Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Wenger’s change of tactics this season is working wonders

By 1970’s Gooner

Arsene Wenger seems to have hit upon a set of simple tactics that are working wonders.
Arsenal used to press teams high up the pitch playing a high line and forcing the opponents to cede possession in the dangerous areas.

Once the ball was under control then possession football would come into play squeezing the opponent in their half.

We used to end up being champions in the possession stats but runners up in the winning stakes.
This season the tactic seems to be to allow the opposition the ball, retreat into two banks of four and suck the other team in. Once the ball is won back the midfield and wing players spring into action utilising their speed, mainly of Walcott’s.

It reminds me of the championship winning sides which included the likes of Overmars, Bergkamp, Anelka, Pires and Henry.

The tactic has been employed especially when we have gone one nil up. Remember the Fulham, Sunderland and Spurs games in particular.

That's why the possession figures so far this season have been low by Arsenal's
standards. Look at the stats below:

Villa 58%
Fulham 54%
Spurs 43%
Sunderland 68%
Stoke 50%
Swansey 41%

But it is working!


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Which of the youngsters impressed and who can replace Walcott on Saturday?

By 1970's Gooner

I saw the whole match last night and was very impressed with the overall performance of the youngsters.

Wenger seems to have learned his lesson from past years when he would start with 8 or 9 youngsters thus losing cohesiveness and experience. The whole of our defence were all seasoned players who were able to provide a solid basis for the youngsters to perform.

The youngster who didn't impress was Gnabry!

He kept giving the ball away and looked selfish in taking shots rather than playing a simple pass to a team mate as he correctly did for his debut against Stoke. I feared he would miss the penalty for to take a successful penalty you need humility an attribute he lacked last night.

On the other hand Ryo was much more effective and mature in his play and if there was a straight choice between them to start on Saturday then he would get the nod.

Hayden has the built and technical ability and he looked a good prospect. He needs games of course but he did well in the middle of the park.

I expected more from Eisfeld as his performances last season in the same competition impressed me. Last night he did not shine and had a lot of misplaced passes. He did however get into the correct position for the goal which he took clinically.

The youngster that really impressed however was the substitute Bellerin. He came on in the 95th minute for Arteta and for the remaining 25 minutes he run Arsenal's midfield! What a game he had. He was able to receive the ball, turn and pass further up the field rather than sideways.

He was the main reason that Arsenal was just as threatening as the opponents during this important period of extra time. He also had two shots one of which the keeper had to scramble to save to his right.

Just like Fabregas he is a Barcelona academy kid....

Now who will start against Swansey?

Neither of Gnabry or Ryo and not only because they will be exhausted from last night!

Ozil, Giroud and Wilshere will be the front three.

The midfield will be Arteta, Flamini and Ramsey the Rambo.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Three Options for Replacing Walcott

By 1970’s Gooner
When things were beginning to look up on the field and we started getting some players back from injury Walcott’s abdominals give in. This comes at a time when the other close alternative, The Ox, is also on the treatment table needing another 5 to 6 weeks before he comes back.

So ignoring the League Cup encounter with West Brom what alternatives has Wenger got?

In my opinion there are three.

He had a decent game against Stoke. He looked assured for his age and relative inexperience and impressed me more with his tracking back and defensive capabilities rather than his forward runs. I think he will improve the more games he plays. But should Wenger risk playing him in very important games against Swansea, Napoli and West Brom?

Ryo Miyaichi
I watched him play enough times when he was on loan to Bolton and he impressed me enough. He was good at going forward with pace but he was mature and experienced enough to track back and defend. Above all he was able to keep the ball and bring other players in the game.

But I also watched him during Arsenal’s pre season games this summer and he didn’t play so well. Again he needs games but I am not sure he will get them. He is a more hardened and experienced player than Gnabry however.

Wenger seems to have preferred Gnabry to start against Stoke so if it was a straight choice then we more or less know the outcome.

But there is a third way.

Yes why not play Wilshere on the left wing and Ozil on the other (or vice versa if you like). Arteta would come into midfield alongside Flamini with Ramsey the Rambo completing the trio. Ramsey could play a little further up behind Giroud.

This arrangement has its weakness that you will have a left footed player playing on the right wing and also you will miss the pace that a genuine winger would provide for the team.
On the other hand Gnabry’s (or Miyaichy’s) pace cannot really be compared to Walcott’s can it?

You will also need to keep at least one wide player wide so as to stretch the opponents and open the pitch up.

But what you really gain is more experience and nous which will come from fielding two players who are not rookies.

I would go for the Wilshere option.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Latest injury news with returning players. Squad close to matching rivals

By 1970’s Gooner       

Arsene Wenger’s transfer activity added two players who have improved the quality of the team no end. Ozil’s performance at Sunderland told everything and Flamini’s comeback came at a time when Arsenal needed someone to cover for Arteta’a absence in that vital position of defensive midfield.

Not bad business really.

But when you look at the latest injury news you will realise that Arsenal’s squad will soon be full of high quality players at every position bar one.

Mertesacker is only a few days away from his return. He may even make the CL game at Marseille with Sagna returning to right back.

Sanogo is only a week away which means he may be available as early as for the home game against Stoke.

Furthermore in about 2 to 3 weeks but most probably after the international break which is 4 weeks away the squad will be bolstered by the return of Arteta, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Cazorla and most probably Rosicky.

No official news on Rosicky have come out but at worst he will only be away for 2 to 3 weeks for a thigh injury.

Note: Podolski is out till late November and Diaby early next year.

So Arsenal need to negotiate the intervening games successfully and then the bench could include high quality players like Flamini, Arteta, Rosicky, the Ox, Jenkinson, Monreal and Vermaelen.

The first 11 may look like this:


Sagna Mertesacker Koscienly Gibbs

       Ramsey Wilshere


Walcott Giroud Cazorla

What is distinctly lacking however is the absence of a high quality centre forward who could challenge or cover for possible injuries to Giroud. If this was in place then Arsenal will be favourites to land the title.

It may be corrected of course in January and then the sky is the limit in my opinion.

In the meantime until the international break comes we have to keep ourselves in the running both in the League and the CL.

Up to that point the upcoming games are: Marseille away, Stoke home, Swansea away, Napoli home and WBA away.

Very manageable in my view.

But keep hoping for no more injuries especially to Giroud….