Pressing Matters ……. Arsenal’s failure to cope

Many among us will have recognised that the teams we struggle against are those who operate a ‘high press’. By this we mean that they don’t wait for us to get into their half of the pitch before engaging us but look to regain possession as soon as the ball is lost by pressing as a team high up the pitch. They will often double or treble up on the player in possession of the ball.

We have just one player in the current available squad who instinctively plays in this way, Alexis Sanchez. How many times have we seen him chase ball across the pitch only for the opposition to frustrate him because the rest of our midfield is sitting back and enabling them to bring the ball forward virtually unchallenged. Welbeck is another player who works hard for the ball and Elneny also seems to be out of that mould – I can’t wait to see those two in the side.

I think it is fair to say that Arsene doesn’t generally favour the high press. Lately it seems that he has chosen to absorb the pressure for 70 minutes when playing against the HP sides, waiting for them to tire, and then to make his subs and become more adventurous. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. If our finishing is not up to scratch, the strategy fails.

Pep Guardiola is a master at coaching teams in the HP system. Barca were brilliant at it under his management and now he has recreated it at Bayern. It’s not so difficult when you have players of that quality – but in the EPL we now see it being employed by teams whose players are not of our standard – Southampton, Liverpool and the miscreants down the road (and no doubt man city next season). All of these teams will cause us problems.

There are two questions I would ask:

  1. Why don’t Arsenal play a high pressing game? Is it because we don’t have the players who can operate in that system – or simply that the manager doesn’t favour it?
  2. Why does our passing game fall apart when we are being pressed all over the pitch? Surely our coaching routines should enable us to deal with this.

Any ‘experts’ out there who can explain this to me?



145 Responses to Pressing Matters ……. Arsenal’s failure to cope

  1. GoonerB says:

    Great post Rasp. Read it but can’t properly comment till some time later.

  2. RC78 says:

    Rasp – excellent post, as always and spot on.

    1. We do not have enough players with the engine to play high press.
    2. We do not have enough players that can cope with a high press from the opposition.

    I suppose AW is not interested to build a team to do a high press and it is ok BUT we need to have more players that can cope when faced it with a high press…In our squad, there are very few:

    – Sanchez, El Neny, Wilshere, Cazorla and Ozil

    Not enough…

  3. We played a very high press against Man United and murdered them. We have players that can do it, they just don’t very often. It just seems many of our players are way too comfortable and need a kick up the arse, particularly the Brits in the squad.
    The main problem at the moment is clearly the lack of creativity from the middle. Ramsey cannot play Santi’s role but right now we don’t seem to have anyone suited to that position available. I just pray I’m wrong and the return of Coq will see Ramsey’s role improve.
    Theo could find himself bench fodder once Welbeck is back, his work rate is so much higher he has to be a better option wide right. With everyone fit I think it’s a straight fight between Ramsey and Welbeck for the RW. Theo has to step up big time IMO. Earlier he had some zip to his game so the lack of goals didn’t matter, that’s not there now and he looks almost clueless at times.

  4. Rasp says:

    Great comment Allan, welcome to AA.

    I agree our tails were up against manu and we were the team with the energy.

    Surely sides that operate the high press, do it in pretty much every game? As you say, why only when we’re in the mood – is it a question of motivation before they take to the pitch? Is it the coaching?

    I honestly think we’d have done better against the Saints if we’d had Elneny and Iwobi in place of Ramsey and Flamini – but then again, it’s easy to be wise after the event.

  5. RA says:

    Good Post, Raspy, and it refers to one of my own bugbears regarding our lack of ‘tactical’ responses, especially against a High Press system that is well known about, in advance of a game.

    Every club, except our own, perhaps, studies the opposition and devises suitable tactics to obstruct their strengths or to allow the ‘pressers’ to gain an advantage.

    Some time ago, we used to be suckers for the high balls into our penalty area, either from free kicks, crosses or long throw ins.
    This continued season after season and we only got on top of it, so to speak, when we bought different defensive players.

    At the moment, the new tactic used against us is, as you say, the ‘high press’ and we seem to have absolutely no counter tactic to it, other than to defend deep, and launch counter-attacks at pace.

    The ‘counter-attack at pace’ usually does not work for us, because ….. well let’s not get back into the tedious whys and wherefores of that, and just say that it does not work too well at the moment.

    Now it would be wrong to say that the teams who use this high press tactic against us also do so against every other club, in the way that the old long ball Big Sam and Pulis teams did as it was their only weapon against skilful teams.

    No, it is specifically used against Arsenal and similar skilful but ‘puny teams’.
    How many times have I heard the commentator on TV or radio, or even bloggers on here, say that Arsenal are being steamrollered, or out muscled by the opposition?

    Compared with other teams in the Premiership, we are one of the smallest. We are mainly short and physically lightweight merchants, and long gone are the days when we scared the pants off our opponents with the likes of Adams, Bould, Sol Campbell, Silva, Petit and co?

    Gary Neville has said in his autobiography that Arsenal frightened the Utd teams, even that nutter Roy Keane, in the god old Vieira days – and now we have slow, old players like Flambo and Arteta, or physically diminutive players like Cazzor and Le Coq and Jack to protect the defense, and also be the driving engine room of the team.

    The failure to rebuff High Press tactics, or even to mount such tactics ourselves is not to do with football intelligence or skill, but because we lack the athleticism, physicality and speed of so many other top teams.


  6. Gunner Smith says:

    Spot on. What works against Mu may not work against Bournemouth.Teams know Wenger likes possession and passing all day.The problem is this type of game can be countered by getting everybody back in defence and hit on the break.
    You watch the videos of Arsenal against MU and Chelsea in both the cl and epl.
    As usual the gunners engage in ahigh tempo passing game.Watch how Ronaldo and Drogba scored tons of goals. There was no massed defence like in the Saints game.
    Imho,Wenger has made football from a simple direct game to a a complicated one with flicks,backheels,etc or ballet soccer.
    If you win then no problem.As the last 4 matches shown,passing all day wont help to win games.3 out 12 aint the caliber of teams wanting to win the epl

  7. Rasp says:

    Thanks Redders – so you think it is down to not having players with the physical ability to either deal with, or apply ‘the press’ ….. I have sympathy with that view 🙂

  8. Rasp says:

    Hi Gunner Smith, I think we have been susceptible to being ‘bullied’ since 2007 and maybe for the reasons RA gave in his comment @ 10:47.

    It is true that when our system works, it is the most magnificent football to watch, but when we fail to cope with the opposition’s pressure, it is the most frustrating.

  9. fatgingergooner says:

    Maybe rather than looking at how to play against the high press, we should look at ways to deter teams from playing it against us in the first place.

    How many high presses do Barcelona come up against? Not many I imagine.

    I believe that has something to do with the pace and quality they have up front. With Giroud in our team there is not too much for the opposition to worry about on the counter, whereas a front line of Sanchez, Welbeck and Walcott gives the opposition something to worry about. If you add ball players like Özil and Cazorla in midfield to get them the ball then you start to think that teams would worry a bit more about our threats and be less inclined to press us so high.

  10. Rasp says:

    At last, a different perspective. Thank you FGG, there has to be more to this problem than just the obvious 🙂

  11. chas says:

    Cheers, Rasp

    This one has me flummoxed.

    The only thing I can think of that maybe has some relevance is that when teams use the high press against us, gaps open up between our defence, midfield and forward players.

    The team sometimes seems to fail to realise that if the oppo are 10 yards higher up the pitch, then we need to drop 10 yards.
    This not only provides more options for the man on the ball, but also draws the oppo defence out and leaves space in behind for the counter.

    Having had a look around for other clues, I saw this article about us v Bayern which I found interesting if not particularly relevant.

    This gif I liked as it showed us compact and able to exploit the space behind the back four.
    And because it shows Danny Welbeck’s pace shredding the execrable Danny Rose. 🙂

  12. chas says:

    I’m sure if it was as simple as playing deeper as a team against the high press, I’m sure we would have figured it out by now, wouldn’t we?

  13. RA says:

    Actually Rasp, I mentioned at 10:47 that the classic response to the High Press was that;

    –‘we seem to have absolutely no counter tactic to it, (High Pressing) other than to defend deep, and launch counter-attacks at pace.

    The ‘counter-attack at pace’ usually does not work for us, because ….. well let’s not get back into the tedious whys and wherefores of that, and just say that it does not work too well at the moment.’

    Frankly, Welbeck is hardly likely to be running anywhere at ‘pace’ when he returns after being out for so long injured, and I really am sick of trying to avoid mentioning Walcott and his lack of pace, and persistently slowing the game by checking back and stopping the momentum.

    Damn, now you have made me say it. Look around the blogs and you will soon find that there is very little stomach for more of the Walcott cosseting.

  14. Rasp says:

    Thanks chas, another excellent response. I’m sure it is a combination of factors.

    Possession football (for which we are renowned) relies on keeping the ball but also on winning it back when you lose it (Barca again) – so we must ‘press’ in a different way I guess?

  15. Rasp says:

    Sorry Redders, you did. I’m a simple soul and failed to recognise it the first time I read your comment 🙂

  16. Eddie says:

    micky – BEWARE!!! it’s tactical bollix today 🙂

    Great post Rasp, thank you, sadly completely wasted on me 😦 I try to watch games and observe tactics and whatnots, but 5 mins on I forget again. But i am sure you are right 🙂 High pressing game in!

  17. Rasp says:

    I love Welbeck’s pace and drive in that clip chas …. he could add a lot to the side when he returns.

    Hi Eddie, TB not your thing then? 🙂

  18. Eddie says:

    Nope, or any other Bs for that matter 😀 but even I get cross when our players are just casually passing ball without any urgency, or even worse send it back rugby style. I always think that this is delegating responsibility, not making the decision. Either that it not wanting the ball

  19. RA says:

    That’s OK, Rasp, it wasn’t important, I just wanted to keep the comments going, and like it or not, I have given those who disagree with me a chance to come on and say so!! 🙂

    Incidentally, altho I did not specifically say so, we eventually overcame the long ball tactic of hoofing into our penalty box, by the change in personnel.

    If we can get Yarmolenko to join with Sanchez and Danny we may well have the answer. That’s in the future, so In the meantime Iwobi and the Ox may be the best we have at the moment.

  20. RC78 says:

    Mentioned it yesterday but the best team of the decade was the Bayern 2012-2013 under Heynckes that could face any opposition and come up with solutions defensively and offensively. It was a amazing…They had more players with big engines like Lahm, Alaba, Martinez, Schweini, Ribery, Muller, Mandzukic though than we do but in any case Barcelona can press high and play tiki-taka so it is feasible.

    I think we need more variety – hence the need for better CB, FB, DM and FW…

  21. fatgingergooner says:

    I do actually agree with RA even though my suggestion was to use pace on the counter 😄

    I only listed Theo because he is one of our faster forwards, but ultimately I think for the quick counter to work we also have to upgrade some of our players, and Yarmolenko certainly would be one of those I would bring in. I also think we need to look at the style of player we are using in the middle of the pitch and maybe the engine of Elneny could prove to be the answer.

    Until the summer though we are stuck with what we have so if we don’t have the pace to play on the counter (Welbeck will take a while to come back) then I might consider playing over the high press and getting the likes of Sanchez and Campbell as close to Giroud as possible for the knock downs. Much like our first goal against Liverpool.

    Out of interest though, if we did suddenly start to play long into Giroud, how do you think Arsenal fans would react to that? I suppose it depends on the results that come from it, but one of the things I do like about our club is we have an identity and we play football a certain way, even if it can be massively frustrating at times. It will be interesting to see if we miss the Wenger style football once it’s gone.

  22. RC78 says:

    – Garay or Cahill or Pepe
    – Vidal or Schnederlin or Matuidi or Verratti or Witsel
    – Bernat and Coleman
    – Hulk or Reuss or Willian

    Cech – Bellerin, Pepe, Kos, Bernat – Ramsey, Schnederlin – Ozil – Hulk, Giroud, Sanchez

    Ospona – Coleman, BFG, Paulista, Monreal – Wilshere, Coquelin, Elneny – Ox, Wellbeck, Walcott

    + Chambers, Campbell, Iwobi, Jeff

    Now you can do high press and deal with it as well…

  23. Gunner Smith says:

    Thanks to Rasp for seeing eye to eye with me.The problem is Wenger is too obsessed with possession and passing.The gunners seldom shoot from outside the box .This is one problem less for defences.
    The attack shd be sped up so that defenders don’t have time to mass. If not the gunners will face a frustrating time trying to score .
    Then expect more displeasure from fans.

  24. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Rasp and ooohhh, look at Chas doing tactical bolleux 🙂

    I thought I had written a 10.47 comment and inadvertently put it up under the name RA, such was my agreement with all that was said in it 🙂

    I only realised it wasn’t me when I saw this bit :

    The ‘counter-attack at pace’ usually does not work for us, because ….. well let’s not get back into the tedious whys and wherefores of that, and just say that it does not work too well at the moment.

    I would never utter those words of sacrilege. There is never a time when the tedious why’s and wherefores should not be analysed to the nth degree 🙂

    I think pace throughout the side is one of the most important aspects of countering the high press.

    I agree with Redders in all aspects except that I would place greater emphasis on pace and mobility in countering the high press, but not exclusively.

    The other key component, especially in the midfield (especially the deeper midfield areas) is having players who are excellent at ball retention and protection and are happy to have the ball even under pressure. Those players that can turn, twist, spin away from 1-2 players closing down quickly. These players don’t have to force a pass before they are ready and can gain themselves that space and time to evade the immediate press and find the right pass to set us on our way forwards and break the effectiveness of the high press.

    Santi, Jack and Rosicky are the best here. Ramsey is not IMO, which is why I have said for a long while, ( seemingly alone 😦 ), that Ramsey’s skill set is that of a number 10. Not ahead of Ozil though, but as his 2nd choice with a view to being 1st choice eventually.

    Against the high press the box to box DM needs to drop more alongside the holding midfielder to receive the ball from defence, evade the first high press and bring it out.

    This sometimes has the added advantage of exposing a key weakness of that high press in that you can take the high press players out of the game by getting past them leaving them, numbers wise, exposed to a quick counter from our boys. If you want to revisit a masterclass of that box to box DM doing exactly what I just said look at the clip again of Wilshere vs Barca ( that’s your job Chas, stop messing around with all this tactical bolleux and get back to what you do best 🙂 )

    The next best way to expose the weakness of the high press, once you have evaded the initial high press in our deeper areas, is with pace right across the font line (striker and 2 wing / wing forward players), so that we can attack quickly with them on the turn and before they have time to reorganise and get the high press players that were left behind back in position.

    FGG at 12.11 is spot on as to how I see it.

    I believe the defence also needs to be quick so that we don’t always have to sit deep. That allows them too often to push up their whole team and back line and compress space more in our half, the danger areas if you lose the ball.

    Frequently we play BFG at the back, Ramsey in box to box, and not enough pace in the front 3. I believe all aspects need to be done, especially against the best of the high press teams like Barca, and addressing one without the others is not enough.

    Toodaloo for now. Will be back later

  25. Rasp says:

    Thanks GB, no lesser a comment than I would expect from you 🙂

    As bloggers, we are entitled to change our minds on occasion, and at the moment, it is Ramsey who is a problem for me too – certainly when playing the deep lying role. I thought both Iwobi and Elneny were more effective recently.

    That is not to say that Ramsey is not a top player, just that he, like Wilshere doesn’t yet seem to have found his best role in the side – or maybe we just have better players available in the role he would prefer? Ozil as you say?

  26. Gööner In Exile says:

    For me one or two passes beats a high press, and a high press is all well and good if you can manage it for 90 minutes or back yourself to take the early opportunities.

    Why are we struggling against a high press currently…..Ramsey/Flamini vs Coq/Santi.

    Santi accepted the deeper role in midfield and can use his skill and range of passing to find Ozil, or one of our wingers, immediately we are free from the press and can express ourselves.

    Right now Flamini is the man who we are looking to to break the press, it should be Ramsey but unfortunately he is too busy trying to get himself up the pitch and close to Ozil.

    And it’s bugging the hell out of me!!! We need players to show discipline, City away last year Santi was MotM he carried the ball out relentlessly found runners and available players all game, and we escaped their press. At the Emirates City didn’t dare press us, they had learned their lesson and preferred a solid base and to play on counter.

    Spuds came a cropper against Leicester as did Liverpool, because one ball out gets you in a one on one flat race. I’m not sure Southampton actually pressed in the same way against us at home as they did at their place.

    My overall problem with the question however is the same as my problem with the criticism of zonal marking, I see man to man marking fail equally as much at defending set pieces, but one is easier to criticise due to it being more obvious.

    So who are the high pressing teams in the PL? And what are our results against them compared to our results against others who park the bus. Both can hurt us, we have to win games therefore we cannot necessarily afford to sit back and spring counters as too many of our opponents will happily take the draw. We have to get on the front foot and that also puts us at risk, it’s called being brave. Without going back to my comment about supporting, if we want the team to do well we have to get behind the team and back them and give them the courage to keep doing the same things.

  27. Gööner In Exile says:

    Right some defensive boards

    Southampton’s defensive board at home

    Our defensive board away

    Southamptons defensive board away

    Ours at home

  28. Gööner In Exile says:

    I’m interested to see the difference in the above compared to Liverpool away and Man United home

    Liverpool away

    Liverpools board

    Our board

    United home
    Their board

    Our board

  29. Le Coq Monster says:

    Nice one Rasp.
    I am a high press believer and yes it`s better if you have the best players doing itala Barca, BM, but I also believe it`s OK if you have not got the best players as in the way the Spuds are doing it. It is most definately related to having players up their fitness levels and also the pressing has to be managed and disciplined, you just cant have all the players running after the ball like headless chickens as in when we were all at primary school !.
    Absolutely agree we will have Mansour City doing under Pep reign and he will buy the best players to do it.
    Only the end league table will tell us if we were right to not pursue such tactics, we`ll have to see !.

    Nice too see Exiles take on our finances, although his remark….”I just hope that if we do turn it round and we do win the league you all don’t spend a second enjoying it !”….I will take as humour, although I will obviously be pissed off if we win the league as my dooming will look stupid and who wants to celebrate winning the league after you`ve been shown to be stupid !……I will even go as far as having a CCTV link to Exiles house so he can see me restrained and miserable !. hahaha

    Here`s what Gazidis said in 2013……………(now obviously I`m just a van driver, but if my income is £20K per year and I spend just £10K per year then the next year I will have £30K and If I spend only £10K again then the income goes up again etc`…… if Arsenal have £70M to spend per year and only spend £40M of that, then the next year they will have £100m to spend…..simple isn`t it ! )

    The Arsenal chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, has claimed the club are now able to compete to sign the best players in the world and within two years will rival Bayern Munich as one of football’s financial powerhouses.

    Manager Arsène Wenger has in excess of £70m at his disposal this summer as the club finally emerges from the spending constraints created by building the Emirates Stadium.

    Arsenal believe the high profit margin increases they will make to their balance sheet would give Wenger an additional £70m to spend every summer, not even including the dramatic increase in income provided by the Premier League’s £5bn television deal………(anyone know what next seasons TV deal will add on top of the £70M we already have each year ? )

    Now here`s what I would love to know……how much have we spent nett on transfers since this statement and I bet we haven`t spent £70M nett per season since 2013………..on the simple maths side, surely what we haven`t spent out of the £70m goes onto the next years £70M. !………………….The £230M I have alwyas quoted is just because Kelsey said it and seeing as he is f##king loaded…..Wimbledon Common house, business fortune etc`………I tend to believe him than an accountant from Norfolk and Bounds Green !. hahaha
    Seriously…..3 years of £70m !……no way we have spent half of that if you include our transfer sales, so we must have well over £100M for a striker !.

  30. Le Coq Monster says:

    Ahhh Exile !….just the man !…………how much we spent since the Gazidis statement ? hahaha

  31. Rasp says:

    Thanks Cockie, could you save the financial stuff for tomorrow when it will be the hot topic 🙂

  32. RC78 says:

    Shall we change our team set-up to actually cope with high pressing teams?

    If we played 4-3-1-2 with:

    Ramsey, Coquelin, El Neny (or Santi)
    Giroud Sanchez

    do you think that would help?

  33. Le Coq Monster says:

    Ehh OK, Rasp, I`ll copy and paste it for tomorrows hell in the cell carnage !. 😀

  34. RA says:

    Well, I never — GB says he agrees with me but would look to have players capable of ball retention and protection (same thing?) 🙂 and I did imply that when I said that we need better athletes with bigger physiques so we are not bundled off the ball, as well as the skilful player who can expose the oppo with defence shredding passes.

    We have the one and not the other.

    It seems that, against all odds, that GB and I materially agree, not that I doubted it 🙂 and FGG also agrees, at least in principle, with the other point about our lacking in pace, at the moment, and needing to look to a signing or two in the summer, with Yarmolenko the type we need.

    Now that will not do — we need acrimony, tears, bust-ups and stuff, not all this gentlemanly agreement malarkey! 🙂

    Here’s the thing — i do sometimes act as devil’s advocate, and say something that is not exactly what I believe, or at least I do not always spell out an error in another’s mistaken belief in what I said — are you still with me GoonerB Trouble?

    This then is a clarification: I am very fond of both Giro and Theo. they are both decent players that I have a lot of time for – it seems that the impression has got abroad that I prefer one over the other, and that is not completely the case.

    Exile put it very well when he said that Giro can leap for headers, he has positional awareness, and he can be a physical nightmare for the best defences – and Theo is not any of those things.

    What Theo can do, is outpace the majority of the opposition defenders – tho not all – and if he sets his mind to it, he has shown that he is capable of the odd mazy run and shot, in a way that Ollie cannot.

    So, yes, yes, what’s the point you are asking?

    i do not think we are going to the next level with either of them!

    And there it is. They should complement each other with their different skills – but they do not.

    Two things mitigate against getting too stressed out about this.
    First, they are what we have at this time – and we will win the Premiership with them or without them, now that Danny is on the cusp of coming back, and with the surprise performances of Joel in recent weeks.

    Secondly, even if the transfer window was still open, I refer you back to something else that Exile said – it is easy to say I would love Lewandowski, Suarez, Higuain whoever, but they are not going to be released by their current clubs, or would not want to join us.
    So cost is irrelevant. So attempts to buy them are irrelevant.

    We need to find young talented players and then be patient, like we were with the young Henry, and stop whinging about needing top quality experienced players, and we will be rewarded for that patience in the near future – just look at some of the youngsters I named recently already in our youth teams.

    Wenger has announced that there is a fundamental overhaul taking place with our scouting network all overEurope and North and South America – this too will produce the goods, – again given time.

    And so brethren I conclude this diatribe and commend you to get behind the manager and the team at this critical moment in Arsenal’s run into the title! 😀

  35. RA says:

    Hi Cockie-Doodle,

    You need to take Ivan’s ‘we can compete with anyone for a player’ with a pinch of salt.

    Let’s see — I think with all your running to try and hone your body into an Adonis shape with a ripped body like mine – that you too could compete for all the lovely babes out there — that does not mean you will get one – or any – because that Greek God, Terry will beat you — and me — every time.

    Compete? Yes. Get? No. 😀

  36. Le Coq Monster says:

    Hiya Redders.
    Just on my last of three 5 min Planks !… abs are getting so hard that Transplank could use them as an abacus !
    I hear that you are quite the domesticated accountant……….cooking the books and taking your clients to the cleaners ! 🙂

  37. RA says:


    My work is now confined to specific number crunching projects for wealthy accountants like Exile – because of health lay-offs.

    But – I am the gold plated fleecer – brilliant but expensive!

    Well, OK, then, expensive anyway — one out of two isn’t bad! 🙂

  38. Aaron says:

    We have spent $70m since 2013.
    They are all on the injury table or just coming back for the last 5 games of this season:-(

  39. RA says:

    So, all your running is because you are a headless chicken then, Cockie – presumably you haven’t been able to grow one since your schooldays?

    I know there was something missing! 😀

    Keep away from Micky, down there in the deepest West Country – he has a use for headless chickens – especially a fit one – usually with chips. 🙂

  40. gormon says:

    4th place trophy and the balance sheet trophy have replaced tangible trophies and it is this that has killed Arsenal off.

  41. Rasp says:

    Hi GiE, I’m afraid I’m not clever enough to interpret your Statzone boards 🙂

    If you examine our record this season against the 3 teams I mentioned who operate the high press, we’ve played 5 of the 6 games (spuds away to come), of those 5 games we’ve lost 1 and drawn 4, this equates to 4 points out of 15 = 26.6% return.

    Our average so far this season including those games is 45 points out of a possible 72 = 62.5% return

    Without those games, our return is 72% …….. stats, don’t you just love ’em 🙂

  42. Le Coq Monster says:

    Right !….hands up those who tried to make the word …OXO….from Exiles Statzone boards ! 😆

  43. Le Coq Monster says:

    I dont know, Redders !……………you accountants fleecing people !……not much difference between you lot and high class hookers !… least with high class hookers I can get some satisfaction with losing my deposit !.

  44. Le Coq Monster says:

    Been looking on newsnow and visited a lot of sites who all have different answers, views and reasons for our slump in form and the one single thing they have all seemed to have missed and it is quite simply slapping them in the face and that is……we`ve been shit !.

  45. Le Coq Monster says:

    Stop being shit and there`s a good chance we will improve on our recent performances.

  46. Rasp says:

    Cockie, thank goodness you aren’t in charge of The Arsenal if your answer to question ‘why haven’t we been any good?’ is ‘because we haven’t been any good’ or whichever word you choose to describe recent performances 😆

    Most of us are trying to look a bit deeper beyond ‘we haven’t been any good’ …. do you catch my drift?

  47. Le Coq Monster says:

    Actually Rasp !……..not being any good would probably be an improvement on being shit !. hahaha

  48. Le Coq Monster says:

    And I will take your advise on board about it`s a good thing I`m not in charge of Arsenal !…….I may have to re-write my application form !

  49. On a totally seperate subject, i am excited to see that we may finally have some youngsters coming through who have a genuine chance of making it into the first XI. Obviously we had Coquelin last season and Campbell this, but both are a bit older and have been around for ages. Bellerin is probably the only player from our youth ranks to burst onto the scene in the last 5 years.

    Next season we have a few who could possibly challenge for places.

    Wellington Silva
    Jon Toral
    Chuba Akpom
    Alex Iwobi
    Jeff RA

    We all seem to agree that there are places available in our attacking play and thankfully all 5 of these players are attack minded.

  50. Rasp says:

    Thanks FGG, can I tempt you to expand on that for a post next week? 🙂

  51. fatgingergooner says:

    Will see what i can do Rasp. No promises though!

  52. Eddie says:

    gormon 🙂 where have you been? we were all looking for you last night

  53. Rasp says:

    I hope he doesn’t mind, but below is the WorPress site of Allan Michaud who posted the third comment of the day … he’s a wildlife photographer currently in Cambodia, a very interesting guy as well as diehard Arsenal (see the pic of him in the JVC shirt) ……

  54. chas says:


    I think you get a better response if you ask a question.

    We could have a ‘gormon’s question of the day’ slot.

  55. Rasp says:

    chas, I think gormon is sniffer MKII

  56. chas says:

    Even if he is, his question yesterday was much, much more entertaining than anything sniffer ever came up with.

    Then again, having thought about it, it was the answers to his question which were the entertaining bit. 🙂

    Back under your stone, lad.

  57. Rasp says:

    I like the idea of ‘Gormon’s question of the day’ – the pressure is on him now to come up with something original every day 🙂

  58. Eddie says:

    yes! Gormon question time 🙂 well done monster 🙂

  59. chas says:

    Don’t think I didn’t see you dissing me at 1.46pm.
    Good job I’m not like you and go all handbagsy. 🙂

    Here’s a little bit Wilshere pass – is this what you were after?
    (I can’t remember what comes just before but it looks like a Barca attack breakdown to me which is slightly different to the high press, isn’t it? – They look all over the shop)

  60. GoonerB says:

    Evening Chas, just having fun. When did I go all handbagsy? Don’t think I have ever done that with you that I can recollect. You must have misinterpreted me.

    Great goal that one but there is a clip out there that basically just shows all the moments of Wilsheres involvement in the game. There are some excellent bits where as he is receiving the ball deep and under pressure he literally just moves the ball past them as he is receiving it while putting on a surge of pace and leaving those players behind. That is why I still believe he is a very special talent and one to be more patient with (injury wise) than we may be with others. If we get even 3 largely injury free years he could make a big difference at the highest level IMO.

  61. Rasp says:

    Thanks for the vid chas.

    Some of Jack’s passing (and the way he looked up to plot the pass before he even received the ball) was brilliant – I’d forgotten just how good he was at times.

  62. RA says:


    Chas does not do bollix, and especially not tactical bollix – so just be nice to him or you won’t get a pint next time you are both in the pub. 🙂

  63. GoonerB says:

    RA how did it take us this long to arrive at the conclusion that we both completely agreeon Giroud and Walcott. RA you said this

    “This then is a clarification: I am very fond of both Giro and Theo. they are both decent players that I have a lot of time for – it seems that the impression has got abroad that I prefer one over the other, and that is not completely the case.”

    I couldn’t have worded it better myself and is what I have been trying to say, but it seems to have come across as me being a Theo lover. Incorrectly but I will challenge things said about a player (as others will with other players) if I think there is questionable merit for whatever reason in the statement.

    I have felt that often we look far better with a quicker more mobile striker, and in some games it would also be more beneficial with pace up front than in others, so why not play Walcott there (more often) in the absence of an alternative. In reality I would like to see Welbeck with a run of games at striker and then we can decide what may be required, if anything, on the open market.

    You also say :

    “i do not think we are going to the next level with either of them!”

    We are in complete and utter harmony RA. 🙂

  64. LB says:


    Doesn’t do many comments on tactics but when he does they are, in my opinion, usually spot on.

  65. GoonerB says:

    RA if Chas took it as anything other than banter I may be having to buy him an extra pint.

    I will just give him Ant’s and then tell Ant that they had run out of beer right after I bought Chas his 2. Don’t let them know about my cunning plan though RA.

  66. GoonerB says:

    Been trying to tell him that LB. He is a secret bolleuxer and more of an expert than he lets on.

  67. chas says:

    I was referring to you getting shirty with RA on Monday, but as you kissed and made up…………….. 🙂

  68. chas says:

    Where’s gormon?

    Don’t leave us hanging, gormon.

    I bet he’s gone off to think of a right belter.

  69. chas says:

    How about ‘gormon’s guide to countering the high press’?

  70. Gööner In Exile says:

    What you need to know about those boards x’s are tackles, greens are winning, orange losing, diamonds are interceptions, grey lines blocks, black triangles fouls, circles clearances, green successful orange not.

    What was interesting to me is there seems to be little difference in the tackle hot spots of any of these sides, and in fact the team that appears to have tackled us highest up the pitch (United) were the side so neatly dispatched 3-0. It doesn’t appear that we attempted to press any higher in that game than any of the others but clearly the predefined format and structure of United when in possession meant they were at 6’s and 7’s when we did win the ball back high.

  71. Big Raddy says:

    Thanks for the Wilshere vids.

    Watching those it is easy to see why AW is so committed to him. T
    That game against Barca showed what potential he has/had.

    DB willing he will return to fitness and stick it right up the doubters.

  72. Big Raddy says:

    GIE. Loving your work.

  73. Big Raddy says:

    Gormon (for the hatrick). Marvellous. You are the Voice of Reason.

  74. chas says:

  75. chas says:

    Questioning Lee Mason’s parentage?

  76. GoonerB says:

    Cheers for the vids Chas. Just to be a pain, there is another longer one with all his touches and action moments in the game. It really showcases that his skill is not just a one off because he repeatedly thwarted the great Barca and their pressing players time after time. I believe it was on the back of that performance that Xavi recently high praised Wilshere more or less saying he is a player that wouldn’t have looked out of place in their side. Do we really want to give up on such a unique talent as some suggest?

  77. Big Raddy says:

    chas. I am a German lip reading expert and can tell you that Mesut is asking Mr Mason whether he knows that the square of the hypotenuse equals the sum of the squares of the other two sides

  78. GoonerB says:

    GIE, excellent input as always. As you have probably pointed out nothing is ever quite as simple to analyse. Is it that we don’t play a high press enough ourselves, or is it that we don’t set up well enough to counter and exploit the high press teams we play ourselves? Or is it a bit of both? Or is it even that the high press team closing down quickly is a myth?

    What was it about the Utd game? The one big difference to the other games mentioned, that we did struggle in, was that we started with one of our pace players up front. Did this make us more lethal going forwards, catching them cold before they could react and organise?

    I love your stats analysis GIE (and keep them coming by the way) and you do temper and even change my views at times, but as you probably know I don’t always see all the answers in them. Personally I mix it with a bit of gut instinct and what I feel I do or don’t see.

    I still feel these are teams that, if allowed to, try and play a high press with a high defensive line, therefore compressing our half with more bodies and less space. I still feel that it became obvious that we have struggled with these sides as early as our regular run of games against Dortmund from 2-3 years back. I allow an exception with Barca back then because no-one coped with them.

    I still feel as well that with pace at the back and in the front 3, and the right ball controllers under pressure in midfield, that we will not only negate their high press, but further would exploit the weakness in it and put these teams to the sword rather than struggle.

    It brings me back to the question of have we utilised our available players correctly in the best and most balanced set up for these types of opposition?

  79. GoonerB says:

    He said something different in hieroglyphics Raddy.

  80. GoonerB says:

    Chas, Eddie, Micky, BBC2 is about to start a programme called Cats v Dogs; which is best?

  81. Gööner In Exile says:

    GB what isinterestingin that United board is that for the most part the ball was moved past their midfield with ease, I can’t help thinking that’s got a lot to do with our midfield that day as much as the pace up front. As long as there is pace from wide we should still be able to escape the press, it’s for me why Santi has been the biggest miss of all, there is no one like him in the squad, the closest is probably Arteta in terms of preparedness to do a job for the team and ability to find a man with a variety of passes, what he doesn’t have that Santi has is the ability to escape tight presses of two men something that Santi simply excels at. Arteta will more often than not buy a free kick so we don’t lose possession but Santi will get us on the front foot.

  82. GoonerB says:

    Agreed there GIE. I also include Jack and Rosicky with that similar skill set under pressure like Santi. I think the pace up front is important if we have had a spell defending a team pressing with a high defensive line. If the players like Santi can break the first press the pace ahead of them can far better exploit the space behind the high defensive line. Spurs try more for this high line than Southampton even.

    My other issue is that when Santi (rightly) drops into that midfield role then Arsene normally pushes Ramsey to the right. That is incorrect in my opinion and removes the pace option to hit out wide on that side. If that is further coupled with a slower striker then I think even Santi struggles to make good quick use of the ball.

  83. Rasp says:

    OK, that’s my last post for a while, thanks for your comments, I’ve prepared something for tomorrow …. over to you ……

  84. Gööner In Exile says:

    GB But you could also argue that having Ramsey or Ozil to pick out gives us players who can pass it on again, or of course pick out the head of the target man from wide 🙂

    Although I didn’t like seeing Ramsey out wide you could see how something like the following lineup has more options and concerns for defenders than all out pace.

    ………..Any of our CFs………………

    Also the biggest plus to this line up in early season was that our full backs were not having to go on the overlap to offer the width that a more attack minded winger (ours anyway) tend to leave as they drift infield and derelict their duty.

  85. GoonerB says:

    I can see the argument GIE, Ozil isn’t an issue centrally as he can take up intelligent space. I just don’t like a slower right footer from the right, and I don’t think Rambo offers anything massively superior passing wise or crossing wise from the right flank than other more natural wide options. I have always felt Ramsey from the right is more just to accommodate him in the side rather than being the best option for that position.

  86. Gööner In Exile says:

    Sorry should explained further, for me the three should be allowed to take up position and drift as and when they need to.

    They only get that luxury if at least three defenders and two midfielders hold their shape, and that’s for me what has changed since we lost LeCoq and Santi, LeCoq would be winning ball and snuffing out danger and Santi was generally close by for the first pass,

  87. Gööner In Exile says:

    Ozil vision

  88. Gööner In Exile says:

    And why I miss Santi

  89. fatgingergooner says:

    I see Spurs are already using the ‘we don’t have any money whilst the stadium is getting built’ excuse. They have a talented group of young players to take them into the new stadium though…..why do I feel like I’ve seen this before!? 😄

    Wont be long until they are selling their best players and saying Europa League qualification is like a trophy 😂😂😂

  90. chas says:

  91. chas says:

    I reckon they could let us off with £19.21 as a gesture of goodwill, don’t you?
    Quick calc – 45,000 season tickets times £20 approx is £900,000 – Ahh, a just under a third of Stan’s “dividend”.
    (n.b. Ticket Exchange not available for Barca)

    Email from Arsenal…………….

    As you will probably be aware, your Arsenal season ticket (Membership Number XXXXXXX) includes admission to all 19 home Premier League matches, as well as the first seven home cup ties in European competitions and the FA Cup (subject to match categorisation) – the Capital One Cup is not included.

    Match Categorisation
    Each season ticket consists of 26 categorised matches. The structure of each season ticket is based on six category A matches; 14 category B matches; and six category C matches.
    Depending on the number of matches played in a season and the categories assigned to them, this could result in a refund or additional cost to the price of your season ticket. For example, at the start of this season (2015/2016), all season ticket holders received a cup tie credit refund. This represented the difference between a category B and a category C fixture from pre-paid cup tie credits during the previous 2014/15 season.

    As a result of our continued progress in cup competitions this season, our FA Cup Fifth Round home match against Hull City on the weekend of 19/20/21/22 February is the sixth cup credit for the 2015/16 season and will be a category C match.
    Consequently, our UEFA Champions League Round of 16 fixture against FC Barcelona, to be played on Tuesday, February 23, 2016 will be our seventh cup tie credit of the season and has been designated as a category A fixture.

    Due to the number of matches played this season and the categories assigned to them, there will be an additional cost to your season ticket for the 2016/17 of £19.21. This additional cost will be added to your renewal price for next season.

  92. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning all
    Thank you for post Rasp, sorry not about to comment.

    Chas, motning
    That all sounds a bit rubbish about Barca, although maybe its a bit early for me to read complicated things. Are you going?

  93. Eddie says:

    the letter from AFC – what are they saying?

    pitbull video – my Bambi does the same, they are so funny 🙂

  94. Eddie says:

    So not having money during the stadium built was valid for us for 10 years, but not for Spurs?

  95. chas says:

    Yep, Micky, too much for first thing in the morn.
    Defo going.

  96. chas says:

    Just that we have to pay a bit more next season because of game categorisation.

  97. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I was thinking of going to Barca home if I can get away early enough on the day, but could be a problem if they’re not operating Exchange.

  98. chas says:

    I’m not sure how they intend to sell seats that are ‘opted out’.
    They must sell them, so you should be alright if you get on at the right time.
    Opt out is by 12th Feb, so I’d imagine they’ll sell those a day or two later for the game on 23rd Feb.

  99. Eddie says:

    oh I see. yes, they should waive the measly £19.
    Mind you, money is the new God, it is absolutely crazy how everyone chases the buck. Makes me sick.

    I told BT that I need a new installation in the new house. They have been so aggressive in chasing it, that I cancelled. But they are not having it, still calling, mailing, sending equipment – awful

  100. Eddie says:

    I am thinking of going to Camp Nou in March. This depends on the Feb result – 0:5 and I am not that brave

  101. chas says:

    I think FGG was pointing out that it was exactly the same.
    Hope they end up with a midfield pairing type of Song (when he was rubbish) and Denilson. 🙂
    How on earth we still qualified for the CL during that time is a miracle.

  102. MickyDidIt89 says:

    That’s what I’m guessing, so why not stick ’em on the exchange and use a tried and tested formula?
    Wasting our money again like what they do on analysts and shit. All stinks of a lack of ambition to me and Marble 🙂

  103. chas says:

    Surely you ARE going in March, just for the experience as much as anything?

  104. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning Eddie

    Thinking of going to Barca? I thought you had tickets, hotel with paddling pool and stuff all booked

  105. chas says:

    Too complcated for them to work out who owes what if they use the Exchange.

  106. Eddie says:

    Like I said – 0:5 or worse and i am staying put. I am not a bloody hero, optimist or masochist

  107. MickyDidIt89 says:

    “I am not a bloody hero” HA HA HA Great comment

    Could I be detecting the possibility of a bargain package away trip to Barca for two all inclusive on Ebay. Box included?

  108. Eddie says:

    for one micky, i prefer my own company 🙂
    I don’t think you can transfer the plane ticket, BA don’t change names on flights

    Look, don’t be such a doomer, we could beat Barca at home, no?

  109. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Well, given we can’t beat Southampton, then I very much doubt it.

    Mind you, play our first XI and who knows 🙂

  110. chas says:

    The Janus of postboxes.

  111. chas says:

    Must go.
    Micky, you have mail.
    Check back when I get home at lunchtime

  112. Eddie says:

    the best/rarest post boxes have rounded opening for the inserts 🙂

  113. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ok Chas

    Long term post box enthusiast?

  114. Eddie says:

    no micky, it is a new hobby in case I need to replace the Arsenal. It is actually growing on me, they are beautiful 🙂

    Dotty tomorrow? have you got poo bags?

  115. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Are there any red letter boxes in far flung corners of the empire, or only in GB?
    Falklands for example?
    I don’t want to talk about poo bags. Ever 🙂

  116. Eddie says:

    you don’t need to talk about them, just make sure you are flipping using them or I’ll be on your case!!

    re red boxes – i have no idea 🙂 🙂 but if you want I can check 🙂 🙂

  117. Eddie says:

    india – tick

  118. Eddie says:

    ok, I think the answer is yes – red letter boxes in the whole of the Empire

  119. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Superb work Eddie

  120. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    That’s Entertainment was a fine way to start my day.

    Is there any other colour for a postbox?

  121. Red Arnie says:

    motning all. knot wae, sorry,

    Nou Camp in March sounds nice.

    great pics, Evonne. 🙂

  122. Red Arnie says:

  123. Red Arnie says:

  124. Red Arnie says:

  125. Red Arnie says:

  126. Red Arnie says:

    Postbox in Sheffield painted in gold in honour of Jessica Ennis

  127. Gööner In Exile says:

    So the question is when will the club do away with preloading cup credits into the Season Ticket? After all it’s been exclusive of COCup for a while, it doesn’t take long to reach 7 when you have 3 CL group games and normally 1 knockout tie.

    Perhaps it’s time for the club to ditch cup credits with an obligation to buy scheme with an opt out should you choose to. Like Spuds, ManUre and everyone else (although I believe they also include COCup games in this and just take the money off your payment method).

    I think by doing this they could probably address some of the empty seats on CL nights when some supporters can’t make the trip midweek. And FA Cup attendance?

  128. Eddie says:

    no, no, no, I am not getting into this one!! I am not really a sad post box enthusiast, ffs 🙂

    thanks arnie, keep your diary open – there might be a spare ticket going 🙂

  129. Red Arnie says:

    The Belfast Telegraph 19 Nov 2010

    A “hooligan element” has been blamed after postboxes in Co Tyrone were repainted green.

    DUP MLA Lord Morrow said he had been contacted by residents about vandalism in the Clogher Valley area, including repainted postboxes and road signs. He warned the “sectarian vandalism” was causing division in the area.

    “Postboxes have been painted green by a hooligan element, undoubtedly supported by Sinn Fein,” Lord Morrow said.

    “This type of anti-social behaviour does nothing to enhance the natural aesthetic of this rural community.

    “Furthermore, it seeks to cause division within the community.”

  130. Red Arnie says:

    fantastic, Evonne. 🙂

  131. fatgingergooner says:

  132. fatgingergooner says:

    Copy and paste is drunk this morning! That was supposed to be a post box! 😂

    Let’s try again!

  133. Eddie says:

    fgg – a selfie 🙂 ??

  134. Rasp says:

    ….New post …..

  135. Big Raddy says:

    Well, clearly red is not the only colour 😀

  136. Big Raddy says:

    Tomas ruled out for 3 months with thigh injury.

    A sad end to his playing career.

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