Now is the time to make Arshavin Arsenal’s Playmaker

‘We cannot allow ourselves to indulge in sadness and melancholy’

Andrey Arshavin, December 2010 (after MU away game)

 

With the departure of Cesc Fabregas and the long-term injury to Jack Wilshere, Arsenal is left with a hole, in more ways than one. It is a cruel double blow to have neither of them available for this pivotal position, especially during this transitional period. Since the start of the new season, the much-changed Arsenal team has looked unfamiliar to us, as if it has lost its identity, its USP, its typical style of football, and the main reason for this is, nobody has been able to make the ‘hole position’ theirs until now. It comes as no surprise that our results in the League have also been well under-par, and now is the time to make some bold moves so we can regain momentum and confidence again, and shake-off this mantle of sadness and melancholy once and for all.

The Playmaker position, just off the striker – the Dutch call it ‘de hangende spits’ (the ‘hanging-off’ striker) was made for Dennis Bergkamp and vice versa, back in the mid-nineties. He epitomised what can be done to a team and its style of football if the right player takes up the no. 10 position. DB10 was always able to find space for himself, so the defence and midfield had an outlet, he was able to hold on the ball and allow the attacking midfielders to move forward, but he was just as capable to set up a quick attack for his fellow striker and wingers – often with an inch-perfect defence-splitting pass that would make you go weak in the knees for joy – or to take on defenders himself and score goals from just outside the penalty area, or inside the box. Dennis had it all: brilliant first touch, superb vision, a winner’s mentality, a professional through and through, and somebody who took pleasure in doing beautiful things with a ball on the pitch. It was this quest for beauty that has made him such a special player and made him immortal to us, and, in a way, he made us all feel a bit immortal along the way.

Cesc Fabregas was a different ‘no. 10’ for us: more of an attacking midfielder than a striker, with a great ability to pass the ball within tight spaces and to boss the midfield area. However, what he had in common with Dennis was the ability to pick a defence splitting pass and to create something out of nothing, for which he also had the vision and touch. He was another great Arsenal player although not in the same category as Dennis, but then who is, or will ever be?

Jack Wilshere is a very promising player for both Arsenal and England. For me, he is our future ‘nr. 10’ as he is similar to Cesc in many ways, with great vision and a superb passer of the ball, very good in tight spaces and with a phenomenal fighting spirit and stamina. He came off age last year during our game against Barcelona, and to do so at such a young age is truly astounding. We are unbelievably lucky to have him, and I am sure he will be another Arsenal great. The only thing missing until now is Jack’s goal scoring ability/record, and until this improves he can compensate it with his vision and passing ability, which should lead to setting up many successful attacks and assists.

So, who is going to fill this position for us until Jack returns?

The candidates are: Aaron Ramsey, Thomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta, Yossi Benayoun, Robin van Persie and Andrey Arshavin. I cannot see Arsenal change the system to 4-4-2 in the near future, so I am going to base my views on the current 4-2-3-1 system. In the ‘2’, Alex Song is our ‘pure’ DM and there is back-up for him from Emmanuel Frimpong and Francis Coquelin. For me the best partner to Song in the ‘2’ is a typical box-to-box midfielder and either Aaron Ramsey or Mikel Arteta should play in that position. The DM’s partner should be an all-round midfielder who can defend, and go forward, create chances for others and score goals himself. Both Arteta and Ramsey can offer this, and we are lucky to have two such good players to cover this position.

But who should play in the hole: who should be our Playmaker? Ideally, a player for this position should have vision, hold on to the ball really well, a great passer of the ball and ability to score goals with an average of 0.25 goals or higher, per game.

For me, for now, it is neither Ramsey, nor Arteta. For different reasons, I find it too early for them to be given this vital role in the team. I am not convinced that both of them have the vision that is required for this key position and with PL goal-scoring records of 0.16 goals per game (Arteta) and 0.12 (Ramsey), I do not feel they are prolific enough either. However, it is early days and both could claim this position over time.

Rosicky has the vision and the passing ability, but lacks the stamina and consistency to really claim this role. When TR played in this role this season, he gave Arsenal its identity back, but he cannot do this twice a week for us and his goal scoring record is not great either with only 0.13 goals per game. For me, Rosicky should be the second choice for the Playmaker role, and he is a good squad player for Arsenal to have (just think back to his second half performance against Udinese in Italy).

Yossi Benayoun could be a possibility, but as he is on loan at Arsenal I don’t think we should give this position to him on a regular basis. His goal scoring record is the same as Arteta’s (0.16 goals per game), so not bad but also not brilliant. I would like to see more of Yossi in an Arsenal shirt so I can make a proper assessment of his abilities.

This leaves me with two remaining possibilities: Robin van Persie or Andrey Arshavin. Both are options I would like us to try out, just to see whether it works. As a captain, RvP is isolated as our lone striker. If he were to play in the ‘hole position’ with either Chamakh, Park, or even Gervinho or Walcott, in front of him, he could be both a better leader of the team and improve our attacking options. He would not be a typical Playmaker, but fill in the role similar to the way Rooney does at MU. If we were to opt for a 4-4-2 formation, as many of us would prefer, this would work very well.  It would mean a strong decrease in focussing on our passing game and continuous emphasis on breaking quickly – a bit like the Arsenal of the early parts of the last decade. We have the wing-players for it now with Walcott, Gervinho, Ryo and Ox, and with Chamakh and Park we have the typical strikers to make this system work for us. We could add to this strike-force at the next TW and all could be rosy again.

However, as I said earlier, I don’t believe we will adopt a 4-4-2 system in the near future. In the current 4-2-3-1 system, we need a playmaker in the middle of the ‘3’. As we are not talking about a classical playmaker – as in a 4-4-2 formation in which the player next to the DM would be: a role that would fit both Arteta and Ramsey a lot better in my opinion – we need somebody in this role who can hold on to the ball in tight spaces, pass it with ease, find gaps in defences easily, makes good attacking decisions in a flash, and can score goals from just outside the box as well as inside the box.

For me, this player is Andrey Arshavin. Please don’t get me wrong in thinking I am a huge fan of Arshavin: he is not consistent enough, and does not work as hard as is required, but then – as we all know – he is not playing in his best position either. Arshavin has a PL goal scoring record of 0.27 goals per game, which is the same as DB10 had for us. He is great passer of the ball and can split open defences easily. He holds on the ball reasonably well, although this is not one of his strong points. He can score from just outside the box, and I have no doubt he would link up well with RvP.

It is only a matter of time until Arshavin leaves Arsenal, but I think he deserves to be given the ‘hanging-off’’ striker position, just this once: at least until Christmas this year. He is our best option there and it would be cruel not to give him a last opportunity to show us all how really good he is. Why Arsene Wenger has not done this until now is a mystery to me, but hopefully the current lack of alternatives might change his mind.

TotalArsenal.

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95 Responses to Now is the time to make Arshavin Arsenal’s Playmaker

  1. Fletch says:

    Makes perfect sense, that’s why our demented manager won’t so it. He’s a clown.

  2. Red Arse says:

    Morning TA, :-)

    What a fascinating tour de force that Post is. It deserves to be read more than once to take in the carefully thought thru’ options and permutations you have elaborated on.

    My instincts are to go with your final conclusion, and give Arshavin the opportunity to show us the player he is capable of being.

    The realist in me, however, says it would be quite a risk to take with someone who physically is all to easily hustled out of his game.

    I will be interested to see how the other more eminent AA strategists than myself feel about your suggestion.

    Well done! :-)

  3. dando says:

    I tend to agree with you on this, Arshavin should at least should be given the chance, as should others but this would mean Arsene doing something he hasn’t done for quite a while and that is change. He might for 45 mins based on his substitute options but when did he last start a game with players in different positions and different tactics and if a combination wasn’t working switch the combos until it did. One of the reasons our last 18 games have only yielded 18 points is because we have (injuries excepted) played the same players in the same positions with the same tactics and guess what achieved the same results. We don’t want to change the manager, we want the manager we have.. change.

  4. g clarke says:

    arshavin is off the pace of arsenal both phisical and mental the way arsenal play with closing down covering back and pushing up at pace is not what he is able to do,would suit another slower side different system

  5. Double98 says:

    Sure, lets pin all our hopes on the laziest player who is in the press as we speak telling arsenal fans that they have the right to be upset with him because he is underperforming.

    What a clown wenger is not to see it.

    With this logic lets hand the captaincy to Squillaci and put theo in goals.

    The general tone of my post is sarcastic.

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    Thank RA, there is indeed a risk Arshavin can be hustled out of the game. However, he will have a lot more space to operate in, compared to being on the wing (where he had to learn not to get hustled out) and what he does so well, is to attack the space in front of him, take on midfielders and defenders which would add a lot of thrust.

    G Clarke, you are right with your points @10.05. I just think that given him this new role would rejuvenate him and with both Song and Arteta to help with the closing down job (and the wingers of course), and his ablity to turn anything quickly into attack, he would fit well into our current system. The jury remains out until he will be given a good run of games to prove the doubters wrong.

  7. Red Arse says:

    Hi Evonne, :-)

    I hope TA does not mind me answering your question from earlier today as to what American sports ‘franchises’ are. This is the question we should have addressed yesterday, which might have avoided some misunderstandings.

    In Europe, professional football is governed thru’ national FAs into leagues. Individual teams within those national leagues can also play each other via the CL, for example, under the authority of UEFA.

    In America it is different. There, most sports leagues are made up of an agreed number of clubs, known loosely as franchises, which each have one team. The franchises have exclusive territorial rights granted to them, and normally include coverage of major metropolitan areas, so that they do not have immediate local rivals.

    Usually each major city has one local team to support, but in huge cities like NY, more than one team can be accommodated.
    Because of this, the teams are sometimes called ‘franchises’, altho they are definitely NOT franchises in any business sense of the word.

    For a new team to enter a competition (NBA, MLB, NFL etc) they need to be elected by a vote of all the other teams after the new owner(s) have put in a bid to be allowed to do so. Now this process is usually referred to as the “franchise system”

    Member clubs are companies or corporate entities just like in the UK, and operate under an authority a bit like the FA.

    Teams (franchises) are formed into geographical groups called divisions, which as they play each other pretty frequently within those geographical areas, encourages some ferocious rivalries such as in MLB (baseball). (New York Yankees (my team) versus the New York Mets, altho’ the Sox are seen by many Yankees fans as mortal enemies) :-)

    Teams that top each geographical division are then seeded higher in the playoffs at the end of the season, depending on how high they finish in thier group, and will then go on to play other ‘group’ winners from across the US to decide who is the winner, in something like the Super Bowl for the NFL, to determine the eventual champion.

    So basically it is just another method or system for running professional sports in a huge country like the US.

    Hope that helps! :-)

  8. Jude says:

    fantastic write up!! this is the same position in which he excelled for russia and zenit st petersburg. give arshavin a chance as d playmaker!! he would be a revelaltion instead of puttinng him as a winger/midfider having to track back and mark!! which he’s terrible at!!!

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    D98, good to see you back here (unless you are a different Double98). Don’t worry about not being understood as sarcastic: in general the readers on AA can sense this for themselves.

    just because he is not a marathon runner does not mean he is lazy. He is the sort of player who can make things happen, who pounces on opportunities: almost like a Leopard or a Puma. He is the sort of player who will be brilliant for a few minutes at a time after which he will need to slow down. I feel we are missing a player who can do something special in the middle of the pitch and Arshavin might be our answer.

    It would be good to see your views on how you would like us to play in the next couple of months.

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    Jude, all agreed!

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    RA, thanks for your clear explenation to Evonne and other AA’ers. Top stuff as always :)

    How do you think it possible that in the land of ultimate capitalism such a seemingly fair system was able to flourish?

  12. geeGunner says:

    Compared to Theo arshavin gets a free pass. he has been off form for at least 3 yrs.

    If your a good player you make adjustments to your game no matter where you play.

    CR7 plays good as striker, winger even play maker – messi multiple positions. FAb4 played on the right wing when we had the invincibles. in my opinion he has to earn the right to play there not just handed to him as he is quite lazy and ineffective when given a role in the team in the first place!

  13. Double98 says:

    Hi TA – i guess i was a little disappointed in the bergkamp comparison – Bergkamp was phenomenal, he carried water, he carried an edge – he was capable of the sublime and the mundane. He could stamp on an opponent and get them sent off. His name alone still sends shivers down my back…

    i don’t think that our occassionally brilliant russian is capable of filling those boots.

    He has a cutting edge but i don’t think he has the panoramic vision and football brain to build a team around – i also see him as someone who will not carry water with such gusto as bergkamp.

    I agree we need a play maker but would prefer to see RVP being the bergkamp to Gervinho’s Wright. Gervinho is a willing runner and good finisher who would thrive as a main man

    We have tried rosicky, nasri, ramsey and arteta in the Cesc role and they don’t work. The team 4-3-3 was built around fabregas – i think it could have swept all before them if wilshire was 3 years older but that didn’t happen.
    the truth is we don’t have the players to continue 4-3-3 and we ned to build a strategy around the players that we have. RVP slows down our attack as a lone front man and Arteta has played his whole life in a 4 or 5 man midfield.

    Or hey we could go and spend £35 million on a player but we just don’t have the component parts at the club to play 4-3-3.

  14. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Total,
    I love this kind of post. Excellent.
    Firstly, the “two” you talk about. You say “The DM’s partner should be an all-round midfielder who can defend, and go forward, create chances for others and score goals himself”. That sounds like Song to me. I often think back to my favourite “two”. Petit and Vieira. For me, Jack is the former (Petit), and not a candidate for the hole role.
    As for the “one” in the midfield three, I see exactly where you are coming from. It is mighty odd that AA plays there for Russia as he did for Zenit, and despite trying him as a lone striker (!!!), AW will not use him central.

  15. Red Arse says:

    Didn’t say it was fair TA. :-) Money talks — and talks big, in the good ol’ US of A, and sport is no different.

    Can you confirm for me, that when you said “Good to see you back D98″, you were indeed being sarcastic? Please! :-)

  16. evonne says:

    TA – I am going to print your post, go back to bed with a cuppa and enjoy every word. Will let you know the verdict later

    RA – you are a star, thank you very much! It is all clear now :) What I don’t understand though is why Dandan thinks it might happen here…hmmmmm…I have to go back and read his post again with the wisdom of your explanation

  17. Red Arse says:

    GeeGunner, Arshavin has not been with us for three years yet.

    Micky, my memory is fading, but shortly after joining us in January 2009, AA set the premiership alight, and particularly against Liverpool he was simply stunning.

    What position was he playing in then? (I genuinely do not remember, but he seemed to be playing in a ‘roving’ role).

  18. pat says:

    “It would mean a strong decrease in focussing on our passing game and continuous emphasis on breaking quickly – a bit like the Arsenal of the early parts of the last decade.”

    Agree with this 100%. This is what the team should be doing instead of it being done to us!

  19. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Sorry, ran out of space…
    For me, we have no-one for that role. It is one of the most priviledged jobs in football, and only works with someone outstanding. Utd have for years played successfully without one, although at times they do drop Rooney deeper behind a striker. Given that I think we should continue with the same system, I would give the job to RvP with the central striker going to Park (oh, alright, give MC a four game run in that role).

  20. Red Arse says:

    Evonne,

    I was a bit puzzled too, but DD explained he was referring to a future time with a pan European league system covering large distances.

    (I hope I am getting that right Dandan?) :-)

  21. Red Arse says:

    Micky, Pat, morning to you both. :-)

    I wonder if the points you are making lays behind AW’s attempts to sign Gourcuff in the Summer?

    He would have all the attributes necessary, and perhaps Arsene will return for him in January. The thing that makes it difficult for me is that for every positional change you might think would improve the efficiency of player A, you need to think of the effect that would have on player B, and so on.

    Tricky buggers these tactical and strategic changes, but TA has definitely got me thinking! :-) About time — did I hear someone say? :-)

  22. TotalArsenal says:

    RA, as D98 just proved again with his follow up comment, he has been a great blogger on AA, but has been away for a few months.

    Irony and sarcasm are quiet alien to me, I am afraid. I guess it is my calvinist upbringing that spoiled it once and for all. :)

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    Evonne, you are taking the biscuit(s)? :P

  24. TotalArsenal says:

    Micky, I like your comparison of Jack with Petit (one is small the other is named so). You might well be right that Jack is best suited for the role next to Song and you are also right that Song is a pretty allround footballer (he is my favourite at the moment). Still feel that Wilshire with a bit more space will control the game ala Fabregas (or similar to Silva at MC). He will need to add goals to his repertoire though. RvP would be a good option as well but I can only see it work in a MU like 4-4-2. All of these options just get me excited anyway :)

  25. MickyDidIt89 says:

    RA,
    I think Gourcuff has a stinky attitude, whereas Gotze does not! Talking of stinky attitudes, the best player in the league right now for that role is Tevez.
    Work calls.

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi D98, the only comparison I am making is his goal scoaring record, and I was using it as a way of saying that Arshavin is likely to score a lot of goals in that position (compared to Arteta, Ramsey and Rosicky). I totally agree with you that any other comparison would be unjustified, except maybe that Arshavin’s technical and dribbling abilities remind me a bit of Dennis’. But that is were it stops. However, I would like to judge him on his performance in that area and we just have not had the chance to do so until now.

    Agree with you also on Gervinho as a possible striker in front of RvP and your general point of building a team around the qualities of the current players. It looks like 4-4-2 would suit us best now.

  27. geeGunner says:

    Red Arse says:
    October 13, 2011 at 11:05 am

    sorry mate – you are correct – maybe i was thinking of seasons but still i feel he gets a lot of love for his anfield performances but he has had several stinkers since then and is hardly criticised where as theoseems to get it from all corners no matter what – both have inconsistencies and considering the price and age of arshavin – he should be delivering more to the plate that he does (he has even said he has been below par)

  28. gunnern5 says:

    TA,

    That’s a great analysis of our potential’s to fill the “hole” – thank you .

    When it comes down to it that is an engine room position and AA’s engine appears to have burnt out. His PL goal scoring record has shrunk from .27 to .16 in the past 43 game. Last season his biggest asset was this assist’s (11) this season he has zero.

    it’s so easy to be critical of an anaylysis and my intent is to not be critical; but to point out that the AA who joined Arsenal is in the garage and, at least, needs an oil replacement.

    Great analysis.

  29. Red Arse says:

    GeeGunner,

    I think that is a fair point. AA will not improve much at his age, altho’ he is capable (inconsistently) of some great stuff.

    On the other hand, Theo is still young, and tho’ he has disappointed me sometimes, he can still improve and has the attributes to go on to much better things for us.

    Micky, I did not know about Gourcuff having an attitude problem. We can do without him then.

  30. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks G5, agreed on most of what you say. A great engine is a great asset to have and there are doubts about Arshavin’s stamina. The engine rooms are behind this player though in a 4-2-3-1 –> Song, Arteta/Ramsey. In such a system we could afford to have a player like Arshavin and he would compensate his lack of engine with his thrust and ability to do something special. As I said earlier, I really believe moving him in that position would rejuvinate him.

    For me it is worth a trial at least till the start of the TW.

    Regarding stamina of Arshavin, have a look at the attached link and look at the ‘Times Goals Scored’ graph. The majority of his goals happen towards the latter parts of the first and second half. He seems to pounce on opportunities when other are getting tired.

    Btw, where did you get those assists stats from? I have been looking for those sort of stats but could not find them.

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    G5, forgot the link:

    http://www.premierleague.com/page/PlayerProfile/0,,12306~31940,00.html

  32. gunnern5 says:

    TA;

    Wikipedia has a chart on every player.

  33. pigalert says:

    AA23 has been wasted, he is by far past his prime, we will never get to see him in his favoured role at his peak. Should’ve stayed at zenit, poor andrei.

  34. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers G5. Just what I was looking for!

  35. evonne says:

    TA – what biscuits? To the game? No, we’ll meet you in a pub

    RA – thank you once again. I have to think about it, but the idea seems scary. No Arsenal, no Chavs or Scum to hate….nay, it could never work here.

  36. kelsey says:

    TA,
    very interesting article about a player I still belive every time he plays for us will bring that bit of magic that we so rarely see.Everyone remembers his 4 goals at Anfield and the winner against Barca but then the memory needs a jolt.
    is he lazy ? Does he lack stamina ? Don’t really know.

    AA like a few others even including Vela seem to perform generally better and more consistantly for their countries than they do for us, so i can only conclude that he is not being played in his best position or perhaps isn’t suited to Wengerball or not only is he not suited to Wengerball but he hasn’t got the quality of player in the Arsenal side that we had when he first came.
    The way we play is modelled on barca and even the Spanish national team but IMO to get the best out of AA we need a total rethink as to how the team line up on any given day, and that is solely down to Wenger.
    In conclusion I think it may be a little late for the Russian as age has caught up with him.

  37. oz gunner says:

    @ TA

    great piece. Personally RVP would be the best choice, but with the strikers we have at the moment i feel a ‘RVP up top with Arshavin just behind’ would be great. It’s the position that made AA one of the hottest comodities on the market, as he set Euro on fire and for zenit. Its like that waste of space scum player VDV, look what happened when he played on the wing against us (he was exposed on the counter as its not his natural position). Players like that should be given free license. His passing abilities are very underrated, and his shooting (when on) is amazing, just ask reina!

  38. oz gunner says:

    A prime example of how good his passing game really is!

  39. oz gunner says:

    sorry guys third times a charm, still got a bit to learn to be near the video king chas

  40. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Oz, you would have to ask Reina that question four times! :D

    Your comparison with VdV is a good one. I believe Arshavin is a more complete midfielder though.

    Hi Kelsey, agree with you it is late and that’s why I would like to urge Arsene to give him the chance now. He deserves it, and I believe it is our best option right now, at least until the TW reopens.

    Hi Evonne, I meant take buscuits to your bed (with your cuppa and the post). Will you be at the Tavern as well on Sunday? Please say yes!

  41. oz gunner says:

    @ TA

    haha that you would. I know arsene likes the team to be dynamic and diverse, but why not play AA in a position where he excels? By playing players like him and RVP in the wrong spot you’re losing what makes them great, instead there just good. RVP is dynamic and can play a variety of roles but AA isn’t as well rounded. Give the guy a crack in the position that made him ‘world class’ in so many peoples eyes

  42. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    TA,
    A great technical and in-depth write up on a very important (currently lacking) Player/position. At first, I was peed off, because you reminded me of the fact, I miss Dennis and other “invincibles” and how far we have fallen from that sort of class.
    If I didn`t know It was you, I could have easily thought I was reading an EPL manager/coach giving their thoughts, so well done.
    I also believe AA should be given the chance to play “de hangende spits”, but I doubt It will happen, maybe It should have been tested in the CC.
    I feel ashamed I can only give a short reply,compared to your long detailed thoughtfull post !

  43. TotalArsenal says:

    OZ! Thanks for that video. A total vindication of my plea to Wenger in this post. With Song and Arteta behind him, and Gervinho/Ox/Theo/Ryo along side him, he should be tried in the free role behind RvP or Chamakh. I am convinced he would make things happen for us again.

    GLiC, thank you for your kind words :)

  44. dandan says:

    TA Thanks for a very smart, but super simple summation of a complex problem.
    It is difficult as an Arsenal fan to visualise anyone but Dennis, in what is now referred to by most coaches as the Berrgkamp role. We who worshipped at his feet are rather like the Old Manfred Mann hit, written by Springsteen “Blinded by the Light”. I think this probably applies to AW and the coaching staff too, in that they cannot see anyone else truly meeting the exacting standards laid down by the iceman and are therefore reluctant to try it.
    But your argument definitely has merit and in truth I suppose we stand to lose nothing by trying it and everything by not doing so.
    Cheers TA

  45. dandan says:

    Following on from yesterdays blog, this might interest some.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/oct/11/liverpool-breakaway-tv-deal?intcmp=239

  46. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks DanDan, and your last sentence is spot on. Wenger will need to be bold now, and it will be interesting to see who he will pick in that key position come Sunday.

  47. neamman says:

    I prefer RVP in the hole behind Theo or MC or Park.

  48. sam says:

    how about selling him and bringing in someone much mobile and younger?
    its really pointless to think arsene should make one of our under performer a playmaker, whats next? djourou should be a winger.
    also for those who claim he’s been misused its actually a good claim that he’s not fit to be arsenal player because arsenal striker should be able to play anywhere up front.
    selling him will be the best decision ever, yes he’s a good player but its time to move on, maybe back in russia he will get his form back

  49. kelsey says:

    In 15 years this is the first time Wenger finds himself for various reasons having to really install confidence in the players available to get confidence and of course results .
    team selection is absolutely vital that he gets it right every time starting on Sunday. i am not talking about pressure on the manager as there appears to be none but there will be a section of even our own fans unfortunately that wishes he fails.
    Forget protests, it would be great to hear the roof (if there was one) come off on sunday from the 12th man.

  50. Big Raddy says:

    TA. Thanks for an excellent in-depth look at an area of the pitch we have problems in.

    AA seems to be the obvious solution if we play to the 4-2-3-1 formation, however, I cannot see AW moving from his 4-3-3 with Gerv and Theo filtering back into MF.

    What is clear to us mere fans is that the current formation is struggling be it from lack of pace, lack of confidence or lack of ability. I would certainly give AA a try for the opening half of the Sunderland game. What have we got to lose?

    But who gives way? Gerv or Theo?

  51. Big Raddy says:

    kelsey. I hope today was better than yesterday.

    As to the 12th man. We armchair supporters can but hope. Trouble is the “entitled generation” prefer to complain in times of trouble as opposed to get behind the team. (I realise this is a gross generalisation !)

  52. Red Arse says:

    Could not help my jaw dropping reading this very well written ManYoo Post.

    Read and wonder:

    Author: Stockport Red

    Arsene Wenger struggles to understand how his team have fallen so far behind
    It would be so easy to laugh at Arsenal right now. In fact, I have, in the not so distance past.
    Financial restrictions, injuries at the most inconvenient times and your star player wanting to leave. The truth is, it could so easily be us in Arsenal’s place right now.
    A couple of important things happened in 2005.
    Arsenal won their last trophy and The Glazers took full control of our club, placing a massive debt on to us. Then, in 2006, Arsenal moved from Highbury to The Emirates Stadium, which also put Financial strain on them. At the time, Manchester United and Arsenal were the two teams in the league who were battling it out for the title and the trophies, year in, year out. Chelsea had just started to find their feet after the injection of Abramovich’s cash and won the league in 2005. The difference in Manchester United’s and Arsenal’s fortune since 2005 has been like night and day. While Arsenal have not won anything, Manchester United have won 4 Premier League trophies, 3 Carling Cup trophies and 1 Champions League trophy. Arsenal have not spent much since their last trophy win (if Manchester United had spent as little, I am sure we would be struggling too) They have instead decided to give their young players a chance to shine. This is an ideology shared by both Manchester United and Arsenal.

    Whether the lack of spending is down to Arsene Wenger or the Arsenal board, you have to say, it is a problem. The Glazers have taken a lot of stick since they took control of our club. Personal abuse, TV documentaries and fan protests about how they run the club, have been common place over the past couple of years. However, the way they run the club since, is the difference between us and Arsenal. Well, that, and of course, the absolute brilliance of Sir Alex Ferguson. Despite the huge debt we have, the Glazers have made sure that we have kept competitive, not only in the Premiership, but also in Europe. They have made a lot of money available to buy some of the best young players in the world. They allowed Ferguson to spend £30 million on Berbatov, while we still had Rooney, Ronaldo and Tevez at the club. They have even allowed Ferguson to take risks in the transfer market, with the signing of Bebe being the biggest example of this.

    While Arsenal still boast they have the best young team in the Premiership, they have slipped behind on this front too. They have two of the best young mid-fielders in the world in Jack Wilshere and Arron Ramsay, but beyond that, and the possible emergence of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Wojciech Szczesny, you have to say that Manchester United have the better young players. Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans, Fabio Da Silva, Anderson, Nani, Ashley Young, Danny Wellbeck and Chicharito would each walk in to the Arsenal first team, with David De Gea and Tom Cleverley probably on a par with Arsenal’s first team. The future off the pitch also looks great for Manchester United. With the sale of a relatively small percentage of the club, it looks as though the huge debt on our club, may be cleared.

    This would probably mean even greater power in the transfer market for years to come. It would also mean that the Glazers would own the majority of a club, and in the end, not paid any money. In fact, they may have even made a profit. While Arsenal have fallen behind over the past few years, Chelsea, and now Manchester City, have emerged as our main rivals. While Manchester United and Arsenal both used the money gained by their success to get by, Chelsea and Manchester City are both bankrolled by their rich owners.

    That is why I have a little soft spot for Arsenal. If you get past the dislike for some of their players, they are a club a bit like Manchester United. Giving youth a chance and using success as a springboard for even more success is the way football should be done.

    As a Manchester United fan, I miss fighting for the title with Arsenal. I would much rather have them as our main title rivals, than Chelsea or Manchester City. I find their recent demise really sad, and, although I don’t like to admit it, I really hope they turn things round.

  53. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    RA.
    I read it aswell and did comment ( on the site) how well written it was.

  54. Ramgun says:

    Given our form over the last 8 months how can it be a risk to play Arshavin in his right position? All time world records have been set by Wenger in recent years for playing players out of position. I still quake at the memory of Eboue playing(?) wide left against Wigan.

  55. kelsey says:

    BR,

    They have actually caught the man 24 hours after the event.He was Spanish and it is believed supplied soft drugs to the kids.He literally disposed of the body about 20 metres from his house.unbelievable.

    from the papers

    A man has been arrested in connection with the death of the 15 year old Moroccan whose body was found by the roadside between Marbella and Ronda. The arrested man lives on a nearby finca to where the body was found, and has claimed that the 15 year old was continuously stealing from him. Government Sub Delegate for Málaga, Hilario López Luna, said that the National Police arrested the Spaniard on Tuesday. The 15 year old Moroccan is known to have had a police record. The arrested man said that he surprised the Moroccan on his land and shot him in the face with a shotgun. He then moved the body to the roadside. He is expected to appear in court shortly.

  56. LB says:

    RA

    Obviously a well writen piece although I couldn’t help but think at the end that we have obviously slipped so far that we are now getting sympathy………..how sad it that?

  57. Gooner in Exile says:

    Evening all, late on as I have been wrangling with ios5 issues….seem to have settled down now.

    On to the post, an interesting read but one I do not agree with. Even though I wrote a post last year about the groaning when passes went astray there is something about AA23 now where it seems he is on a total other wavelength with his teammates. So much do that I rarely get that excited when he gets the ball.

    I have a different opinion on what is needed from our attacking heart, it’s pace, and the ability to run at men and draw defenders to them. Right now the only man in our squad capable of that is Gerv and I wonder if he in centre behind RvP, with Arteta/Song in middle of the park, Theo and Ryo wide RvP as the spearhead.

    Pace, always scares defenders, is the key.

  58. goonermichael says:

    That manc is still arrogant no matter how well witten it is.

  59. allezkev says:

    Red Arse. 6.16pm;

    Reading between the lines and the traditional antipathy between ‘them’ and us, the Manc makes some interesting and thoughtfull comments.
    Not sure all the players he mentioned, would walk into our team.

  60. evonne says:

    Another spin on Dandan’s post is the plan to play EPL games oversees. I belive that Liverpool are planning to run a pilot scheme and play in Asia and in US.
    The commercial reason behind the idea are stadiums with 80k+ capacity fully occupied as opposed to 30k for some clubs here. That’s what Scum should do – feck off to Asia altogether, wouldn’t need a new stadium.

    Seriously, I think the idea is going to take off, why not. Sad, as we will no longer be able to chose home game we go to:( Sadly, I cannot see most clubs being able to compete financially in PL

  61. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi GiE, I partly agree with you. I don’t think we need more pace in the centre of our attack; there is very often not enough space for pace to make a difference (as teams like to sit back against us). Furthermore, we have pacey wingers and we are hardly using them. What we are missing is the conductor and sometimes when Rosicky plays you can see what a difference it makes to our shapes and ability to use the speed of our wingers.

    I do agree with you on the need for the ‘player in the hole’ to be able to take on defenders, and Arshavin is very good at this. But Gervinho is an interesting option and I will give some thought.

    GiE, do you have any tips regarding best car park for Emireates, coming from the M11 direction?

  62. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Evonne, looking fwd to seeing you on Sunday :)

  63. critic says:

    I have been thinking the same thing for quite some time now. 4-2-3-1 formation with arshavin in the hole.

    But

    1) Arsenal don’t have a left winger that can hold the breadth.

    2) Arsenal don’t play a strict 4-2-3-1. Only strict formation is that of defense and that too looses it’s identity during corner/set pieces in opposition box. eg song coming forward against olympiacos when we were leading 2-1, the counter attack was really dangerous.
    Anyway my point was both wingers come inside with fullbacks coming forward while RVP actually dropping back a bit in his usual no.10.

    Anyway we can only speculate what arsene is going to do. I will be happy with a top 10 finish…………..

    ……by november i.e…….we can push on for CL places after that.

  64. evonne says:

    TA – me too :) I can thank you in person for all those sleepless night when you were writing the posts, the marvellous posts.

  65. TotalArsenal says:

    Good points Critic. What I have seen of Ryo, I am very hopeful he can be that sort of winger. I also don’t think we reap enough rewards from our fullbacks coming forward. Again, on the left hand side there is hope with both Gibs and Santos looking far more effective in supporting our attacks. On the right hand side, however, we are a lot less effective. Song is now out for a while and it will be interesting to see who we will play there and whether we become stronger in an attacking sense.

  66. TotalArsenal says:

    Not Song, of course, by Sagna. Well they both start with an ‘s’…

  67. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks Evonne, during those night I feel alive – writing about the mightly Arsenal always feels good (except for the night I wrote the Blackburn away match report :( )

  68. SharkeySure says:

    Cracking read TA

    Whilst Arshavin is clearly the laziest son of a gun in the squad and there is no way on earth anyone could say he has earnt the right to ‘hang off’ our main striker, I have to agree that it has to be worth a try before we hit the January sales.

    The efficiency and clarity of both his passing and shooting really could pay dividends. Lets face it he can’t do any worse than he does on the wing.

    Also, better you have a weak link that sends the opposition down the centre, than one that allows the full back behind him to get completely over run

    I also agree with Red (lock me up?), in that I prob need to read that twice..but its late. maybe on my way to work tomorrow

  69. SharkeySure says:

    Lol Evonne…Chelsea in Asia…permanently !!

  70. SharkeySure says:

    Total…like Rocky you just meandered in here one day with your top class DuEnglish and we really didn’t know just how lucky we were.

  71. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks Sharkster, I am not a champion of brevity, so sorry if at the end of reading the post you felt you had to read it all again to make sense out of it :)

    Interesting point about the weakness of Arshavin being less harmful to us, if we play him in the centre.

    Really think we have no other option than to try him out.

  72. TotalArsenal says:

    ok enough blogging for today. Night all.

  73. SharkeySure says:

    Chas…ooops I mean Oz (!!), cracking video.

    Earlier I wrote ‘efficiency and clarity of both his passing and shooting’

    I’m now referring to your video as ‘Exhibit A’,

    Open and shut case !

    Night all

  74. SharkeySure says:

    No it was fine TA… I meant read it again like revisiting somewhere you really liked, and finding something you missed first time around, or seeing something in a slightly different way.

    It really was a cracking post.

    On my occasional posts, I never do even a minutes research. I simply put question marks on dates/games that I’m hazy on, so I’m overawed by the sterling work that goes into a post like yours, and so many others.

    Ps. Brevity is completely overrated…in fact I could expand on that by going on to state….

    lol !!

  75. Going back to that manc post, evans is absolute dogshit. cleverly? mancs are such wankers. Don’t start me on that fat twat anderson (£20m). That post has annoyed me more than they usually do.

  76. Gooner in Exile says:

    TA my idea of pace through the centre was not based on through passes and runs which our current game is.

    My feeling is we need to be more direct and threaten the two banks of four defences, two possibilities either with crosses from deeper (unlikely given ball on floor philosophy) that would force opponents to pressure ball further up pitch and create holes, or a player who can run at pace at defenders with ball at feet its more dangerous than another pass looking for a hole to open up and again will force opposition to break ranks to tackle which in turn makes holes.

    That’s why given our philosophy a more central Gerv running from deep with the ball is useful, much like Thierry used to. RvPs movement will create more gaps (Blackburn a clear example).

  77. Gooner in Exile says:

    Oh and TA car parks from M11 …… how about the M25?

    To be honest I take the train, when I do drive it’s to Epping to get Central Line. Close to the ground there are plenty of car parks, if you come in from Liv Street towards Highbury & Islington there are many but given you’re probably meeting in the Tavern is the wrong side of the Emirates.

  78. chas says:

    TA, very interesting post.
    Arshavin sparking would certainly make a huge difference to the team.
    I always think the key to us playing teams like Sunderland at home is to get round the back of them, but it’s always difficult with those two banks of four.

    My suggestion for parking would be head to junc 25 on the M25. Cockfosters tube is 5 mins south. Parking is £1 or £1.50 for the day. Piccadilly line to Finsbury park or Arsenal tube, travel card is £8 odd, much cheaper if you have an Oyster card. After the game join the queue for Arsenal tube from the St. Thomas’s Road side of the underground station.

  79. evonne says:

    TA – my suggestion for parking is similar to Chas’ :) Go past Cockfosters, 5min down the road, park in my driveway and we go on the tube together. I’ll send my postcode via Peaches

    Sunderland are going to be a tough game, they are playing well and will pounce on our voulnurable defence.

  80. chas says:

    How big’s your driveway, Evonne? :)

  81. evonne says:

    Chas – only one space available, but you can park outside the house, no problemo. Are you coming?

    A guy with a merc with registration MI5AFC parks outside my house on game days, I like that:)

  82. chas says:

    I was only joking, but thanks.
    The merc sounds great.

    This mine. :) I wish.

  83. chas says:

    Oops, didn’t answer your question. Yes, I’ll be there on Sunday.

  84. Big Raddy says:

    Peaches …. You’ve got Mail

  85. Red Arse says:

    Morning you lovely people. :-)

    Forgot to say yesterday, but as well as TA’s excellent Post, were some really excellent pics too.

    Well done Rasper!! :-)

  86. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Evonne, that is a very kind offer! If you are indeed serious, we’ll go to the Tavern/Emirates together :)

    I have to warn you though my father in law is a Scouser haha (but of the rare-nice variety).

  87. TotalArsenal says:

    GiE, Chas, thanks for your directions as well!

  88. Morning all

    New Post …………………

  89. olaniran Emmanuel says:

    Nice idea. Most people 4got dat he did fantastically well 4Zenith in dat position. It is worth experimenting…..though AA is lazy but no doubt…he is a good player. Put him where he belongs and he will wao us all. Cheers Gunners

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