‘I believe in this team’. Well boss I’m glad you do, show me why then?

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Once again we had a chance to close the gap and once again we blew it, yes I know the others did too but the team we played was there for the taking and the team we put out was woeful.

Cesc must be beside himself every time he sees the team sheet, so expect him to go back to Spain in the summer, I know I wouldn’t blame him. I wouldn’t mind so much if he at least played players in the position they can do best in, let me elaborate.

Diaby is a central midfielder, and maybe one to play off the strikers in a 4-5-1, he is NOT A WINGER.

Denilson is a central midfielder and possibly a defensive one too, but he is NOT A WINGER.

Song is not anything and shouldn’t be in this team, so PLEASE TELL ME WHAT YOU SEE IN HIM.

So that makes 4 central midfielders playing in the midfield with at least two playing out of position. A winger needs pace and their main function is to hit the flanks and whip in crosses, Diaby and Denilson can’t do that, so they always look poor, it’s not their fault, so PLEASE TELL ME WHY YOU DO THAT?

I won’t criticise Clichy because he gives far more than the odd error he commits, and because he has to defend so much more because SONG CAN’T, he will inevitably make a mistake that will cost us, it’s not his fault.

Sagna is a great full back and I think Gallas and Djourou look solid and in control.

Almunia should just go. Bendtner should just go. Ade is scoring for us and Robin is trying his nuts off so I won’t say anything against them.

So the players that are not good enough are Almunia and Song… the players out of postion are Denilson and Diaby, they should not play on the wings again.

We have Nasri, Vela, and Wilshere that can play out wide so maybe play them there occasionally, if they are injured, fair enough, don’t, if they aren’t then please TELL ME WHY YOU DON’T PLAY THEM THERE?

So what should we do? Well I know we’ll do nothing because ‘I BELIEVE IN THIS TEAM’ says he won’t. The French stubbornly refused to build tanks and aircraft during WW2 because they believed the Maginot line would hold, the Germans went round it and the French surrendered, stubbornness is not a trait to be admired, do something why you still can Mr Wenger, it’s our team as well.

Here’s an idea. Sell Bendtner, Song, Senderos, Rosicky and Diaby in the window, Gallas too if he wants out. Buy Green, Villa, Chiellini and Alonso, then and maybe then we can win the league and have a chance in the rest, Villa is not cup tied and nor is Green.

Stop being stubborn, even a blind spud can see this experiment has not worked.

Piers Morgan wrote an interesting article yesterday, he talks about the people that call themselves real fans, he says he has been to 645 games at 22 grounds and asks does that make him a real fan yet, my answer? Yes, resoundingly Piers.
All this talk about real fans is as boring as people that use the race card when I say that SONG IS USELESS. I am not a rascist, I just think Song is not good enough and certainly questions should be asked how we got him on the basis of exceptional talent.

We had 12 spare tickets for the Wigan game and only two were taken, so where were the real fans then?

Anyone who loves the Arsenal as much as Pedro and I and indeed Piers and all of you do, have the right to be called real fans, anyone who challenges that are the plastic ones.

You may well criticise your girlfriend, wife , boyfriend, husband or favourite sheep if you think they are doing something wrong, does that make you love them less? Of course it doesn’t, so Piers, I may not agree with your old paper ‘The Mirror’ supporting Tony Blair, but I agree with your views on Arsenal, it’s your right as a football fan.

So for all you AKB’s – a phrase coined here on Le-Grove.co.uk – don’t bother with your views, you go straight in the bin and I don’t even read them, same with the stalker blogs.

So onto the big one on Sunday, make the changes and we could close the gap, don’t and our season is over.

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Are you still glad we threw the Porto game?

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You could say hind sight is a wonderful thing and I would agree. That is why there was no excuse for throwing the game in midweek. We all remember when Arsenal threw the game at Old Trafford in the FA Cup last year. It drained the team’s confidence and led to three draws on the bounce. In football, you are only as good as your last result, and if that is a loss to a piss poor Portuguese team… don’t expect the following result to be a good one.

Today was another exercise in mediocrity. We don’t have the squad, we don’t have the individual talent and we don’t have the confidence to make any sort of impact in the league this season. I said earlier in the week that most fans; if they were being realistic… have accepted that our season is near enough over already. Today, those suspicions were confirmed.

‘Everybody in the game knows he needs to add experience to the squad. It’s glaringly obvious.’

Le Tissier.

‘If the young players are not good enough, move them on.’

Charlie Nicholas.

Those are a couple of quotes I thought might be important before the game kicked off today. I’m glad I picked them up. Say what you want about Sky Sports pundits… but they are ex-professionals and they know as much about football as any manager in the game. There comes a point when you have to stop saying that everyone has an agenda against Arsenal, and that maybe some of these guys are being straight with their professional opinion.

Our midfield lined up with Cesc and Song in the middle complimented by Diaby and Denilson out wide. What more do I need to tell you? Two players out of position, 1 player out of his depth… hardly any experience between three of them and oh how it told. Diaby was diabolical out there today, he holds onto the ball for far to long… he doesn’t seem overly strong and he certainly doesn’t look comfortable out wide. I think you could almost guarantee that Jack Wilshere on an off day out wide would offer more to the team than an on form Diaby. It’s not a solution… but the very fact I am writing it shows how desperate the squad situation is.

Alex Song was so embarrassingly poor today, I actually found myself turning away when he had the ball. If there is player in the Premiership better at passing the ball to the opposition, I haven’t seen him. Ask yourself this… out of the top ten teams, who would start him in the centre of the park? Is he better than Mikel, Barry, Carrick, Mascharano, Diarra, Kompany… can you name a holding midfielder worse?

He is slow, technically weak and he is stinking out the whole Arsenal first team. Why do we persist with him? Clichy failed to clear for the first goal… but Song was painfully slow to react to the mistake. I spoke to a Grover the other week and he made the point that in professional football, the best defensive players always assume the player on the ball is going to make a mistake. Song was barely watching the ball. He made a mistake late in the second half then failed to sprint back to cover his defenders. He doesn’t really bomb forward, but at the same time he doesn’t sit like Gilberto used to… if you watch him, he is quite often in no man’s land and he doesn’t have the pace to make up for his positional naivety.

I don’t really want to be too critical of Denilson. We all rode out his early season inconsistency… then just as he started showing some promise next to Cesc… he was replaced by Song. He didn’t do very well yesterday, but he’s not a wide player. Whatever position he plays in, he always plays in the right manner. He is a battler and at the moment, Arsenal need all the battlers they can lay their hands on.

Another gripe I have is Manuel Almunia. The guy has gone from one of the most consistent keepers in the Premiership, to a liability in the space of a few months. He flaps at crosses, or stays rooted to his line… he dithers and he looks far from comfortable.

For many fans, the lack of urgency in the team is a real worry. Comparing the current crop to the teams of old maybe unfair… but that is the standard that was set. The teams of old would pummel the opposition for 90 minutes, if we were chasing a game everyone would be mucking in and we’d always create chances. Yesterday nobody wanted to move for the ball, nobody wanted to take the game by the scruff of the neck… and nobody looked bothered.

If you have talent, but no desire to work at it… it becomes wasted talent. That is why I am finding myself agreeing with Charlie Nicholas. If the kids aren’t good enough or don’t want to work at their game… move them on. Arsene Wenger’s responsibilities should lie with the club that pay his wages… not the kid he promised a crack at the first team. There are too many passengers in this current team and losses at Hull, Stoke, Villa, Man City and Fulham back those claims.

This squad isn’t in need of a minor tweak anymore… it’s in need of major surgery. Wenger keeps making the point that buying players is never the solution… well me old mucker, how do you know until you try? For 90% of the clubs down the years, it has always been the solution. You can’t tell football fans that signing a world class defender, world class midfielder and a decent winger wouldn’t improve our squad. We’ve seen what spending money can do to a team if it is spent in the right way… and we’ve seen what Arsene can do when he spends money on the right type of players.

One thing we know for sure… persisting with kids who aren’t good enough is certainly not a viable solution.

Happy Sunday Grovers.


World class Milan say ‘nessun gratzie Philipé’

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So big Phil’s adventure with the ‘World class Milan’ is over, Wenger is set to give him one last chance to revive his career as it looks like Gallas will go, possibly to a world class club like Milan.

The’ World class’ bit is what Phil said when he thought his Arsenal career was over, which just goes to show you have to be careful what you say when you move to another club, however briefly, I would be happy if he brought his mate Matty with him though!

How funny, they don’t want him because he’s not good enough, but we do. What is that saying? Gallas, regardless what you think of him is still a class act, to put Phil and Johan together could be an inspired move, or it could be an unmitigated disaster.

I was kind of hoping we’d sign the big lump we so desperately need, but that now looks like it will be Phil but funny, a big part of me is saying it might just work, him and his Swiss chum could be the pairing that actually takes off, no sulking and both grateful to be playing.

Wenger said this on Arsenal.com when asked about new players, ‘If I say yes and I don’t do it people will ask why I haven’t done it. If I say no and we lose one game people will say I am crazy because I didn’t want to buy, In England every problem is sorted out by buying a player when you lose a football game’

Okay, I think that’s answered that! Funny but I thought that’s what you did in football, you know, bought players when you need to improve the team, our leader’s again told us how lucky we are to have such a young team with so many players being 20 or 21. So what? What does that mean?

Still we’re in the next round of the Champions league which is great and a reunion with Gilberto could be on, though I would prefer it to be in the final, and we are still in the FA cup and still in the Premiership race, so perhaps we will grow together and the team will start to play better.

The funny thing was, this young team were on fire pre-season and that’s the bit I can’t understand, you would think the younger players would get better as the season went on.

Still today is a tricky one, Middlesbrough, they used to be a guaranteed 6 points but now going to the Riverside is like going to Anfield, I hope we go back to the pretty football and grind out a result, I didn’t like the ugly game I witnessed last week and I really don’t want to upset anyone again so soon, but I just think we play better when we play the Arsenal way, add a bit of shutting down, aka Milan, ManU and the chavs and bingo, we’re back.

It will be a tight game but I think we’ll win this time round, Arsenal have come in for much criticism in this last few weeks, so I think they’ll want to show the footballing world how good they are and how well they can play.

So with that I’m going for 17 nil again. Of course I’m kidding! 2 nil to the good guys, have a great weekend Grovers!