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
Today I am delighted to welcome a writer who should need no introduction to most Gunners. Simon Rose has written an blogged for Arsenal’s longest standing fanzine, The Gooner, for the past 5 years and I am sure many are familiar with his work. Therefore you can imagine my surprise when Simon asked is he could deliver a ‘State of the Gooner Nation’address via 1ND2OU. He tells it like it is from his viewpoint and leaves us with hope for May. Thanks Simon over to you…..
Barring a miracle against Bayern Munich next week – which is exceedingly unlikely – Arsenal will end this season on eight years without a trophy. If we don’t win the Premier League next season – which is even less likely – a decade will have passed since we last won the title. Arsenal have gone through several long stretches in their history without silverware and we have had title challenges and several cup finals since the Invincibles of 2004, but the idea of a decade soon having passed since last winning the league suddenly makes you gulp. Given the money that Arsenal have at their disposal and yet the serial failures to build a strong enough squad to sustain challenges, you have to wonder, why are Arsenal holding themselves back? 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
There is much chatter at present about who we should buy mixed in with depression that Wenger will class Diaby and Rosicky as new signings. Most seem to want a new defensive midfielder to replace/challenge Arteta. Many want a physical box to box Vieira style beast to replace/challenge Wilshere and Diaby. Lastly everyone wants a new goal getting striker to challenge/replace Giroud. Well now we are clear on all that STUFF today’s blog will ignore all of it and deal with the reality of the existing squad we have now virtually all fit and what we might do tactically and rotationally during the forthcoming busy fixture jam staring with the visit of the Champions.
You all know this is going to be a 442 piece don’t you?
Well it sort of is but perhaps will a difference and I have covered this ground once before when I reviewed our tactics in defeating Spurs 5-2 in February. What I am keen to assess it the ability of our squad/team to morph from 4231 our generally expected (by all opposition teams!!!!) starting formation into a fluid 442 in certain games. This happened against Spurs and it certainly happened recently against Reading.
The key to this for me is to have wide players who are equally effective in the 3 behind the 1 or in a 4 behind the 2. Let me elaborate and use this example. The likes of Pires and Ljunberg could play wide in 4 as they did but could easily have adapted to play wide in the 4231 we play today. However from the same squad Reyes could not have done the same. The Spaniard was a striker/winger rather than a right/left midfielder. Continue reading