Are we already on course to another season fighting for a 3rd or 4th place finish?

Last year ended on a high note with a Cup Victory, a trophy at last…

We started this year with another Cup Victory, albeit less important and prestigious.

However, and despite a good summer transfer window (Debuchy, Chambers, Sanchez, Welbeck, we are really struggling to hit heights in the EPL and are performing ok in the Champions League. The question is why?

Is it due to the fact that our club seems to attract injuries to key players like vodka attracts the Russians? Is it due to the fact that some gaps in our teams were not addressed during this summer (CB and DM)? Is it due to the fact that some players are just below par most of the time (Ozil, Wilshere)? Is it due to the fact that our game is too predictable and horizontal and does not have enough verticality to it? Is it a bit of everything mentioned above? I cannot answer as it is too early in the season.

However, I see that our main rivals are doing well:

– Chelsea seems stronger than ever and are comfortable on all fronts, at home, away and in the domestic and European cups;

– Man City is still struggling in Europe but is strong in the EPL;

– Man Utd is ahead of us despite disastrous start and embarassing defeats;

– Liverpool is level with us despite a heavy outcry about the lack of results since the beginning of the season and same with Tottenham.

So my questions are as follows:

  1. Did we just get used to playing second fiddle to Chelsea and the Manchester teams?
  2. Are we in a crisis already? And if you believe so, what shall we do to address this situation?

Written by RC78

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148 Responses to Are we already on course to another season fighting for a 3rd or 4th place finish?

  1. shamus says:

    Yes

  2. Arthur Albone says:

    Yes again!

  3. RC78 says:

    what about an answer to the first question at the end of the article? 🙂 Did we just get used to being behind Chelsea and Manchester teams? If so, is that why I do not sense any outcry for our lack of results so far on this forum?

  4. RA says:

    Kelsey,

    Just popped back for a moment as I belatedly saw your final comments on yesterday’s Post.

    You may have misunderstood me, O Great Crystals, I was trying to make a positive suggestion to help you voice your concerns.

    I did not say you were wrong, and I too am a bit mystified at why we seem to stick with what are unsuccessful tactics against Chelsea and others, but maybe it needs you to put your thoughts down for everyone to respond.
    [In fact, the FBs did not go marauding upfield as much as usual against the Chavs, although for their second goal everyone except the CBs who were close to the halfway line, were all in the Chelsea half chasing the equaliser – and the inevitable happened.]

    You have a wealth of experience and an in-depth knowledge of the club that would be invaluable in discussing where we are and where you think the club/manager should be going. 🙂

    Laterz.

  5. shamus says:

    Yes!

  6. RC78 says:

    I see a lot of “yes” and no sadness, just resignation…I believe it is really sad to be content with 3rd or 4th given the fact that we are AFC!

  7. kelsey says:

    Sorry RC78

    I didn’t know your post was going up today.

    I am a moderator but can’t even get behind the scenes and now have to log in every time I comment.

    I expressed my feelings earlier this morning so apologies.

    What is the answer is the $64000.00 question. Most probably nothing dramatic will change from Kroenke down to the tea lady 🙂

  8. GoonerEris says:

    I think it was instructive that our fans acted relieved, rather than peeved, at losing yet again to the chavs. Maybe, we have just accepted they are the favourites, which isn’t a good thing. Still, it is early days yet. Other than City and Chelsea, neither United nor Liverpool has played as many top teams as we have. Next 4 games should see us get all 3 points, then we can see where things stand by mid Novemeber before the dash into December. We must improve results against the top sides though.

  9. arnie says:

    Lovely job, RC78. 🙂

    NO is my short answer. Agreed, at the moment, we are not as good as the Chavs. However, we are as good as Shitty, and yes, the gap narrows after that, but the likes of Pool, ManUre and Spuds are behind. The Fat Sammers as well. 😛

    We play with a smallish and younger squad. This is to develop our own players rather than buy success. Now, this may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but personally I like the fact that we play this way. This is not mainstream, so we get a lot of brickbats from the journos, and bias from the refs. So be it, then.

    The way we play, however, honestly we cannot win the PL. Fight for it, yes, be in the challenge till the last, yes, but it will take enormous luck to nick it at the end. Our best bet for silverware is therefore cups. And we have started winning these.

    Why should the Community Shield not be a big trophy. It is to decide the better of the two teams, the PL winners and the FA Cup. Now, just because we have won it, ex post, we look down upon it and say: ah well, if it was Chavs playing Shitty, it would be different, but really it is only Arsenal, and we know we are shiite, so it does not count? Frankly, sometimes I feel we fans are our worst enemies. 😦

    Anyway, rant over. The next frontier is CL. Yes, we can! And we will! On with the show. COYG. 🙂

  10. GoonerEris says:

    *all 3 points in each of the games*

  11. Evans says:

    Our centre bak problem is not solved, mertasacker cant ran afta de ball yet plays his opponents on de line. De potholes in de team is still not filled esp de centre back.

  12. I can’t agree more with this article. Even if address the obvious reasons such as DM and cb. It is not a given. I wish I knew but I don’t have the inclination. What I like to see is a new style of play. We should emulate Colombia. We need to pressure high up the pitch, put in those winning tackles and break with pace. We should go into a Match with our existing style of play and conform to the situation should it need a change of style. Viera petit, edu and Gilberto . That group takes any beating and powers thru. There was a time that we go into match knowing 3 points is in the bag now we are far from it. Arsene wenger with all his brilliance never replaced the guys above even by investing in youth.

  13. Evans says:

    We only play 1 centre back if mertasacker is playin, cos hez nostly not part of de game as our opponents know he cant ran so uses his side esp in the 2nd half. He is even too old to b playin all the matches we need young n aggressive defenders. Wenger is realy takin our team to the back.

  14. Norfolk Gooner says:

    ‘morning all,

    Last question first, in my view we are not (yet) in crisis. However, for those who feel we are I suggest they join me in a darkened room and together we can meditate on the vicissitudes of modern football fandom.

    All together now….Ommmm, Ommmm, Ommmm.

  15. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Hi RC78, very nice post.

    This is my take, and its no joke, ime been deadly serious.

    Our problem is we are actually to good.

    if fouling and cheating were removed from the game, we would win the Premier league easy.

    Everbody sets there stall out against Arsenal. To foul, cheat, and play a lot of the game defensively because they know that’s the only way to get a result

    The only team that would currently come close is Man City, but if there central midfielders and Kompany are now longer allowed to foul, they would lose points.

    Chelsea would be relegated

    So the question is, how do we become less good?, if you like, go down a level?

    The transfer market is a possibility. Shit players like David Price or Brian Talbot, though shit individuals, are very good team players,

    However, I feel the key will come from within. Eventually, our players, especially the younger ones, will go down faster than Julian Clarey, periodically forget there talent by kick lumps out of someone, and relish squeezing an opponents balls.

    It will happen. Age and experience teaches you to be more cynical

    In my youth I believed my disco dancing talent was enough to win first prize, but eventually realized sticking a pin in my opponents shoe, or anonymously phoning that his wife was spotted leaving Big Johns house was a better option.

    The Ghosts of the Thirties are Stirring

  16. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Ah! That’s better, even Terry’s deadly serious comments can bring a little light relief on such a doomy day. Thank you o great syrup wearer.

    Here’s a bit more:-
    A man was lying in bed with his new Thai girlfriend in a hotel in the Thai resort of Kol Samui.

    After having great sex, she spent the next hour just rubbing his testicles… Something she loved to do..

    As he was enjoying it, he turned and asked her, “Why do you love doing that so much?”

    “Because,” she replied, “I really miss mine…”

    Brings a tear to your eye, doesn’t it…

  17. chas says:

    Cheers, RC78.

    I think I agree with your “I cannot answer as it is too early in the season.”

  18. RC78 says:

    I am a true believer in the 4-2-1-3 system that AW has been trying to establish at AFC in the past years but at the same time, I am really upset when I see that we do not adapt (esp. away) our system and style to beat certain opponents:

    1. The “big boys” (Chelsea, City, Utd, Reds, Tottenham)

    Against these stronger teams, we need to really be tougher and rougher and close the gaps between the lines as well as play with a bit more tricks (joining Terry here) than usual…Maybe we can set up a 3-5-2 or a 4-5-1 with a low line in midfield against these teams and play with a bit more defensive mind at least until we concede a goal (if we do) or until the last 15 mins of the game when we see we have a chance of sneaking the three points…especially away!

    2. The weaker teams (Leicester, Hull, WBA, Burnley, QPR and maybe Crystak Palace)

    Against these teams, we know that they are going to play deep and park the bus. Why not play with two forwards from the start as long as the forwards put the defensive work in? We could play (once he s back from injury) Giroud and Wellbeck together in a 4-4-2 and get rid of one midfielder. You could play Walcott, Flamini, Ramsey, Sanchez – Giroud, Wellbeck against these teams as long as Walcott and Sanchez track back and Giroud and Wellbeck press…We would then have pace and power up front and really mix things up and pressure the opposing defenses…esp at home.

    I really feel that we are not mixing things up enough and that we are not doing enough to break opponent’s plays in big games and that is a costly mistake…imho

  19. RC78 says:

    This would be my team vs big boys away when everyone is fit:

    3-5-2: Szecesny – Chambers, BFG, Kos – Debuchy, Ox, Arteta, Ramsey, Gibbs – Sanchez, Giroud

    Some of you may think it is too defensive and it is but I think that we would be able to block wings and central play without compromising on power and pace…

    or in

    4-5-1: Szecesny – Debuchy, BFG, Kos, Gibbs – Walcott, Ox, Chambers, Ramsey, Sanchez – Giroud

    Now against the weaker teams:

    4-4-2: Szecesny – Debuchy, BFG, Kos, Gibbs – Walcott, Flamini, Ramsey, Sanchez – Giroud, Wellbeck

  20. RC78 says:

    As for the next 4 games, I am not sure we will get twelve points…but I certainly hope so 🙂

  21. arnie says:

    Micky, from the motning banter. I do enjoy Ramones. Perhaps not as much as Sibelius or Janáček, though. 😛

  22. arnie says:

    Next 4 games? My feeling is that we are certainly on course for 12 points, plus the double bill against the Belgians. Must win, anyone? Not me. At least 10 points though.

    Swansea is the tough one, but if we can get through that, we will be well set for ManUre and Dortmund. COYG. 🙂 🙂

  23. Big Raddy says:

    RC78. Thanks for an apposite post. No is my answer.

    MU have played this season ….

    Home to: Swansea (lost), QPR, WHU, and Everton (who should have won if life was fair!).

    Away to: Burnley,Leicester (lost) and Sunderland.

    Only Everton are a top 6 side.

    We have played Chavs, Spurs, MC, Everton and the Leicester team who thrashed MU.

  24. GoonerB says:

    Good questions RC78 and no we are not in crisis IMO but similarly we will not win the EPL this year (I would love to be wrong and have egg on my face).

    I believe it is a combination of factors. I don’t like knee-jerk toys out of prams responses to defeats. Sunday’s defeat was through very small differences and fine margins and our early fixtures have been tougher than many others. Similarly I don’t like knee-jerk euphoria to a win as if everything is fine after that.

    We are somewhere in-between IMO so I can see positives and negatives in defeats and wins alike. The best we have played this year was against Man City. The overall performance deserved a win but they are a top side and any schoolboy errors made and they will hurt you. We made the errors and that is what happened. Were the types of errors made new or is it going over old ground that should have been addressed by now?

    Was being a serious challenger for the EPL this year a realistic expectation? I believe it was but we stopped just short of the 1-2 extra players needed to make that happen. Did we and do we have the resources to get those players? I believe we did and still do so that for me is disappointing. We didn’t get those players so for me we can’t realise our full potential this year IMO.

    We will now have to wait and see whether the right players come in in one of the next 2 TW’s. I liked a combination of Barba’s and Cockies assessment of us and Arsene yesterday.

    I will always be an AW fan and recognise what he brought to us initially and how he has sacrificed himself to see us brilliantly through the years of financial austerity. As Cockie puts it phase 1 and phase 2 of AW’s reign.

    As Cockie then mentions we are into phase 3 where we should have enough financial resources to compete for the top prizes again. I make no apologies that I want us to challenge (seriously) for the EPL and ECL. That is not being a spoilt brat in my mind just that AW has done brilliantly to bring us to this point and I feel the club now is in a position to push on even further and win the top prizes again.

    IMO AW’s mindset and philosophy is still an issue. This is just opinion and speculation because none of us are on the training ground and in the dressing room so we don’t really know what he does and doesn’t say or work on with the players. Looking from the outside though when I watch us and tally it with any failings we have observed in the last couple of years I would say the following :

    1 He still has a penchant for overly collecting a certain type of small technical ACM.

    2 We are unbalnced as a squad through having too many similar players. this results in trying to get them all onto the pitch together and playing some of them not in their strongest position.

    3 It doesn’t look like we spend enough time on how to defend / shape ourselves without the ball and all or most of the training is about us with the ball. When I observe teams like Dortmund and Chelsea they look better coached in these areas.

    The last point is salient for me because I think we are in a football age where the best sides do both very well. I also think that spending some time coaching and improving our shape without the ball doesn’t have to be at the expense of a downturn in our attacking play. In fact I feel we will become even better offensively with an improvement in how we play when not in possession.

    For me we can win the EPL and ECL if :

    1 We bring in the right couple of players to complete the squad.
    2 AW balances the squad and always plays a balanced team (that may require some ruthlessness in letting certain players in positions we are overloaded in go).
    3 We get the long-standing injury issue sorted out.
    4 We improve our shape and discipline when not in possession.

  25. Big Raddy says:

    GB. Reading that comment will take me through to tea time!

  26. RockyLives says:

    Nice one RC-nal

    We made a lot of changes in the summer, plus more changes enforced by the spate of injuries.

    We’ve also had a tough run of games, broken by inter lulls, so it’s been hard to get our groove going.

    I feel we can compete for the title (potentially). This next run of so-called ‘ease’ games will tell us a lot.

    If we start getting wins and the team starts gelling there will be every reason to be hopeful.

  27. GoonerB says:

    Excellent Raddy. I will not be back on till tea-time so I can see your response then.

  28. Pat7 says:

    Great post and follow-up RC78 and detailed comment GB!

    I don’t see us in the mix for the EPL though think we have enough for third but that depends on our injuries. We will see what the damage is to out points compared with ManUre etc as we come into the next transfer window.

    I also don’t know what is in AW’s mind but see these holes in defense which desperately need filling. If these are resolved a lot of the midfielders and attack can focus more on moving forward with handbrake off rather than always being in a defensive mindset which is what i see at the moment.

    We still need a leader out there and some (big maybe) agressive players as just looking at the Chelsea or ManC lineups is scary in some way, especially when the refs are in old mode like the (mainly crap) ex-player commentators that see ‘red card all the way’ tackles as ‘robust’. In both our ‘big’ matches, they should have been down to ten men early but got off light as ever! Repetitive fouling to stop our counters go unpunished in the main, as does the rotational fouling on our best players. Unfortunately Ozil does not come i to this category as they know an early bump or two in the ‘big event’ are enough to put him off, especially if he is not in the centre – psycholgist and some firm man management required there I feel.

    Let’s look to the street-fighters for our recruits: South American/ African seem to be the best at that as they are all used to taking punishment without need for the sickbed – just look at Sanchez’s influence and Costa – took an elbow in the jaw from Flamini and no problem came back for more. Germans are the alternative if enough to go round :-)). That’s my effort for the day…..

  29. Pat7 says:

    Raddy, thanks for your info yesterday. I bought some B&Ws off Amazon for £129 (as new) so hopefully they will do the job. I can hang upside down listening to my music or more likely spiritual education/affirmations without then slipping off and in perfect clarity. I did try out the Bose’s and sent them back some years back – could hear all the background noise so not worth it.

  30. stevepalmer1 says:

    Afternoon all,
    I would like to say nice one 78 but I feel you are saying there is something wrong with us

    Away to Chelsea I thought was going to be tough? I feel we all knew that, but I don’t see our 2.0 defeat as a downer, I felt we played good but I felt the refs decisions went against us as normal

    When you talk about injuries, I feel that with tackles like Cahills on Sanchez was treated far to easy and had the ref had the balls he should have, I feel the result would have been overturned,

    I feel Arsenal are far better this year and when we really get started even the refs decisions won’t hold us back

  31. Pat7 says:

    Steve, there is something wrong with us: tactics, formation shift, subs use/choice, gaps in capability/numbers, technical feedback assimilation and competitor preparation…….getting up to speed in all this when lower teams have most of this but not the money/level of players yet (Leicester).

    Yes, we are better in some ways than last year but we are on a knife edge….

  32. Pat7 says:

    The last paragraph was a reference to potential send off of Kos, Chambers and certainly Welbeck in the recent game…if the ref had been really mean!

  33. Big Raddy says:

    I don’t like the “If” game.

    AW didn’t buy what every man (plus Peaches and Eddie) and his dog knew we needed. There may well have been extenuating circumstances but as he refuses to explain himself we will never know.

    My serious concerns are much like others – the size of our midfield and the similarity of their styles of play.

    I do not see the point in keeping both Campbell and Podolski. Campbell was at his most valuable post-Brazil and if we are not going to play him he should have been sold – especially with Theo due back.

  34. Big Raddy says:

    Pat7. You got a brilliant deal – I paid double!

  35. Big Raddy says:

    GB. I agree with everything you write especially your numbers 1to 4.

  36. Shard says:

    My answer to both questions at the end is the same. No.

    In fact, if the answer to 1. was a Yes, there wouldn’t even be such a question being asked. Our problems stem from the fact that as a fanbase, we haven’t adjusted to a post-Invincibles world, and that we take all we have achieved, pretty much for granted, ‘because we are Arsenal’.

    It doesn’t work like that. I haven’t given up on the title this season, but is it really a loser’s mentality to accept that clubs with years of spending 100’s of millions are likely to be ahead of us right now? I want us to win, I don’t expect us to win, because I understand that results are beyond the complete control of the team. I was upset by the loss to Dortmund. I was upset by the draws to Leicester and Spurs. I am not upset by a close loss to a Chelsea team who get to play dirty and happened to have a couple of key moments that helped them win, because I thought we played well. There used to be a time when losing to a better team was acceptable. Now it seems it is unacceptable that there should be any team better than you ever, regardless of the reality of the situation.

    I realise this is not what the post was saying, and thank you RC for writing something to fill in the boring days between football, but I really feel drained by this circular debate every time.

    We’ve only just entered a new era. Now is not the time to feel jaded and crib about same old same old. If a crisis is going for 3rd or 4th every season, then that suggests that we’re a little spoiled. All of us. When I groan about a misplaced pass by our players, I forget that I am amazed while watching some other league games about how easy we make the same passes look.

    The next few games are where we need to now step our game up though. I will be worried if we don’t start regularly picking up wins and scoring some great goals, and keeping clean sheets. As of now, I think we’ve had a decent start, with a few minor setbacks, and while the table is all important, I think it does not accurately reflect the fact that we have improved the side.

  37. RC78 says:

    First of all, thanks for your contributions to this post.

    BigR + GB – great comments
    Pat7 – good comeback to sp1 🙂

    I think that many of us feel short-changed so far as we have the impression that
    – we have a stubborn coach but that is great at the same time;
    – we have a talented yet somewhat unbalanced squad but did have the ressources to address this issue and still did not …

    As some of you pointed out, we have a lot of similar players in the squad and that obviously needs to be addressed. We need to get rid of some of them and keep only the best. We also need to strengthen where we are weak or just short. And we have to do all this by giving young lads a chance and also by ensuring fincancial sustainability, not easy task…We need basically 25 Players + 3 youngsters in our squad to be competitive and at the moment, we are short of a few players to have a competitive squad and here is my current squad of competitive player:

    2 GK – Szecesny, Ospina 🙂
    2 RB – Debuchy, Chambers 🙂
    1 LB – Gibbs
    2 CB – BFG, Kos
    1 DM – Flamini
    3 CM – Ramsey, Wilshere, Arteta
    2 AM – Ozil, Cazorla
    4 Wingers – Walcott, Ox, Gnabry, Sanchez
    2 Forward – Wellbeck, Campbell
    2 ST – Giroud, Podolski
    ————————————————————-
    21 competitive players so we are four players short imho:
    – 1 LB
    – 2 CB
    – 1 DM

    For the rest we are covered and we can definitely sell or loan out the players not mentioned in the list above…

    Our starting XI is hence quite good but our bench is thin and our young players are not good enough to start in the EPL for sure…except Chambers and Gnabry.

    With that said, I do believe that we are not far from being in a crisis especially if we do not collect 9 points from the next three points and ideally 10 to 12 after Liverpool game…

  38. RC78 says:

    Shard – I understand where you are coming from but then again, I do believe that:

    1. Yes – we have improved the team but still need some strengthening, especially in defense department;

    2. Yes we played well for most of the game vs Chelsea but we still lost and that puts us out of reach to the EPL title only after 7 games…

    3. Yes we must continue to cherish and support our squad and see the positives but we still need to voice our discontent if we consitantly fail to beat the big boys on domestic and european pitches…

  39. RA says:

    Shardo,

    Good comment. I tend to buzz around the other blogs in a number of guises, like an Invincible, to get a feel for the temperature of the average fan – and although I should have said ‘like an invisible’, above, the fact is that the ‘wrong’ word better suited me.

    You see, it is so much easier to love and forgive, not that the latter is ever really at issue, than it is to hate and disparage, it makes me feel quite sanguine, at peace, and, yes, invincible in the face of the barrage of hostility that is hurled at one when trying to repudiate some of the nonsense with which the boss is lambasted.

    I’m with you Shard that all these over-reactions and emotions when we lose a game produce the same old, same old recycled comments we have all become somewhat inured to.

  40. RA says:

    Sorry, RC78, I should have thanked you for an interesting and ‘different’ Post.

    Well done for taking the time to fill the Post gap. 🙂

  41. RA says:

    RC78,

    I wonder if I might offer an alternative to your comment at 3:01.

    -‘we still need to voice our discontent if we consitantly fail to beat the big boys on domestic and european pitches…”

    The fact is we do not ‘need’ to voice our discontent. In reality, of course, many fans will need to do so to get the disappointment off their chests.

    But in reality all they are doing is venting their frustration for their own benefit and not for that of the club, or fellow supporters who feel differently.

    In addition, isn’t it a form of delusion to imagine a whupping from a ‘big boy’ club is infra dignitatem for a club like Arsenal, and yet if meted out by Arsenal to another club is the epitome of our great footballing qualities and not at all demeaning?

    Maybe I am being argumentative? 😀

  42. RA says:

    I had better go again. 🙂

  43. Bayonne Jean says:

    RC78, interesting post and interesting lineups.

    Noticed the absence of both Santi and Ozil in these setups. What’s their roles in the EPL? Reserve them for teams that are neither strong or weak (e.g., Everton, Southampton, and …..)? Would you really expect AW not to start Ozil for a majority of EPL games?

    Is there a hidden message here? To balance things out, sell one or both — Ozil to a Bundesliga powerhouse for 30M and cut your losses? Santi to a La Liga side at a slight profit?

  44. stevepalmer1 says:

    Evening all, at work for my first comment and unable to follow Pat up.
    Pat we all have our own opinions, you obviously feel that Wenger or Bouldy maybe even Kroenke arfe responsible when we lose. Personally i don’t see this present side as an Invincible squad, but having said that, i see no reason at all that we cannot win the league or Champions league or the domestic cups.

    What i am starting to see with the Arsenal is commitment, chaseing back and even challenging and on Sunday i saw even the smallest players jumping for headers, now that i have not seen for an age,

    Quite rightly we are not the finished article and yes we have flaws, but Money has started being available and seeing 2 marquee signings in consecutive windows, plus a few very decent signings as well fill me with a lot more confidence than i have had for some while.

    78, please don’t think i was knocking your post, maybe i don’t always agree with the Author but i still appreciate what he or she writes for us.

    The Arsenal are on the up, of that i have no doubts, can we win all those comps, the chances are probably against, but if i tell the truth we could, and i feel positive that this squad is slowly gelling, Heart is what teams need heart and willpower and belief, Wenger will blind these players with science and psychology, and it will work on some, but others may need to understand in other ways

    Anyone who has played or competed in a competitive sport, will understand what i am saying, what floats one mans boat will not another Each persons goals are different and motivation works in strange ways, but at the end of the day when it all comes together, its not how or why, just trophies.

    I feel we still have a few players who i am not keen on but that will always be the case, many want HM’s where Wenger doesn’t and if he doesn;t the chances are we wont get one .

  45. stevepalmer1 says:

    Many supporters understandably felt that the defeat to Chelsea was another nail in the Arsenals coffin. If somebody had asked me which Chelsea player i most admired, i would probably have said Edden Hazard.

    This is a very talented player who i would have loved to have come here. Now this player is not only a wizard on the pitch he also has a brain.

    Before the match when asked Hazard said that he feels as if its a complement when he gets foul, but what he didn’t say was that he is a master at getting opposing players booked.

    For the penalty which we all agree’d was clear cut, he had pre planned in a split second, Yes he was jinking like the master we know he is but he made sure the contact was made and then a 4 or 5 roll over clutching the leg he left in. That’s how i saw it.

    For Calum Chambers yellow, yes Calum did put an arm out but he pulled it back in as he knew he could still catch him but Hazard made an unnatural sideways step in the path of Calum and as soon as contact which was inevitable he went down like a ton of bricks.

    Now call that what you like, Clever play or tactical bollox, but i felt he was cheating fellow professionals with intent.

  46. Big Raddy says:

    SteveP. I actively dislike the French slime ball, primarily because AW tried to sign him and he went elsewhere.

    Could Draxler go the same way?

  47. Big Raddy says:

    Have a listen to this…. this woman is a freak. The section after 3.15 is remarkable. Not sure I like it but impressive nonetheless

  48. stevepalmer1 says:

    evening BR, Although i would have liked him here, I don’t like some of his antics but i said the same about Suarez but both players could really help you win things.

    I must admit Wenger foxed me a bit leaving Ozil on, whats your take on that BR

  49. Pat7 says:

    Steve, i don’t know who is responsible for the team other than the manager unless said manager is under restraints which we hear he is not (any more).

    I was not surprised by the result at the weekend – i would have taken a draw at the start as i thought we would be beaten. Chelsea are too strong in the ‘professional’ area let alone the talent and knew Moanio would be quite happy with a dull draw but ideally would take another win if AW played his normal game.

    As an elite competitor myself for 36 years i do notice surrounding factors. While Ferguson was changing his assistants regularly to get the latest ‘technology/thoights onboard, AW stuck with Pat Rice amd now Steve Bould who is old school too. Nutrition, training, stats amd their interpretation all play their part as well as tactics, squad rotation, motivation etc.

    I don’t know the ins and outs of these as regards our club but i can see like any other onlooker the lack of tactics, motivation, players played out of position, deficiencies, non-rotation, and some of the substitutions leave me exasperated, sometimes by their lateness, sometimes by their removal of the wrong players IMHO. I am not a football expert. I am patient and have been and i still see progress but i am well aware that as club with lots of money in the bank we have taken ridiculous risks and they are /have cost us the title already it seems – we will see.

    I can accept that if that is what plays out but i just want the best for my team, like you all, and place these points before you for discussion but we DO have to get up to date!

  50. stevepalmer1 says:

    Evening Pat, you do make good points, and although i often side with the manager, your points are very good. I also feel that we should keep up with modern times, and having spoken to you before, i know you know your stuff.

    I have to agree that substitutions do come after the horse has bolted on many occasions and i also am not happy with that. Bouldy i must admit doesn’t seem to be any better than Pat, i would like to see a pro active No 2 Steve probably throws a few fuck and blinds about after a game, but seems quite muted on the bench.

    Now i know you know a lot about equipment and the latest training aids, whats your view on the new ankle boots, i have never seen a pair up close but i’m pretty sure you would have, do they offer any more protection.

  51. West Ham are above us… and Southampton…. and Swansea… and the fu*k”n Spuds

  52. stevepalmer1 says:

    Evening Northbank its a marathon mate, not a sprint. 🙂

  53. I know that Steve P…. but it’s friggin annoying! we’ll still get fourth. It’s wriiten in the stars, that’s our place ha ha 🙂

  54. stevepalmer1 says:

    Seeing how your a starman Northbank, any trophies coming our way this season.

  55. SteveP… depends on how far you are willing to look up Uranus, Wengers a Libran I think, but the constallation for his year isn’t looking good. His head is already up hisanus 🙂

  56. stevepalmer1 says:

    Northbank you have a way with words mate, but i feel a tingle, i usually get one when i am about to catch a fish, i just hope Wenger doesn;t fish 🙂

  57. Big Raddy says:

    SteveP. I know others will disagree but I wouldn’t even have started Ozil.

    It was always going to be a physical contest which is hardly Ozil’s game. I would have preferred to see Podolski or Ox start. Taking off Santi and Alexis was bizarre unless AW believed Ozil would finally get the ball through to Welbeck

    I think how AW rests Ozil and rotates the squad will become a central theme of the season.

    As Kelsey said earlier, Ozil played 70 mins per game in Spain yet plays the full match in the more combative PL. I think it is affecting him.

    N:B. I am well into a bottle of Valpolicelli so I may retract this when sober 😀

  58. stevepalmer1 says:

    Hiya BR, Don’t think Ozil is suited to our league myself, but i have listened to many supporters who seem to think he has the qualities.

    Now i did what Wenger said and watched a couple of replays and concentrated on Mesut, now i must admit i did see what Wenger was saying but i have to confess i haven’t done it on anybody else, i am now imagining it would be the same on who ever you watch.

    Wenger using Psychology perhaps maybe i am not intelligent enough to see that, so i am sticking to normal play and i dont think he is cutting the mustard.

  59. Gööner In Exile says:

    Evening all, interesting debate today, well done RC78, I have to first disagree with one of your later comments, we simply haven’t got time to shift formation between 3-5-2 then 4-2-3-1 or whatever, we have to have a system and personnel that fit in that system.

    Maybe one of City’s problems in Europe is that they try to change too much from PL to CL, Maureen has a system, he uses it in all games, the only difference is how much freedom the attacking players are allowed.

    Rodgers earned a lot of plaudits last year for setting up his team for each given opponent, Martinez too, no surprise with only 2 days training between games this method starts to fail. When you have no European föötball you can drill for 5 days between games.

    The same with International Breaks, one of the reasons the “smaller” clubs get upsets after Interlulls is not just the travel time of their opponents but the fact that they have had 10-12 days training at their club being drilled on how they are going to play their next match.

    Ive pretty much asked myself the same question for three years, and I would really like to see a good answer:

    How do you get space in behind a parked bus? And hence how do you exploit that space with pace of there is no space?

    Basically why do teams defend so deep against us and not against say ManUre or Liverpool or is that just a figment of my imagination? I’m not necessarily talking about big teams but the likes of Stoke, Palace, Villa. Everyone behind the ball and hope to counter.

    We could obviously play the same way but I fear we would end up with a lot of goalless draws. The other team if disciplined will just stay back. We have to force the issue. One way is endless crosses into the box, worked a bit when we had Oli fit. But defences still didn’t really come towards us. Shooting from distance is another tactic, but often the ball is just gifted back to the opponent.

    So can some bright spark tell me how we can try and create space in behind to win games without over committing men forward against a park the bus side?

    Il also pretty sick of hearing that Ozil is played out of position and that he only expected to play central and for 70 minutes for Madrid, he is a £42m footballer on a rather large. Pay packet. Do you think Bergkamp would have sulked if he played left wing? Or would he have found a way to influence the game. And maybe we should just sit Mesut down with a pile of DVDs of Bobby Pires, a number 10 who played left wing and took apart many an opponent.

  60. GoonerB says:

    Raddy, have you finished your Valpolicelli yet? I myself am well into a bottle of Sangiovese. We must compare notes

  61. omgarsenal says:

    Very gloomy responses…..but go on Arsenal.com and see Clarke’s game analysis and you’ll maybe understand that all is NOT lost just yet….and we (AFC) are definitely NOT submitting to pessimism. One loss and everybody wets their trousers…..the reality is that losing 4 first team players and getting in 5 new ones so far is a challenge in itself.

  62. GoonerB says:

    GIE, your point about the bus parking and how to break it down is interesting. I have high respect for your tactical assessment of games as well. Could you make that question and / or your comment tomorrows post maybe?

  63. GoonerB says:

    If the answer to my last question is yes then no-one, and I mean no-one, answer GIE. Just say a polite hi to him. 🙂

  64. GoonerB says:

    “Hi GIE”,said GoonerB politely while taking another large swig of his cheap Sicilian Sangiovese.

  65. GoonerB says:

    Bloody hell, I’ve scared everyone away. I guess it is understandable that no-one wants to liaise with a GoonerB with a few Sangiovese’s inside him.

  66. GoonerB says:

    Actually just remembered Micky saying he had suddenly become a genius and he had a post to highlight it. So it is either that or GIE’s tactical teaser.

  67. stevepalmer1 says:

    Idea’s that may make us more productive.

    Calum Chambers to replace mertsacker the reason for this change.

    Mertsacker feels he is a bit of a ball player, but he has no pace so knows that should he get caught out he has no chance of recovery so instead he passes sideways or backwards. He brings the ball out of defence so slow that he gets shut down quickly, and should the ball go back to Czezesney he finds it hard to kick a ball to an Arsenal player and when he does kick downfield we have nobody that can win the ball or control it so we give the ball away.

    Chambers brings the ball out with conviction, he has an eye for a pas and a turn of pace that closing down players back off from. Koshielney works well with Chambers and doesn’t feel he has to cover him as much..

    Full backs should stay in their own halves, should an opportunity arise where a ball goes down the flank Santi, ozil rosiski chamberlain walcott Podolski Sanchez Campbell anyone of those can exploit that opportunity while our defence stays solid.

    Campbell Chamberlain sanchez wilshre and Welbeck should be tried from the start for a couple of games leaving the older players to come on as subs as they find 90 minutes to much of a stuggle and it would work better with tired opposition,

    Now i doubt that those tactics are too simple for most of you, but if we never try we will never know.

  68. 1979Gunner says:

    I would argue that we didn’t deal as we should have in the transfer window.

  69. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Lets put things into perspective. Well, my pespective anyway.

    We have recently bought Ozil and Sanchez. Before they came many gooners would have thought thats what Arsenal need to win the league.

    Now its the fabled midfield beast thats missing

    In addition, this summer we got Frances right back, superboy Chambers, and world cup hero Ospina

    I think our problems are been over cooked.

    Wenger this, Wenger that, 4123 or 4213, play Ozil in the middle, keep the full backs at home, Flamini & Arteta are better suited to stand up comedy etc etc

    Been a nerd of the highest order, since 2007 i have diarised Arsenal fans general mood.

    Just in case I ever pull an attractive bird, I keep it hidden somewere safe. We wouldnt want her thinking ime strange, would we?

    Now over this period the collective mood has swung between “We are finnished for ever”, “FFP is bollox, nothing can help us”, “This Board will never spend any money”, “Tottenham will over take us”, “We will never keep our players” etc etc

    Some of my favourates include getting a brilliant young manager like AVB or Michael Laudrop.

    In summary though the mood has swung from:

    1) Can we ever compete again, one day winning the league?

    to

    2) What do we need to do now in order to win the league?

    That is a massive fundamental shift.

    For me personaly, and of course its just my opinion and have no intention or desire to preach to anybody, the above shift in perception is what its all about.

    When there was once despair and disolushamnet, there is now hope and anticipation.

    Now the general chat is about Arsenes tactics, team selection, and what type of player we should go for in the transfer market

    This suits me just fine.

    P.s. How do you spell Disolusiment?

  70. stevepalmer1 says:

    Terry you come up with some wonderful comments and of course this one is no different, Yes i feel the word disillusionment is the ideal word and you have used it well.

    Most Arsenal supporters only want one thing, and that is to be successful. Many want us to be competitive against what they class as the big boys. What they are actually saying is that they not only want us to compete, they want us to win all the time,

    Wenger this and Wenger that, we can all run somebodies business better than them, but struggle to run ourselves most of the time. Wenger is just a man who just happens to be Manager of the club we have supported man and boy, he has been here for as long as some people have been supporting.

    We expect him, not only him but Kroenke Gazedez and whoever else is involved, to come up with a solution to actually win everything, and if we are honest with ourselves we should realise that that is an impossible task.

    Many supporters are passionate people, they give what they feel is good advice, well meaning of course but when they see their advice not being used, it gets to them, of course they feel as if they have the answer, The trouble is most of the time they don’t understand the question.

    Wenger;s job is like a Rubik cube, if you dont know the solution then its play it by ear, Where most people that start a Rubik cube, they often put it down until it finds a draw in the cupboard.

    Wenger of course, we all assume because he has degree’s in this and that,that he is a very intelligent man, but like the Rubik he may not be able to find a solution.

    What he does though, is similar to a dog with a bone, fiddles with it or chews on it or even play with it like a toy, but when confronted will protect that bone with all his might.

    Why the dog wants the bone in the first place is anybodies guess, a dry old bone that has no taste has no use and could be a painful instrument if broken, does that sound like our Arsene,

    Terry, you are one blogger that people appreciate, your intelligent enough to say the right things without being overbearing, your stories are blinding often more interesting than the subject being discussed but in your own way you use that story to coincide with the subject being discussed. Haven’t a clue what you do Terry but i feel that whatever your ambitions were or are you would be successful.

    As for Wenger, while he’s able, he will fuck around with his Rubik, chew on that dry old bone and maybe, with a slice of luck that last turn on the Rubik may just be the solution, but while we wait, believe it he will still chew that bone.

  71. MickyDidIt89 says:

    RC78

    Thanks for post. Have only read a comment or two, and I will go through everything later.

    First mission of the day is to deal with Chas, and I’m about to play my trump card….drum roll…

  72. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ha ha..you Beatles me, I’ll Phil Collins you.

  73. chas says:

    I love a bit of “Coming in the Air, Tonight”, cheers.

  74. chas says:

    Juvenile and not sure about the Mum test, but funny nonetheless.

  75. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Transplants 12:25 is a post about expectation.

  76. chas says:

  77. chas says:

  78. MickyDidIt89 says:

    He he he, juvenile is perfect 🙂

  79. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Funny, some great clips today Chas

  80. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Thing about that death metal clip is does he need the piece of paper. I’m mean, ok I don’t know what Anal Penetration look like, but ask me to pick about four blokes walking together off a plane who just might be them, and it ain’t going to be hard

  81. chas says:

  82. chas says:

    I think you’re right, Micky, it might be just a little staged.

  83. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Urrrrrr, just looked them up on youtube. Maybe I won’t link to them, what with associated sites that come up next to a video : roll :

  84. Gööner In Exile says:

    Steve chapeau sir, that is a fine comment, Terry double chapeau, that is a very interesting thing about the shift in perception.

    And as for Micky and Phil Collins. I give you:

  85. chas says:

    Haha, I can’t believe you googled that.

  86. chas says:

    Sorry, youtubed that.

  87. chas says:

    I wish Wenger would stop chewing on his brittle old bone and get a new one.

  88. chas says:

    It’s never going to work putting up youtube clips you don’t have to play, is it?

  89. chas says:

    So which one of you two geniuses is providing today’s post?

  90. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Love Micky’s riposte and doubt chas’s affection for the very great Mr P. Collins.

    As to Mr. Astley – be honest – it does get your feet tapping 😦

  91. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Exile

    Genius. “Rick Astley Chas” every time he “Paul McCartney’s Us”

    ROLF

  92. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas

    There are headline post comments from Transplant, Exile and Steve.

    I do think it’s the way to go during the dark days of Interlulldom.

  93. Big Raddy says:

    I was wrong about Astley – it is rubbish

  94. Big Raddy says:

    Chas. That is not funny. 😀

  95. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ah Raddy

    Anyone interesting for dinner recently? 🙂

  96. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I’m not even pushing “play” on that one 🙂

  97. chas says:

    Have you eaten anyone interesting for dinner recently?

    Now there’s a question.

    Who would you eat?

  98. Big Raddy says:

    bastard. I fell for it …..

    Micky. I am having lunch with 35 pilgrims from Singapore. Will report back later

  99. chas says:

    I know Terry was being serious at 12.25 as there was no mention of any ex spud greats like Steve Archibald, Garth Crooks or Graham Roberts.

  100. chas says:

    Haha, I didn’t know Plymouth supporters club had a Singapore branch.

  101. chas says:

  102. chas says:

    I know we all complain about the summer break when it comes, but I was just looking at the fixtures for the end of the season.
    The last prem day is a week later than the FA Cup final was this year and the FA cup final right at the end of May. Bloody international breaks.

    CL final is the 6th of bloody June!

  103. Gööner In Exile says:

    Ahhhh the famous RickRolling.

    My mate had one of those phones with Near Field Technology, his daughter also had one, so he programmed a few chips to take the phone to Rick, and put the everywhere his daughter would put her phone down 😀

  104. Gööner In Exile says:

    Chas that is the downside of UEFAs “everyone should have a chance” qualifying system which has meant so many more international breaks, and this stupid games every day of the week for TV revenues.

    When the governing body is more interested in TV revenues than the football season and fans you have to question where we are going.

  105. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas 7:10
    Genius 🙂 ha ha ha

  106. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Spot on

    For “everyone deserves a chance” read “more cash for us”

  107. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Raddy

    Why would any pilgrim go to Denmark? Any miracles happened in a grotto somewhere near you?

  108. RA says:

    Wow, that has taken me ages to get thru Chas’ vids. Fascinating.

    Morning guys. I think that GIE’s comment earlier is definitely a Post for today, in the absence of all else. 🙂

  109. Eddie says:

    in total absence of football I found this interesting: animal rights activists have filled a court case claiming that he was unlawfully imprisoned for 28 years. They want chimps to have the same rights as humans. All I can say is that if they win the case they want to make sure he has a right to marry – with compensation for 28 years there will be a crowd of WAGS desperate to marry him

  110. RA says:

    But that is the miracle, Micky.

    Having a group of anything or anyone going to Denmark from distant countries has to be worth seeing.
    Even if it is just themselves being ‘guided’ by some Gooner. 🙂

  111. RA says:

    Marry, Eddie?

    Do they believe in marriage? Free love surely is the mantra. 🙂

  112. Eddie says:

    not sure RA. I am not a chimp, but I don’t believe in marriage 🙂

    Something to wind you all up before I go – my mother phoned me from Poland yesterday saying that her cleaner is a liar. The cleaner claimed that her heavily pregnant daughter in law is flying to London to give birth there, so that she can claim child benefit for at least 16 years. Also, they are hoping it is going to be a boy, because they already have 2 girls and a boy will guarantee them an extra bedroom in the council house they are waiting for. They have no intention of living there, they will rent it out and live a life of Reilly in Poland. My mother was completely shocked when I told her the woman was probably telling the truth. And lastely – they don’t speak English yet, but know how to get the most better than you or I.

  113. chas says:

    Apparently, the Catholic church insists the performance of miracles is an essential qualification for elevation to sainthood.

  114. chas says:

    I’m reading a book at the moment that has the word ‘bombilation’ in it.

    Does anyone know what it means without looking it up?

  115. MickyDidIt89 says:

    The Life of Chubby Akbomb?

  116. MickyDidIt89 says:

    What a superb word. Yes, I had to look it up:

    http://wordsmith.org/words/bombilate.html

  117. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas
    What book has that word in it?
    A World Without Bees is very good.

  118. RA says:

    Not me, Chas.

    But discombobulate springs to mind, which is what your question has done to me. 🙂

  119. chas says:

    Ha, it reminded me of that hideous droning spud song which sounds like a 45 played at 33rpm. 🙂

  120. chas says:

    This tells you which book.
    (I only read fiction for some reason)

    http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-bom1.htm

  121. RA says:

    Eddie,

    I read in the paper last week, that the Polish Minister for Work (?) had appealed to the European Courts that Polish migrants who could not find work in the UK, should be entitled to British unemployed benefits paid to them when they return to Poland.

    Hmm. The British taxpayers are saints (see Chas above) 🙂

  122. MickyDidIt89 says:

    RA

    Maybe an AA Group Tour to Denmark is in order.

    Perhaps we could alert Denmark’s foremost tour guide ahead of our arrival of our group’s specific field of interest, so as to give him time to prepare.

    Any thoughts? Because I do 🙂

  123. chas says:

    ‘To try the patience of a saint’
    I used to hear this expression all the time when I was growing up. 🙂

  124. chas says:

    That book’s leading character smokes ‘ginseng cigarettes’.
    Have you tried these, Micky, and are they any good?

  125. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Great stuff Chas.

    ““She was playing an organ; an old battered thing from which emanated the most harrowing bombilations.””

    Now I listen to my son doing his piano practice at 6:45 on the dot every morning, and he also loves words, so I will be hurling “harrowing bomilations” in his general direction first thing tomorrow morning 🙂

  126. chas says:

    A fine idea.
    You could be Tour bus driver.

  127. chas says:

    😆 Poor Oscar.

  128. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas
    No I haven’t. It’s nicotine I like. Hoping that very soon ecigs will have improved just a tiny bit more and then I’ll quit.

  129. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Not at all poor Oscar. It’s good for him to work away at a challenge, and see through the tough times. Part of his real education.

    The school element is a total waste of time. He is never going to be a professional or corporate company type.

  130. Eddie says:

    so which one is it – micky’s buzzing or chas’s loud noise? Italian version bombilare sounds much sexier

  131. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Wow, Stiff Little Fingers. Remember seeing them Brighton about ’79.

    Also remember not liking them, although in fairness, it was a few days after a Clash gig, and they had zero chance of matching that.

  132. Eddie says:

    Didit – I am going to be late because of you, but cannot resist it – I know a true hippie who took his 3 kids out of school. He had a group of other hippie parents who were teaching them from home. They often worked at the allotment as it was allegedly the best eductiona (birds and bees, you know). They all had long blond hair and clothes from Oxfam. They only had one huge bedroom and no telly, so at night they took turn in telling a story.

    They were absolutely fabulous, intelligent, lovely lovely kids, who are now teenagers, happy hippies

  133. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hey Eddie

    I heard something yesterday that’d interest you. Firstly though, there is nothing good or amusing about any war, however, The Kurds have a group of female (volunteer) soldiers who have gone into battle against IS. The interesting bit is that under IS’s awful interpretation of Islamic Scripture, any soldier killed by a woman goes straight to hell.

  134. MickyDidIt89 says:

    No Son of mine will be a Hippy. Look how Raddy has turned out 🙂

  135. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Actually, now I think about Raddy’s lifestyle (ok sushi dinner parties aside) I think endless holidays and relaxation.

    Mmmm…”Oscaaaaar, come here right this minute. We’re off to the charity shop”

    Right, work.

  136. The Cockie Monster says:

    #WARNING#…..CONTAINS THE “F” WORD !.

  137. arnie says:

    Late motning all.

    Lovely motning batner. The Chas vids were brilliant. However my highlight is:

    Chas: “I can’t believe you googled that … Sorry, youtubed that.”

    I am joining Micky’s bus tour. Even if I have to travel half teh world to do so.

    Circulating yesterday’s fantastic comments great idea for the interdull. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Evonne. I thought civic sense, citizenship, being useful to society not be a parasite would be taught better in the schools in ex-commy ex-Soviet countries. Not only Maths, Physics and Computer Science. Certainly that is the sense I get from students that I see in this country. Having said that, I have not seen that many Polish students, but Ukrainian, Montenegrian, Azerbaijani, Uzbek, etc.

  138. arnie says:

    Micky. I will wait to hear from you when ecigs have become that little bit better. That way, I do not have to do the horrible experiments myself. I tried them once hated them. 🙂

  139. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Peaches/Rasp, Post e mailed to arsenalnuts

  140. VCC says:

    Cockie. Fkcuing hilarious…………..I’m John and my wife is Mary. WTF

  141. Morning all

    Thanks NG, back in a bit ……………………

  142. …………. We have a New Post ……………….

  143. Pat7 says:

    Steve, Just got up to date from all the banter above and listening to Osho 🙂 so to answer your query on ankle boots: i have not seen the actual boots but know from skating that you have more control in the higher boot. Whether that is from the ‘stiffness’ around the ankle bone or just the contact feeling there is debatable as even with a very supple leather there is still a support aspect as can be seen with the special taping of muscles nowadays: it does not support anything but communicates directly to the brain when anything is happening in a micro way…..

    Besides this aspect there is the lesser chance of cuts and bruises that anybody who has skinned themselves in the garden/DIY will know about :-). That little bit of protection is all it takes.

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