Roy Has Shown Arsene The Way

Watching England’s performances in Euro 2012, and against Italy in particular, got me thinking about the best way of using Theo Walcott.

Seeing the inept James Milner huff and puff to zero effect and lose the ball every time he got it; and watching the useless Ashley Young fail to beat his marker once in the entire game, I started from a position of outright fury.

How could either of those cloggers be selected ahead of the man whose contribution was vital to getting England into the Quarter Finals – our very own Theo Walcott?

I know Theo has his critics, but next time any Arsenal supporter wants to bitch about our flying winger they should bring out the video of England v Italy, June 24th 2012, and watch the performances of Milner and Young.

Any player can have a bad game, but that pair have been clueless throughout the tournament.

Admittedly, they weren’t helped in the last two games by having to play alongside Wayne Rooney, who was as poor as I have ever seen him. In fact, England were worse once Rooney came back from suspension. He played with the energy and touch of a shagged out granny.

Maybe gaining a new head of hair has produced a kind-of reverse Samson effect (the Biblical Samson lost his great strength when his flowing locks were cut off while he slept. I believe GoonerMichael has an alibi).

I started wishing I could speak to Roy Hodgson to say: “Roy, what are you doing? You can see how p*ss poor your wingers are, why haven’t you dropped one and replaced him with Theo?”

But then I imagined what Roy would say in response (once he’d got past “who the bleep are you and what are you doing in my dug-out?”).

I fancied his reply would go like this:

“Look, I’m not stupid. I know that Theo is faster than those clowns, I know he’s more skillful and I know he’s a better finisher. I know he can leave his defender for dead if he gets the right run and I know his ability to provide assists has grown exponentially.

“But here’s the thing.  I want Dumb and Dumber to wear down the opposition first and then, when the defenders’ legs are getting weary and their concentration is beginning to waver, I want Theo to come on and tear them a new one.”

That’s exactly how it panned out against Sweden, with Walcott scoring with an outstanding shot and setting up a goal for Welbeck with a great run to the line and pull back.

And despite my frustration on Theo’s behalf, I can see that there is a point to Hodgson’s approach – and one that Arsene Wenger maybe could learn from.

Many observers have argued that Theo is least effective when facing a defensively set-up team aiming to “not lose” rather than to win. When the bus is parked, there’s very little room for Theo to get round it.

But as space opens up in the later stages of a game, he gets more opportunities.

Next season (assuming he stays – and I sincerely hope he does) I could see Theo featuring primarily as an impact sub. We would start with Podolski and one of Gervinho or Oxlade-Chamberlain in the wide positions, and bring Walcott on with 30 minutes to go.

It shouldn’t be seen as a demotion for Theo – rather a way of maximising his contribution in a very specialist way.

I think he’s as good a wide player as we have in the EPL, and people’s frustration with him reflects the fact that he does a job where he is constantly have to push the envelope – to make goal chances or provide great crosses. Against most EPL opposition you’re never going to be given the freedom to do that at will – you will be thwarted a lot of the time.

But Theo has shown that he can break the shackles on a consistent basis. Using him when the opposition defence is more ragged and disorganised may well be the right way to go.

Mind you, I can’t imagine that being part of Arsène’s pitch to Theo when he tries to get him to extend his contract…


163 Responses to Roy Has Shown Arsene The Way

  1. Rasp says:

    This comment was placed by Gooner In Exile a few minutes ago on the end of yesterday’s post……

    Will Roy now have the chance to do the necessary and rebuild from the ground up (as in my opinion he should have done before this tournament as we got what we deserved last night.

    It’s not difficult to see what the problems are. For the WC qualifiers we should only pick players under the age of 26 (maximum) and give them a chance to play better football, most can do it for their clubs but it has to start now.

    It proved last night just how lucky Chelsea were to win the CL…as the performance was no different.

    Pirlo = pure class.

    Joe Hart behaved like an idiot, he hardly looked at the sheets showing which way and spent more time concentrating on how he was going to psyche out his opponents, and it was embarrassing.

  2. […] Roy Has Shown Arsene The Way […]

  3. Scott says:

    Great article,and great post GIE.
    Theo can be an absolute weapon when on song,and used correctly.
    He can also like a like a park footballer at times,so there’s the trick to him….use him the right way.
    Ashley Young is totally overrated in my opinion.
    He missed a penalty and an absolute sitter.
    On the age of the group……it’s the same core they’ve had for a while now,and it’s time the younger guys were given their chance.

  4. Sam says:

    Roy parked the bus and though he said England were tired,in truth the better team won.I am afraid England and in particular Rooney are over rated. The bull dog may frighten epl defenders,but against top class defenders,he has been shown to be ineffective. This is not the first time he has failed against quality defenders.

  5. wrightydenhenry says:

    Theo is an impact player not an impact sub just ask Robin, you would lose a lot by not starting him in some games.

  6. Panic says:

    Hart, Jones, Smalling, Gibbs, Wilshere, Cleverly, Ox, Walcott, Welbeck. All great young English players that could be in the squad for many years. Come on Woy, be bold.

  7. I saw the headline and thought you were going say we should play crap football and still not win anything hahahahaha I was wrong.

    If you play crap football atleast win something like Chelsea otherwise its offensive to subject people to that shit especially when we the fans keep football alive.

  8. glic says:

    Yes Rocky, Impact sub, but he has to have the ball when there`s a high line and space.
    Personally, Yes of course I wanted England to win, but I`d rather Arsenal beat Sunderland on the first game of the season than England win the Euro`s, Engalnd dont come into compared to Arsenal !.
    Off for a walk, Fingle Bridge to Castle Drogo ( It`s where evil Bond villain Didit lives, stroking his evil cat ).

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    HI Rocky, thanks for a thought-provoking post, with some very funny lines as well. Top stuff! 🙂

    As long as we need a proper winger on the right in our system, I would start Theo every time. In the current 4-2-1-3 we need a proper winger and the combination of Sagna and Theo is one of the best in the PL, if not the best, imo.

    With the Pod on the left – not a proper winger but an all-round sort of ‘defensively minded’ attacker – and Giroud up front and RvP in the hole, Theo would be an important part of the jigsaw with his speed and ability to produce crosses into the box, and therefore really scaring opposition defences.

    If we were to move to 4-4-2 with RvP or the Ox in the hole and either Giroud or the Pod as the nr9, I could see us leave Theo on the bench as an impact sub, as per your suggestion. We would have the Pod on the left, who could develop into something like Pires was for us, and Coquelin on the right, who could develop into something like Ljunberg.

    Coquelin and the Pod would give us extra defensive cover in midfield and with that more overall solidity, but we would also become more predictable, less adventurous, and ultimately less competitive to really have a chance for the top-prices imo. Football has moved on considerably over the last 10 years, and I cannot see Wenger going back to 4-4-2 any time soon.

    If we are to continue with 4-2-1-3 we really need Theo in our team, and also Song/Coqueling and Arteta/Wilshere in central midfield. If Wenger can get RvP, Song and Theo to sign up to his vision for next season and the purchase of Giroud becomes a fact, I am going to have to restrain my tongue from making me lipless, even before the summer is over. 🙂

  10. goonermichael says:

    I though it was totally embarrassing last night. I think getting granny shagger’s ban reduced was a big mistake. He should have dropped him after his performance against Ukraine. I’m also feeling a bit sick with the prlo love in. People are comparing him to Zidane on twitter. Hope the Germans slaughter them.

  11. Sproing says:

    Although a guess, alas I’m not privy to Roy’s inner thoughts or the bottomless pack of Wether’s Originals he strolls around with, I think Theo’s relegation to being Milner’s boot boy has a lot more to do with the defensive shift he puts in.

    Walcott does not make a good wide player because he is poor at helping his full-back. Sagna’s all-round general awesomeness lets him get away with this to an extent at Arsenal but Johnson is far less solid. He doesnt often tracks back and when he does he tends to ball-watch or put in half-hearted tackles that are easily ghosted round. Looking at the way England were set out, with the exception of Welbeck (most forward player) and Young (who does actually try a bit to help but there’s a lack of competition for players able to play on the left wing anyway), everyone’s been picked because first they put a shift in every game.

    Walcott gets introduced when being that extra defensive has no point (e.g. Sweden) or to nick a counter goal when it’s plain the midfield just don’t have enough spark to get a breakthrough.

    With the rise of the Ox, a natural midfielder, it’s growing hard to see room for Walcott in the line-up unless Wenger changes formation and pushes Walcott on to being a proper attacker (and give us a bit more solidity on the wing). Wenger has said as much in the past so this is not new. Just a question of if and when. With Walcott holding out for a pay raise, would you give it to him if he’s just going to play 30mins of games where we need another goal?

  12. Plumsteadgunner says:

    What we learnt last night:

    a).442 is now defunct only old school managers like Hodgson and Dalgish use it hence teams.
    b).England cannot hold onto possession or string a two yard pass accurately.
    c).Wayne Rooney is an overated granny sh#gger.

    d).England are over rated and are so far behind spain,Germany,Italy,Portugal even they are ranked in the top ten is beyond me.
    e).Grassroots football in this country needs to change to have a chance of catching up with the above countrys.

  13. Plumsteadgunner says:

    f) England are greyhounds and not bull dogs as suggested by some players in the camp.

  14. Space Cadet says:

    Nice post, for me Theo is best off the bench against defensive teams, if Arsenal take the lead bring him on and it’ll stop the opposition moving too high up, but if he’s against 2 tight banks of 4 he’s not got the tricks of touch to be dangerious. I wouldn’t mind if he was sold anyway.

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi PlumsteadG, I knew Rooney likes to play naughty games with the older ladies, but I didn’t know he was any good at it! 🙂

    I agree with most of your comments but not entirely with you point d. The back six, including DM and GK, are as good as anybody’s team. The front five needs to be worked at, but with Theo, the Ox and Jack there is plenty of potential to add quality. Also thought Wellbeck had a decent tournament. There wont be much strength of depth for a while though.

  16. goonermichael says:

    Greyhounds? More like skanky little mongrels

  17. Plumsteadgunner says:

    TA I agree with you on Joe Hart and not the Defensive midfield ie Parker,Milner,Gerald.Gerald had an okish tournament but he was also guilty of losing possession as for Parker he only runs on half a tank he has no stamina at all.Milner is just a clogger.

  18. double98 says:

    Let me preface this by reminding y’all i am Irish.
    But I am disappointed in how the three lions fared at this tournament

    England set back the argument for a 4-4-2 back about a decade last night.
    It was the most one sided game since 1996 Estonia – Scotland

    Gerrard was exposed for the one dimensional player he is, milner, young and welbeck had the attacking menace of a sewing circle.

    Rooney was desperate, its obvious he is unfit.It became obvious that he is dire in a side that is truggling – that just shows how good RVP the MVP is.

    All those Italian guys are able to “Trap and control” a football. Pirlo didn’t win the game for Italy Technique did –
    that technique is drilled into them from an early age – when you are an Italian kid you join a soccer club.
    In fact your parents pay 300-500 quid for you to join.
    All the kids go 5/6 nights a week to soccer school after real school and homework
    then they play a match on the sunday.
    During the week they focus on technique and passing movements. They don’t worry overly about fitness because training 6 nights a week will keep you fit, plus they eat home cooked italian food.

    Spain are the same

    England will never win another major title until they do 3 things
    1./ Develop a football philiosophy
    2./ Invest in youth – not just the kids that look fast and strong
    3./ Appoint a manager who will pick a squad, not a team.

    Hodgson picked 23 players and played the same ones over an over again. No matter how poor, milner, young etc were they got picked.
    Also how do you build a squad harmony with divisive players like john terry? I mean he simply doesn’t bring enough to the table to ignore the fact that he is a toxic character.

    And if you show up to a tournament that is celebrating the pinnacle of 4-4-3, with a 4-4-2 you better make sure that your box to box midfielder has the legs to run all day, make sure your wingers get the ball and your fullbacks get past halfway to support them and when you lose the ball make sure your forwards and wings flood the midfield to recover the ball

  19. fergalburger says:

    Cheers for this. It is an interesting theory but I think there are some potential issues I have with it. First, if football is 90 minutes long, what does a team’s intentions tell you if they aim to win the game only in the final 30 when the opposition is tired?

    Secondly, do Arsenal fans want to watch us having to play Kabaddi for an hour in order to make best use of Walcott?

    Third, does Walcott want to play for Arsenal and if so in which position? I very much doubt in an age of mass exposure and image rights he would agree that he wants double his current salary and to start from the bench.

    In terms of Arsenal’s future, we are changing our shape. You can see this by the signings we are making and also the players returning from injury. I don’t want to start the season with Jenkinson and Walcott as they don’t get on and their football doesn’t marry. The right wing will be defunct. It shows you how good Sagna actually is.

    Therefore, I feel we might go with one winger and several ball players. Arteta, Wilshire, Song, Gerv/Ox/Walcott, Podolski will be encouraged to move around RVP or Giroud like Pires, Parlour, Bergkamp, Ljungberg, Vieira did around Henry. It makes sense if they can make it work. A good and potentially great blend of skill and strength. (I haven’t included Ramsey here because I feel he is over rated and needs containing as a certain type of midfielder. If he can learn his trade he might be first team material).

    But at the same time, I still feel we are one or two injuries away from Chamakh and Park, or Djourou and Squillaci and the likelihood of selling Bendtner, Vela, Squillaci, Arshavin, Chamakh, Denilson, Lansbury, RVP and Fabianski means some super dooper serious business needs doing.

    Gazides is on his holliers and Wenger is drooling over players we cannot get (apparently), so when is this major overhaul going to be undertaken?

    The likely reality is that Djourou will stay, so will Arsharvin, Chamakh and Park. RVP will be complex and determine what Walcott does. But really it is not about RVP now, or Walcott. It is about a system that allows players to come in and out without depending on RVP’s goals. That gets me more excited than anything as alternatives and options going forward have been so limited. But I don’t think we need to focus on just that as we have fullback issues still and I am pretty sure Gibbs will not make the grade. He is no Ashley Cole I am sad to say.

    So in short, (yeah right!) I think it should be more about whether Walcott can fit into the Arsenal system from the first minute, or he is not going to be a good impact player for a team who will try to smother the opposition when going forward. Overwhelm them with passes and sprints. And there are many players at the club who can do that. Not just him.

    Time for him to have a proper think.

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    PG, I have never been the biggest fan of Parker, but I thought he had a good tournament. Gerard is too rusty but he has got the experience, and I believe that the combination between Jack and Gerard with Parker behind them, could be a very strong one. Agreed on Milner though.

    Put the Ox and Theo each on a wing and the GS up front on his own and Roy is your uncle.

  21. goonermichael says:

    Do you mean parker when you say DM? I think he’s rubbish and can’t last a whole game.

  22. Plumsteadgunner says:

    The only positive from the game was cashley missing the penalty priceless.was that the unfinished business he had with England?Missing a penalty in the QF.

  23. Dan says:

    Why learn from crappy England. We are bold ARSENAL. We know about super subs from the likes of Wiltord and Kanu. Wenger would of learned nothing from England. RH should of been bold and started Theo. Theo has been tearing it up from the start on numerous occasions this season. What has Young and Milner done. It was no surprise to me
    What AW could of learned is that Theo is sharper and continues to improve.

  24. double98 says:

    For me the English Players who enhanced their reputation were

    Johnson – Reliable, dangerous on occassions
    Lescott – Solid, as good as terry used to be
    Walcott – lethal
    Hart – exceptional – the second best keeper in the world
    Ox – should have been sent into the centre of midfield against the Italians – Bull in a china shop

    Welbeck, Andy Carroll – looked decent when Rooney wasn’t available – when he came in he wrecked them both

    Young, Milner, Rooney – terrible, woeful, shameful

    Hodgson – failed – his first test was to leave Terry at home, his second was to pick a squad of 23 and not 14 players plus 9 tourists, his third was to leave rooney on the bench while his front two where doing an ok job,

    Everyone else – Meh

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    GM, yes I do. He protects the back four well and with Gerrard and JW in front of him, there is extra defensive cover.

  26. ak47 says:

    quite embarrassing, i get why but dam. as for rooney, my theory on his lack of international form has been for a number of years his understanding of his heritage. do i blame him? not really.

    what i like about theo conundrum is the pod. i thought theo raised his game last year, not massively but noticeably. he had a better first touch at times, one or two tricks and sporadically worked out the kick and run. i blame ricky and the ox. good. thats what we need, a bit of fear. so now with the ox call up, ricky with a year in and pod looking like a starter on the left with santos able to cover, even with a shiny new pay packet theo has got his work cut out for him next season which i think will make not break him.

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    In sixty minutes of play for England, Theo only received/passed the ball ten times, and he only gave it away once. In the same period, Carroll received/passed the ball 34 times, giving it away 16 times. Milner also seldom received balls (13 in 60 minutes) which proves that whenever England tried to attack, they lopsided towards the left or middle; totally ignoring the right where space and speed was available.

    This is an interesting read:

  28. Shard says:

    Sproing already made the point was going to make about the RB behind Theo. If Glen Johnson were anywhere near as good as Sagna, Theo would have started for England. I think you are being a little unfair to theo by calling him just an impact sub. He’s still young and he’s shown signs of improvement, even if not spectacular improvement. His finishing, touch and his dribbling have improved. It will need to improve further before we can move him into a central striking role. He doesn’t need to be in the middle to score though. A few Freddie like runs and he should be able to contribute more goals, especially if Jack or someone else (at Arsenal) can start providing the through balls that Dennis (and Cesc) did.

    On England, I thought they stuck with their ‘Golden Generation’ far too long. Post World Cup was the ideal time to change, and follow the German route. Podolski, Schweinsteiger, Lahm, Mertesacker, etc were all brought into the fold at a very young age, and their playing together as a team, rather than a bunch of individuals helped Germany. The experience they gained then is helping them now, and I think it also gives the next generation of young players like Ozil, Khedira, and now Gotze and Reus, the belief that they can contribute. Having a younger national team will benefit England in the long run. At least this time, the English press seemed to not hype the team up as some great team having a massive failure. Just about achieved their level I thought. Hodgson seems like he will build for the future, but who can replace Terry, Gerrard, even Lampard, Barry or Parker? Will the media accept any of them being dropped?

  29. Scott says:

    98 is right.
    Until kids live and breathe the game,the quality won’t improve.
    It’s even tougher here in Australia,as we have so many popular sports,most kids want to try them all at some stage,which takes time away from football.
    My son is a football nutter…..he’s either watching it,playing it or training for it,and without any pressure at all from me.
    In fact,as he’s only 6 y.o., i pull him back a little it,but that is almost due to the fact people will actually look at him and assume I’m pushing him into it.
    Sean is a rarity over here,but I will tell you this,he’s as good as any 6 y.o. I’ve ever seen because of all the work he does.
    He’s got ball control better than plenty of adults playing here,and im not exaggerating.
    Early grounding in the basic skills will last a life time,and if they don’t get that as kids,they’re behind the eight ball all the way throughout their career.

  30. Rasp says:

    Hi TA,

    I noticed that Theo just wasn’t being given the ball. Everything was going down our left hand side. Parker misplaced the pass on the rare occasion he tried to find Theo. It was worse when Lampard used to play, he would never pass to Theo.

    For me the biggest joke was having Jordan Henderson in the squad let alone on the pitch – it should have been the Ox on for Parker.

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Rasp, you are so right re Lampard and Henderson. One thing the Ox does a lot is simply switching the play from left to right, or vice versa, with a diagonal/horizontal long distance pass. Simples, you would think but yesterday nobody did it, or seemed to think about it at all. It was so painful to watch at times.

    (Sorry GM but) Pirlo showed how it should be done: what an all-round, beautiful display last night. 🙂

  32. What a load of rubbish. Theo a sub? Sure, the guy has his critics, and we all seem to find it difficult to maximise his potential, but relegating him to a sub, and thinking that Is progress is a whole load of crap. England were just being England, rubbish. Can’t hold the ball, can’t string three passes together, long ball to a big lump of a centre forward, overhyped, overrated player(rooney), and a manager with no clue. Theo should have played a more important role in this tournament, but with such a negative tactics employed by Hodgson, its a wonder he didn’t play 4-6-0. Theo had a relatively good season last time around, with double figures goals tally and lots of assists. What else do u want him to do, dribble like Messi? That’s not his skill set. His number asset is his speed, and its up to the manager to utilise that to its maximum capacity, but relegating him to the sub bench is not the way to go.

  33. Plumsteadgunner says:

    Shard: What puzzles me about the whole England team majigi is young players eg Ox and Walcott are picked to play for the A team.Why not play them in the under 21 before they get into the senior team.This comes down to not having any real quality in the seniors until this changes England have no hope of winning any tournaments.

  34. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Femi, why the aggression? A load of rubbish/crap is poor blogging language and totally degrades what’s otherwise a decent comment. The writer is allowed to have a point of view, and so are you, but there is no need to be disrespectful.

  35. Scott says:

    Os Femi,let me get this straight.
    You are suggesting….even if YOU don’t know it….that Enland and Arsenal build their respective teams around Theo??
    That’s the only way for either manage to best utilise his speed,isn’t it??
    Theo….is that you mate 🙂

  36. Red Arse says:

    Rasper, 🙂

    @ 11:41, Pearls of wisdom. Exactly my thoughts, too.

    Let’s be honest (and I have no axe to grind concerning the England team) everyone has referred to them playing 4:4:2 (and D98 @ 10:51 also likes a 4:4:3 – which is cheating 🙂 ) in effect Milner and Young were so defensively poor, England in fact played 4:2:4, and that’s why the ‘midfield’ of Parker and Gerrard were over-run and totally knackered late in the game.

    Bringing Theo on, whatever your views on his attacking abilities, did not improve matters, as defensively Theo is a Zero (sorry 🙂 ), and then Woy (who I mostly like as a manager) compounded the error, by taking off a shattered Parker and replacing him not with another ‘proper’ midfielder but with a non-entity like Henderson.

    In the final analysis, Italy, the best team, won, and football is all the better for that. We have had enough of Chelsea-type performances despoiling the great game with their crap play, and reaping rewards way beyond any footballing sense of common justice.

    Nota Bene: If anyone can work out the above critique, perhaps you can help me out, and I will admit or deny your appraisal depending on how it has been received by the esteemed AA bloggers! 🙂

  37. @totalarsenal, apologies if you found my tone offensive. Definitely not my intention.@scott, I never implied for the team to be built around Theo. It never was. I actually hate the idea of a team built around a ‘super’ player, cos that means when that player is not there, the whole team suffer. All i’m saying is that Theo should be used to the best of his capabilities, but relegating him to the sub bench just to accomodate a relatively raw talent like the Ox is counterproductive. Chamberlain is definitely a talent, but overhyping the player (like we always do) is not the way to go. I’ve seen him now in Arsenal shirt, and yes, the guy has loads of potential, but don’t elevate him to superstatus before his time. He had a splendid game against AC-Milan, but there has been time in Arsenal shirt he’s been selfish when a simple pass would have been more effective. Theo has his days, and he will still improve. I personally like the way he goes about his business, notwithstanding the fact that the crowd have chosen him to replace there number one boo boy (eboue). That’s my point in a nutshell. Apologies again if anyone found my tone offensive (yes, i do use the words crap and rubbish quite a lot)

  38. Red Arse says:

    Hi Rocky, 🙂

    Yet another masterly discussion raiser! My titfer tat is doffed in salutation!

    For a change, I do not totally agree with everything you say, but then I think you were making a point about Theo’s value to the team in his wing play/forward skills and not really suggesting he should be brought into midfield to replace one of the other two non-midfielders.

    Theo showed against Sweden, that he has attributes that neither Milner nor Young will ever have, and in these ‘cup’ matches Theo can be devastating, altho’ I am still not convinced about his best role in the team.

    Only incidental reference has been made about the Ox’s non appearance last night, but can I go on record as saying that it was actually a blessing, in my not so humble opinion, as exposure to that dreadful team performance might have had a lasting and adverse psychological impact on him.

    Finally, I actually think all the England players worked their socks off last night, and tried their very best, so any criticism of them from me, implied or explicit, only relates to the sad truth that many of them are just not good enough at international level.

  39. Gooner In Exile says:

    Morning all,

    Rocky I understand your reasoning but it requires us to have a defensively solid RM to use before we introduce Theo, secondly his pace can be devastating in the first ten minutes when some opponents are finding their shape and legs.

    As there is a bit of discussion on England I will add a few pennies to my tuppence worth earlier.

    The PL cannot be to blame, we have seen plenty of players raised and playing in the PL showing better technical ability than the majority of England’s 1st XI.

    Has Gerard or Rooney actually got any better since they first broke into senior football? (domestically or internationally)

    Ashley Youngs penalty (as much as the whole teams inability to make a simple pass) was evidence of how little emphasis English coaches put on proper technique. Not one Italian looked to put his laces through the penalty, you have to pass a ball 12 yards into a space about a yard from the post, if you have faith in your technique and your technique is sound, you pass it into the net. If you don’t trust it you blast it and hope for the best (and that was our 3rd best penalty taker).

  40. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks Femi. 🙂 Btw, I fully agree with your comments on Theo and The Ox.

  41. So where would Groud be playing if Gervinho and Lukas plays on the wings

  42. RockyLives says:

    Good day and thanks for the comments.

    Today’s best perhaps would have been better later in the week and we could have given over the discussion to a proper analysis of where England are at.

    To be honest I don’t even necessarily agree with my own Post, but it was an aspect of Roy’s use of Theo that I thought maybe deserved more credit than I was instinctively giving it.

    On balance I could see us using Theo as both a starter and an impact sub next season when (hopefully) our stronger squad will allow greater rotation.

    I think Theo is extremely talented and I said so in the Post. I agree with you 100% about the Ox. There is no way he’s fully ready yet so I’m glad he wasn’t part of last night’s display. He’s a brilliant prospect and could be one of the best we’ve ever had, but people seem to have this idea that he’ll walk into our first team and play like a champion straight away. He won’t. The only players who have come close to doing that in recent years are Fabregas and Wilshere.

  43. Red Arse says:

    Hi TA and Femi, 🙂

    Like you, TA, I think Femi has raised good points about the sensible use of both Theo and the Ox.

    If the Oxo kid is used too soon, by either Arsenal or England, I fear his naturally developing potential could be stifled and he could suffer burn out, as so many other promising kids have in the past.

  44. RockyLives says:

    *today’s Post

  45. RockyLives says:

    what do you think?
    I’m hoping for Giroud at the front of our attack, with RvP in the No 10 position and any of Theo, Gerv, Pod, Ox as the wide players (although I don’t think the Ox is a natural wide player).

  46. RockyLives says:

    I thought Rooney’s performance last night was one of the worst I have ever seen by an England striker.

    The only positive I can give him was that he tried hard and never hid. But it would have been better for the team if he had hidden!

    He’s a much better player than he showed last night (but still overrated. He would not be a guaranteed starter for any of the other top 4 or 5 teams in Europe). If he wasn’t fit, Roy should not have picked him.

  47. i herd someone mention the starting 3 three up front would be Giroud on the right, Lukas on left and RVP up front not sure Giroud can play as a winger though

    Probably he mght change his formation (rotating the formation might be good it can keep sides guessing)

    so where you Ox playing then if not on the wide

  48. Rasp says:

    Hi Rocky, agree re: Rooney. I wonder if due to his chunky build we may already seen the best of him career wise.

    I wish Roy had been a bit more pragmatic and picked up the phone to give Carrick the chance to change his mind when Lampard withdrew. Henderson may be a good player one day but he’s nowhere near ready yet.

    There is a paucity of English midfield playmakers. I hope club and country don’t expect too much too soon when Jack returns.

  49. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Rocky 🙂

    Fully agreed on Rooney.

    MU have been rubbish in Europe last season, and the England attack had 3 MU players in it and the MC sub Milner. The MU system can work really well but they need two decent, classic wingers to provide the team with with width, speed and penetration. Walcott for Milner from the start would have made sense to me.

    Hi RA 🙂

    Hope you are feeling a bit more on top of the world again! 🙂

  50. henrychan - indonesia says:

    Rocky.. very interesting idea..
    But whom you think will be the bad winger tobe replace with Walcott..??? hehehe..

    In my opinion:
    1. If Wenger still play 4-3-3 than Giroud will be backup for RvP.. RvP do need a backup, last season no one can backup him.. And that if Chamakh and Park assumed to be sell..
    2 winger will be fit for Podolski and Walcott.. And Gervinho, AOC and maybe Miyaichi as backup.. Or if we do agree with Rocky than Walcott as backup for AOC.. hehehe..
    3 in the middle will be very hard to choose between Song/M’Villa/Arteta/Wilshere/Rosicky/Diaby (no Ramsey please..) Will we play 1 AM 2 DM or 2 AM 1 DM..???
    And defender will still give to Gibbs-Ver-Kos-Sagna..
    I think Jerkinson or Miquel will take his place.. untill january if they fail than Wenger will bring some other players (if Sagna still injure)..

    2. If we playing 4-4-2.. than we need more midfielders.. the strikers will have to compete more.. Or they change as an AM..

    3. But maybe we can play 4-5-1 formula.. with 5 midfielders.. 2 DM and 3 AM.. And Podolski, Walcott, AOC, Miyaichi can be our AM.. Song also..

    4. Or in the wildest idea.. we play 3-5-2 or even 3-6-1 (3-2-4-1)..
    We have Kos for CD/CB, that enough if we have 2 DM in front of him.. So we have 5 defenders actually..
    Vermaelen can go for AM.. like he often do last season.. hehehe..
    And because now we have 3 qualified DM.. Arteta, Song and M’Villa.. So we can focus on attacking more.. hehehe..

    Can’t wait what will Wenger do to this team..
    Go gunners..

  51. Shard says:

    Just on a whim I did a comparison of the German and English squads through the years. The number is the avg age of the squad, with the number in brackets being the number of players who were aged 23 or younger.

    2002 -27.65 (4) Final
    2004- 27.04 (5) Group stage
    2006- 26.39 (8) 3rd place
    2008- 26.78 (6)Final
    2010- 24.95 (9) 3rd place
    2012- 24.52 (12)

    2002- 26.65 (9) QF
    2004- 25.6 (8) QF
    2006 – 25.2 (6) QF
    2010- 28.43 (2) R16
    2012- 25.86 (8) QF

    Make of it what you will 🙂

  52. Sesugh Robert Mbatiav says:

    Look i am an Arsenal fan but i will have to put in the fact that milner and Ashley young are far better than walcot , for heaven’s sake how can u use a single game in the ongoing Euro to judge this players.This is a player that fails to perform against the likes of westbrom,Blackburn and co or do you think walcot can be able to get himself into Man united or Man city’s first team?He plays regularly at Arsenal bcos no one is there to challenge for that position or he is a naturally preferred choice by wenger even though most fans think chamberlain have a better vision of the game.What hogson is doing is simple,allowing efficiency to excel rather than favoritism.Or do you think capello was also wrong for not picking him for 2006 world cup, forget about later comments which had capello saying that he regretted the decision of dropping walcot he did that just to ease the growing tension between him and the always loquacious and nosy British media.Please stop hyping this dude.

  53. goonermichael says:

    TA I agree about Pirlo. I think it’s a bit over the top though. I think it’s being used to deflect what utter shite we are.

  54. goonermichael says:

    The fact that you mention caling Carrick up really shows what rubbish we are. He is a mediocre player and that’s me being kind to him.

  55. goonermichael says:

    Walcott’s problem is consistency. When he plays well he is on a different planet to young (who is just an overrated diver). Millner is better defensively but useless going forward.
    I’m not bothered if Theo stays or goes myself.

  56. Scott says:

    Goonermichael,Young isn’t an overrated diver….he’s the best diver I’ve ever seen lol.
    Sesugh,you’re entitled to your opinion,just as you’re entitled to be wrong 🙂

  57. Rasp says:

    Hi gm,

    Carrick was a regular midfielder for the team that came joint top of the league on points and 19 points ahead of Arsenal … but I take your point and did say there is a paucity of creative English midfielders

  58. As a neutral(I am an Indian Gooner), all I can say is that I am happy all our players are returning in one piece(touchwood for Poldi and BFG), and will be in time for training, so that they can gel in well.

  59. Back to the England debate, its quite simple. I’m really tired of people talking about the English players ‘working hard’ as a yardstick of a good player. The bottom line is that the English ‘style’ of football is still stuck in the stone ages though loads of their players ply their trade in the ‘best’ league in the world. You turn on the radio (particular talkshite), and you can hear them elevate average players to world class just because they play for Man U, Liverpool or Chelsea. The fact is that English players are not so technically gifted/comfortable with the ball. Where is the ability to hold on to the ball surrounded by 3 or 4 opposition players and still manage to find your team member? Watch the England’s 4 games in this tournament, and the only thing you can bring back as a positive is there togetherness and discipline as a unit. But Greece had the same thing, and we all know they too were quite rubbish. I just couldn’t help noticing the massive distance between the defense and the midfield of the England setup. When the defense gets the ball, they are not comfortable enough to bring the ball out, and the midfielders would not come to get the ball, meaning that the only option was to hoof it forward. Certainly not the football we all have come to love and adore (unless you are a Stoke/Allardice fan). I’m sorry to say there is no hope for this generation of footballers that we have because their football foundation is fundamentally flawed. Until we have kids of 4,5,6 years learn to play keep ball without the pressure of winning at all cost, learn to move with the ball without tripping over themselves, cut out the ‘hail mary’ pass from their game and learn the ‘tippy tappy’ game, we are going to be condemned to years and years of heartache. And please, stop pinning the hopes of England on Wiltshere. He wouldn’t have made a difference, cos I’m sure the rest of the team wouldn’t have passed to him anyway. (If you think i was wrong, go watch his last match with England and see how much the game was bypassing him cos the team was just going straight from defence to attack with one long ball)

  60. goonermichael says:

    He was also a regular in a team that got knocked out of a CL group by Basle, only beat the team that lost all it’s games and got taught a lesson by a mid table Spanish team. European competition is a different ball game (no pun etc) to the PL where the mancs get helped by refs and the football is hardly technical. Were the mancs finished compared to us doesn’t really have anything to do with it. Would you swap him for Song?

  61. goonermichael says:

    I’m with you Femi. Unless we have a big change at grass roots level we are heading the way of scotland. Most Eastern European teams look way ahead of us technically.

  62. goonermichael says:

    We officially hjave Giroud BTW. He’s just passed his medical and it’s been confirmed by Montpellier. 🙂 Mvila next

  63. RockyLives says:

    Funnily enough, the one place that is grooming young players in the European/technical style of play is good old London Colney.

    The press love to hate AW, but if England are ever going to do anything at international level the country needs the Arsene generation of young ‘uns like Wilshere, Oxo, maybe Jenks, Frimpong, Afobe etc.

    Carrick can be a tidy player, but he’s a bit of a Denilson. I’m not sure he would have made much difference to the England campaign.

    Thanks for making your point, but I just can’t agree. I think Walcott is the best English wide player by some distance. His goals and assists over the last two seasons speak for themselves. And if you’re still in doubt about what he brings us, just look at what RvP says about him…

    Welcome and good point. My first “wish” for any international tournament is that our players come home unscathed. Where in India are you?

    You’ve got me thinking now. I kind of like your 3-5-2 set-up, but I would have a back three of Verm on the left, Kozzer on the right and the BFG in the middle. Then, depending on the opposition, one or both out of Gibbs/Santos and Sagna/Jenks could slot in as the wide players in the “five”. How about this team:

    The final para of your 12.40 says it all about England really.

  64. Red Arse says:

    Ooer, Femi, 🙂

    I did use the phrase “worked their socks off” when qualifying my criticism of the England team —- so I hope that did not tire you out? 🙂

    — “I’m really tired of people talking about the English players ‘working hard’……………………..”

    I was only using it as an ameliorative to tone down my implied criticism, and was not an attempt to gild the lily! …………………… and I am not English!! 🙂

  65. RockyLives says:

    Exciting news if Giroud has been confirmed (although I would like to see it on

    It amazes me that people are carping about him already (i.e., saying he’s not good enough and it’s another example of us lacking ambition).

    Also, signing him absolutely does not mean RvP is going. Although I expect it to mean that Chamakh and Park are going. Even with striker options of RvP, Giroud and Pod, we’re still way behind Citeh, who have Ballotelli, Ageuro, Tevez, Dzeko, Santa Cruz (and Ade on loan).

  66. Red Arse says:

    Hi Rocky,

    Re your 2:52; my 12:40 was so long ago I cannot remember what I said, but glad it meets with your agreement! 🙂

  67. RockyLives says:

    That’s the thing with being 5 hrs late – I get to read everything in one go, whereas everyone else has been reading them on and off across the day.

  68. Red Arse says:

    Yoiks! 🙂

    Montpellier president Louis Nicollin claims Arsenal have completed the signing of France forward Olivier Giroud.

    Giroud, part of Laurent Blanc’s Euro 2012 squad which was knocked out by Spain in the quarter-finals on Saturday, is thought to command a transfer fee in the region of £13million.

    The 25-year-old scored 25 goals for his club last season to help Montpellier win the Ligue 1 title, igniting the interest of several top clubs.

    Last week, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger revealed a deal was “90%” complete as he looked to add the promising Frenchman to his squad, which has already been bolstered by the arrival of Germany marksman Lukas Podolski.

    Speaking to French newspaper Midi Libre, Montpellier president Nicollin confirmed the transfer had now been completed after Arsenal met the player’s release clause.

    Nicollin said: “I wish him well.”

    Arsenal have not yet made any official comment, but Press Association Sport understands an announcement by the Barclays Premier League club is imminent.

    Once the transfer for Giroud is formally complete, Arsenal could then look to offload some of their fringe players, including Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner and Morocco international Marouane Chamakh as well as Mexico forward Carlos Vela and Brazilian midfielder Denilson.

    However, Nicollin maintained a move to take Chamakh in the opposite direction back to France was not part of the Giroud deal.

    Wenger, who is at the European Championship working as a media pundit, is convinced Giroud can be a big hit at Arsenal.

    “I think he has exceptional potential and will integrate very well in our collective and our way of playing,” he said last week.

    “He is a real team player and knows how to combine with other players and I’m sure he will do well with us.”

  69. TotalArsenal says:

    Right guys that’s me done for a while. Going to take a sabbatical and see you all again in a few weeks. 🙂

  70. Red Arse says:

    You are too kind Rocky. 🙂

    You politely did not refer to the second part of the equation;

    “whereas everyone else has been reading [and forgetting what they said] on and off across the day.”

    A gentleman, if ever there was! 🙂

  71. Red Arse says:

    Don’t go, TA, I refuse to grant my permission!!!!!!! 😦

  72. goonermichael says:

    Frimpong sensibly chose Ghana over England.

  73. @RockyLives Currently, I am in Atlanta doing my internship, I have being in the States for about a year doing my Masters. Originally , I live in Bombay………
    THe company I work with has one of its HQ in Langley, England…and once I am done with my graduation , I will ask them to shift me there so that I can watch my beloved Arsenal play at the Emirates 🙂

  74. jnyc says:

    Alot of you guys who know me from here are aware that im not the biggest theo fan. He has his moments, and i always cheer for him to do well, even though i often dont expect it. As someone commented, i wouldnt be bothered if he left, i think its not easy to keep him as an impact sub, because he is looking for a big raise. I really dont think he is worth that, and i wonder what arsene thinks. I am a big gervinho supporter, he and the ox will need time on the wings, i think with them we wont miss walcott hardly at all. , also because midfield is too crowded for ox this season.

  75. Rasp says:

    Hi Rocky,

    I’m not a huge Carrick fan or anything of the sort, I just couldn’t understand why Henderson was taken. Carrick is a good passer of the ball and so could have improved the distribution from midfield, but I agree that he would have made little difference to England’s fortunes.

  76. Rasp says:

    Hi jnyc, do you think this would be a good week to publish your post?

  77. RockyLives says:

    Sagar 🙂
    Hope you get that move!
    I was in Bombay (interesting that you call it ‘Bombay’ and not ‘Mumbai’ – why is that?) about 15 years ago. Crazy place! But a lot of fun.

    Say it ain’t so!

  78. RockyLives

    Hahahahha…A lot of ppl ask me that question, but when I grew up it was called ‘Bombay’ in my house, so it has become habitual…also outside of India, Bombay is more recognizable even today than Mumbai.

  79. TotalArsenal says:

    Time for a break guys and re-charge the footie and other vital batteries. I just did not want to do a ’26May’ on you and disappear for a long period without a trace 😆

    See you all soon 🙂

  80. Rasp says:

    Have a good break TA – we’ll miss you 😳

  81. RockyLives says:

    Good luck TA

  82. glic says:

    Back from a great walk. Whilst at Castle Drogo, a chap doing some gardening said to me, ” lovely jacket ( white with red piping gooner one )”, I asked, ” Arsenal fan “, he said, ” yes”, my step-dad is a former player, but your probably not old enough to remember him “, I said , ” try me”, he said , ” Alan Skirton !”, I said , ” your joking, he was one of my first heroe`s “. The missus disappeared why we had a great chat, anyway to cut it short, Alan Skirton is still going strong, lives in Bradford-on-Avon (near Bath ) is in his 70`s, has had a couple of hernia`s and is a bit ” mutton “, but still loves the Arsenal !. This is why I like wearing something goonerish, it brings out the fellow gooners, we`re everywhere !. I`m so happy, great walk, great weather, great food, great chat, just a great day !. 🙂

  83. RockyLives says:

    Sagar 🙂
    I reckone “Bollywood” works better than “Mullywood” 🙂

  84. glic says:

    I miss Total already !. 😥

  85. goonermichael says:

    TA going is like the end of that film Shane. Or goodbye Mr Chips.
    Goodbye 😦

  86. Rasp says:

    And me 😦

  87. Rasp says:

    How can he do this to us 🙄

  88. Rhyle says:

    TA…I barely knew you. Enjoy your break. I hope it involves sunshine, good times and shenanigans.

    I’m now left with an image of you as Bruce Banner in the ending of the Hulk TV show…thumbing a lift and walking into the sunset…lol.

  89. Red Arse says:

    TA, come back…………………come back TA………………’ve forgotten to give us all a parting kiss!!!!!! 🙂

  90. glic says:

    I bet if Arsenal sign a ” Super Quality” player and RVP signs a new contract today ,he`ll be back like a shot !. 🙂

  91. Red Arse says:

    No, Glic, that was definitely a ‘parting’ kiss. Naughty boy!! 🙂

  92. glic says:

    Actually, he wasn`t that good, a bit overated if you ask me !. 😆

  93. @RockyLives
    You won’t believe it…there’s a Tollywood in South India and a Lollywood in Pakistan as well….their respective film industries 😀

  94. glic says:

    And there`s a “Terrywood” at Chelsea , Terrywood s**g any of his team mates wives ( and girlfriends , mums, sisters, aunts , grannies, I think you get what i mean ) !

  95. 1tourettesgooner says:

    Sounds like you are suffering from that well known male inadequacy with Total ?
    Premature Adulation ! 🙂

  96. glic says:

    Sorry, something`s playing up with the word process !

  97. glic says:

    Thats better !.

  98. kelsey says:

    Nice post RL and a lot of what I have been thinking has already been said by others earlier. Interesting someone else mentioned that Theo sees Robin as a kind of mentor and those are the very two players whose futures haven’t been settled one way or another as of yet.

    I just can’t see him playing centrally(his favoured position) especially with Podolski and now Giroud apparently signed.

    Last season was his best in goals and stats but I wouldn’t call him an impact sub but rather someone to play against certain teams.

    I think he is 24 next March and if he stays, he should by all rights step up again.

  99. glic says:

    Abe Lincoln film was good, but like you said 3D was wasted ( the 3D looked better on the trailers ,Spiderman etc` ) a bit blurry !.

  100. Red Arse says:


    What have you done to that nice boy Terry? 🙂

    He hasn’t been around since those nasty Germans put grease to the sword!

  101. Red Arse says:

    Erm —– Greeks.

  102. RockyLives says:

    haha – Freudian slip Redders? 🙂

    Went to see Prometheus on Saturday night with eldest son.

    It’s meant to be a sort-of Alien prequel.

    Looked great but I’m boogered if I have the faintest idea what it’s about.

    My son said it had been easier to tell people what the film was about before he actually saw it. Now he doesn’t know what to say…

    Would you recommend the Abe L film Glicster?

  103. glic says:

    I think he`s locked away where no one can hear him scream !.
    Let me explain. When I first met him, I asked what he did ?, he said he was an Escapologist . I thought ,” Houdini , magic stuff “, but it soon became obvious that this nutter had escaped from Broadmoor Hospital !. 🙂

  104. glic says:

    If you like Sci-Fi, scary, horror stuff like me , then yes, but the 3D wasn`t that great !.
    Thing is Rocky ,I`m easily pleased ,I dont read books because I`m too lazy and dont have the time , I`d much rather watch films instead .
    I dont normally go on recommendation`s of film critic`s, If I did , I wouldn`t have seen Starship Troopers or Doom, which got slated, but I thought were great !. Nothing too taxing on the brain for me !. 🙂

  105. goonermichael says:

    Lot’s of talk on Twitter that Ramsey is going to Fulham. I wonder if Kelsey has heard anything.

  106. RockyLives says:

    I do like that kind of stuff too. Starship Troopers is now thought of as a bit of a cult classic, even though it was slaughtered at the time.

    Haven’t seen Doom.

    On loan to Fulham, or as a transfer?

  107. Red Arse says:

    Glicster, 🙂 🙂 Poor Terry.

    Rocky, I have as much knowledge about modern movies as I do about British soap operas.

    Can’t remember when I last went to the cinema. What I do see, occasionally, is older movies on Sky. This time next year Prometheus will probably be released on Sky+, and by the sound of it I may be advised to give it a miss.

    Books are my thing — I have an eclectic taste! 🙂

  108. glic says:

    Actually Rocky, for someone of your intellect, dont expect Shakespeare, I`d probably wait for the DVD !. 🙂

  109. Red Arse says:

    Rumoured to be a season long loan with a permanent transfer in staged payments etc.

    Sounds like rubbish to me, frankly. Why would he want to?

  110. RockyLives says:

    Prometheus is actually worth watching (particularly if you have seen Alien). But it’s quite enigmatic. In fact, you might really like it!

    What are you reading at the mo?

  111. robbinURpersie says:


    “Would you like to know more?”-Starship Troopers= CLASSICO

  112. glic says:

    I`m sure there`s a sort of Shakespearean line in ” Starship Troopers “, along the lines of ” They sucked his brains out ” !.

  113. glic says:

    Thats two recommendation`s for Prometheus now, Rocky and Terry, so it`s a must !.

  114. robbinURpersie says:

    hey peoples, how are we?

    Rocky, thanks for the post mate..I only just got in as ive been working night shift, which sucks..its the same reason i cant comment on the three lions game as i didnt watch it..

    Ive heard alot of punters have their say on the lack of cohesion in the dutch camp, and i strongly believe that it extends to the English camp as well…

    Once a squad/team dont have the hunger to fight for the flag as One, you can forget it! you can have the best players and coaches, but once that harmony/unity is gone, a cancer takes over and destroys any chance of only have to look at the french squads of late, the dutch, the spanish before 08..

    i believe the England squad has its issues with certain personalities within the team but do well to keep it out of the medias prying eyes..

  115. robbinURpersie says:

    i love Wimbledon time of year.. its soooooo…….GREEEEEN 🙂

  116. robbinURpersie says:

    i feel like ive just come in and crashed a party!!

    Redders, RL, Glic, you may all continue talking books and cinema 🙂

  117. glic says:

    Sorry mate, but Tennis ,another sport that just doesn`t do it for me . Mind you the ladies like it, especially Mens Semis day !. 🙂

  118. robbinURpersie says:

    glic, still a fortnight to go before these men get a semi

  119. robbinURpersie says: berth

  120. robbinURpersie says:

    how long would it take to get from the Em’s to Wimbledon?


  121. glic says:

    According to google maps, about 1 hour 5 mins by London Transport or 35 mins in car !

  122. Red Arse says:

    Hi Guys, just popped back for a mo’.

    Rocky, I am re-reading Ford Maddox Ford’s “The Good Soldier” set just before WW1 and exploring relationships between 4 very good friends. I first read it many years ago. and as I recall it had a sad ending.

    Beautifully written. Ford survived the trenches of WW1 and claimed this was his best book —- he was right! 🙂

    Speak to you tomorrow. 🙂

  123. RockyLives says:

    There’s some great WW1 literature.
    You’ve probably read some of them but Siegfried Sassoon (Memoirs of a Foxhunting Man) and Robert Graves (Goodbye to All That) are well worth the effort.

  124. Gooner In Exile says:

    Hahahaha 35 minutes by car from Wimbledon to Emirates, sorry GliC but Google Maps just stole your comedy crown 🙂

    Wimbledon is the only time I watch tennis other than catching the finals of the other majors. Must admit to having been enthralled by recent matches between Nadal, Djokovic and Federer. Poor old Andy Murray must have been hoping England at least made semis to stop him being centre of attention for the nations sporting hopes (I know he is Scottish but as he represents GB he is playing for me too). The Suns headline of “anyone for tennis” reflects mood of the nation I guess.

    But I must also admit Wimbledon is pissing me off as it is causing normally reasonably priced hotels in Chalfonts be two/three times normal price! Bastards!

  125. glic says:

    Next your going to tell me that Kerry Katona doesn`t suffer from Agraphobia ( do not confuse with Agoraphobia, of which a cure is just around the corner ) and London Transport doesn`t run on time !.

  126. chas says:


    Theo as impact sub would seem like a good idea, though bringing him on last night and then continuing to sit off the Italians seemed bizarre to me. Gerrard and Parker were knackered and content to sit just in front of the back four. It’s not surprising he barely had a pass. The two chances I can remember to set Theo free were spoilt by Parker’s lack of quality. I can’t wait to see Little Jack playing the ball inside the full back next season. Fingers crossed.

  127. dollar bill says:

    Up gunners

  128. 35 minutes in a car from Ems to Wimbledon. That’s if you go 28 days later and all the lights are green

  129. jnyc says:

    Hey Rasp, i just came back on my lunch hour. Anytime you would like to post is fine, ill try to be around to respond a little. I hope its not too unpopular. Actually that could be fun 😉

  130. SharkeySure'sGhost says:

    Corky I no longer attempt to pass any judgements re Theo, he is just too much of an enigma.

    However I have sympathy for any of the wide men or forwards in that England team. Its a team who treat the ball like a hot potato.

    I see it now in youth football. Big, check, Tall, check. Fast, check. Thats it.

    There’s a kid at my son’s old club who scored 46 goals in around 30 games last, he can barely trap a ball or pass it 5 yards without a bobble. His manager absolutely loves him because physically he’s a 11 yr old beast. He’ll barely get a kick when he’s 14, and the other kids start to develop and catch.

  131. SharkeySure'sGhost says:

    Double98 10.51….Top quality comment !!

  132. glic says:

    Maybe Google maps is related to my Sat Nav, that always tells me I can get somewhere on time ( it`s ok though as my Sat Nav has different voice mode`s, mine is set on porno mode and tells me , ” oohh you finally got there ! “. Terry`s is set on Stavros mode, ” bloody blimey peeps , what tookers you so long, me kebabs gonna cold ! “. Redders is set on Hawking mode, ” There are an infinate variation of Universe`s of which all languages I can understand, you are the most mystifying , Wimbledon like Earth no longer exists . Please enter a new dimension postcode ! ” ).

  133. Scott says:

    Sharkey@10.08….exactly right.
    My theory on Theo is that he was so bloody quick,he never needed to learn how to beat his man….he’d just push the ball past them and chase it.
    Now he’s up against top quali,intelligent backs,he gets lost a bit.
    It does my head in to see kids encouraged to kick it long,or shoot from halfway when my 6y.o.’s play.
    I’m doing everything I can to get them keeping close control of the ball and they’re picking it p nicely.
    The trouble seems to be that so many coaches of junior sides have no idea how to coach kids the basics,because they never played the game themselves.
    I’ve watched Rugby League all my life but couldn’t coach kids to play it!
    There’s always a struggle to get dads to find the time to coach.
    At the moment,I’m looking after 4 sides because third actual coaches are league players or mothers.
    Give them their dues for at least trying,but this is the time…at 5-10 y.o. When kids learn the basic football skills they need later on.
    Kicking long now means they’ll be doing it later for sure.

  134. mickydidit89 says:

    Morning all.
    On England:
    Technically, I’m in the GiE camp in terms of being so much more Arsenal than England. Being a very Englishman forces me to watch, but I do not enjoy it.
    On Theo:
    Sharkeyesque on this. That’ll be the enigma bit. Someone yesterday made a brilliant comment about Theo being an “impact player” rather than “impact sub” which I liked. I’ll hold back now, as it sounds like New York Johnny may have a few words on the subject for us.

  135. chas says:

    I was talking to a mate on Saturday who does a bit of coaching and he thought that the problem was that the young kids play 11 a side on full size pitches all through the winter. Pitches are often soggy and heavy, meaning the lads who can hoof the ball the furthest are the most effective (though this year in England the pitches are soggy and heavy in the summer!).

    He was suggesting a different format for the younger kids, played on smaller pitches with less players, thereby encouraging ball retention and close control. Also not playing in December-February, but March-July instead.

  136. mickydidit89 says:

    Hi Chas,
    Was your chum referring to Arsenal or English in general.
    I’m building up a horrible theory that Arsenal is bad for young players. Yes they get opportunities, but do they improve? (there may be a nasty post in there)

  137. chas says:

    Morning Micky,
    He was talking about schoolboy football.

    Haha. Could be a very LG-esque post. Paid to much, trained to never shoot, if you want guts and courage, got to Stoke. 🙂

    Yesterday, I saw a comment that Thierry, Bobby and Paddy would all have turned out exactly the same wherever their football careers had taken them, so to give Wenger the credit for their development was ludicrous.

  138. Gooner In Exile says:


    I believe first steps have been taken with the FA Coaching/Strategy Meeting earlier this year voting in favour of smaller sided matches.

    Heard Mark Bircham (QPR UEFA Pro Licence Coach) on TalkSense yesterday (it’s talk sense when it’s Keys&Gray and Hawksby&Jacobs). Anyway he said one of the problems was not enough unorganised football, which is something I agree with, I complain about over coaching I see, some of the best players in the world game historically grew up on dust ball pitches using a ball made out of whatever they could find.

    He did say it is better now with less Dads bawling and screaming at Little Johnny from the sideline. But insisted fun had been lost somewhere hence the need to return to more unorganised games. I live in a pretty safe part of the country, the local park even leaves a goal up through the summer (something we never had) yet I see maximum 5-6 kids at a time playing football over there, if that was me when I was a kid there would be 30 at least, you soon learn to control a ball and keep it when there’s that many kids on the pitch.

    Also he said that the coaching badges do not mean you are qualified to coach good technique they mean you are qualified to coach a group of players in whatever way you see fit, whether that’s long ball or pass and move.

    But as GM said earlier with far less structured coaching even sides that got knocked out at the group stages (like Ukraine) were better on the ball than our best players.

  139. chas says:

    …too much

  140. Gooner In Exile says:

    Micky as I said yesterday that criticism is more appropriately laid at the door of SAF or Dippers, has Rooney become better since joining ManU, has Gerard improved from when he first broke through. Now ask the same question of Cesc, Flamini, Song, Theo.

  141. chas says:

    Haha, GIE.

    Smaller pitches, but with MORE players might be the way to go. Makes sense.

    When we went camping last year, one of the fields was hired by a whole village: an annual event we later found out. They had a football match, must have been 20 a side, and I don’t recall seeing many long balls in the bit I watched. I still remember the smell of the whole pig roast they had organised to feed the village which had drawn us into the field in the first place. Mmmmmmm.

  142. mickydidit89 says:

    “coaching badges do not mean you are qualified to coach”. Like too many bloody teachers 🙂
    Seriously, I think you are spot on. In northern Portugal last year, my son and I would watch games/knockabouts between kids and the skill level was fabulous. Also, how they were not afraid to experiment.
    I read that at Barca youth training games, they are not allowed to discuss/mention the resuly as they see it as counter productive and irrelevant.

  143. chas says:

    I would have liked to have seen more of an improvement in Theo by now.
    Flamini and Song, bucketloads.
    Fabregas was a boy genius, do you think he would have been less of a player if he’d stayed at Barca?

  144. chas says:

    Got to go, laters.

  145. mickydidit89 says:

    Me too.
    I’m not doing good blogging these days. All work, no play, make DidIt…..bad boy!

  146. Big Raddy says:

    Bloody typical. I get back from 4 days on the road and arrive into an empty house.

    The England game was educational. No-one can say our skill levels are good enough anymore or expect the bulldog spirit to overcome all opposition. Furthermore, at last, we had a win for the guys playing decent football.

    England’s right sided play was woeful. Who and where was our right sided MF?

    The only positive is that Cole, Terry, Gerrard (flat track bully who was invisible against a decent MF) and Parker will not be part of the WC squad..

  147. Gooner In Exile says:

    Raddy bad news, according to yesterday’s press conference Stevie Me has offered to continue as skipper and Roy wants him to.

  148. Gooner In Exile says:

    Chas whilst Theo hasn’t set world alight I still think he has improved incredibly in some areas of his game (first touch and picking final ball) although it can be argued he has lost some of his natural instinct (remember the CC final goal v Chelsea).

    Cesc was a genius when he arrived but he couldn’t get into Barca so I guess he wouldn’t have developed as much as he did with us in a short space of time. But a lot of what he does is not about coaching but allowing the player to grow his own game.

  149. robbinURpersie says:

    morning Gentleman,

    that might not neccessarily be a bad is definately time for a transition but keeping a few experienced heads will benefit the youngsters coming through..most importantly through qualifiers

    i remember after Croatia’s 3rd plc in France 98 our whole team changed..But the then coach insisted that he keep three wiser heads at least for qualifiers..

    Suker, Boban, and Stimac..they were way past their best, but what they brought to the team and the kids coming through was invaluable, even if their presence on the pitch made no direct impact..

    Funny enough, once qualifiers were over the older heads disappeared into the shadows and i expect to see the same with stevie G, although it will be tough to keep Terry out of any happy snaps 😉

    SO, how long does it take to get from Em’s to wimbledon by car??

  150. Big Raddy says:

    GIE. Oh dear….. Understandable given the paucity of a replacement.

    Natural instincts are not enough, an understanding of tactics and teamwork is essential and this come about through Coaching. That and practice, practice, practice.

  151. evonne says:

    Morning all
    Spare a thought for the Rangers fans. Their team is out of the Scottish League, shocking. Poor, poor fans, nothing to look forward to

  152. robbinURpersie says:

    morning Evonne,

    all their trophy’s and past triumphs must seem insignificant now..

    if Arsenal were in the same boat (knock on wood, or my head) then the invincibles would mean nothing to me..i would be gutted

  153. robbinURpersie says:

    they may as well engrave ‘Celtic’ on the trophy now….

  154. glic says:

    According to google maps about 35 mins . I have a feeling of deja vu !.

  155. Gooner In Exile says:

    Evonne hopefully it’ll be the kick up the backside Scottish football needs, and also something for the EPL and FA to look at.

  156. evonne says:

    hi robbin, yes, all Celtic have to do now is turn up for the games. Ita actually prefer Celtic to Rangers, but am still gutted that such big club could down like that

    I feet bad about it, but are there any good players for sale we should consider?

  157. Reddawn says:

    After watching the England v Italy game, it confirmed what I had always thought, that the cultures are totally different. We will have to change our approach, starting with the way that the youth of this country are introduced into the game of football. One of the elemental mistakes made without exception is `jumpers for goal posts’ and I’m not quoting `the Fast Show’ for fun! In most continental or Latin countries all you see are the kids keeping the ball in the air, a learning process which self educates the limbs in spacial awareness, something sorely lacking in the English youth. After watching Milner’s and Young’s performance, I would also add an MRI scan, before any child enters one of our football Youth Academies.

  158. evonne says:

    GiE- yes, hopefully other clubs will start controlling their finances better. And I guess there will be calls for merging SPL with EPL

  159. Rasp says:

    Morning Raddy,

    Did you read through the comments following your last post – Arsenal v a Billionnaire?

  160. robbinURpersie says:

    GliC 🙂

    Evonne, i believe Everton purchased their best in Jelavic which mind you, it is said he was purchased by Rangers against their future gate sales..

    What does this mean for our Kyle Bartley? id rather him on loan in the championship rather than the scottish 2nd div

  161. Scott says:

    Chas,we’ve gone to small field games in Austalia.
    It teaches kids to beat his man or find a pass rather than kick and chase.
    The problem is it takes 10-15 years to see the benefits.
    You are still left with coaching problems though.

  162. Morning all

    New Post ……………….

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