Good day to you Grovers, there’s plenty of press conference goodness to get through this morning!
First up, Arsene has been reading Le Grove this week and he’s hit back at claims the team lacks creativity. He insists, if you analyse the spreadsheets deep enough, you will in fact see that we’ve been very creative.
‘However if you analyse deeper our games and, if you watch them again, then although we have some improvements still to make it is not as bad as people say.’
Well Arsene, it pretty much has been as bad as people say. We’ve seen steady improvements over the past two games but more on the defensive side. I do appreciate we’ll improve with confidence, but the fundamental issue seems to be more about spark from the midfield than it does about the front three.
I think this season is about playing as a unit and driving out results that way. A return to the George Graham days. The only way I can see us grinding out results this season is by creating a solid unit and performing from there. Much in the same way City did last year. They sucked the joy out of football in a bid to secure first place. We have to ask ourselves as a club whether style over substance is the important factor this year. People won’t like it, but they’ll enjoy the result at the end more. It was interesting to read that Mancini believes in the unit over the individual.
Something I’ve said we’ve forgotten as an insight for years. You can take 4 average players and created a world class unit. We instead opt for 4 brilliant individuals and forget they have to be able to play together. We make the assumption good players can just defend. Ignoring the fact the best clubs work hard and give players all the video and coaching help they need.
Mancini is so anal about the unit, he drills them without the ball so they know which are they are responsible for and they have ultimate accountability. His attention to detail was rewarded last year, I think Joe Hart broke a record earning 27 clean sheets. A feat we could only dream of. So much for people saying he’d have been a risk as a keeper way back when!
I can imagine when Theo picks himself up he’ll be great, I can imagine that a consistent Gervinho could also be a bit of a monster on the pitch, my worry is who is feeding them regular high protein, low carb passes? It doesn’t feel like Arteta has that sort of game, I don’t think Ramsey will pick up that style in a season and Alex Song, bless him, he’s just never going to be that player.
The real danger comes with the managers love for fielding Robin Van Persie.
“On Monday I decide always to rest him and on Friday I play him again.
“I don’t know about Sunday. We will assess everybody on Saturday morning, then I’ll make the decision on the day. But I will have to rotate a little bit.
“Robin has scored 28 goals in 35 games so you always have that dilemma. This season he is certainly [the best all-round striker in the Premier League] and, in the last six months, certainly the most efficient.”
Echoes of Bobby P before he crumpled out of the Newcastle game.
That Arsene, is why you make sure you have two world class strikers in the team, or at least make sure you have a hungry young pretender to pull off the bench. We can pretend there was no one out there this summer, but we all know that’s nonsense, other clubs seem to find these players. Instead, we lumbered ourselves with Park Chu-Young, who might be good, but he’s clearly not trusted enough to bring on at the moment and even worse, we kept Chamakh, who the untrusted Park Chu-Young replaces in the squad.
We don’t have a Wiltord for a Thierry or an Anelka for a Bergkamp. We don’t even have an Adebayor for an RVP. Players like Robin aren’t supposed to play back to back games every week, he’ll be in the red zone before you know it then we’ll be treading dangerous water. The trouble is, so much of the teams fragile confidence is wrapped up in the Dutchman, if you took him out now, what would happen? It’d be a serious dampener. But when do you rest him? Stoke? No way. Chelsea? No way. Marseille at home? Of course not!
The realities of a weak squad. The trouble with being scared of unhappy players on the bench.
It was interesting reading the coach defending Arshavin.
‘He is a great player and you have to give him credit for that. He stands up for his performances. I personally respect him highly and I think he’s a great player.’
I kind of agree with him, the fans seem to have it in their heads that he’s slightly over weight and therefore he is crap. They totally forget that he’s marjorly talented and that he is a contributor, in the main, to the things that matter. No, not pass completion rate, not most through balls that didn’t reach anyone, not final third shoulder barges. I’m talking goals and assists. In 2.5 seasons he’s managed 28 goals and 30 assists. That’s pretty good going and it certainly beats anything Nasri did for us (27 goals / 13 assists / 3 seasons).
It would be interesting to see him in the middle though, if he works as hard as the manager says, why not play him where he plays best?
Injury news is as we expected, Jenko, Gibbs, Diaby, Vermaelen and Sagna.
We’ll talk teams and anti-Stoke rhetoric tomorrow… have a grand day, rumour has it, it’ll be quite warm for the match tomorrow!
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See you in the comments…
P.S. Remember to check out the Arsenal America podcast if you haven’t already.