Arsenal caught in possession of toxic football

We’ve won our last two games, four goals scored, none conceded.

We’ve looked at these games to discover what the magic ingredient was that made the difference. Some think the defensive solidity was down to having Fabianski in goal rather than an out of form Szczesny, others believe that although Wilshere is a real talent, his presence somehow unbalances the midfield.

There is one factor that has not been considered but is something that has been troubling me for some time …… in both those games, the opposition had the greater share of possession. Bayern had 55% and Swansea 53% possession in those games. Our average for the season is 58.5%.

It’s an old saying that possession doesn’t score goals but with Arsenal I believe that prolonged possession also makes us more likely to concede. The pattern we’ve seen is slow build up involving over use of the centre backs and trying to get the ball forward via the wide players who often aren’t ‘wingers’ in the traditional sense and therefore we see the sideways and backwards passing that poses no threat to the opposition. The effect of this is to compress play on the outskirts of the opposition’s well guarded box and our back line gets drawn forward making us vulnerable to being hit on the break.

The result is that the longer we are in possession without creating chances, the more likely we are to concede – we’ve seen it many times. If you’ve got a Messi or Iniesta in your team you will have the guile to create chances even in the most densely packed defence – but we don’t.

The converse of this is that the team who have been starved of the ball are more likely to use pace and be direct when they get the opportunity to counter attack – just as we did against Bayern for the first goal.

Gone are the days when we delivered lightening attacks, when we were more likely to score after an opponent’s corner than our own. We have quick players but fail to capitalise on their abilities.

So what is the solution? Deliberately give the ball away to draw the opposition out of their tight defensive formation? Play more risky early balls through rather than the ponderous (tippy tappy) slow build up? Use proper wingers who can beat the fullbacks and deliver a good cross?

I don’t have all the answers, I suspect the remedy lies in the coaching – but maybe this hastily written post will inspire some ideas/responses even if you think I’m talking rubbish … over to you ….

Written by Rasp

103 Responses to Arsenal caught in possession of toxic football

  1. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Good morning to you all, good morning Rasp,

    I suspect that Le Profeseur has already tried out your tactic of deliberately giving the ball away, That’s why he plays Diaby as often as he can get him out of the treatment room. 😀

  2. Darren says:

    A great insight! I think the defenders should be given a bit more freedom to play the occasional long ball. We do it at the end of the match if we’re chasing a game anyway, so Wenger obviously believes it’s effective.

  3. Norfolk Gooner says:

    One tactic that could be used is when Arsenal are defending a corner, Walcott should be stationed on the edge of our penalty area and as the ball comes in he should start sprinting towards the half way line. This will distract the opposing centre backs and provide a ready outlet for our defenders. A ball played up to Walcott would allow him a good chance of a one on one with the opposition’s keeper. Whether it would result in a goal or not….

  4. GunnerN5 says:

    Haste in this case does not mean waste! That’s a well thought out and constructed post Rasp.

    You covered a lot of ground in a short post but omitted the confidence factor which plays a big part in a teams performance.

    AW said in today’s news conference that Wilshere and Walcott are out on Saturday and Diaby and Gibbs are doubtful.

    Where is everybody? I’m the second poster and my time zone is 4 hours behind yours.

  5. Merseforever says:

    To deliberately give the ball away we have to confident of having a rock solid defence. The defence is looking better and better and so maybe there’s a merit in switching to this style of play. After all rapier quick counter attacks is what made Arsenal beautiful to watch, not ponderous tippy tappy! I think Rasp is right on the money when he talks about the negatives of holding onto possession for long periods of the game. Another point I want to make is, I know we’ve talked about how flat the atmosphere at the bowl can be, but I actually think a possession game is terrible in terms of getting the crowd excited and on its feet. It’s fast counter attacking football that causes a crowd to ‘wake up’ and scream and cheer as a team makes its way quickly down the pitch. Endless passing around the centre circle and the outside of the box helps to kill the excitement our own fans feel. A good example is to compare the atmosphere’s at the the two Spanish powerhouses. While poor compared to other grounds like the Westfalenstadion, Allianz or Juventus Stadium, the Bernabeu is definitely a louder ground than the Camp Nou. In my opinion a large part of that is due to the style of football the teams play. Rapid, incisive counter attacking football vs possession based tiki taka. I wonder if anyone agrees?

    Also GN5,

    you said yesterday (to me): ‘I fail to understand why you seem to such a big aversion to Arsenal making money, it’s not a dirty word, it’s the thing that we all need for survival.’

    I never said it’s a dirty word. But what is clear, is that these days the club values money above all else. Furthermore, I believe a club of Arsenal’s history and class should behave in a certain way and recent behaviour of the club has torn the relationship between the club and the locals apart. Suing local stalls was not ‘Arsenal behaviour.’ Trying to copyright a word born out of terrace culture of the working class is not ‘Arsenal’ behaviour. Claiming an award that a local couple got (referring to Piebury Corner which I would recommend to all) in order to gain any positive publicity they can, is not ‘Arsenal behaviour. Squeezing your own fans for every pound they can is not ‘Arsenal behaviour.’ The BSM made the perfectly reasonable request of asking the club to move the away fans to the upper tier so that the cheaper lower tier tickets would be available to Arsenal fans. Of course, on the back of negative publicity that we got from the Liverpool and City games, the club has decided not to do that, but instead let Gooners continue to pay £70+ for the much lauded category A games. There’s nothing wrong with trying to get more money, I just believe that there is a certain way a person (or an organisation) should behave when trying to get it.

  6. Norfolk Gooner says:

    GN5,

    When have Diaby and Gibbs been anything other than doubtful?

  7. GunnerN5 says:

    Merse;

    You have every right to express your opinion, and I will not be drawn into a debate on the subject, but suffice to say that having back street vendors selling counterfeit shirts in your own back yard needed to be dealt with.

  8. GunnerN5 says:

    NG:

    Yep. only when the are definitely out.

  9. Merseforever says:

    GN5

    what about the other things I mentioned?

  10. GunnerN5 says:

    Merse;

    You can pick holes in Swiss chesse but it still tastes good, quit looking for the holes.

  11. 26may1989 says:

    First the advert, given no takers last night, on the previous thread: Would anyone want to buy a pair of tickets at face value (£40 each)? Lovely seats, east stand lower, on the halfway line and behind the players’ tunnel, great views etc.

    And re Rasp’s excellent bit of analysis, it’s certainly true that defensive tactics have adapted to possession football, so that a well organised team can cede most of the possession to the opponent, and then use speedy breaks (Spurs, United, Chelsea, they all do it very well). But I don’t think that means giving up possession is the answer, keeping the ball remains precious. Shape and positional discipline become more significant, so that we are able to deal with the breaks when they come, while still investing properly in attacks. My thoughts anyway, I’m no Gary Neville…..

  12. Merseforever says:

    GN5,

    As you’ve said before you don’t live in London anymore. You don’t frequent the pubs around Holloway, Bethnal Green and Hackney like I do. You don’t attend every match like I do anymore, (although you undoubtedly did). In the comfort of your chair across an ocean the cheese may appear to be good, but those closer to it can smell the rotten stench coming from it. Things have changed from when you went to down to the Arsenal. I find it very patronising that you dismiss the worries and complaints that thousands of Arsenal families living around the area have.

    What exactly is wrong with what the BSM proposed. They wanted cheaper tickets for Arsenal fans in the ground. It was a perfectly legitimate request but the club dismissed it because they don’t care about the fans. They just don’t want more negative publicity. The club have also turned down the proposal for a season ticket ‘lite’ option ie without the 7 cup games included. Again, this shows no regards for fans currently in financial difficulty but who want to carry on attending. The club also have not responded to their proposal of being able to move from a gold down to a silver membership. My cousin has been watching the Arsenal since the early 50’s. He can’t renew his season ticket because he can’t afford it. He’ll have some money coming in though so he’ll be able to in a couple of years. Yet he goes to the back of the queue. Nothing for his loyalty as a season ticket holder for over 40 years. It’s just, can’t afford it, well then go away. You’re not wanted.

    Nothing I have said above are particularly drastic proposals. I’m hardly asking for the terraces of the clock end and Denton (a top bloke) and his mob back. I’m not asking for 4 pound entry and a reduction in prices. These are simple measures that the Arsenal of twenty five years ago would have taken without question. That was why we had a reputation as such a classy club. How long can we live off that reputation.

    You may not see any problems from where you are, and I have to respect that you’ve probably forgotten more about Arsenal than I’ll ever know. However, as a fan watching from afar now, I think as someone who still lives and breathes Islington air, I am in a much better position to comment on what working class Arsenal families feel and how their relationship with the club is deteriorating. I can’t accept people chatting absolute pony and dismissing their concerns ‘as trying to pick holes’ particularly when the club can do things to address some of the issues but won’t. Football can never go back to how it was. I’ve finally got that through my thick sentimental skull. Are Arsenal doing all they can for their proper fans that is within their ability. Not a chance.

  13. 26may1989 says:

    Intersting to see that Chris Kiwomya has been appointed manager at Notts County. He was a flop as a player for us, one of George Graham’s worst signings, but perhaps Kiwomya will make a good manager. One to watch.

  14. Merseforever says:

    Just another example of the club having little regard for the fans is the reported invitation of Galatasaray for the Emirates Cup. They could invited any other Turkish club, but chose those knife wielding scum. All they care about is the fact that it will be a full house, because of the large Turkish community in NL. What about the safety of Gooners who will be there.

  15. wally says:

    How about we just play solid defence and use that as a building block. When both fullbacks get too far forward as they try to contribute offensively it exposes the centrebacks to the long diagonal. How often do you see the fullbacks chasing the ball from behind. There’s too much space at the back.
    And i’d agree about too much possession. They end up committing too many players forward into smaller and smaller spaces and to no effect. Not good.
    We’ve got speed up front, take advantage of it.

  16. Rasp says:

    Thanks for the responses. I wrote the post in as long as it took to type so there wasn’t any planning or attention to detail involved.

    The ‘give the ball away’ line was not really a serious suggestion, but perhaps taking a few more risks to move the ball forward quickly would be a good idea.

    I agree with GN5, confidence is a factor. An ambitious through ball that fails should not be met with groans from the crowd but appreciative applause to say ‘we could see what you tried there, keep going’.

  17. GunnerN5 says:

    Merse,

    You’re pissing in the wind, I refuse to become involved in your very personal debate.

  18. 26may1989 says:

    Merse, you make a strong case around ordinary fans’ ability to afford tickets etc, something many of us feel strongly about, though I don’t like the way the Black Scarf blokes have gone about things.

    But attacking the club for potentially inviting Galatasaray is silly. Do you seriously think there is a real safety issue when we’re talking about pre-season friendlies? Should we not allow Liverpool fans to come to our ground on account of Heysel? Or Millwall fans on account of Luton? And what’s wrong with inviting clubs who are popular amongst people in the area in which Arsenal is based? I grew up round there, and still live fairly nearby, and am proud of the multinational, multicultural features of North London. If the invitation appeals to thousands of other North Londoners, because it brings together the biggest club from their homeland and the biggest club in the city in which they live, excellent.

  19. 26may1989 says:

    People slag the club off for caring about money too much, and it is certainly true that money has become a bigger and bigger issue in football.

    But the question to ask is: why?

    Because players demand it. Three-quarters of everything football clubs generate ends up in players’ pockets. To keep acquiring and keeping the best talent, every football club needs to get increasing amounts of money from the fans (including indirectly from subscriptions, advertising etc) and shovel it to the players.

    So when we (rightly) complain about the cost of going to matches, we should be absolutely clear that the real culprits are not the clubs themselves, it’s the players.

  20. GunnerN5 says:

    26M,

    Funny thing is that back in the 40/50’s people used to complain about the same thing, but at that time the players were on a minimum wage of about 5 quid a week. However some owners were known to put envelopes into certain players back pockets.

  21. Merseforever says:

    26may1989

    I genuinely think there is a safety issue. I have no problem with the Turkish community in NL. You may have seen me post about why have hated Chelsea since the 80’s because of their national front rubbish, racism and neo nazis.

    But I am questioning why we had to invite that particular Turkish club. Firstly there is still a lot of bad blood from Copenhagen 2000. If Gala come, the match will be on general sale etc. A lot of the firms in England will be out for revenge. Add to the fact that its a major club from a muslim country, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the racist numpties from other mobs looking to get involved. Would not be surprised to see people from Leeds come down. When we played Fenerbace in the CL a few years ago there was a very hostile atmosphere out and around Holloway that whole evening with a lot of their London based supporters out in full force. That was with a club we have no history with. Gala fans will travel for this, believe me. I’m good mates with a lot of Turks around the area and a lot of them don’t want the match to happen as they can see what may happen from a mile away. Violent and potentially racist English firms knocking about looking to get revenge for Engerland, and a travelling contingent of Gala fans also looking for revenge. If even one person gets stabbed or injured, it wouldn’t have been worth it and by inviting Galatasaray they are creating a scenario where it could be a lot more than one.

    As I said, they could have invited any other Turkish club and not faced this issue. I was there in Copenhagen 2000 and will never forget it. Holed up in a hotel for three days with my brothers and nephews and when I was out having Gala fans gesture to me with their knives, that they were carrying without any care in the world, where and how they were going to stab me. Add to that, the club put life bans on a lot of people who were simply defending themselves. There’s just bad blood between the two clubs. Put it this way 26may1989. If we qualify for next years champion’s League and we draw Galatasaray, would you make the trip? You couldn’t pay me to make it. Fenerbace are equally as big as Gala. Should have invited them.

  22. Merseforever says:

    GN5,

    you claim ‘I’m pissing in the wind.’ Your opinion. Just seems to me that you’re out of touch with what local Arsenal fans think. As I said, nothing I said the club could do is drastic.

    26may1989,

    What is it you don’t like about the BSM. They’re not a Wenger Out Movement and explicity state that they aren’t. I know a lot of people in it, and they support Wenger even more than Terry Mancini Hair transplant does!

  23. RockyLives says:

    Rasp
    For a hastily compiled Post that is a really good piece of work. The key fact, of course, is that you managed to spot the anomalous possession stats (compared with most of our games this season).

    Two games may be too soon to suggest a causal link between the amount of possession we have and the outcome of the games, but it certainly gives food for thought.

    As a “stand alone stat” I think it is a really interesting one that may, in fact, hint at a greater truth (as the best “stand alone stats” do).

    Hello Big Al – where are you today? 🙂

  24. 26may1989 says:

    Hi GN5: you’re right of course, footballers (and probably some other sportsmen, not women though) have always been looked at as being high earners. But it’s a question of degree, isn’t it.

    Some unreliable research I’ve just done suggests that the average wage in the UK in 1950 was just over £300 per annum, and in 2011 it was £24k. (In real terms, the £24k is about treble the 1950 equivalent.)

    According to the 442 website, the maximum wage for a footballer in 1947 was raised to £12 a week (£10 in the summer), so let’s say that amounts to about £600 per annum.

    Which would mean (before dodgy brown envelopes) a footballer could only earn about twice what the average Joe would get.

    Today, the average PL squad player likely earns about £2m a year, which means PER WEEK he gets getting on for double the average person’s income for a year. And that’s without thinking about those at the top end of the spectrum, there are hundreds of players getting much more than £2m a year.

    Money in football has gone bananas, and in the end it all comes from us. Which is why I sympathise with those who complain about the impact on fans. I just want us to be clear about why we are asked to pay so much for tickets these days.

  25. Rasp says:

    Thanks Rocky, I wonder if our resident statmaster GN5 would be able to come up with an alaysis of games won in relation to possession – or maybe goals scored in relation to possession. I think it is entirely likely that we score more goals per minute of possession in games where we have less posession = make more use of the ball when we do have it.

  26. GunnerN5 says:

    Rasp,

    My data base’s do not include anything on possession – but I will see what I can dig up.

  27. Rasp says:

    Thanks GN5

  28. GunnerN5 says:

    Just stumbled across this data about European teams.

    2012/13 season through Jan 2013.

    Team possession 7th.
    Pass completion 4th
    Average passes per game 2nd (Arteta)
    Passes completed 4th (Arteta)
    Key passes – not in the top 20 ?

    These simple stats may hold the answer – fewer key passes = less goals?

  29. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Great stuff Rasp. You ask a fundamental question about our playing style and its effectivness. Possesion does not win games consistently, that is clear.

    Its inetersting that in the last couple of games which we won we have not had so much of the ball. I just feel that this season the balance has been wrong between offense and defence and consequently results have suffered.

    Since the spurs game more onus has been put on getting behind the ball and pressing high up the pitch. It is my opinion that these two defensive attributes compliment our game.

    There is no need to abandon tippy tappy football, but by pressing high we can force mistakes and counter from high, and by funneling behind the ball we can suck teams in and then counter.

  30. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Merse, i am very sympathetic towards your views, in fact i share them.

    But, if ime honest with myself, i realise its short sighted and not looking at the whole picture. People like to view the world as they like it to be, and my Arsenal world is probably very similar to yours.

    GN5 made a very good point and i feel we can learn from his experience, when he said that people were complaining about finances in the 40s and 50s.

    So even though i agree with you 100%, including the galatasry thing, i realise that i am wrong. Hope that makes sense. hahaha

  31. GunnerN5 says:

    TMHT;

    You’re not wrong at all, it’s a perfectly valid opinion, maybe 75 years of age and 65 seasons of supporting have mellowed me – but I doubt it.

  32. GunnerN5 says:

    Rasp,

    A couple more—again 2012/13 through Jan 1st data – EPL only.

    Arsenal 58.7% possession, 194 chances created = 40 goals.
    Man U 58.3% possession, 196 chances created = 54 goals.

    Again the indicator is either lack of key passes or poor finishing.

  33. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Hi GN5

    Reading through the lines, Merse grew up on an Arsenal that was very similar to my own. This tends to create an emotional attachment.

    The only thing is however, there was an Arsenal before that period and there is also one after.

  34. Merseforever says:

    Terry mancini, thanks for the support!

    The gala thing is a genuine safety worry (to me at least). The Emirates Cup is supposed to be a family day out and as I outlined above, it could easily be a potentially volatile situation. We may fill the ground and make more money for that match, but that’s not worth putting a single in fan in danger for. There is so much bad feeling still there, particularly amongst our lot and Leeds fans. I don’t want any street brawls going on in n5. If Gala come, English firms, from all over, will be out looking for a ruck. No point in believing their Turkish equivalents won’t be either. Secondly, as said before I personally will never be able to get over their scummy behaviour in Copenhagen. There were hundreds and hundreds of then running around with knives. I’m only human and that trip has made me a life long hater of Galatasaray. The hooligans in this country were knuckleheads but I never saw any mob, be it on the terraces or away from the grounds ever brandish knives the way those Gala fans did. I don’t want them in our ground. It’s great that the club wants to make links with the Turkish community of NL. They can invite Fenerbace, Besiktas or any club we don’t have history with. Hell Fener probably hate Galatasaray more than us. The pre match can be Gooners and Fener fans in the local boozers b**ching about Gala fans.

    Regarding GN5’s point. Yes it is true that people always complained, but it’s of much bigger magnitudes now. Doesn’t mean people’s complaint’s can be dismissed. GN5 dismissed the points I made as pissing in the wind, which suggests to me he’s out of touch. The club can take steps to address some of the issues but chose not to (such as moving the away fans to the upper tier hence allowing gooners access to the cheaper tickets). They realise they’ve got us by the short and curlies. They know away fans will continue to kick up a fuss so they’re not doing anything.

  35. GunnerN5 says:

    Merse:

    Out of touch?

    I have a brother, 6 uncles, and 25 male cousins who all live in North London, they are regulars at Arsenal games we communicate frequently and they keep me in touch with reality.

    The assumptions you make about me are self serving, insulting and delusional.

  36. Rasp says:

    That’s fascinating GN5, so it is the key passes that are the factor – I see that coming down to 3 things:

    1. Having players of the quality to see and deliver the key pass.

    2. The players having the confidence to attempt the pass in the first place.

    3. The coaches encouraging the players to take a risk and attempt that kind of pass even if it risks losing possession

    I’m not sure what all this means but it is an eye opener. Hopefully someone with a more technical insight can develop this debate in a follow up article.

  37. GunnerN5 says:

    Rasp,

    Like yourself I’m no expert in tactics and would relish one of our more tactically oriented posters giving us more insight.

    It’s becoming more and more obvious that our void appears to be the defence splitting passes supplied by the likes of Bergkamp, Cesc, and even Song.

  38. Rasp says:

    I agree GN5, I’m impressed with Eisfeld’s ability to see the killer pass in that ‘playmaker’ advanced midfield role, but I guess he’s a couple of seasons away from being ready – Mario Goetz in the summer maybe?

  39. Merseforever says:

    GN5,

    apologies for the assumptions. You don’t help yourself by dismissing the genuine concerns of people as ‘pissing in the wind’ or as ‘picking holes in a fine swiss cheese.’

    Another point, and this is pure assumption on my part is you say that they are ‘regulars.’ That implies a certain level of success and wealth. Out of my group of pals from school who I grew up going to the Arsenal with and my family, I’m the only one who can really comfortably afford a season ticket (for myself and my boys). None of the people I grew up watching with can go regularly at all any more. In that sense I get a view from those who are stuck outside the ground every saturday afternoon(or Sunday lunch, or Monday evening, curses to you Murdoch!!) wishing they could be in it. They’re all far too proud to except a leg up either or an offer to split season ticket costs, so none of my brothers or my mates who stood on the North Bank through the 70’s and 80’s and sat in the 90’s can ever afford to go regularly any more.

    Regarding possession based football. Flexibility is the key I think. We can persist with the possession game as that has become our philosophy but I think a rigid determination is ultimately self defeating. You do what you can to win a game. Against teams who like to park the bus, a tippy tappy approach is liable to be extremely frustrating as we’ve found to our repeated displeasure over the last 6 years. To be able to entice a team out by sitting back and then hit them on the break is a very welcome alternative and one I think we should try and cultivate. That is what the great Wenger teams did after all.

    The possession based football was made for Cesc. If we are to build are midfield around Jack as a box to box then I think a more counter attacking style is the way to go. He is comfortable playing a possession game no doubt. But can you imagine a situation with jack driving through the middle, our pacy pair of Walcott and Chambo bursting forwards on both wings and a technically sound and fairly quick striker down the middle ahead of Jack. It’s the stuff of dreams. JW has the burst of pace that Cesc never had, and a driving impetus to his play that I don’t think Cesc had either. Cesc was a much better passer. We also have two very pacy full backs in Gibbs and Jenks and so adapting our style of play to become more counter attacking again would be good considering the personnel we have in my opinion. Adaptability is the key! That was what was so special about the invincibles. They could toy with you on the edge of the box for ages, or cut through teams like a hot knife through butter and take the ball from our end to the other goal in a matter of seconds.

  40. GunnerN5 says:

    Merse,

    Peace.

    My one liners can be a tad caustic, but I make no appologies for the usage.

    The invincibles are as much a part of our past as the likes of Alex James, Jack Kelsey, Jimmy Logie and Theirry Henry.

    Today we have the reality of money hungry footballers egged on by over bearing agents creating a whole new environment in a very different era.

    My trust, as it has always been, is with our BOD and manager, and even though it’s both a stale and overused comment I truly believe that we are on the brink of great things and that AW is the man to get us there.

  41. Rasp says:

    Merse, you’ve posted some long and detailed comments recently – do you fancy submitting something to arsenalnuts@live.co.uk for a headline post?

  42. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hi Rasp,
    Great post and many talking points, thank you.
    Snowed under with work, what with last day before long weekend, but nearly free.
    We definitely take more risks with our style of play away from home, imo.
    I also agree with Merseforever on the way quick counter football helps to get the fans behind the team (and I also agree with much of what he says about The Club selling its soul and ditching so much of our history).
    The crowd love the “taker-onners” like Santi and Jack, and this is also the reason I keep voting for Gerv 🙂
    Back later.

  43. 26may1989 says:

    I take it plenty of you have seen this on arse.com already:

    “Diaby ruled out for eight to nine months

    The Club can confirm that Abou Diaby injured his left knee in training on Wednesday and subsequent scans have confirmed that he has torn his anterior cruciate ligament.

    Following consultations with specialists, Abou will undergo surgery to repair the injury in the near future. Abou is expected to be out for around eight to nine months.

    The thoughts and best wishes from everyone at Arsenal are with Abou, and we all wish him a successful recovery.”

    I feel sorry for Diaby but surely it’s time to pay up his contract and call it a day.

  44. Bayonne Jean says:

    On an altogether different note in a slow news week, here’s a suggestion for enhancing the supporters’ experience at the Emirates:

    http://fox43.com/2013/03/26/phillies-minor-league-team-in-allentown-to-launch-urinal-video-games/#axzz2Oqo5zUJ6

    Talk about “taking the piss”…. and what a way to encourage beer sales, and support the Arsenal’s free-flowing attack!

    Ideally, the game targets would be photos of the players on the opposition side. Or just a photo of BSR to start….

  45. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Not much use to me BJ, at my age the target area would have to be round the drain hole.

  46. Rasp says:

    We need a post for tomorrow folks … get typing 😕

  47. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Couldn’t part of the reason for our poor quota of defence splitting passes be poor running off the ball from the front boys?

    Its all very well having A* thinking pupils in the middle, but if the wide boys are the footballing equivalent of B- boys, then they will never be on the same frequency

  48. RockyLives says:

    Diaby out for nine months.

    Surely that’s the end?

  49. Rasp says:

    Yes exactly Micky, you need the players to make the runs to invite the DSP and then to have the ability to smash it into the back of the onion bag.

  50. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Yip, Rocky, really sad and bad news about Diaby.

  51. MickyDidIt89 says:

    One more day to go. Massive 🙂

  52. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Just planning ahead, when are Totnum losing and who to?

  53. dandan says:

    Sad,sad day for Diaby, but suspect a fine player has now reached the point of no-return as a premier athlete, lets hope that contrary to Merse,s opinion we show our undoubted class, pay up his contract, help him claim his insurance and find a new role for an extremely unlucky footballer.
    Whilst on the subject pray Jack doesn’t travel the same road.

    Enjoyable thought provoking article rasp. Thank you

  54. Merseforever says:

    Sad news about Diaby but was it really a surprise when you found out.

    I just read it with a sense of resignation. We knew he was never going to get over his injury problems. Sadly his career has been ruined by some C U next tuesday who got away with a horrific tackle when common orthodoxy was the Arsenal ‘don’t like it up em.’ The mug who injured him now works in a call centre.

    But it’s an unsentimental game. If George Graham could get rid of Rocky (a player who loved and accomplished far more for Arsenal than Diaby ever has) then Arsene can get rid of Diaby and in fact should have gotten rid of him a long time ago. Surely we can buy out his contract. He’s done.

  55. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Totts losing at Swansea, and Chelski losing at Southampton. Both 3pm Saturday.

  56. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hi dandan
    Back in Devon at some point?

  57. dandan says:

    Hi Mickey. No mate, my brother and his wife have moved in here to continue his Chemo, is freezing cold, having a new boiler and walk in shower fitted to make life easier not the best weather for it. 🙂

  58. Simon says:

    Everyone by now has heard about diaby. Whilst I obviously feel sorry for him, surely it’s time to let him go. I don’t know how long is left on his contract, but it’s time to pay him off and cut our losses.

  59. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Dandan,
    Glad he’s in good hands amongst family. Best place to be. Best wishes to you all.

  60. GunnerN5 says:

    dandan,

    Best of British to your brother, and well done for looking after those that matter the most; those that are near and dear to us.

    Does he happen to be the Spurs supporter?

  61. Merseforever says:

    dandan,

    We haven’t really interacted much while I’ve been posting here but best wishes to your brother and your family. Fingers crossed that everything will work out.

    Regarding Diaby, yes Arsenal should and will show that we do still have class (despite my frequent assertions that we’ve lost it!) I feel very sad for Diaby. By all accounts he has done everything he can to train up his body but it’s just not meant to be. I would think his career as a football player at Arsenal is over. Hopefully the club will help him back on his feet (literally and metaphorically). Maybe he can take coaching badges at Hale End and help coach Arsenal to the successes he should have had as a player, had the cretinous mug Dan Smith not put in that tackle those many years ago. I’m sure the club will provide the physical therapy he needs as well as any mental councilling because having such a traumatic time of injuries could make anyone depressed when considering the sacrifices you make to become a professional footballer.

    As a player though I’m convinced he’s finished, and that this period of Arsenal’s history (the last 7 years) has shown us that we can’t put too much fate in perennially injured players. They either betray you (like Van Judas) or it doesn’t work out like Abou. Only good news is that this should convince Arsene to go out and buy the physically imposing central midfielder we’ve needed for so long. And as dandan so correctly says, we must pray that a repeat does not happen with the player I hope becomes Mr Arsenal v2.

  62. kelsey says:

    Sorry haven’t had much time lately,so much to do so little time to organise.

    Diaby the man who never was, what a shame. It must be the end of his career which maybe a blessing in disguise for the club overall, by forcing Wenger’s hand a bit quicker.

    Reading the rumours briefly,Djourou and ,Gervinho are also off and I don’t like what i read about Walcott,surely not another who may be plagued with injuries throughout his career.

  63. Hi
    Sorry not to blog here since my post.
    Been abut busy with my lambs and HMP work.
    Rasp done a post well done boss,
    Got four days off we off to a caravan for Easter bit cold by I’ve s sheepskin blanket .
    Diaby out for a while that’s his arsenal career over,
    Sheepy

  64. chas says:

    Interesting post, Rasp.

    I’m sure Wenger would say ‘Ah but you cannot score a goal if you do not have possession of the football’.

    He must have been searching for the reasons why our overwhelming possession does not always lead to more goals than the oppo. Effective posssession is the key. The pass backwards from the wide forwards is the one that frustrates me the most. It allows the opposition to regroup and perpetuates that flippin horseshoe shape. Every player receiving the ball has to have at least one option of passing the ball forwards. We need more take-ons, more one-twos, more runners from midfield, more goals, but most of all more points. 🙂

  65. dandan says:

    Thanks for your best wishes guys, GN5 He is indeed a spud. Thinks Bail walks on water,

  66. Ian Ure Face says:

    In case you dont know AAers. The Arsenal NextGen game Vs The Chavs is on live tomorrow on Eurosport @ 2pm on Sky Ch. 411 and is back on again @ 5:30pm on Sky Ch. 410.

  67. Can’t afford sky we pay double the price in Wales

  68. Ian Ure Face says:

    Phone them up and be a Sheep Hagler, if not there are plenty of streams available !.

  69. I’m only joking Ian ,I’m a bit DIFFRENT .
    Much love
    Sheep Hagger ™

  70. Ian Ure Face says:

    I know Dipper.
    Dont ever be not DIFFRENT, your worth the entry fee to the assylum !. hahaha

  71. RockyLives says:

    Ian, don’t go leading our Sheep stray 🙂

    Rasp
    Post in drafts.

  72. Ian Ure Face says:

    Rocks
    I bet Little Bo Peep is beside herself with worry and is currently having therapy around The Mumbles which can only bring tears to her eyes ! .

  73. Sheep haggler that’s a new one
    Marvin haggler not related to me

  74. Ian Ure Face says:

    You never heard of Marvelous Marvin Sheep Haggler ?, he`s the Black Sheep of the family aka Ba Ba, who is no relation to Demba Ba Ba !.

  75. Thanks Rocky for the post. Hope you had a good trip in the UK.

    You could have taken the cold weather back with you, we’ve been freezing all week 😉

  76. Yes I’ve heard of haggler
    The boxer .
    Welcome back RL

  77. GunnerN5 says:

    dandan:

    It will be an interesting decision if the Lily Livers and the Gunners are on TV at the same time – what will prevail, brotherly love, or love for the Gunners — Hummmm?

  78. Ian Ure Face says:

    Yes,The Boxer

    I am just a poor boy though my story`s seldom told,
    I have squandered my resistance for a pocket full of mumbles such as promises.
    All lies and jest , still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest !.

  79. RockyLives says:

    “all lies and jest” ?

    That’s so funny – I always thought it was “all eyes and chest” 😀

  80. RockyLives says:

    Like the Desmond Dekker song “Israelites” – about the suffering of the Biblical tribe of Israel (and by extension slaves in the US plantations).

    The first line is: “Wake up in the morning, slaving for bread Sir…”

    I always thought it was “Wake up in the morning, same thing for breakfast…”
    You can just imagine the scene:
    Slave 1: What’s for breakfast?
    Slave 2: Egg and bacon again.
    Slave 1: Bloody hell, not again. They treat us like sh*t.

  81. Ian Ure Face says:

    Hahaha Rocks
    I always thought that Desmond Dekker song was called….. ” Me ears are alight ! “

  82. Merseforever says:

    My favourite Desmond Dekker song was ‘It Mek.’ Loved that tune. Always loved the Liquidator as well despite its Chelsea associations.

  83. Gooner In Exile says:

    Evening all, just in from a long couple of days work.

    Interesting post Rasp, the problem as I see it is how to make the opposition attack….remember the United v City game a couple of seasons back (maybe even last season), both teams were looking to hit on the counter so neither really got out their own half and a stalemate occurred.

    That is my fear for us, other teams do not want us to counter so don’t commit men forward until we have sent everyone up. We would look at a lot of draws, I still have no idea why teams don’t play like this against ManUre.

    Merse i think there is a very simple reason why the away fans won’t be moved to upper tier…..policing/stewarding. The away end can be sectioned off on the lower tier, as it also can on the upper tier when needed but only if the away fans are also in the lower tier. It would be impossible to section the away fans and home fans coming into the stadium the way it is currently designed, then you additionally have the risk of away fans in the upper tier throwing missiles onto the home fans in the lower tier.

    Arsenal fans can get in for £25 on Saturday, as cheap as £35 in the upper tier, compared to other London PL clubs that’s cheap. I know we don’t care about what other clubs pay, but we need to look at the bigger picture to see that Arsenal are not on their own when it comes to increases pricing, lets not forget there has been 1 increase in ticket prices since moving to the Emirates, and I find it hard to believe that the prices are vastly different from the old Highbury prices before leaving for the new stadium.

  84. Nizam says:

    The thing is Wenger doesn’t bother about the opposition,if reports are to be believed.I think he only concentrates on his own gameplan;attack 100%.That is why he regularly gets exposed and beaten by red faced.
    The red faced maybe ahated figure but at least he doesn’t believe you will win by turning up.And that is why if the fm doesn’t bother about Saints,he will lose or draw when a win is of such vital importance.
    Btw don’t believe the mirror report history will repeat itself for 4th. Spurs have a different manager.We will wait with bated breath until it’s all over.

  85. RockyLives says:

    Nizam
    “If reports are to be believed”.

    They’re not.

    Of course AW takes the opposition into account. Just one example: Against potentially dangerous opponents with a strong attacking threat he often dispenses with a left sided winger (Gerv, Pod, Arsh) and starts a more combative player in that position. Eg this year away at Citeh (Ramsey) and last year home against the Spuds and Manure (Benny the Goon).

  86. kelsey says:

    Arsenal’s Premier League run-in

    Reading (h) 30 March expected win
    West Brom (a) 6 April expected win
    Norwich (h) 13 April expected win
    Everton (h) 16 April expected win, we have a good record against them
    Fulham (a) 20 April draw,don’t win there recently
    Man Utd (h) 28 April draw at best
    QPR (a) 4 May in relegation fight,could be a hard game to win
    Wigan (h) 12 Ma y as QPR
    Newcastle (a) 19 May draw at best

    So in conclusion our last 3 games may determine our season

  87. Gooner In Exile says:

    Just a quickie on Diaby, he himself has said he has considered retiring before, I think he will have to consider it again, infact it has probably been other people persuading him to give it “one last try”.

    I would be very interested to see a list of his injuries, has he done knee ligaments before? I hope he finds some role in football, even if he heads up a campaign against reckless challenges on your fellow professional.

  88. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning all,
    How are Walcott and Jack?

  89. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Two long weeks of waiting, and I’m not going to see the game. Might catch 2nd half on the radio at best 😦

  90. Rasp says:

    Morning Micky, why so?

  91. kelsey says:

    morning all.

    wilshere,walcott and gibbs are all out tomorrow.Doubt about podolski.

  92. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Rasp,
    Meeting my childrens’ brother. Twice a year and unmissable.

  93. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Thanks Kelsey.
    Gerv gets an outing 🙂

  94. Rasp says:

    Morning kelsey, I read somewhere that Podolski has an ongoing injury that will require surgery over the summer.

    Every game until the end of the season is a must win, but tomorrow’s after the international break is probably the most important, we must keep the pressure up on the tiny totts and be ahead of them by the time we play manure.

  95. Rasp says:

    Good luck with that Micky, a very important day for you all, hope it goes well.

  96. MickyDidIt89 says:

    No luck required. Not the first time, and he’s a top bloke and lovely family.

  97. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Rasp,
    If we keep the back five as consistent and tight as possible, the other injuries shouldn’t damage us too much.

  98. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Just thought of a brilliant question.

    With Jack, Abou, Pod and Theo wobbling badly on the injury front, if one player was going to emerge as the unexpected hero of the run-in, who would that be?

    Less unexpected would be Ollie or Santi.

    So Gerv? Ox?

  99. Rasp says:

    Micky, I fully expect either Ramsey or Gerv (or both) to become unlikely heroes in the next few games. They’ve both shown great improvement and seem to be hungry on the pitch (metaphorically speaking) … you could also add the Ox to that list.

  100. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I’d love Ox to be that man

  101. Rasp says:

    ….. New post …..

  102. Hi, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just curious if
    you get a lot of spam comments? If so how do you reduce it, any plugin or anything you can suggest?
    I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any help is very much appreciated.

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