Good morning Grove fans! After 3 solid days of mostly bad news, it was great to throw on an illegal stream and watch Chelsea take a spanking from a pretty average Napoli side. Cavani showed why he’s one of the most fantastical strikers in the whole wide world and AVB showed yet again, that he is totally out of his depth at Chelsea. Oh how he must have wished he’d sold the power structure that the whole of Europe knew was in place at Chelsea in August. Weak management which has dogged him all season.
I can’t gloat too much. It’s not like problems at Arsenal are any better. At least we have a higher position in the league to worry about. I think our main concern looking at the table is the resurgent Liverpool. The reason I say this is because they’ve found their shooting boots of late. They also have the second best defence in the league. If they can continue banging in the goals, they could be a force to be reckoned with.
That’s one of the biggest hurdles Arsenal have faced so far this season. We can’t stop hemorrhaging goals. It doesn’t matter how much we will on our players as individuals, as a unit they’re tanking week after week. Vermaelen, Koscielny, Sagna and Chesney on their own would make it into plenty of top clubs around Europe. As a unit though, they’re atrocious. Ten teams in the league have conceded the same or less than us. Honestly, that’s never going to win you trophies. When you factor in that we’re struggling to score goals… well, you’ve got a recipe for a poor finish.
What’s the answer? Well for me it’s to look at the players you have available and work out how you can build a system around their strengths. 6 years ago, we struggled for strength in midfield so we changed our system to a defensive 4-5-1. It allowed us to crowd out the midfield, it gave us stability at the back and it helped us keep 8 clean sheets in the Champions League. Why don’t we look at doing that? What is the point in flogging a system we don’t have the players to to exploit?
Another thing we seem to do at the start of the season and then fall away with as the year goes on is pressing players. What ever happened to that? If we’re the fittest team in the universe, shouldn’t we be able to muster the hard work to press the opposition? I think we should. If the manager can’t enforce that, you have to ask serious questions of his stature among the players.
We should also start drilling the defence now. It’s never too late to start learning something new. Take the defence out of the routine they’re in now and get them in with Steve Bould. Players don’t forget how to play football. They do forget how to defend as a unit. Get them working hard on their communication and show them video analysis of the things they’re doing wrong. It isn’t a punishment, it’s called learning from your mistakes.
Another thing I’d like to see happen. It’s called analysing the opposition. Do we do that? Of course not. We’re about thinking about what we do first. Well, that’s all well and good when you’ve got world cup winners and players who know the game. We don’t really have that. So we should start preparing a dossier for each player before the game. Get the video whizzkids to knock together tailored clips of what they’re facing. Ask Boro Piromac or Pat Rice to sit down with each player and tell them what to expect from corners, what side their striker hits penalties, which way the winger generally turns… give them all the help they can get. Stop hanging the players out to dry and give them support.
We’re in a fortunate position. The league has dipped in quality as has the caliber of team vying for a top four position. We’re still in with a shout whether we deserve it or not. Now would be a good time for the manager to show he’s not stuck in 1998. To show that he does have the guts to admit he’s wrong. To try and rescue a dire situation and ensure the sale of Cesc and Nasri wasn’t in the name of protecting out finances because the coach feared his team might drop out of the top 4.
Spurs would be a great platform to start winning again, wouldn’t it?
In transfer news, you know, the nasty side where we talk about selling our best player, Goal.com are running a story about Ivan manning up and telling Robin he’s not going.
Apparently the Dutchman is anxious, scared and a little teary. He shouldn’t be scared. This is called posturing. It’s like me being the manager of a top club and saying…
‘If we sell our two best players, we can’t be classed as a big club’
Then 3 weeks later, selling both players. There’s no way we’re not selling Robin if he wants to go. When has that ever happened? If we couldn’t do it with Cesc who had resale value and a beastly contract what makes anyone think we’ll hold onto Robin.
I understand the sentiment though. I’d be wondering why I should pander to his wishes after giving us 25% I a season every year for 6 years. However, I’d be more inclined to take the cash, invest it in a couple of god awful strikers and celebrate a marvelous financial year next February. Just kidding. I’d be more inclined to ask this…
‘Will we ever get a season as injury free and goaltastic as this one?’
Probably not. Maybe we should see this as an opportunity? If we can get £30mill for Robin, how much more would we need to buy a younger player with similar talent by maybe not the experience?
In other more hysterical news, Henri Lansbury has been attention seeking again. He put on the gloves to play in goal for West Ham yesterday and they won. Oh Henri… you are a lad. Last laugh is with him though… He’ll be winning a trophy this year!
I read with great interest the other day that Ivan was on holiday while Rome was burning… in Milan and Sunderland. He slipped off to Mexico for a mid term wedding. He did the same last June. The only CEO in the universe that out of touch with football he holidays during his busiest month. Shocking behaviour. Some other news slipped out to me over the past few days as well. We paid Thierry Henry £70k a week during his stay over here… quite a lot really. Even more when you hear he was allegedly put up by Arsenal at a a hotel rumoured to cost half a Diaby a week. Talk about a massive piss take eh? All that money and Thierry is charging us for his accommodation? What happened to the Travelodge? They give you 2 free bottles of shampoo and a good night guarantee… and a choice of pillow.
Another transfer that totally slipped my radar was Louis Saha to Spurs. Now, I know he’s a bit of a crock. But come on… look at what we’re dealing with at Arsenal. Louis is 33, I’d be shocked if we weren’t offered him and we didn’t move for him. Surely he’d be worth a punt on a 6 month contract. He’s already scored more than Park and Chamakh. I’m sure he wouldn’t cost half a broken player a week to house either. It’s all about going that extra mile and Arsenal don’t do it…
That’s all I have for you today. Keep it real.
P.S. Theo swapped for Daniel Sturridge… where do I sign!
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