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
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
Laughing AVB on 3rd March but who will be smiling in May?
Alternative title – Arsene Master stroke while Tottenham Choke
I am not going to pretend I feel all is rosy in the Arsenal garden but I do believe now that we will overhaul Spurs and attain Champions League qualification. No this is not a trophy for me and yes I would still, unlike the majority it appears, have rather won the FA Cup and finished 5th. However I am confident of Arsenal now stringing together a sequence of results that will carry us were we need to go.
Is this because I feel Spurs will implode? No not particularly, although they are doing a passable impression of the team that might. Is it because we appear to have an easier run in than our North London neighbours? No, not that either, although again on paper it might appear to be the case. Is it because sadly we have only the league and they have the Europa League as well? No not especially although fresh legs can of course be a bonus. Is it because I don’t believe Gareth Bale is quite as good as the sycophantic journos and pundits tell us he is? No, but while I am at it he isn’t.
No my feeling is based more on historical precedent and team selection. I will elaborate but first to get you in the mood please enjoy the following all written after we have been defeated at White Hart Lane on the 3rd of March and according to most observers the North London power shift was on……. 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
Bac centre back?
It’s hard not to get lost in negativity and wallow in self pity as an Arsenal fan this week. The last 2 weeks have been as bad as they could have been and the worst part is that if we are all honest, none of us are at all surprised. Pointless then for me to cover the ground some many other observers have smothered since ‘The Mighty Arsenal’ managed a grand total of NO shots on target in about 98 minutes of football at White Hart Lane.
I will say just this on the subject before I move on to my chosen subject of the day: FACT: Tottenham with one of two exceptions do not have better players than Arsenal. FACT: Tottenham are however a better TEAM than Arsenal. Read in to that what you choose but there is so much to read into. I would choose just to dwell on the positives and suggest that if we have better players we SHOULD with the correct coaching and motivation be able to produce a better TEAM.
What is glaringly obvious is that we have major issues in the centre of our defence. If I was kind I could point to lack of communication but the reality is that for Arsenal to challenge again we need better defenders. We can suggest that Wenger does not coach the defence, or discuss the fact that Bould is or is not allowed quality time with the central pairings. We can fall back on the argument that the management have had to shuffle the pairings due to injuries and that Vermaelen is struggling with the responsibility of the captaincy. All of the above may be partially or even totally true but none of them hide the actual real truth which is that the players simply are not quite good enough to take us where we want to go. They are all bloody nice chaps and individually good defenders and all have had great days. But they are not great players and the great days are not on a consistent basis. Yes, before you come back with the Wenger line, we may not have conceded many more than other teams but it is the way we concede them that grates. Continue reading