Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Player analysis and ratings vs Chelsea

By 1970’s Gooner

Arsenal won this game mostly due to Chelsea’s failings rather than Arsenal’s positive and beautiful game.

Fabregas did not dictate play as he normally does and Adebayor did not really connect with van Persie to create goal threats.

Added to this was the apparent lack of width with Denilson and Nasri unable to offer any penetration on their respective side of the pitch.

The relative absence of Arsenal’s full backs from the attacking areas of the pitch meant that Arsenal were not really dominating play nor creating any real chances.

So it took a mistake by Almunia to throw that ball out to Nasri and the ensuing own goal by the otherwise faultless Djourou to gift them their goal. Other than that Chelsea did not create enough and ended up not having another shot on target!

Part of the reason was Song’s influence on the game. He is a much better defensive midfielder than Denilson and I hope Wenger keeps him there now. But a major reason was Ballack’s and Deco’s awful display. They could not create enough nor were they dangerous when going forward to support Anelka.

Another reason was Chelsea’s inability to bring someone from the bench to change the way they played. If Drogba had been available then it could have been a different story, like last season..

But credit must go to the lads. They showed real character to come back form one nil down and turn the game in the space of three minutes.

On both occasions Adebayor had a hand in it or shall I say a header. For the first he kept the move going with a header to Fabregas, I think, who played it to Denilson and then on to van Persie who came from an off side position to score emphatically with his right foot.

For the second, again Adebayor won the header in the area, van Persie turned and shot in one movement under Lampard’s feet and beyond Cech’s outstretched hand.

Let’s hope that on this occasion we do capitalise on the morale boost that this great victory may bring and for all of our sake WIN the next game.


Did not have a shot to save but still managed to hand them their first goal. 5


We need him in the team. He brings maturity and common sense defending. Did not venture forward much, probably on orders. 7


Back to his best. Combative and full of running but he also did not go forward much. Showed a lot of determination in the latter stages of the match to win the ball and keep the opponents out of our area. 8


He is showing real character in putting these fantastic performances for a team he criticised and taking all the flak that followed it. He is now a much better captain than when he was the official captain! 8


Was unfortunate to score that own goal. He was out of position and stretched his foot out to stop it. Still he had an otherwise marvelous game, commanding in the air and standing firm when Chelsea pressed for the equaliser. 7


Did not pull the strings as per usual but still had a hand in the goals. He needs to improve more if we are to sustain a winning run. 7


I really think that he should replace Denilson in central midfield. Kept his position, put in the tackles and protected his defence quite well. 8


He is not at his best recently. He is not creating any width for the team as he tends to come infield rather than go past his man. He is also not tracking back as much as he should, sometimes exposing Clichy. 5


He was not at his best today playing out of position. But you cannot fault him for his work rate. Made the assist for van Persie’s first goal. 6

Van Persie

One of his best games for Arsenal. It was not only his two well taken goals but his overall performance which was top class. He fell back to help the midfield, kept possession well and combined well with Fabregas and co. 9


Looked rusty but still provided that strength and presence that Arsenal have been lacking lately. Arsenal look a much better team with the focal point that he provides. 7.

Man of the Match: Robin van Persie

Mikel, 4 4 1 1 and the full backs the key to beating Chelsea

By 1970’s Gooner

There are a lot of things that need to work for you if you are going to win a game. First and foremost is to really want to come out on top. To want it more than the other team, to fight for every ball and for every little battle that will crop up all over the pitch.

This was so evident against Manchester United but so lacking against Villa and Manchester City.

Why this inconsistency will be a subject for another posting on this site. For now and today it is Chelsea in front of us and the above pathos needs to be exhibited in abundance if we are to hurt Chelsea and get back in the title race.

Beyond this however Arsenal need to address the opponent’s weaknesses and try and exploit them to the full.

Stifle Mikel

The first is that Chelsea’s play is mostly channeled through Jon Obi Mikel.

He is their Makalele who sits in front of their defence, protects their area, picks up the ball after it is won and organizes their play by bringing the ball out of their half of the pitch.

Put a man there in front of him to close down the space and shake him out of his way and you succeed in disturbing Chelsea’s flow and organisation.

That is why it is important that Arsene opts for a 4 4 1 1 or 4 5 1 formation today with Adebayor the lone striker but whoever plays behind him to drop back in the Mikel area and close down the space.

Press high up

It is also important that Arsenal’s midfield and forward minded players press high up the pitch thus forcing Chelsea’s distribution to be carried out as much as is possible by their defenders.

In this way mistakes will be made and balls will be won in their half of the pitch.

Exploit their full backs

The other significant aspect of Chelsea’s play that Arsenal need to exploit is the fact that Scolari instructs his full backs to go forward and support their forwards.

This creates opportunities for Arsenal because by playing a more conservative formation in midfield, stifling Chelsea’s full backs and more importantly hitting them on the counter attack in the spaces vacated will bring dividends.

Prediction: Clichy and Nasri combine for the winner

Friday, November 21, 2008

Who should be Arsenal’s captain?

By 1970’s Gooner

There are rumours surfacing that Gallas has quit the captaincy. Irrespective if they are true or not Arsene Wenger should strip him of the captaincy, drop him from the first team squad and off load him in the fast approaching transfer window.

What he has revealed about the tensions within the dressing room is something that goes on in any dressing room of any team up and down the country form the Premier League to the Sunday park league.

But there was no need to go public about it.

Johan Djourou and Kolo Toure should be the ones along Silvestre to play in the centre of the defence.

But who should be the new captain?

Almunia, Fabregas, Toure and Clichy are in my opinion the main candidates for the job. You can vote for your choice in the poll we have set up.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Van Persie may get the blame but he scores two for Holland (on video)

By 1970’s Gooner

Many believe that the six years younger than Gallas Arsenal player is Robin Van Persie.

This is because the other 25 year old playing against Spurs was Bacari Sagna and he doesn’t seem to be the type that would create havoc in the dressing room at half time nor shout back or insult Gallas during the game.

Who ever that player is it seems that Arsene Wenger has a lot of work to do to and it will not be on the training pitch.

All this does not appear to have affected Robin Van Persie who scored two of Holland’s three goals in the victory over Sweden yesterday.

Wesley Sneijder took a short corner and then exchanged passes with Ryan Babel on the left flank before crossing for Van Persie, who put the Netherlands in front with a header in the 33rd minute.

Van Persie scored his second in the 48th, beating Sweden goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson from 15 meters (yards) after he received a cut back by substitute Rafael van der Vaart.

Kim Kallstrom pulled one back for Sweden in the 50th, scoring from the edge of the box, but Liverpool’s Dirk Kuyt headed in Tim de Cler's cross in injury time to wrap up the win.

You can watch all the goals of the game on the video at the top of the page.

Gallas, can you shut up please?

By 1970’s Gooner

What is the point of being captain when you can’t keep your mouth shut?

I thought the captain should be vocal during the games not after. And especially not to the newspapers.

It’s obvious to me what Gallas is doing.

He has been heavily criticised on many occasions in the past for lack of leadership. This was especially so at the end of that fateful afternoon at Birmingham where Eduardo broke his foot and we conceded a last minute penalty.

The criticism carried on and reached a climax after the dreadful 4-4 draw against Spurs and the abysmal display during the defeat against Villa.

So Gallas goes public blaming everybody else but himself.

“There are teams who can do it well against us, and we have to be able to face up to these attacks. That is how they will forge their character, and how they will get experience. Even though they've played a certain number of matches, they're still young and still learning” he said of his team mates, to the papers.

In other words it’s the young players fault not mine…

He went on to blame one Arsenal, 25 year old, player for disrupting the dressing room harmony!

“When, as captain, some players come up to you and talk to you about a player ... complaining about him ... and then during the match you speak to this player and the player in question insults us, there comes a time where we can no longer comprehend how this can happen.

I'm 31, the player is six years younger than me."

“I am trying to defend myself a bit without giving names. Otherwise I'm taking it all [the blame]. It's very frustrating," he said.

So he is even admitting it himself. He is really saying “it’s unfair as it’s not my fault but this other player’s!

Come off it Mr Gallas. Stop spouting out to the press things that should be kept behind closed doors.

This is the job of a real captain. Someone who will try and resolve things quietly, liaise between the players and the manager and try and restore some harmony.

Not going public in an attempt that can only be interpreted as trying to absolve yourself of any blame for the team’s recent poor form.

This is the last thing we needed...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Come on Mr Wenger this team is short of leaders, all eleven of them

By 1970’s Gooner

I half expected it. This game came after that fantastic display and victory against Manchester United and again it seems that one good display is followed by one bad one. This inconsistency is of course a very noticeable symptom that characterises youth.

This defeat also came right after the young guns thrashed Wigan in the League Cup. Our last defeat was again after the youngsters thrashed Sheffield United 6-0.

It seems that apart from being inconsistent the Arsenal players are also arrogant probably believing that “if the youngsters can thrash Premier League opposition then we will walk it against Aston Villa” as they thought they would walk it against Hull.

Come on Mr Wenger this team is short of leaders, all eleven of them, it lacks a proper defensive midfielder and has no depth.

Fabregas is a shadow of himself with almost all of his attempted through passes failing to find an Arsenal player. And if he fails to perform then the whole Arsenal machine grinds to a halt.

I was, during that first half, wondering if Fabregas was rested for this game; he was so much inconspicuous it was unbelievable and when he did get into the game he failed to make one single positive contribution.

He has been off his best in recent games and I don’t care what his dedicated followers feel he surely should be rested for the next game. 4

Bendtner was a pathetic nonentity. Everything he touched turned to coal. He should be demoted to Steve Bould’s youth team or loaned to a third division team where he could find his level. I am very disgusted with him. 2

Nasri tried but also returned to his below par performances prior to the Manchester United game. Credit should be given to Aston Villa’s tactics which ensured that Arsenal’s wide men always faced a crowd of opponents whenever they tried to hag the touchline. 5

Walcott with his pace was one of a very few Arsenal players that played reasonably well. He was dangerous on the wing but whenever he went past his marker and cut the ball in there was no one in the area to take advantage. 6

That idiot Bendtner masquerading as a forward was way off those dangerous positions. So was Fabregas and Diaby who should have been bursting their gut to get in there.

Denilson huffed and puffed and kept his position well but he is not a defensive midfielder is he? 5

Almunia made that penalty save but he should have been better positioned for Villa’s second goal. A good goalkeeper does not let in those type of goals. 5

Gallas plays better with Silvestre and looks more confident but again he was done for pace and power by Agbonlahor who scored Villa’s second. 5

Silvestre gets better and better with each game he plays and provides security and no nonsense defending which is what has been lacking from our defense. 6

Sagna again had a solid game until he was taken off. Needs to improve on his crosses though as do a lot of other Arsenal players. 6

Clichy is one of a few Arsenal players that put in consistently good performances. He got away with it last week against Manchester with a header inside the area that just fizzled out but didn’t this week. 5

Diaby had an average game but did not get into the area enough for me. He should have been providing the support to Bendtner in more forward positions. He was instead staying more in the midfield areas crowding Fabregas and Denilson out and thus disrupting Arsenal’s normal rhythm. 5

Forget it then. No title challenge for this year, again…

Worst Man of the Match: Niklas Bendtner

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Eduardo close to return as he joins first team squad for training

By 1970’s Gooner

Arsene Wenger was optimistic about Eduardo’s return to action only last month when he said that the striker should be back by Christmas.

Well it seems that this may be sooner than we think as Eduardo has already been deemed fit enough to join the first team squad for training.

He has been away from London Colney since his horrific injury sustained at St Andrews against Birmingham back at the end of February of this year.

But now, after eight months of rehabilitation and intense physiotherapy, part of which was spent in his native Brazil, he has joined up with his team mates for his first training session with the first team squad.

He was welcomed by his team mates who were very enthusiastic to have him back into the fold. He did not however take part in the training game but followed an individual programme with the ball.

Boro Primorac, Wenger’s assistant speaking to the Croatian press, said that a major review of his progress will be made next week:

“Eduardo worked with the ball. The rest of his training will follow a special programme. The first team will train until the end of the week and a major review is expected by next week”.

This review is expected to follow a medical examination which will be taken into account in deciding Eduardo’s next steps in his recovery process.

If the doctors give the green light, Eduardo will get a few games for the reserves so that he could build his fitness up.

His return to first team action will be soon after that adding more attacking options for Wenger especially during the hectic Christmas period coming up in five weeks or so.

Silvestre and high balls a pleasant surprise for Arsenal

How do you beat Manchester United?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Denilson:”We showed personality to beat Manchester United”

By Aries

Denilson has been talking to the media after the fantastic win against Manchester United.

He was very excited as this was his very first game against Manchester United which, happily for him, ended in a victory.

“Manchester United was the only team that I had not faced in the Premier League and it was a special game for me, especially because we won” he said after the game.

The Brazilian also spoke about the criticism that the Arsenal team and Arsene Wenger have received in recent days because of the low average age of the team.

He went on to point out that even if the team was young it did not lack experience:

“Many say that Arsenal is inexperienced and for this reason should not win anything this season. But I do not agree. Our team is really young but has many experienced players” he said.

He also pointed out that the players proved their capabilities where it mattered, on the pitch showing personality in doing so:

“the most important thing is not talking about winning but demonstrating it in the field. Today we have done so, we showed personality to win this important match.

“This victory has great significance for us because we showed that we can fight for the title” he said.

Denilson a creeping up on you……

Silvestre and high balls a pleasant surprise for Arsenal

By 1970’s Gooner

A lot of praise has been hailed for this fantastic performance by the boys who when the chips are down they rise to the occasion and produce fantasy football.

It was indeed a joy to watch but when that 90th minute goal was scored we all had the jitters and were fearing that a déjà vu was about to materialise. This anxiety was even more compounded when we kept making the same mistakes during injury time as we did against Spurs.

Instead of keeping the ball and playing it to each other we went looking for the third goal and on most occasions this was with our defensive midfielders Denilson and Toure! Still we held on and the boost to the young player’s moral will I believe be massive.

There were two characteristics in Arsenal’s play that impressed me.

The first was the strong and ever improving performance of Silvestre.

He was very good in the air, attacking the high ball with authority and determination.

He is also a no nonsense defender who is not ashamed to kick the ball in row Z if he has to.

I think he may prove to be that strong and tall central defender that we have all been asking for.

Now who will be best to partner him between Gallas and Toure is another question but his partnership with Gallas yesterday was spot on.

Wenger will probably persist with it but I believe that in the centre of the defence you need one of the two to have a fair amount of pace; like Toure’s.

The other was the readiness of the Arsenal wide players to cross the ball into the United box much more often than we have been used to seeing from them.

Clichy in particular crossed at every opportunity creating at least two very good opportunities for Bendtner to head in. Sagna and Walcott were also putting the crosses in but their delivery was below par.

United especially Ferdinand and Vidic have been vulnerable as of late from high crosses coming in at an angle. They were exposed during their away game at Everton where they conceded an equaliser from a header by Fellaine and again they were found wanting against Hull at Old Trafford.

They conceded a goal from Cousin’s header from a dead ball situation that was eerily similar to the one that Arsenal conceded to Hull and the same player in our 2-1 defeat at the Emirates!

And of course our first goal yesterday came from a high ball into the heart of their defence from a free kick by Fabregas. Maybe Wenger had spotted this weakness and gave the necessary instructions.

Finally we cannot resist here at “Arsenal Analysis” to blow our own trumpet.

We received some criticism concerning one of our posts prior to the game: “How do you beat Manchester United?”

We suggested that we should press high up the pitch (so that Vidic and Ferdinand are forced to distribute the ball from that far back) and also that Clichy should not allow his attacking responsibilities to be restrained by Ronaldo’s threat.

Bendtner and Diaby aided by Fabregas kept pressing high up when United’s defenders had the ball. They were ruffled which disrupted United’s game and helped Arsenal perform the beautiful game in their half. Bendtner who had an average game overall did particularly well closing their defenders down.

Clichy was very impressive for Arsenal again. He ventured forward as often as he could and created a lot of trouble for poor old Gary Neville.

Along with Nasri they run the show on that side of the pitch but for Bendtner’s inability to head the ball into the net Clichy’s efforts would have received a lot more praise than they did.

All we need now is for the boys to play with the same determination and persistence against the “smaller” but more powerful teams whose first priority will be to stop you from playing; unlike the Manchester United’s of this world.

How do you beat Manchester United?

Friday, November 07, 2008

Clubs lining up for Appiah

By 1970’s Gooner

Many thought that when the captain of Ghana, Stephen Appiah, became available in the market for defensive midfielders he was ideal for Arsenal.

This is because he has the necessary experience at the top level (he was for many years at Juventus), possesses physical strength and has leadership ability, attributes that this current Arsenal side so obviously lacks.

But although originally considering the player Arsene Wenger stated that he was not in the running to snap him up.

Many thought that even though Appiah was considered a free agent after leaving his last club Fenerbacse, his high demands for wages, which were reported to be as high as £ 60.000 per week and a lack of action for 9 months due to a knee injury were enough to put Wenger off as well as a host of other interested clubs.

Appiah himself denied that his wage demands were putting off clubs and refused to go on trial to prove his fitness.

“If they want to check me out in terms of fitness that is fine but don’t tell me to get on the field and play for you to see how good I am because even if I am sleeping and I wake up I can play” he said to the Ghanaian press.

Appiah then went on to prove his fitness by playing in Ghana’s last two World Qualifiers.

Well, we can reveal that there was another reason why Wenger may have been put off.

And that is because Fenerbacse were letting interested clubs know that they still held the player’s registration and were demanding a hefty transfer fee of £ 7m!

The confusion prompted, Fifpro, the players union, to release a statement urging Fifa to iron out the issue once and for all to enable Appiah to play.

In its response Fifa said its decision to release the player on a free transfer still stands:

“On 11 June 2008, after giving the parties time to present their positions on the matter, Fifa advised by fax to both parties to consider their labour relationship as terminated and to focus on the financial aspects of the matter.

“It was also advised that should the player sign a new contract with a new club, in the case that an International Transfer Certificate were needed for an international transfer, the Turkish FF should provide it, in order to not hinder the player’s career”.

Since this has been cleared out there are now a host of clubs strongly interested in the player. This list includes Arsenal’s North London rivals Tottenham as well as Fulham and West Ham.

Harry Redknap while at Portsmouth was very interested in the player but the club's finances proved prohibitive. Spurs could prove to be more generous than Portsmouth especially now there are no transfer fees involved.

I wonder if Arsene Wenger might rethink his position on the matter.

Appiah refuses to go on trial

Thursday, November 06, 2008

How do you beat Manchester United?

By Eros

What I do know is that you don’t beat them by defending as stupidly as we did against Spurs, by playing as meekly as we did against Stoke and by missing those chances we created against Fenerbacse.

But beat United and everybody starts believing again. The team believe they can compete, the journalists are kept quiet and the fans are reassured that Wenger has not gone potty.

Lose the game and the murmurs will turn into strong discontentment with severe implications for the policy chosen by Arsene Wenger of relying only on youth.

The uncertainty for the future of this team will multiply and the commitment of certain important players for Arsenal will be jeopardised…

Liverpool beat United by playing a relentless pressing game, closing down every corridor and stopping their free flowing passing. But we cannot do that as effectively as we don’t have the players to do it.

Most, if not all, of our available midfielders are more creative by nature rather than defensively or negatively minded. It’s not in their DNA if you like.

Also United will have Ronaldo, Carrick and possibly Hargreaves back making them a different, more passing team, to the one that lost to Liverpool.

So we will greatly increase our chances of winning if we manage to keep the ball away from them. As the old saying goes “they can’t hurt us if they don’t have the ball”.

Go with 5 in the middle

For this reason – and the number of injuries - I think we should go with 5 in the middle.

My five would be Nasri, Cesc, Diaby, Song and Theo. Wenger might choose Denilson and leave either Diaby or Song on the bench although I would want to see some steel there.

I think Ferguson might go the same way, pushing Rooney to the left wing and Ronaldo to the right but free to roam and support Berbatov through the middle.

If that is the case then we will have a couple of areas that we could exploit and get at their defence.

Arsenal’s full backs can provide the winning thrust

As always with Arsenal, the full backs are our most important players. They provide the width and most importantly set the tempo for the rest of the team.

Firstly Sagna and Theo must push Rooney back on to his full back. Make him worry more about defending than attacking. Frustrate him and hope he drifts out of the game.

While Rooney will be willing to run back all day, Ronaldo may not. He tends to stay high up the pitch. Clichy MUST ignore what Ronaldo is doing and play his natural attacking game.

One of Kolo, Silvestre (Djourou if he plays) or Song will aim to get to Ronaldo in time and stop the counter attack.

Clichy and his mate Nasri can win the game for us

Whoever is playing at right back for United is going to be partially exposed because of Ronaldo not tracking back.

If it’s Brown then Clichy will beat him on the outside, if it’s Da Silva, Nasri has the ability to twist him inside out and if it’s Neville, well, I expect to have a number of free kicks in and around that area. Maybe Silvestre can punish his old team from a set piece!

If one of their 3 in midfield has to move over to cover for Ronaldo’s absence on the right side then this will release Cesc in the middle, hopefully allowing him to dictate play and dominate the midfield.

Bendtner, who I expect to play up front, will aim to drag one of the centre backs out of position with his movement giving our midfield the chance to break forward and try and finish off moves.

In order to analyse the game I assumed that Fergie will play a variation of a 4 5 1 formation but he could employ a more attacking 4 4 2.

But whatever formation he employs, the same thing will apply; we need to attack Brown (I consider him the weak link in their defence) and force their wingers backwards.

Whatever happens lets hope that we’ll defend better than we have done recently especially at set pieces and that we are in less charitable mood than Wednesday week….

All I can say is that we are well overdue a performance full of commitment and quality from the boys.

I think we will get it on Saturday.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Tony Adams snatches Arsenal target

By Aries

As reported on “Arsenal Analysis” recently, after showing keen interest, Arsenal have refused to pay a transfer fee for Ghanaian wonder kid Torric Jibril to his club Hearts of Oak.

Jibril is reported to have been recommended to Arsenal by the scouting agent Steve Rowley who watched the youngster play in one of the inaugural African Nations Championship qualifier against Niger.

The 17-year-old midfielder has been a target of some European clubs, including Athletico Madrid, after breaking into the Hearts of Oak senior team this season. His impressive performances have resulted in his call-up into the national team.

Arsenal wanted to give him a trial before committing any money but his club and agent refused to cooperate unless a fee of around £700.000 was paid.

Jibril has since been on trial at Portsmouth under the careful eye of Tony Adams and has yesterday signed a three year contract for an undisclosed fee.

"This is a very important moment in my career because it has always been my dream to play with a top club in Europe.

"I have been here for many days and I am happy with the facilities here and I am now relieved that the deal has been completed.

"I can fully concentrate on my career and hope that I can continue to develop to become what a lot of people expect me to be." Jibril said

The youngster will join Portsmouth's feeder club in Belgium, Zulte Waregem, later this month as his work permit is being sorted out.

His compatriots Stephen Appiah and Michael Essien both insist the 17-year-old sensation has the quality to play in the top-flight.

Just as well if you ask me. What Arsenal need at this juncture is experienced players who can pull their weight in the Premier League straight away not wonder kids who need time to be developed.

We have too many of those at the moment.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Arsenal are spineless

By 1970’s Gooner

As in every competitive situation in life you need to have a strong spine to be able to withstand the pressure that you will undoubtedly face.

In football you need it so that the team can be built around it. And you need it so that the balance of the team, so important in winning games, can be held together.

The players making up the spine should not only be capable but they need to be strong, confident and above all leaders.

And these characteristics assume paramount significance when most of the players are youngsters….

The spine begins with the goalkeeper and moves on through the central areas of the pitch from the centre back through to the central midfielder and finally the centre forward.

Previous Arsenal (and Wenger) teams had it in abundance.

The 1970’s double winning team had Bob Wilson, Frank Mc Clintock, Peter Storey and John Radford.

Earlier title winning teams under Wenger had Seaman, Adams, Vieira and Henry.

Chelsea now have Cseck, Terry, Lampard and Drogba.

Manchester United have Van De Sar, Vidic, Scholes and Ronaldo.

Hell even Liverpool now have a strong spine. Reina, Carragher, Gerrard, Torres.

Where’s Arsenal’s spine? Almunia? Gallas? Fabregas? Denilson? Adebayor?

I listed above the four characteristics of a “spine” player. Capable, strong, confident and a leader.

The current Arsenal spine unfortunately fails miserably on all but one of the above qualities. They are only capable but lack distinctly in terms of strength, confidence and leadership ability.


Nearly all the Arsenal players are highly skillful with high technique levels but they are relatively small, fragile and almost meek players who rely too much on their skill to get them through the game. Then they cry like babies when they get roughed up a bit.

But it’s not really their fault is it? They have been brought together by a manager who simply refuses to acknowledge that the team is actually spineless and in desperate need for at least a strong defensive midfielder and a centre back.


When the average age of the team week in week out is between 21 and 24 then you are dealing with kids who, as with any youngster, in any walk of life, go through ups and downs in whatever they do due to lack of confidence.

That is why Wenger is always building them up trying to improve their confidence levels. And that is why they sometimes perform excellently but at other times when things don’t go their way they fall apart.

Another characteristic of youth is overconfidence and complacency; and we have seen this also a lot of Wenger’s teams. The latest example being the game against Hull where they thought that by just turning up that victory was assured…


This is the last but the most important characteristic that can qualify someone as a “spine player”.

Who is Arsenal’s leader on the pitch? Who is the one that when things go wrong he gets everyone else going, leads by example and takes the game on his shoulders?

No one. Not Gallas, the captain, not Sagna, not Clichy (though he tries), not Toure, not Denilson, not Fabregas, not Nasri, certainly not Walcott, not Van Persie and certainly not want away Adebayor!

Get a spine Mr Wenger…..