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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Where is the hunger in this Arsenal team?


By Akbar Ghaffar

From the moment the match finished I just could not stop but have this thought circling around in my head continuously:

Where is the hunger? Where is the hunger?Where is the hunger?

I read all Wenger's pre-match statements "my team is ready", "it is our year" and so on but I did not see the hunger to win the match at any point.

What has been lacking in the Arsenal squad for years is not experience, not players leaving, but HUNGER to win.

If you are playing in a semi-final you cannot just go out there and be rattled, lost all over the pitch and run around like a headless chicken.

But that is what I saw.

And it is not the first time mind you. But come to think of it, if Arshavin was not on the pitch at Anfield, Liverpool would have also slaughtered us. It is just those fabulous 4 shots that kept us in the game, otherwise WE WERE PATHETIC.

Liverpool took us on a roller coaster ride right from the first minute (like United did). The stamina, the hunger to run and win the ball, the desire of every player to come back and then go forward again (even Torres) and to collectively defend was amazing.

It is such desire that wins balls, puts the opposition under pressure out of which corners, throw ins and their rhythm is broken. What a team needs to be is ruthless in everything and have undefined energy to keep the opposition on their toes.

Sadly I have not seen that in Arsenal for a long time.

What Arsenal needs the most is players who can create this energy with an attitude that says: "this is where we stand, we will die on the pitch if we have to".

It is evident how the physical attributes were missing last night. And by that I mean to at least really get into a player and stop his pass, cross or shot. Or jump and try to block a cross. Song did it last night but that's just about it. No one else!

Have you ever seen any Arsenal player really jumping and trying to at least cut a cross in midfield as such? I have yet to see that. Many of the crosses thrown into our box are because our left/right backs don’t really get into a player to block his cross, they wait, wait and just wait…..

I think Arsenal has to be ruthless and have passionate, in fact very passionate players, with a lot of energy because this really affects the psyche of the opposition and puts them under pressure leading to errors.

I have to admit that being positive is always better but what I am describing above is what makes the difference between a winning team and a mere runner up (remember the Liverpool - Milan CL final 3 - 3?).

Apart from that we need a tall holding midfielder and at least one tall defender to partner Toure who can get some headed goals for us and of course cut out the aerial threat.

What Wenger has also not yet realised is that having a good dead ball specialist in the team can take us from a semi to a final, yes it counts a lot.

Ronaldinho, Juninho and Ronaldo have scored or assisted a lot of crucial goals from their free kicks and we have none of that. United have won ten 1 - 0 matches and some are thanks to a free kick or a resulting header.

I think its about time Wenger changes his tune and injects some enthusiasm and hunger in his players to be ruthless and really scare the hell out of the opposition.

That is what champions do and I really hope that this prayer comes to life before the 2nd leg…..


24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes all the above we need plus four new experienced players in all positions. Get rid of Adebayor and Diaby at least.

chesterCZ said...

couldn't agree more with you..., well written!

Anonymous said...

Great Post. For all Wenger's talk of mental strength, Man U, Chels and especially Liv seem to have fuckloads more hunger than us. Something happened to us when Viera went....

Dan Dan said...

Flamini was the hunger. He was the guy with the sleeves rolled up putting his body on the line when things weren't going our way. Hence why he was worth paying a few extra grand to keep because characters like that are invaluable. Rather than that goon Adebayor strolling around the pitch. He hasn't got a clue I really hope we sell him. Flamini was worth that wage any day if Adebayor is.

Danish Gooner said...

Spot on.

Tony said...

ya exactly right. i think its wengers fault too that the players don't show any hunger. do you think fergie would accept such a blatant lack of desire? i think not

Anonymous said...

seen far worse from an arsenal team with henry in it-in case u forgot we got spanked 6-1 that day and every goal was painful and the 4-0 whooping we took in the FA cup last yr. i doubt it is simply hunger as to be a pro footballer as opposed to a top blogger takes a bit dont u think?

The performance was poor cause i think the selection was not right and the occassion affected our players more than theirs. - i would have had eboue (more defensive) instead of walcott and bring him on as an impct sub, moved nasri out to the left and had diaby behind ade instead of cesc. but from what i seen only gibbs and almunia put in a decent shift. the rest looked lost including fab4.
They allways say footballs a game of 2 halves so hopefully we can have a better second half performance at home.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully it will be a better second leg but with RVP, EDUARDO,SILVESTRE currently injured, and Clichy definitely ruled out, much as it kills me to say it.
We are fucked and I do mean proper fucked.
Last season we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and this season our players are made of crystal.
I am a huge Wnger fan but he needs to get rid of this 451 bullshit or at least switch it to an attacking formation with eddy on point flanked by AA and RVP. Cesc behind with nasri to sweep and support. Clichy and Sagna as wing backs with Gallas Djourou and Toure in that order left to right in central defence. Almunia in goal
Good luck to any fuckers who think they can beat that team and formation.
(Pity we will never see it.)
sell ADE, Diaby and anybody else who cant fit directly into that formation and replace Fabianski because he aint got it.

If only.
Irish Gunner

Anonymous said...

I think your article really reflects your frustration at us being comprehensively outplayed rather than an insight-full analysis of the game. The word 'hunger' is used by lazy, dim-witted journalists who can only resort to cliches. Of course Arsenal were hungry for the win and if you had asked any of the players to sprint 5 lengths of the pitch, to be rewarded with a goal, they would all have done it. What is missing is the nouse; knowing how to deal with awkward situations that arise. Our players cover as much ground as any team, when it comes to playing teams like Middlesbrough and West Brom; it is the big games against the big teams - Chelsea in the FA Cup; Man Utd in the ECL - where we lack the know-how that is required to deal with difficult situations. That is where experience carries such a premium.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comment directly above. We were simply outplayed. If you notice, any time a team closes down quickly and man marks out the short 2nd pass, we lose our fluidity. That is the formula to beating Arsenal, and many teams with the will to do it have done so successfully. Many times teams will lose gas, as it takes a buttload of energy to keep at it for the full 90 minutes, which is why you tend to see Arsenal play better in the 2nd half when they are afforded more space.

Anonymous said...

The care free defending attitute revealed we are yet not there. I watched some players moving away from our box when the corner was yet to be cleared and this left 3 Man U players unmarked and free to score the rest is history anyway.

Mau is a good team but we should not donate them goals to them let them sweat.

Anonymous said...

All this talk about analysis and no comment about the dumb 4-2-3-1 formation, in addition to playing players out of position. When have we had a dominating performance with that formation against a big team in recent times?!?!?!? non...all the other matches with that tactic we only scraped through!!! lost is done 90% to Wenger.

Anonymous said...

finally the truth..., but not whole truth..,this team is not good enough not to work its socks off(e.g.Flamini), would it make sense to speak of Xavi's or Iniesta's "hunger'? , they are just too good for that to be an issue. This team achieves exactly what it's worth, and with luck, a cup semifinals, 4th,3rd place in the premiership; there are only three world class players in this team (the Fab,the Arshavin, and Van P.when healthy).This is not a team of total footballers that Wenger deludes himself and us to believe.. 'like Ajax of the mid 90's' , or even a good passing team under presure like a mini barca.., ridiculous !. Look at the young talent in the biggest clubs in europe, do we compare? Theo is a natural phenomen but a boy with a very very small football brain. Bendtner actually has one but delimited by his ability. Song just not good enough. Diaby does not know what he is doing nor anybody told him. Nasri may still become very very good, but what is his role?.and Ade.. enough said. that Wenger is always tactically inflexible and outsmarted by his equals never helped.they will produce some amazing game or glimpse of promise once in awhile. let's enjoy it and not expect more. If by some miracle they will advance to the final against Barca this will be the real measure. and I am sure it will be gratifyingly humiliating, as it could only but be.

tripster said...

To Anon 7:12pm
P*ss off and support another team then, you turd. Sick of ridiculous comments from so called "supporters".
Look at the big picture, and then stop moaning like a little baby. Idiot.

Tei said...

Very, very good post.

Jam said...

Things we learned last night:

1. NASRI IS NOT A DEFENSIVE MID; Wenger must 've been on crack when he thought that one up.

2. WE NEED CLICHY AND DJOROU BACK QUICK. Gibs improved as the game went on, but honestly he had a poor first half. He was like rabbit caught in headlights.

3. FERGUSON SOLD US SILVESTRE TO BRING US DOWN. This guy is so bad is untrue (think headless Titus Bramble). His positioning, passing,and judgment calls were all mediocre at best. The worrying thing is that if wenger actually thinks he's good, then the next defender he buys could be absolutely RUBBISH.

4. ARSENAL FANS SHOULD START A PETITION TO DROP SILVESTRE. This guy should not be anywhere near the first team, even with injuries. I would rather have heavily strapped gallas on crutches.

5. ADEBAYOR IS NOT TO BLAME FOR THE WOEFUL ATTACKING DISPLAY. Ok, he had a bad game and was wastful, but to be honest, all the creative players players had shockers. The guy was isoated and had absoloutely no support - everytime he got the ball he was surrounded by atleast 4 united players.

6. IF ANYBODY SHOULD BE BLAMED, BLAME BENTDNER. The guy is absolutely useless. He had by far and away arsenal's best chance and he wasted it. All he had to do was glance the ball into the empty from Fab free-kick; and he headed it miles wide. Oh dear.

7. ARSENAL DO NOT HAVE 1 EFFECTIVE DM IN THE WHOLE SQUAD. Song, Diaby and Denilson cannot tackle to save their lives. Song especially was running around veeery sloooowly like a zombie from Dawn of the Dead movies; and united players were simply too quick too mobile.

8.ALMUNIA IS A TOP CLASS KEEPER. Deserved man of the match for his effort. All the team let him down.

9. ARSENAL ARE NOT THE SAME WITHOUT CLICHY, GALLAS, ARSHAVIN AND VAN PERSIE. You need these players in big matches. Atleast the 3 that can play in CL.

10. EVRA IS TOO STRONG AND TOO STREET-WISE FOR WALCOTT. He too predictable, needs to learn to switch flanks to shake-off ful backs. Hopefully he will have more space at emirates.

Anonymous said...

"Look at the big picture, and then stop moaning like a little baby. Idiot." Tripster 9:14 PM
Thank you, but what is the bigger picture if you please? with very few exceptions the youth assembled is second best, and we are shocked and humiliated when against the very best this truth is revealed ever again . wake up!

sameep said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I have come to the conclusion the arsene knows best go support the chavs brigade are really arsenal PR people who sit on the internet looking for negative comments its a well known pr tactic in the music industry. When I go to games the fans I speak to are like 99% on here and other blogs. We pay a lot of money and can have an opinion we were shit against manure full stop. For years I hear the talk but this team are failures when ever they need to prove they are worth all the hype they fall short. Van Persie wants a new contract but has won nothing in his time at the club that is not the clubs fault but the players!

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