Leicester City, Athletico Madrid, Iceland, Wales, Hungary, even Italy …. what do they all have in common?
Their collective determination has driven them to beat teams packed with world class talent – and not just on the odd occasion, but consistently.
What is it about this particular period in football history that has brought about a mini revolution that has seen honest endeavour triumph over cosseted complacence?
The current success of these teams is a breath of fresh air. They are what punk rock was to the over produced posturing music of the early seventies.
The fundamental difference is that teams with this ethos are greater than the sum of their parts and the teams they beat are less. They concentrate on the basics and perform them very well.
Moreover, in most cases the fact that they have a smaller pool of talent means that the team is settled and far fewer changes are made and that can only be good for the understanding between players. Hodgson’s 6 changes for the Slovakia game and Arsenal’s 6 changes in the Champion’s league last season were both failed experiments that should not have been risked.
So the conclusion at the moment from what we are seeing at club and international level is that the team is far more important than the individual talent it comprises.
Of course we want/need gifted players, but let’s look at Aaron Ramsey as a case in hand. He has been magnificent for Wales. He’s outshone the ‘world class Bale’. He’s been a more influential player for his country than his club.
Two reasons. He’s playing in a position that allows the best outlet for his talent, and he’s playing in a team where every other player shares his desire. A team with a manager who has engendered that team spirit and devised a clearly defined strategy and style of play that all the players buy into.
Can that ethos be engendered into the Arsenal team next season?
Arsene has often said that team spirit is good. I don’t think he’s lying, I just think he is referring to the fact that the players are great friends who are relaxed and happy in training. What I want to see is them being very unhappy when we don’t play to our potential. I want to see them perform acts of bravery and desire on the pitch that whip the Emirates crowd into a frenzy of support.
I want to see 11 players press as a team and to instinctively know when to drop back and defend as a unit. Second nature; first nature; everything about the team has to revolve around a single ethos, this is what we are seeing succeed ….. are you getting the message Arsene?
Jolly good rant Rasp.
We have often been beaten by a team without superstars that are well organised and take their chances. They have usually been drilled to defend well and have set pieces that work and yield results.
Even if a superstar is having an off day they can cause the opposition to have to think of how to deal with said player which often leaves space for others.
Arsenal do need to be better organised …….. hope Arsene has been watching 🙂
Rasp, nothing has really changed since I was a wee lad – there are and always will be giant killers. The excitement of the FA Cup has always been the fact that giant killers emerge and beat the fancied teams – it’s down to collective heart and an iron will.
The major champions in boxing typically start off as iron willed underdogs who have a bone to chew, but very few can retain the fury and inner desire that made them great.
To instill that type of determination in today’s fancy overpaid football Prima Donna’s seems to me to be several bridges too far.
History also shows that “Giant Killers” are typically one off scenarios – so although the initial achievement is fantastic it will wear off pretty soon. The 2016/17 example will be Leicester City who I forecast will get “found out” in both the CL and the PL.
I agree with your thought that Arsenal may have a good/great team spirit but they most certainly do not possess an iron will to succeed.
Your comment on Ramsey is valid but AW has a major dilemma when he has multiple choices for the same position and has to make a decision.
Our midfield is overloaded with skill and not enough steel. I have maintained for several seasons that we lack a steel backbone and that is still my belief.
The team needs to work as block both on defensive phases and attacking phases.
If you saw Germany, Italy and Wales’ display during this Euro, you have perfect examples of teams working as a block.
Concerning Ramsey – well he wants to play “Box to Box” but at AFC, he has been asked to cover for Ozil and whoever players on the right as well. I really think we should move to a 4-3-1-2 system to get the best out of him but also of Bellerin. On the left side, we would need to play El Neny or Wilshere and they would need to work on overlaps with our LB.
Cech – Bellerin, RECRUIT, Koscielny, RECRUIT – Ramsey, Xhaka, El Neny – Ozil – Sanchez, Giroud
Giroud and Sanchez put in their defensive shift so we are ok with these two. If we want another striker, then we would need him to be good defensively as well. Then you have to get a player like Lewandowski or Kane – players that have done better than Giroud.
Ospina – RECRUIT, BFG, Gabriel, Gibbs – Oxlade, Coquelin, Wilshere – Cazorla or Iwobi – Walcott, RECRUIT
– We are still missing four players IMHO
– We need to loan out a few like Chambers and other younger players
– We need to sell a few. For me – we could sell PiG, Debuchy, Jenkinson, Monreal, Cazorla (if we keep Iwobi), Campbell and the case could be made also for BFG and Walcott but they would need to be replaced.
Some potential targets after watching some EURO and Copa America footie:
RB – Coleman, Srna
CB – Chiellini, Pepe, Garay, Hoewedes
LB – Hector, R. Rodriguez
FW – Griezzmann, Higuain, Milik
Cech – Bellerin, GARAY, Koscielny, R. RODRIGUEZ – Ramsey, Xhaka, El Neny – Ozil – Sanchez, HIGUAIN
Ospina – COLEMAN, BFG, Gabriel, Gibbs – Oxlade, Coquelin, Wilshere – Iwobi – Walcott, Giroud
I have a feeling that with this squad, we could do well.
GN5 – 100% spot on about the steel
RASP – Thanks for the post by the way
Thanks for the responses guys. I think we need ‘steel’ as a part of the team not just a few individuals.
It is easier to perform to a higher standard when you’re a clear underdog – Arsenal always play well against Bayern, Barca etc but then roll over for Stoke or West Brom?
The mindset has to be the same for every game.
Another point worth making is that the teams I listed will usually not have the majority of possession, but when they do have the ball they make the most of it by attacking at pace and with directness.
Arsenal seem to lose tempo when our possession doesn’t provide penetration and we are often not as good when not in possession of the ball as a result.
Rasp – we come back again to the issue of attacking and defending as a block….
Now our game also needs more movement from our FB and we need to increase our rate of shots outside the box, which would automatically happen if you play Xhaka and El Neny 🙂
By the way – if we want to have Giroud as our starter, I would highly recommend that we position ourselves for Milik from Poland and plays for Ajax.
IMHO – he could be the next Ibrahimovic. He has quick feet, excellent ability to find space, a great left foot and is good in the air.
Rasp, I’ll make my thought’s clearer.
Every player should possess an iron will and desire to win at all costs – of that there should be no doubts. When I say a steel backbone I’m referring to having hard nosed players as CB’s and an aggressive striker, but most importantly as our Captain.
I am in complete disagreement with AW that every player is a captain, I firmly believe that there should only be one leader one the field and that he should rule the roost and put the under performers in their place during the game while there is still time to make the necessary adjustments. AKA Mr. Arsenal.
Too many cooks………………….
Good points GN5, I agree the captain should have authority over and the respect of the other players.
Football is a simple game, it should not be overcomplicated. A team with 4 playmakers can be confused, let’s recruit players whose strengths will bring something the team currently lacks if the present personnel can’t deliver.
AW seems to have an obsession with “skill” players and we are over stocked with them, we should let some of those whose potential is still unfulfilled and bring in a different type of skill.
So it seems we are in agreement Rasp – damn it’s far more fun having controversies.
The Chilean national football team, as well, winning back-to-back Copa Americas, with smashing attacking play (e.g. 5-0 against Bolivia in 2015’s edition and 7-0 against Mexico in 2016’s edition) and full pitch pressing throughout 90mins (and extra time when required). Plus nerves of steel during the high pressure penalty shootouts wins against Argentina in both editions.
Leaders all around the team, in Bravo (their captain and gatekeeper), Medel (guardian libero), Beausejour and Isla (adventurous cavalrymen on both flanks), Vidal (midfield general), Aránguiz (midfield maestro), Vargas (top scorer) and Alexis (best player of tournament).
The club’s probably getting there like for like: Čech (for Bravo), Koscielny (for Medel), Monreal and Bellerin (for Beausejour and Isla), Xhaka (for Vidal), Özil (for Aránguiz) and Alexis (being himself), with one more to fill in … and this is the most difficult piece to find in the puzzle.
Pre-season training pictures up:
Arsene is back at the training ground.
Mertesacker, Gabriel, Chambers, Monreal, Gibbs, Debuchy, Elneny, Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott, Emiliano, Akpom, Iwobi, Zelalem, Sanogo, Gnabry, Reine-Adélaïde all participated.
Reine-Adélaïde is seen wearing No.20 (He might be promoted to regular 1st team squad).
The Arsenal team definitely need to add a collective will to win above all else.
None of this angling for moves elsewhere or playing well for half a season to get a bigger contract.
No more hiding when things go a little awry.
Always showing for the ball even when a last touch was more Lionel Blair than Lionel Messi.
More discipline in defence when the scoreline is in our favour or we have just given ourselves a chance to get back into it.
No shirking of tackles.
100% commitment to the cause at all times.
No poncey haircuts or beards.
Shooting when a decent opportunity presents itself. Not when knobheads scream ‘Shoot’ when a player hasn’t even got the ball under control 30 yards out, but when a pass is a riskier option.
With all of these, plus our undoubted class, we should be in with a good shout.
🙂 I like it Chas 🙂
Good read Rasp and an important topic, one that needs to be addressed because this idea of collective determination is, in my opinion, over rated, or perhaps better put — a convenient excuse.
You know you can count on me to come up with an alternative view.
In fact, I would go further and say that it is down right patronising. Patronising to Leicester, Athletico Madrid and certainly Italy. It’s patronising to the first on that list because they didn’t win the league because of their collective determination; this is not just a case of the little team with limited resources getting together and overcoming the established wealthy elite by rolling up their sleaves and getting stuck in.
No, Leicester won the league because they simply had better players than Arsenal: Mahrez is head and shoulders better than Walcott and Oxlaide-Chamberlain put together, kante was better than anything we had in midfield, Flamini, please? Vardy is better than Giroud, their backline is better than ours and their goal keeper is not that far behind Czech. We have Ozil and Sanchez of course but without the rest they are not enough.
If collective determination really counted for as much as people think then far more teams lower down the leagues would be winning things far more often, the fact is they don’t because it is not about collective determination it is about the collective talent of the 11 players on the field.
Athletico Madrid do not get to where they are just because of their collective determination they get there by the extremely talented players that they have at the club and they still loose more often than not to the even more collectively talented Real Madrid.
People point the finger at England who they accuse of lacking determination….nonsense…..they are just not very good.
I could go on but I think you get the drift.
Upgrading Arteta for Xhaka is a step in the right direction but the biggest bonus to me is not the determination that he brings, it is his pure footballing talent.
I look forward to next season but not because I think we will do special things, as the squad stands it’s a fight for forth again; one injury to Giroud and we are on our arses; no, I look forward to the new season because I support that wonderful team they call the Arsenal.
On scale of one to ten how much do you want to see him crash and burn?
No poncy haircuts or beards?????!!!!!!! What will they talk about? 😃
They still have their WAG’s, Cars, Mansion’s and Tan’s to chat about…………………
How is your new grandson doing?
Hi GN5, he’s doing fine, thank you for asking. My daughter is extremely competent but even she is beginning to realise that having one was a doddle 🙂
Hi Peaches I’m glad he is doing well.
Schools is out for the summer here so we have our two grandchildren 24 hours a day for 4 days a week. They are 12 and 7 years old but they still keep us on our toes.
Chas, my guess at your 6:27pm would be Cliff Bastin. He scored 178 goals in 396 games – almost one every other game.
“I think you’ve hit the nail on the head Rasp. It ain’t the size of the dog in the fight. It’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
That is a great line, I don’t agree with it; well, not completely, but it’s still a great line. OK it is possible for the underdog to achieve more than expected every now and then but lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place. who has got money on Leicester winning the league next season?
Next question, hands up all those who think that Wales will beat Portugal? If Wales lose will their collective determination have dipped or will it be because they have lost two key players who will significantly reduce their collective talent?
I am going for the latter.
Hi LB, a very well expressed counter view 🙂 and I do believe that Wales will win tomorrow.
As far as comparing the relative quality of Arsenal and Leicester players is concerned, I make you right on their performance last season (and the league table doesn’t lie) but in reality, their team was greater than the sum of its players and ours was less.
I guarantee you if both teams sold their players, the Arsenal team would fetch considerably more money. I grant you there wasn’t that much difference – the real difference was in the team spirit and organisation of Leicester City.
Rasp, I would also add that initially teams, especially after Arsenal beat them 5-2 at home early on, discounted Leicester’s threat to their peril. But the huge surprise (to everybody) was their level of consistency.
I still maintain it was a one off that will not be repeated.
6.42 Chas we never had a player called Twatman!
Maybe he’s coming LBG
Can I reveal the answer to the picture clue now please? 🙂
…. Ro .. bear .. peer S 🙂
I think Totnum Twatman is much better, Rasp!
Chas – are you going to leave us in suspense over the identity of your 6:27pm yesterday?
I’d simply point out that the team ferguson led in his last year was the same team that finished 7th in the next year. Same talent.
That Chelsea finished 1st under the endless whinger and finished 10th last year. Again, same talent.
I could go on and point out other examples but you get the picture. Talent is not the sole determinant, nor the primary determinant of a teams results.
The season is played over such a long period that it will never boil down to 1 or 2 things.
Timing of injuries
Timing of suspensions
Etc etc etc
The list is endless. I agree with Rasp though that one of the things that lets us down on occasion is our inability to get the most out of the quality we have. Hopefully Wenger can correct that this season, but if other factors go against us, then it still might not be enough.
I am not trying to say that talent is the sole determinant I am saying that it is the most important determinant, certainly more than collective determination. For example I do not buy into the idea that Arsenal lack collective determination but I do think that we are seriously lacking talent in key areas.
In my opinion both Manu and Chelsea reached their peak when they won the league; the following season their players started to look over the hill and a rebuilding program was needed.
They are still in that process.
I wouldn’t doubt for a minute that the sale of Arsenal players would be more than that of Leicester but that is not my point.
What I am trying to say is that Leicester have more talented first eleven than Arsenal and they won the league because of that, collective determination played a part but nowhere near as much, in my opinion, as some people suggest.
The list that you make can undoubtedly derail a title challenge but what would you say a team need, above all, to actually win the league?
Thanks Rasp. I agree with determination to a degree but am not sure we lack it that much. LB is also correct for me that talent is a big consideration and we do need to have an upgrade in talent in 2-3 positions still to have our best chance this year. I don’t, however, believe Leicester are ahead of us in that department though. Maybe in 2-3 areas they have the more talented options.
Personally I think the most important thing is the way that we use that talent. As I have said before I feel at the top level the balance of the team is vital as this affects the fluidity. I therefore agree with you Rasp that we don’t always match the sum of our parts but mainly I feel that this is due to us playing unbalanced set ups.
You and I kind of agreed up to a few years ago that Arsene was overloading the squad with too many similar types of tricky CM type players and was then playing players out of position just to accommodate them. We said that there were certain combinations of players that shouldn’t all be on the pitch at the same time, but Arsene frequently did this and it ended up with disjointed unbalanced performances with us looking 2nd best to teams with inferior teams on paper.
The point that you made about Ramsey is a prime example of this argument, but one that I also feel can extend to AOC and perhaps others.
What Leicester did was to get the players playing in their best positions and this was more important than basic determination and allowed their side, across a season, to out-perform our superior technical side.
I still have a bad gut feeling (to our expense) that we will see this again next season because all of Le Coq, Elneny, Xhaka, Cazorla, Wilshere, Ramsey, and Ozil are central players. That is before you consider any youth players who may be more ready.
I thought it wasn’t necessary after LBG put the correct answer up, Ted Drake.
If I was pushed though LB, then the one factor that I would say allows a team to overcome as many of the negative factors as possible is simply talent. The more talented players you have the more issues you can overcome – and the teams with the most money tend to have the talent. Unfortunately!
If I was to answer that question from an Arsenal viewpoint though LB, then the factors that we need to improve are
Positioning of players
Fixture congestion management
i would struggle to pick one of these areas as the main thing that needs to change as all seem to effect our ability to challenge for the title. It’s also noticeable that 4 of these things come down to Wenger.
I think its some were in between. I dont think the most successful sides e.g. Real, Barca, Munchen have great team spirit? If you look at there players faces they look as they have just had sex in a bath tub full of £50 notes. Leicesters on the other hand look as though they have just handed over £50 and not got theres money worth.
This should make Leicester more determined, but I still fancy the likes of Barca to beat them.
I see Moronio is at it again with his Arsene snipes. I honestly detest that man. If I ever fight in a futile Asian war, ending up driving a New York cab and in a dire need to save an ageing 62 year old prostitute, Moronio will pay.
I fear the Git will be a success. Look what he has to follow?. Moyes is the type of bloke who saw the Badger cull as an opportunity and Van Gall gives swinger clubs a bad name.
The Bastard will probably win the treble
Hi guys. So the consensus seems to be (quoting LB, GB and TMHT) that if you’re really talented it doesn’t matter if you don’t work so hard …. In that case we must have a bunch of players who aren’t as good as they think they are 🙂
FGG, I would say that Tactical balance, positioning of players, and squad balance all fall within a similar arena, the main area I feel we don’t get right. It would appear we are in agreement about that.
You and I were slightly in the minority a while back when we said we felt Ramsey was more a number 10 rather than deeper DM or RW player. I still stand by that.
I liked your post and take your point.
However, and here comes the bomb, if we’d scored lots more, we would have won everything 🙂
…and our best football was played with Rambo on the right wing.
I’m beginning to think we all know sweet eff hay about football. 😆
Talent means feck all when you have Charlie Adam grabbing you round the throat. 🙂
The underdoggies did have a good season.
Maybe you’re right, Rasp. 🙂
“It’s cliched to pelt this team with accusations of emotional fragility but it’s impossible to ignore the familiarly bizarre results which undermined their challenge: losing 4-0 to Southampton, being defeated by an understaffed Manchester United, dropping points to West Brom, Crystal Palace and Sunderland, and even managing to lose twice to a listless Chelsea team.
They did finish the season well enough to secure second place and extend their superiority over Tottenham but, tellingly, Arsenal only started to improve once the possibility of actually winning the league had vanished – and that’s an all-too-common scenario.”
Hi chas, the new money has definitely meant there has been a levelling out of the league in terms of the quality of players and that will only continue for next season I guess. The weird thing was how poorly the 3 super-rich clubs performed.
I agree we(I) definitely know sweet football association about football 🙂
Micky, who is your chosen guaranteed 25 goal a season striker who isn’t going to be snapped up by bigger payers and actually wants to play for Arsenal? 😕
Chas, we did play some good games with Rambo on the right but also we saw some dire football with Rambo on the right wing. For me it is about what consistently gives us the strongest balance and team across a season. Rambo on the right will always be exposed as not good enough over more games or by better sides.
Interesting to note that we also played our best football with Walcott up front but not too many are clamouring for that to become the norm. Maybe it is the type of striker that Rambo plays with? A Giroud / Rambo to the right combination is too ponderous perhaps?
Didn’t see the Germany Italy game but apparently Chiellini faked injury with a minute to go of extra time to waste time and so that Zaza could come on to take a pen.
This was the result…………..
I have deja-vu.
Either that or we’ve had exactly the same discussion umpteen times already. 🙂
Don’t you mean Giroud is too ponderous 😆
I really hope we buy a decent right sided attacker. 🙂
Whenever there’s talk of players playing out of position, it always comes down to Ramsey on the right and the Ox playing anywhere.
This does, of course, mean that 99.95% of decisions as to who should play where across the season as a whole were bang on. 😆
Right, I’m off to annoy someone else. 🙂
Ditto re right sided attacker
This is why I spend most of my time blogging on five different West Ham sites bigging up Walcott in the hope that they buy him.
With Theo sold Wenger would have no choice but to buy a right sided attacker.
Ted Drake played during the same time period as Cliff Bastin. They had the same center parting hairdo and I also saw an image of him running with the same style of turtle neck sweater – it must have been a part of the teams uniform.
Hi LB, you may remember I was a pro Walcott leading up to his last contract (having previously been anti – fickle, moi?). But watching him jump out of tackles and just being seriously lacking in cojones last season finally did it for me.
I’ve seen him around quite a lot in Hertford lately with his wife. If ever there was an example of a player that has no need to be hungry for success it’s Theo. He’s already got everything he could possibly want – he even got lucky being left out of the England Euro squad.
I wonder how different his approach to the game would have been if he’d grown up on the streets of Chile like Alexis?
Aaah …. a centre parting haircut, LB and I remember it fondly 😆
Come on you Taffy’s. I’ve got my leeks and daffodils all ready for this evening when I cheer on my beloved Welsh brethren.
Rasp, a telling point a 4:03
LB, we’ll disagree on the talent. I don’t think you go from 1to 7 or 1 to 10 in the space of a year because you’re one year past it.
Clearly there is something else going on in that kind of fall.
Talent isn’t an issue within this squad, it’s the fulfilment of said talent that’s the issue.
Do we need a RW or do we just need Ox to fulfill his talent? Do we need a CB or do we just need Gabriel or Chambers to be what they are capable of being?
Do we need a ST or do we just need Sanogo to……ok we do need a ST!
Can I try and say something footbally intelligent
Yes, we played our best football with Rambo on the right, but, at that same time, Santi was playing, while Ollie was not.
Therefore, you can equally deduce that we play our best football when:
a. Aaron plays wide
b. Santi plays, or
c. When Ollie does not.
I know what I think
Here we are
Our best performance was in October with the 3-0 win over Utd
Below is the team
Cech Bellerin Mertesacker Gabriel Monreal Coquelin Cazorla Ramsey Ozil Sanchez Walcott
A telling point………errrrrr……we do have a bunch of players who are not as good as they think they are starting with Walcott.
Oxlade-Chamberlain…fulfill his talent? That ship sailed long ago.
Did we beat the big name of Manchester United or did we beat a poor team that plays in primarily red and black.
They were crap, I am going to have to look through last seasons results to find what I think was our best win; in fact that would make a good post.
Without looking I would probably say beating Leicester was our biggest win, their team was head and shoulders better than manu
You are bringing this back to determination verses talent.
I do not blame Wenger for signing Walcott; he had bags of potential and it made a great deal of sense to take the risk.
Walcott has not developed into the player that we all hoped; he quite simply does not have the close control and it is clear now that he never will, he can run around huffing and puffing and he would still lack the all important ingredient that he needs to make it and that is talent and when I say talent I mean close control.
It is irrelevant that Messi was brought up in a piss poor part of Buenos Aires it is the fact that he has such fantastic close control and that is, as we all know, is what sets him apart.
Ox ship has sailed!? Very harsh.
Kevin De Bruyne was out on loan from Chelsea when he was the same age as Ox, couple of years later he was going to City for £55m.
I wouldn’t give up on him just yet.
The Aaron plays wide thing is a red herring.
Wenger knows that Ramsey is a no.10 but we already have the best no 10 in the world.
So how do we get Rambo into the team so that the two can play together?
I think there has been almost universal agreement on here previously, that losing Santi and Coquelin within the space of a week scuppered our title challenge.
So it all comes down to your dislike of Giroud. Quelle surprise!
“Wenger knows that Ramsey is a no.10 but we already have the best no 10 in the world.
So how do we get Rambo into the team so that the two can play together?”
Glad someone said it.
I like to think of myself as a glass half him type of person but I feel I have been put in my place because as hard as I try I cannot see Oxlade-Chamberlain turning into De Bruyne. I hope I have to eat the biggest of humble pies.
I don’t think AOC’s best position is from the right myself. If Ramsey is behind Ozil in the pecking order for number 10 we shouldn’t just force him into the side in any position. It could be argued for instance that Ramsey is a better player than Campbell but that Campbell is a better player from the attacking right.
It may be that Ozil and Ramsey can’t play at the same time due to their similarities and that having both is a luxury and headache at the same time. If it is possible then AW hasn’t found the right blend of other players to allow it to flourish.
Quality over teamwork?
Portugal in the final. Yuck.
He’s tried Ramsey at both further back midfield positions and we become exposed because he plays far too far forward.
Ramsey is probably the second best number 10 in Europe and as such he is not going to sit on the bench for any length of time on the off chance that Ozil gets injured. If the club want him to remain then AW has to find a way to shoe horn him into the team, hence his appearance on the right wing.
Unfortunately Ramsey is just one example of skilled players being shoe horned into other positions because we already have a better player for their position.
This single fact may well be the crux of our problem – we have too many skilled misfits and playing them in the wrong positions has the negative effect of making us weaker than the sum of our parts.
In other words we may be a stronger team overall if we left players in their natural positions even if there is a more skilled “out of position player” on the bench.
Sorry I spoiled your “Boy” Bastin guess yesterday with my Ted Drake answer.
Lucky to be at Highbury at the start of the 1993-4 season with my son, at the invitation of George Graham, when Drake opened the museum in the North Bank.(Chas has told the extended story on this site in the past).
Needless to say my young son at the time was not interested in meeting old gits at the time……….it was a hyper active Ian Wright bouncing around the Marble Halls that made him swoon!
Morning all, congratulations to Wales, I think if Ramsey had been in the side they would’ve won yesterday. I’ve never seen a player work harder than Bale in that game, he was everywhere, and just proved that everyone can give more effort if they have the desire.
Players running around with lots of desire are two a penny in the lower leagues; Ramsey’s talent, or the loss of it, was what made the difference last evening.
The point I waking LB was that Bale was running around all over the place because he was having to do Ramsey’s job as well as his own. Had Ramsey played, Bale wouldn’t have had to retreat to the back 4 to get the ball and he would have been on the receiving end up top where he could have done some damage.
Good, we agree.
Interesting debate that, I don’t think and never have thought that Arsenal lack desire, I do not accept the dig at Wenger that he needs to try and install such a thing but I do think an upgrade to our right wing attacking options would not go amiss.
I take your point yesterday about me describing our best performance as the one against a rubbish Utd side, and equally, I take your point that perhaps the Leicester away 2-5 victory was the superior performance
Here are the two Arsenal sides
Utd: Cech Bell Mert Gab Mon Coq Santi Aaron Ozil Sanchez Walcott
Foxes: Cech Bell Mert Kos Mon Flam Santi Aaron Ozil Sanchez Walcott
ie only changes were Kos for Gab, and Flam for Coq
I’m really not simply trying to make a case solely against Ollie, but also that Santi was in both sides, as was Aaron right
Or, is it a case for Theo through the middle
Now, where are RA and GB to talk that one through 🙂
The wider question LB then has to be why does the fluidity of our game sometimes disappear, our passing falls apart, and we look devoid of ideas. The insipid performance in the draw against Sunderland at the latter end of the season was an example. That was a really important game as we were struggling to make top 4 at the time and yet we offered very little.
We looked as toothless and clueless as England did after Iceland went ahead.
LB on 5th July …… “Leicester won the league because they simply had better players than Arsenal: Mahrez is head and shoulders better than Walcott and Oxlaide-Chamberlain put together, kante was better than anything we had in midfield, Flamini, please? Vardy is better than Giroud, their backline is better than ours and their goal keeper is not that far behind Czech. We have Ozil and Sanchez of course but without the rest they are not enough.”
LB @ 10:38 “I do think an upgrade to our right wing attacking options would not go amiss”
…. errrr, we’ll need more than that if your earlier statement is correct 😆
I’m about to list the team that lined up against Sunderland for the 0-0
Cech Bell Mert Kos Mon Eln Aaron Iwob Ozil Sanchez Ollie
My overall point is about balance, speed and creativity
Aaron is not as good as Santi in that role
I never did see either Ted Drake or Cliff Bastin play at Highbury -Drake played from 1934 to 1945 and Bastin from 1929 to 1946, I didn’t start going the games until the 1947/48 season.
Mind you I did used to have black and white pictures, cut from newspapers, on my bedroom wall.
Drake was an incredible goal scorer getting 139 goals in 184 games – we could do with him today – couldn’t we?
Hi Micky, good research. I’m with you on the ‘balance’ question. The fact is that we have loads of very good players but have struggled to find a combination that creates a strong balanced team. We can always look good when the opposition allows us to play … the training ground routines can flourish … but very few teams allow us to play these days.
Simply looking at the line up won’t tell us why we played well in those games.
I think a couple of key reasons we played well are that we took the lead early in both games (granted we went behind against Leicester but equalised within 5 minutes and were leading after 33) so we weren’t having to break down teams with 10 behind the ball which gave us space to play.
Also, our shot conversion in both matches was far higher than our average for the season. We averaged 30% conversion of shots on target during the season (69 goals from 227 shots on target) but against United it was 3 from 5 (60%) and against Leicester 5 from 12 (42%). We were clinical in these games too. Against United our first 3 shots on target were goals, and against Leicester we had 3 goals within our first 5 shots on target.
Obviously the line up is very important, but I also think its the balance in the team that’s key. We’ve often accused Wenger of having too many similar players in a line up and that results in players taking each other’s space. The reason I think Ramsey playing on the right worked is just because it moved him away from Cazorla and allowed Özil to still have the freedom to link up with Sanchez. If Ramsey and Cazorla were to play central then that’s when it becomes a real issue as they all get on top of each other and it’s easy to defend.
I’d like to see Wenger buy a RW next season but there are also matches where I’m looking forward to us having Ramsey, Xhaka and Elneny in the same line up as the legs that gives us in midfield will allow all our attacking players to concentrate on just attacking.
Bellerin Gab Kos Monreal
Ramsey Xhaka Elneny
I think that could work a treat but I’m not sure we’ll see it.
That’s my rambling for the day!
Good points fgg …. who fancies writing a post on ‘Balance’ 🙂
Priorities, Rasp, priorities that is why I focused on the right wing.
Sunderland is the perfect example, as things stand we do not have enough talent to find a way past teams such as Sunderland who park the proverbial bus.
Walcott and Chamberlain have been completely ineffective I would swap them in a heart beat for the close control of someone like Mahrez.
Look again at my comment and you will see that I talk about Kante next, we have brought Xhaka who we must hope will improve that area. As for the defense; well, we can cross that bridge when we come to it.
Thanks LB, I see the need for a top central defender as important as a right sided striker .. if we get both we will be in good order for next season … . I’m not sure Arsene would agree though.
On Sky once v Liverpool and BT Sport twice v Leicester and Chelsea during August and September.
Quality CB, Striker & Right Winger are essential if we want to challenge for the league.
Starting to worry that were not going to get anyone at this rate.
In my opinion we must be the worst big club for transfers in whole of Europe, we are pathetic!
Wow, so many people doing my job on balance for me 🙂
I liked Micky’s squad highlighting for the games we played well and badly in. Micky the last bit in your 11.00 am….actually I will let you talk that one through with R.A rather than yours truly, it is strictly camel topics for me and R.A now :)…..Also Chas really loves that topic as well so don’t leave him out 🙂
I liked GN5’s comment :
“Unfortunately Ramsey is just one example of skilled players being shoe horned into other positions because we already have a better player for their position.
This single fact may well be the crux of our problem – we have too many skilled misfits and playing them in the wrong positions has the negative effect of making us weaker than the sum of our parts.
In other words we may be a stronger team overall if we left players in their natural positions even if there is a more skilled “out of position player” on the bench.”
I wasn’t aware that GN5 held that view but it concisely and completely highlights how I feel.
Good points from FGG as well but I don’t personally see the formation mentioned working. It would rely on restricting the freedom of both Ramsey and Sanchez to a very disciplined role. Ramsey would have to play a disciplined deep and slightly to the right role and Sanchez would have to stay higher and more central.
Not sure this would happen and I could see the positioning of Elneny and Xhaka pushing Ramsey further to the right, straight back into the role we have been debating, and I could see Sanchez coming deeper and to the left again. That brings us back to the 4-3-3 (or 4-2-3-1 if you like) shape but with the same combination of players that hasn’t worked before. I happen to think this is our best formation but that we don’t play the right players in the right positions to make it regularly effective.
This is where the quality players LB mentions comes in, but further than this it is about quality players with the right skill set and traits for a particular role. I don’t think that Mahrez, for instance, is a better overall player than Ramsey, but if you swapped Mahrez for Ramsey on the right it improves the balance and we would be a better team. An alternative view could be that Ramsey on the right seems to work better with a quick striker up top, so this could be another consideration.
We will know more about this once Micky has talked it through with R.A and Chas 🙂
Although not impossible, I would be surprised if anyone on this blog actually watched Bastin and Drake live at Highbury (now that’s asking for a horrified response from someone!)
I think I know someone who did however, our adopted Dad, John Churchill ( known by many on this site as JC, and by the way someone who has just had his 91st birthday, and we hope will attend a few games next year – in AW’s final Premier League winning season!)
I am the ever optimistic older VInes bro, and can only go back to 1961 for my first game
I’d like to see a list from last season of all the players who were ‘shoe horned into other positions’.
Hmm, I seem to have run out.
I just remembered, Cazorla playing deeper – no, can’t include him because he was a revelation there. 🙂
Just thought of another……
Giroud – centre forward – preposterous.
Don’t understand. Are you saying Ollie was shoe horned in” as a striker?
Where is he strongest? Right Back? 🙂
Germany or France. Which has you fancy?
Not really fussed. 2 French Arsenal to 1 German Arsenal.
Maybe, but I’m not keen on the host nation winning.
As long as either beat the Portugeezers.
A goal every 10 minutes or so and I’ll be happy.
Yeah, the Portugeezers have been dire
I’m definitely watching tonight, but doubt I’ll be bothered to watch the final, but definitely agree on goals and exciting game. Not too bothered who wins.
This might not work, but I liked the way the Welsh lined up
Kinda ties in with talk of Aaron’s best position.
Sanchez in the Robson-Kanu role?
How did Chile line up?
With Aaron and Mesut just behind Alexis 🙂
I guess the answer is to pick your first XI then shoe horn the system to fit the players 🙂
Come on Chas no shoe horning ? you must be joking ?
How about –
Walcott striker or winger
Wellbeck striker or winger
Sanchez Striker or winger
Gabriel CB or FB
Chambers CB or FB
Cazorla MF or winger
Wilshere DMF or MF
Gibbs FB or MF
Giroud Winger or Striker
There may be more but theses are the players that come to mind.
Cliff Bastin and Alex James.
I wish that I could have seen them play….
I really don’t care for either of today’s teams but I care a lot less about Germany, So I would like to Giroud score a hat trick to lead France to a victory………and I really have no time at all for the Portuguese.
The only reason shoe-horning (room 101?) happens is because you’ve got too many good players in 1 position and not enough in another. This can be due to injury, but in Arsenal’s case it’s usually because we have an abundance of AM players.
It’s pretty simple to resolve. Either change formation, or buy better players for the areas where you have less quality ie RW, ST and in previous seasons HM (been resolved with Xhaka and Coquelin after what seemed an age with only Arteta available)
I think we’ll done, unless Chas is to chastise!
And there’s your third centre parting.
6.27 is utter nonsense
Then show me where you disagree – or are you just being intentionally disagreeable?
It’s obvious that many times the moves are tactical but. in my opinion, they still have the effect of weakening the team.
Do you even know what shoe horned means?
If a player is bought to cover a couple of positions and then gets played in one of those, then he cannot be said to have been shoe-horned.
That deals with
Chambers, Walcott, Welbeck, Gabriel and Sanchez
Cazorla did not play as a winger last season
Wilshere’s best position in midfield is still undecided, so he’s not been shoe-horned anywhere. Besides he didn’t play last season
Giroud winger – hahahahahaha.
Gibbs has played in midfield for a couple of 5 minute stints as substitute.
One for the ladies?
Or, certain gentlemen?
Chas – Walcott was bought as a winger not a striker, he wanted to be a striker and to the detriment of the team AW gave him a chance.
Whether players were purchased with the possibility that they could cover several positions is besides the point.
When they are played out of their natural position they are being played in a position that they are not comfortable in and are not used to playing in – therefore they are being “shoe horned” into a position which subsequently weakens the team.
Sounds to me like you are being someone elses hit man.
Love the bat gloves 🙂
Gabriel and Chambers were both playing at full back for their former clubs before we signed them.
Welbeck never played centre forward for Man U but has played there for England.
These facts are not beside the point.
Oh and I’m nobody’s hit man.
Been away for a week soaking up the sun of Porthleven, have kept up with events of Euros before packing up for the long drive tomorrow I figured I’d check in to see what’s going on in the world of Arsenal.
I haven’t had chance to read comments so this may have been covered…..
A small squad can compete on one front maybe two, one that aims to compete or at least play in multiple competitions couldn’t possibly have rotated 1 or 2 players a game.
Simply not possible in the modern era that Arsene has helped create of ultra fit athletes playing the game.
Brian Clough once explained why teams can make FA Cup upsets happen, he said that in truth to play in the top four professional leagues there was not a great difference in skill level, there was however a need for greater consistency. So for example a player in division 2 might give a 6/10 for 5 out of 10 games then drop to 4/10 for 2 games and play 9/10 for 2 and 7/10 for 1. A player in the top flight will give 7/10 8 out of 10 games and then throw in a couple of 8 or 9/10 performances. The rest of the week the professionals in all divisions in all teams train the same, eat the same and rest the same. So on any given game it is possible for the underdog to all put in 9/10 performances whilst the top team all puts in an ordinary 7/10.
If steel and workrate were the main ingredient of success the likes of Skrtel, Huth, Drinkwater, Savage, Williams, Deeney would be on every top clubs shopping list, the fact that they are not tells me what I need to know. Unfortunately work rate and steel only get you so far in the majority of the season, you need star performers who can do something a little bit special, ask Man Utd fans.
Ooooer, what was that pen all about?
Hopefully it will open the game up a bit.
Gabriel and Chambers were both playing at full back for their former clubs before we signed them.
Okay Chas so playing them as CB’s is out of their natural positions.
Welbeck is played as both a striker and a winger – so one is out of his normal position.
Wow! Futbol is so cruel.
Germany- Ozil, Schwein, and mids passing France off the park. 66% possession and a few close chances, but penalty to France and I knew Griez was going left, but Neur went right.
Should be a good second half. The close touch of both teams is amazing!
I give up, you win. 🙂
Aaron – if I didn’t know any better I would have thought you were disappointed in the result. Pull yourself together lad, Germany are losing 🙂 🙂
TH14 said that France have to Old on, old on now. what?? with only 1 goal advantage? Come on Ollie
I enjoy both teams, but do not really have a favorite. If national sentiment holds true- go USA, yeah right on that:-)
Am a mutt and just love soccer played well, don’t really care were the players are from- but lets just get this out of the way right here and now, I CAN’T stand diving. Do not want to hear another word about it from anyone. Only part of the game that is shameful and taught to players in certain parts of the world which shall remain nameless.
Go Gunners- that means I cheer for both teams.
Oh look on the bright side Eddie
If the Germans win, we will see many French people blubbing
…hm….nope, there is few things that enjoy more than watching Germans suffer. Even that Kraut with pug’s eyes
I’ve got a very important business negotiation tomorrow with Germans, and want the best result for me
If they lose, will they be weak or angry
If they win, will they be more accommodating or all conquery?
ha ha ha, he does have puglike eyes 🙂
Can’t read the footbally bit, but did see the word Porthleven. Nice,
will they feck, accommodating my foot
They are ze Germans, arrogant, nasty, loud and humourless.
Just don’t mention the war 🙂 or Brexit 🙂
Hard to argue with your take on things
I mentioned Brexit today, and got away with it 🙂
Well, France just advanced.
Feels like I am watching Athletico or something from France;-)
Just be sure to beat Portugal as that I do not want to see that idiot smiling for doing nothing in a victory.ha
that’s because Europe doesn’t really believe you are leaving 🙂 🙂
On a business/trade level, nor do I Eddie
that Hugo Lloris should be a Gunner
micky – I told you – to remain in the single trade market you will have to pay at least as much as you are paying now, you will have to put up with free movement of foreigners but will have no say in any decision making. Great deal if I have ever seen one.
Never mind, still the best country in the world. After France maybe 🙂
I think I got away with it. 🙂
good luck with tomorrow’s meeting micky 🙂 don’t mention
1 the war
Mesut, MOTM, despite being on the losing side. Poor pugster.
And poor Lucas. Loved that bloke
I thought Rio’s analysis has been excellent tonight.
he he he
Changing the subject, but I’ve just been looking at the surf reports for tomorrow and the weekend
It’s summer, and for many storms are bad. Not this lot
“Looks like an arrival of a storm. Strong southerly winds with a growing swell and swell period. Could be epic fingers crossed!”
Mesut was sublime in the first half, I was watching and thinking what an honour it is to support a team the has him in it week in and week out — but– then there were occasions after having opened up the French defense as effortlessly as a hot knife slipping through butter when I thought — shoot man — shoot.
We then saw the Griezmann show start up; he again plays number 10 but he is so much more direct which made me think is he better than Ozil?
I then saw Eddie’s comment and thought………….
“Hugo Lloris should be a Gunner”
More to the point why on earth isn’t Grizman an Arsenal player; he’s French for goodness sake; Wenger how did you let that one slip through the net, there is no way that Athletico can pay higher wages than we can.
This was a mini mental rant but I am still wondering who would be better suited to Arsenal out of the two and when I mean better suited I mean the one most capable of helping us win the league.
Micky I never knew people could surf on South coast of Cornwall, we have spent most days on the beach at Gunwalloe, was quite impressed by amount of guys getting up on boards on Sunday, rest of week most have been on boogie boards but still good.
Think this tweet sums up why I like Porthleven:
Leicester the most talented team!? Behave!
Least fixture congestion
Just a couple of reasons they won.
Don’t get me wrong, they were fantastically consistent and got more points than we’ve done in recent years, but more talented than Arsenal? I don’t see it.
We will find out next year when they struggle to finish in the top half whilst playing CL football.
And that’s the truth fgg.
LB – I considered Griezman too, but after I googled him I ditched the idea. He is at Atletico Madrid – great team, great manager, good prospects – why would he want to leave?
Unless he takes the manager with him??? I think I like the idea very much
Love the pic. I’ve had a Cornish version of Moules Mariniere, which was apples, cider, apple brandy (English calvados), cream and leeks and bloody lovely it was too.
There is some very good surf on the South Coast, but only one or two locations and ideally a North wind.
Griezman reminds me of Arsenal Cesc, and a great 12 goal a season midfielder, and yes, for that reason I’d take either over Mesut who simply doesn’t score enough.
Don’t think I’ll have any trouble getting Harry surfing, loved mucking about in the whitewater. George on the other hand more a rock pool paddler…and not a bad fisherman.
GiE – look what I’ve got, well Peaches and I, in that order 🙂
I had a spat with my son and he threatened to put a spurs shirt on the baby boy’s back. We made up now 🙂
Beautiful babies, baby boys, baby girls.
Ahhhh bless…..they don’t know what they’ve let themselves in for!
G & H are in a competitive stage, sharing is a no no, if one has the other one has to have. Parenting is absolutely joyful sometimes……
Great news for Eddie and Peaches
We took our children on holiday in Cornwall for their first five summer holidays, despite going just 90 mins from home.
Then we went abroad. Airport delays. Mosquitoes the size and noise of Lancaster bombers with teeth like great whites. Horrible burning sun. Yuk.
Great pic. Great hats. Loads of tweed. Marvellous 🙂
@chas (July 7, 2016 at 6:09 pm)
Chile’s line-up in final vs Argentina (4-3-3):
Chile’s line-up vs Mexico (also a 4-3-3) with a 7-0 win:
Micky I’m a little Englander when it comes to holiday, I like our climate I don’t like blazing hot sunshine, if it gets above 23 c here I start complaining it’s too hot, a client recently went to Turkey, it was 38c for most of his week and going to be 42-44c the following, all I can ask is what’s the point?
Well the comment about Leicester having a more talented team must be aimed at me as I am the only one who has suggested such a thing.
Although Slim, I noticed you conveniently moved the goal posts half way through your comment from a focus on “teams” to a focus on “squads”.
I compared “teams” that’s to say first eleven and said this above:
“Mahrez is head and shoulders better than Walcott and Oxlaide-Chamberlain put together, kante was better than anything we had in midfield, Flamini, please? Vardy is better than Giroud, their backline is better than ours and their goal keeper is not that far behind Czech. We have Ozil and Sanchez, of course, but without the rest they are not enough.”
With the signing of Xhaka Arsenal have improved what will be their first team next season and of course I don’t expect Leicester to achieve anything like the kind of success next season that they did last season most notably for the reason that you state and everybody else is aware and that is their squad is not strong enough to cope with the rigors of the extra games they will have to play.
Just in case the whole thrust of my debate got lost along the way the principal reason behind my comments was that I do not agree with the premise that Arsenal lack “collective desire” to win; in my opinion, it is talent in key areas that is lacking.
Eddie the principal reason that I was thinking Arsenal would be more attractive to Griezmann than Athletico is that we could double his wages.
At the risk of being rude which I am not trying to be, just because Real and Athletico are followed by the word Madrid does not put them in the same financial bracket. It is like comparing Arsenal’s spending power with Crystal Palace both from London etc – I don’t need to say more.
In Spain they do not do collective TV rights deals, Real and Barça do their own which means they are head and shoulders more wealthy than the rest and that includes Athletico.
Griezmann has been outstanding for years I am just surprised that Wenger not did make a move earlier, he would have known about him long ago both being French and all.
Reading but not commenting due to laziness.
Koscielny was superb last night, best player on the pitch.
What a great pic on a sunny day in Norf London, but watch out for that bloke on your right JC, esp as he has a beer in his hand!!
Morning all. LB makes an interesting point which in most ways I agree with. I also agree that we don’t lack desire. I also agree that it is talent in key areas we are lacking and that Leicester had a stronger 1st team option at RW, DM and CF than us last year. Not sure about the defence apart from maybe 1 CB position. I think I would take Cech, Bellerin, Kos and Nacho over what they have.
When listing the squad we have a greater number of superior players than Leicester but the problem for us is that these include many similar players so we end up in certain key areas with a player that, although a top technical player, isn’t suited to that role at the highest level. I think at this level it only takes 1-2 positions to be like that and the whole team, despite looking top notch on paper, looks disjointed in its performance.
Leicester played to the strengths of their key players so were always as well balanced as they possibly could be. The extra options Arsene has should be a good problem but I think it flips the other way with us and becomes more a headache in how to accommodate all our best technical players. The big question now is do we need to offload a couple of our good players to allow for those to come in that have a different skill set and strengthen the key areas to re-balance us?
Leicester City won the PL Championship which makes them the best team in the league over 38 games. They proved that simple tactics and team discipline was superior to individual talent and highly paid superstars. But I think it was a one off situation – the same as Blackburn.
I may be in a lonely place with this comment but I truly believe that without the injuries to our key players we would have finished first, but I also feel that we will struggle to make the top four in 2016/17.
I say this as I feel that we will see a massive resurgence from Man C, Man U and Chelsea, withe Spurs, Leicester and Liverpool also vying for a top four position.
2016/17 may well be the most competitive season we have seen in the PL.