Your girlfriend is right after all……Size Does Matter

Today’s post was written by Red Arse over the weekend and continues the discussion about serious injuries.

Written by Red Arse

Like most Arsenal fans, I greeted, with relief and joy, the news, that “Rambo” Ramsey was not far from resuming full time training, with a view to returning in the New Year. It is wonderful, not just for us as fans but for the player himself.

But it led me to think back to the horrific injury that we were shown happening to him, in all its gory detail, on Sky TV, in full HD close up. The recollection brought an involuntary, empathetic shudder as, in my minds eye, I saw his leg bending in several completely unnatural directions and how it appeared to be held together only by virtue of his red and white sock. Yeuk and double Yeuk! I felt sick to my stomach reliving it, even in flashback.

But, hold on, that was not Rambo I was envisioning, it was Dudu, smashed by Taylor; but no, oh God, no, it was neither, it was Diaby, with his ankle apparently sheared off at Sunderland. Wasn’t it?

Well, it seems that they have all become one amorphous whole, each as shocking as the other.

This week’s news, that Danny Murphy had lambasted the thuggish gorillas, sent out by even more thuggish managers, to brainlessly assault more skilful players in more skilful EPL teams, in a manner likely to cause appalling career threatening injuries was amazingly refreshing and unexpected. He even named names; Fat Sam, stupid McCarthy, sickening, self justifying Pubis. Wow!

Picked up by other publications, his comments received mainly positive responses, with many a sage nod of the head, and a general agreement that such thuggery was wrong and that something must be done to curtail these wanton acts of aggression.

Contrast this with the xenophobic “Whingeing Wenger” headlines that greeted similar comments by our esteemed manager. The same moronic “it’s a man’s game”, and “I know him, he would not do that deliberately”, yada, yada, were soon churned out by said thuggish managers, of course.

Sometime ago, I wrote a Post highlighting the cretinous cabal of professionally limited managers, who encouraged and condoned this appalling, “in their faces”, tactic, inflicted by their physically imposing but cerebrally challenged minions. To Danny Murphy’s list I had added Mark Hughes, Owen Coyle and others, on the margins, whose teams occasionally dabble too.

Surprise, surprise, several of the usual suspects popped up; Kevin Davies, Shawcross, and de Jong among them, claiming they had always behaved like choirboys and their sainted managers had never issued any such instructions, nor incited them to inflict damage on skilful opposition players.

Now, at this point, I intend to leave that stream of thought and perhaps shock you, by coupling these Neanderthal antics with our lack of success, in recent times.

Following our defeat by Chelsea, I have lost count of the number of times opposition fans have said, “Your team were out muscled and well beaten” or “They never remotely looked capable of winning, because they were up against a better team, who were far stronger, taller, heavier and more powerful”.

I also lost count of the number of times I denied this was so. “We played well, and were unlucky to have lost”, I said, “We could have won, if we had taken our early chances”, and so on, and so forth.

All the time, at the back of my mind, I was thinking the unthinkable. “These guys could be right!”

In my opinion, even though I think Arsène is the best manager I have ever seen, I think he is complicit in our setbacks against the other top 4 teams, or the intimidating tackling and long ball tactics used against us so often. This is as a direct consequence of the type and size of players he has bought for us, over recent years.

We have often argued on this site about the pace or strength of our current players, with the implicit criticism, by some of us, that they were not quick enough or big enough physically.

Underlying this argument is the indisputable fact that when we were kings of the EPL, winning not just one, but two Doubles, we had in our team colossal players like Tony Adams, Martin Keown, Paddy Viera, Sol Campbell and many others like Manu Petit, Titti Henry and the incomparable Denis “Iceman” Bergkamp. I use the term “colossal” advisedly.

They not only had great skill, but they were giants physically. All of them strapping fellows with muscles on their muscles; they were all well over 6 foot tall, with great long ball winning legs, and a hard bitten, “take no prisoners” attitude in the winning of titles.

And then it all changed!

Arsene fell in love with seemingly fast, small, amazingly skilful players. Their brand of football is an entertaining, breathtaking style, with fast flowing, exquisite passing at its core. This appetite for physically small skilful players has now extended to defenders, with our latest recruits having very modest physiques.

Unfortunately, these little guys do not win against the “Big” teams. And they do not win trophies.

That is the crux of my disquiet. For reasons I do not pretend to understand, AW has decided that our best chance of winning trophies is by recruiting players half the size of those wonderful Double winning teams of yore!

This is not working! Please, Arsene, change your mind!

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79 Responses to Your girlfriend is right after all……Size Does Matter

  1. bops says:

    You mean like when Barcelona won the Champs league with big, huge players ? Or when Spain won the world cup with giants ?

    This is a very generic thought and please do support this analysis with stats whenever possible please.

    Otherwise a good observation :)

  2. Rasp says:

    Hi bops,

    I originally thought the same as you re Barça, but I then realised that the perception that they are a small team is incorrect. They have small mobile midfielders which is fine and one small striker who just happens to be the best player in the world but elsewhere, they do have big players where needed – Busquets is 6ft 2 1/2 and Pique is 6ft 3 1/2

  3. ken says:

    Size doesnt matter as Spain and Barca have proved.Its the quality of players that do.Truth is the likes of Diaby,Denilson,Eboue,Song,Vela and Bender are not good enough

  4. London says:

    Morning all

    A very thought provoking post RA. I suspect the majority of people will have the same view as bops, I certainly did.

    The other point that will always be repeated is the fact that when our team was made up of giants we were also the financial giants of London, sharing financial supremacy with only one other club in the whole of the UK.

  5. charybdis1966 says:

    Yeah Barca had those midgets, Busquets, Pique, Ya ya Toure and Ibrahimovic when they won the Champions League, Bops. Other than that, good comment.

  6. charybdis1966 says:

    Well written RedA- but my first thought was you had spoken to MY girlfriend(the wife couldn’t give a monkeys in that respect) :).

  7. London says:

    Morning Rasp

    Great picture up there, perfectly placed…..”And then it all changed”.

  8. Rasp says:

    Morning London,

    I must admit that pic made me chuckle. I think that was the occasion when AA was taking to the pitch and had forgotten he was wearing his bobble hat and Arsène whipped it off as he ran past.

  9. bops says:

    Rasp,

    Even we have tall central defenders.. and nimble agile midfielders but they have more experience than us. Remember before they became an all conquering machine they hadnt won anything for 4 years.. Took them some time to adapt to the perfect system that they have.. Maybe we need some more time too

    Also London..
    When our team were made up with giants we had difficulty crossing the group stages of the Champs league forget about the QFs and SFs.

  10. Red Arse says:

    Thanks bops.

    I am so pleased to read your final sentence.

    It may have escaped your analytical powers, but this is an Arsenal blog and the content in it is mainly Arsenalcentric. Hence the comparison between our successful, Double winning “big boy” teams of the distant past and our unsuccessful “little boys” teams of today and the near past.

    O.K., your Barca point is noted; that’s the team of brilliant little guys, who took our team of not so brilliant little guys to the cleaners. Happily, I am not a Barca fan and don’t give stuff what they do frankly.

    Maybe you would like to write something interesting about little teams? Give it a go, and I promise not to be patronising. :-)

  11. Rasp says:

    Hi bops,

    Yes I agree with that, but there is a saying that a good bigun will always beat a good little’un – this applies most to defenders and target men, otherwise in other positions, size is not important IMO.

  12. bops says:

    Chary

    I still dont agree with the size argument.. Football is not about size its about ability and talent.. Maybe in England it matters because of the hoofball played but if you see recent results we have defeated Blackburn at thier home, Bolton .. We were pretty good at Stoke and Bolton last season.. So we are getting there.. On the other hand we lost to West Brom who played proper football.. So you cant generalize it to size..

    Besides wassup.. me new here :)

  13. Rasp says:

    bops,

    Don’t take offence, its great to have your input and your points are well made. I think the majority will agree with your view, but it had to be pointed out that the ‘barca are a small team idea’ is a fallacy. Having said that, they beat us in the CL because they had better players on the pitch that day not because they were bigger.

  14. bops says:

    Rasp,

    Agree.. if you analyse by positions then it is useful to have tall central defenders and tall strikers..and def Goalies but other positions its all about ability.. People who are looking for the monster holding MF should look at Makelele..

    And Red

    Didnt meant to be patronising.. In fact I admire all bloggers for the work they put in.. And I was talking about our Double winning big boys.. That team had diffculty crossing the group stages while the current “small” team has gone to the QF,SF and Final in recent history..

  15. Leptuski says:

    I was discussing with some friends on what actions can be taken globally to curb irresponsible tackles in soccer. We came out agreeing that perhaps FIFA/League boards should ban a player that causes another opponent injury for as long as the injured player is off field. Perhaps the rule should apply for injury that takes off a player from a certain length of time (e.g 3weeks upward). That should serve as a deterrent to players that indulge in vicious tackle. Check this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1V5zoRt6gOs

  16. Big Raddy says:

    Fine post RA

    Contrary to some comments I agree with you.

    Just because Messi is the current flavour of the month doesn’t mean that small is as good as big. TH was a big lad, so is C. Ronaldo, and Eto’o. Chelsea prove that big wins and so do Inter-Milan.

    Chamakh was signed because AW appreciated the need for a mobile big unit upfront. Squillaci the same in defence.

    Size does matter (IMO), a blend of big boys and nippy chaps like Nasri and Theo is the answer. We are getting closer to that mix.

  17. Carlito11 says:

    Ah how I miss that spine- Adams, Keown, Petit, Viera, Henry… big, hard, fast… will we see it’s like again in Red and white?

  18. Red Arse says:

    Rasp,

    Regrettably, my limited knowledge and use of the English language has prevented me from constructing my thesis properly, it seems. :-(

    Following on from Rocky’s brilliant posts over the last two days, it is understandable that the first two thirds of my article, addressing the overwhelmingly superior physiques of other teams has been ignored.

    In fact, I was trying, and obviously failing, to link the success and large physiques of our Double winning teams, to the small size and lack of success of our current teams.

    The Shawcross’ and Taylors’ of the world, and their attendant managers, would never have dared to try and intimidate Tony Adams etc. This enabled us, at that time, to concentrate on winning games on a level playing field, so to speak, which history tells me we did!

    Regardless, my argument has caused some debate, which is what it was intended to do. So I am happy! :-)

  19. Rasp says:

    Hi Red Arse,

    Great post :P

    I had expected myself to be in mild disagreement, but actually I am wavering.

    For those who think that size is not important in key positions, ask yourself these two questions:

    1. Have you ever said to yourself “Chamakh is a good player, but I wish he was 5ft 10in”

    2. If I had a magic wand, would I wave it and make TV and kozzer 6ft 3 ins?

  20. Big Raddy says:

    Carlito. You missed out Seaman another big man

  21. Rasp says:

    Red Arse, your article is well written and stylish and makes a very good point relevant to the ongoing debate regarding injuries.

  22. charybdis1966 says:

    Bops, I think in certain situations having larger size players does help, e.g. when you are facing a hoof ball team, of which there seem to be proliferating to an unhealthy degree in the Premier League now, it used to be just Bolton now we can add Blackburn, Brum, Wolves and Stoke to that roll call of scroundrels.
    Of course quality of player is a significant factor but as I’m often saying you need an adaptable blend of types of players – too much of the same sort and they’ll share a collective weakness.
    However I’m not totally disagreeing with you, more partially agreeing with RedA.

  23. Big Raddy says:

    RA.

    Perhaps I missed the point. Aren’t we discussing the relevance of size and it’s relevance to the team being bullied?

  24. Red Arse says:

    My apologies to you all for my bad manners, I meant to say hello and good morning, but became distracted.

    Bops, no offense taken. In my experience, this is a really good site, where the cut and thrust of arguments, rendered without insult or blasphemy, is welcomed.

    Hi CharyB, your comment earlier about size, almost tempted me to be a smart arse in reply. Luckily I refrained, because I am scared of you. :-)

    Thanks for the support BR, proves my point, it helps to have the big guns on your side!! :-)

  25. SharkeySure says:

    Great post Red. Morning All, and welcome to Bops.

    It would be really interesting to see how Barca would fare in the Premiership.

    Re Spain’s giants. Like Barca not playing in the prem, Spain play on the international stage (realy !! lol) where the over physiacal game of the Prem is completely frowned upon. I guess it was just their bad luck to get an English referee in the WC final !!

    Can you imagine the Spanish side having to face a physical onslaught like that in 30-40% of their games over a season..??

    That neatly brings us back to where this debate started, ie just how many injuries would they suffer and how much would that diminish their chances of winning games and tournaments..??

  26. Morning all

    Thanks RA for the post. I love our small nippy mid-fielders – good job really as I can’t see AW changeing his mind on their usefullness – and although there was great debate about Vermaelen’s size we now know he was a classy addition to our team.

    The sad thing is that some of our taller chaps are just not that good and so we often look ‘short’. Now if Diaby could consistently be the player we want him to be and van Persie or Nikki could stay fit alternatively we’d have quite a tall team now.

  27. Red Arse says:

    I was BR.

    Rasp said it earlier, and it was the crux of what I was trying to impart in my final sentence of the article.

    A good “big un” will always beat a good “little un”. This quote related to boxing, where it is an indisputedly sage comment.

    That is not to say, and I am not, that there are no world beating little guys, because clearly there were and there are. Pele, Messi, Maradonna spring to mind.

    Perhaps I should have highlighted that bullying by physically bigger, ill disposed men, is a fact of life. I am talking about needing quality “big” men in the team to stop the intimidation and enable us to win.

    A team composed primarily of quality little guys, can be hoofed of the park. (Pele in the World Cup, 1960).
    Whereas a team with a good balance of small quality guys and big quality guys must be the way forward.

    Arsene, I thought, was trying to redress this, but in the summer he bought two centre backs who, in that position, teeter towards the small category. Hmm.

    I hope I am wrong, and those who disagree with me are right, but the last six years seem to side with my view :-)

  28. Red Arse says:

    I’ve got to go, for a while, but if a blog was judged on the “size”, depth and quality of the comments posted, rather than the short snide anti-Wenger diatribes, AA would win by a street.

    (walks off whistling, having got in another unarguable “sizeish” thrust …….) :-)

  29. charybdis1966 says:

    LOL RedA – the important thing is there’s no complaints from the g/f, so that’s all good !

    Just how idiotic was Andy Townsend on the commentary last night?
    Eulogizing about how great Davies was and then refusing to see Ashley Young’s ludicrous dive for what it was, at least the ref saw it and rightly booked him for simulation, or as they say in the NBA “flopping”.

  30. shooy says:

    I can’t decide whther it is size or style of play that works more against us. Currently everyone in the Arasenal team, including defenders, is encouraged to be comfortable and play with the ball. In effect defensive duties are significantly discharged by squeezing play keeping possesion and passing in comfort. The desperation side of defending, regardless of player size, is not well honed. I always find the comparisons with Barcelona fascinating and think it is reasonable to question if they would not also fail the test provided by the rigours of an English Premier League season and find that particular trophy a step beyond them. Similarly I think our current team would thrive and grow significantly in La Liga.

  31. Big Raddy says:

    I watched the Holland/ Sweden game after the Danish win over Malta (dreadful football).

    When Holland can play such entertaining football how could they perform so poorly in the WC Final? I guess it is the fear of losing that causes such aggressive tactics, and De Jong’s WCF performance is proof that if a referee allows bullying tactics, a big guy can dominate a small one. Thankfully Cesc came on and showed that brain is mightier than brawn. But brawn allied to brains is best.

  32. Smith14 says:

    I’ve got to agree with Bops and say that size doesn’t matter as much as it might seem.

    What really counts is talent and the way you project your self on to a match. Take the Barca example. I’d argue that Toure, Ibrahimovic and Busquets were not in the side purely for physicality, they were there on talent. The physique might help in certain situations but it’s not the be all and end all.

    A good example of size not mattering would be Essien. He’s not tall, although he is well built, but he’s committed and intimidates opponents because he’s relentless, he never stops running. Sorry to use another Chlesea example but Makalele was the same. Relatively small but dominant because of talent. How about Mathieu Flamini, he’s small but he was 100% committed and never out fought.

    To move it on you could say that height is important for defending set pieces etc but look at Tim Cahill. He’s small but I’d much rather bet on him scoring from a corner than I would on Peter Crouch. Tim Cahill has the rare ability to time runs and use his instinct to get into dangerous positions. Contrary to popular belief, most headers aren’t won just because of height, it’s about timing and determination. Going back a bit, Frank Mclintock was a dominant Centre Half but not particularly big or tall, it was all in his jump.

    I refer back to an article I wrote on here before the Chelsea game. Our problem isn’t size or ability, it’s our mentality.

  33. bops says:

    C’mon, we cant live in the past Red.. That was a bad ass team.. Who wouldnt want extremely skillful players who can you also beat the shit out of you in the pub later, with one hand tied behind thier back..

    But if you see our 07/08 season we were very close.. with a midfield of fab,rosciky,hleb and flamini.. We were tough then.. even players from other teams were saying that we were tough..

    Maybe when you say size you also mean mentality and guts.. Look at Tevez, Young, Scholes etc.. Small but ballsy..

  34. pat says:

    i know we are talking about big man vs little man, but some of the problems with getting goals i believe are related to the lack of good consistent crosses to the men in the middle (big or small – Chamakh was desperately needed) and the unwillingness to shoot outside the box. Also the arsenal of the invincibles era was about quick attacks rather than the slow buildup that allows the opposition to get men back behind the ball.

    With regard to the “size” issue I think it is partly a psychological factor, but if you combine size with ablility and other physical attributes (e.g. speed) thats when you have the makings of great players e.g. Henry.

    Speaking of speed – how is Walcott doing? Is he close to coming back for the Burmingham game?

  35. pat says:

    Sorry re Chamakh I was actually trying to say that he was desperatley needed up front with his aerial ability but I still feel that we are lacking a little with the ability to supply him from out wide with good crosses – hopefully the boys can up their game a bit there!

  36. Red Arse says:

    Bops, you would make a good politician — you aren’t are you? :-)

    You are arguing against something I did not say.

    I haven’t said small players can not be skilful and determined. To the contrary, I made reference earlier to Pele, Messi, Maradonna as examples of this.

    The thrust of my argument is that without big, skilful players in the team, to counter big thuggish players in the opposition team, our small, quality players are often intimidated.

    Balance is important. We have not won trophies for many years and it is possible it has not been helped by a preponderance of diminutive players. Even Squidgy and especially Kosser, in recent games, have been shrugged off the ball in a way that simply does not happen with manure or the chavs.

    Messi, Maradonna etc were small but they play-(ed) in teams more than capable of looking after themselves, and ditto Essien and Makelele at Chelsea. They have some strapping big players around them.

    I love watching our fantastically skilful players, and would hate to go back to the George Graham era, but with our bigger players, RVP, Diaby, Bendtner and (little) big guy TV, seeming to be semi-permanently injured, I think the balance of physicality has gone, and with it our chances of winning the EPL or the CL.

    My argument stands or falls by looking at the team as a whole, and not specific individual players.

    Manure and Chelsea have carved up the premier League between them for years now, and what do they have in common? Big, skilful players with a smattering of small skilful players. QED, I think. :-)

  37. Red Arse says:

    Good points Pat. :-)

    I read that Cesc, Bendy and Theo may be back for at least part of the Brum game. Hope so.

  38. Smith14 says:

    Red Arse;

    I disagree with the idea that United have loads of big physical players. Fletcher and Anderson always play against us and neither of those are big, they are just committed to stopping us play. Add to that Park, Scholes, Rooney. None of them big, but all determined.

    Our problem is perhaps that opponents, like Chelsea the other week, are happy to change when they play us and try to nulify our threat. We play the same whoever it’s against. Our style is to keep the ball and work through teams so our opponents resort to closing the space and sometimes being extra physical. I don’t think it’s about size, it’s about tactics and style of play.

    Also, we do have a lot of small players but, in the context in which we’re talking, Diaby, Van Persie, Vermaelen, Song, Bendtner, Chamakh can’t be seen as small. It’s our style of play, one that doesn’t rely on physical presence, that is in question. To talk just about size, I think, misses the point.

  39. Red Arse says:

    Smithy,

    As I raised the point, it’s a bit rich to tell me I have missed the point! Que?

    I am exhausted talking about this now, if you won’t read what I say …….. there is no more to say.

    In your final para, of the 6 players you mention, 5 of them have been out for long term or medium term injuries. Give me a break.

  40. Smith14 says:

    Red;

    Injuries are a different issue. The fact is that the squad we have does contain players individually bought in for their specific qualities. You can’t legisalte for injury.

    By the way, I wasn’t specifically saying you’d missed your own point, I was saying that size is not the over riding issue when we’re looking at reasons why we haven’t won anything for 5 years.

  41. Carlito11 says:

    Big Raddy- you’re right. In terms of size I think Vito could fill the Seaman size gap between the sticks… Don’t know why he hasn’t been given a chance this season after (from memory) a pretty solid stint as back up last term…

  42. Rasp says:

    In martial arts, there is an ongoing debate about which is the most important; size, speed or technique, and there has never been a definitive conclusion – the experts disagree.

    In football, you could use the same 3 criteria, except I’m sure most would agree that technique (ability) must come first and the choice between size and speed would be open to debate.

    I think it is obvious that different postitons require different attributes:

    Goalkeepers – size matters
    Central defenders – size is good, ability is paramount
    Fullbacks – size is not important, pace is an asset
    Midfielders – size is not important, technique and ability to read the game is needed. Pace is an asset for wide midfielders
    No.10 – same as midfielders, with a touch of extra brilliance if possible
    Centre forward (if such a thing exists) – size is an asset especially if your team plays with width

  43. Red Arse says:

    Carlito,

    Did you see the reports of Mannone’s nightmare game for the Italian U21’s? I think that is a pointer to his chances of being the No 1 for Arsenal.

    He is not the right quality for Arsenal, as far as I am concerned. Although he does have a large frame, but then I may have missed the point. :-)

  44. Duke says:

    Nice post, u make me fall in love with dis blog. Spill it d way it is, kudos. 2 those who say barca & spain parades short players like Ars. I want them 2 compare d average height of d defender in Barca & Ars. Even one on one last season, Puyol & Pique are taller than Galas & Vermaleen. Clichy & Sagna are jus dwaft compare 2 Abidal & Alves. It is d same story when u look acros the pitch. I’ll urge u 2 compare & analyse teams with objectivity not sentiment and get all ur fact rite. Pls dont base ur arguement on Wenger judgement or coment alone. Up … Up Gunners

  45. Rasp says:

    Hi Smith14,

    I agree with the point that size alone is not the overriding reason we haven’t won anything over the last 5 years. I think a lack of balance in the team and insufficient quality players (those who are experienced and mature enough) as back-up in the squad are the two main causes. We have the quality now (maybe not GK :( ), but we still lack balance on occasion.

  46. Rasp says:

    Welcome Duke,

    If you love Arsenal, you’re OK by us :P

    All judgements on here are a friendly expression of opinion with the odd mischievous comment thrown in to stimulate a response.

  47. rockylives says:

    First, this is a really well-written and thought-provoking read RA – thanks.

    For me it’s a ‘head and heart’ thing. My head wants to disagree with you and reiterate the points made by Bops and others. Unlike rugby and American football, you can become a world beater in real football whatever your size (Maradona, Messi, Hagi, Cesc and others too numerous to mention), so there is no reason why a team of vertically challenged individuals (apart from the GK and CBs) could not be champions if the players had the right quality.

    Then my heart chimes in and says, yes, I really do wish some of our players were bigger and that part of what made our great double-winning and Invincible teams great was the sheer athleticism and strength throughout the team.

    In other words I’m quite conflicted on this.

  48. Rasp says:

    Hi rocky,

    Le Grove linked to your last two articles on their post today and they are still receiving traffic.

    I think Red Arse’s post today is too easy to dismiss when you are a wholehearted supporter as it may seem to oppose the ‘ethos’, but actually it raises important questions and I think AW realises that it is useful to have some big players in the squad.

    The new lad Lukaku (not sure if we’ve actually signed him yet?) is 6ft 3in.

  49. rockylives says:

    How would this ‘Midgets United’ team fare in the EPL if they were all playing together at the same time (For defenders and GK I have given myself a 6’0″ maximum):

    GK: Given (6′ 0″)
    CBs: Paul McGrath (6′ 0″); Thomas Vermaelen (6′ 0″)
    FBs: Kenny Sansom (5′ 8″); Paul Parker (5′ 7″)
    MF: Marc Overmars (5’8″); Cesc Fabregas (5′ 9″); David Batty (5′ 8″); Freddie Ljungberg (5′ 9″)
    Forwards: Ian Wright (5′ 9″); Carlos Tevez (5′ 8″)

  50. SharkeySure says:

    CHary 11.13. “Just how idiotic was Andy Townsend on the commentary last night?”

    I couldn’t agree more… Unusually I was watching it at home with two non footies fans, and I had already highlighted both the reporting bias, and Mr Youngs propensity for diving long before that incident.

    Even by his own low standards Mr Townsend was shocking.

    Kevin Davies yellow carded. Unbelievable !

  51. rockylives says:

    Question for RA: When you say “Arsene fell in love with seemingly fast, small, amazingly skilful players,” are you suggesting that he decided that he would specifically look for small players. Or is it that, by coincidence, the players whose playing style he has particularly liked in recent years just happen to have been shrimps?

    Rasp: Lukaku sounds like a monster, but I find it hard to get excited about a 17-year-old who may or may not have what it takes to be a star in two or three years time.

  52. rockylives says:

    Rasp, I should also add my congratulations for the genius picture. If only Arsene had a white beard it would be like a pic of Santa sending one of his elves off on the Christmas run.

  53. charybdis1966 says:

    Exactly S Sure -and every time he whined about how hard one of the Montenegro defenders went in on a tackle I felt compelled to shout “Are you trying to take tackling out of the game, you wimp?!”

  54. SharkeySure says:

    Great shout that Rocky…

    Paul McGrath would eat Drogba for breakfast, both physically and footballistically !!

  55. Red Arse says:

    Rasp, I find myself apologising to you yet again. I forgot to say how well you integrated the pics into the Post. Well done. :-)

    BTW, that Lukaku story started in a half arsed way on Talkcrap, was picked up by one blog who hid the credit in the body of the story, and it was picked up by one or two others. This morning Lukaku’s agent and “insiders” are denying the story and said he is likely to join the Chavs for £10m. arsenal had a £1.5m offer rejected in the summer. I wonder who will eventually get him, at those prices? :-)

    Rocky, your 2:10, (sorry been at lunch) Arsene did not tell me he had fallen in love with shorties, it is pure conjecture on my part. :-) But, he is famously frugal and I thought at first he was buying short arses because he got more for his £ sterling!! :-)

    What we, thankfully did not get into discussing earlier, is that some of our so called quality little guys aren’t particularly talented in my opinion. Sagna, Clichy, Denilson and some others where the jury is still out, like Theo.

    If I had said so, I think 99% of the site aficionados would have had a lynch mob out for me, led by Smithy. :-)

  56. RedandDread says:

    Although the examples of the success that Barcelona and Spain have had with out being an enourmously “big” team (although anyone seeing the sheer mountainous stature of Yaya may disagree) been thrown out for good measure, I agree that we need more “beef” in the current Arsenal team. We were bouncing off Drogba & co at the Bridge, the other day. When Barcelona last won the CL they really were outplayed for vast majority of the game by a bigger Chelsea team in the semi’s and it was a last minute strike by Iniesta that won it for them.

    Last year a very physical Inter Milan beat them over two legs. This year Barcelona are even smaller-interesting to see what they win this year.

    However, back to the Arse-of all the big leagues, the EPL is the most physically demanding and as such a team needs to have some big athletic skillful mosnters if they are to succeed, a la Chelsea.

    Maybe in a year or two they might be heavier and more resilient in the challenge but once again it will be a case of next year.

    Still hoepful we will pull things around this season though! GOONER4EVA!

  57. Red Arse says:

    Well said RedandDread. :-)

    You summed up the article much better than I could do.

    Go Arsenal!! :-)

  58. rockylives says:

    “I thought at first he was buying short arses because he got more for his £ sterling!!” :))

  59. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Good afternoon,
    Great post Red Arse. Thought provoking. Thanks.
    Here’s where I stand. I am in favour of very agile eight foot goalkeepers, and CB’s of a minimum of six foot with springs. After that, I lose interest in the big ‘uns. You can pack an awful lot of power into a little ‘un. As Peaches pointed out, put RVP and Verm back in, and we are ok down the spine, and its the spine that really matters, because, and here is my unique and very clever observation, you rarely need to head the ball in the wider positions.

  60. Rasp says:

    That’s genius Micky :lol:

  61. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Rasp,
    Oh I know!
    Cannot wait for us to get back into the saddle this weekend. Can’t make it myself, so it will be a dodgy link for me.
    Back to the issue under discussion. When I mentioned how you can pack alot of power into a little ‘un, I do think we lack a certain directness that power can bring. Gone are the days where we could counter effectively at pace and with power. I do think we have the ability with RVP, AA and now Theo, although it is the slow build up that we insist on that means we do not capitalize on this weapon.

  62. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I am going to play by myself.
    Here’s my First XI:

    ……..Fab

    Sagna Kos Squil Gibbs

    ……..Verm

    ….Cesc Jack

    Theo RVP AA

    Although this does depend on Theo keeping up his early season form. Otherwise, I would put RVP out wide and launch Chamakh down the middle.

  63. Red Arse says:

    Hi Mickey, :-)

    If only I had consulted you first! :-)

    That rascal Peaches told me to be controversial and then abandoned me! :-)

    Can I ask where you are based. (Don’t answer if I am being too nosy!) :-)

  64. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hi Red Arse,
    I would not consult me!
    I am in Devon, and have been here for fourteen years. Used to be season ticket holder before the move, but no longer. It is quite a day out for a game. One hour to train station, two and a tad to Paddington and the rest you know. I cunningly manage to fit in the odd business meeting London way just when Arsenal play at home midweek.

  65. Red Arse says:

    Cunning stuff, Mickey! :-)

    I’m seeing a guy to discuss tax planning in Weymouth in 3 weeks! Do I live high on the hog, or what? :-)

  66. London says:

    We lost to Chelsea because we failed to take our chances, not becasue of the size of our team.

  67. Duke says:

    Thx Rasp. I want 2 know if there any truth about d Lukaku story. 2 me any addition is welcome, expecialy when is not a midget. I understand he is frm Coted voire.

  68. London – I agree with you, if we’d have taken our chances we would have beaten Chelsea but if we were bigger don’t you think Chelsea would have been worried about us and upped their game.

    One thing that worries me about Chelsea is that most teams expect them to trample over them and so they don’t need to work very hard. Last season I expected Chelsea to run out of steam but very few teams gave them a game – including us :(

  69. rockylives says:

    Duke – the Lukaku thing is looking like pure media speculation at the moment, but you never know.

  70. Duke says:

    @rockylives, thx.

  71. SharkeySure says:

    Rasp _ I have to echo Red’s compliments om the pic…..that really is top top top quality!!

    Arshavin looks about 8yrs old. Even knowing his height, he still looks like he’s stood in a ditch !

    Every time I look at it just gets me laughing again and again!!!

    Ooops just looked again….Lol !!

  72. SharkeySure says:

    And again…..oh dear.

    Nite all

  73. SharkeySure says:

    I really should let this go now, but that pic really is just tooooooo funny !!!

  74. kelsey says:

    Morning all.

    Sorry I couldn’t join in yesterday.

    A thought provoking post RA and having read all the comments,I don’t really think there is a fooproof argument one way or another with regards to the stature of our players.

    No one has mentioned the size of the pitch,as Highbury was the bare minumum required and now we have the complete contrast with a pitch which is near maximum allowable.

    I accept that the players have changed since we last won a trophy,but the style of play is still basically wengerball,and is it more than a coincidence that more or less when we moved stadiums the personel changed(TH14 had his last year in our opening season) and an adjustment time to playing at home was initially negated.

    One might argue that close ball control or tippy tappy football is easier on a bigger pitch,but as we have seen that is not always the case.

    IMO it is not size or strength, it is not being able to have a real plan B or C when the occasion arises.

    Statistically we have had more serious injuries in the last 5 years than the previous 5,because players are generally more nimble, the game is getting faster but at the same time we seem to purchase far too many players who cannot sustain a decent run of games before getting injured again.

    How often have we seen players come into the game,even for a cameo role who aren’t fully fit, only to agregate an on going injury.

    The coaching and medical staff have to take a fair amount of blame for this,and this is an area that should be looked into more than it is at the moment.

  75. Big Raddy says:

    Morning Kelsey.

    I agree about the injuries but there must be some awareness of the need for our players to bulk up in order to avoid injury. Just compare Theo this season to last – he has gained at least 5kg of muscle

    Good point about the pitch. However when a team parks the bus the pitch size is irrelevant. Plus could this be a reason why we don’t score so many breakaway goals?

  76. Morning all

    Theres a NEW POST

  77. Kelsey – do you want to put your comment on the new post?

  78. [...] Your Girlfriend is Right After All……Size Does Matter [...]

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