The Curse of the Left

Mrs. Raddy was very impressed the other day when I stared at her with what she believed was loving tenderness , though what I was actually doing was thinking about our left side. *

My reasoning was this …… Gibbs, Monreal, Podolski, Ox, all crocked whilst playing out there. Would I be wrong in thinking that both Santi and Mozart also suffered injuries whilst playing on our port side?

images“Please don’t make me play out there, Boss”

Not only that but players who have been shipped out to larboard have suffered dramatic falls from grace. I refer to Arshavin, Gervinho, Santos, Chamakh  and Bendtner (yes, I know the last two are CF’s but they were forced to play out there).

And looking back to recent history, what of Reyes, Hleb, Nasri and Clichy?  All moved on to lesser clubs – OK, Real Madrid, Barcelona and MC may not be exactly lesser but they didn’t succeed at The Home of Football, did they?

What is going on? We haven’t had a happy leftside since  Bobby and Terry. Many talk about Mr Wenger’s blindness to our defence but i it is remarkable that our attacks from the left have come from FB’s or MF’s for a number of seasons.

Will our shiny new German improve matters? From what I read, he is a traditional inside forward with a licence to roam, much like our other three AM’s (Ramsey, Santi, TR). So, is Mr Wenger’s plan to play Cazorla on the left and restrict his movement? I sincerely hope not because Santi, as we all know, is a genius and should be allowed to do whatever he wants (apart from canoodling with Mrs. Raddy).

Podolski is not a left-winger –  pace is not one of his talents . Nor is The Ox, who is yet another attacking MF. We have one coming through in Myaichi, but he is well down the pecking order. Given that Mr Wenger likes to play 4-3-3, why can’t we have an attacking threat like Theo on the left?

*Looking doe-eyed at one’s partner can have a very positive effect upon one’s relationship (unless you start to dribble)

written by Big Raddy

59 Responses to The Curse of the Left

  1. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Good morning to you all,

    I have a theory about BR’s left side hoodoo. There is, and always has been, a dearth of natural left-footers in football, could it be that non natural left-footers are trying to adapt themselves to fill the vacancies and by so doing are leaving themselves open to injury.

    There could be more cavalry on the horizon, Ciprian Marica! No I’ve never heard of him either, Romanian international striker, ex Schalke, now a free agent, on the verge of signing for Arsenal, at least according to both his agent and that paragon of the truth the Daily Mirror.

  2. Gööner In Exile says:

    Raddy the curse of the left does seem to have some substance. I would not be against playing Monreal and Gibbs together (I think Gibbs in the advanced role) but the risk of injury and then having no cover is too great to do, so for the time being we either have to use a youngster (Gnabry or Miyaichi) or put the likes of Santi or Özil out there. Although this then further unbalanced us.

    Maybe though we have just become used to playing like that.

    Effectively with Sagna now truly capable of being a central defender we can rotate our standard 4-5-1/4-3-3 to become 3-4-2-1 (with the left back pushing on, the left winger moving inside to the middle)

    Ending up something like this:

    Theo…….Rambo…. Wilshere…Gibbs

    (Whisper it that looks like El Tels Christmas Tree)

    Not sure we can add him to our PL squad Norfolk (altho probably need to check rules)….would be a bit of a waste of wages if he can only be used in League Cup up until 31 December.

    Thinking about the TW moan of most managers saying that it should be closed before a ball is kicked in anger…these are the same men (like Pardew) who do a lot of business in January, so why object to early season transfers when you are happy to do business mid season?

  3. Norfolk Gooner says:

    He’s a free agent GiE so is eligible for Premiership and Champions League.

  4. evonne says:

    and there is me thinking that in absence of Mr DidIt we are safe from positions, formations and the rest of the kuma sutra on the pitch!

    Good post Raddy, thank you, not an expert and for that reason I am out.

  5. ärnie says:

    BR: Nice post. Interesting! I wonder whether the evidence of players getting injured playing outside their natural position is an Arsenal thing, or more general. I thought most players like to play in at least two positions. This improves their chances of being selected, and increases value in the transfer market. But, right and left side is a problem, I agree. Having said that, Arsenal usually plays in a way that MFs continuously rotate their positions. So maybe not that much of an issue?

    On the flip side, if the result is that Gnarby and/or Miyachi get some time in the middle, not bad. Serendipity!!!! Even if this is only a second best solution, it may be good in the long/ medium run.

  6. ärnie says:

    Apparently, Rosicky injured as well in the Italy-Czech Rep game last night. Played a part in facilitating the opening goal, before departing with a knock towards the end of the first half.

    Viviano did not play, dont know whether he was a sub.

  7. ärnie says:

    Lovely cross from Rosicky led to the first goal. Italy won 2-1 though, and through to WC in Brazil.

  8. ärnie says:

    sorry, should be lovely pass, from centre to LW, cross comes in, good goal by Kozak.

  9. chäs says:

    Cheers, BR.

    What are you thinking about?
    D.H. Lawrence.
    Really? What about him?
    Which one of his books was the longest.

    You weren’t really thinking about D,H, Lawrence were you? Why did you lie?
    I’ve got to vary the answers, haven’t I? I can’t say Arsenal every time.

  10. Gööner In Exile says:

    Norfolk I am basing my opinion on this:

    5) Clubs can make changes to their squad but only during transfer windows, so once submitted the clubs will be stuck with that squad until January. Only in exceptional circumstances, such as a goalkeeper crisis, can changes be made outside the window, and then only if the Premier League board approves the changes.

  11. Podge says:

    @Gooner In Exile, You can sign free agents after the window closes as there is no transfer to be ratified by the premier league.

  12. Thanks for the Post, Big Raddy.
    As a shot-in-the-arm signing goes, Mesut Ozil is right up there, but what you want and what’s actually needed are invariably different.
    There is a lack of depth which could bite very hard as we go into the winter months.
    You say the left side, BR, and whilst in agreement with you, I’m not
    delighted with our options on the right either.
    Apologies to any Theo Walcott fans, but he will never be top quality. Sometimes his game works, but nowhere near often enough to be effective for a side challenging for titles. I see him as someone who could do a decent turn for Stoke or West Ham, he doesn’t possess enough quality long-term for Arsenal.
    It’s strange that since Robert Pires left in 2006, AW has not bought an orthodox right or left winger, and as much as people hate the thought, Gareth Bale would have been ideal.
    With our squad as it is, I think we’re challenging for 4th place with Liverpool and Tottenham.

  13. 26may1989 says:

    Nice thoughts, Raddy. We have two of the best left-footers out there, Ozil and Podolski, but I know what you mean, we don’t have an out-and-out winger. I love Bobby Pires but would question whether his duck waddle run qualified him as a proper winger.

    I thought one of the few bright lights in last night’s Ukraine v England game was their left-winger, Konoplienka. He’s at Dnipro, one of Ukraine’s clubs below Shaktar and Dynamo, plus he’s managed by Juande Ramos, so perhaps he’s someone we could go for.

    Although not a winger, definitely a striker, one leftie we could have gone for but can’t now is one of my faves, Giuseppe Rossi. Quite understandably, there weren’t many takers for him when he was on the market last season, given that he was seriously crocked (Villarreal needed to sell as they were in the Spanish second division at the time). He’s now started playing at Fiorentina, who took a gamble on him, and he’s scored three goals in two games so far. Looking good.

    The combination of Gibbs and Monreal is certainly something we will see fairly often, especially when we want to batton down the hatches. And both of them seem pretty good in a midfield role. I also like Exile’s Xmas tree formation.

    On a separate note, I did ask the AST if they wanted to respond to my post yesterday and the ensuing discussion. They declined. Oh well.

  14. ärnie says:

    On AST, well done 26may……..

  15. 26may1989 says:

    Cheers, ärnie….

  16. chas says:

    Can you remove my 2.05, as the sweatpatch no longer points at Sniffer’s comment? Ta

  17. evonne says:

    chas 🙂 you doughnut 🙂

  18. Gööner In Exile says:

    Podge thanks for the input the thing I seem to have difficulty explaining is that it has nothing to do with being ratified its about naming of the PL squad, we can’t add any names until January as far as I am aware and as that post above alludes to.

    Off in search of PL rules PDF and I’ll bring back link and page ref.

  19. Gööner In Exile says:

    Before I go I have to disagree on Theo I have been one of his bigger critics but in the matches so far this season he has shown a much better understanding of what is required of him.

    As for squad depth I don’t disagree we look thin, but I think that is temporary whilst we get over a glut of injuries:


    Added back to the mix and we struggle to find a place on the bench for some.

    Do we really want to return to paying wages to a bunch of players who are not likely to get game time? Surely that role is best given to youngsters rather than highly paid pros? This is the one area I agree with some of the clubs critics over the last few seasons, problem is same critics are now complaining we don’t have enough depth, do fans really expect us to have two or three first team quality players for each position? If they do I’d like them to show me the other squads that possess it.

  20. Bïg Räddy says:

    My belief that you would all be stunned into thinking “Wow, I hadn’t realised how the larboard side is cursed” was as wrong as a Spurs fan.

    Do we really need to sign a fellow who cannot get a contract from Schalke, has just 9 goals in 52 games and will need time to adjust to the PL?

    There must be better players out of contract. Carlton Cole?

    I would much rather we played Bendtner

  21. ärnie says:

    GiE: Fully agree on the idea of youngsters as bench warmers/ 70 min subs

    Raddy: Agree on Bendtner, notwithstanding the past.

  22. weedonald says:

    There is little hard evidence that playing on the left at any professional Football Club leads to serious injuries (except at AFC of course) but we know Arsenal’s injury record anywhere on the pitch!!!
    Here is my amateur take on this issue:

    1)Left footed players are a minority, like left-handed people.
    2) A right footed player is left-brained and therefore has an easier time seeing the entire pitch.
    3) Bendtner is capable of playing with both feet and has played on the left on occasion…would AW be willing to try him there?
    4) Some of our players are capably two-footed like Cazorla and apparently Ozil as well.
    5) It isn’t a problem for Wenger’s tactics anyway, as he tends to focus on one striker and a false 9 in the hole. Miyachi or Gnabry could easily play on the left in the 4-3-3 lineup.
    6) Gibbs is too great a risk on the left and is better left as a FB (excuse the pun)!

  23. Gooner in Exile says:

    Right you need the PL Handbook, which can be found here:

    Click to access premier-league-handbook-2012-2013.pdf

    Skip to page 174

    U.1. A Player shall not play for a Club in a League Match unless that Club holds his registration with effect from at least one hour before kick-off and for League Matches to be played between the close of the First Transfer Window and the end of the Season either:
    U.1.1. his name is included on the Squad List; or

    U.1.2. he is an Under 21 Player.

    U.5.Changes to a Squad List may be made:

    U.5.1. during the period of a Transfer Window; or

    U.5.2. at other times only with the permission of the Board.

    As far as i see it it rules out signing anyone to be available in the PL whether on a free transfer or not.

  24. LB says:

    Thanks for the read BR

    I agree with 26, that Ukrainian left winger looked very tasty.

  25. LB says:

    By the way, where is Bendtner?

  26. JanMan says:

    Perhaps off subject but I am rather disappointed at the latest outburst from Stuart Pierce, criticising the younger players, in particular our very own Ox. Correct me if I am wrong but the point of the U21 team is to prepare the players for the full England team! Once selected for the full England team then surely it is job done? Pierce is one of the old guard who is stuck in the middle ages way of thinking as to how the game should be played and how players should be treated. Maybe he should look at his own failures first and work on correcting his errors before he tries to blame others for his obvious lack of quality in coaching and people skills.

  27. chas says:


    2) A right footed player is left-brained and therefore has an easier time seeing the entire pitch.

    Wouldn’t left footed players being right-brained mean that they can see the entire pitch just as well? I must be missing something. Don’t we all have similar binocular vision?

    3) Bendtner is capable of playing with both feet and has played on the left on occasion…would AW be willing to try him there?

    Bendtner is capable of playing with both feet. Really? It must be so long since I saw him play.

    5) It isn’t a problem for Wenger’s tactics anyway, as he tends to focus on one striker and a false 9 in the hole. Miyachi or Gnabry could easily play on the left in the 4-3-3 lineup.

    Doesn’t a false 9 replace the need for the one striker or have I got this one wrong as well? A false 9 in the hole is a number 10 surely?

    Baffled as to how I can know so little about a game I’ve been watching for over 40 years.

  28. LB says:

    I was feeling a bit bored now that all the doomers seemed to have crawled back under their stones, so I thought I would give We are the Arsenal’s comment a read, and what do you know I agree with it all.

    Still never mind we won’t win every game unfortunately and when we lose they will come scuttling back out again.

  29. Gööner In Exile says:

    JanMan I think we can all see Pearce for what he is,bitter!

    He is talking about the U21’s tournament this summer.. …maybe he should have had a conversation with Hodgson and asked him it to go to Brazil.

    The lad would have had no time off between end of season and late July.

    Not really in the interest of the player or the national team considering the internationals that have come up this early.

    And finally after the way he treated Theo did he really think Ox would go? Assuming Ox might ask Theo for advice the conversation might have gone like this:
    Ox : Pearce wants me in under 21s
    Theo : yeah I saw, he made a big song and dance about taking me one year despite being a full international
    Ox : how did it go?
    Theo : he used me as a sub

  30. chas says:

  31. Gööner In Exile says:

    Godzilla > Theo Van Nasregas?

    In other news I have ticket for Napoli home……although bit peeved as they seem to be charging me postage rather than applying it to my membership card.

    Might be explained as this is a friends and family game so you can but tickets for 4 non members.

  32. chas says:

    See you at Napoli, GIE.

    Mesut Ozil of Arsenal

  33. We’ll have to agree to disagree on Theo Walcott, Gooner In Exile.
    For me his only real attribute is pace, I really don’t rate him. I don’t think there’s many games you could look back on over the last seven years that mark him out as top quality. He flatters to deceive for both Arsenal and England.

    LB – Very magnanimous of you, it must be an unequivocal first.
    Though it doesn’t do to continually upset the inner-sanctum of a blog with crass negativity.

  34. evonne says:

    chas @ 8:45 – how could I think Ozil ugly? He is gorgeous 🙂

  35. Gööner In Exile says:

    Herb read my comment again I admit to having been one of his bigger critics over recent seasons, but that doesn’t mean he can’t improve, so far this season (only 5 games I know) he has been consistent, using his pace to good effect and beating his man more regularly something many of us have called for him to do.

  36. Gööner In Exile says:

    Chas he is the reason I was desperate to get to a game soon….thankfully have a few days off that week so could justify going and still be a good Dad/Husband 😀

  37. Nice post Big and Dandy – there is something sinister about our left sided injuries.

  38. Bïg Räddy says:

    “sinister”. Very good Chary

  39. Gööner In Exile says:

    Ohhhh the PL price review is out for 2013-14 and of course we have the highest season ticket price and the highest single entry ticket (£126 don’t you know).

    But in less advertised news.
    Most Expensive
    Arsenal – 26 matches £1995 or £76 per game
    Spuds – 19 matches £1895 or £99 per game

    Arsenal – 26 matches £985 or £37.88 per game
    Spuds – 19 matches £765 or £40.26 per game

    Wish the club would only give a relative PL Season Ticket price rather than just quoting the full price including cup credits.

    Just to put this in perspective, Spuds automatically have cup games debited from their card. Arsenal fans get unused cup credits taken off following seasons price.

  40. chas says:

    We have should a concerted campaign to post your comparison per game on every single article covering the PL price review.

  41. Gööner In Exile says:

    What become a troll?

  42. chas says:

    Is that what trolling is?
    I thought a troll was some tit spouting nonsense where he knows it will annoy.

    I didn’t mean on blogs, just on press articles.

  43. Bïg Räddy says:

    chas. What would be the point? It fits their narrative and they will not change it now.

    There are none so blind as those that will not see.

  44. Gööner In Exile says:

    Was joking Chas….but trolls can be all things really.

    Like the sick bastards who post offensive videos or deface poctures on obituary pages, or they could be the type you mention which we tend to get.

    As for pricing it’s a lost cause the headlines are written and I’m pretty sure I 101’d myself by mentioning it.

  45. chas says:

    Fair enough, what’s the point.

  46. LB says:

    Ahh, the eternal Walcott question.

    I definitely fall into the Theo doubter camp but to say that he hasn’t improved this season would be to show a clear lack of understanding of the game of football.

    He obviously has and what is interesting is that he is looking more comfortable towards the centre, as in, the number nine area. This is a first for me as I have always thought the idea of Theo playing number nine for Arsenal as being an impossibility. He does not have enough natural close control but he is definitely using what he has better than the past.

    Onto the England game: for me Theo played in the same way as he would for Arsenal last season — not that impressively but anyone who has watched every minute that he has played this season would have noticed that that is not how he has been playing for Arsenal.

    The same is true of Wilshere, he was nothing short of poor for England which is how I viewed him at Arsenal last season — but this season there is much more hope.

    Attacking midfield though — in your dreams.

  47. chas says:

    Everyone knows Theo’s shit, but he’s dangerous shit nonetheless.

  48. ……. and he’s our dangerous shit ……….. which is why he had to sign da ting 🙂

    Morning all – been sooooo busy, hope everyone is well.

    LB look what happened while you were away …… what a good boy you must have been 😉

  49. chas says:

    Talking of dangerous sheet.
    I wonder what Great Dane taste like, man.

    Beware bad language.

  50. LB says:

    I take six hundred words and you sum it up better in a nine word sentence. lol

  51. 26may1989 says:

    Funny, I was just talking about Cheech & Chong last night.

  52. evonne says:

    did you see warm welcome Bale received from Ronaldo? oh dear, there is no love lost there

    26m – are you still in a hospital?

  53. 26may1989 says:

    Hi evonne. They kicked me out pretty quickly, am recuperating at home now. My much better half has been an absolute star. Even the kids have been helpful – and as a bonus, they’ve discovered where the broom, hoover and lawnmower are kept, and what they’re for…..

  54. 26may1989 says:

    Funny how Theo’s talent gets questioned whenever he has one duff game.

  55. evonne says:

    26m 🙂 get better soon, there games you need to cycle to 🙂

    Not only that, but people seem to forget huge impact Theo had on the second half of our last season.

  56. evonne says:

    ** there are games

  57. ………..New Post ……………………

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