Sorry to revisit the same subject on IND2OU but the obsession fans seem to have with something that is not truly a reality is grating somewhat again. I have twice previously written about the illusive 30 goal season striker that most fans seem to want and actually believe is out there for us this summer. So guys what is a 30 goal a season striker? Are you talking in the Premier League or in terms of league goals? If you are then they don’t readily exist. If we look at the last 10 years it has happened in three years and we are talking 2 special players – Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo and RVP. So it is hardly a regular occurrence then. Yes but are we shopping in the Premier League this summer you say. Well perhaps so we need to entice a 30 league goals a season striker from one of Europe’s top leagues then. Cool let’s have a look at our options and being fair take into account anyone with 27 league strikers in 2012/13. I am sure we are fishing in a huge pool? Well actually no there is a choice of 6 strikers on the short list and here they are:- Continue reading
Results don’t go our way and everyone trying to pinpoint which errors and players cost us points. Is it Sagna’s back pass, Giroud’s misses’ blah blah blah!!
Not sure about you guys but I am getting highly frustrated by Santi Cazorla and by default with Arsene Wenger. Why with Wenger? Because it is his fault that I am frustrated with Santi. Yes we all love our diminutive playmaker and he has been a success in his first season, but not for this observer at least the success he should have been. A bold statement about a player who has scored I think 15 goals and provided about 10 assists in an Arsenal shirt in his first campaign. 12 and 7 in the Premier League alone is impressive indeed, but it could perhaps have been so much more? My answer would be an emphatic YES.
Arsenal have scored more than twice in a league match on only 2 occasions since the end of January and that was against Reading and Norwich. So what changed at the end of January? Let me tell you, as it is truly winding me up more and more each week. Wenger moved Santi from the attacking midfield role to the flank, where in my view he flatters to deceive, makes far less contribution and most annoyingly, never stays in the position anyway. Now this activity as he floats around may look great, but when the attacking is down the right our left winger should become our second striker. Podolski does this naturally as does Theo or Gervinho but Cazorla never comes in. He stays on the edge of the box waiting for the ball to come our when he should be supporting the central striker. Interestingly when playing behind the centrally striker he does support, effectively playing a superb No.10 role, witness the Reading hatrick. Continue reading
A few years ago in another time and on another site I wrote a blog about the Premier League’s greatest goal makers inspired at the time by a list of the top 20 assist makers in the first 19 years of the league posted by TalkSport. What struck me at the time was as usual the cheap headline grabbing of the tabloid radio station. Why? Because it is not just the number of assists which tells the real story, because if you have played in midfield in a top side for years you will clock up assists by default . Yes Lampard, Gerrard and Scholes I am talking about you guys. No it is the ratio of assists to matches which should be the true measure of greatness. I am not I might add questioning Lampard’s goal ratio by any means.
It has be the ratio of assists to matches that identifies the true creative geniuses of the modern game. It will surprise no one that David Beckham departed these shores with an incredible number of assists and no one has a better ratio at 0.57 assist per match. However I am delighted to report that Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas have similar incredible ratios. Both players creating goals for their team mates at the rate of 0.56% per game. Cesc Fabregas sits just outside the Top 10 with 119 assists and of course there is some speculation that he might return to the EPL and further enhance his figures!! I take my hat off to Henry though. To create so much for Arsenal team mates while shattering all goal scoring records simultaneously. One would be hard to argue against TH14 being the greatest player of the Premier League era, although many Gooners I know might debate that and suggest a certain Dutchman. Continue reading
A blog with a difference from me today. Not different because I am fortunate enough to be joined by a fellow blogger whose opinion I value highly, as I often seek others knowledge and views. No different because 1ND2OU generally does not do match previews as others do so each week and it is not my thing. However the back drop to the visit of United this weekend is sufficiently different and interesting for me to decide to do so this week. What prompted the decision initially though was the absence of Olivier Giroud from the encounter and the consequent need for a re-think on Wenger’s part. Add to this the return of our ex-skipper, the fact that there is a huge understandable desire to rain on their title parade and the general recent failure by Wenger in the tactical battle of wits with Ferguson.
So I have invited Michael Jeffares (@mj_afc) to join me today so you will get the views of 2 opinionated bloggers on team and tactics rather than just one and we all like a 2 for 1 offer. Michael runs ‘Victory through Harmony‘ and if one of the best writers on player analysis and tactics in my humble opinion. Assisted by the fact of course that he goes home and away. We agree on a lot and differ on certain issue as well, most notably just how good Rosicky is! I thought it would be interesting as well as both Michael and I have written in support of Olivier Giroud this season, so how might we adapt in his absence:
Firstly I will hand over to Michael: Continue reading
So due a rash tackle from Olivier Giroud Arsenal it seems are likely to face the next 3 league matches without their sole striker. This brings into sharp focus our alternatives given the vital nature of the next few weeks for our Champions League aspirations. We have a set system Wenger seems unwilling to tinker with and that system requires in normal circumstances a sole striker comfortable with his back to goal. A striker with the strength to hold the ball up and bring others into play, notably our 2 wide players and the central attacking midfielder.
This being the reality, there will be some serious soul searching going on at Colney this week because none of Podolski, Gervinho or Walcott are truly strikers in the same mould as our Marmite Frenchman. Wenger must decide whether to fit a round peg into the square hole left to be filled by Olivier’s absence or to tweak the system/tactics.
This however is not a blog in which I intend to second guess what ‘Le Boss’ may do but more to consider what he might do with Lukas Podolski. This is however slightly complicated by the story that Podolski is carrying a minor ankle injury which will require surgery in the summer. Does this affect his mobility? It is hard to say as he looked exceptionally sharp against Norwich for 20 minutes but strangely sluggish against Fulham. Many fans have surmised that it is the ankle problem which has caused Wenger not to start him in the EPL since January, whilst the press have decided he has fallen out with the German and aims to offload him at the first opportunity. Wenger has strongly denied there is a rift and has gone out of his way to issue statements via the club site to the contrary.
Whichever is the case, from in the pub before the games, in the ground and on the social media, one thing is abundantly clear and that is that most fans want him to play a more active role and I would contend that most recognise him as our most natural finisher. Indeed I might go as far as to say that no one else in our squad would have scored the goal he scored against Norwich. I would go further and say that it never crossed my mind that he did not know exactly what he wanted to do when he received the ball and how he intended to do it. Continue reading