Forget the injuries as those who deserve to play are fit – Jack, Santi and Ox.

Santi 2012/13 version please stand up
Santi 2012/13 version please stand up

I have personal reasons to be looking forward to the Oct 18th and the visit of Hull which involve a book signing with some Arsenal legends. However I am also hugely excited about the match and I suspect in many ways perversely for the same reasons others are anxious about it.

Many are concerned at our growing injury crisis and I am not about to suggest I am not but for this observer at least I suspect out of adversity a team will emerge. When I say a team I mean and team and not a collection of 11 players many of whom are being wedged into a system or position that ill suits them. On occasion when injuries occur those that step in also step up.

In 2001/2 Robert Pires was undisputedly the Best player in the Premier League and acknowledged as such by his fellow professionals but Arsenal coped admirably without him for 3 months on the run to the title. If I told you that Patrick Vieira did not play a single game in October or November of the Invincibles season 2003/4 would you be surprised? Paddy missed 12 matches including a certain 5-1 win in the San Siro. The point is that with the likes of Wiltord, Parlour and Edu even losing our ‘best’ players did not impact the Arsenal team.

A team of champions pay homage to their finest - Bobby Pires
A team of champions pay homage to their finest – Bobby Pires

Well in 2014/15 after years of waiting, in most areas we truly do have huge competition for places and players, not starting each week until now who would walk into most teams in the Premiership and who regularly feature for their national sides. In addition these are players I would argue that are in better form than those who are sidelined in most cases. No one wishes a player injured, well not one of our own anyway but I can freely admit that where I sit, when Ramsey limped off in the NLD one view was shared – It was an injury that saved Wenger a decision he should have made himself but had seemed unprepared to do. Our talisman of 2013/14 was not at that level and everyone in the stadium could see it.  That is not to say Ramsey will not return stronger and more focussed as I am convinced he will. It was ironically the same for Cazorla last season to my eyes. Santi settled in from week one with little pre-season in 2012/13 and took the Premiership by storm. The following season he struggled to impose himself in the same way and for me this was in large part down to the positional change instigated in February 2013. Continue reading

Arsenal still have much to learn to match the Top Teams!

Football is a game where the final score does not tell the whole story and Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat against Chelsea is a perfect example of that. The Gunners went into the match reasonably confident after having had a resounding 4-1 win in the Champions League a few days ago. Further, there were also numerous lessons learnt from past matches – none more so than the 6-0 thrashing last season. It appeared that Arsenal were indeed affected by the score last season. After Chelsea’s win, Betfair gives betting odds for 1/2 for Chelsea to win the title ahead of Manchester City, who are 11/4. Continue reading

Writing a book about an Arsenal Legend – The journey reaches it’s conclusion

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A few days after her annual visit to the George Armstrong Memorial Stone at London Colney, Jill Armstrong, the daughter of one of Arsenal’s greatest ever servants made a decision. Having recently entered the world of twitter as @touchofpowder and tweeted some pictures of her dad in action she discovered instantly the high regard and fondness an Arsenal on-line community still had for Geordie. The decision was to revive a project she had embarked upon 13 years earlier when her father was so cruelly taken from her and her family and from HIS club.

His pitch at Colney forever
His pitch at Colney forever

In the months after Geordie passed Jill has asked his friends, colleagues and fans to send her their recollections, fond memories and tributes, with the intention of building a ‘Memory Book’ that her and her brother Tom’s future children, Geordie’s grandchildren might read in the future. Such that they might know the man, the family man and the sportsman their grandfather had been. A man who stood for all that was good, honest and true in life and in the world of football. A world in which he had excelled first as a player, secondly as a coach and ultimately as a legend of the one club he served for 27 years, The Arsenal.  In a modern era of football so devoid of loyalty, honour and respect, Jill wanted the grandchildren to know their ‘Granddad’ lived his life with those traits embedded in his very being. Continue reading

Mesut Ozil should learn from Dennis Bergkamp!

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The same folk who advocate a large squad and squad rotation are telling me that certain players cannot be dropped. Well guys it is one or the other and you cannot have it both ways. If the large squad of top class players is what is needed to win honours then so be it and if a leading player is jaded or off form he can be taken out of the firing line.

Why is it that just because of his price tag so many fans seem set against the ideas of Ozil being left out for a few games? Why is it okay to leave Santi on the bench who despite not hitting the heights of his first campaign, has contributed so much more than the German to our cause?

It should not be about the price tag, it should not be about reputation and it should not be about a players sensibilities or otherwise.

It's not about the pricetag!
It’s not about the price tag!

It should be about attitude in training, a player’s form, the team chemistry and the team balance. Continue reading

We can and should play Wilshere, Ramsey and Ozil centrally and here’s how.

It is possible
It is possible

Barring the usual negativity about Wenger’s failings in the transfer market and the thinness of our squad at the back there is one major talking point among the Arsenal fan base at present.

Any of these comments would be common place:-

  • Ozil is wasted out wide and looks disinterested.
  • Why but the ‘World’s best No.10 and play him out wide?
  • There is no place for Ozil in Wenger’s new 4141!
  • You cannot play Ramsey and Wilshere together in central midfield as neither is a DM.
  • As soon as Arteta is fit one of Ozil or Wilshere must miss out.
  • If we play Ramsey and Wilshere our centre backs will be exposed horribly!
  • Wenger is messing with a tried and tested formation just to accommodate Jack.

I could go on but you will all be familiar with the above and most of you will agree with or have made similar statements.

On the face of it and looking at it based on the way Wenger has Arsenal playing in recent seasons I can agree with and understand all of the statements. Equally however and more and more find myself fundamentally disagreeing and looking at the dilemma, if it is one, from another angle. Continue reading