19 August 2013

Just How Far Have We Fallen? *Bleak reading*

Well look at this. A post from me! 

Don’t get too excited..it’s about to become very glum.

Let me begin with our summer. The summer where everything turns around for our football club. Debts for the Emirates aren’t holding us back as much as they once were, our transfer budget is toppling £70m and we’re still in the Champions League in time for the plan to be put into action.

However, for some reason (probably something to do with Wenger and Gazidis) this has not been our summer. Instead our rivals have strengthened, and us Gooners have had to just watch as our only summer signing slowly managed a place on Arsenal.com’s diminishing squad roster page to everyone's delight. The fact Sanogo got little mention from the club as he signed for us highlights how much of an impact to our season he is expected to make.

But lets forget Sanogo. Lets concentrate on our manager. Arsene Wenger.

Through lack of activity during this summers transfer window, I have witnessed many fans who were all supportive of Wenger (as was I) slowly lose that drive to protect him from the media’s claws, and sadly I don’t blame them one bit.

Everything was ready to allow Wenger the freedom to transform a talented side into a intimidating side that the rest of the league would fear. And it wouldn’t take much. Everyone agreed on that. A Goalkeeper, a centre half, a defensive midfielder, an attacking midfielder plus a world class striker. With £70m to get it done plus any sales of the ‘deadwood’, it should be a simple task.

Yet, Wenger couldn’t quite grasp the idea. And now we hear the excuses of ‘the market is tough’, ‘no-one wants to sell’.

If those quotes tell me anything, it’s that Wenger is completely out of touch in this modern era. It spells out to the other clubs, that we aren’t up for a fight and a rejected bid signals the end of our pursuit. Plus the ‘no-one wants to sell’ quote is just crushing to hear a year after we sold our star striker to our rivals.

So where do we go from here? To be honest we’re stuck. Unless Wenger miraculously gets his cheque book out and signs quality players then I expect this to be the season we miss out on a Champions League spot. Our squad numbers are low, injury count is high and the quality players in our side, such as Cazorla are being asked far too much of and sooner or later will pick up injuries.

We can’t replace Wenger now. Who’d take the job now? So the season comes down to our activity in the next two weeks. A poor transfer window could lead to an even bigger slide in Arsenal Football Clubs future…

 

Now to see how far we really have fallen

To finish this post I wanted to allow you to take part in a small task to try and highlight to yourselves how far our club is from its past. Sounds fun doesn't it!

I’m going to take you back to the invincible season.

image
Players not in the first XI -
GK – Stack
DF – Keown, Cygan, Tavaridis, Hoyte, Clichy
MF – Parlour, Edu, Fabregas, Bentley, Thomas, Reyes
ST – Kanu, Aliadiere, Wiltord, Owusu-Abeyie

Ok. The idea of this activity is to compare the Arsenal team of the 2003/04 season with todays team. Below is another line up with our current formation along with a list of our current players. Obviously due to the change in the formation you may have to compare certain players on their role/job in the team they played in.

image

GK – Szczesny, Fabianski

DF – Sagna, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Monreal, Gibbs

MF- Arteta, Ramsey, Frimpong, Diaby, Ramsey, Wilshere, Rosicky, Cazorla, Chamberlain, Miyaichi

ST – Podolski, Giroud, Walcott, Sanogo, Park, Bendtner

Once you have decided on your starting eleven, move onto subs and compare the ability of them with one another.

Guidelines:
5/5 – As good as compared player
4/5 – Almost as good as compared player
3/5 – Offers half the compared player can
2/5 – Nowhere near as good
1/5 – Why is he at Arsenal?

Job done..

For me this exercise highlights how far we have fallen. For example, when we can play our strongest first XI we are very impressed by it. However by comparing to the invincibles, a level of quality we should be aiming for, you realise we don’t have the same amount of quality distributed throughout the team.

Also, once upon a time we were fortunate to have a player capable of scoring 30 goals alone along with other talented forwards such as Bergkamp, Wiltord and Kanu. And I believe this just shows you… the arrival of a player such as Suarez/Rooney can help us replicate a similar striker force with Giroud, Walcott and Podolski being the modern day replacements for Bergkamp, Wiltord and Kanu.

And finally… Vieria and Gilberto.

These two players knew their job and executed it perfectly. They were both solid, allowing our wingers and strikers to really push on as the threat of a counter attack from the opposition was much less feared. However in todays central midfield places, we have Arteta, Ramsey or Wilshere. To me, only one of those should be playing and that one should be playing alongside a ‘Gilberto’ type player. A player that has enough pace to catch oppositions attacks, a tough tackler and distributor. Whilst Arteta, Ramsey or Wilshere would link the midfield to the attack with bursts forward playing balls through the defence for the strikers to run onto.

Shame about Gustavo ey!

That’s it from me. Hopefully I’ll find the time to write a bit more often on here than present but I hope you enjoyed the read, had a little go at the small activity and I’ll be ready to hear from you!

You can follow me on twitter @goonersonline – cheers

28 March 2013

Arsenal to Spend Less if They Miss Champions League - But Why


As we all know, Arsenal is battling for their Champion League lives as they are currently
5th in the Premier League. While there is still time and hope that the club qualifies
for the League next year, the team is making plans in the event that the team does not.
However, those plans seem somewhat counterproductive to me.

For those that may not follow the business side of the club, Arsene Wenger has been
approved by the Arsenal board to spend £70 Million of the club's sponsorship money
to strengthen the team, including money from the deal that made Betsson the Arsenal's
official betting partner. That amount will be spent with the condition that Arsenal
qualifies for the league. However, if they miss out on qualification, that amount will be
less.

The question we must ask is why? Why give Arsene less money if they miss out on the
Champions League? Some of you will naturally say that the team should not spend the
extra money when the chances of winning trophies are reduced, and while that is a valid
point, that is a very short-term view.

If you look at other teams in the EPL and at other major sports, teams have to spend
money in order to improve their team. Reducing spending sends out one signal to fans
and the other teams in the league. That message is that the team does not think that they
are capable of winning trophies.

Is that the message that Arsenal intends to send? Obviously not, but reducing your
spending just because you do not make the Champions League makes one question
your resolve to get back to the League. If the club does not make it, spend the money
to strengthen the club and make a run at the EPL title for next year. A legit run would
surely land us in the top four regardless of whether the trophy was won and the team
would be back on track. You need to spend money to make money, or in this case win
trophies.

28 January 2013

Brighton Away, My Views

Good Morning to all from a bloody cold, windy, and wet County Cork.

Saturday I woke up with that 'oh shit' feeling. Although I was confident of a win that that little seed of "Oh Shit" was on my mind, and I think if you are honest with yourself you did too. Going to Brighton was not going to be a easy challenge. They're playing well in the Championship and beat France in the last round was a nice little warning. Arsene did what I thought he would by resting many players who have over the past few weeks put in good shifts when on the pitch.

It was a rather scrappy first ten minutes, with Brighton doing all the running and having the first few chances. Once again we didn't get out of first gear quick enough and it showed.
We took the lead against the run of play with quite a sweet finish from Giroud. This boy is really starting to impress me. He has started to score goals and his confidence is sky high, and of course as a striker your confidence needs to be. His left foot finish was quite brilliant, hitting the ball straight into the top corner leaving the Brighton keeper no chance. So you would have thought that this goal was going to lead the way to comfortable victory, hmmm how wrong was we. Brighton exposed our left side, Andre Santos in my opinion is not a Premier League defender and its simply not good enough to be playing for us. If Gibbs gets another long injury then can this man really fill his boots for the time needed? I think not. The goal came from a set play, surprise surprise I hear you shout, zonal marking again cost us and rush of blood to the head from Sczczeny and it was one a piece. Now the "Oh Shit" feeling is well and truly back the head. But we kept going, we showed a lot of determination and went about the job in hand. Giroud once again scores a goal of world class quality to put us back into the lead. A quite magnificent finish from him the control and the speed to finish it like he did was beautiful. I expect him to go on from this game and really push on now, he is quickly becoming a fan favourite which will only help him even more. Zonal marking again comes at fault for the Brighton goal, a ball comes in from the right the Brighton striker was in yards of space to head it home would would be the easiest goal he will get this year.

So then the changes came, Wilshere and Walcott came on and straight away you could see with the pace from Walcott and the drive of Jack a winner coming. It arrived in the 83rd minute with Walcott reacting to a clearance that he knocked back into the box which took a deflection and looped into the net. Yes quite lucky but they all count and we set up a 5th Round home tie with Blackburn Rovers.

After game Arsene said that he was impressed with the determination shown by his players to get the result. I have to agree, although sometimes things just didnt want to happen for us, The boys stuck to the task and got the job the done. In recent weeks I feel that there has been a lack of that. They played as a team and played for each other which is great to see.

Next up Liverpool, its hard to say what wounds they will have coming down to the Emirates, but after watching them against Oldham if the boys stick to playing football and doing what they have shown against France and West Ham, I would be confident of picking up the points for this one.

So I'm off to light the fire and drink too much tea for the day. I'll be covering the match against Liverpool in the next post. Thanks for reading and have a great day.

Sing For The Arsenal
Scotty Boy

Follow me on Twitter
@ScottyBoyGooner

13 January 2013

Tactics Talk: Is Wenger’s stubbornness holding Arsenal back?

Players left, players came in, formation changed…Arsenal changed.



The change in formation from a successful 4-4-2 to 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 was necessary at the time to fit our players we brought in to replace the invincibles. But with Walcott demanding a place in the centre and Giroud offering us some physicality surely it’s time to give 4-4-2 a chance?

Our current formation is one that allows us to fit in Arteta, Wilshere and Cazorla in the same team, which can only be a good thing, but with Walcott playing in the middle alone he can go missing as he doesn’t have the same physicality of Giroud or RvP. However with Giroud it gives the defence something else to worry so Walcott wouldn’t struggle as much when trying to make a run the defence haven’t read. Also, we have seen already that Giroud is very good in the air and his flick ons could cause havoc for oppositions if Walcott was playing alongside him in a 4-4-2.

So why are we yet to give 4-4-2 a chance?

I believe there are a number of reasons the current side hasn’t moved to a 4-4-2 and the first one is stubbornness.

As you know I am a fan of Wenger. But like every great man, he is stubborn. He refuses to give up on players, which in the past has had great consequences but also left us with a number of poor players on our books we can’t move on. The example of this used most often is Denilson. The next Brazilian wonder kid. Oh, how I wish…
But this wonder kid tag never materialised, he was never good enough, but Wenger refused to give upon  him. He even used Denilson as an excuse for not signing a midfielder when we were in need of one. The old “A new signing will slow Denilson’s progress”

And this refusal to give up is holding back any chance of us playing 4-4-2 any time soon, as he sees 4-2-3-1 as the formation he brought the to the premier league and wants it to work more than anything.

Also, you sense Wenger isn’t confident our midfield would be right to play four straight across the midfield. Which is understandable, as Podolski would go from striker, to winger to a left sided midfielder which isn’t what he is. But, he is beginning to build a good relationship with Gibbs and learning his role and his responsibility when the side is defending. So… why not give it a chance? Were not saying use it every game for ever. Just to give it a go, if it doesn’t work out, well at least we know…

Szczesny
Sagna  Per  Vermaelen Gibbs
Cazorla Arteta/Diaby Wilshere Podolski
Walcott Giroud

I would love to see this team given a shot at 4-4-2 with Rosicky on the bench with the ability to play anywhere across the midfield.

5 January 2013

Calm Down...

The Transfer Hype

Hello all to you all. I got a new iPad for my birthday which was last Saturday and I must say I'm rather impressed with word processing on it. I actually prefer it to my laptop. I hope you all had a great Christmas and wish you all the best for the coming year.

As I scroll through my twitter feed all I see is a lot of Arsenal fans getting very annoyed at the fact that after 4 days of the market being open that no one has arrived at the Emirates yet.  To you people I must say, you are going to give yourself grey hair if you carry on getting as stressed out as you are coming across. If you believe all the shit that we hear and read then that's your choice. My advice to you would to be patient and wait for official announcements from Arsenal.com.

If you sit down and think about it, we have let 2 centre halves go, and also a striker. Now this leaves us very short of cover. So I will hope that because these players have been allowed to go out on loan that Arsene has something up his sleeve. He has never done business at the start of any January transfer window and the deals he has done have always come late, so please for the sake of your hair, relax.

The news today that Lewis Holtby has to Sp*rs didn't really bother me. If he was that good then he would have been snapped up a long time ago, and the fact that he has been allowed to leave for free says a whole lot about how his current side feel about him. When you look at it closely where does he fit into our midfield? He doesn't, I remember when Sahin decided to join Liverpool instead of us, Wenger got that right didn't he.

If we are in to sign David Villa, then yes of course it is an exciting prospect of having three Spanish players in the side. If he comes here I have no doubt that he make immediate impact as he will want to show Barca that he should have never been left out in the cold. But once again we just have to wait and see what develops. But yes it excites me no end to think about Arteta, Cazorla and Villa all in Arsenal shirts. The players that have left on on loan I would like to wish them all the best. I was a bit disappointed to see all the hate for Chamakh on my Twitter feed the past few days. Lets not forget that when RVP was injured he did a great job for us. It was only RVP becoming fit again that forced him out of the side and on to the bench. I have placed various bets with people that he scores goals when he goes to West Ham.  

But the thing that must happen before all this is that Theo has to sign a new contract. Love him or hate him, he really does deserve his chance playing down the middle and I personally believe that he could be the next striker to carry this club to the success it deserves and what us as the fans deserve.

So as I ready myself for some shut eye, less of the stressing out and keep supporting the players that wear our badge. They are playing for Arsenal.

Keep singing for the Arsenal

Scotty Boy

Follow me on twitter
@ScottyBoyGooner