Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

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.