Arsenal’s main hope of success is returning to the George Graham days

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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!

[twitter-follow screen_name=’LeGrove’ show_count=’yes’]

See you in the comments…

P.S. Remember to check out the Arsenal America podcast if you haven’t already.

307 Responses to “Arsenal’s main hope of success is returning to the George Graham days”

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  1. goonermart

    Thank fuck for that Confidentgoner lol. yeah not sure what happened to Djoruo, he is sooo shit now.

    Interesting idea about about Ramsey, would like to see it given a go in the league cup games to see how it worked.

  2. IvoryGoonz

    Suga: there’s polish dubbing on that one lol, reminds me the eurolines buses 🙂
    IvoryGoonz says:
    October 22, 2011 at 16:45

  3. SUGA3


    lol, the ‘in-flight’ entertainment? you need A LOT of movies to get through that journey, I have only done it twice in my life: moving out from the UK in early 2002 and moving back in early 2005, apart from that I only flew or travelled by car a couple of times, 20+ hours on the coach is not for the faint hearted :mrgreen:

  4. IvoryGoonz

    Suga: wasnt for my back either, did it like 15 times in a 2 years … guess I was in love, I blame pretty polish women for that 🙂

  5. IvoryGoonz



  6. naija soccer


    U went from saying song ain’t good enough to him being decent. U said for a team trying to win the league song isn’t good enough. Well carrick has been a poorer player to song for a couple years now and that didn’t stop manyoo from winning league. Obi mikel isn’t exactly a world class DM either but guess what , chelsea won the league with him playing a significant role in it.

    Also u went from koz being another average player to this world class player who will excel in DM and CB.

    Make up your mind already bro. Like tinyspuds said, u don’t know if he will excel in DM or not.

  7. IvoryGoonz

    naija: he’s decent enough to be in the squad, but he’s not good enough to be our first starter. I thought that was clear.
    and if you dont try TV or Kosc as DM, you won’t know.

  8. IvoryGoonz

    naija: Kosc is good enough to be a CB for us, always said same thing about him. he’s a great tackler, and his real issue is positioning and awareness, if he works hard, he’ll get over that, but Vermaelen is better there, and with the current tactics, we wont play Mert, Kosc, and Vermaelen together, unless one of them learn another position, maybe we could even try with 3CBs…….
    besides, you got to adjust tactics with what you have available.
    It’s nice making wishes, but I’ve stopped hoping Wenger would buy Hazard or Chiellini, until they are 27.

  9. IvoryGoonz

    naija: yes, Id love to have Vermaelen, Hummels, Godin, Mertesacker and Vertonghen for CBs. But that would be over the top wouldnt it? Kosc cost us a couple of goals because he didnt realise where he was/the line, or the attacker. as a DM, he wouldnt have that problem.

  10. SUGA3


    yep, one can lose his head for them, tried and tested 😉

    I reckon we should get another ‘big’ CB (flog Djourou, enough of this enigma shit) and rotate pairings, not sure if Koscielny has the vision and awareness to play DM…

  11. OPG

    tomwfootball Tom Williams
    Marseille fans made silent protest at start of game. Some choice banners too. One example: “Millionaires in real life, tramps on the pitch.”

  12. Grassy Knoll

    Hitchcock – total genius.

    Should be managing the Arsenal – knows enough about horror stories, and how to inventively dispose of the lesser characters in a suitable matter …

    I can only imagine how judiciously he would dispense with Squillaci, Denilson, Bendner, Arsharvin, Rosiscky, Wallcott, Almunia – a whole team of Wenger superior judgement shit.

    Why aren’t they all gone by now, and him too?

  13. IvoryGoonz

    GK: yep, true genius.
    I also picked it for his conclusion at end of the second part.
    “happiness is a clear horizon”.

  14. IvoryGoonz

    0-4 Hat-trick Ronaldo
    it’s gonna take some time for Malaga, they need better defenders for a starter, maybe they should have taken Almunia as well, let’s sell them Denilson, Squilacci and Diaby, I’m sure they’ll feel better

  15. incesc

    fucking liverpool messed up my acccumulator.

    at home to fucking norwich

    arent they spposed to be really on the up and we have had the worst start for 200 years yet tomorrow we are 2 points behind…

  16. BacaryisGod

    What great news today. Liverpool will fall back to the pack as will Newcastle.

    It will be a dogfight for 4th place between us, Liverpool and Spurs. The Premier League couldn’t have asked for a better season. A battle for the title between 3 big teams, a battle for 4th place between 3 big teams and probably another 7 teams trying to stave off relegation.

    Right now, Spurs look like slight favorites, but with a stronger defence and if Jack comes back for the home stretch, we will be in with a good shot.

    We do need the win tomorrow in a big way though.

  17. namibiangooner

    so will go in to 7th place if we win tomorrow. i guess that means we wont win. almost every time we had to capitalise on good results we never do.

  18. IvoryGoonz

    [Carl Jenkinson?] It is a minor injury but it is two weeks out, he will miss the next two games against Stoke and Bolton, has a little chance for Chelsea.

    [Who will replace hm] is something I have to sort out, I have not decided yet. Koscielny and Djourou [are the options], basically.

    [Thomas Vermaelen] will be back in full training on Friday. It is 10 days to two weeks for him.

    [Abou Diaby] is getting better but is not available to play yet. He’s probably back in around two weeks – he is just a fraction behind Vermaelen.

    [If he will be rushed back?] No, I’m happy that he’s back and that he has, of course, extended his contract.

    But competition is in every position, we have a big squad but still, happy to have him back so quickly.

    [Kieran Gibbs] is nothing bad but he is one or two weeks out. [But] Other than Carl Jenkinson, everyone else came through well from the win in Marseille.

  19. bade the gooner (bernard)

    The Barca cunts are very close to scoring, I hope the mugs from Sevilla can hold on another 15 minutes or so

  20. IvoryGoonz

    abnet: any more interesting statements like that?
    no “I feel I fucked up and should have strenghtened early” or anything like that? still sleeping on yesterday’s laurel?
    oh boy

  21. goonerboy

    Just because a player has some flaws-it doesn’t mean he is completely crap-Song is a case in point-yes he has a tendency to hang onto the ball too long- and is flaky-remember Blackburn-but he is strong and he can tackle-and has rescued us more times than I can remember. Take him out of midfield and you will see the true meaning of lightweight. He often carries the can for a forward line that does not seem to think it has to defend.
    As for Arshavin-he has lost it completely-I am totally with GG on this one he has proved to be a really bad buy. We know he has skill but how often does anything he try work? If you play him in the hole-it makes you too vulnerable to the counter-he loses possession on 8 of every 10 occasions.
    I am not sure that we can go back to the GG era-but until we have our best players back- Wilshere is a key man as is Vermaelen we will have to scrap to get anything at all against top half of the table opposition. One nil is ok. Last year Man U were pulling rabbits out of their arses to get results for half a season.
    We are well and truly undermanned up front-there are far too few real outlets for midfielders- RVP is often marked by 3 defenders is an injury waiting to happen against Pulis’ thugs. Quite why we are wasting Park Wenger alone knows.
    As for playing Chamakh-can you see him doing anything against Stoke’s defence-an organised big strong unit?Today we need some players to step up-Gervinho, Yossi and Arteta.

  22. OPG

    I think we have quite a couple of inconsistent players and lack some quality in midfield/attack, especially cause some teams have raised the bar since last season and we lost Cesc and Nasri, we have to fight a bit more sometimes it’s enough, sometimes it’s not.
    We seem to get the rub of the green in Europe especially this season beating a decent Udinese side after much of the summer being unsettled and under prepared.

    This time last season the European performances were very good albeit against sides like Braga, Shaktar @Home and Partizan away yet domestically we were inconsistent but better off than now with 5 wins, 2 draws and 2 losses. Perhaps we also need to find the right balance of tactics, mentality etc between the competitions cause of the differing styles and pace but the squad are going through a transition itself.