Why Won’t Wenger Wing It?

Written by CarlitoII

When I sing the song “We’re the boys in Red and White, and we’re fucking dynamite”, a number of iconic players run through my mind. Rocky Rocastle, Anders Limpar, Marc Overmars, Freddy Ljungberg,  Robert Pires sprint through my inner thoughts, terrorising defences as they go. Close ball control, beating their man, finding space behind their opposing full backs and some wonderful play overlapping with their own full backs.

Strange that this image should come to me as it has been years since we’ve really seen it on the pitch. Wenger has a great history of signing or developing wide men. The only real failure I can think of is Jose Antonio Reyes but I didn’t think he was a failure when he burned up the left wing, only when he left us prematurely.

The left wing has been particularly iconic for me personally- the Limpar effect in 1991 was astonishing and both Overmars and his eventual replacement in Pires exemplify the way I think Arsenal should play. I think many of us felt that Rosicky would become the new Pires, but this has sadly not come to pass.

“But we’ve got wide men”, I hear you shout at your monitors! “What’s wrong with you Carlito11? We’ve got Theo, Nasri and Arshavin and they’re all wizards in their own way!” The key word in my defence is this: Byline. When was the last time you saw Arshavin, or Nasri, beat their full back for pace and whip in a cross from the byline? Theo has done it occasionally but I think most would agree with Wenger that his future is likely to involve a more central role before long. Gifted as all three of those players are, I would suggest that NONE of them are wingers.

As I mentioned, we always got extra width from our full backs pushing up, but I now fear for being caught on the counter when Clichy or Sagna push forward. There is also a distinct lack of the neat overlaps that characterised the Dixon/ Overmars and Cole/ Pires relationships. Our full backs currently push up and stay up- not a quick thrust as in days gone by.

So I wish for wingers! But what can be done? I see two potential solutions.

The first would involve changing our defensive set up to have 3 centre backs or a sweeper, thus allowing Sagna and Clichy to perform the wingers role better. However, it is asking a lot for them to get to the byline.

The second potential solution is the fantastic prospect of Ryo Miyaichi. This lad looks like he’s going to put the dynamite back into the team we call The Arsenal! If you haven’t seen him yet- search him on Youtube as there are extended highlights clips of all his substitute performances for Feyenoord posted there. He’s got broad shoulders, lightening pace and a great eye for distribution. But above all, he has wonderful close control when he dribbles and beats full backs in the Eredivisie for fun! I can’t wait to see him playing at the Mothership next year!

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94 Responses to Why Won’t Wenger Wing It?

  1. Red Arse says:

    Enjoyable piece Carlito, and good morning to you. :-)

    You are pushing on an open door as far as I am concerned.

    I agree with you absolutely, that we do not have wingers as such, just players like NickyB who are stuck out on the wing like a sore thumb, or are tricky but not hugely pacey like AA, etc.

  2. john says:

    miyachi will not be coming next season apart from pre season because he wont get a visa and this is fact

  3. Evonne says:

    Morning Carlito, I agree with you about the wingers. Super Rob has never been replaced.
    Ryo is brill, they love him in Feyenoord. I am just prying that the second application for his work permit will be successful

  4. Evonne says:

    John – how do you know about Ryo?

  5. It would be beneficial for us to utilise speedy wingers in order to exploit Bendy and Chamkh’s aerial prowess Carlito, but the only reason I can think of that may explain Wenger’s apparent aversion to wingers is that our Cesc-centric style of play may rely more on threaded passes after a series of triangular progressions from midfield, rather than pace on the flanks.

    I also think that to be an effective winger does not necessarily require pace, as long as good balance, above average close control and the ability to see a pass are there – for example Bobby never had pace but his strength was in what I just described.
    He had the ability to beat the full back, cut inside and lay on the ball for a striker, or take on the shot himself.

    Out of interest can anyone remember what his preferred midfield position was with Metz and Marsellie ?

  6. tommystout says:

    Fab read Carlito, i think most arsenal supporters miss the overmars days.
    Reading your article i was readying to mention Ryo in my comments, but alas you mentioned him right at the end, he looks excellent and i follow each youtube addition with excitement. He looks the real deal, here he is against vitesse -

    Anyways you’ve changed your name on twitter carlito, fooled me for a while that we had another writer out there :-)

  7. tommystout says:

    Am i not mistaken but at 2.0 down on saturday with WBA effectively forcing us down the flanks, did we not change to 4.4.2 with the introduction of bendy and chamach?
    Maybe we do have a plan B now.

  8. somal says:

    ‘When was the last time you saw Arshavin, or Nasri, beat their full back for pace and whip in a cross from the byline?’

    … Probably last weekend at West Brom for the second goal.

  9. Red Arse says:

    Evonne,

    Looking thru’ earlier comments, I saw you were being far too modest about your technical footie knowledge.

    All men like to think they are ‘technical’ experts, at everything, but, unless they agree with me, they are usually talking rubbish!! :-)

    Here’s a little piece in a similar vein! :-)

    Headline: Man killed on Golf Course, the price of honesty and ladies who swear.

    A male foursome was waiting at the men’s tee while a foursome of women was hitting from the ladies tee ahead of them.

    The ladies were taking their time, and when the final lady was ready to hit the ball, she hacked it just 10 feet. Then she air-hit her next shot, hacked the third shot another ten feet and finally hacked the ball a paltry five feet.

    She looked up at the impatiently waiting men and said, apologetically, “I guess all those f*cking lessons I took over the winter didn’t help.”

    One of the men immediately responded, “Well, there you have it. You should have taken golfing lessons instead!”

    He never even had a chance to duck! He was just 43. RIP.

    A man should know when to button it! :-)

  10. Smith14 says:

    I suppose there are a couple of reasons why we don’t play with wingers. Firstly, teams play very deep against us so there is less space to exploit behind. From memory, the games Theo has excelled in have been releatively stretched, as soon a it’s congested and teams are filling in the gaps against us it’s really hard to get the best from a pacey, old fashioned, wide man.

    Our wing play comes from our full backs which is really a neccesary risk when playing against teams who park the bus. The full backs play on the overlap and provide extra bodies to stretch the opponents. If you play with a winmger against a full back, most teams would just out number us.

    I too loved the days of Limpar and Overmars but Football tactics have chganged to such an extent that wingers have less and less of a place at the top level. None of the top teams in the world really play with wingers any more.

  11. Carlito11 says:

    Morning all- in the middle of about 5 mutually exclusive tasks so won’t be staying but thanks for your comments so far.
    Chary- I think your idea here needs to be explored further. Does the “Cesc-Centred” 4-3-3 mean that there is no room for wingers anymore?

  12. Carlito11 says:

    somal- if you are right I apologise- I missed last saturday’s game completely due to some rather sad news in my family :-( However, it doesn’t happen often enough!

  13. Carlito11 says:

    Been reminded of Brian Marwood just now on twitter. What would NB52 and Chamakh be capable of scoring with the kind of service Smudger got in 88/89?

  14. Smith14 says:

    Carlito,

    I used to love Marwood and Limpar is probably my all time favourite. Chamakh and Bendtner would definitely get goals with their service but RVP would get fewer and you wouldn’t get the best from Cesc or Nasri.

    Maybe we need a pacey winger as a plan B?

  15. That’s the thing Carlito, Cesc is more about measured progress over the pitch rather than breakneck speed although naturally I’d like us to be able to attack in another way, heck in a multitude of ways is ideal.
    The question is do we play with more pace when Cesc is not in the side?

  16. Carlito11 says:

    What about this fella? been told by a PSV fan that he’s exactly the kind of player who gets to the byline and supplies ammunition. Looks like a character too (hope it embeds)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCnXouc0JCo

  17. Carlito11 says:

    Ah well! I’m off to Sweden for a funeral this afternoon- catch you all after the weekend…

  18. mickydidit89 says:

    Sorry to have missed you Carlito, but thanks for the post.

  19. Mickeyk says:

    What’s the point of wingers getting to the byline and crossing if no won can head the ball.the heading ability of our players is shameful and sometimes shocking.

  20. mickydidit89 says:

    Not really around today, but I think I have the solution to the winger problem. Clearly its all down to this formation nonsense. 4-4-2, 4-3-3, 3-5-2 or whatever. Thing is, and here is a brilliant discovery of mine, all these formations contain a similarity that reveals a terrible flaw. They are all made up of whole numbers. What we need is more flexible players. I shall call them the “Elastics”.
    Thus my solution is this:
    3 – 3.5 – 3.5
    Argue with that if you can!
    Bye for now.

  21. Brigham says:

    We always used to have such great wingers at the club such as; Geordie Armstrong, Rocky, Marwood, Overmars, Bobby Pires, Ljunberg, even Perry Groves and dare I even mention the great Cliff Bastin.

    I really think our lack of pace breaking out of defence is costly and we very rarely score that way anymore. Although the second goal against Wolves was a rare gem and a happy reminder of the past.

    Good wingers creat chances, always have and always will.

  22. mickydidit89 says:

    Any Microsoft Word experts here. A weird symbol has appeared next to my cursor when I type. Looks like a bad musical symbol. Kind of a crotchet. Then on every line on previous docs. Help. Gooner in distress!

  23. Big Raddy says:

    Carlito. Fine post and I agree entirely,

    I like Arshavin, he is class but he lacks pace, and Cesc does like to play fancy triangles YET …. what about our second goal v Barca? A first time ball from Cescto the fast running Nasri who was on the wing, then the pull back to the onrushing AA.

    One of the best goals of the season.

  24. London says:

    Congrats on finding something to write about Carlito, you are a better man than I.

    It is interesting how we are divided over wingers; I am in the Smith14 and the Chary camp. Pace is useful but close control if far more useful. Pires typifies this better than anyone else I can think of right now, he wasn’t super fast but his control made us drool.
    We are Cesc centric which to me means that we condense play in the opponents half and will continue doing so for the foreseeable future; the result, as we all know, is a lack of space and as a consequence Theo is muted.
    It is admirable that Wenger has tried to emulate the Barcelona style of play, it makes a great deal of sense when you look at the midfield talent we have to draw from but we have not been able to match the super quick passing used by Barcelona to get round the back of defences; we haven’t even been quick or skilful enough to get round the back of the Sunderland or the West Brom defence. It wouldn’t surprise me if Wenger is personally very disappointed. There is still time to save this season but I fear the worst if the same tactics are employed until the end of the season.

  25. mickydidit89 says:

    Oi Lads,
    Gooner Overboard!!!
    What about my problem or are you all Apple Men?

  26. gunnern5 says:

    BR: Arshavin is not fast over a long stretch but his great asset is his sudden burst of speed over a short distance.

  27. gunnern5 says:

    MD89: Many times all you need to do is shut everything down and reboot the system.

  28. Rasp says:

    Interesting post Carlito – I agree with you and Raddy.

    Surely no system should be that rigid that it cannot accommodate variations to try to unlock resolute defences. Pace is an essential part of play in all parts of the field in the modern game. Fair enough, the fastest runner cannot catch the ball that is being passed but how often do we spray long diagonal passes out to the wings to bypass the opposition’s midfield and creat a quick break? The answer lies in the personnel and the tactics of the manager. Theo terrified the Barca defenders and yet he is the only really pacey player we have.

  29. Brigham says:

    Mickey, do you have the ‘show/hide’ button selected on the toolbar of Word. Its normally next to the ‘zoom’ window.

  30. mickydidit89 says:

    G5,
    I was just about to put the bleeding boot in!
    Away we go! Thanks.

  31. Evonne says:

    Red Arse – I am beginning to fall in love with you ….and you don’t want that to happen, trust me!
    My unusually nice Tottenham supporting mate told me today that I know more about football that most men he knows, so! He has also told me that he loves football more than he loves Spurs, and he thinks that Arsenal deservedly should and will win the league this season, he’s a lovely spud

  32. Micky, have you clicked on the “Bullets” option by mistake ? Then you’ll get symbols at the beginning of each line, similar to what you’re describing.
    If that’s the case unclick it, it’s just above the text centring option icons on the standard Word toolbar.

  33. mickydidit89 says:

    Brigham,
    Thank you. Saved. I owe you monkeys, camels and probably murr!
    G5,
    It did not work, but allowed me to cool down, so thank you also.

  34. mickydidit89 says:

    Evonne,
    “Red Arse – I am beginning to fall in love with you” Excellent, blog romance, its what we have been waiting for!

  35. Evonne says:

    Mickydidit – does it look like like mirror image of an uppercase P ?

  36. mickydidit89 says:

    Off to sit in the sun for a while.

  37. mickydidit89 says:

    Evonne,
    Yes, and embarassingly, its at the top in front of me when on a Word doc. Complete panic sets in with me and everything rapidly spirals out of control!
    Calm has been restored!

  38. Mickeyk says:

    Love is in the air

  39. Brigham says:

    micky, no problems mate and I am happy to help. ;-)

  40. London says:

    It’s interesting that both BR and Rasp have homed in on Barca goal, it certainly was a good goal but have you realised that we the imitators of that style were playing the originals. That is to say they had condensed the play in our half giving us the opportunity to break………but who does that in the EPL? No one, not even United is the answer even they sit back wait until Sagna sends in the inevitable cross in which we lose position and they break. There are a couple of things we agree on and that is no system should be applied as rigidly as it is right now, when Cesc is out the Cesccentric style of play should be left in the sick bay with him. I also agree that Walcott scared the Barca defence; he should be given a game every time we play Barcelona.

  41. Red Arse says:

    Evonne,

    Your comment at 1:49 has left me discombobulated! (I am known for my short words ….. ask Mickey). :-)

    The other AA’er have already sussed me out, and will advise you that I am irritating, egotistical, opinionated, always sick (lately) and a thicko with a weird sense of humour. What is worse …. they are right!

    I have been told by Fruss (an occasional AA’er) that my writing can be mesmeric. Dr Franz Mesmer said his unorthodox methodology was based on ‘animal magnetism’.

    Clearly if I encounter someone who has a positive charge, to my clearly negative charge, like magnets we stick together. Just like me and the Rasper! :-)

  42. Rasp says:

    Hi London, I don’t disagree with anything you say, but it has to be admitted that against prem opposition, we struggle to unlock the ‘park the bus’ defences whereas manu normally find a way to score – why is that?

    They attack with more aggression. I’d swap a portion of our brilliance for some of their directness and grit if it meant we won games.

  43. Rasp says:

    RA, I don’t know what you mean? I am just the devil’s advocate for the devil’s advocate :?

  44. Red Arse says:

    I am pretty much with London. Theo’s pace certainly worried Barca and it is a pity he was not available against them.

    What I do not quite understand is that earlier comments moot that a steady build up with skill is better than out and out pace.

    Erm, why should those attributes be mutually exclusive? Why can we not have a pacy winger with skill? Simples! :-)

  45. Red Arse says:

    There you go again Rasp, your smooth words are like an emollient balm to my rough hewn prose! :-)

  46. Evonne says:

    Nic has only a minor ankle sprain, out for a week only, pheeeeew…
    John – did you reply why you are so certain about Ryo not getting a work permit? I have read somewhere that he will definitely get one
    Red Arse – wink, wink :)

  47. Evonne says:

    Rasp – spot on. I always feel that we lack that ‘something’. Without being controversial,again, I think we need more British players, they show more character and determination. Chavs, Scum, Liverpool, ManU all have that solid British backbone; it might be the reason they appear stronger than our lads. Having said that, we are better than most of the above mentioned, so my point is clearly crap :(

  48. Red Arse says:

    Evonne,

    Very tricky. You finish your point by saying it is crap. But as any male knows, it can be fatal agreeing with women in these circumstances.

    It falls into the ‘does my bum look big in this?’ Any agreement can be terminal!

    The first part of your comment agreeing with Rasp’s earlier; –they (Manu etc) attack with more aggression. I’d swap a portion of our brilliance for some of their directness and grit if it meant we won more games — is indisputably correct.

    The second part needs clarification; –their British spine etc — what does that refer to? Definition of spine = GK, Centre Back, Centre Forward?

    Manu = Van der Sar, Vidic, Little Pea.
    Chavs = Chech, Luiz, Drogba/Torres.
    Liverpool = Reina, the Tattooed bloke from Prison Break, Luis.

    Not too many British in those spines, so perhaps your point was ………. :-)

    [I told you .... I'm not nice!!] :-)

  49. shrek2be says:

    Good Post !!! But more importantly I believe we need more pace along the flanks to latch onto through balls by Jack/Cesc. Even if they don’t have supreme dribbling abilities , they should be able to keep banging good crosses into the box. This is what I think our ideal team should be like ….

    Szczesny/Experienced GK

    Sagna Djourou/Vermaelen Koscielny/new CB Clichy

    Song/new DM
    Nasri/Ramsey Cesc/Wilshere

    Theo/New winger Andrei/New Winger

    RVP/Chamakh/Bendtner/Quick striker

    I don’t want Nasri to be played anywhere on the wings . I would prefer a quick striker to outrun defenders for pace. Of course if Nasri does start on the wings then I prefer RVP in the centre , but if we have somelike Chamakh as a striker then we need Nasri in the centre of midfield and we should have quicker players out on the wings . Our Game should be such like that Song or any other DM doesn’t have to come and get involved in the attacking play at all , if this is ensured then our wing backs should be able to go ahead and have a good time.

  50. London says:

    Hi Shrek

    Interesting comment, when Cesc is playing we are obviously going to play the Cesc way but what would your team and system be if everyone else was available except him?

  51. shrek2be says:

    Szczesny/Experienced GK

    Sagna Djourou/Vermaelen Koscielny/new CB Clichy

    Song/new DM

    Wilshere

    Nasri/Ramsey

    Andrei/New Winger

    Theo/RVP
    Chamakh/Bendtner/Quick striker

    The reason I put RVP out on the wings is we need a combination of a striker/winger who can get goals at least at 10-15 a season plus assists . He should be a player with pace which in one way rules out RVP but he should also have dribbling and finishing abilities which for me sadly Walcott doesn’t fit the bill a lot .He may improve but I would like a genuine winger/2nd striker similar to the likes of Messi/C Ronaldo with even 50% of their abilities and 40% of their goals tally per season.

  52. Big Raddy says:

    Shrek. There is absolutely no chance of us signing 6 players. If we get more than two I would be surprised.

    My choice would be to sign a left winger who can shoot – perhaps Ashley Young, though this would require the sale of both Vela and Arshavin. I like Andrei both as a man and a player but I fully expect him to return to Russia to close out his career.

  53. Big Raddy says:

    Shrek.

    Perhaps you see a different Walcott to the one I see. He has made huge strides this season – adding more power and finishing to his undoubted skills. I believe he has huge potential and expect him to become an automatic first choice.

    11 goals and 8 assists in 19 starts + 11 subs is a very good return, as good as anyone in the PL (apart from Berbs)

  54. RockyLives says:

    Travelling today so just popping in…
    I don’t remember Pires getting to the byline and putting in traditional crosses for a big CF. Nor Freddie.
    My theory is that by playing Cescball our game is deliberately slow and I would just like us to speed it up, with or without wingers.

  55. shrek2be says:

    Hey Big Raddy… long time no see…

    Even I agree that Wenger won’t buy 6 players, but he requires 4 fresh players at least, a CB, A tough tackling DM , A winger who can score as well as assist consistently.
    Fourth ,a really good striker that we talked about last time who has good control/pace & dribbling skills and excellent finishing qualities which not only means scoring from inside the box , we sometimes requires shots from outside it as well . Such a striker has to give us a return of 25-30 goals a season .
    Personally I think Andrei may be sold but not Vela , I believe Vela has the capabilities to be the Winger/striker I would like to see but if not him then I would like someone like Stefan Jovetic from Fiorentina (currently injured) though how he might adapt to the the English game is something we can’t foresee right now and then we sell Bendtner to a league where hopefully he’ll be able to flourish and get good money for him. Personally and no offense to my fellow Brits , I am not a fan of most British players , I’ve always thought they were over hyped and overpaid.

  56. Gooner in Exile says:

    Interestingly we are all looking for pace, the one member of our current first team who doesn’t have pace is Cesc, there have been many times I have expected the ball to go out of touch only to witness a spurt of speed and the ball at feet. Our pace is why teams defend so deep and allow us to come on to them.

    Goals against Barca and Wolves showed we had pace to burn most teams don’t give us the space to use it.

    So the question is do teams play against ManUre in the same way and why do ManUre seem to have the ability to knock the door downif they do.

    In recent weeks we have seen them unable to beat Chelsea or Liverpool but overcome us….they let’s be honest needed Jussi to hand the ball to Berba to give him an easy chance for the win.

    Against us they broke and scored twice. With the number of players we send forward it’s no surprise, in my opinion we do not need to commit so many men forward or get to the byeline, what we need is to give the opposition a different question, that would be utilising Cham or NikB and delivering the ball from deep early, if we did that for the first 15minutes (and fought for knockdowns) sooner or later the defence would be forced to break ranks to pressure the ball anywhere in their half, that then allows us space to play triangles.

    Teams have been embarrassed by our triangles before left chasing shadows, by setting up with two banks of 4 and 5 they negate this possibilty.

    We don’t need to play direct for 90 minutes we just need to show we have the option which will make teams think about how they setup, the only team to try and attack is in numbers is Barca, no other team dares play that way.

  57. RockyLives says:

    GiE
    Very sound points.
    We bemoan our failings at great length, but we have done just about as well as the Mancs at knocking down other teams’ doors.

  58. Gooner in Exile says:

    Sheen the new boys are already here:

    CB = Kyle Bartley/Miquel/JET
    DM= Frimpong/JET
    AMF=Lansbury/Aneke(maybe 11-12 is to early for him)/Ryo
    CF=Afobe

    Chateau Arsenal production line in the main

  59. Gooner in Exile says:

    Sheen=Shrek damn iphone

  60. Wonderman says:

    Evening GiE

    Perfect points made @6:14 I would also add that it would’nt hurt if only one of our full backs went forward at a time and one midfielder held the defensive position. Too often all our midfielders are caught up the field along with both full backs…suicidal in my humble opinion

  61. shrek2be says:

    Gooner in Exile
    I still think we need a new CB as we have no idea whether Tommy V’s injuries would be cured or not.Miquel will be sent to a Premiership/championship team for experience . Interesting names rumoured to join us are Subotic/Hummels/Tasci/Zapata/Hengeland/Jagielka to name a few. If given a choice , I would prefer either of the first two. JET ,IMO can never be a DM , Frimpong has potential but will take time . I hope francis Coquelin could help us .Ryo/Wellington has yet to get a work permit. I have no idea about how Afobe plays .

  62. Gooner in Exile says:

    Agreed Wonderman, Im sure most of us have been trained in the art of shifting the line, ie right back attacks players on left hold back and shift across, How many times did Busquets or Mascherano leave their duty as the linchpin of the midfield/defence

  63. Big Raddy says:

    What gets overlooked is that we haven’t had our first choice 11 at all this season.

    If we assume that TV and Kos or JD are our first choice CB, then out eam would be

    Szczesny
    Sagna Kos/JD TV Clichy
    Song Cesc JW Nasri
    Theo RvP

    If we are able to put out this team and IF all were fully fit, we would have all the neccesary attributes to win the title.

    But ……

  64. Wonderman says:

    GIe technically known as sliding, but we see so little of it

  65. Gooner in Exile says:

    Raddy thats something I have been looking at as a sneak preview of a forthcoming post:

    Only 7 players have started (and played 60minutes) more than 20 of our PL games.

    Chavs 8
    ManUre 6

    We then have 6 players in the 10-20 games, Chelsea 6, and ManUre 7.

    So the question is are we any worse off than those two? Its not the main thrust of my post, but something I cam across when looking at it.

  66. SharkeySure says:

    Quality read that Carlito.

    I thought Reyes was the absolute nuts, and it was ‘other issues’ that were his downfall. If we talk about wingers who can score and assist, then for me Reyes was the epitome of this.

    Some Arsenal fans only seem to remember his final 9mths (?) at Arsenal, when nothing went right for him on or off the pitch. At the start of 2004-05 he was literally on fire, scoring 6 in 6 (?) with a no. of assists as well. By the time we went to OT on our unbeaten he was rightly (huh?) targetted as the man to be stopped at all costs. He took a major kicking from the Nevilles that day, but never hid. Top man.

    Arsenal 5 Boro 3, Reyes at his magnificent best !!

    Video to follow.

  67. SharkeySure says:

    Not so much of Reyes as I remembered, but there is an unbelievable pass at 1.13 and a scorching strike following a sublime bit of skill.

    Top top quality.

  68. London says:

    At the Emirates I sit next to someone who would start a fight with anyone who says a bad word about Walcott and he is a darn sight bigger than me, this may make you laugh when you consider how sceptical I am about Walcott. I wish I wasn’t but sceptical I am. I cheer him like a demon at the games though mostly out of fear; I go to football with old school nutters, its best to go with the flow.

  69. London says:

    Reyes

    Dios mio, I am keeping out of this one, he was not my cup of tea, I know he had a good game against Middlesbrough and of course there was the goal against Chelsea but for the rest of the time instead of going past his man he seemed to spend the best part on his backside, moaning with his hands in the air or swanning around wearing a Real Madrid shirt…..never a good idea when you are still signed to Arsenal.

  70. SharkeySure says:

    Alright London

    “play in our half giving us the opportunity to break………but who does that in the EPL?”

    I agree completely with that. I wrote recently that Man U will always play 4-5-1 against us, home or away. I think the PL game at OT earlier this season was the first in which we didn’t bomb forward and fall into their trap, which made us doing exactly that in the FA Cup all the more strange.

    Getting caught on the break and having to defend in a blind panic has cost us Djourou for a month to six weeks as well !!

  71. Gooner in Exile says:

    Haha London,

    Theo is a little bit marmite in the love/hate sense.

    I can see both sides of the argument, but all i’d really like from him is more killer instinct, who did we play recently when he had so many opportunities but couldn’t score for love nor money.

  72. London says:

    Sharkey

    The thing is……as you already know……we watch the same games.

  73. SharkeySure says:

    London – You can’t really argue with six goals in six games and having Fergie set both of the Nevilles on you.

    You don’t get that sort of respect for just those two games you can remember. Lol

    Towards the end, nothing went right for him, no matter how hard he tried. It was painful to watch his shots hit the post, be deflected wide or blocked on the line. I could have cried for him towards the end.

    Wot a talent that boy was. He really could have been one of the greats if he’d got his head right and stayed with us. Mr Henry didn’t exactly help him as a skipper and senior pro might be expected to do….but don’t get me started on that !! Grrr

  74. London says:

    Hi GIE

    Goodness I want Walcott to do well and I accept there is still time, he has improved as BR rightly points out but we play a style in which control is everything and he is still like a puppy with a beach ball.

  75. London says:

    Sharkey

    I saw it as a talent wasted, of course, I wished other wise but that is how I saw it. Henry would have gone passed both Nevills and did regularly, so should have Reyes in my opinion.

  76. SharkeySure says:

    “we watch the same games”

    Not today by the looks of it. I thought Saint Thierry didn’t do a helluva lot vs Man U across the course of his time with us.

    Notwithstanding(?) his flick and volley over Barthez of course.

  77. SharkeySure says:

    Notwithstanding is a truly mad word. It looks like my typinsons at its best/worst

  78. London says:

    If you want to run with Reyes being better than Henry then I aint going to try to stop you and what’s more I like your comments too much to want to. Enjoy your evening Sharkey.

  79. SharkeySure says:

    Naah, not better than Henry, not saying that.

    I agree that Reyes really didn’t fulfil his destiny, either with us or anyone else. He has shown glimpses n recent years, but not enough considering the incredible amount of natural talent he appeared to have been born with.

    Just that assist and goal against Boro alone show the levels that he could and should have reached. 60 yard pass off of his left peg, send home a screamer off of his right. He was only missing a header that day !

  80. London says:

    As I said, we watch the same games.

  81. SharkeySure says:

    I hear ya London…..

  82. chas says:

    Nice post Carlito.

    I’ve been baffled by our lack of a plan B throughout this season. You’re right that we don’t exploit the wings as we might. Though I’d only count Limpar as a winger from the list you mention.

    One thing that always annoys me is the first defender cutting out crosses at the near post. Why don’t strikers bust a gut to get there if they know the ball will end up there most of the time? Bendy stands behind the far post defender hoping for the perfect cross on to his head. RvP drags back waiting for the pull back pass. Perhaps with no striker that wants to attack the ball, the wingers become obsolete.

  83. Big Raddy says:

    CHas. With the general quality of our crosses, we would need at least 5 players in the box because the results are so random.

  84. Rasp says:

    Morning chas, I’ve been making that point repeatedly over the last few years – we never attack the near post. It’s as though the simple tap-in is beneath us. Freddie used to make runs to the near post. As others have said, there’s no point in having wingers if the strikers aren’t going to attack the ball in the box, and that means getting in front of defenders not standing behind them.

  85. A veritable cattle-prod Rasp :P

    Morning all :)

  86. mickydidit89 says:

    Part of the problem is the service to our front three from midfield. Theo, AA and RVP are perfectly capable of breaking at speed, but the ball from midfield is sooooooooooooo slow. We can do it, occasionally we do it.

  87. mickydidit89 says:

    Sorry, morning all.
    Fleeting visit from me sadly.

  88. Mornnig MDi89 – no doubt you’ll be out sitting in the sun today.

    Too nice a day to be cooped up indoors.

  89. Red Arse says:

    Morning Chas, :-) You are an early bird!

    Actually, I have been up since about 3:30 a.m. watching the Formula 1 practices. Nutty or what? :-)

    I totally agree with your comments at 7:24 this morning.

    My take on this is that our forwards don’t ‘anticipate’, they are always on the back foot and passive. Same thoughts as yours, different perspective, arriving at the same conclusion! :-)

  90. Red Arse says:

    Morning Rasper, :-)

    Just read your email, you rascal! :-) :-)

  91. Rasp – are you about, just found a post from dandan in drafts so I’m going to use that today

  92. Big Raddy says:

    I don’t accept our forwards are on the back foot. IMO RvP is one of the world’s top strikers and anticipates very well. HOwever, as has been said repeatedly teams defend in depth V Arsenal especially around the 22 yd line where RvP does most of his work.

    Only MU have scored more than us this season (thanks to some appalling performances from teams that roll over at OT).

    To get opposition teams to play expansively is one of AW’s most pressing problems

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