Celebrating v LFC after combining with our LW Poldi!!
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 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
Which of the NextGen heroes will be celebrating a 1st team squad call up in 2013?
A BLOG OF 2 HALVES
The inspiration behind this blog was really the performance of our youngsters in the NextGen competition. It was great to see the players develop in character and temperament as they grew into the event, but of course it leads to the inevitable debates amongst the fan base. Which of these blossoming footballers will make the break through into the first team at Arsenal in the next few years? The obvious and most popular candidates appear to be Gnabry, Bellerin, Akpom and Eisfeld. Of course many might say and I would be one, that Chuks Aneke is ahead of Eisfeld and there are others on loan such as Campbell and Ryo who may consider themselves further advanced than Gnabry.
Gnabry – The next big thing or the next forgotten hopeful?
It is so hard to assess the potential without actually seeing the young players get a run of games at the higher level. Add to this the enormous pressure on Arsenal as a club to end the trophy drought and end it soon. The latter fact alone makes it hard to see any of the young bloods making the breakthrough in 20013/14, although for me at least Yennaris should be given a shot. The loan system gives Wenger and the management team a good chance to assess a youngster’s ability if the correct club, for level and style are chosen. Nevertheless the number to have truly broken through from our own academy in the Wenger years can be counted on one hand. Yes we gave game time to youngsters and they will have more chance at Arsenal than at other top clubs but since 1996 there is only truly Ashley Cole, Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere to have become established first teamers. Continue reading
Today I am delighted to welcome a good pal of mine Jeremy Lebor to 1ND2OU. Jeremy is a frequent blogger for other sites and has been threatening to write for this one in a while. There is more about Jeremy who is a lawyer by profession and a twice published novelist as well. Might explain why finding time to write for me, when not discussing screenplay adaptations or appearing in court has been an issue. Anyway brilliant to have him here and I hope it will be the first of many collaborations. Watch this space….. over to JL for an amusing and insightful review of the past week
Despite the disappointment of exiting the Champions League at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday of last week, the 0-2 win actually had more of an effect on the Arsenal team for the remaining games of the season than perhaps supporters realise or are prepared to accept. Let’s not underestimate that Bayern are supposedly the ‘best’ team in Europe at present with a huge 20 point lead at the top of the Bundesligia, They had the stuffing knocked out of them in their own back yard! – Personally, I still feel Barcelona are at the forefront despite their own wavering’s and are a team you cannot right off at any cost, perhaps along with Real Madrid. Bayern best team in Europe… maybe in time when Pep Guardiola takes over the helm.
Arsenal went into the game with Bayern Munich, low on confidence having lost their previous game to arch rivals Tottenham, and as well as being annihilated at the Emirates by Bayern in the home leg of the Champions League tie. I was there, and like most, if not every Arsenal supporter, witnessed a very poor night for our team! – So with a victory that should not be underestimated, Arsenal had their pride restored – sort of!
With an enforced break upon us due to World Cup qualifiers, it was essential that the trip last Saturday to Swansea was a must win game. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to work that one out! Continue reading
Time to buy from home
Today’s blog has been in my head for a while now but my conviction about the content has grown. I fully accept that most will not agree but read the piece first before you reach your conclusion.
Whilst I have in the past highlighted players who I feel would fit Arsenal’s salary structure and playing style from abroad I am feeling increasingly that for 2013/14 and the challenges we face our new additions should all have Premiership playing experience. In fact I would go further and suggest all our summer purchases should be from other EPL clubs so all our new recruits will bed in swiftly in August.
Now already those of you who are desperate for Falcao, Villa or Jovetic are wondering whether to even to read on. Here goes Dave again suggesting bargain basement or kids with potential when we want Arsenal to buy world stars!! I am not against heavy investment as you will see but can we really afford to wait a season for a player to produce what he is capable of? I said that Hazard would not shine in his first year and despite the odd flash of brilliance I would say I was right. Arsenal cannot afford to wait for success any longer we need it next season.
For me this is not about the money or the wages necessarily but it is about installing a new spine at Arsenal. A spine who know what it takes to compete in this league, but also a spine hungry for success. Now however I will type the bit no one wants to read but you know you need to – A spine that has top quality but that will still come whether we are playing European Champions league or Europa League in 2013/14. Don’t get me wrong though the players I think we need are good enough to play at the top table but currently they are not doing so.
Despite my misgivings about the current management structure I am not totally disheartened by the playing staff and we do have a core of talented players. However we do seriously need to address the lack of quality and/or consistency in crucial areas. For me this will literally be the spine of the team so the 4 essential additions need to be a goalkeeper, centre back, central defensive midfield and centre forward.
Before I suggest the players I admire and would like to come in I should first briefly explain why I feel these are the key positions that need strengthening. Huge detail not required because much of this is obvious to any Arsenal supporter and I will have touched on most of it in recent blogs. Continue reading