Is the ‘Parked Bus’ an Exaggerated Problem?

Extract from GIE comment

So next season, what should we expect? What do we need? Do we actually need to take a few steps backwards to go forward?

Firstly we need more goals from midfield, plus more goals from wide and up top. I reckon you need 3/4 very good to great players to have a consistently great season, so we need to be looking at Kozzer, Jack, Ozil and Alexis to offer that.

But the going backwards bit? Well we need to stop committing men forward and leaving ourselves open, I think that will lead to a lot of 0-0’s but may encourage teams to start coming out of their bus formation more?

 

Is the parked bus as big an issue as we make out? I suppose when it works against us it’s usually a smaller team that’s doing it and the result of a draw or defeat to these sides sticks in our minds more than a similar result to a Man City or Chelsea.

I’m going to suggest that it’s mainly an issue for home fixtures, as when we play away teams tend to have more of a go, and it’s us that plays on the counter. So let’s look at the results table from the last 2 seasons and see how many times we have been caught out?

14/15

Chelsea 0-0
United 1-2
City 2-2
Sunderland 0-0
Swansea 0-2
Spurs 1-1
Hull 2-2

15/16

Chelsea 0-1
Palace 1-1
Liverpool 0-0
Southampton 0-0
Swansea 1-2
Spurs 1-1
West Ham 0-2

So out of 38 home games we’ve gained 81/114 points. That means we’ve dropped 33 points:

Swansea 6
Chelsea 5
Spurs 4
United 3
West Ham 3
Liverpool 2
Palace 2
Southampton 2
City 2
Sunderland 2
Hull 2

21 of the points were lost against Chelsea, United, City, Liverpool, Spurs, West Ham and Southampton. Whilst not great results they are not exactly lost to teams parking the bus. These are all very capable, top half teams. So that means in the last 2 seasons only 12 points have been lost at home to ‘small’ teams bringing a bus:

Swansea 6
Palace 2
Sunderland 2
Hull 2

Now rather than us changing tactics, if we just defend better and stop conceding stupid goals, as suggested by GIE yesterday, then we could easily have saved points. In fact, if we’d conceded 1 less goal in each of the 14 games we’d be 13 points better off!

So in conclusion, I don’t think the parked bus is as much of an issue as we think but we cause the problem ourselves. Its not tactics that need to change, but maybe the mentality of the players. Sometimes it’s better to make sure you don’t concede than it is to push for a goal and leave yourself wide open to counters. As GIE said, it may lead to more draws, but it may also encourage teams to come out a little bit and give us the opportunities to score without as much risk of losing valuable points.

The problem? How do you think Arsenal fans would react if we were drawing 0-0 with 10 minutes to go against a side like Sunderland and we were probing for gaps rather than pushing everyone forward to find a winner? I suppose it all comes down to one thing, balance.

If we start to concentrate on clean sheets rather than winning games though, are we not one step away from becoming a side that Jose Mourinho could manage!? *shudder*

Written by fgg

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136 Responses to Is the ‘Parked Bus’ an Exaggerated Problem?

  1. chas says:

    Cheers, FGG.

    It does seem less of a problem than I would have guessed judging by the figures you’ve unearthed; well, in terms of points dropped, at least.

    Yesterday’s second half at SHL maybe showed more of what’s to come for the spuds next season.
    ‘Devoid of ideas’, ‘sideways passing’ and ‘lack of a cutting edge’ are all well-known phrases from commentaries of Arsenal games which were equally appropriate to the spuddies last night.

  2. RC78 says:

    In terms of points – you want to average a bit more than 2.25 to challenge for the title whether you get them away or at home does not make much of a difference. However, you should capitalize on home advantage so it is expected that big teams do well at home…

    Now again – we need to defend and attack better. We need more sharpness, physicality, movement, pace (in terms of speed we are ok, I mean the pace in the passing game) and diversity in our attacks…

    It is a relief that Spuds will not win the league but it is still disappointing that AFC does not land the EPL this year. It was ours and we blew it

  3. RC78 says:

    Winning 1-0 is ok 🙂 These small victories are needed to win a league…

    We are usually getting unsettled if we do not score quickly and then we also do not defend well enough to feel safe even when we are up by one goal…We need to shake things up a lot.

    If I were to follow a model – I would follow Bayern Munich under Heinckes a couple of years back. That team was solid on both ends and was full of variety – quick passing, long range passing…Pleasure to watch and they had a team that in terms of talent was just slightly better than ours but they had a very strong core team:

    Neuer – Lahm, Boateng, Alaba – Martinez, Schweini – Robben, Muller, Ribery – Gomez

  4. Rasp says:

    Thanks FGG, in reality, PTB is just defending …. nothing more or less.

    We’ve chosen to create the tag of PTB when we (the royal we) can’t break down an organised defence.

    It’s not just Arsenal who has this problem, every time there is a game between two sides where there is a gulf in ‘footballing ability’ then the scenario arises.

    For some reason we often criticise the PTB team for ruining the game when in fact that is just frustration at our inability to unlock their defence.

    We just have to be a bit more cute. We have to have more than one way of playing. Its no good having 70% possession in the first half but hardly a shot on target. Why not let the oppo have more of the ball, take a few risks in the attacking third invite them onto us and then exploit the space that creates. Most importantly get the ball forward at pace even if this risks losing possession.

  5. RC78 says:

    Nowadays – teams in the EPL are tactically astute and ready to challenge you physically as well. The only difference is that the big teams have more technically gifted players.

    Now – to break the opposition, you have to basically create an imbalance in their set-up. You can do that through slick passing or individual class act through good dribbling. For this, you need to be sharp in your “shape” going forward as well as when you defend and you need to have players that can make intelligent passes, meaningful runs and also dribble past players.

    This is why big teams try to get the ball back in the opposition half (high press) so as to quickly create space and situations. Barcelona, Real, PSG, Bayern…but you need very good engine and also a very good defensive shape to play the high press.

    Barcelona had that earlier this season but their front three (except Suarez) and their midfield (esp. Rakitic and Busquets) are running out of steam – hence the recent losses.

    Anyways – with our current squad, we are lucky to have a player that creates tons of chances but the rest does not score and we also suffer from lack of defensive shape and diversity in attacks. Let us fix that and we will be fine – easy, right? lol

  6. RC78 says:

    If you can keep your defensive shape while you are attacking, you have a team playing as a block and become hard to beat as a result.

    Our problem is that the ball is not moving quickly enough against PTP teams…and then we lose patience and concede dumb goals.

  7. chas says:

    RC78
    I reckon you are bang on.
    Score more of the stacks of chances we create and concede less.
    Job done. 🙂

  8. chas says:

  9. chas says:

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    Excellent, analytical post, FFG 😎

    Not much time, but I suggest we do three things next season:

    1. Get the balance right in the double DM pivot, making best use of the brilliant Elneny, Santi, Coq, Jack, Rambo – mix and match per game if required – make Santi captain, Elneny spare captain;

    2. Get a supersub ala Podolski to crack the busses from inside the box if and when required – I reckon letting him go cost us about ten to fifteen goals per season – bring in another midwinter who will hit the ground running and, like Alsexis, score ten to twelve goals;

    3. Buy a more mobile BFG – one who can organise, great in the air and leads naturally but also recovers quickly when playing a high line

    But first we need to finish the season in style.

  11. Big Raddy says:

    FGG. Great stuff with surprising stats.

    I guess it is not so much the results as the playing method which annoys. Football is entertainment but when a team plays with the sole intention of stopping another from entertaining then I get miffed.

    How to deal with this tactic? The way we do. Tippy-Tippy, trying to draw defenders out of position to allow our chaps to find space in the box. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

    A midfield of Elneny and Santi who can both shoot from distance would be interesting.

  12. Big Raddy says:

    TA. Is Draxler a mid-winger? We should have signed him 2 seasons ago and saved €50+m.

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    Raddy, Draxler – a name that when pronouncing it helps you remove nasty flem – would indeed be a good fit, but I reckon he did not really want to leave Germany in a hurry. I would love Reus who apparently is a Gooner and would love to play for us. Maybe Cech can tap up Hazard for us?! 😂

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    Raddy would love to see Elneny and Santi in the double pivot, especially against the park the bendy busses teams.

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    Against Palace and Brommies, who would park their wheel chaired grandmas without any hesitation, we really missed Santi or Jack to help Ozil to crack the buss lines. Iwobi shows promise, but Rambo and Alexis over hit virtually every ball or their passes were easily read and intercepted. Too much pressure on Ozil, who often gets crowded out when we face a deep defending team, but with both Santi/Jack AND Mesut cracking the wip, whilst Hoover Elneny tidies up behind them, we could be far more deadly… But maybe we just need an Aguerro CF! 😂

  16. RA says:

    Rasp is of course correct.

    Park the Bus is just a convenient alternative expression meaning a tightly organised defence.

    If we had an attacking team like Barça attacking us, I suspect that we would play the same way. Ah, no, I guess we would not – we would attack anyway, and then be surprised when we lose.

    So to rephrase the definition; ‘Park the Bus is just a convenient alternative expression meaning a tightly organised defence, and will never be a tactic used by Arsenal’. 🙂

  17. chas says:

    There was me thinking that FGG’s comments had revealed that ‘parking the bus’ or ‘just good defending’ wasn’t quite such a problem as we may have imagined.

    Presumably this would be because our current methods of overcoming packed defences were more often than not working.

    Why then the need to define the phrase and also ignore the conclusion by trying to think of ways to defeat the tactic?

    There will always be the odd defeat while we fail to take numerous chances and allow the opposition to score with their first.

  18. fatgingergooner says:

    I believe having a tight defence and defending deep as a team is not ‘parking the bus’, but if you show very little ambition to get a goal at the other end then I would accuse those teams of ‘parking the bus’. It’s just embarrassing when teams set up with 0-0 as the aim. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Wenger side go out onto a field with no thought of winning the game.

    I have seen teams come to the Emirates like that though.

  19. fatgingergooner says:

    Chas,

    the problem is if we don’t call it ‘parking the bus’ then the odd time we do lose or draw to a lower side by not breaking them down then we have to blame Arsenal, and that’s just not allowed! Nothing is ever Arsenal’s fault! 😄

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    Chas, because we lost four points against Palace and Sunderland, which shows we can still improve on beating teams that are set up not to lose in such a way that there is a minimum of space in front of their goal and they will only venture forward when absolutely safe and with just a few players. I prefer the brief PTB… 😜

  21. Big Raddy says:

    FGG 3.32 This sums up PTB and the difference between this and quality defending.

    If AFC could stop the annoying habit of conceding from the first attack then opposition teams may employ PTB less often.

  22. RC78 says:

    Question – will we have more or less points than last year?

    If we have less, does that mean we have regressed?

  23. RA says:

    I am not sure who is ‘blaming’ anyone or anything, but simply trying to define Parking the Bus, from my definition comment that does not apply to Arsenal, and is not something Arsene would ever want to do – that’s Mourhino territory.

    Arsenal on the other hand, even in a season where everyone and his dog (well a lot of fans anyway) say we are not an attacking force are wrong, at least in part.

    Some of our attacking play leading up to the opposition penalty area has been scintillating. And that is true of the last two drawn games against Palace and Sunderland.

    What we are missing is the killer touch to put the ball in the back of the net – which means that we have question marks over Giro, Theo and our attacking midfield for not scoring as often as we would like.

    Putting that into perspective, we are the 4th highest scorers in the Premier, and are joint 4th best defense (goals against). Hardly a disaster.

  24. fatgingergooner says:

    RC78,

    Less. Have we regressed? I think that’s a good question to ask after the Villa game!

  25. chas says:

    Yep, TA, but that wasn’t what the post was about. 🙂

    We dropped two versus Palace because of poor finishing. We should have been out of sight by the time they started playing in the last 15 minutes.

    We dropped two versus Sunderland because we were average on the day.

    🙂

  26. fatgingergooner says:

    RA,

    Agreed. Haven’t we created more chances than any other side or something like that? Our finishing is dreadful and has been all season.

  27. chas says:

    So why are we taklking about how to beat the bus if it’s only the finishing that needs to improve? (and the defending 😆 )

  28. RA says:

    Chas,

    You seem to be playing devil’s advocate today, unlike you.

    “Is the ‘Parked Bus’ an Exaggerated Problem?”

    I, personally, have not mentioned anything about ‘how’ to beat the (parked) bus, but to discuss something you first have to agree what it means, and then we can ascertain if it an exaggerated problem, or not.

    Unsurprisingly it seems to mean different things to different bloggers.

    The parked bus, in my case, is not an exaggerated problem – particularly when you get to the terminus at 12:55, and the last f*cker left at 12:45, leaving only 4 or 5 somnolent and unwakeable mechanical behemoths snoring away parked neatly in the garage, and me with no means of paying for a cab. 🙂

  29. RA says:

    In case you were going to ask — a young lady helped me out – let me stay at hers! 🙂

    So maybe an exaggerated problem for me after all. 😀

  30. fatgingergooner says:

    More protests! Ooooh, bits of paper to go with the black scarves. What next? Foam hands!?

    The board must be crapping themselves.

    Just makes us all look like mugs. Only way to protest is with your wallet. If your still going to matches then you can’t be that unhappy can you.

  31. fatgingergooner says:

    “I want to pay £60 so I can boo live!”

    😂😂😂😂😂😂

  32. RA says:

    Give me £60, FGG, and you can boo me live – sounds like a deal! 🙂

  33. fatgingergooner says:

    Chas,

    After a days blogging, I think the only answer is to put ‘park the bus’ in room 101 and accept that there will be times when we fail to break teams down who are just defending well as a team. We also need to accept that if we attack better and defend better we will be a better team! Crazy, I know! 😂

  34. fatgingergooner says:

    RA,

    How about £30 and I ring you!? 😄

  35. chas says:

    Sorry, RA, you’re bang on. 🙂

    I felt responsible for the post because it was my suggestion that we use FGG’s comments for it.

    To tell the truth, I don’t give a rat’s rectum what anybody else thinks. 😆

  36. RA says:

    Oh, go on, FGG, have a boo, and I won’t charge you – but to Chas it is still £60.

    I am sorry, I think, that the guy with the best name at Arsenal, Frans De Kat, is leaving the U18s coaching role to get a higher profile role back in Holland.

    He would have been a big hit on AA, with Micky’s predilection for kats sliding, hiding and jumping most mornings.

  37. RA says:

    Did you mean a kat’s rectum, Chas? It is you and people like you who have forced poor old Frans de Kat to quit!!

  38. chas says:

    Don’t bring Frans De Kat’s rectum into this. 🙂

  39. chas says:

    FGG
    I thought the stats you revealed about points dropped to lower half teams were very interesting.
    We need to break the Swansea hoodoo next season, that’s for sure.

  40. fatgingergooner says:

    Hummels considering Bayern. Shows why the Bayern model is so unrealistic for an English club. They have the pick of any player in the division (a division that has produced top players in the last 10 years) even from their closest rivals, aswell as the ability to buy from abroad.

  41. Nicholas Stone says:

    Park the bus is only a problem in two situations.

    1. Arsenal concede first. This obviously leads to more park the bus and further danger of goals on the break: both of which Arsenal are particularly prone to.

    2. Arsenal fail to convert the first few big chances. Once you’ve scored, the game dynamic changes and park the bus ends.

    Arsenal not converting is what cost us this year. Theo is clearly off, and I’d be very surprised if he wasn’t replaced by another winger and a first choice striker.

    If we can recover the first half of the season’s defensive composure then going one nil up will be more likely to lead to two nil rather than an equal chance of one one, which is what it seems to be at the moment.

    The question is, who will we get?

  42. kelsey says:

    It is generally packed defences sometimes better organised than others and to play intricate one teo tippy tappy you need a calibre of players who is not only good but has a quick brain and we don’t have enough of these players in the attack or even midfield.

    Our tally of goals sored this season is the second worst under AW.How so many players can under achieve at once is a mystery.

    kroenke wont change but give the same amount of money or even more with the new TV deal, to a new younger man with fresher ideas and improve the scouting then you have a chance to be really amongst the elite.

    This summer will be harder than ever as at least 5 teams are looking for better players and we have several leaving and a bigger rebuild is necessary but that won’t be achieved in one go.

  43. Gööner In Exile says:

    I wonder how many points we have lost from winning positions? In my head it’s quite a few, and we probably have not won many from losing positions?

    The reason for the question……we don’t have to call it parking the bus, we can just call it playing on the counter, which is how we have tried to play City, Munich and Barca in recent seasons.

    I think the problem is not our lack of taking of early chances it is our commitment of men forward, that also makes our play look stagnant because there is no running off the ball when everyone is camped in their half.

    And whilst Barca have met their match the key difference between us and them is where their centre midfielders and Iniesta spend most of their time, ie not on the edge of the 18 yard box, more likely somewhere between half way and 30 yards out from goal, always available for the breakdowns and to be an outlet when Messi or Neymar has run into a crowd of players, they rarely force a pass where the sun doesn’t shine, they just wait their chances.

    Let’s take the Palace game as a recent example, we sweat blood and tears to get a goal, then instead of letting them come out we continue to play the same way searching for a second, why not just control the ball and tempo, set your shape and pass the ball sideways for the rest of the game. They can’t sit back for the entirety of the game.

    That requires bravery and is probably easier achieved away from home away from the demands to get it forward from the terraces.

    If there is one thing Chavs did well against us last season it’s kill a game, just keep the ball, do nothing with it especially when they got a lead.

    Would it be any more exciting or interesting to watch than our current football? Probably not but would probably result in less heartache although there will still be some complaining that we are no longer entertaining.

    I actually think developing an arc of protection and influence that Rakatic, Busquets and Iniesta create would be good for us, the question is who becomes the midfield three?

    Elneny, Santi, Ozil? or Elneny, Santi, Jack and push Ozil into one of the attacking three positions roaming wherever necessary?

    Rakatic would walk into attacking midfield positions in most other sides in the world but he is prepared to do his job for the benefit of the team and you see how much the likes of Iniesta, Messi and friends enjoy playing with him.

    Ramsey, Santi and Jack could all play the same role, Santi has shown he has the discipline to do it can Ramsey and Jack?

    I wouldn’t be averse to trying a midfield 3 and attacking 3 like this in the next few games

    ……………….Elneny………………
    …….Rambo…………….Jack…..
    …Ozil……….Alexis…….Iwobi….

    With the front three with license to roam? And Jack and Rambo with strict instructions to hold position and shape.

  44. fatgingergooner says:

    GiE,

    I agree that Özil needs to move positions. Messi is able to play from the right and be a huge influence, so I see no reason why Özil couldn’t do that. If our midfield 3 are more disciplined then they will have no problem covering the opposition wide areas if play breaks down, espescially with the pace of Bellerin to cover.

    I like the mobility and discipline of Elneny and if Xhaka arrives to play behind him then we can have some real engines in CM, something we’ve lacked in the past.

  45. Big Raddy says:

    Why buy Xhaka when we have Coquelin?

    Coq may not be my favourite player (far from it) but he is held in high regard by pro’s, hence his election to the PL team of the season.

    Strong rumours about Xhaka already being signed but it seems strange because there are other areas of the pitch which need attention.

    The first thing I would do is to replace many of the coaching staff.

  46. mickydidit89 says:

    So Erik
    Back to your question. RM or MC
    At the least I’d like MC to still be in with a sniff, as we play them three days before the return fixture in Madrid
    What irony if Pellegrini wins Ol Big Ears in his sacked year

  47. mickydidit89 says:

    Apologies for being rude. Thanks Fellas for post. Good teamwork.

    I no longer have any interest in tactics and all that.

    Back to the old days for me. Look forward to next game. Enjoy.

  48. Big Raddy says:

    You are right. A draw would suit

  49. mickydidit89 says:

    Did we have a good time in Paris?

  50. mickydidit89 says:

    Why isn’t Ronaldo playing?

  51. mickydidit89 says:

    The bus never was the most attractive of vehicles, but you have to say, the Spanish bus is slightly more of a looker than the English version

    Boring half

  52. Big Raddy says:

    Hardly a half for the purist.

    Half a million pounds plus of talent and not one shot on target ny either team.

    Dull.

  53. Big Raddy says:

    Paris was just fab apart from the weather. Paris in springtime requires a full set of long-johns and the very best seal skins .

  54. mickydidit89 says:

    So you were suitably dressed then

  55. fatgingergooner says:

    BR,

    I would say Coquelin is our only out and out HM player and with Arteta and Flamini leaving we need another body in there. Some may say Elneny could do the job but I prefer him in the Cazorla role as the man backing up play and keeping us ticking over. Cazorla is just coming off a long injury and is now 31, Wilshere’s injury record is awful and Ramsey has been picking up hamstring problems frequently this year.

  56. mickydidit89 says:

    I guess we give this game another 10 mins

  57. Big Raddy says:

    FGG. I agree and with Flamini leaving we need backup but ….

    AW does not buy top dollar when looking for a squad player which if he rates Coquelin, Xhaka would be.

  58. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. Yes, I even took my barbour to wear over the sealskins which are banned in France – heavens knows why in a country where they eat anything that moves.

  59. mickydidit89 says:

    How many times do I have to tell you, the French are weak and pathetic 🙂

    They tried their best to ban me, but I was too evasive and slippery back then

  60. Big Raddy says:

    Ah You must be The Pimpernel

  61. mickydidit89 says:

    The Sid James version

  62. mickydidit89 says:

    92 minutes of football, and not one goal
    What’s the point 🙂

    Goodnight Gents

  63. Big Raddy says:

    And MC did not have a shot on target.

    Not a game for the Purists

  64. TotalArsenal says:

    Fine comment GiE 🙂

    Maybe we need better leadership in midfield to orchestrate the troops. Is Santi or Jack that player?

    Your final line up is worth trying out.

  65. Gööner In Exile says:

    I have to say whilst Coq gets a lot of plaudits I do believe he doesn’t overly help with moving the ball around, I don’t really blame him because he gets through a lot of work just keeping on top of breaks etc.

    However if Arteta was a stop gap, and Coquelin was the result of a lucky circumstance then I think Elneny is the player Arsene is looking for, asFGG says Xhaka will add another body that can play that role. That’s 3 for one HM spot, but more importantly Elneny has another string to his bow. In Rambo, Jack and Santi we have three solid tempo makers (providing they stick to their job) with TR7 on his way it could be time for Ox to stake a claim as the 4th player for this spot or Zelalem to be called back in? Or we shop for an Iniesta type?

    Then up top one centre forward/front man, added to Danny, Alexis, Iwobi, Ozil and Ollie (yes I’d keep him as plan B), Theo and Flamini going could make room for Akpom or a Draxler type.

    At the back well we have 4 centre backs, if we move BFG on we have room for one more and I think LB we are covered with Monreal and Gibbs, whilst at RB Debuchy going frees the spot for Jenkinson.

    Assume we keep 3 keepers.

    So that means a squad of 25 with 5 out (Flam, Arteta, TR7, Theo and Debuchy) and 3 in Jenkinson, CF/ATT/Akpom, Xhaka). Some won’t actually need to be named so we could add more, but we will have to consider when some of these players become old enough to be named.

    Checking Arse.com we have used 25 different players in CL and PL. Yet we don’t feel like we have a big enough squad.

    Which brings us back to the old issue of being prone to injury.

  66. fatgingergooner says:

    Flamini, a player who was free to leave last summer, has played 24 times this season. 19 of those were starts! That’s not good enough for Arsenal. We need to get on top of this ridiculous injury problem, and if we can’t do that (which we can’t, it would seem) then we need a deeper squad to compensate. Thankfully it appears we have a crop of youngsters ready to help out.

  67. TotalArsenal says:

    Against PTB teams I expect Wenger to play Elneny as our deepest midfielder and then allow Santi, Rambo or Jack to join Mesut for attacking play; against quality attacking sides we are likely to see Elneny/Coquelin pairing protecting the back four and play solid and compact. Against other sides a mixture of these can be deployed. Good defensive cover is needed indeed though, especially if Flamini is leaving.

    I still believe we need to have more orchestration leadership in midfield and reckon Santi or Jack are right for this. In fact, if all midfielders are fit, I reckon Rambo will struggle to get into the team.

  68. chas says:

    One of the greatest managers ever…….
    With Keith Burkinshaw and Ricky Villa.

  69. RA says:

    Can I lodge a complaint on behalf of Micky? Well I am going to anyway.

    Last night around 9:01 p.m. BR committed a calumny by calling our Dude a Scarlet Pimple, when all he is guilty of is being evasive (tax?) and slippery (too much butter?) and this accusation who complains that the Parisians eat anything that moves, while he admits wearing the skin he nicked off some poor unsuspecting seal.

    Next he will accuse the Micky of being an undercover Spud by encouraging Arsenal to go all out on attack, and sod defense so that we will lose!! Ermm – actually the giant Raddish could have a point there – Scarlet Pimple? yes that could be so.

    Gird your loins, Gooners, they are out there!!

  70. RA says:

    Chas,

    Were any piggy wigs hurt during the making of that side of bacon?

    Et tu Brute?

  71. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    8.15 Is that Lewis Hamilton?

  72. TotalArsenal says:

    Redders 😂

    Are you enjoying this season’s F1 racing?

  73. TotalArsenal says:

    No it’s Carlos Vela!

  74. Big Raddy says:

    RA. No mention was made of Scarlet. That is entirely different persona

  75. Big Raddy says:

    He’s got Vela’s moves

  76. RA says:

    Chas @ 8:14

    There is something I do not quite understand about this Jnr Doctors strike.

    The doctors claim that the new 7 day week contract is unsafe for patients and unfair to doctors because they will be too tired.

    But, apparently, if they are paid more they won’t be tired, and the patients won’t suffer. ???

    As a world famous leftie, can you interpret that for us? 😀

  77. TotalArsenal says:

    Chas that is an eclectic combination of images! I sometimes wonder what goes on in that creative mind of yours! 😳😂🙃

  78. RA says:

    Hiya, TA,

    Good to see you.

    No, I am not enjoying the F1 too much this year.

    The FIA have been messing about with the qualifying (and have now agreed to revert to the previous method) and mysteriously, Hamilton looks no better a driver than the guy on the No.11 bus route! 🙂

  79. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Greetings Friends

    Yes, park the bus. As known, seen accosted by a women wearing a nightie and wrist band at said bus stop, i live in fear of buses and avoid them

    Ride me cowboy and come back to my place for some anti psychotic medication is not the words i wish to hear from a potential beloved.

  80. chas says:

    RA
    You wouldn’t understand medical care available for all regardless of income. 🙂

    TA
    I’m barking mad – and in damn good company.

  81. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed Redders. At least there has been plenty of overtaking. 😀

  82. TotalArsenal says:

    That is good then Chas; not much fun to bark on your own 🙃

  83. Big Raddy says:

    chas. 😀 😀

  84. RA says:

    Terry,

    You be careful who you are accusing of being your friends. I have never seen you before in my life!

    If you greeted the alleged psychotic woman with those words it’s no wonder she thought her luck had changed!! 🙂

  85. GoonerB says:

    Morning all, excellent post and comments and discussion yesterday. Sorry I wasn’t around.

    There was a 6-8 period after Christmas which was the time most responsible for us losing the league but in reality we lost it from faults across the whole season. There were warning signs very early on in games like WHU and Pool at home. At this time we mostly consoled ourselves with it being just one game and there are still “x” amount of games remaining, but in reality they all contributed because they leave you less margin for error further down the line increasing the pressure, and the increasingly frequent use of the term MWG.

    I am no longer sure that just spending big will solve our issues (not that I don’t want us to). I still feel we often play with a disjointed set up with players not in their best positions which transfers to poor performances and dropped points. A prime example would be the use of Ramsey as a RW. He wouldn’t get a look in there for any other big side. It has also become apparent that the deeper DM role doesn’t suit him and yet there he was again in the role on Sunday. He lost possession and gave the ball away 2-3 times creating danger for us and losing us our momentum in attack.

    I also still feel our team looks very inadequately coached and instructed on tactics and shape at stages in a game (relative to other teams). I am afraid (sorry GIE) that I look more to the manager than the players for these problems. I don’t absolve the players of responsibility, but the manager gets the players focused on how he wants the team to structure themselves and play and what dangers to be aware of. If this is not the case then the role of a manger is surely negligible and begs the question of why is a manager so important and on such high wages?

    The WHU away game would represent a prime example to me. At 2-0 up and approaching half time you would think that the team would have been made aware that the prime threat would be from balls coming from wide and Carroll attacking these. Surely a well coached or instructed team would have been told to shape themselves to cut the balls out from wide or for someone to mark Carroll more tightly, or ideally a bit of both. We did neither.

    On this PTB. The term doesn’t bother me whether it is used or not, or if it is just referred to as deep organised defending in numbers. It has to be said that most teams that employ it also leave a quick player to counter-attack with because they know we are susceptible to it. If we know they know this then how is it we haven’t problem solved it as an issue?

    I said after the WBA game that I thought we looked ok, which I know went against the grain slightly. I thought it exhibited the problem excellently. We managed to overcome it to a degree but still struggled to really open them up. I still maintain that we don’t get risky enough with quick forward passes into tight areas and quick runners trying to run into space off the player receiving that 1st forward ball.

    We shouldn’t abandon the ball to feet moving it around but we do it far too much of the time rather than trying to probe more. I think it was FGG (sorry if it was someone else) who said that we should be doing this and then employing a high press to win back possession in the danger areas from the moves that don’t come off. Spot on for me.

    We do need some new quality additions to move on, but I also wonder about our manager and the tactical, coaching and set-up aspect. Even the best teams with the best players pay attention to this and I feel we lose 10-15% alone per season on these aspects, which perhaps even better players coming in can’t account for.

    Currently I feel about 92% certain that Arsene can’t do it anymore. I still harbour that 8% doubt that represents Arsene getting the players we need and finally addressing the other factors and winning us the EPL.

  86. GoonerB says:

    GIE, I found your 5.34 and 11.21 comments yesterday interesting and agreed with all of it, almost 🙂

    Firstly I disagree about Le Coq. I think we need one of the DM’s (mainly the deepest one) to be very disciplined with a more simplistic role in the side. This is what I would term the holding midfielder, and I feel is important to allow our other players to attack by freeing them up more. One player sacrificed from contributing much to getting forward to allow us to attack more freely through others.

    I put more stock in pace (to snuff out danger quickly and track quick midfield runners) than sheer size for this player. I think Coq’s passing is adequate for the role. If it isn’t and it is hampering us then we need to recruit because I don’t think any of the others we have currently are ideal for it, including Elneny who looks more a general DM than a holding one.

    I also liked the idea of your proposed set-up in your 5.34, with a few caveats. Firstly, although a fine player, I think Ramsey has become the elephant in the room. He is an attacking CM for me and as such should mainly be used in this role in the right set-up only. I feel he should be competing with Ozil for that ACM / number 10 position or whatever one wishes to call it.

    Secondly I think Jack has the potential to play from that right side. Jack probably has the most natural attributes to play in 2-3 positions of all our midfielders. There are subtle differences between him and Ozil in their games and they are both left footers but I think a certain amount of goals will be important from that position in this set-up and I feel Jack carries the greater goal threat.

    It could be an option but not one I would use all the time. I think I still prefer the deeper 2 but just need to get the partnership right. Ramsey shouldn’t be one of the considerations here for me. I think Santi, Jack and Elneny can all play with Le Coq.

    I am not sure about Elneny with Jack or Santi because Elneny still looks a bit more go forward at times compared to Le Coq’s more disciplined holding style, and I think both Santi and Jack would require that specific disciplined midfield minder to let them fully express themselves in their role alongside.

    Perhaps this Xhaka, if it is happening, would prove an option with Elneny. If you have 2 strong DM’s who can pass a bit then maybe they can work in unison in a pivot style.

    overall I do think we have many great options that haven’t been tried. I tend to feel we have persisted with all the ones that don’t. For instance when he returned from injury why didn’t we try Sanchez up top instead of Giroud after the Christmas period? Why didn’t we try AOC in the attacking left sided role in Sanchez’s absence?

    You also mentioned about Zelalem maybe coming into consideration GIE. I think the one that looks more ready and could be next years Iwobi is Jon Toral. I can’t remember seeing any footage of him on here but he certainly looks to have had the most productive loan spell of all of them and I think the BCFC fans think highly of him. He looks technical and a bit of a unit as well..

  87. GoonerB says:

    Hahaha. Nothing like GoonerB comments to kill the blog. I will just pretend that you all do like me really and are just very busy 🙂

  88. RA says:

    No – we are not busy, GB.

    😀

  89. GoonerB says:

    RA 🙂

    I am still pretending though.

  90. RA says:

    Thank goodness you relied GB, otherwise I would have broken the blog – well — on reflection it is not you or I at fault, it is those who cannot be assed to talk to us. 😀

    Especially as you wrote to ‘War and Peace’ sized comments!!! zzzzzz

  91. TotalArsenal says:

    I love the percentages, GB. 92% – that is just too precise to pick it out of the air. What’s your formula? 😀

    I dont think there are many left who have full trust in Arsene delivering us a title in the near future. Personally I am 50.6% sure he still can… 😛

  92. GoonerB says:

    Thanks for talking with me RA. You are a big American with a big heart 🙂

    Just before Chas remonstrates with you I am certain you meant to say that i wrote “two” war and peace sized comments. Homophones eh….us wormers hate them 🙂

  93. GoonerB says:

    TA, it is a very intricate formula and the simple answer is I don’t have a bloody clue. It is based on a feeling 10% is a bit too high.

    The reasons for this is the likely spending of our traditional rivals this summer to back the new managers, who all happen to be winners and pretty decent.

    If Maureen arrives at Man Utd then that will add to the difficulties further. I expect Pochettino to be backed and for Spurs to try and seize the moment and push on, and for Klopp to get backing and bring in some players he wants and with a full pre-season with his side to push on as well.

    The actions of all these other clubs will make it difficult for us to win the EPL next year.Then I look at what Arsene and Arsenal will likely do.

    On tactical issues and team set up and who plays where I feel history suggests it is not high on Arsene’s agenda to make significant change (based on consistent unaddressed issues over a few seasons).

    On recruitment I feel the highly likely competitive nature of this summers transfer window will push the prices for the best players up to a level that Arsene will balk at.

    Added to this our image is not currently likely to be of an ambitious team that is progressing so our attractiveness to players that have a choice may be in danger. When that happens the only way to overcome it and persuade top players we are still the right destination is to throw more money at it which I think Arsene will balk at.

    10% is too high for me. 8% represents Arsene getting the right top key players to us and maybe that in itself taking care of the balance of the side and maybe that Arsene and the coaches will start to apply a bit of tactical consideration to the team.

    Because I feel (maybe a bit strangely to you all after this comment) that the squad is 90% there this potential collection of happenings would represent what is required for us to be celebrating the title come May 2017.

    A lot of if’s though 🙂

  94. GoonerB says:

    Chas, it’s going to get worse 🙂

    off for an hour

  95. Big Raddy says:

    Broken the blog?

    Impossible. Injured it perhaps

  96. Big Raddy says:

    I just don’t have time at present to write a post. Can anyone help?

    I will write one for Friday and the PM.

  97. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers GB

    I reckon there is a lot of growth from within the team that will make us stronger again next season, whilst we have good experienced players too. Ozil, Rambo, Bellerin, Alexis, Coquelin, Elneny, Iwobi, Jack, Welbeck can all improve further and strengthen the team intrinsically. Add a bit of quality where we can and we are as strong as anybody.

  98. GoonerB says:

    Not too much in disagreement there TA. Despite my criticisms I have always maintained that we had a very strong squad. I felt we had this year as well which makes me all the more gutted we haven’t performed to the level of the squads capabilities. Maybe there are both many problems and many solutions intrinsically.

  99. GoonerB says:

    Post sent to Nuts. Can be used anytime.

  100. njstone9 says:

    Prices will be high this summer but this can work in our favour too. We are in the second tier of clubs in terms of likely highest amount of spending. Man U and City are likely to spend the most. Perhaps we’ll be on a par with Chelsea, and we are surely ahead of Spurs and Liverpool etc in terms of spending power.

    The increased money available for the lower teams means we can offload players like Theo and/or Giroud’s, possibly Gibbs, at a higher price than normal. We can still get foreign talent in for less than an equivalent player used to the premier league.

    Let’s say we need 4 expensive signings: CB, CM, RW and striker. (Some cheaper players can be bought for squad places – Elneny type of price).

    Looks like Xhaka is the CM and that’s about 30m. Maybe we can get a replacement for Mertesacker at 15-20m (unless Chambers is being earmarked for that role?)

    RW can be covered partially by the Theo sale (20m+ for him) so if we buy a world class winger we can spend net 20m. That’s 70m outlay so far.

    That leaves us with around 50m for a really good striker and total expenditure of 120m. Add a few squad players and perhaps 10m recouped for Giroud’s (if sold) and you’re looking at 140-150m.

    It’s not impossible as we spent over 100m in one window a few seasons ago. Plus we spent almost nothing last summer.

    Wenger strikes me as the type of person who only wants to buy really good players and if he can’t get the exact dude he wants, he’d rather wait than buy a lesser or different player.

    This summer being his last (unless he gets a new contract) makes me think he will be more prepared to spend big to ensure we don’t lose out on a Suarez-quality player.

    If targets can be approached early, a la Sanchez, then we can get them before other clubs do. I’m still hopeful this could finally be the window where we complete the spine of an excellent team. We have already Ozil, Sanchez and Cech. We need to add just a few more players to that.

    We have the money and surely the mistakes of last summer and previous summers (leaving it too late) can be learned.

    I’m 68.3% confident. (wink)

  101. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    NJ. 12.30. It would be wonderful if you are right.

  102. Big Raddy says:

    It’s really cold up here and wet, flipper wet.

    Global warming? Can’t come soon enough.

  103. njstone9 says:

    Be careful what you wish for. I’m in Singapore and it’s been record-breakingly hot recently: 34 degrees, feels like 38 degrees, according to my phone.

    Like an oven, literally.

  104. njstone9 says:

    Also, Wenger’s recent comments on Theo really make me think he’s going to be sold. Otherwise he’d say he wants to keep him, surely?

    That means either we’re buying a new RW and/or a striker. Even if we “only” buy two players, we’ve easily got the money to buy two excellent ones, so yes, I’m very confident on this front.

  105. Mobile Didit says:

    Testing testing
    CATERERS OUT

  106. Mobile Didit says:

    Only the one year of trying from this device

    I am getting so much better

  107. Didit says:

    No I’m not
    It doesn’t ask me if I want to be remembered so have to start afresh

  108. Big Raddy says:

    I have the same problem Micky. Drives me mad.

    NJ. Not sure which I would prefer – probably the heat 🙂

  109. Big Raddy says:

    NJ. We have Ox and JC who can play right wing. I can’t see AW buying anyone despite the obvious need.

    Also, Alexis can play on the right with Ozil on the left where he plays for Germany.

    I would prefer that we spent €50m+ on a finisher

  110. RA says:

    GB,

    Thank you, thank you thank you — for your 7:10 p.m. corrective comment.

    I new someone intellergent would point out my spelling foibles – they’re are always clever people you can relay on to help with a spelling bee, and even yew and Chas chip in two. 😀

    If only I could be lake a literarry geniarse good at spellin an all – jest lake you’re camel – it wood altar my life sew much. 😀

    Wats a homophone – a non heterosexual cell?

  111. Didit says:

    Last chance
    Trying from Full Site

  112. chas says:

    BR and Micky

    I presume you’re both on iphones
    Set up a couple of shortcuts for login name and email.

  113. GoonerB says:

    RA 🙂

    Just to say if my post is used today ( a big if having read it again 🙂 ) I am not around much but will do my best to get on later

  114. chas says:

    GoonerB
    It will, most definitely, be used.

  115. chas says:

    BR and Micky
    Stop playing with your iphones and get back on here. 🙂

  116. Big Raddy says:

    Some people have the strangest toilet seat covers

  117. fatgingergooner says:

    I don’t think we will buy a CB. I think we need one, but I believe Wenger will want to encourage Gabriel and Chambers to improve and buying a brand new first choice CB might do the opposite.

    IF Wenger loans out Chambers for a season to a PL team, then we would have the opportunity to bring somebody in, but with us needing a CM, ST and possibly a RW, I don’t think AW will want to disrupt the squad too much and will keep as many of the current players as possible.

    I think a maximum of 3 new players with CM and ST a certainty and possibly a RW depending on who leaves.

  118. chas says:

    New post going up at 9am.

  119. chas says:

    I think our goals against column is ok.
    We just need better game management.
    Get rid of the deadwood.
    Buy a 30 goal-a-season guaranteed striker.
    And we’re good to go.

  120. chas says:

    Just had a text from Eddie.

  121. Big Raddy says:

    Eddie looking fantastic. All that building stress is doing her the power of good

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