Arsenal Chasing top 4, not the league – A point is good

by & filed under Match Preview.

So I missed the pregame protest. As I understand it, it didn’t go well. Shockingly, not many people showed up.

I mean honestly, I don’t get it. 7,000 people on Twitter say they’ll be there. The moment comes, and they don’t show up?

Absolute shocker. 12 people showed. Like the unpopular kids birthday party (my 9th, to be precise).

This was the money shot…

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Interesting for many reason. Firstly, that the protest was about ticket price hikes, so not sure what that banner was all about. PEOPLE LOVE BANNERS though. This much is true. Secondly, 5 people around that banner have their phones out. The revolution will not be attended, but it’ll be live Tweeted for sure. Crazy eh? You’re at the game, doing the mega protest and you’re on your phone showing everyone how hard your protesting?

I don’t like protesting at games. I don’t agree that we’re in a situation that merits it. Clearly, fans aren’t ready for it, regardless of the noise online. Also, let’s call a spade a spade here, the protest isn’t about the 3%, it’s about Wenger. Look at that banner.

Anyway, eloquent banners aside. The game. This post is late because I treated myself to all the beer pregame. The sun was shining, it was a stunning day… I wanted to be suitably numb.

Well, I needn’t have worried, that game was suitably numb in itself!

I think.

Or was it the beer that made it numb?

City and Arsenal were both playing their third game in a week and it told. I thought City would come to destroy, but the reality is they came for a point. They sat back most of the game and absorbed pressure. Arsene lined up with a side that wasn’t really capable of launching any sort of attack, so we had to play it safe.

Arsenal typically average in the first half. City dominated play in the main, with Arsenal contributing one shot to their seven. City took the lead after we lost the ball. Silva was given far too much space, we didn’t have the pace to catch him, he picked out Dzeko who hit the post but Silva was there to bury the rebound. Bad times.

The second half saw Arsenal fight a bit harder. Cazorla really had a good game, he was driven and pushing as hard as he could to open up play. Problem was that he didn’t really have anyone to target. We did get our break though, I couldn’t really see what was going on because Arsenal played away from me in the second half, but Matty Flamini turned in what looked like a Lukas cross. It was a great finish. I’m sure he was probably trying to clear it!

That charged the crowd, not that we weren’t already making a lot of noise. We saw some resurgent play. Wenger didn’t bring on subs until pretty late. Chamberlain got everyone excited as he sat outwide on the right. We still struggled to get chances. I mean, chasing a game and the best we can do is bring on a rookie… it’s a bit amateur, but there you go.

The half played out, there was one amusing moment. The fans were chanting ‘wanker’ at Samir Nasri and he threw his hand up in a really camp manner, like he was owning up to being a wanker. We all laughed.

The game finished a point for each side. Fair result I’d say, but still pretty damn disappointing. We didn’t need a point, we needed three. But after the week we’ve had, I’d have taken anything outside a spanking, so happy days.

Tings to tink about:

Striker:

Man, I can’t keep writing it all the time, but Giroud really was garbage again yesterday. His averageness stank the ground out yesterday. It’s not his fault, but we really do need an upgrade this summer. A proper upgrade as well, none of this smart arsed stuff. We’re no good at that anymore. I want power, pace and a serious goal record.

Gears:

Because of the power problem in our side, we don’t have gears. Wenger literally had nothing to come from the bench. Sure Chambo is a talent, but he’s not really a game chasing talent at the moment. Outside that, we had Kim Kallstrom and Sanogo. That really is a joke. We need to add some serious depth this summer. Wenger needs 4 really top players and he needs to add to the squad where he can. We need proper competition. We shouldn’t be broken 4 players down.

Packs:

Really interesting watching City defend in packs. They didn’t press yesterday, but they pressed us when we attacked them. Countless times our players were dispossessed right to the end. I was chatting with the guys around me about our pressing game. We do it for the first three months of the season, then it disappears. Partly because the players don’t have the energy, but partly, I’m guessing, because Wenger doesn’t enforce it hard enough.

Concluding point:

We’re chasing 4th, not the league. A point is important. It puts Everton right up behind us. That’s a must win, because they’ll beat Fulham by a margin today. So overall, a good day and a refresh of our ambitions.

More tomorrow.

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Manchester City: Could be a messy…

by & filed under News Review.

Office dog as happy about his birthday as Arsene was about his 1000th

Humphrey the Office dog as happy about his birthday as Arsene was about his 1000th

Nightmare news crept onto social media yesterday, David Moyes had been sacked. What a disaster I thought… then it was all revealed. Some clever tinker had set up a fake Telegraph journo account and leaked the news. What a LOL. Honestly, when I found out, I was like, wow, so clever.

I had some more chats about the ol’ protest thing yesterday with a few pals who support teams that aren’t so elite. The vibe was quite similar to mine, but more along the lines of…

‘You’re going to protest against Arsene Wenger? Isn’t that a bit, you know, classless?’

Can’t disagree there. I’m not sure I want to be part of an angry mob chanting for the manager to leave the club. I mean, I know it sounds hypocritical, because I write this. However, any decision should be made in a rational way. I think his performance this season has been pretty poor considering the start. I think the club will have noticed the gaps in the ground for the Swansea game. If shit hits the fan against City, they’ll hear the boos.

Simple fact is the only way the club reacts is when something happens mass scale. Flying a banner over the ground? Oh for f*cks sake, grow up…

If fans want change, the protest has to be on a grand scale. So white handkerchiefs in the ground could be one way. Turning backs on a game could be another. Not showing up like the Lazio fans did a few weeks ago.

But be honest, is that what Arsenal is all about for you? I love my club. I want a better Arsenal. But I’m not going to war on match day. We have management in place to make those decisions. They’re paid the big bucks to sort that. As soon as it becomes a precedent that fans can remove management, it becomes a sh*t fest. We become London Geordies.

Each to their own, but I’d guess most Gooners feel the same way, because it’s unlikely 60,000 will be there shouting at a gate. I also don’t buy into the ‘at least they’re doing something’… hey, so is that guy whose been protesting outside Westminster for 10 years, you don’t see him bringing down Government anytime soon.

For me, the protest, the banner and the online petition are someone’s 15 minutes of fame. 8 people, speaking for 60,000… or 6million. The AST have a questionnaire out soon. The answers will go global in the press. That’s pressure. The BSM will hopefully sort their survey out this year and give it more credibility under scrutiny and that will be newsworthy. More pressure. Ivan will meet with fan groups and hear their voices. He’ll hear the frustration. That’s pressure.

You’re dealing with a rational management team that are people who feel pressure and react to the online noise. Is that enough to see a reaction of sorts? Hopefully. Enough for Wenger to lose this new contract? Doubtful. The only way he’s going is on his own terms. The best we can hope for is he goes, the second best is he stays with stipulations.

… but listen. All this is just guff from me. If the fans want to burn down the stadium in a Simpson’s style riot, that’s up to them. I’m just here to give my two pennies. I’m all about organic grass roots action. I just happen to think we have a pretty good fan infrastructure in place already… and credit to the club, they do take time out to listen to us. Which is brave. Imagine hosting a fan forum? 200 angry fans, armed with more passion and knowledge about the club than you have? Hard work.

Anyway, more important things are on the horizon. We have Manchester City at home tomorrow. Now, you have to go into games thinking there’s a chance of winning. There always is. Sometimes, when you least expect it. Tomorrow, is one of those ‘least expect it’ moments. I don’t mean to be a downer on this game, but reality is this… we have most of our top players out. We are playing our third game in a week. City are on fire. It’s going to be really tough.

Having Vermaelen in the backline, ring rusty and lacking in confidence is bad news. Having a real lack of creative flair is also a problem. Having no pace in your starting 11 immediately plays into the City sides hands tactically. It’s a bit of a nightmare really. I fear another mauling unless the manager tries something new. Give Gnabry a go out wide. Interestingly I’d heard the reason he hadn’t played was because of a lack of effort on the training pitch, hopefully he’s addressed that. Play a 4-4-2… Giroud feeding Yaya. I don’t know. Try something, because if you don’t Arsene, it’s game over for our season. If Everton with their game in hand and beat us. We’re in trouble without the wind in our sales.

Few interesting Wenger comments from his presser. Firstly, he retaliated to Scholes comments stating he’d managed no games… hmmm, he’s kind of won a lot of trophies through his his 20 year career. Not sure you need to be a manager to have an opinion on football. He also blamed injuries on luck again. What are you gonna do eh? Also, Ramsey starts training next week.

Right, it’s Friday. When your desk friend leaves their computer unlocked, send a seductive e-mail to someone quite obvious in the vicinity (important you can see them)… but here’s the trick. Set the e-mail to a 15minute timer. When they sit back down at their desk, the e-mail goes out and they’re sitting there.

It caused a punch up in our office once. An absolute classic piece of office bantz.

 

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