Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

To Arsene Wenger: Five actions needed to get Arsenal back on track

By 1970’s Gooner

1. Buy at least a high class goal scorer.

It is increasingly obvious that we lack the player who will stick the ball in the back of the net. We create enough chances as was evident in many of our games this season.

Giroud may become that player but I doubt it. And even if he does we will need another striker to share the load. We are in real danger of not making the top four this season and action is needed now.

You also need higher than average understudies in the goalkeeper, left back and centre back positions.

2. Get Walcott to sign a new contract.

He is much more important to the team than you may think. He gives it drive and speed. Without him the team is slow and predictable.

Please note that with Walcott in the starting line up Arsenal have won many more than they lost. Give him the money he wants and promise him that he will be tried in the forward position.

3. Play Rosicky in the starting eleven now he is fit.

He is as vital as Walcott is and for the same reasons. Rosicky does two things that the other midfielders do not do.

He turns with the ball and goes forward straight at the opposition rather than passing it sideways. This gives the whole team an attacking and penetrating thrust and quickens the game for Arsenal thus unsettling the opposition midfielders and defenders who have much less time to regroup and keep their lines.

He also is a tenacious player who hunts the ball down and defends as well as attacking.

4. Get rid of the dead wood that you have created

Getting rid of inadequate players means you have to accept that uncharacteristically you recently made some mistakes in the transfer market, but we all make mistakes. The biggest mistake one can make is to refuse to accept it and not learn from it.

By letting these players go you will be releasing the resources (from saving their salaries plus the transfer fees that may be collected) to bring the much needed reinforcements.

Fabianski: He will not make it at Arsenal. Sell him or let him go on a free. Use the money raised to bring in an experienced goalkeeper who will challenge Szczeny.

Santos: This was a 6 million signing. He is not a left back. He is more a left sided midfielder. Get in a new left back who can challenge Gibbs. Alternatively get in another high quality centre back which will then allow Vermaelen to deputise for Gibbs when needed.

Djourou: His time is nearing the end at Arsenal. He is not a premiership centre back.

Squillaci. This was a 5 million signing! Get him out and save his wages at least.

Arshavin: His time is up at Arsenal. He was sensational when he first arrived. He is not up to it now. He is on a huge salary near to the amount of money Walcott is demanding (90,000 a week). Get rid of him and use the money for Walcott’s new contract.

Gervinho: This was an 11 million signing. The guy tries but he fails to reach Premier league standards. He can’t score from 2 yards! His control is letting him down and he can’t defend when needed.

Chamakh: He is on 60,000 a week! But he can’t control or pass straight. Please get him out.

Ju Young: he is a 5 million buy!!!!!! He is out on loan in Spain at the moment but apparently Arsenal have written off this investment in the accounts! He is unlikely to play for Arsenal. WHY DID WE BUY HIM ARSENE?

5. Do not resign

Friday, December 07, 2012

Arsenal’s football model bound for failure?

By 1970’s Gooner

What is failure really?

The ascertainment of failure can only be made when the comparison is made of the performance achieved against the ‘required’ level.

Is failing to win a major title for seven years considered as a failure? Is it enough to sack the coach for example?

The decision on whether Arsenal are failing is, these days, made when comparisons are made against those teams that have finished higher than Arsenal (or won titles). It also has to do with what the supporters’ expectations are.

I remember when Arsenal went 17 years without winning anything until 1970 when the then Fairs Cup (now called Europa League) was added to Arsenal’s trophy board. We didn’t complain much before because our expectations were influenced by those barren years and hence anything won was a real bonus.

The opposite is happening these days. Wenger walked into Arsenal all those years ago and started winning one title after another. The fans expectations were raised to another level. And anything less than that has been and is considered as a failure.

Then however two significant changes occurred which altered the balance of power in the Premier League and made Arsenal take a back seat in the race for titles and glory.

Firstly Roman Abramovic and his roubles changed the rules of the game. It no longer was and is enough to rely on your own generated funds along with the genius of your coach to win titles. Money talks and this trend has now been accentuated with the new owners of Manchester City and is also taking place outside England with the investment in PSG in France.

Manchester United have been relatively less affected by this as they can generate funds from revenues earned world wide as they cash in on their global brand name. Something which no other club in England can emulate.

The second change that has occurred almost at the same time with the inflow of the oligarchs is the strain on Arsenal’s finances placed by the borrowings needed to facilitate the move to the new stadium, The Emirates.

This has starved Wenger of the funds to invest in the team and is the major reason why the football model adopted at Arsenal switched with significant emphasis placed on youth development, astute buys in the transfer market and becoming a selling club in order to fund the instalments for the stadium loans.

The result is that Arsenal has not won anything during this period. Are you really surprised? I am not.

In fact it is a major, major achievement that Asrenal Football Club finished in the top 4 every season, so far….

If Arsene Wenger were to leave the club then the financial and football model he will leave behind will collapse. This is because it is his managerial, coaching and astute buys in the transfer market that can make this model workable. No other manager could make this model work.

Will financial fair play rules change all that?  No not really. The only thing that can change favourably is Arsenal’s finances through better deals with sponsors and more revenues from the football league.

Then anything that Arsenal can make over the 20m that is needed to pay the annual payment to the bond holders can go towards the transfer fund. The bond issue was in 2006 and is for a 25 year period!

Note on Arsenal’s debt

Interest on the £260 million debt was set at a commercial fixed rate over a 14-year period.To refinance the cost, the club planned to convert the money into a 30-year bond financed by banks.The proposed bond issue went ahead on 13 July 2006. Arsenal issued £210 million worth of 13.5-year bonds with a spread of 52 basis points over government bonds and £50 million of 7.1-year bonds with a spread of 22 basis points over LIBOR. It was the first publicly marketed, asset-backed bond issue by a European football club.The effective interest rate on these bonds is 5.14% and 5.97%, respectively, and are due to be paid back over a 25-year period; the move to bonds has reduced the club's annual debt service cost to approximately £20 million a year (from Wikipedia).

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Wenger’s “rotation” backfires against Villa. Player Analysis and Ratings

By 1970’s Gooner

Arsene Wenger’s changes in the starting line up meant that the team lacked rhythm and understanding between the players. Add the wet conditions and a resolute young Villa side and you could have predicted the stalemate.

Wenger’s decision to play Ramsey in the middle and the Ox on the wing created anxiety inside me.

Ramsey is not a penetrative nor is he a defensively minded midfielder. When he is played in a middle three which includes Cazorla and Arteta then he gets lost in two minds. Does he play in a more restrained manner staying back to help Arteta or does he move forward with the ball but risk crowding out Cazorla in the process.

He did neither against Villa and that meant that we gave the opportunity to Villa’s midfield to press us successfully in the middle and often steal the ball from Ramsey putting us under pressure. Coquelin should have started the game if Wilshere was not available.

Wilshere can play both roles to perfection but alas Wenger decided to rest him ready for the Everton game midweek. Wrong decision in my opinion.

The Ox I like but he has been off form in the last few games. That was very obvious to me. And true to form he did not inject pace nor real penetration on the wing. Walcott was not injured he was rested. Wenger should have played Walcott who is sizzling hot at the moment. Wrong decision again.

If Wilshere and Walcott had played tonight the team would have been traveling to the Everton game with a win under their belt and their confidence sky high.

Szczesny : Coming back to form. Brilliant save tipping the ball on to the bar from a well struck shot from outside the box. Has to improve his kicking though. 7

Jenkinson: Solid even if he was out for the last few games. Failed to put in the crosses for Giroud though as Sagna has been doing recently. 6

Gibbs: A much needed return to the team. He is more solid at the back and much more dangerous going forward than Vermaelen. 6

Mertersacker: A very robust and effective all round display both in the air and on the ground. He is a much improved defender this season and a player that the team can rely on. 8

Koscienly: A solid and workman like display. Did very well in the air and in bringing the ball forward from defence. Arsenal now have three equally good central defenders. 7

Arteta: Performed his defensive duties effectively and without too much fuss. A very reliable professional. 7

Ramsey: See above. 5

Cazorla: Was not at his effervescent best tonight. He tends to struggle a little bit when he is closed down. This happened with Chelsea and at Manchester United and we lost those games. He will learn to deal with this I am sure. 6

The Ox: See above. 5

Podolski: A performance that did not create anything of note I am afraid. Rarely got beyond his man nor did he come inside to threaten. 5

Giroud: Did not get the service he deserved as both wingers or their respective fullbacks did not get any quality crosses in for him. 6

Subs: Gervinho 4, Arshavin 4, Coquelin 5.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Wenger’s inadequacies expose Arsenal

By 1970’s Gooner

I am disgusted. I feel sick.

Arsene Wenger made four fatal mistakes against Utd today and the result was one of the most insipid and overall poor performances during his reign at Arsenal.


Everyone was telling Arsene Wenger that Santos was a serious liability. It was so obvious for God’s sake. But no he is so stubborn. The first choice left back is out so the second choice has to play. My arse. The second choice is totally useless Mr Wenger come to terms with it. You made a dud buy.

Time and time again he was too weak to stop Valencia or Rafael. Their first goal came from his bad positioning and of course Vermaelen’s poor clearance. And it was by bad luck and Mannone’s heroics that we kept the score low.


Ramsey is a poor player on the wing Mr Wenger. Face it. The boy is not ready yet for such games. He neither helped Sagna out nor did he go forward. He was useless. Totally useless. How come Wenger does not see that is beyond me.


Giroud is not a Premiership player. He is a joke Mr Wenger. He could not hold the ball up, couldn’t head it nor did he create anything.You bought another dud there mate. Face it. Playing with 9 men usually results in defeat don’t you think?


Ferguson subbed Cleverly. Wenger did not sub Wilshere and of course he got a red.

Maybe the difference between the two teams were the managers.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Drop this player for the Man Utd game Mr Wenger

By 1970’s Gooner

Sir Alec Ferguson seems to have been very astute with his tactics and formation in recent games. And even if the defence seems to be shipping in goals they end up winning the games that matter.

Take their league game at Chelsea for example. Many thought that the formation will be the diamond so well employed in the Champions League games and against Newcastle where a 3 0 away win was easily achieved.

But no, Ferguson reverted to the winger system with Ashley Young and Valencia running the Chelsea full backs rugged.

Valencia in particular aided by the right back Rafael created all sorts of problems on the right side contributing directly the first two goals of the game. The constant danger on that side meant that Ashley Cole was either restricted in his forward forays or more importantly when he did venture forward he was caught out of position.

So you can imagine how worried I became when the news came out today that Gibbs was unavailable for this Suturday's game at Old Trafford. Can you imagine what damage United can potentially achieve down that flank with Santos as our left back?

The guy cannot defend properly. He is either out of position because he has ventured forward (as all Brazilian defenders tend to do – Kafu, Roberto Carlos) or when he is in position he tends to commit himself too early rather than staying with the player.

I am worried. Really worried.

Arsene Wenger should, in my opinion, take the brave decision and drop Santos for this game in favour of either Koscienly or even Jenkinson. They are right footed but I am sure they will do a more than an adequate job.

The other area that Ferguson will try to negate will be to repeat Chelsea’s man to man marking of Cazorla during the encounter with Chelsea at the Emirates. Ramires did succeed in marking Santi very closely during that home defeat and as a result his distribution and overall effectiveness suffered.

Fletcher may be utilised for this purpose and he has the credentials to do it well. He has done it in the past against Arsenal and I am sure he will be up for it on Saturday. I just hope Fergie may not select him as he played midweek at Chelsea.

In this case Rooney will become the key man. He is likely to drop into midfield when Arsenal have possession making their formation a 4 5 1, restricting spaces for Arsenal’s midfielders to create.

The outcome of the game will rest on Arsenal’s ability to contain United’s attacking flair especially cutting the supply line to RVP form the wings (especially the left). If this is achieved Arsenal will find the net against a united defence which has been shipping goals lately.

Question: Which Premier League team has the best defensive record this season?

Long it may continue, but will it?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Arsenal vs Coventry video highlights

By 1970's Gooner

There are many of you who couldn't attend the match against Coventry.

Here are the highlights.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Szczeny out for four weeks

By 1970's Gooner

Wojciech Szczeny has got into injury mode just like his compatriot Fabianski. 

He missed the first two games of the season with a rib injury, came back for the game against Southampton and dropped a clanger handing them their only goal. A mistake for which his rib injury was probably a contributing factor.

Now it seems that his has picked up an ankle and foot injury and is out for at least four weeks. Fabianski is also out for an indefinite period due to an injury picked up in training on international duty for Poland which hands Vito Mannone an excellent chance to stake his claim as Arsenal's number one.

However it leaves Arsenal rather dangerously short in case Vito suffers an injury with young Argentinean keeper Damian Martinez continuing as his understudy.

We all wanted to play the number 9 when kids too Theo

By 1970's Gooner

Don’t get me wrong. I have promoted the idea of Theo being given a chance to prove himself in the middle of Arsenal’s attack just before the season started when it was obvious that RVP was departing for pastures new.

I still think that Theo should be given his chance as he has the qualities to succeed in this position. He is of course fast (thus he can get behind the opposing defence just like Ljumberg and Nicolas Anelka used to). He has shown that he can finish and I think with more exposure in this role he could get goals. He is a much better finisher than Gervinho in my opinion and at the moment much better than Giroud!

Arsene Wenger must have his own reasons why he has decided to opt for Gervinho rather than Wallcot and one of them may have to do with his maturity and decision making.

So AW may want to give him more exposure on the flanks before bringing him in the middle as he has done with others in the past. Fabregas and Diaby were first exposed on the wing for a few seasons before he was convinced to trust them by playing them in the middle where the responsibilities are far greater. He did the same with RVP although his injuries may have played a part in this.

Where Theo has got it wrong is in his attitude. Instead of signing a new deal and putting his head down trying to prove AW wrong he has decided to force the issue by not only demanding more money than his current contract but like a spoilt child wanting reassurances that he will be Arsenal’s centre forward!

Since when did Arsenal’s football players dictate in which position they play?

Theo Walcott looks to have overestimated his current abilities. He has not been near the consistent level of performances that he needs to put in so that he can convince Wenger to trust Arsenal’s goal scoring duties to him. Maybe in a year or so, but not now.

And Arsenal have made a mistake in not forcing Theo to either sign up or get out. Now the club has tactically lost a major bargaining position which will ultimately result, in the case where Walcott is moved on, in a reduced transfer fee of at least a few million pounds.

And if Wenger insists in not playing him until he signs up then Walcott will get frustrated and want out anyway, most probably at the end of his contract, in which case Arsenal will get nothing!

Theo too should have known better but to demand that he plays in the middle.

It reminds me when we were kids and we all wanted to play the number 9 (and nobody played in goal).

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Arsenal’s Next Gen have to learn to play like a team

By 1970’s Gooner

I watched the whole of Arsenal’s Next Gen game away to Olympiakos. Arsenal’s players were more technically gifted and more accomplished player for player when compared to the Greeks. You could see the skills flowing through them.

However they were a bunch of individual players that looked to have been put together in a hastily fashion in order to compete in this version of the youth Champions League.

They looked like a team that didn’t know each other which meant that passes were more often than not going astray or being intercepted by the opposition. More significantly the players were playing more individually than as a unit.

There were occasions when Akpom playing up front and Jeffrey on the right wing were guilty of not passing the ball in the area for a better placed colleague. Instead they were choosing to go through on their own. Kids staff really…

But Olympiakos were not guilty of this type of play. They were more compact knowing each other’s movement and playing as a much more cohesive unit. And even though their first goal was off side they scored it because their winger passed it beautifully across the area to the unmarked forward.

For some unfathomable reason the officials were Greek!

The Arsenal players that stood out for me were Ebecilio (central midfielder in the Diaby mould and style) and the central defender Hajrovic.

Yennaris was played out of position in central midfield and was generally ineffective, Gnarby, who is tipped to be upgraded to the first team squad should Walcott leave, did not impress either. 

Lets hope Terry Burton gets his act together for the next game. 

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Player analysis and ratings Vs Liverpool

By 1970’s Gooner


I like Vito. He is brave, has a massive built which fills the goal and is a good shot stopper. He showed all these qualities today and made good saves late in the game. He needs to improve his approach to the high balls which troubled him today on two occasions. His loan spell at Hull helped him a lot. 7


I felt that in the first half he along with Mertersacker and Giroud were our weakest links. Young Sterling was having the better of him and also his distribution across the Arsenal back line instead of passing it forward gave the opponents some early possession in unwanted areas. Improved in the second half and looked assured from then on. He seems to stay back when we go forward and I think it is a planned move making sure that we are not exposed when we attack by having both full backs bombing forward as well as two of our three midfielders supporting the attack, as we used to do the season before. Bould’s influence? All I can say is why did we wait so many years to appoint Bouldy to the first team coaching staff? 6


Unlike Jenkinson he has the license to go forward and he is improving with every game. He was caught out of position on occasion but Podolski’s excellent defensive display helped him out masking his weakness in this area. He needs to guide his crosses onto Giroud’s head. More work is needed on the training ground in correcting this. 6


Looked uneasy against Suarez getting a yellow card when the Liverpool player slipped past him early on. But overall he played well using his experienced head to position himself correctly cutting out the through passes. He does look clumsy though when facing players with a low centre of gravity. 6


He is a real captain. Strong, decisive and a leader. Got to a lot of high balls from the many corners that Liverpool swung in. Defending balls from dead ball situations is another improvement in Arsenal’s defensive display. Reacted well when Mannone spilled a shot late in the game to get there first and clear away. 7


A magnificent display from Arsenal’s best player on the pitch. He was immense, doing everything, winning the ball, going forward, making incisive passes and when needed to slow the game down passing early and simply. He is Arsenal’s best transfer this season and he cost nothing. May he keep out of injury…. 9


He had a brilliant game. Never wasted a pass, kept the ball well and capped a fantastic performance by a goal he richly deserved. He is not like Fabregas, he is a different type of playmaker who uses his skill to make telling passes and more importantly is always looking to score. 8


An all round excellent display capped by a beautiful goal he helped create himself. He received the ball from defence passed it to Cazorla and run on to receive the return pass and slot it across Reina in the back of the net. I am impressed though by his defensive abilities. An excellent signing who after this psychologically boosting display will now improve by leaps and bounds. 8


Carried his defensive duties with diligence and maturity. Covered back, especially for Gibbs when he went forward. Never put a foot wrong the whole game. 8

The Ox

He is a far better player than Walcott. Wenger should have let Walcott go as this boy has the lot. Dribbling, tackling, tracking back. Above all he is a fighter. His presence offers a much better balance to the Arsenal shape than Walcott who is better than the Ox only in the speeds stakes. And that is not good enough. 7


He lacks pace. He is obviously a box player and a good header of the ball. So Wenger needs to get the rest of the Arsenal players to play up to his strenths. Missed another sitter today (he should have passed it to Gibbs who was in a far better position to score). Once he gets that goal however he will improve. 5

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

This is the last straw

By 1970's Gooner

Walcott is refusing to sign a new contract. This is the last straw. It’s spreading around the Emirates like the plague. Any player on Arsenal’s books who has or believes he has some star quality wants out.

The fact is that Arsenal are now perceived (by its players) to be a selling club and indeed this is so. So an Arsenal player who thinks he is somebody does one of two things.

He either jumps at the opportunity of going to a more successful and less stingy in terms of salary, club way before his contract ends (eg Song) or refuses to sign a contract extension and lets his contract run down to the final year (as RVP did and as Walcott intends to do).

This is inevitable in my mind and is a direct result of the football model that AFC has decided to follow. This model is based on sound financial principles of running the club as a business and not necessarily as a club in the hunt for trophies. The latter is always sacrificed for the former.

And running the club as a business means that profit is of paramount importance. It could have been that the present shareholders invested their money elsewhere, in a different sector altogether. Their ultimate aim would still be the same: making a profit and eventually selling the shares at a premium.

That’s why Stan Kroenke has been allowed buy shares in Arsenal and not Usmanov. Stan is there to realise a hefty profit down the line IRRESPECTIVE whether Arsenal win anything during that time or not.Usmanov on the other hand would throw money in the club with the aim of winning trophies but dilute the value of the shares in the process. And this is anathema to the present shareholders.

The move to the Emirates and the hefty borrowing placed upon the shoulders of the club falls directly in line with this philosophy. A stadium much bigger than Highbury with a 60,000 capacity crowd paying highly expensive ticket prices is creating substantial revenue and operational profits. Add in the profits being made on the transfers of players and you have a very lucrative business proposition.

Once the loans have been paid off these operational profits will no longer be used up to pay off the Banks. Net profits will shoot upwards and seriously bulge the net worth of the club and the value of the shares, which will rise to astronomic proportions.

That’s when the shareholders will sell.

But this is not due for another 10 years!

In the meantime the whole model is made viable by the genius of one man: Arsene Wenger. He makes it possible by doing two things.

Firstly he finds and buys gems, has the extraordinary ability to turn them into star players and when they grow disillusioned with the lack of success he sells them off at a huge profit (thus helping to create the resources to make up the loan installments).

And secondly he manages to get us into the Champions League year after year creating more profits but also importantly keeping us, the supporters, reasonably interested to keep filling up the stadium.

The trouble is what will happen when Wenger for any reason is not there any more. Or he fails to get us into the CL. He is human after all.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Cazorla’s signing and RVP’s possible rethink places a strong Arsenal in the title challenge

By 1970’s Gooner

Don’t get me wrong Cazorla is a major signing for Arsenal and Arsene Wenger. It sends out the message that Arsenal and Wenger mean business this season. And this is for two reasons.

Firstly, the total transfer outlay so far is about 40m, and still counting. This is far more than any other season in the last seven barren years.

Secondly all the transfers involve players who are far more mature both in terms of age and experience in difficult competitive leagues. Podolski is 27 and a Germany international, Giroud is 25 and a France international and Cazorla 27 and a Spain international.

They are all quality players and worthy of first team selection. And they are all added to a squad who as yet has not lost anyone of note. If RVP does eventually leave this summer then the three new comers do add up to a net addition to an already strong squad.

Consider the squad as it stands now:

Goalkeepers: Szczęsny, Fabianski, Mannone

Right Backs: Sagna, Jenkinson, , Koscienly (if needed), Coquelin, Yennaris

Left Backs: Gibbs, Santos, (we are rather short of cover here if both get injured)

Central Defenders: Vermaelen, Koscienly, Mertesacker, Djourou

Central Midfilders: Song, Diaby, Arteta, Rosicky, Ramsey, Coquelin, Frimpong, Wilshere,

Wide Midfielders: Walcott, Gervinho, Podolski, Arshavin, The Ox, Cazorla

Strikers: RVP (if he stays), Giroud, Chamakh, Bendtner (if he stays)

It seems that if RVP leaves the strikers position would prove to be an area where we may me short. Chamakh is not up to it and Bendtner wants out which leaves us with only Giroud.

Nevertheless the squad is far far stronger than in recent years.

And I boldly can predict that IF RVP has  a rethink and stays then we can  lift the title this coming season…..

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Malaga issue official statement

By 1970’s Gooner

Malaga has just released a statement with regard to their financial reality. This is the full statement:

"Malaga Football Club has begun a process of internal restructuring within the organization to adapt to the standards of financial fair play, in order to ensure self-sufficiency and sustainability. This process, which does not mean it has rejected any kind of investment by the current owners, will involve some changes to the current Club organizational entity that will strengthen the future ".

This is a direct admission that the club has to clear huge debts by the end of the month or face relegation to Spain's second tier, the loss of their UEFA licence and Champions League expulsion.

And changes have already began to take place. Antonio Fernandez has today been invited to leave his post as athletic director, who will now be Alfonso Serrano.

Meanwhile, Pellegrini their coach is meeting this afternoon with the theoretical new strongman Quatari Moayat Shatat who is replacing Ghubn Abdulla, who seems to have disappeared from the map. Pellegrini will make a decision after the meeting whether to continue or not.

Besides selling Cazorla to Arsenal, Malaga will try to sell to players who can attract the most transfer fees: Monreal, Isco, Toulalan, Joachim and Rondon.

In the mean time Cazorla has been sighted at a Spanish airport before flying in to London for his medical.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Diaby, Aneke, Yennaris and Miyaichi impress in Malaysia

By 1970’s Gooner

It was a mixture of youth and more experienced players that Wenger put out in each half. What was very evident was the Arsenal players’ lack of fitness compared to the Malaysian players who are well ahead in terms of their preparations and hence in their organization and competitiveness.

And it showed in both halves where Arsenal had the more clear cut chances but could not put the ball in the net. Santos’s and Afobe’s failure to steer the ball home when left with only the goalkeeper to beat were prime examples.

Nevertheless these matches are there for gaining fitness (and money). And both objectives were obviously met!

A number of players impressed.

Firstly all eyes were on Diaby, starting his first game this season after missing nearly all last season through injury. There is no doubt about it. When he is fit he will be a fantastic addition to the Arsenal squad and I think first team.

He was pulling the strings from midfield, looked at ease and passed the ball forward and accurately. Let’s hope he suffers no ill effects.

Can you imagine what a choice of central midfielders we will have if all goes well? Song, Diaby, Arteta, Ramsey, Coquelin and Wilshere and Frimpong when they get back!

I would include in this list Aneke, who impressed me during his second half performance.

He is tall and strong and was almost faultless. He along with Song carried the game to the Malaysians and did of course score the winner after a beautiful one two with Miguel.

Niko Yennaris is coming up in leaps and bounds. He is much stronger physically and knows how to defend. He is also brave and is not afraid to go forward. He showed all these qualities today and set up the equaliser for Eisfeld.

Miyaichi showed he has quality and speed. He was always looking to get behind their defence and cut balls in. He is ready for the first team and I think should not be sent out on loan.

Chamakh again was dismal. Really what did Wenger see in him when he signed him on? The guy is not even championship material. He could not hold the ball or pass it accurately. The sooner we get rid of him and save his massive salary the better.

And on to the next game on tour. Next match Friday Vs Manchester City.

Friday, July 06, 2012

A new striker and formation for Wenger?

By 1970’s Gooner
I don’t see the Arsenal majority owners and Wenger forcing RVP to stay till the end of his contract. That will be financial suicide. Foregoing 25m for another year?

It’s a no brainer when you realise that these people are running a business whose main activity happens to be playing football. You only have to look what decision they took with Nasri and you will realise what the outcome will be.

So RVP is out. Let’s move forward. What will Wenger do? Blood in Giroud right at the deep end, a year earlier than he anticipated rather than the gradual introduction he would have planned?

This will not be ideal as time is not on his side. Who else does he have available? Chamakh is on his way out and can not cut it at this level. Park the same. Bendtner is soon on his bike.

Wenger has the option of buying another striker. Does he have one in mind? Is there someone out there who has the quality required and can be persuaded to join a team whose stars are jumping ship?

Wenger has another option which can be value for money as well as not requiring the usual adjustment period to the Premier League.  Promote from within.

Theo Walcott has I believe the ingredients to step up the plate and capture that position he always craved for. He has the technical skills and goal scoring ability. He will I believe prove to be a revelation.

And it’s not as though we will suffer in the wide midfield positions if he is moved elsewhere. There is the Ox, Podolski, Gervinho and Arshavin. Giroud will also get games thus releasing Walcott to play on the wing etc…

Wenger may twig the formation and way of playing to accommodate Theo’s main strength, which is his speed, by playing through balls behind the defence for him to run on. Just like he did when Anelka burst into the first team.

He may also encompass the Spain way of playing by not having a recognised striker as such, maintaining possession of the ball with the midfielders and forwards all taking up forward positions as the need arises.

Revolutionary? Mad? Call it what you like. But it may prove to be a master stroke….

Sunday, July 01, 2012

The comments and indignation from Spurs fans was brilliant. Mind the Gap?

By 1970’s Gooner
It seems that yesterday’s post “Tottenhams breakdown already beginning” struck an extremely sensitive nerve among the Spurs fans. It is not always nice to be told some very apparent home truths about the sorry state that your team is marching towards.

Arkadiy an Arsenal fan said:

“Judging by the Sp*r's response, it looks as if they are all afraid that what it says is going to turn out to be true. Maybe the window of opportunity has just closed!”

Although most of the irate comments that were left by the Spurs fans on the blog concentrated on berating the quality of the post, none really countered the logical arguments posited.

MJB an Arsenal fan put it succinctly:

“Interesting that most of the comments are by spuds who are stating the article is 'bollocks' but don't state why. Moan that a gooner is 'obsessing' over their team yet the majority of postings here, on a gunner site, are by spuds. Apparently they get insulted at an opposition supporter stating the bleeding obvious totally oblivious to the FACT their team is in the shit due to the departing players and sacked manager who put them in a strong position last season”

A lot of Arsenal fans indicated the gap that exists between the two teams both in history and tradition as well as achievements on the football front.

GoonerMac commented :

“A daft article with very little substance and didn't really need to be written, unless it's a complete wind-up of the spuds. However the comments and indignation from spurs fans is brilliant, if not completely misplaced. A lot are dismissive of the article as being short on substance & fact yet don't counter with any substance or fact of their own.

Facts are that Arsenal finish above Tottenham consistently (16 consecutive seasons now I believe), Arsenal consistently finish in the top 4 and play CL football whilst Tottenham have managed CL qualification only once and Arsenal are one of only 5 teams to have won the EPL (Tottenham not being one of the other 4!!).

Every year we get the "this is our year and we'll finish above Arsenal" from Spurs and it never happens.

With the self destruct button looking like it's been pushed by Levy in sacking their only decent manager & backroom staff in recent history the trend for Arsenal to be the top North London team looks to be continued for some time to come.

Forever in our shadow.....oh & mind the gap - it could be getting much, much wider.

An anonymous reader wrote:

“Spurs fans are always there to try and ridicule or laugh at us. You’re like the ugly sister constantly wanting bad luck on the pretty sister. Inferiority complex, which doesn’t help the team one bit. Concentrate in your own game.

Oh and do mind that gap”

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tottenham’s breakdown already beginning

By 1970’s Gooner
I doubt it very much if Spurs will be challenging for a Champions League spot in the foreseeable future.

Harry Redknap was incredibly successful in putting a team together with enough flair and steel to challenge quite seriously for one of  the top four spots in one of the most competitive leagues in the world.

The timing was also right. Chelsea were in the last few years beginning to suffer from old age and from their owner's strange decisions on the managerial front.

In parallel the other North London team was still having to come to terms with the increased financial burden which the new stadium demanded.

Liverpool too, the other usual contender, is still suffering from the over excessive and ill advised transfer spending of their previous and current manager.

The goings on at Spurs at the moment point to a breakdown of a successful team and more importantly of its management which will inevitably result to an eventual meltdown.

The disruption will be so severe that it is doubtful whether spurs will finish inside the top 10 next season.

The manager and his coaching staff which master minded the meteoric rise of the club in recent years has for some unfathomable reason sacked! 

And the replacement looks like being the biggest flop of the decade, AVB, who was quite obviously out of his depth at Chelsea.

Additionally key players like Modric and Van de Vart who are world class players and were the key ingredient in making a good Spurs side an excellent one qualifying for the Champions League and challenging the top Premier League sides on an equal footing are set to depart.

This will leave Spurs searching for a new identity on both the management front as well as on the pitch.

And Arsenal’s domination of North London looks like being extended even further for a long time to come.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Giroud a replacement for RVP

By 1970’s Gooner

I would have thought that news of an imminent signing for the Arsenal squad would have been greeted with satisfaction.

Giroud, who is part of Laurent Blanc's Euro 2012 squad, scored 25 goals last season to help Montpellier win the Ligue 1 title.

The Montpellier manager, René Girard, insists that he is heading for Arsenal.

"Arsenal are very interested and Giroud wants to play in England, if Arsène agrees with the president, he will sign for them," He told the French radio station RMC.

Arsene has already added Podolski to the front line which is considered a logical signing as he is left footed and can play on the wing as he does for Germany thus providing a natural balance on the left which has been missing since Reyes departed the club.

He can as well (as Arsene usually utters) lead the front line. This is also important as RVP cannot play in all of Arsenal’s games can he?

But paying around 13m for another striker when you already have RVP AND Podolski sounds incompatible with Arsene’s previous history and transfer behaviour.

This leads me to the conclusion that Arsene is fearing RVP’s departure and is already making the moves to replace him, if need be.

RVP is 29 and can at this point command high wages AND play in a top team challenging for titles. The probability of him wanting out cannot be ignored. And Arsenal cannot afford to make him stay to the end of his contract and forgo 30m. Letting Nasri go last season is proof of that.

But we wouldn’t say no to both being on Arsenal’s books next season would we?

Monday, May 07, 2012

Blaming the defence is not enough Mr Wenger: Two weaknesses need correction

By 1970’s Gooner
Arsene Wenger blamed the defence for their poor performance against Norwich. Well I am sorry. The poor performance at the back has to be viewed in the wider context of an overall poor team performance. Only then can we make sure that this is corrected for the crucial game against W. Brom next Sunday.

Mr Wenger has to consider the following:

Aaron Ramsey was the weakest link in midfield

He had another poor game where he neither provided midfield creativity nor did he attend to his defensive role when it was necessary to do so. He was almost a nonentity. And a team at this level cannot be carrying a player….

The central midfield’s inability to dominate the game created extra pressure on the defence which it has to be said did not rise to the occasion. But to only blame the defence is not enough.

Correction: Play Benayoun in midfield and bring in the Ox.

This will give another viable outlet on the wing for Arsenal (as well as Gervinho on the other side) and at the same time Benayoun will add tenacity and experience in midfield. Something that Ramsey could not offer.

The mental attitude of the players has to chang

It was quite evident that the players were affected by the significance of the game in deciding Arsenal’s Champions League status. Passes were unusually going astray and the overall nervousness was quite apparent especially in the 1st half.

When the chips were down this was corrected for most of the second half. But Mr Wenger has to prepare them mentally for the next game so that they start AND finish in the same tempo and on a high.

Correction : Show the players the video of the home games say against Man City or Newcastle even the Milan game if you like. That’s the level of performance we would like to see.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Ox or Rambo against Chelsea?

By 1970’s Gooner

We all know that Arsenal’s midfield will be significantly poorer for Arteta’s absence.

His role both as a calm and experienced midfielder who among other roles is sitting back and shoring up our line of protection in that vital area is immense. This is especially true when Song ventures forward, as he often does.

One wonders therefore how his absence will be filled in so that the imbalance is mitigated to a satisfactorily effective level. For imbalances in team selection are often a very significant reason for tasting defeats and heavy ones at that.

Add to the mix the forced absence of Benayoun who has been in form lately and you have real selection problems.

The two candidates are The Ox and Ramsey (Diaby and Coquelin are not yet match fit). Ramsey would be an obvious choice as central midfield has been his position in so many starts this season.

But I am sorry, he has not impressed. If anything he has failed to make an impact worthy of Wenger’s faith in him.

I have written not so long ago on this subject with regard to Wenger’s insistence in starting him for successive games, day in day out, and hoping that with more games he will improve (just as he did with Fabregas who took the chance by the horns and Denilson who miserably failed).

Ramsey at the moment cannot be an effective midfielder as he neither creates chances for the forwards nor does he defend anywhere as efficiently as Arteta, Rosicky or Song can. He also fluffs his chances in front of goal as we have seen time and time again.

Picking Ramsey in a trio of midfielders with Song and Rosicky would in my opinion result in Chelsea overrunning us in that vital area with dire consequences.

The Ox on the other hand is a different proposition. He has shown that he is very tenacious in his marking and tackling of opponents.

He has played in that position against Milan and was quite effective. He was actually brilliant in that game. And he has shown that he is not phazed at all by the big occasions.

At the moment he is a far more effective player than Ramsey and if you are good enough then you are old enough.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Wigan played brilliantly but it didn’t have to end this way

By 1970’s Gooner

Arteta’s injury proved to be significant in Arsenal’s defeat to Wigan tonight.

He injured his foot trying to send a cross in from a difficult angle and from the resulting corner Di Mateo raced away from him towards the Arsenal goal eventually scoring Wigan’s first. Arteta could not run back as he was waving to the bench to be subbed.

Ramsey came on but by the time he got into the game they raced away and scored their second. Ramsey’s introduction weakened our midfield in my opinion as we lacked Arteta’s nous as well as his defensive qualities.

We were overrun in midfield as a result and this contributed to a lackluster performance. It also meant that very few quality balls got through to RVP.

Wigan played intelligently, keeping the ball and playing without panic. Wenger’s decision to keep faith with Benayoun meant that we could not stretch their wing back system of 3 2 4 1.

Surely when the other team employ a system that packs the middle of their defence the way in is to open the game up on the wings by using two out and out wingers, not one.

Benayoun kept coming inside all the time thus playing into their hands. Theo Walcott also had a game to forget which meant that we had no penetration on the wings.

AND Wigan played brilliantly.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Three mistakes need to be put right against Man City

By 1970’s Gooner

The first and most important mistake that needs to be corrected is complacency. We have to once and for all eradicate the attitude of complacency that seems to engulf the Arsenal players over and over again. And this is a trait that has been in existence throughout Wenger’s reign at Arsenal.

It often shows its ugly head whenever we put in a run of impressive displays. The players begin to believe their own hype and the eulogies that the media shower on them. And that’s when we are at our most vulnerable. Players step on to the pitch not mentally right and when you go under pressure from early on you find it very difficult to change.

QPR also wanted it more than Arsenal. They are after all fighting for their lives. And they fought and scrapped as you would expect from a team facing the abyss.

The second aspect that needs to be put right is Vermaelen’s forays into the other half. This needs to be cut out. We can win games without the help of our central defenders going forward and leaving huge gaps behind.

And the third is Wenger’s insistence on playing Ramsey come what may. What was he thinking about playing Ramsey on the left of the midfield?

He was out of his depth against Everton and repeated a worse performance against QPR. Not only were we were playing with the handicap of one ineffective player, the team had no balance as Ramsey kept drifting in all the time which meant that QPR were not stretched on that side.

Additionally too many of Arsenal’s attacks had to come from Walcott’s side and QPR made sure that they loaded that side of the pitch and for most of the game kept Walcott quiet(except for the goal).

Wenger should have started with Gervinho or even the Ox instead of Ramsey and the result may have been different.

I say may have been because complacency was evident everywhere.

I am sure it will not be there against Man City next week.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Wolves: Why the hell did you sack Mick McCarthy Mr Morgan?

By 1970’s Gooner

I am first and foremost an Arsenal supporter but I am also very dedicated Wolves fan due to family connections. I always watch the Wolves games if they are not on at the same time as Arsenal’s.

I was very surprised when Mick McCarthy was sacked. He did after all get the team up into the Premier League and kept them there year after year. So you would expect that he would have been given the chance to guide the team in the remaining 13 games or so.

But no Mr Morgan had to take action….My arse what action he took. He sacked a tried and tested manager and replaced him with a rookie assistant coach. A coach who after all is carrying on where Mick McCarthy left.

If Mr Morgan wanted to shake things up then the last thing he should have done is replace him with his assistant!

He should have at least employed an experienced Premier League manager who would have given the team new ideas and an impetus to play for survival.

Now we are shipping fives and sixes and are going down like a sinking ship.