Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Friday, December 30, 2011

Is Henry a viable option or an excuse not to buy?

By 1970’s Gooner

How will Henry fit into this Arsenal team?

I was at the Emirates Cup as a guest of Arsenal Football Club and I had the chance to see Henry play against us. 

I was not impressed.

He played as the front man in a 4 5 1 formation and was not up to it. He was too slow and didn’t have the pace to chase down balls. All he was good at was keeping the ball and making intelligent passes. That was all.

I then thought that may be he was in preseason or coming back from injury. He was that slow. None of those were true, unfortunately.

In my opinion he is not good enough to start games. If he does then he will be slowing the game down and getting caught in possession. There may come a time when Wenger will want to rest RVP or replace him when he gets injured. He will then look to Henry.

I hope I am proved wrong but he will not prove to be a viable option in my opinion.

Can RVP and Henry play together? 

For this to happen then Henry will play at centre forward and RVP on the wing (to replace Gervinho). Alternatively the system will have to change to 4 4 2 or 4 4 1 1 with Henry behind RVP.

Wenger will not change the system that’s for sure. That will disorientate the players who have been training hard in the past seasons to play 4 3 3. It will be pretty stupid to change the system for a month or so to accommodate a player.

And to move RVP to the wing will of course be suicidal as you will then be removing your top hot scorer away from the firing line.

So this option is ruled out. What’s left then?

Wenger’s other option is to bring him on only as a sub. Remember Gervinho will be away for most of January and one would expect that Wenger may start with Arshavin (god help us) or my choice Chamberlain.

So is Henry a viable option for Arsenal or an excuse not to buy? I think it id the latter.

We need to get rid of the dead wood like Chamach and Arshavin (also Almunia, Denilson, Bendtner, Vela etc). Park doesn’t seem to be a Premier League player nor does Benayoun.

And we desperately need to buy a viable alternative to RVP in case he gets injured or wants out (he has not signed a new deal remember). We also need at least one more wide midfield player.

I doubt that Wenger will buy anyone.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wrong team selection, wrong players’ attitude and a useless bench

By 1970's Gooner

I call it as I see it. And I didn’t like what I saw developing before my eyes during the game against Wolves. Granted they are my second team that I support (due to family connections) but at the end I was left feeling very disappointed with Arsenal’s performance.

Firstly the players’ attitude was completely wrong. I could see it right after we scored. They relaxed, started showboating (especially Song) and played like victory was already granted.

Song had a shocker and was at fault for their equaliser, strolling out of the box like he was on an afternoon walk.

Then there was Wenger’s team selection and substitutions. Wrong. It was wrong to start with Benayoun. When I saw his name in the starting 11 I cringed. He was not up to pace and I think he is not up to Premier League standard. It certainly looked like that during the game. He should have been substituted at half time.

In terms of tactics he was also the wrong type of player to start the game on the right hand side of midfield. His inclusion unbalanced the Arsenal team as there was no outlet on the right wing, nor was there any penetration in the attacking positions from that side. He kept coming infield all the time congesting the space for the other midfielders.

He did however make the pass which led to Gervinho’s goal, but as it proved, scoring a goal was not and never is enough to win you the game. You need 11 top players out there who are committed and on top of their game to achieve success and there were not many on top of their game last night.

The right decision for me was to start with Oxlade Chamberlain. Why not? He would have at least provided the balance we needed and would have put the opposing defender much more under pressure.

Then we come to the substitutions. What substitutions? Arshavin and Chamach are a disgrace. Arshavin is a parody of his former self. He can’t pass the ball nor can he shoot straight. All he did was come inside (rather than take his player on) and pass square. Thanks very much Andrei. Please take a hike back to Zenit St Petersburg.

And Chamach is the best we have to bring on and change the game! Thanks a lot Mr Wenger….

At least Ramsey provided something extra when he came on.

Now expect another very hard game against QPR. They will not roll over and surrender as some of our players may think they should.

 And I half expect that Mr Wenger will unleash Mr Park on us. God help us.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Drop Ramsey and find a new right back Mr Wenger

By 1970’s Gooner

I call it as I see it. And what I saw last night was not good enough. We had two major weaknesses which need to be corrected and soon.
The first was the form of Ramsey. He has been below par recently and needs a rest. Last night he couldn’t provide the passes or the creativity that the team so obviously lacks. The team is crying out loud for someone to take the ball in midfield and drive the team forward. But he couldn’t provide it.

As soon as Rosicky came on the whole style of play changed dramatically. We stopped playing passes sideways or to the opponents and held the ball much better. The result was that we put them under pressure and scored from our 11th corner of the match.

I would like to see Rosicky given a chance in the creative midfield role in the next games.

The second weakness was the odd decision to play Coquelin as right back. He was awful. He couldn’t keep his position or his man and ended up picking a yellow early on. His predicament was so obvious even his own players stopped passing the ball to him.

The best option should be to play Miquel at left back and Koscienly at right back. Vermaelen should start in central defence.

Arshavin was awful again. He should be sold in January. There are other players who deserve to come on as subs, like Benayoun, who will at least try unlike him who looks disinterested.

Given the tremendous effort the players put in last Sunday against City with the inevitable fatigue coupled with having to carry two youngsters we did pretty well in the end.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Frimpong vs Coquelin and Squillaci vs Miquel. The choice is obvious

By 1970’s Gooner

Now Djourou is out. And Song too. Can Wenger find adequate replacements and still maintain the same level of performance?

The harder to replace of the two is Song in my opinion. He is the heart of the Arsenal team, a box to box midfielder who never stops running. He is also pivotal in the way Arsene Wenger’s teams play.

The team is set up in a very attacking formation with the 4 3 3 sometimes turning into a 4 1 2 3 with additional support in the attack from the two full backs. There is only one defensive midfielder there and Song has been along with RVP our most influential player so far.

His absence will be a big miss and whoever replaces him has a hard task to follow. The choice will be between Frimpong and Coquelin. I would go for the former as he has shown that he has the strength and power to replace Song like for like.

On the other hand Coquelin has played really well when called upon especially in the defeat at Spurs. He has really improved this season and he provides a more creative option in the centre of midfield.

Gibbs is out unfortunately. This leaves Squillaci and Miquel. I would have thought the choice between them was pretty obvious. Miquel played really well against City. He held his position effectively making important tackles. He wasn’t overawed by the occasion.

The alternative is to play Squillaci in central defence and move Vermaelen at left back. I hope that Wenger does not fall for this. I really do. Squillaci played in the defeat at Olympiakos and he was auful. Playing him against Bent’s heading ability or Agbonlahor’s pace would be suicidal.

If we play with the same determination and work rate as against City we should prevail. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Arsenal very near to achieving great things again

By 1970’s Gooner

What a terrific game that was against Manchester City. We gave as good as we got but in the end it was just short. I say just because if we could have played with our full first team we would not have lost and probably have won that game.

And everyone would have been talking us up as title contenders.

The game was lost because our two full backs were not full backs. Djourou was awful on the right hand side and Walcott kept loosing the ball thus putting him under even more pressure.

Most of City’s attacks came from that flank but they scored their goal from the other side and that was because Wenger moved Koscienly there from centre back. He was way out of position when the through ball to Balotteli went past him and Song, who got back to cover, was too tired to block his shot.

There is another reason why were less effective in this game and it has to do with the full backs again. We lacked the width and the outlet in the attacking positions that our normal full backs usually give us.

Sagna and Santos (or Gibbs) would have given Arsenal a more defensive nous and strength but also ‘balance’. The result of the game would, I am convinced, have been different.

Even with these deficiencies our defensive performance was still very good. We don’t let in silly goals anymore, Szczesny (along with Friedle) is the best keeper in the Premier League, the wide attacking players track back consistently and the whole team defends as a unit when we loose the ball.

This augurs very well for the near future for when Sagna and Gibbs return we will become a very stingy outfit.

And when Wilshere returns then that little bit of creativity and steel that Ramsey is still lacking will make us quite a formidable unit.

Our bench will need to be strengthened too. The two attacking subs were awful. I would have preferred Chamberlain instead of Arshavin. At least he would have been enthusiastic to do something.

We really have to get rid of Arshavin and Chamakh in the January window and get in another centre forward.

And we will be achieving great things again.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

There are two but I prefer only one way of replacing Santos

By 1970’s Gooner

I must say that I raised more than one eyebrow when the team sheet was announced in Athens last Tuesday. What on earth did possess Wenger to name Vermaelen AND Santos in the starting eleven when the game was absolutely irrelevant to where Arsenal would finish in the group?. 

Santos was the only available left back we had at the club! And he goes and plays him in Greece! Shocking decision…. Now we are facing a crisis for the next two to three weeks until Gibbs returns. 

What are the options then for the game against Everton? 

Wenger intends to play Vermaelen at left back. 

I really beg to disagree. 

Vermaelen should be kept at centre back. He has developed a very good understanding with Mertesacker and they complement each other perfectly as one is left and the other right sided. 

The quality of their performances as a central defensive pair have been very obvious for every one to see. I also think that Vermaelen is a top top central defender and he can cover for any of Mertesacker’s weaknesses much better than any other. 

If Vermaelen plays at left back then Koscienly will start in central defence. Don’t get me wrong. Koscienly has been in top form this season but I think the team will overall have a better balance with Vermaelen in central defence. 


Djourou Mertesacker Vermaelen Koscienly 

Ramsey Song Arteta 

Walcott RVP Gervinho