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Sunday, April 06, 2014

What a bunch of ****ers


 
By 1970’s Gooner

I am sorry but the title represents exactly how I was describing the Arsenal players during the game. And it probably is pretty accurate.

Firstly Wenger got the tactics wrong. He decided not to add pace to the line up and stick with Podolsky. This resulted in not having players who could have gone beyond their defender and thus stretch the opponents.

Podolsky kept coming inside as he always does and to add insult to injury he kept ignoring Monreal when he was free on the left. In addition Podolsky kept shooting form outside the box, inaccurately of course. This was all in the first 15 minutes. After that he was nowhere!

And it took Wenger a whole 65 minutes to sub him! Wenger should have made the substitutions at half time not later. All three of them.

Podolsky should be got rid off in the summer.

Secondly Arteta and Flamini were all over the place today. They left huge gaps in the most sensitive area of the pitch and Everton’s quicker and more mobile midfielders took advantage.

Wenger needs to add in this area in the summer by bringing in at least one more robust and effective sitting midfielder.

Thirdly Giroud was awful. He neither held the ball nor did he bring other players in the game. He needs competition next season and rests.

Wenger’s biggest mistake this season was not buying another top striker in the January window. He should correct this mistake next time round.

And lastly the whole team looked tired, without ideas and lack of running.

If they keep on like this then you can kiss the FA Cup semi-final game against Wigan goodbye AND fourth place.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

The reason for Arsenal’s capitulation


 
By 1970’s Gooner

The choice of midfield left a lot to be desired.

Playing Arteta along with the Ox was asking for it. Chelsea played two defensive midfielders in Matic and Luiz. They showed respect. Wenger didn’t.
They pressed us high up the pitch and our two midfielders couldn’t cope with it because they are not that adept nor do they have the muscle and tenacity to wriggle through.

Wenger should have abandoned his preference for playing one defensive midfielder and one more creative who will bomb forward. At least against the big teams.

He has the tendency to play the same way irrespective of the opponent. And not only does he field a weak midfield he instructs BOTH his full backs to go forward (Gibbs was near the opponent’s corner flag as they were scoring their early goals)! But this is like playing with fire. If it works then it’s great. But if doesn’t then its spectacular failure.

In all our away games against the other three competitors Wenger NEVER fielded Arteta alongside Flamini. It was always one of the two and another more creative player like Wilshere, The Ox or Ramsey. The results? 5 conceded against Liverpool, and 6 against City and Chelsea!

Mourinho on the other hand changes his team formation and players to suit the game in front of them. He did this at the start of the season when he played without a forward in the away gam at Man Utd and played not to get beat at the Emirates.

He got his draws, saved face and moved on. But Wenger no. He has to play the same way every game against any opponent. He would have done this even if he was fielding a second eleven I think.

Playing a high defensive line doesn’t help either. When you do this alongside a dodgy midfield and against top teams who have fast wingers and pressing midfielders then you are really asking for it.

And we got what we deserved.

The players also lack confidence. This is so obvious in the big games. They are afraid to play, lose concentration and cohesion. They do not believe that they can achieve a result against the big teams. And the result becomes a formality.

Arsene Wenger cannot dismiss this as a blip.

He cannot ignore it.

He has to, even at this late stage in the race for the title, learn from mistakes.

In life the biggest mistake you can make is not to learn from your mistakes. But will Wenger learn?


Thursday, March 13, 2014

And now for the title


By 1970’s Gooner

Every pundit has written us off. Everyone is talking up about Chelsea’s grasp of the trophy and how Man City’s challenge is coming off the rails.
They are all forgetting that there is still two teams who are very close to the other two. Liverpool and Arsenal.

Liverpool in fact have as good a record in the last five games as Chelsea! They have reached their peak at the right time. They have had no European games to worry about and now no FA Cup obligations. If they manage to carry their form further, as they are quite capable of doing, then they will get mighty close in my opinion.

They next have Man Utd away, Cardiff away and then Sunderland and Spurs home. All winnable.

And then there’s Arsenal. We have a very heavy schedule in the next four games. Spurs and Chelsea away and then Swansea and Man City home. Although difficult it gives us the opportunity to challenge our competitors face to face.

And if we win these games their chances for the title are knocked really back. And ours will rise no end.

Every game is vitally important but if we can come through this period and still be close then we have every chance of surprising everyone. Especially since the remaining fixtures are, on paper, easier.

And don’t be surprised if it is us and Liverpool fighting for first and second place by the end.

Let’s start with beating Spurs….

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Arsenal’s bit of luck to spark ascendancy for years to come


By 1970's Gooner

This is what we needed. A bit of luck.

Chelsea get drawn away to Man City for the FA Cup and we get Liverpool at home. City feel forced to play their first 11 and promptly dump Chelsea out of the Cup. We play Liverpool out of the park avenging the 5 1 thrashing at Anfield.

Then City get an easy home draw against a championship team which has to be played a few days before the return leg of the Champions League tie with Barca.

Arsenal get Everton and have to field a strong team as they can't take them lightly judging by their performance at the Emirates in the Leauge. We win convincingly.

Pellegrini, who is full of it having just won the League Cup, is however relatively new to the English game and certainly unaware of English grit, determination and the never say die attitude.

He gets drawn into a false sense of security and proceeds to underestimate the opponents, fields a weakened team and gets dumped out of the FA Cup in one of the major shocks of recent history.

Which leaves the door open for Arsene Wenger and his players with a real chance to win a title after a 9 year wait.

It’s a real chance which has to be taken this time unlike when we lost so dramatically to Birmingham in the final of the League Cup a few seasons ago.

And if we pull it off then we could be entering a period of ascendancy with the existing healthy financial model providing the resources for further reinforcements next season and the seasons to follow.

What Wenger has to do is avoid Pellegrini’s mistake.
 
 
 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Akers stood obediently next to Wenger waiting. What happened next?

By 1970’s Gooner

Firstly well done Arsenal.

We showed in those first 15 minutes that we were more than a match against the best team on the planet. We were running them scared. It was a magnificent start to the game and in my opinion if Ozil had scored the penalty we would have run out winners and the whole world would be heralding the new fantastic Arsenal.

Also if the ref had kept Szczesny on the pitch I am convinced Arsenal would not have lost the game.

But alas dopey Ozil missed his third penalty in a row and the rest is history.

Yet we handed the game to them by making a series of errors both from the players themselves and from Mr Wenger.

First mistake: Why was Ozil chosen to take the penalty? Cazorla or Flamini or Sagna or hell anybody else would have scored it, surely!

Second mistake: Why oh why did Koscienly stay up field in the dying minutes of the game?!!!!

Third mistake: Why did Wilshere not play the free kick, that Koscienly won, short to a player near him in order to gain more time?!!!!!!!

Third mistake WHY OH WHY did Mr Wenger not bring terrible Ozil off at half time even?!!!! It was obvious his head had dropped but more importantly he was refusing to track back!!!!!!!!!! When we were playing with 10 men for Pete’s sake.
The man is an idiot. He is a 43m waste of money. He has been underperforming for a long time but the efficiency of the rest of the players was masking it to an extent.
Vic Akers was standing obediently next to Wenger holding the papers ready to hand to the fourth official the substitution players’ numbers when Szczesny was sent off.

Wenger acknowledged Akers’s presence and thought hard for a few seconds.

Then he turned to Vic and passed on his decision.

IT WAS THE WRONG DECISION Mr WENGER.

Cazorla would have done a more decent job than Ozil. And we suffered for it…

Fourth mistake: WHY OH WHY did Mr Wenger keep Ozil on when Rosicky was brought on for the OX?!!!!!!!!

Ozil is not a sacred cow.

Ozil is not above the rest of the players.

Surely when a player is off his game then he should be dropped or subed.

What would the rest of the players think? That there is one law for us and another for the teacher’s pet Ozil?!!!!!

Vital we bounce back against Sunderland.

I think Sanogo will start.

And so will Ozil.


 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Wenger gets the tactics right. That’s why he didn’t buy another forward


By 1970’s Gooner

This time Wenger set up Arsenal to defend a little deeper giving respect to Liverpool’s fast forward players in Sturridge, Suarez and Sterling.

This meant that through balls behind Arsenal’s defence for the on rushing speedsters was a lot more difficult. It also meant that Liverpool were getting crowded out in front of Arsenal’s back line.

Wenger made another important decision and that was in team selection. One he doesn’t make normally as he likes to have only one defensive central midfielder complimented by a more creative one.

On this occasion he went with two defensive players, Flamini who was magnificent and Arteta who was solid. They sat deeper than normal and swept up in front of the defence.

This change of approach allowed Arsenal to play on the counter attack. The Ox was the one detailed to sail down the right wing and he stretched Liverpool’s defence time after time.

He scored the first goal and set up the second by a delicious run behind the full back and an intelligent cut back for the on rushing Podolski who looked sharp until his mistake for the penalty.

What was also impressive was the fighting spirit that was evident throughout the team. They set a high tempo and were full of running both on and off the ball not letting the Liverpool players any moment to themselves.

More importantly they wanted to win and get the revenge they felt they deserved.

Yaya Sanogo had in my opinion an excellent game. I was taken aback as I had watched him in the summer play for the France U 21’s and he looked a bit sluggish and ponderous.

He was a revelation tonight! He was getting most of the headers from long balls just like Giroud does. He was also able to accept the ball and pass it to a team mate. The Liverpool defenders often had to foul him as they couldn’t out muscle him when they went up for the high balls together.

He created the first goal by chesting the ball down inside the box and hitting it goal wards. It would have gone in had it not hit a defender rebounding to the Ox to score.

Is this the reason that Wenger was so reluctant to sign another forward in the recent window?

Or is he waiting for RVP?

 

 

 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Why is everyone all doom and gloom? Good news on the way


By 1970’s Gooner

I couldn’t believe it when most of the so called pundits were expecting Arsenal to beat United.

Ok Utd have not been playing that well and they failed to beat a very average Fulham side at Old Trafford. But the doomsters seem to have forgotten that Arsenal were coming from a real thumping out of all proportions with a 5 1 thrashing by Liverpool.

Whatever one might think, any player and any side playing the next game after such a heavy defeat would be nervous of conceding goals to say the least. Add to the mixture that the opponents were also weary of failing again, thus adopting a defensive approach and you were very likely to get a stalemate.

I was not that worried at the end. I think that we needed to get this game out of the way and to come out unscathed and thus regain our composure and self confidence.

We are not after all knocked out of the title race are we? We are not like a boxer who has taken a punch on the face and is lying down with the referee counting us out of the fight, are we?

We are one point from the top and possibly two if Man City win their postponed game. That’s not bad. You would have beaten the hand that would have offered you this at the beginning of the season for sure!

Now we can push on. We have a series of winnable PL games (Sunderland home, Stoke away and Swansea home) which will allow us to challenge on an equal footing with the other sides for the title.

And although Theo’s absence is a harsh blow the good news is that we will soon be back to a full compliment of players for Wenger to choose from.
We do have Flamini coming back in the next game and Ramsey in a couple of weeks. The Ox is finally back and match fit and so is Podolski who is bound to get more games now that the FA Cup and CL games are coming round.

One week is a very long time in politics and in football, as they say.

I have a feeling that by then I will be a very irritating “I told you so”


Sunday, February 09, 2014

No wonder Rosicky doesn’t start games and what Wenger needs to change


    
By 1970’s Gooner

Remember that recent records show that after a bad defeat Arsenal find another gear and go on an unbeaten run.

It happened last season after that bad defeat at Tottenham after which we went on an unbeaten run to pipe the Spurs into fourth place against all odds.

It happened this season after the humiliating 6 3 defeat at Man City.

It can happen again now.

But things need to happen and there are two important changes that Wenger needs to introduce from now on if we are to use this defeat as a springboard to magnificent glory.

The first is to change the personnel.

As many have commented on this blog Monreal is not a big game player. Gibbs is. This is because Gibbs has more grit and determination and can do the basic defending that is needed in the PL.

Monreal has been raised on the Spanish League which a little bit different. He had been found wanting against the City attackers and failed. Other teams have realised this and now target him. Brendan Rodgers did so by placing a pacy winger on his side who took advantage more than once.

So please bring Gibbs in Mr Wenger.

The Ox didn’t have such a bad game but he is not yet a player for the big games. Podolski is and he should start games. He has the experience, the physique and he can track back and do the necessary defending.

So bring Podolski in Mr Wenger.

Rosicky should start every game. But it seems Wenger is reluctant to do so because he is a direct player who turns with the ball and surges forward taking the game to the opponent.

This will not do for Wenger who likes to play at a slower pace, keeping possession with tiki taka football in the first half of games. And then quicken in the second half with maybe Rosicky coming on. But this often backfires against the big more bold attacking teams who are set up to press you high and go for your throat when they get the ball.

So rest dopy Ozil and go with Rosicky from the start of games Mr Wenger.

After a change in personnel the style of play needs to change. We have to be more direct, press opponents in their half and play with a quicker pace right form the off.

The slow passing and possession game that is adopted no matter who the opponent is gives the chance to the more confident teams to put you out of your stride, press you high up and unsettle you. Southampton did it, Man City did it and now Liverpool did it.

Don’t let Man Utd do it Mr Wenger.


Saturday, February 08, 2014

Wenger's tactics fail again, Ozil out and we will perform against United

By 1970's Gooner

What a shambles. The players did not turn up at all. Collectively everyone played like a Sunday League player. What an earth possessed them? Did they think that by just turning up they would have come through ok?

Arteta had one of his worst games. He offered no protection for the defence who themselves had one of their off days. Monreal is not up to it in the big games. He failed miserably against City and he failed again today.

Ozil was again non existent. Kept giving the ball away. He needs to up his game and become more physical. Maybe he will do it on a more consistent basis next season. But he needs to be dropped for the game against United. We can't afford to play with 10 men.

But I doubt if Wenger can bring himself to drop him. Rosicky deserves to start as he is more direct and quickens the pace. Podolski should replace the Ox and Gibbs should come in for Monreal.

Giroud was not given the service he deserved. He had a poor game because of this and because there was no support from his fellow players.

The Ox tried in the second half and won a penalty. But he was non existent in the first. The same with Cazorla.

Only Wilshere had a reasonable game but when everyone else is mediocre what do you expect?

The reality is that Wenger's tactics were wrong. He gets the tactics wrong against the big teams. He likes to play a passing game which implies a slow build up aiming to control the ball and thus the flow of the game.

This works very well against the smaller teams who, suffering from an inferiority complex, set up defensively conceding possession. That is why Arsenal usually score in the second half when the opponents are worn out defending all the time.

And that is why Wenger does not encourage a very quick passing game in the first half wanting to tire them out, giving the opponents a false sense of security as they feel that since they have not conceded they must be doing well.

But as with Southampton away in the 2 2 draw when the opponents come out strong and push up at our defenders refusing to concede possession the whole plan goes out of the window. Add to this the fact that Liverpool WANTED to win every ball, WANTED to force the game, WANTED to win, and you have a heavy defeat.

Just as it happened with Man City away.

But Wenger does not change his tactics. He is a stubborn man.

What he needs to do of course is to make sure that the player's heads do not drop now. It will be a pity if an implosion happens again and we throw away everything that we have worked so hard to attain.

I am sure we will see a very different Arsenal on Wednesday, firing on all cylinders and getting the win that will be the stepping stone to propel us to the top of the League.




Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Lack of midfield creativity a major reason for Arsenal's weak performance at Soton

By 1970's Gooner

I can see very clearly why Wenger is usually so reluctant to play with two holding defensive midfielders. The formation will then have to transform into 4 2 3 1 which means that the team is shorn of a creative midfielder who can link defence into attack. Just as Ramsey used to do and of course as Wilshere has been doing so brilliantly until his recent knock on that ankle.

Having a creative midfielder means he can hold onto the ball and more importantly carry it forward into more dangerous areas further up the pitch thus quickly switching away from defence and into attack.

But it also provides another very important advantage. When the opponents win the ball they more often than not find space to move forward direct on the defensive line. This is because when there are two defensive midfielders they naturally tend to drop back in front of their defence or even stay further back than they should be even if their team have the ball!

This is what had been happening last night. Arteta and Flamini could not bring the ball out of defence with any great success and also they tended to stay back most of the time inviting the Saints players to come further forward.

This is the major reason why we never got a kick in the first half. Another that may have helped of course is the late arrival at the stadium. I don't know about the latter but it may have been a contributing factor for the all round lack of energy.

In the second half this misalignment in midfield was corrected by Wenger and Flamini and Arteta moved up which changed the complexion of the whole game.

Flamini's ban may be a blessing in disguise therefore. Wenger will now play Arteta along with either the Ox or Rosicky and a natural balance may be restored.