England Prove Wenger Right

Ok maybe a strange headline in the aftermath of a disappointing result for England at the hands of Italy.

But it was the manner of that defeat that proved yet again why England struggle on the world stage and whilst the 100mph Premier League may all be about guts and courage the International and European game far more often favours the technically better sides who are prepared to keep the ball and wait for openings.

Pirlo outclassed his counterpart Gerard in every department, Gerard may well be an “all action” midfielder but too often he is found out at this level. He does not have the patience or accuracy of passing to compete at this level in the deeper midfield role.

On top of that as soon as an England midfielder got the ball he looked up to see England backsides running away from him, so was left to attempt forward passes through the eye of the needle, rather than the more reliable approach of movement in multiple directions opening defences up by pulling them this way and that before launching the attack in earnest.

So why does this prove Wenger right? Well the sun might shine on a dogs arse one day (as it did for Sturridge’s goal ) but more often than not in Champions League football pace, power and strength is not enough, you need guile, and composure, and that is what Arsene is building, and he is now doing it with English and Welsh talent that are capable of playing that way. Until England managers learn that there is more to football than energy and commitment we will continue to fall short.

He has a squad to play a midfield of Jack, Barkley, Lalana, Rooney and Sterling, surely that would be better than the one that started on Saturday night?

Written by Gooner in Exile

50 Responses to England Prove Wenger Right

  1. LB says:

    “Until England managers learn that there is more to football than energy and commitment we will continue to fall short.”

    It would be nice if one or two more Arsenal supporters applied this to Ozil as well.

  2. LB says:

    Pirlo really was a joy to watch………boy, what a great MF he is.

  3. LB says:

    Good read to start a Monday morning GIE

  4. fatgingergooner says:

    Couldn’t agree more.

    Energy and commitment are minimum requirements. What English football has lacked for too long is guile, know-how, and composure.

    There are some cracking young players in this squad in Sterling, Wilshere, Ox, Lallana and Barkley who are not scared to receive the ball when marked by 2 or 3 players. We need to utilise them.

    This team struggles to keep the ball when in the final third. It’s easy to pass it around at the back, but when space is limited in advanced areas we fail to build attacks.

    Also we struggle with game management. Could we have shut up shop like the Italians did at 2-1? I doubt it.

  5. 26may1989 says:

    Agree with Exile, agree with FGG. The kids are alright…..

  6. GunnerN5 says:


    A well thought out post, thank you, it brightens up my morning to read such an impressive article.

    In fact the “future” is now it just takes a manager to have the courage to let the “kids” do their thing. I’m not one to criticize players but frankly Rooney is well past his best and Roy needs to leave him on the bench. He obviously prefers to play the down the middle but Sturridge and Sterling are currently our best options and Rooney could be brought on as a sub if either of them falter.

  7. RA says:

    Totally agree, Exile.

    The one thing missing today is enough English talent to play in the continental way.

    There are so many ‘foreign’ players available it is easier to buy quality ‘off the shelf’ rather than to develop your English youngsters.

    Just ask Mourinho and Pelegrini and the rest.

    I suspect there is always hope that things will change in the future, but it’s a funny thing just how easily the present eats away at the future.

  8. Gööner In Exile says:

    Morning all, GN5 I am a bit undecided on Rooney, I think given a manager who was more inclined to use the skill set he possessed for the beautiful game rather than one who preferred to use the lads natural desire and willingness to do what it takes to win football matches he could have been up there with Ronaldo and Messi.

    LB I agree on Ozil to an extent……yes he is seen as lazy by some, I guess when I define laziness it is the runs that purposefully are made in order to avoid doing dirty work. This is something I believe Arshavin perfected….scenario:

    Arshavin makes run towards goal, passer hits it too far and it is clearly going to go to goalkeeper. At this point Arshavin had a choice, stop his run and pick up his man or continue a fruitless run “chasing” a ball be wasn’t going to reach. This invariably was the option he chose and as the keeper had already released the ball back over his head he jogged back up the pitch because he couldn’t get back to do anything meaningful.

    When I played we called it “cheating” strange term for it maybe I guess stemming from cheating your teammates, in some circumstances it can worry the opposition i have heard managers say to full backs “their winger will cheat on you…don’t over commit” but more often than not in the PL they won’t care so much.

  9. RC78 says:

    My England Squad after the loss to Italy:

    Hart – Johnson, Cahill, Jagielka, Baines (although he had a poor night) – Barkley, Gerrard, Henderson – Sterling, Rooney, Sturridge

    I think Barkley needs to start as he has that drive that can create goal scoring chances. Henderson is in my team because Wilshere does not seem fit enough to start…Wellbeck did not show much and I believe that with the three upfront, England can score easily and the three can play all over the front line.

  10. Big Raddy says:

    GIE. Thanks for the post. As ever your tactical awareness allows me to see the game from a different perspective.

    Lining up a team with 5 Liverpool players and potentially more coming from the bench meant that England were doomed from the start.

    As you say, Gerard is no Pirlo, he has lost pace and stamina which does not mean he is an effective DM – he isn’t. Nor is he good enough to be the metronome of the team and neither is Henderson, whom in my opinion is simply not international class.

  11. Big Raddy says:

    GIE 1.34.

    Interesting point about “cheating”. Another term is “keeping the keeper honest”.

    It works ….. see OG vs S’ton the PL and RvP vs Spain.

  12. LBG says:

    Interesting post GiE. How do you explain one of the greatest ever sets of players with “guile”, skill, and “composure”,, certainly in the last six years, being battered by a hard running, direct, Dutch team in the last few days?Perhaps it’s like most things in life as I see it, cyclical.
    My team for Uraguay: –




  13. RC78 says:

    I am not sure England has the squad to play 3 defenders but then again, I am no authority in the matter :-p

  14. omgarsenal says:

    This match was one of the most boring, predictable and ultimately pre-determined ones so far in this WC. Pirlo could have easily been defended out of the game but he was given far too much liberty to make those long through passes his famous for. Overall, England failed to use their speed and determined defensive skills to shut Italy down. How Balotelli was ever permitted to get behind Baines and head a gift into goal was a mystery to me.
    GIE is right about their lack of technical and tactical skills but there are alternatives on the bench and on the field to ensure that England get the points they need to progress….however they’ll never get out of the group stages if they continue in the style they used against Italy.

  15. Shard says:

    First up, great news about Michael Schumacher making some progress in his fight to regain full fitness.

    On to the article, I agree that England’s all action, 100mph style was to blame for them losing to Italy. Pirlo was brilliant, but in my view it was the midfield of De Rossi and especially Veratti, finding his way out of tight spaces, that allowed Pirlo to run the show as well as he did.

    As for England, they just seem to lack the technical qualities required at the highest level. Barkley and Sterling, in my opinion too fall in this category. They’re made to look better in the less technical, more action, Premier League. Maybe that is just my Arsenal bias coming out, but I actually think Wilshere doesn’t do well playing for England because his teammates can’t live with him in a more technical setting. Whenever under pressure they revert to type and start rushing everything whereas Wilshere is good at the whole ‘slow-slow-quick’ game that the Italians showed but cannot do it on his own. In the PL he gets blamed for ‘inviting tackles’ for precisely this reason. Italians won’t dive into tackles like that. They defend better as a team. But the PL encourages this, and discourages technical skill.

    And in defense, I thought Baines was the right choice to be No.1 left back, but that Gibbs should have been the second choice ahead of Shaw. However, after that performance, maybe Baines is another of those built only for the premier league. Gibbs would definitely have handled it better.

    If I were picking the lineup I’d probably still leave the defense as is, but have Wilshere and Ox in for Henderson and Welbeck. At least those two can play off each other rather than simply relying on ‘running at the defense’. England need to control the game, not rely on causing some momentary chaos. Especially since their defense isn’t good enough to just see out the game if they were even to profit from such a moment.

  16. GunnerN5 says:


    I believe that we lack the technical skills of the better teams and ability to change our tactics during the game. Also our more senior players do not have the overall ability of their counter parts on other teams. So lacking these ingredients I would play to our strength – which is youthful exuberance and fitness. I understand that this is a somewhat naive approach but at least may give us the surprise element and it could be very enjoyable to watch.

    It more I read what I have said the more naive it seems………….who would want to be the coach and have to make the final decision, its an unenviable position – and a no win job unless you win.

  17. Big Raddy says:

    One of the differences between Gibbs and Baines is 25 CL games vs none.

    But I am delighted Gibbs isn’t out there.

  18. Big Raddy says:

    Podolski has been excellent in the last 3 Germany games. Then gets dropped!

  19. Shard says:


    I can see the logic behind that, but I am unsure that the young players are more fit than their opponents. They seem to run around a lot more energetically but they’ll fade like anyone else. However, it isn’t the worst thing to bring on experienced players late in the game. Sadly, I don’t think the experienced players in the national team would accept that as their role, nor would they be specifically good at it.

  20. Shard says:


    Are Germany planning to go 5 at the back, or is Lahm going to play in midfield?

    Podolski being dropped is probably due to Ronaldo and his counter attacking threat. But if Ozil is going to play there then I don’t know what the point is. Maybe Lahm will play on the left to counter that threat, and if Ronaldo switches flanks, Muller is a good and willing runner. Which would leave Khedira and Kroos, along with Ozil and Gotze as the false 9, to play around the Portuguese midfield.

  21. GunnerN5 says:

    Rasp/Peaches – check your email.

  22. Gööner In Exile says:

    That’s actually one thing that I forgot to say in the article….we had players cramping up on 70-90 minutes because we burn so much energy wasting possession.

    I am not that impressed by Sterling faced with defenders who do not commit to tackle his trick and acceleration get him nowhere and because most international teams (especially the good ones with 3/4 creative midfield players) do not need full backs to attack and give options he is not gifted the wide open spaces he so often is in the PL.

    LBG….I think calling the Dutch tough strong runners is doing them a bit of injustice, they had very good movement.

    Shard your point on Pirlo’s teammates is correct and what I was trying to get at in the post. They created space for Pirlo to orchestrate, he is simply a joy to watch play football.

    What really gets me when watching other nations is that even the considered poorer international sides have more patience and willingness to keep the ball than England.

  23. Gööner In Exile says:

    When facing one of your hardest group games you can leave Schweinsteiger, Pod, Schurle, Draxler on the bench I think you’d fancy your chances in the WC.

  24. mickydidit89 says:

    I’ll do a few day’s worth of post thanking later, but could one of you kindly save a spot for me on the sofa, and get them to hold the “Mesut in the hole” kick off for about fifteen minutes. Thank you.

  25. 26may1989 says:

    I completely agree with GN5, England have limited options and have to play to their strengths, which is essentially the Liverpool “method” of running around a lot and putting in plenty of shots in the hope we end up ahead. Not much genius to it, but we don’t have Iniesta, Ozil, Neymar, Ronaldo etc.

    The trouble with that approach vs Italy is we were playing in the heat and humidity of the equator, against an opponent that, while not brilliant, was better built for a possession game. The other group games are further south, and England will find it a bit easier to play their natural game.

    One thing that has been ignored by journos is the question of how England ended up in such a tough group. Without getting into the detail, that is largely because we are not seeded, on account of having played too many friendly matches against crap teams – in the seeding system, our ranking points were reduced because of those games, while a team like Switzerland played fewer games and ended up seeded ahead of us. That’s a case of the FA not understanding how to get the best out of the system, something the England team is now suffering for.

  26. Big Raddy says:

    26. Strange how that piece of info hasn’t been in the press.

    I wondered why we got drawn into such a difficult group

  27. Big Raddy says:

    Pepe is one f the players I dislike most (alongside Marcello and Alves +++). Good to see the cheat getting done by another cheat 😀

  28. mickydidit89 says:

    Glad to see that when his side scores, Mesut is as much of a miserable git with Germany as he is with Arsenal.

    ie he really might love us to bits 🙂

    Not much of a contest this is it?

  29. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. Not quite sure of your logic!

    Portugal are out. Il Divo was smothered by a good defence marshalled by a brilliant big effing German.

  30. chas says:

    Cheers, GIE.
    I must have watched the game through a drunken haze because it seemed like a good even game of football to me. The high looping cross which was only ever going to land on to Balotelli’s head decided it.

    Didn’t England shade shots and chances? Italy were always going to have more possession. I thought there were too many aimless crosses by an England team not playing with a target centre forward. Perhaps we just forgot Crouchie wasn’t playing. 🙂

    Like I say, the BBQ starting at 3.30 in the afternoon may have had something to do with my match assessment!

  31. neamman says:

    I watched up to 75 minutes and then was called by the missus so only saw bits of the last 15. To me we had done pretty well up to ten and a draw seemed possible.

  32. JM says:

    World Cup 2014 bulletin (as of 16 June):

    Nike – 12 pts (Brazil /3, Netherlands /3, France /3, United States /3)
    Adidas – 13 pts (Argentina /3, Colombia /3, Mexico /3, Germany /3, Nigeria /1)
    Puma – 12 pts (Ivory Coast /3, Chile /3, Italy /3, Switzerland /3)
    Lotto – 3 pts (Costa Rica /3)
    Uhlsport – 1 pt (Iran /1)


    Top goalscorers (active):

    Miroslav Klose (Germany) -14 goals/19 games (0.74 avg)
    Thomas Müller (Germany) – 8 goals/7 games (1.14 avg)
    David Villa (Spain) – 8 goals/10 games (0.80 avg)

    Overall No.1 goalscorer:
    Ronaldo (Brazil) – 15 goals/19 games (0.79 avg)

  33. arnie says:

    Brilliant stuff, GiE. A fantastic and thought provoking read. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Great comments, all. Sorry could not visit AA all day. Next few days are iffy as well. 😦

  34. chas says:

    Fancy one of these for the back garden duck shoot.

  35. chas says:

    Yeah, right.

  36. stevepalmer1 says:

    Sorry to have missed the post, but good one GIE.
    Don’t be to hasty with England GIE as a lot of what you say is probably right, but at least Hodgeson is doing his best, Al right he didn’t get it all perfect for the first game, but neither did Arsene in the first half at Wembley, but he righted it for the second.
    Where Arsene had only one game to win the final Roy has a couple more yet, and hopefully he will get it right.

    Arsene likes youth, and so does Roy, hopefully he can also get the job done.

  37. LBG says:

    Chas – 5.11
    I think it might make a mess of the ducks!

    Chose the wrong German for my Golden boot wager – Klose – but still got Benzema. Happy sunshine morning to all AA’s.

  38. mickydidit89 says:

    Morning all.

    Post thankage:

    Arnie; Loved reading the world cup one. Charts and maps were nearly as good as heat maps.

    Arnie: Sorry, missed the Costa game, and haven’t seen our man Joel in action. Sounds good though.

    Exile: Love your tactics bollix ‘cos your good at it. Don’t agree though 🙂 Think Arsene will be looking to add Pace Power and Strength. Also thinking about difference between PL and say CL/WC, I reckon this WC will be won by power.

    Also, on Italy. Yeah, I liked Pirlo alotski, but I think England were simply young and immature as a side, but had heaps more excitement and potential than those Italians (Balotelli aside 🙂 )

  39. mickydidit89 says:

    Ok Mallard

    When you say “yeah right” to some excellent quality gossip like Mario to Arsenal, are you scoffing in a Crystal Doomy way because it’s too good to be true, or rather you do like the idea?

  40. mickydidit89 says:

    * or rather you do NOT like the idea

  41. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Only watched the first half of the USA-Ghana game but it was very entertaining.

    Altidore was stretchered off with muscle knack – how can this happen (and he isn’t the first at this WC)?

  42. mickydidit89 says:

    Who won Raddy?

  43. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. My gut reaction to chas’s comment was that he is too excited by the prospect of SuperMario’s arrival to believe it, just in case he curses the deal.

  44. mickydidit89 says:

    Possibly Raddy, but our feathered friend does have doom tendencies when it comes to spending vulgar amounts of money on a player.

  45. Big Raddy says:

    Don’t know – just about to watch the second half.

    And Mr Didit. Answer your emails!!

  46. Big Raddy says:

    25m is a nice round figure and cheap at the price. Mario is only 203 y.o and was bought by MC at 19 for £23m, then by Milan for £21m.

    Today he has more experience, is a better player and best of all, still a complete loony.

  47. chas mobile says:


    It was the twitter rumour mill I was ‘yeah righting’ at.
    I’d love to see DidIt with Balotelli-style haircut.

  48. mickydidit89 says:


    I’ll work on the Mario hair do
    You carry on working on the Mario body

    Seriously, no email from you

    Must go now, but will be around from now on and tuning right in to WC Games.

    Can’t wait for news on Eddie’s new neighbours and her street parties.

  49. Big Dandy, Mario is only 203 ! LOL. Even older than E’to.

  50. Morning all

    We have a New Post ………………..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: