Never mind the quality – what about the width?

Yesterday Rasp asked the following question :

Incidentally I’m told by someone who was at the game that we were very narrow in the second half which led to the customary midfield congestion and lack of shooting opportunities – can anyone verify/explain this?

Now we have a player like Welby who is quick enough to get into the box, surely we need to get behind their fullbacks when attacking?

To which I responded with the following :

The balance in our width has been an issue for a while Rasp. How much should come from the FB’s or the more advanced wide players and in what balance are big debates. Have we got the right players for it and the right balance within the squad and who should play in certain positions and who should not? There is tomorrows headline post for you. 

To which Rasp responded with the following :

OK GB, thanks for volunteering – get typing

Now I had signed off at that point to tend to my pulled pork that I was preparing for family and guests (delicious if I may say so), so typing was not an option, but it struck me that how a team deploys and utilises its wide players is a big debating point. The more you think about it the more questions it raises.

The comments of “playing too narrow” and “over-committing our full-backs to the attack” are often stated on here and elsewhere in relation to Arsenal. To my mind this begs the following questions :

  1. Do we use the wide areas of the pitch effectively?
  2. Do we have the right balance in how we provide width in our play between the overlapping full-backs and the more advanced wide players?
  3. Could we improve how we use the wide areas of the pitch and if so how?
  4. Are there other teams that are better at using the width of the pitch to open teams up and should we be looking and learning?

Over to you A.A’ers. These are but a few questions that one could start with to get things going, but please feel free to bring any other aspect or question that you feel may be relevant to our club and how we use the width of the pitch in our general play.

Written by GoonerB


208 Responses to Never mind the quality – what about the width?

  1. GoonerB says:

    Sorry I meant to bullet point the questions. Steve I left you a comment at the end of the last post.

  2. D-Money says:

    I wont try and venture into too many of the questions. The one I feel I can answer is: do we have the players to effectively play with width? The simple answer is yes, whether the manager plays them is a completely different matter.
    1. Ozil< Santi and Rosicky being played out wide (whether left or right) is pointless as they will all inevitably drift in. Ox has also picked up this tendency of dropping in/centrally which is annoying and worrying.
    2. Who do we have that can naturally provide with and has the specific skill set and speed to do so (making room for occasional forays central when opportunity and timing are right)? To this I say we have plenty of options. The best of whom are: Walcott, Alexis, Gnabry, Ox and Campbell. Podolski I leave out as he simply like to drift in too much and almost play as a 2nd striker.
    3. Walcott-Ox-Alexis-Gnabry-Campbell, clearly we have the players, however Wenger PREFERS to play with at least one inverted winger i.e. starts out wide nominally but constantly drifts inside ala Pires, Ozil, Santi, Rosicky etc.
    4.I personally do not think the full-backs should push as high-up as ours do as this leaves us exposed and Per's lack of recovery pace and our lack of a proper DM/HM to fall back between CBs and provide that cover are well-documented. Ergo, I do not think it should be the wing-backs job to provide width, ONE of them can support attack now and then, and really only when we are chasing game, otherwise I feel it's an unnecessary risk considering our CB-DM issues.

  3. RC78 says:

    Excellent post, as always and very relevant as well after our display vs Hull.

    1. Do we use the wide areas of the pitch effectively?

    NO, especially since TW, Rambo’s and HFG’s injuries.

    2. Do we have the right balance in how we provide width in our play between the overlapping full-backs and the more advanced wide players?

    YES, when we have a full and healthy squad only…

    3. Could we improve how we use the wide areas of the pitch and if so how?


    1. Get TW and Ramsey back. OG, bc he polarizes attention of the CBs, is also key to our wider play.

    2. Get the FB to participate more to the attacking game. Let us look at Baines-Coleman at Everton or at Ivanovic-Azpi at Chelsea or even the City and Liverpool Fullbacks. It is quite incredible that our FB hardly score at all and worse, their assists tally is way too limited…Gibbs has the quality to be great on the offense and so does Debuchy. I am not so sure about Chambers, Bellerin and Monreal.

    3. Ensure that the holding midfield and one of the other midfielders have a good defensive discipline when the FB come up and make sure that both our CB are also holding their positions then…

    4. Mix things up offensively. Let us play long balls, through balls, shots outside the area and not only cute link-up play (one-two around the box)…Again, with both FB participating more, we should be able to have more options….

    Anyways, I really think that we are not far away with our favored starting XI to having a squad that can play wide as well but we really need to ensure that our FB are more involved offensively…

    PiG – Debuchy, BFG, Kos, Gibbs – Ramsey, Chambers?, Cazorla – Walcott, Welbeck (or OG), Sanchez

    Our bench players do not offer such width, they tend to go back to the center too often and our back-up FBs do not offer the right offensive skill set.

    Flamini, Arteta, Rosicky, Ozil, Wilshere, Diaby, Geladion are all central mids…

    Podolski, Campbell, Chucks also tend to come back to the center and they are actually better there.

    Ox can play winger but he likes to cut back in as well.

    Gnabry and Miyachi are the only ones who actually can and like to play on the wings…Miyachi is not going to feature so somehow, it is important that Gnabry comes back in the squad as well.

    So in a nutshell, we have the right balance in our fit/healthy first choice starting XI (yes yes, I put Cazorla ahead of both Ozil and Wilshere because I think he is having a better start of the season than both and it is purely subjective) and I am putting Chambers for the same reason (ahead of Flamini and Arteta).

  4. RC78 says:

    D-Money – almost similar posts…lol…except for FB opinion

  5. D-Money says:

    Yeah. Lol. Our FB opinion is not really that different, in theory I would like them to push up, bot only once we have a proper DM/HM and two CBs with decent pace. (not necessarily speed merchants) Whilst we have BFG and the false DM Arteta in our regular starting XI, I wouldnt risk it.

  6. Rasp says:

    Points bulleted Gooner B

  7. stevepalmer1 says:

    Good Post GB,
    The way Arsenal have played all season, and probably for a couple of seasons, by banging on the bus doors, tells us that nothing has been worked out to correct this problem.

    Wenger loves a midfielder or should i say certain types of mid-fielders, obviously he doesn’t go for the Defensive or holding midfielder or else he would have brought one, so what we have is an array of same y type players which none of them can play as a proper winger.

    Arsene relies on full backs to do two jobs, firstly he wants them to be solid defenders, secondly he wants them to sprint up and down the field he wants them to be expert crossers of the ball with also trickery with either foot to pass full backs.

    Arsene doesn’t want a lot from full backs does he, especially when we see Ozil santi the ox and sanchez and all the other samey players bunching up in the middle.

    Horses for courses, want wingers, buy wingers, want a HM buy one if you want width you must have wingers full backs can support but in my eyes full backs should ultimately be defenders not forwards.

    For a team like Arsenal who does not feel the need for holding Mids we should never leave our defence unprotected. Want width buy the right players, Horses for courses every time.

  8. RC78 says:

    Are there other teams that are better at using the width of the pitch to open teams up and should we be looking and learning?

    – Yes and yes.

    Let us just look at Chelsea, Man City and Everton for example. Even Liverpool and Man Utd could be inspirations in this field…

    Debuchy can be as good as Coleman, if not better.
    Gibbs can also emulate Baines (except when taking set pieces).

    If you look at Coleman’s goal last week-end…He is in the box and assisted by…Baines…I would love to see Debuchy score from a Gibbs cross…

  9. D-Money says:

    Baines and Coleman have McCarthy and Barry sitting when they attack. Azpi and Ivanovic have Matic and Oscar/Ramires. Zabaletta and Kolarov have Fernando and YaYa/Fernandinho. We have Arteta OR Flamini…big difference.

  10. RC78 says:

    I agree with you – 100%..Hence the need to play Chambers at HM as I believe he will be better than both Flamini and Arteta until we buy a real HM…

  11. G’day all,

    Nothing like a tactical bollix question to get the conversation going, well done GoonerB.

    Our problem, injuries apart, is the poor quality of our defenders, our two main centre backs in particular. Per Mertesacker’s lack of mobility and Koscielny’s tendency to dive in and give away fouls in dangerous positions leads us to be over exposed at the back. Consequently our full-backs need to be restricted in their forays up-field.

    With Walcott and Gnabry both long term absentees through injury we have been operating without recognised wingers for far too long, so obviously we haven’t been making the most of the space out wide.

    The injury to Debuchy has forced Wenger to use the inexperienced Callum Chambers at right-back, so the lad can hardly be blamed for not providing the width we so obviously lack on that side of the pitch.

    Gibbs’s frequent absences, again through injury, cause the same problems on the left.

    Moving a little further up-field, I think most of us agree that neither Arteta or Flamini are of a sufficiently high standard for the position they fill, so there is added pressure on the defence and so less support for the front players.

    The imminent return of Walcott should bring us some much needed width, if, and it’s a big if, Wenger instructs him to stay wide and use his pace to get behind the opposing full-back in order to put some quality crosses into the box.

    Unfortunately the basic problem will not be cured by the return of a pacy winger, what is needed is a top quality centre-back to play alongside Chambers, a fit Debuchy, and for Gibbs to get over his niggling injuries.

    Lastly Wenger has to sign that defensive/holding midfielder that we have all been crying out for ever since Gilberto left.

  12. Eddie says:

    thanks for the post GB, nice one!
    I read your debate with Rasp yesterday, but I am afraid it’s all too far fetched for me.

    So I am sorry to put a spanner in the works, before you guys get too comfy with each other – I simply disagree with all of it. Football is a dynamic game which outcome is govern by so many factors (including intangible ones like crowd support or family situation of a player) that any complex scientific/semi scientific analysis can only be taken seriously to a certain extend. There are too many variables to write an algorithm.

    The truth is probably much simpler than what you are suggesting – you want to be the best team then you need best players for every position. Ideally your defenders should be able to do their job and be able to score from time to time, your midfielders can be played in almost any position of the field and it would be nice to have strikers that can defend too. All arounders with physical strength and speed in all 10 positions or at least most positions is the my answer to success. Throw in the mix a couple of guys that have brains to move with the flow of the game rather than sit rigidly in their position (like Giroud) and bingo, you are 50% there. The other 50% is still luck, confidence and strength of the opposition.

  13. Eddie says:

    I expect some silent treatment for my outburst, so I am going out, bye 🙂

  14. Rasp says:

    You got one thing right eddie … football is a simple game.

    For the rest of your comment you’ve added 2 and 2 and got 47/8 😛 Arsenal over complicate the game, compress play in the central attacking midfield and struggle to break down obdurate defences because we give them ample time to form ranks.

    Look at the simplicity of Hull’s 2nd goal. Ball out of defence to an attacking midfielder who sprayed it out wide to their winger who took it to the by-line and then delivered the perfect cross which bisected our CB’s so their striker could head it into the back of the net. Quick pass, quick pass, decent cross goal.

    Now I’m not saying you can score every goal like that, of course you can’t – but they had the right players in the right place who knew what to do with the ball.

  15. Oh No! Eddie’s done a Captain Oates. “I’m just going outside, I may be some time”.

    Come back Eddie, why would anyone subject you to the silent treatment? Your comments are entirely valid.

    I haven’t read the discussion you refer to but I’ll add that footballers, well most of them, are human beings just like us. Well not exactly like us Eddie because I’m male and you’re female so…. well anyway their mostly human so have good and bad days just like the rest of us….only they’re paid more. 😀

  16. Rasp says:

    Actually eddie, having just re-read your comment, it doesn’t relate to today’s post at all, but the discussion later yesterday about the use of statistics and the effect of ‘luck’ on outcomes.

  17. Rasp says:

    This thing about luck is a complete red herring. If Raddy’s Napoleon quote about not wanting good generals but lucky ones is to be followed – presumably AW is an unlucky general?

  18. Rasp, in Arsenal’s case luck, good that is, hardly comes into the equation. We used to be tagged “Lucky Arsenal” but in view of the injury situation for the last God knows how many seasons, the blindness of referees to fouls committed against our players and the general misfortunes to which the club are regularly subjected that is an epithet no longer applicable.

    One can almost begin to believe that there is a curse on our club, anyone know of a good exorcist?

  19. RC78 says:

    With a fully fit squad and if we acknowledge the following facts:

    – BFG lacks pace;
    – Kos is quite risk prone;
    – Arteta/Flamini are no HM

    then, shall we just set-up our team differently until we acquire a strong central defensive spine (CB + HM)?

    What if we played at a 3-5-2 or 4-3-1-2 or a 4-4-1-1 or 4-4-2 instead of the usual 4-1-2-3?

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

    4-3-1-2: PiG – Deb, BFG, Kos, Gibbs – Ramsey, Chambers, Ox – Sanchez – Walcott, Welbeck

  20. Rasp says:

    Hi NG, that’s my point, the reason we get so many injuries is not just just down to luck. Anyone who thinks the answer to an ongoing problem is down to luck is simply avoiding addressing that problem.

  21. Big Raddy says:

    Good idea for a post.

    Do we exploit the wings as well as possible? Does any team?Chelsea with Hazard and Schurlle have wingers who cut in. So does Di Maria at MU, Sterling at L’pool. The only real winger is that bug-eyed bloke at City, and he doesn’t play every week.

    As others have written, when we have a fully fit team we are well served from the flanks. The loss of Debuchy was costly from an offensive viewpoint, neither Chambers nor Bellerin are in his class…. yet.

    The return of Theo will allow Ozil or Alexis to work the left flank, or Cazorla or Podolski.

    However, when was the last time we had players who could use the space on the wings? Probably back to the days of Mark Overmars, though Walcott is the nearest thing since then

  22. Rasp says:

    Hi Raddy, I think Gervinho and Reyes were brought in as wingers. The Ox has shown that he can play wide and I think Santi is also useful in that position too. It doesn’t make sense to play the likes of Ramsey, Wilshere, The Ox, Podolski or Ozil out wide when we have players better suited to the role, all they do is get frustrated or come inside where they are more comfortable.

  23. GoonerB says:

    Thanks for the comments all. It was just a little quickie this one to fill the voids between the godfather of posts (thats you BR). 🙂

    What is interesting is many are singing the same tune here (not Eddie obviously 🙂 ), but D-Money, RC78, Norfolk all make a similar observation with regard to our wide play being linked to the quality of our central defensive spine (HM and CB). I don’t disagree with that analysis at all, that with a better HM and CB (pace and power), that we will have more freedom to exploit the wide areas without fear of consequence.

    I also don’t disagree that we should change our tactics slightly until such players arrive. However I don’t see AW changing offensive tactics to accomodate and weaknesses within the team, it has never been his thing IMO, so I think we will continue to see the same problems until those areas are improved.

    Steve also makes a very valid point earlier with the following view :

    “Arsene relies on full backs to do two jobs, firstly he wants them to be solid defenders, secondly he wants them to sprint up and down the field he wants them to be expert crossers of the ball with also trickery with either foot to pass full backs”.

    That for me does summarise how our FB’s are almost expected to be too much too often and don’t always get the right balance of when to get forwards and when to hold defensive position more.

  24. Eddie says:

    GB – it is true that I cannot sing 🙂

    Rasp – read the post again and note question number 2. That is what I had in mind when writing my comment. I only mentioned ‘luck’, why did you pick on that? If I didn’t know you I’d think you are looking for a fight, but given that I am much bigger then you, you are probably not 🙂

  25. chas says:

    Cheers, GoonerB.
    I don’t usually get drawn into the tactical bollix discussions but thought I’d attempt to contribute. 🙂

    We were very poor in the first half hour of the second half and it’s very true that the Hull half was congested to the nth degree.
    Surely this was because they’d scored their second goal one minute after half time and then decided to try and hold what they had.
    I don’t really understand the width discussion in this context because when the bus is parked that familiar horseshoe shaped pattern of passing happens with the flanks just as blocked off as anywhere else.

    As for Welbeck having the pace to get into the box, well that doesn’t really apply when the whole Hull team are behind the ball anyway.

    Here are a couple of maps from Squawka ( because I know everyone loves heat maps etc) that may, or may not, be useful to the discussion. 🙂

    (As a side note, I reckon these stat map thingies can be used to justify one’s own point of view in most cases; even for diametrically opposed views) 🙂

    Arse are the red dots, Hull yellow dots.

    Crossing (a good few of the Arse ones are corners) …… Arse 23 Hull 2

    Chances created……. Arse 14 Hull 2

  26. Eddie – hilarious 🙂

  27. Rasp says:

    Eddie, peaches, yea very clever

  28. Rasp says:

    Chas, hull didn’t have 10 men behind the ball when they scored their 2 goals

  29. chas says:

    Evonne, I also think that on Saturday the result was partly down to luck.

    It was crazy that they went in level at half time with such a dodgy goal.

    On most other days when we create as many chances as we did we would come out comfortable winners.

    One last stat map thingy. 🙂

    Shots…. Arse 21 Hull 4

  30. Rasp says:

    If the opposition park the bus, we have to be clever and draw them out, and hit them on the break

  31. chas says:

    I think you’ll find they did have ten men behind the ball when they scored their first.
    And 9 men behind the ball when they scored their second.
    So, up yours. 🙂

  32. Rasp says:

    Well then we’re just not very good then are we because I’ll bet that none of the other too teams get mugged by them the same way we did. They may have had 10 men mathematically but they were stretched and there would have been gaps to exploit. If not, why don’t the best ‘bus parkers’ win the league every season? 🙂

  33. Eddie says:

    watch it Rasp 🙂

  34. Rasp says:

    Nothing to watch Eddie, this is a football blog

  35. chas says:

    All teams get done by lower teams at home sometimes when luck goes against them.
    It’s when we don’t create chances that I worry.

  36. Eddie says:

    rasp – aha, it is the revenge time – are you telling me I am not allowed to talk bollix with Chas & Micky in the morning? Stop me!

  37. Rasp says:

    talking bollix is fine Eddie – you carry on 😆

  38. Big Raddy says:

    Hull played very well on Saturday and showed why we couldn’t beat them over 90 minutes at Wembley. They have a simple game plan and stick to it.

    As at Wembley, we would have won with a few more minutes play.

    Was it my imagination or did we look much better with Campbell on the pitch? He should play Weds night.

  39. Someone at UEFA made a sensible decision.

  40. Raddy – I was very critical of Campbell after I saw him play in the Capital One cup, he seemed disinterested and lazy but I have to agree with you that he did make a difference when he came on.

  41. One thing that hasn’t been mentioned is the way Hull set about to disrupt our play in the second half. We suddenly found some energy and were enjoying good passages of play when suddenly a Hull player would hit the deck and play would be stopped.

    It must have been a Steve Bruce Special Tactic

  42. Big Raddy says:

    Peaches. They were wasting time throughout the game. Came for a draw and got one.

  43. Eddie says:

    and to prove my point about limited usefulness of in-depth analysis of every pass and cross:
    “Real Madrid’s world record signing Gareth Bale is a doubt for Wednesday’s Champions League game at Liverpool”. That changes the scenario for the Pool a tad, wouldn’t you say Rasp?

  44. Rasp says:

    err no Eddie sorry , I must be thick 😦 how does the fact that he isn’t playing in a game that is yet to happen prove anything?

    Bale is injured, Sturridge isn’t match fit, Pool picked up several injuries during the Interlull. They have (or should have) squads to cope.

  45. Big Raddy says:

    Eddie. Monkeyboy was on the bench at the weekend and Real won 5-0.

    I think they will rest him until El Classico next Sunday.

  46. Eddie says:

    I thought it was obvious – luck on Liverpool’s side, unpredictability of football, unforeseen circumstances – basically what I have already said

    Raddy – Lavante are firmly in the 19th position in La Liga

  47. Big Raddy says:

    loops. Talking bollix. He wasn’t on the bench at w/e!

  48. Eddie says:

    Raddy 🙂 that’s even better 🙂

  49. Eddie says:

    I am surprised that more of you were not impressed by Arry’s outburst last night; I thought he was awesome, I quite like him now

    rattled Redknapp:

  50. Rasp says:

    Thanks Eddie, I get that – but do you seriously think the way to address an issue is to label it ‘bad luck’ and do nothing?

  51. Rasp says:

    BTW Eddie, I also have to admire ‘Arry’s cockney ‘onesty, but wouldn’t want an Arsenal manager saying those things about one of our players.

  52. Oh no, I forgot about tonight’s entertainment at the AST meeting. Too preoccupied with a poorly mouth 😦

    Shall I put up some of the tweets coming out of the meeting?

  53. O-oh they don’t like Kroenke at the Rapids either

  54. Eddie says:

    rasp – I would!! Unless Taarabt pulls himself togeth his career might be finished at 26! Arry’s words will be remembered. Some players have it all too cozy and take the piss.

    luck is only one of the variable in this complex equation with ‘success’ on the right hand side. I have never said that luck is all that matters, quite the opposite. Get best players and you are 50% there. like Shitty and Chavs. They have best players for each position, terrific subs and money to invest in more if/when needed. So 50% boils down to money and the other 50% to factors like luck, confidence and the opposition.

  55. Maybe ‘arry should send him to my health club for a month 😉

  56. Eddie says:

    yes please Peaches, twit along

    Ooh, interesting point about Kroenke

  57. Nothing coming out from Pedro, maybe he’s not there.

  58. Must be a really exciting meeting lol

  59. Eddie says:

    fooking ell, we think we have injuries problem

    Fergie was right slaughtering Nani for similar stants

  60. chas says:

    What the hell is net spent summer 15?

  61. chas says:

    What the blazes is net spent – summer 15?

  62. chas says:

    Why is that in moderation?

  63. Eddie says:

    what’s in moderation?

  64. Big Raddy says:

    Excellent goal by WBA.

    Good start to this game.

  65. chas says:

  66. GoonerB says:

    Thanks to all your comments today chaps.

    My greatest satisfaction was drawing Chas out to discuss tactical bollix. Chas you are now a tactical bollix convert. Tomorrow Chas….zonal marking, I know you can’t wait. 🙂

  67. chas says:

    I tried to contribute GoonerB, but nobody commented on those magnificent graphics at all. 🙂

  68. chas says:

    Peaches was telling me something on Saturday which she was sure I’d already heard and I said it was because I’m getting old and probably had too much to drink to remember.
    Ant said afterwards that I may not have heard it the first time because I was too busy talking to your mate down the other end of the table in The Faltering Fullback . 🙂

  69. Eddie says:

    excellent Brian Cough quote, man of my own ilk, except I didn’t employ bastards, I married them

  70. chas says:

    By the way, looking forward to your second consecutive post tomorrow; this time on zonal marking. 🙂

  71. Eddie says:

    ha ha ha ha 🙂 zonal marking 🙂 🙂

  72. chas says:

    I was just thinking that it was amazing we didn’t concede to Hull from a corner on Saturday with our poxy zonal marking, so I looked up the stats.
    Arsenal 10
    Hull 0

    Maybe that’s why? 🙂

    (apologies for pre-empting your post, GoonerB)

  73. chas says:

    Ah, those AST comments now out of moderation.
    Apologies for the duplication I thought it might have been my use of the word ‘hell’ in the first one one which was responsible. 🙂

  74. Eddie says:

    anyone watching the ManU game? Are they any bad?

  75. chas says:

    It is pretty astonishing that Timmy knows what our net spend is going to be next summer.
    Still, it should be a good TW to look forward to.

  76. chas says:

    Excellent from microphone head, unfortunately.

  77. chas says:

    Similar goal to this one…….

  78. chas says:

    Drone footage from Nottingham

  79. chas says:

    Berahino. Haha.

  80. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Chas, I loved your graphics. They actually made me think that with a bit more killer instinct we would have won 11-2. Despite everything I feel a big thumping is coming soon.

    Anyway I have just binned my whole zonal marking post. I had a unique take on it as well drawn from my experiences in night clubs on Saturday nights in the 80’s while dancing to Kajagoogoo.

    It can get quite complex but the basis of it involves easing in close to the nearest female, but if she turns and moves away from you you leave her for your mate to pick up and make a beeline for the next nearest female in your zone. Done correctly it can be devastatingly effective. All this picking one female and following them wherever they go pulling on their shirt when they try and get away from you is very old school.

  81. GoonerB says:

    Looks half decent that Berahino chap.

  82. chas says:

    Haha, sounds like Terry tactics to me.

  83. chas says:

    Kajagoogoo? What about Wham?

  84. GoonerB says:

    I will give you a free lesson at the full-back next time Chas. Daughter duties, back in a bit.

  85. Big Raddy says:

    I was behind the goal for the PV special

  86. chas says:

    We’re the North Bank,
    We’re the North Bank,
    We’re the North Bank, Highbury

  87. chas says:

    Actually I was sat in Block Z of the West Stand with my old man. 🙂

  88. chas I actually told you outside the Kings Head weeks ago 😉

  89. Sorry I moved away from my laptop is there stuff in moderation still?

  90. chas says:

    Soz, must have been pished. 🙂

  91. chas says:

    Someone released the moderation stuff.

  92. chas says:

    Fine equaliser from Blind.
    Baggies hanging on now.

  93. chas says:

    How could I not remember that you had two gorgeous spuds stopping?

  94. chas says:

    Great game.
    2-2 finish.

  95. Are you going to Sunderland chas?

  96. Is it true that GoonerB is writing another post for tomorrow?


    Cheers GB

    Your the only guy I know whos posts are shorter than your comments. I find that very refreshing.

    It also implys you are a sinister individual, which is also great news.

    We cant make use of the wings. Were shit when we get it wide.

    Our players start feeling uncomfortable, becoming convinced that when showering theres a muscular man staring at them.

    You cant score goals feeling like that. You dare not drop the soap.

    We have to go through the middle, no choice. Thats were our players want to be, they feel comfortable, after all, there all playmakers.

    They are also very clean and smell lovely.

  98. chas says:



    The length of GoonerB’s post/comments made me laugh out loud.

  99. RockyLives says:

    Nice post GB.

    I think we need more width, as Chas’s hottie maps clearly demonstrate 🙂

    ManUre drawing 2-2 with WBA… nice to know it’s not just us…

  100. chas says:

  101. GoonerB says:

    Tomorrows post is this :

    Zonal marking ?…….Discuss.

    I have a 10,000 word comment ready for the post already.

  102. RockyLives says:

    Haha GB

  103. Ok GoonerB that’ll be a No then unless you can rescue a few lines from your comment just to show willing as it were?

  104. Gööner In Exile says:

    Cracking debate starter GB.

    What was the biggest criticism of the team last year? Over committed full backs in the big games, suddenly we stop committing fullbacks and god damn it why don’t our fullbacks get more involved?

    And to compare our fullbacks to Everton’s who to date have a more leaky defence than ours seems a bit problematic for me and symptomatic of the football world we now occupy, we see goals goals goals but not the process of getting there or the effects on the rest of the teams play, except that is for our own which we stare at endlessly and yearn for the quick hits that the highlights of other teams seem to provide.

    In my opinion the whole bus parked vs possession is a massive problem for us but no one has come up with a solution, and i mean a real solution, coax them out? How exactly…offer them sweets to come up to the halfway line? So if they won’t come to us we need numbers to provide a route through, these numbers then mean we leave ourselves spare at the back, so that they can make a four pass move and score a goal, because we are one on one at the back if not worse because our men have gone forward to help the attack.

    So if we think the solution is to stop playing into their hands are we prepared to accept a hell of a lot of goalless draws? Do we think the opposition would be happier with goalless draws or committing men forward and leaving themselves open to a counter attack?

    The reason park the bus teams don’t win the league, is that it doesn’t work every week and it is more likely to get you 1 point than 3.

    Chas Timmy is playing with numbers…the £16m is due on players we have already bought, but i love that he just wants us to spend all the cash in January, very simplistic, its taken how many years to build up those reserves and he wants to splurge it all in January?

    In other news Man Utd’s swingo is as bad as ours, yet most seem to think they are having a better start to the season than us? So far Moist>Butthead.

  105. chas says:

    What about the net spend – summer 15?
    That was the one I didn’t understand.

  106. chas says:

    Also, don’t tell me you do a swingometer for every team? 🙂

  107. Rasp says:

    GIE, you seem to be making a habit of eluding to my comments but subtlety misquoting them and changing the meaning – or am I getting paranoid? I never suggested our width should come from the full backs and my question as to why don’t the bus parked win the league was rhetorical because I obviously know they don’t

  108. Gööner In Exile says:

    I’ve just read that Ozil did his knee passing with the outside of his left foot…….I’m sorry but that is three freak injuries we have had this season already.

    Added to the impact injuries from the rigours of being constantly tripped and fouled…..and then the strain that puts on the rest of the squad as they have to play week in, week out and end up with muscle injuries from strains.

    Its another vicious circle, but how do we stop it?

    And for the conspiracy theorists out there:

    Chas posted something similar recently

    Most fouled in PL – Arsenal 13.9 fouls against per game
    Most Yellows in PL – Arsenal 21

    We are 14th in the table for fouls per game, as a matter of interest:

    Crystal Palace Most fouls per game, but 15th on bookings
    Leicester second most fouls, 13th on bookings
    Stokes reputation precedes them being 3rd and 2nd to us on bookings
    City 8th most fouls per game, 3rd in bookings
    Chelsea 9th on fouls 7th on bookings
    ManUre 6th on fouls, 8th on bookings

    Should we accept this as statistical anomalies?

    Also some other interesting stats:

    Most shots from outside the box: Arsenal

    We are 16th in 6 yard box and 6th in penalty area, which i guess is where our problem lies. Shots on target we lie 5th, and shots per game in total 3rd. Not as shabby as some would make out, but clearly shows a problem with our shooting in general this year.

    According to the positional attacking stats we are very similar to Chelsea and City:

    Arsenal 35% left 31% middle 35% right (hang on that doesn’t add up to 100%)

    Chelsea 37% left 31% middle 32% right (Hazard effect)
    City 34% left 29% middle 37% right (Silva effect)

    We are 4th in Crosses per game and play the most through balls per game.

    The stats are there to amuse yourselves with, I just picked up a few that seem to have been discussed today, as i said in my first comment sometimes we look inwards far more than we look at other clubs and that leads to this feeling that we are trying to be overly different, the stats say otherwise.

  109. chas says:

    Tomorrow’s post right there.

  110. chas says:

    “Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics”

  111. Gööner In Exile says:

    Rasp paranoia 😀

    I am only getting the chance to skim read through the comments at the end of a days blogging see a few things and type away at the bottom of the page, and on the iPhone its difficult to keep scrolling back up to see who posted what.

    The fullback comment stemmed from this:

    “If you look at Coleman’s goal last week-end…He is in the box and assisted by…Baines…I would love to see Debuchy score from a Gibbs cross…”

    Which was RC78

    Chas i think that’s a misprint and they are talking about the £70m spent this summer just gone.

    Sanchez, Debuchy, Welbeck, Chambers should be around that figure, although that almost illustrates the stupidity of the figures, as higher up the table they talk about payments to be made on players bought in the past, so one would assume the same would apply to the money spent this summer.

  112. Gööner In Exile says:

    Chas 😀 knew that would make someone post that line.

    and yes i do a swingo for every team….well thats not really true the swingo has to include every team, well basically i put the scores in a big spreadsheet that automatically does everything else, including giving me a games to play list so that i can play the predictor game 😳

  113. chas says:

    You must take the bookies for thousands. 🙂

  114. Gööner In Exile says:

    Just predicted ours 101 points….Champions 😀

  115. chas says:

    I’ll have a pound on that, boy

  116. MickyDidIt89 says:


    Usual stuff. Well composed thinky style post produces ditto comments.

    Really sorry I wasn’t around for a tactics post as my input would have made a terrific contribution. Also, it’s my favourite topic alongside transfer speculation 🙂

  117. MickyDidIt89 says:


    I was reading through comments as I worked yesterday, just couldn’t afford the time to get involved, however, I spent far far longer staring at the diagrams than I did on anything else. For me, they conjure a plethora of options and I spent a horrible amount of time gawping at the Hull pass that went from one side of the pitch to the other and wondering why on earth did the bloke/machine that created the thing include that particular pass/cross/shot/assist of all things that Hull did during the game 🙂

  118. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Talking of other sports, did you see the results of the world urf tour event in Portugal. Medina blew it, so it goes down to the final event in Hawaii in December. The Pipeline 🙂

  119. chas says:


  120. MickyDidIt89 says:

    An “urf” tour!

  121. chas says:

    Are you talking about the defence splitting assist for Diame’s equaliser? 🙂

  122. chas says:

    I go on an urf tour every Friday and Saturday.

  123. chas says:

    I didn’t see that Medina had blown it.
    I was waiting with baited breath for the daily update.

  124. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Great pic.

    Talking of which, you know my chum the printer, well, someone in Hollywood has unearthed a collection of never before seen still negatives, and he’s got the job of printing them. Says it’s very exciting getting into the dark room not knowing which legend of the fifties is about to emerge before him.

  125. MickyDidIt89 says:

    No. Top chart. Red line from Hull wing.

  126. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ok then, seeing how your breath is so baited, then you’ll be riveted to learn that Slater blew it as well 🙂

  127. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Watching those skateboarders zooming past the cyclists makes me wonder what’s happened to 26 and LB.

    Miss them as post writers, contributors and match goers.

  128. chas says:

    Even after his 540°?

  129. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ooo, you were paying attention 🙂

  130. chas says:

    I miss them, too.
    I was also thinking that there weren’t any comments to ignore from RA over the past couple of days. 😦

  131. MickyDidIt89 says:

    RA will reappear, but you’re right, the moment he does, it’s everyone behind the curtains 🙂

  132. chas says:

    Just had a look at that red line from the Hull wing.
    It was their only other attempt at a cross (other than the assist for their second goal).
    Shame the goal assist wasn’t as poor.

  133. MickyDidIt89 says:

    And finally, the morning session misses it’s resident doomer.

    Morning Crystals 🙂

  134. chas says:

    Proper darkroom printing must be really exciting.

  135. chas says:

    Don’t categorise people like that.
    He’s a realist who calls it as he sees it (in his ball).

  136. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I reckon we had 6 First XI’ers out against Hull.

    Debs, Kos, Mikel, Aaron, Mesut and Theoooo

  137. chas says:

    I’ve gone for a smiling Oasis look this morning. 🙂

  138. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Yeah, I was wondering how many of his lifetime’s daylight hours have been spent in a darkroom.

    Mmmm, seeing him on Saturday, will ask.

  139. chas says:

    What about Giroud? 🙂

  140. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Crap picture. No tourist attraction in sight.

  141. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ollie is now my 3rd choice CF. Yip 3rd 🙂

  142. chas says:

    I don’t know if he’d (or you’d) think it was sacrilege, but I’ve started cutting out some of the photos from his book and putting them in frames.
    The polar bears swimming is my current favourite.

  143. chas says:

    That’s the major oak.

  144. MickyDidIt89 says:

    The Major Oak. Oh ok, that does count.

  145. chas says:

    Has everyone had their members’ pack with the Where’s Wally hat?

  146. MickyDidIt89 says:

    A what hat?

  147. Eddie says:

    I like bobble hats 🙂

    don’t worry Micky, you will get your chance to talk TB later on today, it is Zonal Marking from GB. At long last I might understand wtf is that.

    A little story. As a kid I loved kaleidoscope – I would sit for hours starring at it and having lots of fun. That was until some bastard explained to me how it worked. The magic was gone.

    I love watching footy without any understanding of TB.

  148. Eddie says:

    Debbs 🙂 nice one

  149. Gööner In Exile says:

    No members pack here yet, Harry has had his JGs pack 🙂

  150. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Major Oak? I prefer Colonel Plum

    26 is probably travelling. LB said he was going on holiday but that was some time ago. RA also said he was hanging up his keyboard for a little while. But where is Shard?

    As to Kelsey. Like Gn5, he will return.

  151. Eddie says:

    stupid BBC with stupid questions! Is Darts a sport??!! Of course it is

    Jocky Wilson, my hero and a proper man

  152. Eddie says:

    that’s better 🙂

  153. Ant says:

    Eddie talks the most sense on here! I agree with every word.

  154. Big Raddy says:

    How do I upload a photo into the comment box?

  155. chas says:

    Have you seen this, Micky?
    Sandpaper bats!
    Do you use them when you play wiff waff?

  156. Eddie says:

    Raddy – easiest way is to use twatter – create a twit, copy the image, paste to comment. Or send it to me and I will do it 🙂

    Jocky 🙂 🙂 what a beast 🙂

  157. chas says:

    It looks as though WordPress is now resolving just ordinary photo links.
    So paste the link to the photo (jpeg). Photo must be on the interweb.
    If you’re thinking of posting Icelandic photos, you’ll have to upload them somewhere.

  158. Eddie says:

    thank you Ant, I must say I agree with your 8:57

  159. GoonerB says:

    Morning all, just to let you all know I am at work so if you are all hanging around for a zonal marking post it will not be today, at least not from me. Alternatively we could just use Eddie’s 8.22 “zonal marking WTF is that?” and just discuss.

    Love the skate-boarding vid Chas. Not that i was ever into it but I was taken with the scenery and was wondering where it was taken. Part of me wanted to say Alps but the scenery and houses are very much Norwegian so I wonder if it was from there?

  160. Eddie says:

    GB – you really need to get your priorities right lad!

  161. Big Raddy says:

    chas. How or where can I upload a pic to the web?

    Sorry to be such a luddite!

  162. RC78 says:

    AAers – Anybody coming to Brussels tomorrow? I live in that city and am going to the game. If anybody needs anything, please post it and I will try to help you to the best of my ability.

  163. MickyDidIt89 says:


    A brace of quality hookers, ten spliffs and some whizz. Thanks awfully 🙂

  164. MickyDidIt89 says:


    I wouldn’t bother with attempting the pic thing, it’s a nightmare.

    I opened a twitter account to do just that, simply to put up one Christmas card on here. All that work and I got one thank you.

    It’s the reason I copped a strop and promised to never set foot on here again 🙂

  165. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Following Eddie’s Jockey Wilson revelations, I can see why she finds you a little too spindly.

  166. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. Thanks again for the Xmas card 🙂

  167. Eddie says:

    ha ha ha 🙂 great photo, probably in Micky’s Art category

  168. RC78 says:

    Micky – you are too demanding for me…I could have hooked you up with some quality beer

  169. GoonerB says:

    Is that you Raddy? That is the same picture as the one above Micky’s bed…allegedly…

    Where is that picture taken Raddy?

  170. Eddie says:

    no micky, is not Gorgeous’ physique, it’s my strange attraction to thugs. Now the Gallagher brothers make my old knees go all wobbly

  171. GoonerB says:

    RC78, don’t worry you can normally negotiate Didit down from his demands. As long as you provide him with a cocktail sausage and a Christmas card he will be happy.

  172. GoonerB says:

    Micky, haha, Chas spindly? He has always described himself to me as wiry with hidden strength.

    Eddie I never really saw the Gallaghers in the thuggish sense. I see them more as gobby and irritating. Noel seems a decent sort to be fair but the other one…….I like their music though.

  173. Big Raddy says:

    GB. Yes, it is BR. Taken a few years back at Sydney OH

    I am so surprised I could upload a pic first time out, though I had to upload to my Flkcr account and link from there. Must be an easier method

  174. GoonerB says:

    Eddie @9.44 are you sure that is not arthritis and alcohol (see Chas’ 7.48 video).

  175. Big Raddy says:

    RC. Didit doesn’t drink lager. Just the whizz could swing the deal ….

  176. GoonerB says:

    Excellent Raddy. Now don’t get carried away now you know how to do it. Keep it clean son, keep it clean. Remember this is a family site…

  177. arnie says:

    motning all.

    Fantastic fun yesterday, and I missed all of it. Well done GoonerB! 🙂 As Evonne would say, get your priorities right, son! 😛

    Thank you for the Xmas card, Micky! 🙂

  178. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Good question GB

    “Yeah Raddy, what’s that pointy thing behind you?”

  179. Eddie says:

    GB – I think I can still tell the difference between a gout attack and an orgasm. But you might be right 🙂

  180. MickyDidIt89 says:


    Some things are non-negotiable, and alcohol is for pansies. Mind you, the cocktail sausage….mmmm

  181. RC78 says:

    Whizz, cocktail sausage and x-mas cards can be arranged…

    More seriously, if anybody is in town, let me know and we can either have a quick drink together and/or I can point you to fun spots before and after the game…. Cheers. I could only get tixs with the home fans so I will be going incognito…lol

  182. GoonerB says:

    Hahaha Eddie. If you can distinguish between those 2 you are half way to being a qualified doctor. Anyone got any questions for Dr. Eddie?

  183. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Yes, actually I do have a question for Dr Eddie:

    “Does my requirements list of prozzies and drugs put me into the “bad boy category” and therefore back in contention?”

  184. arnie says:

    Dr Eddie in superb form! 🙂

    Suppose we had proper wingers, which we dont at the moment, but suppose we did. Would we play them as left and right backs? Perhaps that is an OK thing to do.

    But perhaps not. In that case, why do we expect our backline to double up as wingers? And in that case, to be equally efficient in sending crosses as in defending!

    Just asking.

  185. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Here’s my question/starter for today.

    In order to score more, do you need to be prepared to concede more?

    Let’ss face facts. City and Pool did last season and finished 1st and 2nd. They also played the most attractive and exciting football.


  186. MickyDidIt89 says:


  187. MickyDidIt89 says:


  188. MickyDidIt89 says:


  189. MickyDidIt89 says:


  190. arnie says:

    I am not as such extremely unhappy with the way we are playing and the returns from it. Not in the short run.

    My dissatisfaction is in falling behind the likes the ManUre and Pool, thankfully not yet Spuds and Everton (but that may happen soon), so I cannot take pleasure out of the ROLFs.

    For example, I could not laugh at ManUre’s draw yesterday because they are still bloody above us in points. Can you imagine this! 😦

  191. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ok, I’ve sent my wee question in to Rasp as a micro starter. A nibble, if you like.

    It does mean boring people can talk defence, and exciting flare people can talk attack, attack, attack

  192. Big Raddy says:

    Here’s another question …..

    Is there a need to have a post today or should we continue as we are?

  193. Big Raddy says:

    Wow. I got the answer before asking the question!

  194. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Enough time for an iceberg pic?

  195. GoonerB says:

    I think we need a new Didit post. All has gone quiet.

  196. Rasp says:

    Sorry folks, I’ve only just come out of a morning long Health and Safety grilling 😦

    ….. New post from Micky …..

  197. tangkasnet says:

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