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
“Come on boss play me the fans want me out there”
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
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
I was not in any mood to be creative today so I am delighted to have regular guest writer @TAnglefootball, Younis Sultan ready in the wings with a well informed preview of Tuesday’s Champions League tie with the mighty Bayern Munich. Sultan watched the Bundesliga regularly so the insight as we would expect is valuable. I will add a few thoughts at the end but over to Younis…..
Podolski frustrated on bench at Bayern
After a shaky start and the predictable doom and gloom hysteria at the Emirates, a very new Arsenal team seem to have finally stabilised. In the past, no matter what was going on in the league Arsenal have always looked different in Europe, now however with this new group of players this is their first real chance to show their European hand. Bayern on the other hand are very firmly favourites and for good reason, in the league they’re flying and with 15 points and more than double the amount of goal difference between them and second place Dortmund the Bundesliga, bar a miracle, is going to Bavaria. Having witnessed their fiercest rivals win back to back titles and finish second place in every competition they entered last season including a home Champions League final, Bayern came back with few minor additions from the transfer market but with killer desire and ruthless attitude. Continue reading