Does Arsene Wenger “get” defending?

Arsene inherited the George Graham inspired defensive set up. Dixon, Winterburn, Bould, Adams and Keown had been drilled to perfection, or as near as is possible to get with human beings. With that lot to choose from he could concentrate on his mid-field and attack safe in the knowledge that the backdoor was secure.

Since the demise of those great players, I can recall Wenger signing only one top, top class central defender, Sol Campbell. When it comes to full-backs, Lauren, Cole and Sagna stand out from the otherwise general mediocrity. Yet two of those were allowed to leave with no real efforts made to retain them. With all due respect to Gibbs, his injury problems alone preclude him being considered an adequate replacement for Cole and why Sagna was allowed to leave is beyond my comprehension. Too old at thirty? Utter rubbish!

When we look at recent defensive recruits a list of poor quality signings is revealed, Jenkinson, Santos, Monreal in the full-back category, while at centre-back Mertesacker is limited by a lack of pace, Vermaelen came promised much, got injured, lost confidence and his place, went to Barcelona, where incidentally he has not yet started a game, and Koscielny who has been hampered by the need to cover for Merts immobility and is himself now a long term injury worry. Others include players such as Senderos, Upson, Stepanov etc.

The paucity of quality centre backs over a period of time is revealed by the fact that Wenger has played Song, Diaby and now Monreal in the position, a situation that should not be tolerated in a “top four side”.

All of the above leads me to the conclusion that Arsene just does not “get” defending. I don’t think he “values” defenders. Full-backs have to be flying wingers, centre-backs have to be playmakers and strikers, when in fact the primary function is to defend, defend, defend.

If you are going to buy an Ozil, and play him on the wing, you need a sound defender behind him not someone who is going to bomb forward at every opportunity. If you are going to allow your mid-fielders to attack as a unit you need pacy defenders to stay back as cover. For an instance, for United’s second goal on Saturday, at the moment we lost possession all ten, yes all ten outfield players were in the Manchester half of the pitch, for all the good they were as defenders they may as well have been in a Manchester nightclub.

There were two other significant signings in the summer, Debuchy, a recognised premiership standard right-back, and Chambers a young man learning his trade. Unfortunately just as we were starting to see the quality of Debuchy he got injured, whilst Chambers had a baptism of fire, playing either at right-back or centre-back in almost every game of the season so far. I describe Chambers as “a young man learning his trade”, but what trade is that? A right-back? A centre-back? A wing back? I don’t know and I suspect that Wenger is equally in the dark, whilst poor Callum Chambers must be entirely bewildered.

The January transfer window is approaching, for once we are not crying out for a striker, indeed we may have too many, Podolski, Campbell and Sanogo just don’t get a look in, Welbeck seems to be a fixture, Giroud is back from injury, Walcott is nearing a return and then there is the magnificent Sanchez. We also have ample numbers in mid-field, so let’s bolster the defence, let’s buy a top quality centre-back and, if possible, a right-back, but most of all let’s get the defenders to understand that their duty is first and foremost to defend, defend, defend.

Written by Norfolk Gooner

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197 Responses to Does Arsene Wenger “get” defending?

  1. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Well played Norfolk. Thank you.

    One could argue that Arsene built our best ever defence, hence The Invincibles, however, I’d argue that defending is for whimps 🙂

    Ok then, thinking of our all too often defensive organizational frailties, I’d ask ‘What is “Got no Hair” actually doing?’

  2. Malaysian gunner says:

    If not for GG’s boys,I doubt Wenger could have won
    the epl.This is by no means being disrespectful. The truth hurts.
    Since then the fm’s Achilles heel has been the defence since the GG boys retired.
    Make no mistake. If Wenger plays an attacking game with everyone merrily joining in,don’t be surprised BD could nick a goal or two. The Germans know how the gunners play: pattern weaving soccer all over the pitch.
    That is why the rf said he missed playing Arsenal because Wenger will unwittingly play into his game plan.
    Don’t believe me. See how Ronaldo,bulldog and Drogba scored tons of goals thanks to Wenger.
    Oh I forgot to add Wenger buys defenders who must be able to attack.So these guys have to a certain extent forgotten their defensive part and that’s why the gunners will continue to lose the big games until the fm changes direction.

  3. Rasp says:

    Hi Micky, do you think it is possible that Pat Rice and SB, two of our best defenders of all time and both assistant managers would be happy with our defensive frailty?

    I can tell you now that they do what they’re told and follow AW’s preferred style of play. Cast your mind back to the CL game where PR was in charge pitchside (I think AW was in the stands). We won comfortably, defended well and he was vociferous on the touchline communicating with his players.

  4. kelsey says:

    NG

    You and I are nearly on the same wavelength but I would also include our keeper who is far from convincing. He has already been red carded four times for club and country and though Gibbs was pushed for United’s first goal, there was no communication between the keeper and Gibbs. Szscney should have claimed that ball.

    My other gripe is that several of our defence including defensive midfield are approaching the dreaded 30 year mark.Arteta has been offered a one year contract yet others like Sagna who could play at RB or in defence was allowed to leave,purely for money reasons.Rosicky who lost years through injury is now fit and now doesn’t get game time.

    Working AW out these days is hard work and often quite bizarre,

  5. paulb says:

    Campbell was a free transfer, not a Wenger signing, the truth is he is totally clueless and has been for years

  6. Wally Forbes. says:

    Can you give the name of the C.B.that you would like us to sign,I certainly cannot,in fact all the pundits ,sports writers,journalists cannot either,that is because there isn’t any C.B.’ of premiership quality available right now,and I do not think there will be any either in the transfer window.The best A.W. can do is buy somebody that is a better C.B. than Moreal and Chambers,now that is possible and doable.

  7. Kelsey, don’t get me started on ‘keepers! 😀

    Seriously though, coaching of the entire defense, ‘keepers included, leaves so much wanting that I wonder if any takes place at all.

    paulb, a) didn’t Campbell sign a contract then?, b) wasn’t Wenger manager then? If the answer to both a) and b) is yes, therefore Wenger signed Campbell. QED.

  8. Rasp says:

    Hi Wally, I’m not sure what makes you think you can speak for ‘all the pundits ,sports writers, journalists’ ?

    Ashley Young was the best CB on the pitch when Swansea beat us, but we chose not to pursue him and now he’s signed a new contract for them.

    We probably should look for a younger player at a higher level, but he could certainly have done a job for us. First and foremost, CB’s just need to be solid and to do their job effectively.

  9. Shard says:

    The 10 year table (since the Invincible season was over) shows that Arsenal have played 354 games, and conceded 360 goals, or 39 goals a season (rounded off)

    Chelsea seem to have the best defensive record over that same period, conceding 284 goals, which is 0.8 goals a game or 30 goals a season.

    ManU have conceded 306 goals, at a rate of 0.86, or 33 goals a season.

    Considering that we’ve apparently bought poor quality defenders who don’t know, or have forgotten how to defend, surely the defensive coaching can’t be all that terrible if it’s a difference of only about 6 goals a season to ManU?

    If we look at only the last five years, Arsenal’s goal against goes up to an average of 43 per season, ManU’s goes up to 40, and Chelsea’s to 36.

    City’s meanwhile goes down from 41 to 34. Money having an effect you think?

  10. Wally, there’s that Belgian bloke who isn’t too happy with his lot, plays for the club at the wrong end of Seven Sisters Road, now what’s his name? Oh! that’s it Jan Vertonghen.

  11. Kyle Bartley was one of ours wasn’t he? Now at Swansea and from what i can see, doing quite well.

  12. Who are the CB’s at Southampton…. they are keeping quite a few clean sheets. Perhaps we can poach one from them again.

  13. NB, Bartley has spent periods on loan at Sheffield United and Rangers, and, since joining Swansea, has been out on loan at Birmingham City, now he’s back at Swansea after learning to defend at those other clubs.

    There are a couple more young centre-backs at Arsenal but Wenger seems to prefer playing full-backs in the position instead, he obviously doesn’t understand the concept of round pegs in round holes. Now be careful with that one. 😀

  14. Malaysian gunner says:

    The defence has been a problem.The Russian shareholder has given his thoughts and is right on target. Wenger is the proble m.He thinks he can do wrong since the invincibles.Then he had wc players and an excellent defence.Those defenders schooled by GG knew how to defend. With the fm defence has been consigned to the dustbin.
    He is very lucky to have a tolearnt board but me thinks all good things including Wenger’s luck must run out unless he gives serious thought to improving the defence.Otherwise I am afraid he could be given his marching orders. You can’t be making the same mistakes season after season.At any top club,such underperformance will be severely punished.
    Hopefully in the BD game,the gunners will be more defensive minded and not commit hara kiri. Believe me another loss in similar circumstances will reverberate around the ES and finally nudge the US owner to take drastic action.

  15. Shard, if those six goals cntributed to six more defeats, then they make a huge difference. Statistics? Shmatistcs!

  16. franck says:

    Wenger truely doesnt get defending…though some one said he would not have won any league title if not for the GG defenders,thats not true.he won the league unbeaten with the only surviving member of the GG defenders barely playing 10 games.he got lucky with those bunch of defenders.lucky he got Campbell on a free,lucky Kolo turned out to be better at defending than actual attacking midfield he was signed for,same with lauren.ashley cole was from the Academy,that was it,the rest were terrible,Cygan comes to mind.since Cambell the best defenders he has signed has been Koscielny.its like he doesnt care about defending at all.maybe he needs tony pulis to assist him and handle the whole defensive issues at Arsenal.and there still r top centre forwards in the epl.its just the best of them so far was the one that broke Ramsey’s leg and no Gunner likes to talk bout his quality,Shawcross.he is good.

  17. Shard says:

    You can either say that our players have not been good enough, or that our manager doesn’t know how to get his team to defend. If it is the latter, then fine. But that means he’s managed to buy players, with little to no money, who have done a reasonable job at overcoming his weakness.

    If you say the players are useless, then surely the manager is doing something to still get the balance acceptable, even if not in the goldilocks zone.

    If you say that it is both, his recruitment and his coaching, then I’m afraid the table doesn’t show you to be ‘correct’, though of course it is never ‘wrong’ to say that it could/should be better, which is what makes criticism so easy.

    I’m not saying we don’t need to defend better. We do. I just don’t think it is as bad as it is made out to be, though we have had some terrible matches.

    Plus, why do some people feel the need to reduce Wenger’s past achievements? Graham’s defense won Wenger his title? He doesn’t know defense despite building the defense that went unbeaten, despite having a defensive unit which was built with little to no money keeping pace with the top defenses in the league, a few high profile failures notwithstanding?

    Well by that logic, Mourinho never won his titles at Chelsea. That was Ranieri. It was almost entirely his team, let alone defense. He also repeated the trick with Mancini’s Inter team then. Does that make sense to people? If so then great. A chequebook manager winning on the back of other people’s hard work, and Wenger who did the same minus the chequebook, and stayed long enough to rebuild.

    If not, then why debase Wenger’s achievements? Oh I know, because it makes it easier to argue that he’s not good enough and hence needs to leave.

  18. Shard says:

    Yes NG

    Stats are always annoying when they don’t back up your opinion.

    I know what you mean. They are limited. But figure out a better methodology to prove what you are saying. ‘I know what I saw’ isn’t better than stats. It is meaningless on its own, especially over a long period of time.

    What about last year. We lost heavily away, and conceded lots of goals. Those have pushed up our goals conceded. We still had the most clean sheets. So, would you say our defense was better than the goals against shows since they actually led to fewer defeats?

    If so, then how is that possible with poor players and a poor coach? I guess let’s just say Wenger got lucky, as franck seems to think. Lucky with Kolo, Lucky with Campbell. Lucky last year. Lucky to win the FA Cup. Lucky to win the title unbeaten. Lucky to still be here, because no figures, no facts, no analyses, can change our opinions.

  19. aizedlittlemozart says:

    I don’t even know where to start from.

    kept away from the net for a while now, following AA though. good posts all since (yes even kelsey’s, even if I don’t exactly share the same sentiments).

    Shard ma man!!! *copy & paste* all day long!

    ok, so for today’s post, & thank you NG, but I think AW does get defending but is an attacking coach. he can shut shop when he wants to. two prime era examples would be our champions league run in 2006, no goals conceded till the finals I think. And last season where apart from THOSE games, we were very pragmatic.

    as for inheriting Graham’s back four, I will point you to his own back four of the 2003 season that lost NO match, NONE! I really get bored of the whole he inherited GG’s “famous” back 4 story. Sol Campbell & kolo toure were a perfect pair.

    he let sagna go? really? we have the player the put sagna on the bench in the WC, & sagna is currently a tool to rest a better player in his new club. TV05 was let go, & great business it has proven to be so far. i’d rather a 19yr old fit to play than an experienced one always injured.

    let me again remind us all that Tony Adams was 19 when he broke into the 1st team. same I think as Jon Teri. if you are good enough, you are old enough.

    & no, wenger is “not in the dark” as regards chamber’s best position. the lad is being played anywhere he is needed at the mome& no, wenger is “not in the dark” as regards chamber’s best position. the lad is being played anywhere he is needed at the mome& no, wenger is “not in the dark” as regards chamber’s best position. the lad is being played anywhere he is needed at the mome& no, wenger is “not in the dark” as regards chamber’s best position. the lad is being played anywhere he is needed at the moment.

    let’s look at teams that have a playing style closely related to ours….Barca & Bayern. which of their centre backs would you want desperately in our team truthfully. Pique? Batra? TV back? Boateng?(has his injury issues too), Badstuber? Dante?(is he faster than Per?)

    like I said, wenger is an attacking coach & focuses on that. just like the coaches of those two other clubs. what we did last year that we are not doing this year is defending as a TEAM. that’s what the manCs did on saturday, that’s what works for bayern & barca, that’s what we could do, or we could do like Mikky & develop an attacking unit so fearsome that other teams come

  20. Wolfgang says:

    If Wenger is serious about improving Arsenal’s season,he better get proper defenders. By that I mean a pure defender or at least with 70 defence dna.I know nowadays defenders especially fbs are bombing forward but must be mindful of their defensive duties.
    Oh speed is essential in the modern game.We need guys who can run back fast to foil the counter like Rooney’s goal. That means you don’t have such a high dfl.
    Pulis is available and I believe he can improve the defence significantly.That is unless Bould has done his defence coaching which I doubt the fm will delegate,

  21. MickyDidIt89 says:

    NB

    Good point about Southampton

    My thinking is that The Saints have one of the best defensive midfield pairings in Schneiderlin and Wanyama, whereas we haven’t had that kind of shield in front of the back four since Gilberto was around.

  22. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Thanks Norfolk

    Yes, Wenger is an arse who knows nothing about defending. He also over cooks the spaghetti and leaves something unseemly on the toilet seat.

    When he took over the old back four, they were playing shit. People who were going to games will testify to that.

    He restored there confidence, extended there careers, turned them into better footballers, and they loved him for it. But he gets no credit from me. Winning the double? What about that f*ucking toilet seat?

    As for that Invincible defence, what did it have to do with him? F*uck all

    He didnt want Campbell. That was the work of the footballing genius of Dein. All Wengers players are forced upon him, we all know that.

    Wenger initialy invited Kolo Toure over to clean his house. Wenger spotted Toure juggling an apple and slide tackling the cat and gave him a chance. The cat was delighted

    Lauren only played through threats. One day Arsene got a knock on the door and a tough looking geezer wearing black gloves demanded the right back slot. How could Wenger say no? the last man to say no to Lauren lives in a cracker jack box.

    Cole was given the chance because Wenger didnt like him, realizing early on he was homosexually enthralled by John Terry. But Cole played well. Wenger hated that

    Twats like Sagna, Clichy, Vermalen, etc were really shit. all bought by Wenger. Sold of for peanuts to clubs financially inferior to the mighty Arse

    Last year Merts & Kos were lauded as the best centre back pairing in the league, but Wenger originally purchased them to aid in his other pet project, a remake of Universals ‘Frankenstein meets the Wolfman”

    Obviously Merts is the one with bolts in his neck, and Kos is coming round my house to get tips on how to grow a hairy back

    Useless sod Wenger

  23. Rasp says:

    I think I need to remind everyone of the type of site they are frequenting.

    It says in About AA that ‘wit is preferable to sarcasm’ so let’s cut out the clever put downs and debate in a friendly manner.

  24. VCC says:

    Rasp 2:00, as I’ve stated on here many times, your only half right.

    Yes, Steve Bould has to do what he is told, but he is allowed certain tasks..

    Arsene Wenger allows him to hand out the bibs, lay the cones and other training aids, and is trusted with distributing the sports aid drinks.

  25. MickyDidIt89 says:

    ha ha ha Translant

    That’s an average response to the Invincible Defence 🙂

  26. Rasp says:

    Did you mean to repeat your comment aized?

  27. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Aized

    “or we could do like Mikky & develop an attacking unit so fearsome that other teams come into the game shitting their pants”

    Hole in one, Baby 🙂

  28. MickyDidIt89 says:

    The reason we didn’t beat Utd is that we didn’t score two goals before the worst ever side from OT had been given their first.

  29. Rasp says:

    Hi Micky, so what’s your fix? Are we to buy more/better strikers?

    I think a large part of our current problems lie in midfield and that is then made worse by the fact that at crucial times, our defenders seem to think that it is OK to desert their posts.

  30. aizedlittlemozart says:

    Rasp yeah. First one got mugged on the way through & came out all crazy. please help delete thanks.

    as for bouldy’s role I want to know, if anyone knows, is he THE defense coach? I also don’t like the whole ” AW won’t let Bouldy do his thing” conjecture, nobody knows that

  31. Shard says:

    Do we seriously believe that Steve Bould is just a ‘cone placer’? That he doesn’t buy into Wenger’s vision of how the game should be played? He spent a decade coaching the youth under Wenger. He knew what the assignment was, and he certainly doesn’t give the appearance of being a little lamb who will be afraid to voice his opinion. Wenger, being the manager, is of course, not bound to listen to him if he doesn’t agree. Why is any of this even worthy of comment? That’s how any organisation works. You can have different points of view, but one guy gets to make the call, and once the call is made, everyone puts their full weight behind it.

  32. wally says:

    Shard,

    Stop making excuses. In the crunch the team defends poorly, even Ray Charles can see it.

    It would take several of us taking off our shoes to be able to count the number of goals conceded because defenders, particularly the fbs, were so far up the pitch they’re actually chasing the ball from behind. Gibbs v Swansea is only the most recent example. (Perhaps that’s what Wenger coaches, a new type of defence where we tackle from behind to win the ball.!) That’s not good defending in anyone’s book.

    Defence has very little to do with skill and everything to do with teamwork, hard work, and nous (understanding the angles and spacing). Defence is coached up, it’s not bought.

    If the team was well-coached defensively you wouldn’t see 8 or 9 players in front of the ball would you. You wouldn’t see us constantly and repeatedly (for several years now) beat by the long diagonal behind the fbs that split the cbs and you wouldn’t see our defence performing like a chinese fire drill when that happens.

    If you’d like to play with numbers why not have a look at our Goal Differential against the big dogs, see what that looks like. That’s who we’re competing with, not the minnows

    If you happen to think that type of defending is acceptable that’s fine but it’s not going to win us a championship. It’s not even going to let us compete for a championship.

  33. Rasp says:

    Ok, it’s done thanks aized 🙂

    Shard, VCC was joking

    I personally do know what
    PRs role with AW was.

  34. Rasp says:

    If anyone has been listening to Ray Parlour on Saturdays on TS recently, they will hear him speak openly about AW and his style of management. He and other ex players always speak with respect but the phrase often used is ‘Arsene does things his way’

    Any ex player would be honoured to be invited to be assistant coach, but I can assure you that at least one (and almost certainly both) of the most recent incumbents would prefer a greater focus on defending if allowed.

  35. LB says:

    “Campbell was a free transfer, not a Wenger signing, the truth is he is totally clueless and has been for years.”

    Do I really support the same football club as these people?

    Prior to Arsenal blogs I believed that I supported a club with one of the most sophisticated fan basis in the country.

    I realise now that I share my support with a complete bunch of ignoramuses.

  36. Right

    What’s the question again? I nodded off 🙂

  37. ha ha LB

    Transplant ‘sophisticated’ you’re having a laugh 🙂

  38. Shard says:

    What excuse did I make wally? You mean where I said we need to defend better, or was it just convenient for you to skip that fact just like it is to skip the facts of how many goals we’ve conceded.

    Of course, now the goalposts will be moved to only look at goals conceded against the ‘big boys’. If you want to make a point, go ahead and look up the stats and make it. Don’t expect me to do your legwork for you simply because you’ve taken off your shoes. Keep in mind though, that a smaller sample size makes stats less effective.

    As for your style of play assessment. All truisms until you actually point to instances where it cost us, and where it didn’t cost us but might have. And what frequency does this ‘failure’ occur at, and how changing it will affect the flow of the game. Hell, that’s a long chain to follow to make a point, but you could start with finding examples of it to show that this is a consistent failure which prevents us from winning the league. Without that, you are simply making an assertion without anything to back it up. Except perhaps conventional ‘wisdom’.

  39. Rasp says:

    LB, how about writing us one of those fantastic posts you used to come up with when someone rattled your cage …. to restore the Yin yang balance? 😛

  40. aized, Alan (Smiffy or Smudger) Smith, who still has an insiders insight into Arsenal, wrote in a newspaper article last week that Wenger still oversees all aspects of coaching and that it would be better if he gave Bould a freehand when it came to the defence.

    We do have decent defenders, but they are badly coached and lack discipline. A week or so ago Mertesacker was bemoaning the fact that we had lost possession in mid-field (against Swansea) and there was no-one staying back to provide cover. Swansea scored. When United scored their second, on Saturday, where was Mertesacker? Deep in Manchester’s half! Coaching? Discipline? Responsibility?

  41. Shard says:

    Rasp

    I can believe that they would want that. A greater focus on defending. But does that mean Wenger doesn’t ‘get’ defending? Or that he’s not bothered by poor defending?

    It is his team, and he will never be a defense first coach. But to make the leap from that to the assertions made against him, is a huge jump in logic, not borne out by facts.

  42. Rasp says:

    Shard, you are pigeonholing responses and bloggers in the same way as you are decrying ‘conventional wisdom’. The headline was written by the author. I have no problem with it because it is a means of drawing in bloggers to read and debate his post. – but it does not have to be seen as a tenet for all those who have sympathy with his view.

    I agree he will never be a defense first coach – that is why I mentioned the frequent observation that ‘Arsene does things his way’. He will not change and he will not be influenced by his assistant manager or anyone else who sees things differently – it’s his way only whilst he is manager.

  43. Shard says:

    Here’s where I think the problem is. Most people would want Wenger to make some changes to the system to facilitate better defending, or even having a more defensive outlook.

    In my view Wenger deems that his system can work just fine, and with a few tweaks here and there, the balance will be just right between attack and defense. He just needs the players to take more responsibility and do things better.

    And that’s the thing. He trusts his players to get it right. Even when it seems like they can’t or are incapable of it. This is what many find infuriating. Even me sometimes, when I think he should make an exception to his philosophy, such as against Swansea.

    But that is his overall philosophy. He trusts his players. I alluded to it yesterday when I talked about the loose structure he provides. It has its shortcomings, but also offers a potentially great reward, which is what we got with the Invincibles.

    Like I said yesterday, I believe that philosophy (combined with our increased finances) is what gives us a chance to beat the richer teams, until FFP has its effects long term.

  44. Shard says:

    Rasp

    I did not mean that you were making that leap in logic. I was agreeing with your statement, but making a general point that the view that Wenger is useless at defense is not proved by the statement you made about his assistants.

  45. Rasp says:

    OK thanks Shard. To put words into your mouth; you trust AW to get it right, and he trusts his players.

    Well I hope you’re correct and AW does get it right. At the moment his trust in his players has been proven to be misplaced in recent performances and so my problem is that I do not feel that the man we agree is not a defensive coach will feel the need to change a few things in an attempt to reduce the number of unnecessary goals we concede.

  46. GunnerN5 says:

    WOW!!

    Wonders will never cease I totally agree with LB @3:49

    I find the level of deterioration in the tone of the comments in one day to be very upsetting. It’s as though meat was thrown to starving animals who have promptly devoured every morsel and are looking for more to feed their frenzy!

    It sounds like we are in a crisis of catastrophic proportions – I must be blind as I view things very differently.

    It’s not all about defense or all about attack it’s about the combined result of both which ends up as goal difference.

    Only 3 teams have a better GD than Arsenal this season – Chelsea, Southampton and Man C.

    Arsene owns the best GD per game of all previous Arsenal managers at .93, that in Graham .59 and Chapman .52.

    We have had some poor defensive performances this season but if our forwards had put away their chances we would be in excellent shape today.

    “Does Arsene understand the word defending”

    You’re damn right he does – do you guy’s?

  47. RA says:

    Good Afternoon guys,

    A very nice Post, Norfolkian, and some very valid points made I think.

    It would take someone with a very blinkered view not to see that there are some problems in defence, and has been for some time, both in defensive midfield and at Centre Back, and these have not been addressed.

    All the sterile comments and the facile supposedly rhetorical questions along the lines of “Do you really think …….?” are simply trying to mount the moral high ground by ridiculing other peoples’ honestly held opinions, which may or may not be right — or wrong, and are commensurate with the usual ploy of attempting to back up weak arguments with statistics.

    We are all familiar with the old adage (and I hope, GN5, you will understand the context in which I say this 🙂 ) there are lies, damned lies and statistics. Enough said.

    As I and others have pointed out, an example of my concerns about our defensive problems, is the naïveté shown in allowing Rooney’s deciding goal, by allowing 9 players to ‘attack’ in the Manure half, leaving Monreal to face Di Maria and Rooney by himself, with Martinez then put in an impossible one on one situation.

    i do not know who is responsible for the kamikaze attack mode, but both the players and the manger have to take responsibility – don’t they?

    Maybe not — if we listen to Mr Wenger.
    He said — “With the disappointment of being 1:0 down, everybody wanted too much to go forward.” and then he said, “Because we were 1:0 down and wanted desperately to come back, we forgot a little bit our principles.”
    So that’s the players then! Not the manager or the defence coach -if we have one, that is?.
    Will there be an ass kicking meted out to Mertesecker and the rest?

    To paraphrase a political phrase used in electioneering,
    “It’s the counter-attack, stupid!”

    That’s my opinion. OK? 🙂

  48. GunnerN5 says:

    Should have read…..

    Arsene owns the best GD per game of all previous Arsenal managers at .93, INCLUDING that OF Graham .59 and Chapman .52.

  49. Rasp says:

    Shard @ 4:17, at no point did I try to link the role of his assistants to AW being useless at defence. If someone is useless it would imply that they do not know, I think AW knows what he could do to make us better defensively but he chooses not to because he is an attacking coach and presumably thinks the attack would suffer as a result.

    I did say that from my knowledge, his most recent assistants would prefer more emphasis on defence, and later qualified by agreeing that it’s not going to happen because he is not a defence minded coach.

  50. aizedlittlemozart says:

    NG, that would be Smith’s opinion & not fact wouldn’t it? Last season we saw great defending from the team, was it because AW let bouldy work? & then isn’t letting him work this season?

    under wenger we will never be a defence 1st team. NEVER. Its not cause he doesn’t get defending, its cause he believes in attack much more.

    most fans were creaming themselves over LFC & mansour FC last season, may I ask why? so, last season we wanted attack when we had a solid defence & this season we want a reverse? hmm….

    i’ll tell everybody what I want…..an injury free squad, that’s all.

  51. It makes me wonder, if Wenger isn’t a defence minded coach, then why have defenders? They are there to defend no?

  52. Shard says:

    “Will there be an ass kicking meted out to Mertesecker and the rest?”

    Apparently, Wenger kept the team in the locker room for a long time after the game.

    I agree that we’ve had slip ups like this. Especially this season. About the ManU game, I think it is more a question of confidence though. We played wonderfully, but couldn’t score. Once we went a goal behind, we felt like we needed to push forward to score. Especially because I think we felt like we needed to score 2.

    It’s not an excuse, but I think we’re low on confidence, and not getting that little bit of luck that would make it easier to get back on track, which results in bad decision making.

  53. Shard says:

    “at no point did I try to link the role of his assistants to AW being useless at defence.”

    YES.. I know Rasp. And again. I didn’t mean to imply that was your assertion.

  54. Shard, there is pushing forward is all well and good……… But the BFG on the right wing…… if he’d got any further forward he would have been offside

  55. Rasp says:

    Exactly NB, of course we need to defend better. We need to defend as a team and keep a solid shape when not in possession of the ball. Also the midfield and wingbacks need to take more responsibility, they can’t all go charging forward at once and leave us vulnerable to the counter. It’s pointless scoring 4 goals and conceding 4 goals – I would take 1 nil to the Arsenal in that scenario.

    If we had a strong team, this would not need to be said. The players would react as one and show discipline and commitment and as others have observed, the manager could leave it to them to take responsibility – but that hasn’t happened much recently.

  56. Perhaps Per had been watching the video of Adams and Bould combining in an attacking run to get a goal.

  57. Shard says:

    “you trust AW to get it right, and he trusts his players.”

    In short, yes.

    But the longer answer is that I don’t believe the financial gap (and the years of low financial spend we’ve had) can be bridged instantly. Hasn’t been done before with even higher resources.

    Since I don’t believe that, I don’t think changing the manager will bring about anything other than cosmetic change. I also believe Wenger’s uniqueness can potentially add enough value to the players we do buy in the next few years to get us over the top, and hence is, for now, our best chance at victory.

  58. Shard says:

    NB

    I was screaming at Mertesacker to get back instead of proceeding to amble towards the Manc goal.

  59. Rasp says:

    I think what we may be seeing is how important Koscielny has been to the Per/Kos partnership.

    Unfortunately my crystal ball has been telling me for a while that kozzer may think it is time to move on so I wouldn’t be surprised if he left in the summer….. this is pure gut feeling by me, I’m not quoting any ‘source’.

  60. Shard says:

    “The players would react as one and show discipline and commitment and as others have observed,”

    Sorry, I know I’m leaving too many comments, but Rasp, I think this will come with time, and of course, less injuries too. Which reminds me…

    Amen, aized.

  61. Rasp

    I think you’ve hit the nail………… Mert with Kos was a solid pairing, Mert without Kos is a disaster. Kos would get into any team in Europe and you may be right.

  62. Rasp says:

    Thanks Shard.

    I cannot agree that ‘changing the manager will bring about anything other than cosmetic change’

    We cannot know unless you are aware of who his future replacement will be and are conversant with his methods. Certainly there are managers who would do things quite differently from AW – whether it would be an improvement could only be assessed after they’ve had a fair crack at the job.

  63. Shard

    Probably every gooner in their armchair was screaming at the BFG to get back…….. I was too 🙂

  64. Rasp says:

    Here’s a suggestion for a song for Per …… just for Micky …. get Back to where you once belonged 😛

  65. ha ha Rasp, I was just thinking of that

  66. RA says:

    It is no big deal for me to admit that I know sod all about how to run a football team – especially trying to do so in the full public glare of so many know-it-alls.

    It should not need saying, but I will anyhow, nothing can take away the wonderful legacy Arsene has gifted the club and the enjoyment he has given the fans over the years, and in very difficult circumstances, and he might still do so again in the future, god willing.

    It is totally mistaken, in my opinion, and it is just an opinion, to try and deride a great manager by highlighting supposed ‘errors’ without being aware of all the facts or knowing anymore than we fans can glean from observation.

    On the other hand, it would be unreasonable to castigate those fans who voice their concerns over the ‘here and now’, and ridiculing their fears.
    They care about the club, and their team, and are every bit as much loyal fans as the next bloke. Not everyone is made the same way.

    We all need to make allowances, either way – don’t you think?

  67. RA

    The voice of reason 🙂

  68. arnie says:

    Rasp. “debate in a friendly manner”? let us just be a bit civilized for once.

    puts the pens down and on with the brickbats! we like a good old fashioned free-for all!

    No time for the old in-out, love, I’ve just come to read the meter.

  69. arnie says:

    Just in case anyone noticed, I forgot the 🙂

    and the quotes: “No time for the old in-out, love, I’ve just come to read the meter.”

  70. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh come on RA

    Being reasonable is sooo yesterday

    It’s 2014, and fine to castigate and ridicule the stupid. Anyone who doesn’t think Arsene signed Sol should be dragged into the centre circle at half time, and …… 🙂

  71. arnie says:

    well done Norfolk. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  72. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Rasp

    Sorry, you responded to both my comments and I was long gone.

    I know you have a very reliable source on those defensive coaching issues, so I will be in your camp on that, and yes, goalscorers are where it’s at. Every time.

  73. The way I viewed it against Manure was that we probably played the best we have so far this season. Unfortunately, when we went one down to that fluke of a goal, the boys lost their heads. It was understandable, they all wanted to turn the game around. But there did appear to be any form of leadership from the technical area, to try and get the team back into shape, to calm down and carry on doing what they had been doing before the goal. That’s my take on what happened.

  74. RA says:

    Mickish, 😀

  75. Rasp says:

    So who are we talking about Micky …. Cavani, Benzema?

    Would you like me to post some more Beatles tracks? 😛

  76. RA says:

    Norther,

    I said that in a comment yesterday.

    The first 30 minutes were an example of sublime attacking, unfortunately without hitting the bull’s eye.

    And, yes, much as it hurts to admit agreement with Micky, 🙂 there are times in life when the adrenaline kicks in, and like in the circumstances on Saturday, when we went a goal down to a poor refereeing decision (twice), there is a real desire to ‘right a wrong’ and attack, attack, attack seems the right response.

    It’s what I would do. 😉

  77. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Cavani, Benzema?

    That’s top shelf teasing material, Rasp. Me? Don’t care as long as they’re seriously expensive (hi Arnie) 🙂

    ps we’ve been lacking a top notch left winger for as long as we’ve been lacking a top notch DM.

  78. Rasp says:

    Right that’s it, I don’t want Redders as our next manager …… “attack, attack, attack seems the right response. It’s what I would do” pfffftttt 🙂

  79. Rasp says:

    Top notch left winger? There were stories that we were looking at Di Maria, don’t know how true? It was never going to happen once manu got involved.

  80. I don’t think I’d want to see you in attack mode Redders 🙂

  81. RA says:

    Rasper,

    I used to live about 10 minutes from Abbey Road.

    In my school holidays, I was a delivery boy to the apartments around there, and in my spare time I used to shoot off down t’other way to Lord’s Cricket Ground and ‘bunk in’. 🙂

  82. RA says:

    NB,

    I would flatten all in my path – provided they stood still, as I was never too mobile on the bends. 🙂

  83. RA says:

    Rasp, 🙂

    ‘Attack, attack, and attack’ is a consequence of the adrenaline.

    Cooler heads would say ‘you, you and you’ keep your asses behind the half way line.

    But then, we would have nothing to chat about! 🙂

  84. Rasp says:

    Rumour has it Redders that the Beatles wrote I am the walrus with you in mind 😆

  85. Rasp says:

    Of course Raddy was the inspiration for Lucy in the sky with diamonds … 🙂

  86. RA says:

    Raddy is Lucy?? Oh, my!

    Was he the one with the great rack on the Saturday vid? 🙂

    For goodness sake, don’t tell Norther.

  87. Rasp says:

    …. actually, make that ‘Day Tripper’ for Raddy ….

  88. Rasp says:

    Drive My Car …. for Micky …..

  89. Rasp says:

    Fool On The Hill for me … 😦 before anyone else suggests it

  90. Rasp says:

    A Hard Day’s Night for NorthBank …. OK, I’ll stop now 😛

  91. Is GunnerN5 the inspiration for When I’m 64?

  92. RA says:

    Rasper,

    I don’t know when ‘Walrus’ came out but I suspect it was before I was born. 🙂

    By the way, where is 26 when we need an analytical mind brought to bear. (I deliberately chose not to misspell ‘bare’) Brownie points pour moi! 🙂

  93. Rasp says:

    Redders, I’m sure you know that Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was about LSD?

  94. Eddie must be Lady Madonna then

  95. Cockie and Transplant inspired Come Together

  96. RA says:

    A non-Beatles track for Terrible Terry – ‘(Slow and ) easy does it’.

    If only he would listen to me – he could have lots of women instead of sheep! 🙂

  97. Rasp says:

    Could be NB – or perhaps GN5 would prefer The Long and Winding Road?

  98. RA says:

    sheep = sleep —- altho…………. 😀

  99. Rasp says:

    Cockie and Transplant 😆

  100. RA says:

    Sadly, I am not really a Beatles fan, Rasp, and some of the song title suggestions go over my head.

    On second thoughts, perhaps a Billie Holiday song for Terry;
    ‘You go to my head’. 🙂

  101. wally says:

    Shard,

    This is not meant in the simplest fashion but you’re simply exemplifying the old saw that figure don’t lie and liars figure.

    You’re taking such a broad sample as to render the conclusion meaningless. Driving it down to a more meaningful sample better illustrates the teams’ deficiencies against it’s most important opponents. And the numbers aren’t pretty. Without a better commitment to defence we’re not a contender.

    The example is the proof of the truth. The Liverpool and Chelsea games last year were the high (low?) points in further illustration of the truth. The first BD game last year is another. with the game tied at one and sagna deep in BD territory. The ball is lost and played in to his vacated space and 10 seconds later the ball is in the net. And we’re second in the group because of that goal. And if you’d like more I’m happy to give you a running total thruout the season.

    And please stop the moaning about money. Defence is about team work, hardwork, and maintaining your shape which is born of coaching, Not how much money you’ve spent on a player.

    On another note, I find the description of wengers style of ‘coaching’ to be particularly concerning. Simply trusting your players is not coaching, it’s baby-sitting.

    Organization, instruction, inspiration are coaching. C’mon boys, I have faith in you is not coaching.

    That these same issues keep cropping up is further proof that little or no coaching is going on with regard to this issue. And if it is going on then the players are paying him no heed, which would be even worse.

    And lastly I do agree, he’s not going to change. He keeps thinking he can recreate the Invincibles and will win because they can score at will. That the world has changed since those days has eluded him.

  102. Peaches would have to be You Can’t do That…….. well in my case anyway ha ha

  103. RA says:

    I am glad you named them that way round, Rasper, it would be worrying to have written Tansplant Cockie. D’Oh – now i have done it!

  104. Rasp says:

    No, this one’s for Evonne AKA eddie …..

  105. Where’s chas and his Beatles when you need him 🙂

  106. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Norfolk, allow me to apologise for my sarcastic post. It wasnt aimed at you, I know your a good old boy who like me enjoys the odd sheep, it was more aimed at everybody really hahaha

    I just cant handle those who fail to worship Arsene. My shrink is having a field day with this, but what does he know? The twat thinks Arsenes problem stems from childhood when he once saw his father make his mother salivate by skinning a Hare.

    Right, ime taking Total Arsenal to the Dortmund game. The guys Dutch so demands constant entertainment. Whos going and what boozer?

  107. GunnerN5 says:

    My Beatle choices would be.

    Help
    Get Back
    Fixin a Hole
    Tell me Why
    No Reply
    Misery
    It wont be Long
    Nowhere Man.

    Finally – I Feel Fine!!!

  108. Rasp says:

    Excellent GN5, does that sum up your emotions on a daily or annual basis? 😀

  109. Shard says:

    Sigh.. It’s probably down to me being a poor writer, but seriously wally? Just because I give my take on wenger’s philosophy being maintaining faith in his players, you want to say that it suggests there is no coaching?

    Look up the difference between the Van Gaal and the Cruyff beliefs, and the Ajax coup, and you might get some idea of what I’m talking about in regards to Wenger’s philosophy.

    Each way has its merits, but just as it is fallacious to say Wenger doesn’t understand defense, it is also incorrect to say Wenger doesn’t do coaching.

    The world isn’t made of extremes wally. Just because my focus was on his philosophy doesn’t mean he completely eschews the structure/coaching/pragmatism that is part of his job.

    I do however agree that we’ve been making many mistakes defensively and that we need to be better.

    I have been watching some games from this season again, and I think a large part of the problem has been an inability to stop crosses coming in.

  110. Looks like Transplant has himself a date….

  111. GunnerN5 says:

    I Feel Fine – is how I always feel! Rarely a down moment in my life – I don’t have time for it, and I don’t just mean in terms of years.

    Saturday was one of our best all round performances in a dogs age – but lady luck decided to be against us!

    It’s so bloody easy to pick holes in a result after the fact – and I find the “post game experts” infuriating.

    It’s as simple as this if our all out attack had resulted in a win then all of the pundits would be lauding the teams back to the wall resolve.

    Misery indeed…………….

  112. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    What 69?? Ive been on plenty of dates, and some of them have even been real women.

    What do you know anyway? The last date you had was when Big John suggested a romantic candlelight dinner in Pentonville showers. hahaha

  113. Shard says:

    “Defence is about team work, hardwork, and maintaining your shape which is born of coaching, Not how much money you’ve spent on a player”.

    Where you have it right is that it is easier to coach defense than it is to coach offense. It’s just the nature of the game. Which is why teams lower down the table generally look to just defend.

    But let’s not forget that a coach can only work with the players that he has. If the players’ quality was such a tiny part of it, no team would spend 30m pounds on buying a defender.

  114. RA says:

    Bloody Hell, Transer – I thought you were taking me – how fickle can you be.

    Wait ’till I tell, the cocker!!

  115. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    You know my offer still stands Redders. Ive asked you loads of times but you keep blowing me out

  116. ha ha Transplant, and I still keep a photo of Big John on my bedside table 🙂

  117. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Christ, that sounds gay. Ime off for a lie down. hahaha

  118. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    hahaha, nice one 69.

  119. Oh shit, we now have a lovers tiff on AA between Redders and Transplant 🙂

  120. RA says:

    Shard,

    You obviously believe it is not all over until the Fat Lady Sings (that would be my girlfriend then) — and that is my view too. 🙂

    Arsenal have gone on brilliant runs later in the season than this – and I see no reason it won’t happen again.

    It is easy to forget (as we have both said previously) that the first 30 minutes – and arguably the first 60 minutes – were the best we have played all season.

    That disappointment could be the catalyst we have needed – starting Wednesday in the CL. 🙂

  121. Redders playing hard to get, so Transplant asks someone else out, then Redders gets all jealous…….. classical lovers triangle

  122. And I won’t mention the blowing me 🙂

  123. RA says:

    You keep your hands of Transplant, Norther. 😉

    Both Terry and Total Arsenal are my bestest friends – and he has asked me before, but I have not been able to go for some time.

    Top man is our Terry!! 🙂

  124. RA says:

    NB,

    I thought you were going to invite Terry, Cocker and me out to your place in the Spring?

    Four in a bed made for one could be tricky — Cockie has a notorious fart!! 🙂

  125. Redders, he is a top man……… he’s also invited me but I can’t make it till April…. so you can have him till then. But then he’s mine, I’m sure Big John won’t mind me blowing him out 🙂

  126. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    You tell em Redders

    Mind you, if one was forced to “chum up” with a fellow AAer, 69 would be a good choice. Looking like him, at least you know he would be faithful. hahaha

  127. Transplant

    Is that how you choose your women ha ha 🙂

  128. kelsey says:

    You got to give it to Shard,never gives up even though he thinks he’s a tad superior, he just can’t be put down 😉

    The long and Winding Road for me 🙂

    RA, I lived in Carlton Hill for a few years, off Abbey Road, did you deliver my Financial Times.

  129. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    No, thats how I get chosen 69. hahaha

  130. Redders

    It would be brilliant for us four to get together in the South of France… but you three can have the sofabed. I’ll invite a couple of birds round for me 🙂

  131. Shard says:

    A tad?? I’m offended kelsey. You are underestimating my opinion of my own opinions 🙂

  132. ha ha Redders delivering Kelseys Financial Times

  133. Paperback Writer for me…. best Beatles single ever

  134. Shard says:

    RA

    How was it obvious that I think it is not over? 🙂

    Realistically, I think the league title is beyond us, but I certainly wouldn’t want us to stop trying to close the gap.

    I’m with arnie in believing we could win the CL. I will continue to believe that until reality proves otherwise 🙂

  135. kelsey says:

    If we win the CL Shard I will let you write a headline post with a personalised banner :). Now I don’t mean in 50 years.

  136. arnie says:

    we will win the CL, Kelsey. and I dont mean some time in the future, it will be here and now! that is my best prediction for the moment. 😛

  137. wally says:

    Shard,

    My apologies. I simply find the state of the team to be infuriating.

    Last year, for the first time in a number of years there was a commitment to defence and we were top of the table until wenger’s other weakness, running players into the ground, cropped up and we were without important people til the end when we salvaged the season.

    And rather than build upon that he’s pissed it all away. His desire to nurture players at the expense of the team and his ego are preventing the team from succeeding.

    And now he’s got players in house who are questioning him. It’s all gone sideways.

  138. kelsey says:

    My best prediction for the moment is going to bed and thinking of RA in his shorts,delivering my newspapers 🙂

  139. kelsey says:

    sideays,wally, very apt :).

  140. RA says:

    Shard,

    I was referring to a change in the team’s fortunes, rather than staring into the relegation depths of hell. [Just knew you would want the first and not the latter.] 🙂

  141. Shard says:

    I’ll make you a deal kelsey. Not 50 years. How about in 3?

  142. RA says:

    Hi Kelsey,

    I worked with six other kids for a small outfit that catered for wealthy peeps who wanted something urgently — and they charged big bananas for doing so – and I guess newspapers did not figure! 😉

    They kitted me out nicely — an ID badge — the rest was my own jeans and T Shirt – and they also gave me deluxe transport — a crappy old cycle!

  143. RA

    You worked for a pimp then 🙂

  144. Shard

    In 3 is a bit more realistic……… arnies gone off his fucking rocker, this season ha ha

  145. RA says:

    I just got back from a short trip picking up some friends from the station.

    I listened, on the radio, to an Arsenal fan of 25 years saying he would not go to the Emirates again while Arsene was manager.

    I mentioned that to the guys when i picked them up – two of the three were also Arsenal fans, and I mentioned what I had heard. To my shock they agreed with the fan on the radio – and went further saying they no longer enjoyed watching Arsenal for …….. well lots of reasons, but oddly enough mostly because we do not play the wonderful football we used to and the club and the team were stagnating. [I changed the subject.]

    Plastic fans? Maybe, but they are my friends and normally very sensible. They are just giving up football not looking at other teams, except for looking for the Arsenal results.

    I was despondent listening to them – these guys are solid – and it was not what I wanted or expected to hear. 😦

  146. The Cockie Monster says:

    So Redders was a summer holiday rent boy !……the first steps to becoming an accountant !. hahaha

  147. bloody hell, just realised I’ve been on this site all day……… madness, and a couple of bottle of wine. I should have been doing some housework 🙂

    I’m off.

  148. The Cockie Monster says:

    Stretch !………there`s a new pub along Holloway Rd called …..The Mourinho Arms…..take Total there !. hahaha

  149. RA says:

    Yup, Norther, 🙂

    He had a great business pimping whatever — finding and supplying – special food. special cooking equipment parts, or delivering urgent documents etc etc all on my super dooper, crap bike.

  150. RA says:

    Cockie, you beast!! 🙂

    Actually, I looked older than I was – and I did get approaches from the ladies — but I did not know what they meant!

    But that is another story.

    Gotta go. Nite.

  151. arnie says:

    NorthBank. never say NO until the last drop of blood has been spilt! 😛

    Seriously, if Chavs could win it the year they did, and Pool, we can as well! Once we qualify for the knockout stages, it is what it is! A knockout.

    This team, on its day, can serve anyone a knockout blow. I believe. 🙂

    But I will take 3 years, if for some reason our efforts this year get unhinged! 😛

  152. arnie says:

    ah, Chas, where have you been! 🙂

  153. The Cockie Monster says:

    Long time since a ..”Rack Of The Day !”, chas, I thought you had turned gay !. hahaha

  154. arnie says:

    Borussia Dortmund were dealt a huge blow on Sunday when it was revealed that star player Marco Reus will be out of action for the remainder of the year.

    The attacker suffered a ligament tear in his right ankle during Saturday’s Bundesliga draw with Paderborn. The Germany international has been a key player for BVB in the Champions League so far, with two goals and one assist to his name.

    Reus is added to a lengthy list of injury worries for coach Jurgen Klopp with Sven Bender, Mats Hummels, Jakub Blaszczykowski, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Nuri Sahin all doubtful for Wednesday’s meeting with Arsenal.

    There are fresh injury worries for the Gunners after Jack Wilshere and Wojciech Szczesny both had to be substituted from their league defeat to Manchester United on Saturday, while David Ospina, Laurent Koscielny, Abou Diaby, Mathieu Debuchy and Mesut Ozil are all out.

    Source: Goal.com

  155. arnie says:

  156. arnie says:

    1-1 81 mins. 😦

  157. arnie says:

  158. 1979Gunner says:

    I seldom post but in a recent thread that Arsene seems to think that anybody can defend in the same way anybody can paint and decorate or play the drums in that there’s no real skill to the trade. Good defenders – like good attackers win games. Good defenders cost big money.
    Having said that, many believe he doesn’t know about defence because he inherited the famous back 4 but it’s worth remembering he assembled the ‘Invincibles’ back 4.
    Just a couple of thoughts in agreement with the title of the thread:)

  159. arnie says:

    nice comment, 79. 🙂

  160. goonermichael says:

    I was getting a bit worried about this site til I read Terry’s comment.

  161. Having one hack of a defense and pacey wingers will win you titles. Aw knows this as he inherited the famous back 4. He signed sol and Patrick. We had an opportunity with Gary gahill but instead BFg. I am sure with the scouts out there, can find similar players of this mould. Big, strong, pacey and can leap to head the ball not tip toe, with a mentality to defend And play simple passes with the tenacity of keown and leadership of Adams. I guess that comes with time.

  162. Until today I am still not sure why koscielny and vermalean were not our number one pairing. Was it balance. Did both of them prefer the left.

  163. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ooops, sorry

  164. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Post sent.

    Off on manoeuvres shortly, will miss the Dortmund game completely, and that hurts.

    Arnie,
    What a simply delicious list of all the Dortmund injuries. Sporting? Moi? 🙂

  165. Morning all
    A bit too early for me to be thinking of this, but what the hell:

  166. MickyDidIt89 says:

    NB
    You think 7:05am is too early to be thinking of that, try being Chas 🙂

  167. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Have we signed anyone yet?

  168. I’d rather not Micky 🙂

    Morning Big Raddish………. how’s the back?

  169. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Brooklyn Beckham, Raddy, so all is well on that front.

  170. Big Raddy says:

    Back much improved NB thanks to Mrs R’s ministrations.

    Ah, a Beckham. That is excellent. Deep Joy.

    BTW I can recommend Les Trois Garcons in E.London. A fine dining experience and much fun.

  171. kelsey says:

    Raddy

    I was waiting for 8 hours for you to turn up 🙂

    Olivier Giroud will miss both of Arsenal’s remaining UEFA Champions League group matches after the club did not include the striker on their original squad list as initial medical reports suggested he would be unavailable until January. oh and Good Morning:)

    Walcott injured again, oh happy days.

    Looks like the heat is on Wenger.Gazidis had a meeting with him yesterday at the training ground,which is not the norm, under Kroenke’s instruction.

    Let’s hope we get some kicking up the arsenal.

  172. Big Raddy says:

    I have read much of the comment from the past few games and what strikes me is that few mention the L word. …. Luck. We just don’t have any.

    The lino doesn’t see an offside, the ref doesn’t see a penalty handball, the opposition score with a luck rebound or scuffed shot or their only strike on goal. We on the other hand pepper their goal with shots and headers and yet do not get the ricochet or their GK plays a blinder.

    Then there are the injuries to key players, in particular Kos & Debuchy.

    On Saturday we were by far the better team and got batten by Lady Luck and our determination to fight back from adversity.

  173. Big Raddy says:

    Kelsey :-). I got lost!

  174. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Les Trois Garcons. They allow leftie hippies in?

    Hypocritical is what that policy reeks of. Should be an elitist establishment 🙂

  175. kelsey says:

    Well said Raddy, but it’s a limp excuse as United were shite and we were the same old, same old.:)

  176. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh Raddy, and another thing, while you were away we have decided that the injuries are all Arsene’s fault and so is the endless stream of bad luck 🙂

  177. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. I think they thought I was one of those hippy millionaires like Dyson or Branson,either that or a drug dealer

  178. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Raddy
    You fooled them. Nice 🙂

  179. Big Raddy says:

    kelsey. That is my point “the same old same old”.

    We had 23 shots to MU’s 9! They had one shot on target and scored twice.

    I think Stewart Robson has put a gipsy curse on us.

    Anyway enough of football – can we have another rack of the day?

  180. MickyDidIt89 says:

    And finally Raddy, before I go, we have agreed that the site’s Mr Positives are wimps and losers. Fact. 🙂

    Ok, bye y’arl. Catch you in dribs and drabs over the next few days.

  181. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. I was my first visit to East London since I crossed the Krays – it is unrecognisable.

  182. This is just for Raddy because he asked. Honest guv 🙂

  183. Eddie says:

    unrecognisable in what way Raddy? Which part of East End?

    Lewis Hamilton celebrated his huge achievement with lemonade!!! This is so great, I have always said that sportsmen being drenched in booze in public is wrong

  184. kelsey says:

    Those are fake NB

    Raddy, I didn’t realise you had such a huge credit rating

    Morning Evonne, did you have a good meeting. My dentist has done a bunk and closed shop.

  185. Eddie says:

    Kels – no way, what bastard! Surely he will open a surgery elsewhere
    Yeah, good meeting, no business though 😦

  186. Les Trois Garcons……….. sounds like a place where Rolf Harris would have gone for a meal

  187. Kels

    Fake or not…. quite a handful 🙂

  188. arnie says:

    motning all. 🙂

    one for Micky, who is away.

  189. Morning all

    Just diving into the cupboard ……….. back soon …..

  190. Eddie says:

    arnie – Koscielny, Theo, Giroud, Debuchy, Szczesny, Ospina, Ozil… how many have I missed 🙂

  191. ………….. We have a New Post ………………..

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