike force that ever graced the football league, prompted by the midfield giant who would happily eyeball Roy Kean without a second thought, such was Patrick Viera’s commitment, and behind him, a mean defence that would not give an inch, and a goal keeper that trod a fine line between sanity and the edge ….?
    Yes, to not think that was the peak achievement that any team could have, it should lead to comparisons that will always fall short. The lean years that we have endured in order to pay for our new stadium must be a nightmare for you?
    And yet as soon as a new promise of a brighter future, you think because we now have quality players the job is done, they should do better?
    Sorry to disappoint you …
    All the pieces are not in place. The rebuild I speak of, which some fail to grasp is about the bigger picture … the future.
    We have added quality over the last few transfer windows, with Ozil -shut up Steve, remember your promise – Alexis, and hopefully Gabriel in the last window. We kept players rather than bled our quality players to our rivals. But still your impatience to have what we have so far, to play at a level when all the pieces are not quite in place. We do not have a wide left player in attack, so we compromise with Alexis, Ozil or Cazorla with greater or lesser success. We do not have ball playing physical ‘Presence!’ that would protect our back 4, so we compromise with Coquelin’s commitment and discipline, but support him to a greater or lesser success with Flamini, Ramsey, or recently Cazorla. We do not have a back 4 that is injury free, or consistent to play any side or tactics that we face. Partly because of that, we have not had a goalkeeper who matches up to past heroes either ….
    Yet you arrogantly stand on the sidelines and declare that we have 11, 12, 13, players that should beat other teams, who despite their league position, can collectively give any team a hard game, but when do not always shine you perceive them of lacking passion, commitment, and even LAZY!
    Just because they don’t come up to your expectation in every game?

    For me, this is just pure Gary Neville speak. He was one of your ‘passionate’ types. So when he says, of Ozil, despite declaring that all players are different … then immediately dispenses the thought with, ‘in his own image’, what a player should do. So when Ozil misplaces a pass and anguishes to himself about how he could have done it better … instead of doing and Alexis by harrying the player all the way back in our half, time and again, until when he has a chance on goal he has neither legs or mental capacity to do the right thing, GN rants and raves about lack of commitment.
    Ozil’s response is to put an inch perfect pass to Rosicky, and we get our security of the second goal … and the 3 points!

    Whatever happens in the remains of this season, more pieces will fit into this jigsaw of making a well balanced football team come the summer TW.

    In the meantime, keep chipping away at what you see a sub-standard if it makes you happy?

    My angle is; First I want the team to do well. I want the players to perform to the best of their ability, and the manager to give the the best platform he can so they can do that.

  75. geoffchase says:

    For a short record…

    A. We dominated Everton. They can play pass-y all day in the middle third and their own… It don’t count if it don’t lead anywhere. We had many good chances and got two. Nuff said

    B. On Ozil and passion in general. See a good summary that noted ::

    – third all time EPL in mins/assist

    – often leads team in meters covered. Just cuz you don’t see it …

    – 5 assists in 12 this season. Golden Hasard, 6 in 26… Who’d you rather have

    See : great summary – http://dailycannon.com/2015/03/mesut-ozil-dont-let-facts-get-in-the-way-of-opinion/?

    The science type says numbers don’t lie. Like goals scored vs given up, like points and place, … Just sayin..

    Jgc-damus, for JB, sees 3-0 or 3-1 to Arsenal. Ozil two assists or one goal and one assist..

    And yes, I ,Ike us better with TR just now…

    Cheers — jgc

  76. TotalArsenal says:

    That sums it up nicely, Geoff, including the link.

  77. TotalArsenal says:

    Match preview will go out around lunchtime..

  78. The Cockie Monster says:

    No need to try and convince me of the delights of Ozil, chaps !.
    Actually it would be easier for me to name the players I don’t think are going to take us forward than name all our talented players, so it will and maybe be a shock to some of you considering my ability to Doooom, that there are only a few !.

    Mertesacker……..just too slow for my liking !.
    Podolski……..I did say from the beginning….” What is it he actually does ? “……… has been voted the worst signing in Serie A !. Watch this corner !. hahahah

    That’s it !……only two !….less than a few !. hahaha

    Now this is the one which most wont like !……I think we have a great squad ( which probably only needs a couple of additions to challenge properly ), but !…..the man has given us nearly 20 years of topping the spuds, however as great a manager as he is, I don’t think he can take us any further tactics wise !.
    As for my wanting of 10 outfield Alexis`s and you fuckers saying you cant have it, well my average endowed ( 5.16 inches erect from a scientific survey ! ) Gooners , I want all the other players to have Alexis`s stamina and high tempo in your face energy !….not literally 10 Alexis`s !…..and don’t say that is impossible, as I am an expert on this subject !….what subject ?, I here you say !…..fcuking hard work !….train to be that kind of athlete !.

  79. Nik says:

    One more for the Γ–zil haters
    look at table 3 and the text above
    http://www.premierleague.com/en-gb/news/news/2014-15/oct/opta-blog-on-true-pass-masters.html

  80. TotalArsenal says:

    Nice one Cocker πŸ™‚

    The BFG is still excellent when played deep with protection. But now we also have a plan B in defence and I expect to see more and more of the Gab-Koz combo going fwd…. Could become our Plan A next season.

  81. TotalArsenal says:

    Nice comments Nik. πŸ™‚

  82. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Hi Gerry

    Yes, many times people have mistaken me for dead. For some reason my absence instigates rumour of impending rigor mortis. “Bloody hell Terry, we heard you cracked your member and you snuffed it”, or “Bloody hell Terry, we heard the husband cracked your member and you snuffed it”

    On Mertacker. I am not saying Merts should or should not play. But one thing is for sure, without him we will let in more areial goals and be more vulnerable from set pieces.

    On Ozil. Stats are not the be all and end all for judging a player, the game is much to complex to rely on such data.

  83. TotalArsenal says:

    That is true Terry. πŸ™‚

    I say: to Ozil or not to Ozil: that is the question!

    And those stats speak volumes to those who ‘Ozil’. πŸ˜‰

  84. TotalArsenal says:

    Marcus,

    As you know I don’t agree with the content and direction of your post, but you have written an excellent discussion post. It is a pity you did not hang round a bit longer and respond to some very good arguments made by fine Bergkampesquers, but I understand you are a busy man. πŸ™‚

    Please keep writing for us and tells us how you see things. Cheers buddy. πŸ™‚

  85. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post πŸ™‚

    17HT Preview – do I need to say any more? Enjoy.

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