Do Arsenal Really need another striker?

June 5, 2015

Well, do we?

There will be many posts through the summer which regurgitate what is trending regarding our FA Cup winners :-D  This is just the first ….

It is the same old argument about Arsenal’s front line but hopefully with a different slant because I do not think we should sign a striker – we have enough.

Let’s look at the menu …… Welbeck, Sanchez (or is it Alexis?), Giroud, Podolski, Sanogo, Walcott, Campbell, Akpom. That is 8 players vying for 2 or 3 places. We have the numbers but do we have the quality?

Podolski is a busted flush, the US League football beckons

Campbell is still young but has struggled at Villarreal – and if he struggles there then he has little chance of establishing himself as a force in the PL. If we can get a couple of mill for the lad, sell, sell, sell.

Akpom. An exciting prospect. Keep him at AFC until January and then loan him to whomever is at the top of the Championship.

Sanogo? I just don’t know. The chap has the physical attributes to be a target man but has he the skills; can he learn them? His loan at Palace was a qualified success, as in he got some pitch time and scored in the FA Cup but on the other hand he could not force himself in the first team. His scoring record for the France U-21’s indicates there is a decent striker in his lanky form. I would keep him and give Sanogo another loan at  – say, Norwich.

Which brings us to the 4 main strikers:

I don’t care what you say, OG is a fine striker and is in the world’s top 10 CF’s. Is he as good as Aguero – No. Suarez – No. But neither is Costa or Cavani or Falcao. It is an unfair comparison. Is he a 20+ goal a season man? Yes, he is. Does he create chances for others? Yes, his link-up play is comparable with anyone. If OG had been fit during that horrible start to the season we would have been closer to the Chavs, of that there can be little doubt.

Theo. We have to keep him. The prospect of a fluid and very pacy front 3 is exciting. Walcott’s injuries have stopped us seeing just how good his partnership with Ozil can be – IMO Ozil will make Theo into a 20 gaol a season man IF he can stay fit. I have always supported Theo and remain convinced he can become one of the PL’s very best players.

So that is already 40 goals

20 more from the Sensational Sanchez or the Amazing Alexis.

Welbeck is more puzzling. The man has so much and yet is lacking so much. He does it for England so can clearly find the back of the net but where and when does he play? As a stop gap whilst Sanchez rests? Can he actually play through the middle? Was Mr Wenger looking at the way Welbz cuts in from the left as a signifier he can become another TH? Perhaps he can. I love his workrate, his enthusiasm and his pace. But.

Let’s be realistic. We are not going to sign Higuain, Falcao, Yarmalenko, the German chap, or even at the French fellow. It is fun to speculate about them but we have some terrific strikers at the club and there are other areas where we can improve.

We have 3 strikers who, if fit, will score 60 goals+ between them. We have MF’s who will score at least 25 between them and defenders who can add another 10. That is close on 100 PL goals. We do not need to spend €50m on a striker (but it would be nice, wouldn’t it?)

 


………. and Leicester

August 31, 2014

For those who are new to the Emirates or do not go to games the “and Leicester” refers to a terrace chant sung to the tune of Land of Hope and Glory

“We all follow the Arsenal,

Over land and sea ….. and Leicester

We all follow the Arsenal

onnnn tooooo vic-to-ry.”

Why Leicester? Well, in the old days Filbert Street was an awful experience on a wet Wednesday evening; muddy pitch, poor facilities at the ground and very physical opposition. The club moved to the Walkers stadium in 2002 which has been re-named the King Power stadium and this is Arsenal’s first visit to the King Power (as far as I can find out!)

Until a few years ago I liked Leicester. Decent club, well run, loyal and vocal fans  – then they signed Robbie Savage.

I have a mental top ten of the first people to be executed when the world finally sees sense and makes me World President. Savage has always been up there – not at the top, but always there or thereabouts.

Perhaps my affection for Leicester stems from my admiration for one of their stalwarts who became an Arsenal legend …. Mr Frank Mclintock who captained  LCFC to two losing FA Cup Finals before coming to Highbury and captaining our ’70/71 Double team.

Leicester had a fantastic season in 2013/14. Winners of the Championship with 102 points! The season could hardly have gone better but now they have to find out if they can survive with the Big Boys. What do you think? They haven’t spent big just adding experience to the squad and relying upon the abilities of the team which brought them promotion.

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I like the Schmeichel son. He may be a smaller version of his brilliant father but he is nonetheless an excellent keeper whose career path is interesting. I wish him well but hope he has a stinker today. We also have a chance to see another old boy in Matthew Upson (injury permitting). There were high hopes for him when he signed for AFC in 1997 (£2m at a time when a million was big money), he struggled and was sent out on loan until finally settling at B’ham and then West Ham. Given Upson is now 35 y.o. we must hope he plays 😃

The Arsenal:  A result today would see us go into the 2 week International break (FFS!) unbeaten. which for a team that has hardly got going is excellent.  It would be churlish to say we are not playing well as qualification for the CL, a home PL victory and a draw away at Everton is a very positive return, but let’s be honest, we have not exactly performed to the heights we know this team can achieve.

I see the problem like many others. How does Mr Wenger want this team to play? I love to see technical players passing intricately all over the pitch but sometimes I would like to see a player put his foot through the ball. Only Flamini seems capable of doing so and for that reason I am hoping to see Podolski’s name on the team sheet. To be fair, the Ox is also a man who can get “physical” with the ball.

Why? Because when going to the Midlands it is important to have “thrust” and we have been lacking in this department so far this season. Giroud sometimes gives us a bit of power and his loss could prove costly, we must hope Mr Wenger has a contingency plan (could be a forlorn hope).  Artistry is all well and good but it must lead to goals.

We have conceded three in 4 games – the defence looks solid., still a little suspect at set pieces but otherwise OK. The return of our CB pairing brings more security as Chambers, good as he is, is not at the level of Koscielny.

My Team:

31st august 14

Now this may be heresy but  when Ramsey is playing I would rather see Ox or Podolski than Cazorla. Santi may well be a wonderful player but especially away from home I would like to see us play a stronger left sided player who is less likely to venture inside. Let Santi come on as sub and provide the type of pass he gave Ramsey last saturday. Podolski adds some strength to a small side and he scores, something we need to do more of.

Big Raddy is going to try and find foods from the region of our away games, so let us start with the humble Pork Pie. Leicester is the birthplace of the pork pie and Melton Mowbray is the zenith of art of pork pie manufacture. Apparently there are 15 Indian food manufacturers in Leicester and  I could easily have chosen Red Leicester or Stilton cheese but there is something about the pork pie and the artisans of Leicester City F.C. It just fits.

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If I am honest I will be disappointed should we not get at least a point today but yesterday’s results show that nothing can be taken for granted. This much I know – Leicester would be cock-a-hoop should they beat us.

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy


Podolski Left In or Left Out?

March 23, 2013

When Poldi signed a pre-contract for Arsenal I was happy for two reasons 1) he had 80+ international caps  2) he is a deadly finisher… The media and many fans criticized Wenger for buying him because of the nightmare spell he had with Bayern. But you cannot judge Person by one spell and given the fact that people treat him like god in Bayern… Moreover he had something to prove to his critics (that he can play in a top team) so he looked to me as a good and smart move by Wenger.

PODOLSKI

His record speaks for itself, he has scored 13 goals and 11 assists that is very good statics in first season better than our Brave Sir Robin, Germans always take time to settle in EPL given the fact that Bundesliga is slower and less physical than the Premire League but Poldi has settled well in new wnvironment without any difficulty.

Now let’s come to the main topic,  many people on AA are debating the question of where Podolski should play. There are 3 positions where he can play those are Second Striker, Left Winger or Center Forward.

Let’s have a look at his history: Poldi started his career with Koln as a Center forward and scored 10 goals in 19 app in first season at age of 18 however Koln got relegated, but next season he scored 24 goals and Koln were promoted back to the top division and Podolski became a famous figure. After that, many clubs were afterhis signature, however Bayern succeeded and what happened after that everyone knows…

Now coming to my main point, he plays as Left winger for Arsenal currently and even for Germany he plays on the left, yet Arsene has admitted that he signed Podolski as striker. But I guess because of Gervinho’s poor form, he moved Poldi to left wing and OG took his position. He played in centre against Stoke in first match.

Arsenal’s wingers are striker come winger. If you take the example of Man Utd, their wingers always supply the crosses and passes to feed the strikers rather than going for goal, but Arsene loves wingers to score more goals and that is the main reason Podolski is playing in Left. Podolski is not a Winger, but he is a left sided striker who scores and provided assists others score.

If he plays as striker then we are left with Gerv and the Ox who can play on the left. Given Gerv’ record and the Ox’s inexperience, we cannot rely on them. Moreover Poldi is a good poacher, he is not great with his head like OG, however we can keep this as an option.

If he plays as SS he won’t be as successful. He has good shot but he cannot beat defender like Santi and Whilsere so we can discount this option.

Now let’s reconsider his current position – left wing. He doesn’t have pace like Theo but he is smarter than him and he has potent left foot, if he plays in wing he can score from long range and supply cross to strikers.

I believe the best position for Podolski in thecurrent team is playing on left as he has good eye for goal and his link up play with OG and Gibbs is terrific, Playing in the middle would be an option but not as good as playing on wing, if he plays in middle he may be a success but not as successful as on theleft. If he plays on left opposition will have two threats to deal with, one is from OG in middle and second is Poldi from Left.

The understanding between OG and Poldi is terrific Remember two volleys he scored from left,  OG supplied the chip and Poldi did the rest.

That is deadly for opposition. I am 100% sure if no one leave Arsenal in coming two years we will win a trophy for sure……

In current team I prefer Poldi in left and OG in middle..

Which position would you play him??

Written by Manthan


A New Kind of Stupid – Bradford 1 – Arsenal 1 (3-2 pens)

December 12, 2012

All the critics of Arsenal internal and external use our 7 years without a trophy as a thorny stick to hit us with over and over again. Last night on a trip to the frozen North of England Arsene Wenger surprised us fans and I’m sure most pundits by picking a pretty strong team to face Bradford from League Two.

Two of the starting eleven could be considered “squad” players (Ramsey and Coquelin). The rest of the names on the team sheet were either experienced internationals, or players with many games of competitive club football under their belts. And I am afraid it is those players that once again let us down.

Plenty of us pre match yesterday were saying how important it was that the team took control of the game and silenced the crowd, of course they were going to be fired up for the first ten minutes but swot it away and start passing it around and their fans would soon go quiet, then you could concentrate on playing the nice stuff, do the right thing first.

But no, the team decided to let them get on top quickly and early, all they had to do was put the ball high in the air and deep in Arsenal’s half and they looked like they could score, so yet again meaningless passing around the Bradford half resulted in an attack for them when those in Purple and Black eventually passed into their keeper’s hands.

To compound matters the team decided on 16 minutes to make it even harder for themselves, specifically the skipper Thomas Vermaelen, allowing a long punt up field to be controlled by a Bradford player over by the corner flag, then allowing that player to nutmeg you, and then fouling him. Vermaelen’s ill judged attempts to tackle were to be a feature of the night and a growing rage towards him from me.

From that corner the experienced players in the team decided that it would be a good idea to allow Gibbs and Coquelin to defend the near post area, and for Mertesacker to defend the middle, for Vermaelen to stand behind him and to be covered by Sagna. All three of our most experienced defenders got sucked towards the ball, which was flicked on at the near post taking all three out of the game and despatched into the back of our net through the despairing hands of Szczesny.

One nil Bradford and yet again we were in for a long night and hoping for some kind of miracle to try and get the game back. These miracles are really only possible if everyone is working hard. And for the rest of the half not enough players were close to the required levels.

Coquelin provided the best effort on goal so far when he jinked past a defender and hit a bobbler with his left foot that came back off the post. Gervinho missed a sitter from two yards when it was easier to score following good work from Jack, Santi and Gibbs. How he managed not to put enough on that ball is beyond me, he wasn’t desperately lunging, he wasn’t being mucsled by a defender he was there, he could have put any body part on it, even his todger and it would have gone in, but he somehow managed to open his foot up so far that he just flicked it wide.

Other than those two chances the team created very little in the remainder of the half.

In the second half the team came out with a bit more tempo, but still failure to do the the basics right meant that Bradford were given the opportunities to put pressure on the Arsenal area from free kicks and possession in the final third.

Chamakh came on for Coquelin who I felt was unlucky to be subsititued but clearly Wenger needed to give some kind of focus to the attack. Soon after Rosicky and Oxlade-Chamberlain came on to replace Ramsey (seeing double after taking a boot in the face) and Podolski who will be seeing double if Bould kicks him into next week like he deserves, as he walked off I didn’t think i saw a bead of seat on his body, I know it was cold up there but the rest of the players were showing the effects of playing a game of football.

Excuse me while I send a personal rant to Mr Podolski:

The song we sing is “He Scores When He Wants”, not plays where he wants not tries when he wants, it’s scores when he wants. You have not earned the right to criticise other players around you yet, you have not earned the right to tell the manager where you want to play, we already have Theo trying that one, and you apparently want it too. Right now I’d rather we cancelled your contract and sent you back to Koln on a free, because you are not worth the wages the club are paying you.

At one point yesterday you enetered the box and waited for a cross from Gervinho, you stood with your arm in the air, ok the first cross didn’t come, but the ball was still live we still had it, still you didn’t move, you just stood on your heels in the same place with the same stupid arm up in the air, when the ball finally did come across the goal from Gervinho you were still standing there and watching it roll harmlessly wide at which point you complained because it would have meant you doing what a centre forward does….MOVE IN THE BLOODY BOX!

Now I’m not an international Centre Forward who has scored countless goals, but I have watched football a long time, and never have I seen a supposed centre forward move so little in the 18 yard box waiting for a cross, the likes of Lineker, Shearer, even bloody Stephen Fletcher would have moved four or five times in the time you stood on that one spot.

I can accept a player being shit but working hard, I used to think Perry Groves was a legend for example, but accepting a talent who fails to work hard I will not and will never accept.

Rant at Mr Podolski over.

Rosicky injected some much needed pace to our play, between him and Jack who seemed to cover every blade of grass from defence to attack in the second half the team finally started to dominate possession, and actually began to look threatening in and around the Bradford area.

The shot count was rising but so was the off target count, and when it was on target Matt Duke in the Bradford goal was using his large frame to good effect.

With time running out Santi Cazorla produced a lovely cross to the far post, luckily it was just after a corner and we had some good headers of the ball in and around the box, Thomas Vermaelen rose at the back post to provide probably his only positive contribution on a dismal night for him personally.

The team pushed for the winner in normal time, but could not find it.

Extra time came and went with little action until the dying minutes when Duke was again called upon to make good saves from Santi and Jack.

So onto penalties, I was already worried as Duke posed an impressive physical presence inside the Bradford goal, he is actually the same height as Szczesny but a few more years of living he is stronger muscularly, it also helps that he doesn’t have to wear a pink goalkeepers top.

I was further worried when considering the psychological pressure on each group of players, Bradford – be a hero, Arsenal – be a villain. It was that simple, a Bradford player misses and they get a pat on the back and a commiseration, the Arsenal player that misses is vilified for the rest of the week/season/life (depending on how long you like to hold a grudge).

Bradford went first and it was calmly dispatched. Santi stepped up and hit a weak penalty into the hands of Duke who guessed correctly. Bradford made it 2-0, Chamakh steps up and cooly places the ball onto the post. Chips are down, I’m ready to hit the off switch. Szczesny guessed right for the third time in a row and saved to keep Arsenal alive, up stepped Jack who had simply no trouble putting the ball home. Bradford made it 3-1, up stepped Ox who made it look just as easy as Jack and rifled home to make it 3-2. Szczesny then guessed right for the 5th penalty in a row and saved a very tame effort by Bradford.

Up steps the Arsenal captain to take it to sudden death, he followed Chamakh’s lead and rolled it against the other post, cue pandemonium at Valley Parade as Bradford claim a famous victory.

No Professional team should see the opposition miss two penalties and not even take it to sudden death……abysmal.

A miserable night was complete, miserable for the fans, miserable for the manager, miserable for the club…..miserable for the players? I’m not so sure, they just go home to their mansion, loose women and fast cars. Why would they be miserable?

I’ve said it before I’ll say it again, I can support young players who work hard and put it all on the pitch, I can’t support players who do not play for the team for each other, or the fans.

I want players to show they know what it means to us fans and in my opinion too many on the pitch for Arsenal at the moment look like their doing a job, and it doesn’t even look like its a job they love.

Ratings:

Szczesny 8 Two penalty saves, could do nothing about the goal, swept well all night trying to urge the team forward and get ball back up field quickly.

Sagna 5 Poor performance from “Mr Consistent”, I am not sure I care whether he signs a new deal, as i am not sure what he is Mr Consistent at.

BFG 5 Outjumped by an industrial centre forward for the entire game, normal assured self when on the ball.

Vermaelen 0 Sorry you are not worthy of that armband right now, silly free kicks all night, and a failure to take care of your own job first.

Gibbs  7 Our best defender on the evening, and probably of the season so far, quiet going forward first half but always offering himself.

Ramsey  5 Nothing went his way tonight, needs a rest needs to work out the issues and decision making. Worked as hard as ever though.

Coquelin  6 Did his best in a misfiring midfield first half, still a lot to learn in the first team.

Wilshere  8 (MotM) Tried everything he could to push the team forward ran for 120 minutes, tackling, shooting, the boy has got it all, we need to get players with his attitude and desire around him soon.

Cazorla  6 Very quiet first half, much better second especially when Rosicky came on.

Podolski  -5 Didn’t bother turning up

Gervinho  4 he tries hard bless him, and doesn’t stop running, end product absent all night.

Subs:

Rosicky  7.5 quick passing, forward runs, forward passes, what we have been missing of late

Oxlade-Chamberlain  6.5 A display that showed he is returning to form, used his pace and strength well, committed defenders. Horrible team to come on and play for right now.

Chamakh  4 I miss Giroud already

Written by a very pissed off

Gooner in Exile

Someone will probably quote these stats in defence of the team:

37% Possession 63%
(so f’ing what)
5 Shots 28
(and?)
3 On Target 12
(less than half?)
3 Corners 12
(remember when this used to mean we would score?)


The Arsenal Laundry Service Cancelled.

September 5, 2012

That win was too good to just let go after a couple of days; we have been waiting all summer long for that feeling so this post is unashamedly designed to prolong the crowing.

Yes indeed and why you may ask has the Arsenal laundry service has been cancelled? Because of all the clean sheets, of course.

Before we went into that game against pool it was talked about as a real test for Arsenal as Liverpool had shown their fighting form the previous week only failing to beat the mighty man city because of a silly back pass.

One week later and we completely humiliate them — are we credited with realistic statements like this new Arsenal look like they can seriously challenge for the title? No, we get wishy, washy nonsense about how poor Liverpool are and how Brendon Rogers hasn’t had anywhere near the amount of time that Wenger has to put his team together.

I said this in my match report after the Cologne game and I am going to stick with it: the EPL will be between Arsenal and City this season and yes that does mean finishing ahead of manu and Chelsea.

Arsenal didn’t just beat Liverpool in third gear they beat them in second, there is just so much more to come from this team it is frightening.

And talking of frightening, have you ever seen a player quite so two footed as Cazorla? I don’t think I have, his ability is quite amazing and what’s also important is that he looks really happy to be at THOF.

By contrast, have you noticed that we finally have closure on Cesc? He is no longer talked about, he is hardly mentioned now, the reason I would suggest is simple; he has finally been replaced.

The same will happen with BSR, we will continue talking about him until Giroud takes over, this will become apparent in two ways: The Frenchmen will start scoring goals and the away fans will start bellowing out the song “Who needs Van Persie when we had Giroud.” It’s going to happen; it’s just a question of time.

I watched Barcelona-Valencia on Sunday to see how Alex was getting on. I was fascinated to see if he made the same kind of school boy errors for them as he did for us. The answer was no; they had obviously told him to keep his passing simple and always find your man, pretty basic really but effective nevertheless. I thought this transfer really showed Wenger’s tough side, no room for sentiment there: we have had an offer from Barcelona to buy you, collect yours stuff.

Why didn’t Theo also leave this window? Because no offers for him came in would be my guess. Something is not right there, Arsenal have never let a player run down his contact, apart from Flamini but who predicted he would have the last season he did, anyway Walcott is different his value is obvious so I still see him going in the January window to avoid the complete loss in sale value.

Did I mention that we beat Liverpool two nil at Anfield before? Well we did and it was a great feeling then and it is a great feeling now.

Onwards and upwards my fellow Arsenal loving friends.

Written by LB


Nil – Nil to the Arsenal, Nil – Nil to the Arsenal…. Match Report.

August 27, 2012

Having just returned from a holiday in the South of France; a country with a wonderful climate and a farming industry that provides its people with more or less everything that one could wish for – French supermarkets are the closest earthlings can get to heaven, if you are, like me, one of those who lives to eat rather than eats to live – I cannot help but wonder what the likes of Giroud (French, born in Chambery, situated in the wonderful French Alps), and Cazorla (Spanish, born in Llanera, North-West Spain) made of their trip to the Country of Wrath – The Land of the Orcs.

Just imagine our new signings pronouncing the word(s): ‘Stoke (on Trent)’: I reckon it would sound like somebody choking on a lump of baguette. Compare that to the poetic sounds of ‘Chambery’ and ‘Montpellier’, or ‘Llanera’ and ‘Malaga’, and I think you know where I am coming from.

Going to the North-West/East has seldom or never been easy for Arsenal, and Sunday’s trip to Stoke was the first big physical and mental test for both Arsenal as a ‘new’ team and for our new arrivals in particular.

Luckily, in quick succession, the Northern ‘B-teams’ – Blackburn, Bolton, Blackpool, Burnley – have dropped out of the Premier League in the last few years, resulting in fewer visits to that doomed corner of the country this season. And long may it continue.

Whatever Santi and Oliver made of the place, and its physically/intellectually/emotionally challenged people (booing Aaron Ramsey sums it all up), they showed no signs of weakness or need to adjust to their new surroundings.

That, combined with another fine performance by our defence, are the main positives we can take away from Sunday’s game.

First Half

From the start, it became clear Stoke expected us to dominate play and a row of 4 defenders and five midfielders were positioned in front of their goalie, in order to make life difficult for us. Arsenal combined well and was able to pin Stoke back from the first minute. The ball was being passed round the way we have become so used to over the last few years, and we were able to breach their bus-shaped defensive walls on a number of occasions. If, now and again, we lost the ball in Stoke’s half – especially Diaby and Gervinho had a few moments of weakness at the start of the game – our defenders pressed the opposition quickly and forcefully, resulting in us regaining possession almost instantly. On Sunday, we owned the area between their box and the mid-circle once again, and long may it continue.

We were bullying the Orcs and it felt fecking brilliant!

There were a number of opportunities in the first half. As early as the eight’s minute, Giroud combined with Podolksi in the box and the latter had a decent opportunity to score. The Stoke defender Wilkinson lost his balance as a result of Giroud’s and the Pod’s quick movement, and whilst falling over, the former, serendipitously, ended up in the path of Pod’s attempt on goal. He handled the ball but I don’t think it was a penalty, and we are not Chelsea of course; so nothing given.

The excellent Prince Poldi, who often could be found away from his left wing position, made a mazy run through the middle and was cynically fouled by Huth. The subsequent free-kick, from a promising position, just outside the box, was wasted by Cazorla. Unfortunately, it would not be the last free-kick to be wasted by Arsenal during the game.

Another good move led to a cross from the left which Giroud just could not reach with his head. On top of that, Cazorla had a number of shots at goal from distance, and all in all we deserved a goal from our efforts.

However, it is fair to say, that although we created a number of chances in the first half, we still looked quite rusty in our attacking efforts.

This should not come as a big surprise to us, as except for Gervinho, all our attack-minded players are new. On top of that, Diaby has not played regular football for a long, long time and Arteta has only just returned from a long-term injury as well. They will need time to gel so they can become more instinctive and effective, and the only way to do this is by training hard, and especially by playing more and more competitive games together.

Stoke were only able to get a few set-pieces against us and our defence, including our stand-in goalie Mannone, remained calm and organised – never allowing the crowd any satisfaction. Once again, we were the ones who controlled the game.

Second Half

I can be short about the second half. It was disappointing to see we could not move a gear up with regards to our attacking efforts after the break. I have seldom seen Arsenal so risk averse. The FB’s did not offer as much support to our wingers as we’ve got used to over the years, and the CB’s stayed continuously behind. I felt Cazorla got more and more isolated and tired as both Diaby and, the once again excellent, Arteta sat back more and more. Diaby and Arteta helped out our defence when it really mattered though in the second half, which was great to see, as well as crucial.

The substitutions of our ‘wingers’ Gervinho and Podolski, by Theo and The Ox, made sense, but they also could not make a significant difference. There were still a few half-chances for Giroud, but a combination of tiredness and over-eagerness, meant he was not able to turn them into goals – although he almost clinched the three points for us with a beautifully imagined, and subsequently executed diagonal lob over the goalie from 25 yards or so. But, it was not to be.

Conclusions

I watched the game in a busy and loud pub, which made it difficult to analyse the game with a bit more depth. I would love to watch the game again with just one objective: to check out how much support both Arteta and Diaby gave to our attackers.

Having watched a couple of Chelsea games and also the game between Dortmund and Bremen in the last few days, I came to realise once again how important it is for one of the two deeper laying midfielders to support the attacking midfielder as much as possible, in order to dominate the opposition in front of their box and add creative thrust (without losing positional discipline of course). Chelsea’s Mereiles really impressed me on Saturday against NU. Every time he came forward to support the attacking players, the Barcodes were put under severe pressure.

In our game, I felt that Diaby and Arteta were not always effective enough in their support of our attackers/AM, but I would need to see the game again to see whether this was indeed so. Dare I say it; I thought we missed Song yesterday, although I also believe that both Arteta and Diaby will get better at supporting the sole AM as the season develops: they are both well-rounded, quality midfielders.

However, I thought both Arteta and Diaby supported our defence really well when it mattered, and I was pleasantly surprised by Diaby’s physical/aerial presence; especially in the second half.

I thought our defence played with discipline and focus and, on the few occasions they were called into action: they were a joy to watch.

Unfortunately, the departures of brave sir robin and Song means we will have to go through another year of transition. But I have no doubt that Cazorla, Giroud and Podolski are quality additions to our team, and whilst they are gelling together with our other players, they will get better and better.

The most important thing, though, is the back-to-basics approach with regards to our defence. We will not win anything anymore until we have a mean, lean, defensive machine again, and the first two games have been very encouraging with regards to establishing just that.

With Liverpool away, Southampton at home, City away and Chelsea at home, between now and 29 September, our defensive will face tougher tests ahead, but like many others, I am getting more and more confident that Steve Bould has been making real progress in making us defensively sound, this summer.

Add to that, that Giroud and Cazorla have come through the ‘Northern Test’ very successfully (and I expected nothing else from the Pod – the man is simply indestructible), and that Wenger keeps hinting there will be one or two more signings in the coming week, and there are plenty of reasons for us to be positive, despite the somewhat dull second half today.

After all, only the Southern Oilers have been able to win all their games and, as unlikely as it may sound after two draws, we are above the Spuds and Pool, just two points behind the Northern Oilers, and only one point behind the Mancs and the Barcodes. It looks like Lady Luck is helping us to settle this new team in this time!

Player ratings

Mannone and defence: 7.5 – all solid, disciplined and focussed – a real unit: 7.5.

Arteta: 7.5 – quickly getting back to his very best.

Diaby: 7 – better second half, despite tiring at the end. If he can stay fit for a while, he will become better and better. Fingers and all other body-parts crossed!

Cazorla: 8 – real quality: our new dynamo and a natural strings-puller. MOTM.

Gervinho: 5 – worked very hard, but this was not his best day.

Podolski: 7.5 – loved his energy, physicality and thrust. Really happy to see he can play effectively for us on the left wing. Goals and assists are just a matter of time.

Giroud: 7.5 – loved his energy, physicality, thrust and link-up play. Obviously, he is very eager to score goals and they will come. He just needs to settle in a bit.

Total Arsenal.


Slotting in our new players

August 20, 2012

Three signings have already been confirmed in Podolski, Giroud and Cazorla, and a forth is possibly going to happen in Şahin from Madrid. But it is like when it is like the weather in England, we moan when it is too cold and then moan when it is too cold, we moan when we don’t sign anyone and now some fans are moaning that we have no where to play them! Some people are never happy!

Well, firstly let’s start with Podolski. If you were alive recently in June and the start of July, then you would have seen the Euro’s. You may have also seen the most entertaining team in it, Germany, where Podolski was a regular starter. If you did watch our first signing of the summer transfer window, then you would have noticed that he play played on the left wing. This is not actually Podolski’s natural position, even though he is left footed. He is more of a centre forward, a player that sits behind the striker, but he does naturally drag the ball towards the left so he can have a shot on his stronger foot. He can also do this upfront.

So that centre forward position, do we already have players that play there? Well I personally believe that we don’t have a player that is actually meant to play in that position, although we do have some players that can. We have players like Walcott, Gervinho and the Ox who can play behind whatever striker starts upfront next season, Giroud or even maybe a new striker we sign, although that would obviously mean they were replacing Van Persie. Arteta could probably even play behind the strikers if he was asked too.

But it all depends on the formation that Wenger plays the team in this season, Podolski may play on the winger or behind the strikers. In past seasons he has opted to have ‘copied’ Barcelona with the 4-3-3 formation with two defensive or holding midfields and one in front of them, and one central striker.

I think that the formation will be changed next season, we will have Giroud, so he may play a 4-2-2-2, although Podolski would have to play on the wing in that formation, and we would only have two midfielders in the centre, which we put us at an disadvantage against a team which plays a lot of midfielders, for example in a 4-5-1 formation, even a 4-4-2.

I think that to accommodate all of the fresh talent brought in to the club, we would have to play a 4-2-1-1-2 formation, with Arteta and ?Diaby at defensive midfield, Cazorla in the centre attacking position, and Podolski sitting behind Giroud. This would mean Cazorla and Podolski are free to drift over to the wings.

Our second signing of the transfer window is French international striker Olivier Giroud, who is twenty five years old, he has been a professional football player for only three years, so his football mental age is younger than twenty five. He is tall, although he isn’t actually just a central striker. He is deployed upfront, although he does run onto the wing and crosses to the other striker. He finished the 2011 / 2012 season off with twenty five goals and eleven assists in the league , one more assist in other competitions. This proves he can create goals as well as score them, something Van Persie did do as well, almost the same stats between the two. A big difference between those two is that Giroud isn’t injury prone.

Our third signing is Cazorla, his signing was almost as painstakingly long as Podolski’s was this year. We knew we had signed him, so did all the players, he had flown to Germany with the squad, all before the announcement of his arrival, Malaga’s financial problems preventing us from revealing his arrival. He is a player that operates on the wing, although can also play in the centre of the park. He can’t be deployed at high up the pitch as Podolski can, but he is a player that can attack on the wing, or help control the game with Song and Arteta in the centre of the pitch. He can score, nine goals in La Liga last season, and he provided vital assists.

We do actually have players that can play in his position, Arteta can if asked, the Ox is now being played in a central role, and possibly Diaby can, but once again, we don’t actually have a nippy little player who can attack quickly and can help in defence will waiting to begin a break. Cazorla is the type of player that top teams have, for example Man City with Nasri, Man United with possibly Carrick and Chelsea have Hazard who can play there. He may single handedly, along with the form we had towards the end of the season, make us a title contending team finally. He may be our new Ljungberg or Pires.

Fans are worried that we are going to have too many players, especially if we finally confirm the signing of Madrid’s Şahin, a central player, and some fans will want to see certain players and they aren’t played. I personally believe that we will have some nice competition between the players to get into that starting line up, especially for the Champions League, which Man City especially have, and it hardly did them any damage.

Wenger also stated while in Asia, before the news of Cazorla’s transfer was taken seriously, that any more players arriving depended on how many players left. Well not one left before Cazorla arrived, except six youth players not signing senior contracts and Almunia. Now Vela has left, and Bendtner may also be following him out, as well as Squillaci, who has been rumoured to have been bid for. Chamakh played in the Asian tour, so he may still have one last chance. Qpr are also contemplating whether or not to bid for Arshavin, a player who arrived all guns blazing, but just lost it after that. This all may suggest more signings, which every Arsenal fan wouldn’t mind, we have been deprived of signings in recent years, but now things may have changed, finally Wenger have dipped into that pocket of his, rumoured to have around forty million in. Has he learnt his lesson, youth may not always be the answer, Arteta, an experienced player, defiantly proved that.

I have said this before and I am sticking to it, the summer transfers are a long way from over, lets see what the next few days brings.

Written by Miles

 


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