The Press is Killing Arsène

No apologies, but this is a slightly misleading headline.

Regular readers will know that one of my bugbears is the way media coverage of Arsenal is so often ill-informed, sensationalist or plain biased.

But that’s not the kind of “press” I want to talk about today.

After watching our attacking endeavours thwarted – yet again – by a defence whose recent record is leakier than Julian Assange’s outbox, it’s clear that there is a problem in search of a solution.

Aston Villa had conceded eight goals in the two games before we rolled into town. Afterwards they had conceded eight goals in three games.

We were similarly impotent away at Norwich, who had shipped nine goals in their two fixtures immediately before meeting us.

We’re like a travelling tube of Super Glue, ready to lock tight any previously gaping defence.

Why is it happening?

Many reasons, no doubt. But one of them appears to be the fact that we are struggling to create chances when other teams press us in our own half.

“The Press” is a tactic that requires lots of discipline, concentration and hard physical work from the team employing it. Barcelona, of course, are the highest profile exponents (although their version often entails the two or three players closest to the opponent with the ball swarming him until he loses possession).

The way The Press is being used against Arsenal is best illustrated by the away game at Old Trafford.

The ruby conked Hibernian ordered Wayne Rooney to man mark Arteta, who normally receives the ball from our defence. Arteta was suddenly not available. Other United players applied pressure elsewhere in midfield and our defenders had to play higher risk passes to get the ball away.

It’s safe to say that if Aston Villa had strikers of Manchester United’s quality, they would have completed the job against us, having nullified our attacking threat by snuffing it out at source.

When Arteta is given time on the ball, we look fluent in attack. Players move, passes travel quickly and openings are made.

But when the Spaniard’s influence is limited by the opposition pressing him deep in his own half, the opposite happens.

If we can’t get the ball to Arteta, or he receives it and is immediately under pressure, there is less time to move the ball quickly on to Cazorla or one of the other midfielders; when (if) it eventually finds its way to another midfielder, that player is also already under pressure so their chances of making an effective pass are similarly reduced.

I was very struck during the Villa game how little movement there seemed to be from our players not on the ball.  One of the hallmarks of Arsene’s Arsenal has been the dangerous movement of our midfielders and strikers – and it’s worrying to see them so static. It was as if they weren’t moving because they didn’t expect to get the ball.

Some of our best moments – and our very best chance of the game – came when Laurent Koscielny surged forward from the back, breaking The Press and causing confusion among the Villa players.

The Premier League being what it is, other managers are going to look at what has worked against us and try the same thing themselves. The worst part is that you don’t need high quality players to make it work, so all the mid to low table teams can give it a go. They just need lots of effort from their players. So it’s up to us – or rather, up to Arsene – to find an answer.

Using the wings is one obvious alternative: it was noticeable on Saturday that we looked better when Oxlade-Chamberlain stayed out wide. Unfortunately, whether under instruction from the manager or whether from youthful inexperience, The Ox drifted infield far too often. Podolski sometimes stays wide, but always gives the impression of wanting to head inside.

Walcott and Gervinho will certainly help in that regard and it’s good to know both should be available for Everton.

We could try hitting long balls up to Giroud, with our other forwards and midfielders looking to get closer to him to pick up knock-downs and lay-offs, although this does not seem a natural Wenger tactic.

Or we could look to shift things around in midfield. Perhaps it’s time to give Coquelin a run in the holding role, with two of Santi Cazorla, Wilshere and Arteta ahead. Coquelin would play that role differently to Arteta, and the two other MFs would have to drop a little deeper to collect the ball and start our attacks.

Those of you who are better at tactics than me may well have some other ideas – it would be great to hear them.

One way or another, Arsene has to find a way of overcoming The Press and getting his team’s forward threat back to what it should be.

Right now, it’s the biggest challenge he faces in terms of keeping us in touch with the top four in the table.

There was a debate in the Arsenal Arsenal comments yesterday about whether it was time for our manager to step aside for someone else

How he tackles this latest dilemma will go some way towards telling us whether he still has what it takes.

RockyLives

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135 Responses to The Press is Killing Arsène

  1. Rasp says:

    Great post and a spicy topic to start the week – thanks Rocky.

    We are outmanoeuvred too often for my liking because we make it easy for opposing managers to negate our play by being predictable in our formation and game plan.

    We have not been good off the ball for several years now. I see Giroud and Santi (2 new signings) trying to press and the rest of the midfield static allowing the under pressure defender an easy pass out of trouble.

    Not only do we need to defend as a team, we need to press as a team and that requires hard work and training.

  2. Rasp says:

    ‘Swarming’ is one of my favourite terms to describe the spontaneous collective closing down of an opposition player that is in trouble when in possession. Obviously a team cannot press high up for a whole game. One of AW’s tactics is to soak up pressure from a high pressing team and to play our ‘deep lying possession game’ and then bring on the pacy subs to punish them when they tire after 70 mins. Sometimes it works and sometimes we concede and never look like penetrating their obdurate defense. There is an answer to this as Manu invariably do manage to get the goals needed, the answer must lie in a change in formation.

  3. Big Raddy says:

    We have been looking for a Plan B for a few seasons, now we have one we have lost sight of Plan A!

    Pressing the outlet ball is common practice, especially if a team uses one player to orchestrate, this is why (forgive me) a player like Rio Ferdinand is so valuable, he can take the ball upfield and distribute as well as a DM. Phil Jones can do the same – which is why SAF paid so much for him

    As you say, when Kos ventured forth AV looked troubled.

  4. Big Raddy says:

    I wrote this 5 mins ago and didn’t t get the chance to post…..

    Morning All.

    Some heated debate this morning.

    Length of support proves nothing. We have bloggers who were’t even born when I hit my 20 year AFC anniversary and they are more knowledgable and equally passionate.

    Rasp makes a fine point “The club is at a pivotal point in its recent history and it needs to move on and reap the rewards of the hard work that has got us to this enviable position.” This is the crux …. How do we do this?

    So many good comments I have too much to say in too short a time ……. but I do not believe there is no better DM in world football than Arteta or LB than Gibbs (for example).

  5. GoonerB says:

    Bugger, just posted a GoonerB essay on the previous post on the debate between Kelsey, Rasp, LB Richie e.t.c. Never mind. Will go and read Rocky’s post now.

  6. Rasp says:

    Morning Gooner B, I will reproduce your comment on here as I’m sure that debate will continue today ……

    GoonerB says:

    November 26, 2012 at 9:56 am

    As I have stated before I am not at the point where I want a new manager but I am at the point where I am questioning whether he can have us challenging for silverware again. I don’t see questioning that as a problem as long as it is done in a reasonable way. I agree that the top 4 is important but I have noticed that despite the club being very pleased with this it hasn’t gone up on the boardings at the emirates next to FA cup and EPL wins.

    I found LB’s argument interesting re bringing in new players. I too have gone around the squad and thought who could improve that position and who would be pushed aside to accommodate that player? I think most fans feel we need an upgrade in quality in certain areas and I don’t know if, in reality, you feel the same LB but just wanted to make a point about many fans attitude towards spending. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on whether you feel we should be bringing in other players.

    For me though it is quite simple. Firstly if we do need those other players that could push us back to being a top team, and they are on the market and we have the resources to get them, then failure to act upon this properly could constitute mismanagement. By mismanagement I am not solely looking at Arsene but the whole management team. Alternatively if we are looking at the squad and saying we don’t think any position can be strengthened or improved upon, then we are basically saying that we have a very strong squad already that therefore should be challenging for silverware. It then begs the question as to why this team is turning out performances like Saturday all too often. If we have such a strong squad who or what is responsible for it not achieving its full potential?

    I think the fans are entitled to question this as it is their collective monies and support that make Arsenal football club. The collective wages of Arsene and Gazidkis are those of a top level management team, one that you would expect to keep you at the very top and not just underneath the top. I can accept someone saying, well we employ and pay these 2 top wages because, although we are not at the top now, they are the team that will get us back to the top. In essence we are paying for what they will deliver in the future.

    I seems that we have resources now and there is a transfer window looming. I think it is fair to say that we have, at least, the basis of a good side and that by the end of the season this team should look a far more polished and far more finished article. If performances like Saturday continue to happen regularly by the end of the season then yes I will question what I feel Arsene still brings to the table further. His great past is just that, his great past. I am hoping for a great future with him as well but I think we need to be practical enough to analyse the situation and if we can’t see it happeneing and there are no obstructions to this then we have to question whether it is time for the new era, scary as that may be to consider.

  7. Red Arse says:

    Interesting read, Rocky, :-)

    Some have been a bit tetchy this morning on AA, so begging to differ with the maestro is probably tantamount to placing my hand in the fire and having their ire directed at me. But I am a big boy and can take it! :D

    I have previously admitted that I am not a big fan of Arteta as a DM player, altho’ I recognise that with the unexpected and extraordinary departure of Song, that role has been forced upon him somewhat, so my views have to be judged from that perspective, perhaps.

    Arteta had a bad game last Saturday, and it was not just because he was being tightly marked – he wasn’t. On more than one occasion, our guys had changed from 1st to 2nd and even, maybe, into third gear and were attacking the Villa penalty area in numbers.

    The ball came back approximately 15 yards to an unmarked Arteta, and while I and probably the rest of the team were expecting a curling cross into the penalty area to Giro or Kosser, he promptly hit the ball back another 15 yards to Mert and thence to the GK and we lost possession.

    Everyone had to chase back and we were under pressure again from the duff kick by Chezzer.

    In fairness, Arteta has never claimed to be a DM, just a good, technically proficient midfielder, and his age is beginning to catch up with him because as the games are accruing his legs seem to be inversely going.

    The way we are playing he is always having to run hither and thither trying to staunch the midfield gaps that are forever being left by others.

    As the season develops this problem will not go away and indeed is more likely to be exacerbated and it all points to a great need for the recruitment, in January if possible, of a stronger, younger, specifically defence orientated midfielder. [Mbwia/Wanayama?]

    You mention giving Le Coq a role behind Arteta, but he is not the answer. His time may come, but he is only a France U21 player and does not have the physicality or experience to play in a struggling team with top 3 aspirations.

    Now …………… let’s ‘avin’ yer!! :D

  8. lengooner says:

    Great post. You make a lot of valid points.
    1. if teams close arteta down we are immediately handicapped because Mert’s is in capable of passing the ball out of defence. watch him in our next game.
    2. Arteta spends more time playing 3rd centre back than in his own role. Worst arsenal defence in Premiership memory.
    3. Our players are bottleless. They never win 50-50 balls. watch them, they always pull out of challenges.
    4. We are so predictable. Get ball play it wide. they close us down, go back<play it wide again. YAWWWWWWWNNN.
    5. Relying o players like Gerv who is clueless doesn't help our cause.
    6. Because Wenger is persisting with the rubbish i think we'll struggle to get 4th spot.
    7. Shows how far we've come when we are competing with the likes of West ham for 4th spot.

  9. JM says:

    Extracted from Section 2 of my previous last post with add-ons:

    [Where is our squad’s strengths & weaknesses, at least for the 1st team?
    Strengths:
    Competent individual players, e.g. 3 x good CBs, sound FBs in Sagna & Gibbs; the trio of Arteta, Wilshere & Cazorla in midfield.
    OK with Szczesny & Mannone as No.1 & No.2 GKs. Giroud, Podolski, Walcott, Gervinho can score goals and create as well.

    Weakness: In a 4-3-3/4-2-3-1, the performances of our wingers/side forwards are crap most of the time (that is not to say that the players themselves are lousy, only that none of them are natural wingers/ good wide attacking midfielders showing consistency in the many games played). That gave too little support to our main striker and heaped pressure for our midfield trio in maintaining the balance between covering defence and initiating offence.
    Arsenal’s fundamental playing style drew strength from our dynamism in our midfielders. Once they are shut down, the fluidity in our game disappeared (we do not have excellent marauding FBs/WBs and WMs, nor rely on individual brilliance of wingers/side attackers as alternatives)

    Extracted from a goal.com article in regards of some teams with the current best midfield line-ups that provided a strong backbone to their overall team play:

    (1) Juventus (3-5-2) – uses deep-lying playmaker, supported by 2 box-to-box midfielders and 2 wide midfielders/wing-backs

    GK: Buffon; DF: Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; MF: Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah; FW: Vucinic, Giovinco

    (2) Barcelona (4-3-3) – uses 1x anchor, 1x box-to-box midfielder, 1x advance midfielder and 3x mobile forwards who shifted positions during a match.

    GK: Valdes; DF: Alves, Pique, Puyol, Alba; MF: Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta; FW: Pedro, Messi, Villa

    (3) Bayern Munich (4-2-3-1) – uses a double-pivot of DMs/CMs, 1x advanced midfielder and usually 1x technical winger/wide midfielder on either left/right side of attack, the other side is a side forward.

    GK: Neuer; DF: Lahm, Boateng, Badstuber, Alaba; MF: Martinez, Schweinsteiger, Muller, Kroos, Ribery; FW: Gomez

    (4) Borussia Dortmund (4-2-3-1) – uses a double-pivot of DMs/CMs, 1x advanced midfielder and usually 1x technical winger/wide midfielder on either left/right side of attack, the other side is a side forward.

    GK: Weidenfeller; DF: Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer; MF: S.Bender, Gundogan, Kuba, Goetze, Reus; FW: Lewandowski

    (5) Real Madrid (4-2-3-1) – uses a double-pivot of DMs/CMs, 1x advanced midfielder and usually 1x technical winger/wide midfielder on either left/right side of attack, the other side is a side forward.

    GK: Casillas; DF: Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; MF: Alonso, Khedira, Di Maria, Ozil, C.Ronaldo; FW: Benzema

    (6) Shaktar Donetsk (4-2-3-1) – uses a double-pivot of DMs/CMs, 1x advanced midfielder and usually 1x technical winger/wide midfielder on either left/right side of attack, the other side is a side forward.

    GK: Pyatov; DF: Srna, Kucher, Rakitskiy, Rat; MF: Hubschman, Fernandinho, Teixeira, Mkhitaryan, Willian; FW: Adriano

    With reference to the above teams setup (think e.g. Arteta=Pirlo or Alonso, Wilshere=Xavi or Schweinsteiger, Cazorla=Iniesta or Ribery, Giroud=Lewandolski or Benzema etc), going by the technical look on our 1st team (with the best available players), if by:

    4-3-3
    GK: Szczesny; DF: Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen(Koscielny), Gibbs; MF: Arteta, Wilshere, Cazorla; FW: Walcott, Podolski, Gervinho

    4-2-3-1
    GK: Szczesny(Mannone); DF: Sagna(Jenkinson), Mertesacker(Djourou/Miquel), Vermaelen(Koscielny), Gibbs(Santos); MF: Arteta(Coquelin), Diaby(Ramsey), Cazorla(Rosicky), Wilshere(Arshavin), Walcott(Gervinho); FW: Giroud(Podolski)

    3-5-2
    GK: Szczesny(Mannone); DF: Koscielny(Djourou), Mertesacker, Vermaelen(Miquel); MF: Sagna(Jenkinson), Diaby(Coquelin), Arteta(Rosicky), Wilshere(Ramsey), Gibbs(Santos); FW: Cazorla(Arshavin), Podolski(Giroud/Gervinho/Walcott)

    How do those look? Given you any confidence?

    My personal opinion, 3-5-2(3-4-1-2) followed by 4-2-3-1 utilities most of our players (1st team and backup) available best.

    Like for Like 1st team comparison with Juventus:
    Szczesny(Mannone) = Buffon
    (3)
    Koscielny(Djourou) = Barzagli
    Mertesacker = Bonucci
    Vermaelen(Miquel) = Chiellini
    (5)
    Sagna(Jenkinson) = Lichtsteiner
    Diaby(Coquelin) = Vidal
    Arteta(Rosicky) = Pirlo
    Wilshere(Ramsey) = Marchisio
    Gibbs(Santos) = Asamoah
    (2)
    Giroud(Podolski/Gervinho/Walcott) = Vucinic
    Cazorla(Arshavin) = Giovinco

    i.e. uses 3xCBs, deep-lying playmaker, supported by 2 box-to-box midfielders and 2 wide midfielders/wing-backs, 1 main forward and 1 technical playmaker pairing upfront

    Like for Like 1st team comparison with Bayern Munich/Borussia Dortmund:
    Szczesny(Mannone) = Neuer/Weidenfeller
    (4)
    Sagna(Jenkinson) = Lahm/Piszczek
    Mertesacker(Djourou/Miquel) = Boateng/Subotic
    Vermaelen(Koscielny)= Badstuber/Hummels
    Gibbs(Santos)= Alaba/Schmelzer
    (2)
    Arteta(Coquelin) = Martinez/S.Bender
    Diaby(Ramsey) = Schweinsteiger/Gundogan
    (3)
    Cazorla(Arshavin) = Ribery/Kuba
    Wilshere(Rosicky) = Kroos/Goetze
    Walcott(Gervinho) = Muller/Reus
    (1)
    Giroud(Podolski) = Gomez/Lewandowski

    i.e. uses a double-pivot of DMs/CMs, 1x advanced midfielder and usually 1x technical winger/wide midfielder on either left/right side of attack, the other side is a side forward.

    4-3-3 is unsuccessful because we do not have 3 mobile forwards who interchange positions effectively(like Barcelona) and press opposition's back four tenaciously for most of a match, also the key factor is having a key forward of Lionel Messi's individual flair and technical brilliance.]

  10. Jacobs Femi says:

    Stop starting with Ramsey and Arsenal win. Each time he starts and end the game Arsenal doesn’t win or struggles
    Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN

  11. Red Arse says:

    Oh stop it, GoonerB, you are writing some really goonerb common sense, and forcing me to agree with you yet again!! :D

    I was interested in some of the comments regarding Gazidis and his salary/bonus and wondered upon what basis those fans were making their critical judgements.

    Take a look at managers for example to show the way football works nowadays.

    Mark Hughes has been found wanting at various clubs and has walked away from each of them a multi-millionaire having basically been rewarded for failure. He is not the only one. For example ‘Arry fly by Night, has often flattered to deceive, altho he is smart enough to have a dog that is good at banking, apparently, but he is yet another who has sustained a multi-millionaire lifestyle as a result of his inability to do his job to the satisfaction of his various bosses.

    So what ‘crime’ has Gadzooks committed by being paid a good salary and bonus by his bosses, which is much less than that enjoyed by the many managerial failures?

    Well, he only went and landed the second biggest shirt sponsorship deal in football history, and presented the club with another £150m spread over 5 years, with probably another £100m + to come.

    To those who question the BoD’s temerity in offering him such a relatively modest contract and his ‘cheek’ in accepting his remuneration – go ahead and have a moan – or get a life!

  12. kelsey says:

    LB @9.32

    “Kelsey

    If you stepped back and saw how provocative it is of you to try and dictate what people can and can’t say you might see why people like me come across as aggressive.”

    I don’t call that a debate and also I take umbrage to your comment that me of all people try and dictate what goes on this site is a bit rich.

    As the owners seem fit to let you basically insult me yet again, I love and leave you.

  13. GoonerB says:

    Great post Rocky. Now everyone just take some Valium and we can happily debate and in many instances disagree in one big AA love in.

    RA I like your point and can’t disagree with it. I totally agree with you that we need some extra players either to upgrade certain positions or to provide us with a slightly different style of playing. Your suggestion doesn’t mean losing Arteta but more to supplement this area of the squad. It is probably not the only area that requires strengthening.

    This post raises the question again on what is more hampering us. Is it tactics and formation or a lack of having the right players at times. For me it is actually both. I too will mention a slightly controversial point but I would like to stress that it is only hearsay and rumor.

    I have heard a few people at times mention that AW spends a lot of time talking with players about how they can improve during the day to day training, i.e coaching them, and for me he is one of the best at this. I have also heard some say that AW doesn’t spend too much time talking and instructing the players on match-day and doesn’t believe too much in tactics, preferring to rely on the quality of the player and the day to day coaching to see us through, i.e if my team plays to its full potential then we will win. As I say this is just hearsay but I have heard this from a few sources and without mentioning names some of them may have reasonable insider knowledge.

    Another area I have often considered is that AW seems to favour a very specific type of player over all others. He seems to love this hybrid attacking midfielder / wing forward/ number 10 multifunctional player. Giroud does buck that trend but when I look at our squad we do seem to have a lot of Attacking players that we are constantly debating where is their best position. They seem to be able to play a multitude of roles but are they really highly effective in any one in particular? When I look at Utd it seems that they have classic wingers, classic CM’s and classic strikers. A question, does anyone really know what the Ox’s best role is? I don’t think he is a pure winger and it is possibly why he doesn’t give us enough width at times when needed. The only way around this is either to give him more specific tactical instructions for a certain game or to have some classic wingers in our squad whereby staying wide is more natural and instinctive to them.

    This is where I feel the tactics and need for new personnel argument blend together. If you want to play one system and not have to concentrate much on tactics then every component to that system has to be correct and well balanced. Any square pegs in round holes and the balance falls apart. If you don’t have those correct components available to you, then for me tactics, formations and correct instruction become more critical to overcome this.

  14. richie says:

    Both Norwich and AV pressed us, not surprisingly really because it’s widely recognized if you give Arsenal space they’ll hurt you, SAF had Shrek man mark Arteta because it wasn’t hard for him to see 90% of our play out from the back goes via Mikel, so both of the above are the most obvious ways to thwart Arsenal. How to thwart the press and the man marking of Arteta?

    Players with good close ball skills are one way, because if a player can dribble then he can loose his marker all by himself, this only works though if others in the team manage to engage in the second way of loosing a marker, making intelligent off the ball runs. Methods 3 and 4 to a large degree employs either the first or second. So a long ball played from the back up to a forward only works if he makes an intelligent off the ball run, or he brings the ball under control and dribbles passed an opponent. He could of course nod it down to a colleague but only if, 1) the said team mate makes an intelligent run and looses his marker or 2) the team mate receives the ball and dribbles passed his marker.

    As has been pointed out if a team successfully manages to neutralize another by employing certain tactic’s (such is the nature of the prem) other managers can promptly call up any one of a number of companies specialising in stats to order an immediate break down of the tactic’s employed. Then spend the following week on the training ground practising those same tactics, and their implementation. Normally I’d say our players being generally more skilful should/would find a way round this, it needs just one defence splitting pass “a la DB10” and a “TH14” to run on to the pass and finish. (For DB10 sub Cazorla and for TH14 sub TW14). The man marking of Arteta can be answered by giving him back up either with another defensive mid or kill 2 birds with one stone and play Jack. (Although I’d like to state I understand Arsene keeping his powder dry re-Jack especially with our fixtures) Arsene employs very sophisticated player monitoring systems and I trust him to know that Jack was best kept as a bench warmer, considering his long time out injuied.

  15. Double98 says:

    The fact that Norwich and Villa shipped a load of goals in the two games preceding ours is important.
    Their players stung by criticism have responded – 4-3-3 is an easy system to defend against – you line up 2 lines of defenders and force everything through the middleso that you have 4 or 5 players crowding the ball.
    If you concede a goal and open up you can be ripped apart but the longer you hold out the easier it is – you also have a lot of opportunity to counter attack as your opponent commits more defensive (and unsuitable) players forward to provide a witdh / impetus.

    Giroud had a good game yesterday but we were reduced to him winning long balls – Arteta wasn’t allowed in the game and Mertesacker played the anchor role.
    If Wenger sees Mertesacker playing the role that Arteta is there for then he needs to react.
    Barsea can do this because their central defenders are midfielders – they are not 6’7″ spindly chaps

    Wenger needs to change the tactics and put 4 in midfield so that we have resiliance and not a single point of failure.
    Right now the Choreaography in the Arsenal play is so obvious and so brittle.
    I think we have the best squad in the league.
    but the poorest playbook.

    Everyone knows how we are going to set up – they all see that a bit of discipline and hustle will turn us over and its only on the days that our dander gets up and our players biorythyms are in tune do we get a result

    Teams are sacrificing possession to deny us penetration. So when you see 70% arsenal possession know this – they let us have the ball because they know we can’t use it.

    I have been as pro wenger as you get (as you can judge from my posts here) but i am getting more and more disappointed by a seeming lack of flexibility or an apparent lack of understanding at the fundamental weakness of our team.

    gervinho, walcott, Ox – why waste that pace?

  16. Reddawn says:

    It is often said ‘That the buck stops here’. That being the case then surely Arsene is to blame. As much as I have admired him over the years, I realise it is time for a change of personnel. I would like to see Pep Guardiola as the new manager with his own team of assistants. One of the main reasons is that I think he is a better tactical manager than Arsene. Am I misguided and what do my fellow Gooners think?

  17. Red Arse says:

    Hi D98, :-)

    Pound for pound [or perhaps line by line] :-) with you, Goonerb and richie we get an awful lot of good footballing stuff without any of the needless aggro!

    I think you are all singing to the same hymn sheet taking all in all.

    The one over-riding factor is that for some years we have not recruited the best players and have lost many excellent players.

    Now it seems we can look higher up the tree for the best apples and not have to settle for the the fruit on the lowest branch.
    I have often said, rather than settling for ‘OK’ players we should shoot for the stars and get the very best that we can afford.

    A good sponsorship deal can do wonders in this regard!! :-)

  18. Rasp says:

    Some very good points GoonerB and Double98. The message I am getting is that we need to juggle the formation (game plan) to get the best out of the players available and importantly to make it more difdficult for other sides to defend against.

    An Arsenal side without pace up front and fluidity in midfield is unthinkable, but it is what we have seen at times this season.

  19. Red Arse says:

    kelsey,

    I would rather hope that you stay and chat with your friends. :-)

    What would we do without your inside info with the January transfer window coming up?

    Your pithy comments always throw a different slant on the subject matter under discussion and I for one find you interesting and perfectly polite! :-)

  20. Rasp says:

    This debate about Wilshere’s possible injury is descending into farce. If he had a minor injury, don’t put him on the bench. Have Eisfeld on ther bench and then he could have come on instead of Coquelin to give a better attacking option in the last 20 minutes.

  21. VCC says:

    Red Arse…I echo your sentiments…… KELSEY, you are a valued contributor to this site and far too knowledgable to deprive us all of your comments.

    Get your butt back here and don’t rise to the bait.

  22. Morning all

    Some really excellent analysis from GoonerB and Double98.

    It looks to me like the players should be good enough, but for our system to work they need to expend a bit more energy. They are slow to the knock downs and some hardly ever bust a gut to get to a loose ball. All of this hands the possession back much too easliy.

    i’m certain that if Arsene can’t find the answer he will admit defeat and a change will be forced on us all. If the players aren’t playing for him then that is a real problem, lets hope he finds an answer.

  23. Red Arse says:

    Reddawn,

    What actually is Arsene to be ‘blamed’ for?

    Being arguably the best manager in the history of Arsenal?

    Is he to blame for producing teams that even neutrals have admitted play the best football in the EPL, and until recently even in Europe?

    Perhaps he is guilty of winning Doubles and Cups during his tenure, except during recent fallow years?

    Is he to blame for us now having the best stadium in the country and perhaps in Europe, with a fantastic new era of top sponsorship deals soon to come on stream, as a result of the popularity of Arsenal football worldwide, which will unlock the transfer markets he has been unable to tap for so long?

    Yep, the buck should certainly stop with him!

  24. What injury to Jack???????

  25. Ill Ting says:

    Im sorry to say but one of the problems is Cazorla. Just how many times does he come deep to collect the ball as a true playmaker would. Compare him to Fabregas’ last season at the club and how many times he would drop behind Alex Song to collect the ball from defence. Not good enough I’m afraid!

  26. Rasp says:

    Morning peaches, AW is widely quoted as saying Jack had a minor ankle swelling/injury and that was why he wasn’t played on Saturday.

  27. VCC says:

    Smashing post Rocky…….It’s cleared the cob webs away this ugly Monday morning.

    I’ve been critical of Wenger several times in the past, but I think we need to look at the bigger picture slightly at the moment. I won’t go into who we should buy or who we should sell at this moment, but I’d just like to point out, although we are going through a tricky stage we have gone 5 games unbeaten. Win on Wednesday night ( which I think we have every possibility, especially if Walcott plays) then we have Swansea (H) Olympiacos (A) WBA (H) Bradford (A) Reading (A) Wigan (A) WHU (H) Newcastle (H) Southampton (A). All of which are well within our capabilities of winning.

    We remain 6th whilst not performing at our best, 6 points adrift of 3rd placed WBA, 1 point adrift (atm, prior to Wednesday, fingers crossed) of Everton in 5th.

    With any luck, with all of us keeping everything crossed, the future could be bright, the future could be Red and White.

    COYG

  28. Hi Rasp – why was he on the bench then????? Although the weather was not conducive to running with a minor ankle knock but would he have played him if it hadn’t been raining???

    I like the idea of Coquelin playing deeper instead of Arteta, he needs a role or we’ll lose him.

  29. richie says:

    @Rasp from last; Agreed we might not now need to sell our best players to break even, but thats something that’s only just come about with the new sponsorship deals. But if there is suddenly £30 mil in the kitty this TF window and the previous well researched “standard on the subject” Swiss Ramble, stated we’d need to sell a £20mil player for each of the next 3 years does that mean we’ve only got £10mil to buy and pay wages for a player?Coz if so lets not get carried away thinking big names are coming, £10m thats only a kid with potential money. :-) exactly what we need!!!!

    Leave a Reply

  30. Rasp says:

    I agree peaches – that was the point I made @ 11:26 :?

    It would be good to find a way of keeping Coquelin as long as it is in the best interests of the team. I see Eisfeld taking over from Ramsey as an AM in the future and maybe Coquelin taking over from Arteta.

  31. Rasp says:

    Thanks richie, I am not one who has been calling for us to splash out huge amounts of cash on top players (although for some reason I keep getting tarred with that brush) – those top priced players will go to city/chavs/manu etc.

    I am the one on here in the past who has been saying that we have needed to make up a £15m annual shortfall by profitting from player sales – some of our resident accountants have disagreed with me. We know we will be receiving extra TV revenue and already one of the sponsorship deals has been greatly improved so we should not be a feeder club for our competition in the future.

    We could afford a top striker (if not competing with the aforementioned) and once we have purged ourselves of the 6 players we’d like to sell, then that money should be available to fund players of a higher quality than some we have in the squad.

  32. slimgingergooner says:

    I’ve said it a few times, but the best way to beat the ‘press’ is having players who can go past people. Taking defenders out of the game by beating them opens up spaces to exploit.

    The other ways to beat it is to move the ball quickly and precisely with lots of movement. This is the way we try and play but we our movement is just not good enough right now. Nobody is running beyond the ball and Giroud doesn’t have the pace to get in behind which makes our forward progress limited.

    Until we get forward runners from midfield or wide areas we are going to struggle to break teams down. We look much more threatening when Theo is on the pitch because he can stretch teams and create space for the likes of Cazorla to operate in.

    With Giroud, Pod and Ox on the pitch we have nobody running in behind and they end up taking up each others spaces. How often did we see Pod or Ox coming central in between the Villa midfield and defence? This is Cazorla’s operating space where he can thread balls through for runners. Unfortunately, those runners tend to be stood next to him asking for a 5 yard pass to feet!

  33. Double98 says:

    Rasp, RA – I’m not convinced that we are that badly stocked.
    We need a goalie and a left back and a formation change.

    Goalkeeper – We need a new No1 – Ches (love the guy but…) is a fantastic back up keeper, Mannone is a championship level keeper, Fabianski is broken mentally and physically. – Spurs, Chelsea, Man U, City, Swansea, all have SUBSTANTIALLY better options in this key position

    Central Defence – Best starters and back up in the league

    Right back – Best starters and back up in the league

    Left Back – Gibbs’ injury problems are insurmountable – he should be 3rd choice. Santos is not a left back – he is a wing back

    Midfield – Personnel wise – the best in the league. Right now they are being let downas they are all playing a formation that we as a collective team are not able to support.

    Attack
    Gervihno, Walcott and the OX are wasted in a formation that permits no pace.
    At times they are both unplayable but too often the formation makes them unwatchable
    Giroud, Chamackh and even Bentdner all could do a great job but need a second striker –
    Walcott? gervihno?
    or
    maybe Huntelaar is the man?

    Gibbs, Diaby, Rosicky – all class but too brittle.

  34. Rasp says:

    Hi again D98, I agree that the most important change needed is in our formation and coaching emphasis. A couple of top class players in key positions would obviously also make us stronger.

  35. GoonerB says:

    Ill Ting I would have to slightly disagree with you here. I have more often felt we have struggled when Cazorla comes too deep too often, and we string out across the pitch in a 5 man midfield when in possession, but with one isolated striker and no other player close enough to him. We don’t have the players lining up in the triangular positions that allows us to move it at pace around them but predominantly in a forwards direction. I prefer to see Cazorla taking up positions between their defence and midfield and giving us a quick forward pass option that takes out their midfield and sets us off in attack before they can re-organise.

    In many ways for me Cazorla is or should be playing the Bergkamp type role. I would further suggest that if it becomes necessary for Cazorla to drop this deep so often that the other 2 central midfielders are not providing the right balance, or maybe a better description is that they are not providing the midfield platform from which a creative player like Cazorla can be freed from his shackles to concentrate on breaking the opposition down in the last third of the pitch. We used to have that platform with Vieira and any one of his CM partners be it Petit, Parlour, Gilberto, Edu, and we never envisaged for one minute that Bergkamp, as a play-maker, should have to drop deep alongside them to receive the ball from defence. This would lend further credence to Red Arse’s comment earlier that we need a more powerful presence at times in that deeper midfield role to provide this platform. I personally liked the look of Mbwia who can also play CD.

    By the way how do you get that old style capital I or Roman number 1 for your blog name, I can’t find it anywhere on my keyboard?

  36. Rasp says:

    The most important extra personnel would be a player to replace Theo – who is a specialist at playing wide right and someone who will chip in with a few goals.

  37. GoonerB says:

    OOps blooper. The capital I comes up as that once you post but doesn’t come up in that format when typing. Ignore the last bit of the last comment.

  38. Rasp says:

    Thanks for the link D98. This sentence echoes with me…..

    “There are enough bodies about the place — what Arsenal need is more of the class that used to ooze from Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieira and company. Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla have it. One more top notcher would make a difference.”

  39. Double98 says:

    Rasp – that is the nub of the personnel issue –

    but Wenger needs to organise the talent – i am glad he was stung by the criticism –
    i am glad he was seen and heard saying For F&*KS SAKE at his team.

    I hope he responds as the greatest manager on the planet should

  40. Rasp says:

    Amen to that D98 :P

  41. GoonerB says:

    It was a nice piece by Patrick Barclay and it is nice for once that someone in the media supports Arsene. He still makes note of Wengers past achievements to justify why he should have more leeway from the fans. I agree with this to an extent, but past achievements can’t be used indefinitely to wash away any problems we experience now and in the future. I am with Kelsey on this to a degree. I don’t feel the time to fully judge is yet, however, and so I would happily use Arsene’s past achievements as a sound reason to allow him more time to correct / put the finishing polishes on this team. That and the change in our financial position which should allow us to get the correct players in to balance the team out.

    My main beef with Barclay’s piece would be that he has chosen this time to publicly support Arsene, but by expressing a negative horror for the behaviour of our away fans. Arsene has been castigated by Barclay’s media peers and pundits alike so often over such a period of time that it would be nice if someone like Barclay expressed some disdain at them. Our away fans are possibly the best in the league and deserve credit as much as any of the playing and management staff. 4-1 down to Reading and all I could hear was our fans urging the team on.

    Maybe it was a bit OTT but it is easy to understand why they reacted negatively to what appeared to be a defensive substitution, in a way that said we will settle for the draw, in a game we should having been looking to nick in the dying moments. If each fan started shouting different things in dismay like “What are you doing that for old chap” or ” Why on earth are you bringing him on instead of him” then I don’t really think the message gets across. There are only a couple of chants that allows fans to collectively express their dislike of something and unfortunately, yes it sounds a bit bad, but Arsene must know deep down that it was an emotional response on the spur of the moment and I think in the cold light of day he is thicker skinned than to read too much into it.

    Those fans traveled to the midlands at personal expense and stood in the pissing rain to urge on their team, so lets allow them a bit of leeway, if something happened to irk them. So thanks for the support of Arsene Patrick but next time try and not do it at the expense of the reputation of some of the best away fans in the league, as there are many more underhand persons that you could direct your disdain at and could have for some time. Some of them may even sit next to you at work.

  42. Ill Ting says:

    GoonerB I think in a roundabout way you have made my argument better than I ever could.
    I completely agree that Cazorla is more efficient further up the field, however if we can’t get the ball to him in those advanced areas it is up to him to come deeper to collect the ball. However, as you stated this leaves us very flat in the middle with very few targets ahead of him. Therefore it is up to the other ‘midfielders’ (I include the wide players in this) to take up more advanced positions when he does this, which does not happen. To continue your Bergkamp analogy how many times would you see Pires, Freddie or even Vieira take up positions ahead of him when he did drop into midfield?
    Whether this is a failure in the mindset of our other players, or a lack of tactical/formational flexibility I couldn’t say, but I truly believe we would be more potent with Cazorla starting moves from deep and Arteta/Wilshire providing more final balls making us harder to predict and stifle. It was no coincidence that Song was our most creative midfielder last season coming from a deeper position.

    Also the capital I thing is a curse on my online existence- no one can read my name! Anyway keep up the good work! :-)

  43. We need a post for tomorrow if anyone wants to write something up …………….

  44. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Lovely stuff Rocky Baby.

    Am so glad you mentioned the “pressing” factor. How many times do our midfiled players recieve the ball back to goal and are forced to go backwards becuase they are been pressed.?

    Wilshere has the ability to overcome this but we have realy missed Diaby. That guy has the skills to turn, surge, and thus open it up for us.

    Its not quite working at the moment but we shouldnt lose faith. With the addition of one or two players things can turn around overnight and i am personaly confident they will.

    We are very close to a great team and i am excited about our prospects.

    As for Mr Wenger. For me he was and still is one of the greatest managers in world football and has my full support.

    “The Ghosts of the Thirties are Stiring”

  45. Red Arse says:

    The goats are stirring, indeed, Terry, but that’s because Glic has his beady eye on one of them for lunch! :-)

  46. Big Raddy says:

    Terry. You have been missed. Hope all is good in Manciniworld

  47. Rasp says:

    And where is 26may? ……

  48. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Thanks Raddy. Ime ok, just hope we can string a few results together and get up to were we belong.

  49. Big Raddy says:

    Is Podolski a failure, or Giroud?

    Deadwood? Are Diaby and Rosicky deadwood? Should we have sold them or allowed their contracts to expire because AFC will never get 20+ games a season from them.

    How to sell Bendtner when he can’t even get on the bench at Juve? Or Denilson or the many other players out on loan on big wages.

  50. Red Arse says:

    BR, :-)

    Surely you are not linking our gorgeous Evonne with ”deadwood’?
    How much would we get for her? Just asking. :D

  51. Big Raddy says:

    RA. Wash out your keyboard :-)

  52. Red Arse says:

    Raddy,

    I have to say it is uncommonly quiet on AA without Evonne’s chirruping.

    She said she was busy but I think she must be up to mischief with a new boyfriend.
    That being said, there has been no sign of 26M either. Ummm? :D

  53. Big Raddy says:

    Good work Sherlock….

  54. tomstoned says:

    ricky hatton finally accepted the facts,,,,,after the villa game wenger should also take a close look in the mirror and well…

  55. Reddawn says:

    Red Arse….I am sure the captain of the Titanic had a fine previous record,but unfortunately, it didn’t stop the ship from going under.

  56. Red Arse says:

    For that compliment (?) Raddy, I will bestow a news item on you!! :D

    The Husband Store

    A store that sells new husbands has opened in Manchester just off Deans Gate where a woman may go to choose a husband.

    Among the instructions at the entrance is a description of how the store operates:
    You may visit this store ONLY ONCE! There are six floors and the
    value of the products increase as the shopper ascends the flights.
    The shopper may choose any item from a particular floor, or may
    choose to go up to the next floor, but you cannot go back down
    except to exit the building!

    So, a woman goes to the Husband Store to find a husband, oddly enough!

    On the first floor the sign on the door reads: Floor 1 – These men Have Jobs.
    Intrigued she continues to the second floor, where the sign reads:
    Floor 2 – These men Have Jobs and Love Kids.
    ‘That’s nice,’ she thinks, ‘but I want more.’ So she continues upward.
    The third floor sign reads: Floor 3 – These men Have Jobs, Love Kids and are Extremely Good Looking.
    ‘Wow,’ she thinks, but feels compelled to keep going, so she goes to the fourth floor and the sign reads:
    Floor 4 – These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Good Looking and Help With Housework……
    ‘Oh, mercy me!’ she exclaims, ‘I can hardly stand it!’
    Growing more excited, she goes to the fifth floor and the sign reads:
    Floor 5 – These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Gorgeous, Help with Housework, and Have a Strong Romantic Streak.
    She is so very tempted to stay, but still she goes on to the sixth floor this time, where the sign reads:
    Floor 6 – You are visitor 31,456,012 to this floor.
    There are no men on this floor. This floor exists solely as proof that women are impossible to please.
    Thank you for shopping at the Husband Store.

    PLEASE NOTE:
    To avoid gender bias charges, the store’s owner opened a New Wives store just across the street with the same rules.

    The first floor has wives that love sex.
    The second floor has wives that love sex and have money and like beer.

    The third, fourth, fifth and sixth floors have never been visited.

  57. Red Arse says:

    Reddawn,

    I will tell Arsene to keep an eye open for icebergs!

    Sheesh.

  58. Adrian says:

    Would Alex Song, our only proper DM have made a difference if he was still with us? After all, we’re just 13 games into the season and yet I think we already have more lethargic displays especially in the midfield area with the constant backpassing compared to the whole of last season.

  59. GoonerB says:

    Ra 3.00pm, I like that one. A little chuckle did it bring.

  60. Red Arse says:

    Pleased to be at your service, GoonerB. :-)

    What about this one?

    A couple was Christmas shopping at the mall on Christmas Eve and the mall was packed. As the wife walked through the mall she was surprised to look up and see her husband was nowhere around.

    She was quite upset as they had a lot to do.
    Because she was so worried, she called him on her mobile phone to ask him where he was.

    In a calm voice, the husband said, “Honey, you remember the jewelry
    store we went into about 10 years ago, where you fell in love with that
    diamond necklace that we could not afford, and I told you that I would
    get it for you one day?”

    At that the wife choked up and tears started to roll down her face, and she said in a soft voice, “Yes, darling, I remember that jewelry store very well.”

    “Well”, he said, “I’m in the bar right next to it.”

    Men, eh? :lol:

  61. RockyLives says:

    Thanks for the comments everyone.

    Good (and mostly civil) debate about AW’s tenure.

    I still trust him to get the team working more effectively this season. But I am swayed by the Patrick Barclay comment (echoed by many on here) that a touch of real quality coming in in January would really help.

    Redders
    I postulated Le Coq as an alternative for our deep-lying MF but, like you, I don’t think he’s ready and would be very happy for a new, robust DM to be brought in.

    Truth to tell, I still hanker after a 4-4-2 formation, but all them what knows about football tell me this is like wishing that woolly mammoths were still wandering the tundra: in other words, as a formation, it is extinct, left behind through evolutionary progress.

  62. RockyLives says:

    Redders
    @ 3.00pm :D

    I’m debating whether to forward it to my wife…

  63. chas says:

    Rocky,
    A fine post echoing everyone’s concerns that we have been found out as regards the high press against us.

    The midfield three look so fragile in our current set up.
    I thought Ramsey played ok on Saturday but if Arteta is constantly under pressure when he has the ball, Ramsey has to drop back alongside. This gives the defence another option passing out of defence and enables the forward moving triangles to be created as Santi then has a little more space to operate in. I can understand Chamberlain and Podolski dropping back, too, but not if they’re only going to have to play the ball backwards because of lack of movement.

    Jack instinctively forms part of that double pivot when the team is under pressure from the high press.

    Why doesn’t the high press work against United?
    Perhaps it does and that’s why they score most of their goals in the final third of the game when the opposition are worn out.

    That’s part of the reason I was so disappointed on Saturday. The last 20 minutes should have seen us having more space but by that stage the team was f*cked and it was Villa (who hadn’t played in midweek admittedly) who found more room.

  64. GoonerB says:

    Another good one Redders.

    Rocky I don’t believe that the 4-4-2 is dead, or any other system for that matter. Man Utd often play a 4-4-2 and aren’t doing too badly.

    One of the things I said on my debut post a few weeks back was that the side that had Henry, Bergkamp, Pires Ljunberg, Vieira e.t.c basically lined itself up in a 4-4-2 formation. The reason it did this is because Pires and Ljunberg could play naturally as proper wingers who would support the attack in the box at the right time, while Bergkamp was a number 10 / in the hole forward that would come deeper when needed to get on the ball. Their natural instinct with the types of players they were made us look more like a 4-4-2 and it obviously worked. I don’t think AW really talked about a line up with these players he just got his best players out there and they dictated the formation.

    I feel a key difference to todays team is that Santi is an attacking midfielder that will try and get forward to support giroud at times while Bergkamp was a number 10 who would more consistently be closer to TH but could come deeper into midfield at times. A subtle difference in 2 excellent players but for me enough of a difference to dictate how we seem to line up. That is why for me getting Santi closer to Giroud is important. If santi is not comfortable with the role behing Giroud then maybe we need someone who it is more natural to. I think in AA we already have that player on our books (at least for this season). If you switched to 3-5-2 you could even get AA and Santi on the pitch together, so I feel we do have options for formation changes.

    The other area that I mentioned earlier is that I feel we collect too many hybrid multifunctional players that we like to play anywhere across midfield. Comparing to Utd again if I asked what is the best position for Rooney, Wellbeck, Hernandez, Young, Valencia, Nani and Fletcher you could probably name it. Ferguson tends to get players that are specific for a job. If I asked what is the best position for Ramsey, Santi, Podolski, Gervinho, Walcott, and the Ox it is difficult to say with many of them. Are they wingers, wing-forwards, attacking central midfielders, number 10 type players? It is good to have some players adaptable to different roles but sometimes you just need a player that excells in one role and one area is that I don’t feel we have a classic winger in the side that can play in a 4-4-2 like say Valencia. I feel we have a collection of adaptable wing-forwards.

  65. There some very good articles around today about the racist chanting at WHL yesterday. If you haven’t seen it, this is a good read.

    http://t.co/JjOa481M

  66. jnyc says:

    Yes Rocky, you again expressed what i have been feeling. That is : it will say alot about Arsene if he cant get us to find a way out of this poor, inconsistent play. I am a huge Arsene fan, and i believe that he has the talent in the squad, and even depth. Thats thanks to him putting the team together over the years. Games like villa, norwich, sunderland etc have already cost us a title challenge. Think where would we be if we did our job vs lesser teams. It is truly possible that more of the same can cost us the top four finish. That would negate the financial benefits of our new commercial deals. That way the vicious cycle of players leaving for money and title chalenges continues.

  67. Big Raddy says:

    I know that he is hardly mortal but look at Messi and we can see the player AW dreams of. He starts on the wing but scores his goals coming in from the left, left of centre, right of centre, through the middle etc etc. And he is small!

    Adrian- Good point about Song but AW must have had major concerns about Song to sell him.

    Perhaps AW believed Diaby was over his run of injuries

  68. RockyLives says:

    GoonerB
    You have been very consistent in wanting to play Santi further forward. I suspect we will see more of that when the Arteta-Wilshire axis is employed (hopefully on Wednesday night).

  69. chas says:

    peaches,
    On the same subject I just paid a wee visit to another site and saw this comment. Utterly disgraceful and illustrates the point made in the article.

    http://bit.ly/SlqtFp

  70. Rasp says:

    Hi chas, I’ll give the spuds up until the new year before they realise that they have to act to stamp this out. I can’t think of any other public or work arena where racist language is allowed. The comment you just highlighted was pure antisemitism that the user thought legitimate because totnum have endorsed it.

  71. chas says:

    Rasp,
    Did you see my assists email in nuts?

  72. Rasp says:

    I did chas thanks, actually the mistake was mine (as I’m sure you were aware). I’ll put it right this evening :?

  73. chas says:

    No probs.

  74. chas says:

    By the way I can’t do a match report on Wednesday as I’m at a gig and won’t see the game. It’s the first League game I won’t have seen live for donkey’s (the tickets were bought before the fixtures came out, I think).

  75. Rasp says:

    Thanks chas, that’s OK, you’ve bailed us out many times in the past. We have nothing for tomorrow at this stage so its all getting a bit desperate – wish we could disappear for a couple of weeks when the going gets tough :(

  76. chas and Rasp – I’m shocked by that comment, was Bristow Jewish or a scummer? Either way it does show that in some people’s eyes the two are melded together.

  77. chas says:

    peaches,
    It’s utterly shocking. The conversation before was about Bristow growing up as a spud.

  78. chas says:

    This is who I’m going to see, acoustic set, too.
    I’m sure it’ll be a stress-free evening. Maybe I’ll have to watch less games if we win. :)

  79. chas says:

    I’ll do Olympiacos away.
    Best I can do. :)

  80. That’s a very kind offer chas, thank you, I accept :)

    Are you going to a gig on Wednesday? While we’re playing Everton?

  81. Rasp says:

    Yes he is peaches … check his comment @ 5:15 :?

  82. Oooops, sorry, missed that :oops:

  83. Ooooer what shall we do tomorrow Rasp :(

  84. Big Raddy says:

    That some WHU fans are racists is hardly a shock. I remember going to the Boleyn and watching bananas being thrown at Kevin Campbell

    And who can forget the Nazi salutes at Stamford Bridge?

    Or the No Surrender songs at England matches?

    Or the paedo chants at AW at OT? etc etc

    It is laudable that racism is being highlighted but it is the clubs responsibility to stop it. Spurs fans won’t stop using the Y word because they are simpletons who do not see the bigger picture.

    In the Clock End there were two season ticket skinheads who continually made offensive comments, it was the other fans who stopped them by humiliating them and ultimately alerting the stewards. The club took away their S/T’s.

  85. Big Raddy says:

    R&P – can’t help. I am doing Weds’s post and three in a week is way too much BR

  86. Rasp says:

    Let’s make tomorrow a bloglic holiday and give everyone the day off peaches :oops:

  87. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. There were some great comments early this morning. One of them could easily be a post.

  88. jnyc says:

    And Rocky, i forgot also that u pointed out something that drives me crazy, that being teams like norwich and villa getting slaughtered looking like lower league sides in the matches before they play us, then we make them look like Juventus or the gernan national team when we play them. Frustrating.

  89. Good point Raddy, about this mornings comments, I’ll have a look.

  90. Rasp says:

    Arsenal are 50:1 to win the prem when its only one third over :roll:

  91. Rasp says:

    Hahaha, Joey Barton is even more stupid than Schteve McClaren

  92. LB says:

    If I were to sober up I am sure I could write something but confirm as I would be happy as a sand boy to continue drinking.

    It is quite amazing that all the female big hitters in Arsenal blogland are Jewish.

    Don’t ask me why I think that is amazing I don’t have an answer.

  93. slimgingergooner says:

    Rasp, Peaches,

    I am sending something over. Nothing exciting but should get us through tomorrow!

  94. LB says:

    Oooooh yeah Slim, as he pours himself another glass of wine.

  95. slimgingergooner says:

    Have one for me LB! :)

  96. Thanks slim :)

    LB – what are you drinking?

  97. In the old days on LG we used to blog for hours in the evenings about food and wine ……….

  98. VCC says:

    Peaches……maybe you could have a recipe section at the top of the page in the address bar. Perhaps there would be some unusual dishes pop up.

  99. RockyLives says:

    VCC
    Great idea – and we could make Chas update it every day :)

  100. Most of the blog world already think we’re completely nuts on here, a recipe section could just add to the allure :P

  101. VCC says:

    Rocky….yer, that’ll cheer him up.

  102. RockyLives says:

    The AA “Recipe of the Day”. Love it.

  103. RockyLives says:

    Not that I’m any kind of cook… I just like eating :)

  104. VCC says:

    Rocky, start with an easy peasy one. In a slow cooker submerse a gammon joint in Coka Cola.

  105. Oh chas, it didn’t take you long to bring Nigella into it :)

  106. RockyLives says:

    VCC
    Chas knows what I like in cooking… :D

  107. chas says:

    “Most of the blog world think we’re completely nuts on here”.
    Examples, please?

  108. chas says:

    I only put the clip on because Nigella puts egg in like jnyc.

  109. VCC says:

    Brazil, almond, chestnut,

  110. RockyLives says:

    I spotted the chestnut.

  111. chas says:

    More Rifles

  112. GunnerN5 says:

    Talking our recipes, yesterday was my 75th birthday so instead of the family taking me out to dinner I decide to cook for them.

    We had New Zealand leg of lamb which was marinated overnight in a sauce consisting of honey, lemon juice, chopped fresh rosemary, garlic, sea salt and ground pepper.

    For vegetables we had roast potatoes, carrots, parsnips and onions covered with a few sprigs of rosemary, along with steamed broccoli, peas and corn.

    I made the gravy from the scrapings from the roast veggies and the roast lamb, adding some beef broth and worcestershire sauce.

    That and several bottles of red and a few sips of 25 year old Macallan made for a splendid evening.

  113. Rasp says:

    Sounds absolutely delicious GN5 … and a Happy Birthday for yesterday from all your friends on AA

  114. RockyLives says:

    Happy 3/4 Century Gn5
    Can you invite me to dinner next time you do that :)

  115. jnyc says:

    GUNNERN5, im on my way home and hungry already, ur lamb put me over the top. Good job using the scapings for the gravy! ! !

  116. jnyc says:

    GUNNERN5, im on my way home and hungry already, ur lamb put me over the top. Good job using the scapings for the gravy! ! ! Id like some mashed potatos too :-)

  117. GunnerN5 says:

    Our family of fans here on Arsenal Arsenal have one major thing in common – our unabashed support for our club. But the way we express our feelings does not always take into consideration the feelings of all of our family members.

    Mostly we have genial/polite dialogue but frequently it turns into a debate, and of course, somebody always wants to win in a debate, this causes some to cry foul and run for cover while others revel in making their points known and heard.

    Our family group covers over eight decades of support so it’s easy to understand how and why our views vary, but even though it’s understandable it’s not so easy to be in agreement with so many diverse points of view.

    Why do I make these points?

    Well it’s because I care about the AA family and get concerned when we cannot express our heartfelt opinions without having to “one up” our kin folk. In this regard I am not blameless but recognizing my shortcomings will go a long way to improving my behaviour.

    I’m not a preacher – far from it – but let’s all try to behave and get along.

    End of…………..

  118. GunnerN5 says:

    JYNC,

    I forgot that we also had mashed sweet/yam potatoes, which my wife and grandchildren just love.

  119. kelsey says:

    Well said GunnerN5. Others may not know that we have spoken several times and you are a decent person and not a grumpy old man set in his ways :)

    If one certain poster can’t hold his drinking habits it’s about time he stopped agitating me on here.I doubt he will change and as i said yesterday I don’t need this,as it isn’t the first time he has totally unjustifiably targeted me.

    If he is allowed to bad mouth me on here then I have the right to reply.

  120. chas says:

    Spoken in the true spirit of conciliation.

  121. VCC says:

    GunnerN5…….I’m with Rocky 12:27, yummy.

    GunnerN5, 1:20….well said young man.

  122. slimgingergooner says:

    Peaches,Rasp or anyone else operating the site this morning,

    Please could you scrap the post that I sent over last night and use the one I have just sent over this morning? That’s assuming that you were planning on using my post of course!!!? :)

    Cheers

    I

  123. Big Raddy says:

    It was mother in law’s 83rd birthday party on Saturday. We cooked for 11 people and what did we eat? …. New Zealand Roast Lamb! But I did it with new pots and some salads. Add a few bottles of Champagne and Italian reds

    But the cost!! I paid almost £100 for the meat. No wonder there are so many lambs in NZ.

  124. Rasp says:

    Morning sgg thanks for the posts – you are a star, at work now but will have a look as soon as I can.

  125. Rasp says:

    Sgg, your post for today was fine, we could use your second on Friday?

  126. sgg – are you still about? Can we use one today and one on Friday?

  127. yeah thats fine guys!

    cheers

  128. New Post ……………..

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