Villa – It’s a big game, but it shouldn’t be… | Arsene Wenger’s contradictions

by & filed under Match Preview.

So Villa come to town off the back of what can only be described as an incredibly shocking season. I mean, they haven’t had it good over the past few years, but they’ve never really been in danger of dropping. However, under the guidance of Paul Lambert, they’re looking every inch the doomed club. I feel for Paul, I think he’s a good manager… I just think he bit off more than he could chew with this job. He should have stayed with Norwich for a few more seasons.

Anyway, we’ll have more on Villa in the guest post piece below. I want to talk about Arsenal. This is a major, major game… arguably bigger than the Bayern game because of the impending importance of the fixture after… which is Spurs away. Beating Blackburn was important so we could take something resembling confidence into the Bayern game… that didn’t happen, we lost to Bayern. That’s why this game is a massive worry, because we need three confident points to stand a chance next week.

I watched Spurs against Lyon in the week. Adebayor looked motivated and charged up, Gareth Bale is in an inspired run  of form and they’re team overall looks pretty compact. AVB has worked on their play off the ball, he’s brought structure and and planning to the side and they’re reaping the rewards at the moment. I still don’t think they’re a better side… but considering they spend £60m less a season on wages, they’re doing alright. They’re still in Europe and the winds of progress are blowing firmly in their directions.

If we win today… then next week, the gap will have shut significantly. If we drop points today, next week will look even more daunting and we could find ourselves out of all cups and the run for fourth place by early March. That really will be a tragedy.

Arsene Wenger is still talking nonsense in the press each week. I can’t work out whether he’s bluffing or he’s totally deluded. Whatever it is, taken at face value he doesn’t think we’re that far away from Bayern Munich.

“We are not so far when people think at the moment from Bayern. We need to be intelligent and strong in this period and keep a guideline of what we have done until now. Strengthen the team where in the positions we feel we are a bit weaker. But we have a basis of a team that is very strong for me.”

How can we make up the ground?

“It costs a lot of money*, it costs intelligent work,”

Hmmm… it doesn’t cost a lot of money to do the basics right Arsene.

When pushed on players, he said the following.

“I think, now, we are in a stronger situation where, like you say, we can spend some money,”

“We went out to spend money at Christmas but we didn’t find the players. If we find tomorrow a player of top, top, top quality, we will take him.”

Would you buy Falcao for loads of cash?

“We can do it. If we can afford it, we will not say no.”

When asked if he had an issue spending out…

“I’m not reluctant to spend,”

First of all, we only had money recently. *Secondly, in England there is a way of thinking that every problem is sorted out just by spending money but that’s not always the case.”

Can we afford to keep our best players?

“Yes, of course,”

Could we resist buyers?

“You can only keep your best players, let’s be realistic, by paying the wages of the market.”

So above, you have all the ingredients you normally find spread across a transfer window.

1. We haven’t had money in the past (Even though it’s been pretty clear for the last 4 years there’s been plenty)

2.We have money to spend now (he said this two seasons ago… ‘we can compete with Chelsea’)

3. He said he’ll sign top top quality if he can find it

4. He said he can’t find top top quality

5. He’s said we could sign a £40m player

6. He said problems aren’t sorted with money

7. He said the only way to catch Bayern is with money

I mean honestly… the man is an absolute nightmare. I’ve gone through the clubs issues at length all week, I can’t be bothered to this morning, I think his contradictory press conferences are enough for you to chew through this morning.

All we need out there today is a win. We can’t afford to take Villa lightly and we can’t afford to sit in reverse gear until late into the second half. I hope we get a performance out there today… we desperately need one. It’s going to be freezing, sadly, I’m expecting to see loads of empty seats dotted around the ground. Not as many as there will be if we don’t win out next two games.

Anyway… fancy reading something from a good pal of mine who is a Villa fan? Why not. Here’s Tom… his e-mail was titled ‘Villa are sh*t’… enjoy and follow him on Twitter.

Guest Post – Villa

This fixture last season produced a routinely comfortable hammering of Villa. This was back in the dark days of Alex McLeish, who considered a thorough 3-0 defeat to a ‘top 4’ team a significant achievement. Big ‘Eck didn’t send his teams out to win; he sent them out to lose by a respectable margin. So cut to a year later, and we’re in an even worse position. Some how. However, there is nowhere near the disdain for Paul Lambert that there was in bile-filled bucket loads for McLeish, probably because we actually try to win games now. The only problem is – we’re not very good at it.

You’ll hear about how Villa generally aren’t playing as badly as their results suggest, and that’s partly true, although shipping 15 goals in 3 games without
reply is hardly an indicator of great quality. We’re coming off the back of a rare victory over West Ham, but that seems like an awfully long time ago now, and I
would worry that the team’s collective short term memory of how to win games, is as underdeveloped as their ability to adequately defend set pieces.

This Villa side fold like a house cards at the first sign of trouble, and even Arsenal on a bad day have plenty to tear apart our feeble defence. Arsenal fans should
brace themselves for a goal fest if Lambert sends the team out with 3 at the back; a bizarre preference he insists on returning to, despite the fact that the team
look much more solid, comfortable and dynamic in a 4-4-2. Gabby Agbonlahor should be back from injury, which is good news for us, and not so good news for
Per Mertesacker’s ability to turn, and obviously Christian Benteke is a match for the toughest of premier league defences (and someone you really don’t want to
see in a Spurs shirt next season). Charles N’zogbia has suddenly started to look like a man who actually accepts the fact he plays football for a living, albeit with
all the gusto of a nightclub toilet cleaner. Still, his undoubted quality represents one of the few remaining strands of hope we’re clinging onto to somehow drag us out of the relegation quicksand. And although this isn’t necessarily a game we would expect to win, sooner or later that ‘do or die’ mentality surely has to kick in. And let’s face it, stranger things have happened. After all, we did both lose to Bradford City.

570 Responses to “Villa – It’s a big game, but it shouldn’t be… | Arsene Wenger’s contradictions”

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  1. tom

    Yeah Giroud is a squad player no more and in the summer we should target Villa,Lewandowski or my preferred choice Jovetic. Sadly I don’t see Wenger signing either of them, knowing Wenger he will probably recall Afobe whose playing at the mo and or he will recall Joel Campbell.

  2. luke


    Per against Bayern Munich is exactly why he can’t start for us. His distribution is almost as shocking as his pace, and his marking is a disaster! You would think he would help at set pieces with his height but he cannot mark to save his life.

    As far as Koz regressing I have this to say: he hasn’t had a consistent run of games and when he plays he is partnering Vermaelen who has been dreadful all season. I cannot recall Kozz making too many mistakes this year. I know the own goal at liverpool, which wasnt even all his fault in my opinion. Kozz can rise to the highest level (Barca @ home performance), Per cannot.

  3. luke

    Plus, Kozz and Verm just flat out do not work as a CB pairing. Per makes a lot more individual mistakes than Kozz IMO. Whether its a failure to mark from a set piece, getting caught up field and not being able to get back, breaking offsides lines, diving into tackles helplessly and letting forwards get by him. Per has had the opportunity to improve this season and he hasnt. I really think if we got a CB that suits Kozzer more that we may develop a great CB pair

  4. Johnny5

    Bit late I know glad we got the 3 points but another flat display really. Chezzer really is a shockingly bad keeper. He nearly makes me want flappy back. Next week will be interesting play like that and well get turnt over good and proper.

  5. Dan Ahern

    Hey everybody.
    Glad we got the 3, but damn. That was not a confidence-inducing performance.
    We really, truly feel like a mid-table club trying to beat the odds now. It sucks.

  6. patthegooner

    Exactly Gambon

    Kosser is a prime example of how we have been brainwashed into average signings. He is ok but lets be honest here, would Man Ure, Man City, Barca, Real Madrid or Bayern sign Kosser?

    Would they fuck

    Personally I rate our 3 CB’s as follows

    1) Per
    2) Vermaelen
    3) Kosser

    Sadly though, we could sign the Worlds best CB’s and they would look shit at Arsenal. Until we train them and set the team up correctly, they are just waiting to fail.

  7. tom

    We should sign Begovic in the summer Szczesny has the number one shirt too easy as Fabianski is terrible and Manonne is not much better. The sad thing is I thought like many I thought Szczesny would have been our number one for at least ten years how wrong were we.

  8. luke

    Jesus christ y’all are on the warpath. My point: Verm and Per have been utter shiite all season, I simply rate Kozz higher. Do I wish we had better? Obviously. You guys prefer discussing arsenal in the context of us having another manager ie, signing falcao, cavani, etc. It wont happen with Wenger. I am not sticking up for wanker, I want him gone AND I want Falcao and cavani too! But what is the point in discussing arsenal from a fantasy context. Out of our 3 CB options, I think Kozz can be the best with a cb that suits him better.

    Learn how to read comments without your rose tinted glasses on

  9. tom

    Also don’t understand the obsession with a high line at Arsenal Ac Milan showed how to defend against Barcelona and they didn’t use a high line so why do we especially with someone as slow as Mertesacker in the team.

  10. Arsene's Nurse

    The problem isn’t just the personnel at CB and FB, it’s the entire philosophy. I’ve said for ages that the way to play Arsenal is to let them have the ball, keep your own defensive shaper – park the bus , and look to counter-attack (behind Arsenal full-backs) especially from Arsenal corners.

    We see it week in week out. We have far too many players in an advanced position for corners (and free kicks) who aren’t aware or taught about their defensive responsibilities when we lose possession.

    Everyone except Wenger can see the danger. It’s so easy to spot and so easy to put right. When you are 1-0 up against a shit Villa side then there is no point committing so many players forward. Just sit there, let them press and then hit them on the counter.

    The defensive problem is down to the whole team and their shape. That’s all down to the manager’s instructions and lack of tactical ability.

    A practically minded manager who instils the basics in this squad would do far better.

  11. Dan Ahern

    Know what bothers me most out of all the quotes in today’s blog?

    Would you buy Falcao for loads of cash?

    “We can do it. If we can afford it, we will not say no.”

    Not, “Yes,” or even, “It would be worth trying.” Just, we wouldn’t say no. I’ve felt in the past few transfer windows we have a mentality that teams are going to drive up to our doorstep and offer us their best players. Almost every inbound transfer that we went out to get has been from teams that needed sales to raise money. Malaga, Malaga again, Werder Bremen, Everton, Monaco, etc. I’m not saying those were all bad signings, just that they all had cost as a very important factor. There is no instance of us swinging for the fences to boost the squad, unless you believe we were in for Goetze.

    This is what you need to understand, Mssrs. Wenger, Law, Gazidis, et. al.:
    The best players are wanted by many teams. They are rarely if ever offered around to Premier League also-rans just for the hell of it. When a player is as high quality as Falcao, everybody knows it. You must be proactive.

  12. luke

    Guns of brixton February 23, 2013 19:53:08

    Per is a beast on national duty with Germany. . . so is verm. . .

    Pretty sure Per doesnt start for Germany…Hummels + Badstuber are both favored. TV for Belguim had his captaincy taken and given to Kompany…

  13. tom

    I’ve heard Ogbonna is good but even still we have to defend better as a team it’s no good buying these defenders if we can’t defend as a team.

  14. Steve

    Just watched Afobe win MOM playing for Millwall. Big athletic build, killer pace and fantastic ball skills.

    I wonder if he will ever get his chance at Arsenal.

  15. R.S..P.C.Arsenal

    Per & verm are absolutely shocking the equivalent of sendross & stepanous . With wille young as back up enter kos.

    This club really needs to hit rock bottom before it gets hi agsin … Like 77 ,

    That means exit wenger

  16. Keyser

    AN – Are you sure you’re not just itching to stretch out your tactical knowledge ?

    I’d say it pretty much is the players, incesc said something earlier like the squads just weird, and it is, there’s no real focal point, and it’s a mish mash of young semi-talented players and middle-market players that look to be plugging leaks rather than any real solution.

    By league position Villa are poor, Weimann for example in the past couple of games I’ve seen him in has missed chances Redknapps wife would’ve tapped in with her left bumcheek,, but as a group they have energy and agility in abundance.

    We are an attacking team under Wenger, our biggest problem and probably when done properly our biggest asset has always been quick, clinical transition between defence and attack. or even vice versa which, Obviously that’s changed in recent years with teams sitting back against us and also with the tecnical midget eruption.

    We just don’t have the players to either deal with that quickt transition, which Villa highlighted perfectly, or to adapt and realise that they have to be smarter in their play, the latter usually comes with time and familairity, but with frsutration mounting we simply don’t have that.

  17. Keyser

    Kwikfit – Sorry mate thought you were going for the usual doomer angle, maybe it is apt, Bould and Wenger celebrate, Diaby who’s known better times as a player and was sitting injured probably has other thoughts on his mind and Jenkinson goes mad because he’s simply living the dream.

  18. tom

    Most frustrating Aaron Ramsey definitely Gervinho isn’t a footballer fullstop. Vermaelen has had a poor season but with a bit of coaching is a good defender.

  19. Keyser

    Don’t really think it matters, not sure it’s them anyway, can you imagine if we got a poster to say what the reaction should be ?

    It’s fucking Villa, sit down.

    Arsene you lucky cunt, got out oj Jail.

    Of course I’m happy we won, but don’t go on like we’ve won the Champions League.

  20. kwik fit

    No excuses for not celebrating in my book. A win is a win. Its not as if they have grown indifferent to winning games. We’re light years away from winning the champions league. Our last chance of 4th place glory rest’s on winning games like these and to show that they couldn’t give a fuck is quite frankly a fucking disgrace.

  21. R.S..P.C.Arsenal

    I think your wrong gambon on afobe … With a few games behind him he could do a job . That’s the key arse wipe only gives a run of games to his chosen special boys . Who are not of English background. Denilison, song. Evolve. To name a few!

  22. Keyser

    Kwikfit – In your book, mate you can spin it whatever way you want really, does it really matter ? Maybe Ox is thinking ‘fuck I need to be playing better’, or ‘we haven’t won yet, how long’s left’.

  23. kwik fit

    I’m sorry Keyser but it does really matter in my book. If you play for a team its should be the ‘all for one’ attitude. You can dress it up any way you want but those boys are a disgrace to the badge.

  24. tom

    Afobe with work could be in the first team squad but he will never be world class btw the Emirates atmosphere shocking as usual lots of empty seats.

  25. gambon

    Lol, one thing i promise you is that Afobe will not score 185 goals for Arsenal, or in the PL, or probably not in his career.

  26. Arsene's Nurse

    Keyser February 23, 2013 20:45:36

    AN – Are you sure you’re not just itching to stretch out your tactical knowledge ?

    I’d say it pretty much is the players, incesc said something earlier like the squads just weird, and it is, there’s no real focal point, and it’s a mish mash of young semi-talented players and middle-market players that look to be plugging leaks rather than any real solution.
    You can try to bait me and get me into a pointless discussion for 8 hours, but you won’t, however, I will respond to a reasonable post that has some analysis behind it.

    Inesc is correct when he says that there appears to be a mish-mash of players. When we lost 8-2 to Man U then Wenger and the club realised they needed reinforcements and they needed them quick. Those players no matter how good or bad essentially plugged the gaps and got us to 3rd place along with a Chelsea meltdown, a spud collapse and some dodgy goalkeeping in the last game.

    However, our current first team and 5 or 6 trusted squad players are all capable players. A large number are seasoned professionals. There is absolutely no reason why a team of such players should fail defensively against teams of far lower quality. You don’t need world class CBs or midfielders to beat Bradford or Blackburn. A mixture of first and second team players should be enough to play well and beat such teams.

    At the start of the season we all saw a different team with regard to their defensive shape and the way they defended. The old nervousness that lead to losing 4 goal leads had gone. They looked solid. The personnel hadn’t changed, but the coaching and instructions had. Any fool who had followed Arsenal for a couple of years could see that.

    We weren’t lighting the world up with silky quick passing, eye-pleasing play and goals galore, but we were solid. We went a record number of games at the start of a season without conceding for an Arsenal team. That was something to build on.

    Instead we have regressed and regressed severely. Any team that plays us is more likely to score than not. They know this. Bayern imho didn’t play anywhere near as well as they can yet scored 2/3 soft goals against us and still considered us a push over. We leak soft goals. We have been leaking soft goals for ages no matter which players are picked.

    It isn’t just a player problem although I’d definitely say that there is little leadership in the team. That much is clear because the back 4, no matter who plays, look unco-ordinated and un-organised with little understanding and communication between them. The only way to solve that is drilling them on the training field or play quadruplets who have Stephen King levels of telepathy.

    Lastly the players in front of the back four have to play in a way to protect the back four. The team don’t do that, they lack shape, they lack the focus and coaching to be in the right position at the right time to stifle the opposition. (Some players are simply born with that ability – see Bobby Moore). We are dis-jointed and appear to be a team of individuals rather than a unit.

    The whole should be greater than the sum of the parts.

  27. R.S..P.C.Arsenal

    U never know… Scored at every level he has layed… As I say a run of games boost confidence, I’m not saying he will be like wright I was merely pointing out that ian was not world class but was a natural scorer … Maybe brink could?

  28. goonerboy

    When Wenger first came to Arsenal he found a slow back 4 who were vulnerable to midfield runners. He solved in through Vieira and Petit. The difference was Adams, Bould etc were all good penalty box defenders, attacked the ball and knew how to defend crosses-Only Mertesacker is fair on crosses.
    This defence doesn’t work the basics are not there.

    Koscielny is not even a fair penalty box defender, both him and Vermaelen are chronically error prone and positionally suspect and it has to be said- not big enough . Koscieny is more suited to Spanish or French football- his main attribute is interception and passing the ball out of defence and is not bad at attacking the ball- in the opponents box.

    Mertesacker is the best of a bad lot- a defender with obvious mobility weaknesses. In my opinion Vermaelen should be played in front of the back 4, to provide more drive and tackling power in midfield.

    We need at least 2 new competent penalty box defending centre backs. We also need more quality at right back- or at least a properly fit Sagna.
    Most of all we need a manager who can organise a defence.

  29. Bade

    A win is always a good result. That said it was another flat performance, at least by the look of it from an extended highlights

    Again we conceded a poor goal. Szcz is having a nightmare form at the moment & he’s only consistent in his decline

    Jack & Santi the only ones functioning at the moment

  30. tom

    As much as Szcszesny hasn’t been performing well you can’t replace him with Fabaianski or Manonne for the NLD derby as they will shit themselves.

  31. Alex James

    Saw enough again on MOTD to confirm that our defending was shocking. A poor Villa sid could have scored more. I really worry about the Spurs game. With no decent keeper to call on and a defence that doesn’t know its business, the match has the potential to blow my head off with rage. And I am a balanced individual.

  32. Alex James

    Guns. Oxe and Kos. Both rubbish anyway and wouldn’t be missed. Sadly, only JW and Santi are many good. Not sure about the new LB as yet. The rest can be put out for the bin men.

  33. kc

    So it took the last 5 minutes for us to be able to turn over one of the worst teams in the league by one goal at home. Sad times. Kroenke can’t be leaving too thrilled. Lots of empty seats today.

  34. Incesc

    I know your already talking about this but arsenal in a nutshell

    The shirt, play for the fucking shirt

    Wilshere, Chesney, Rambo and arteta would probably be up next to jenks.

    Can anyone honestly say vermalean would? He seems a million miles away from the heart of this team. Wenger needs to sack him off as captain ASAP. He is not the spokesperson for arsenal on and off the pitch.

    To be honest Adams would rip gervinho kock, amd the other ones head off if he saw that when he was captain

  35. jeffozgooner

    when you watch a game like the AV one it makes you wonder how we are actually in the running for a 4th spot and reflecting on last year it really strikes home that we would have probably been around 7th if not for RVP peaking at the club before his departure.

    But the dynamics of this game suited Arsenal as it was all over the place and AV are not a team that parks the bus so we end up creating a few decent chances and get a win but it really was not convincing and highlights taht AW is wrong about the quality of the squad.

    Giroud simply misses too many chances and its the way that he misses them that is worrying he is not a natural player and is a slightly better version of Bendtner I would prefer to start with Pold.

    Walcott will not inspire others nor will he take the game by the throat and change its course I know he has won us the odd game but that what it will always be he is a” sometimes: player

    AW now says he has money and will spend it if he sees the quality, well its a fact that he is not going anywhere so all we can co is hope that he changes his entire philosophy and opens his eyes and sees that thereare a lot of players out there that are better than out lot and actually buys them, I am not confident that he will.

    There is a starined look about our whole bench and the dynamics between AW and Bould look really bad. That needs to be fixed as it reflects on the team whem MU score the whole lot are up and cheering with us its like we just sigh in relief and there is no team rejoicing.

    we got spuds next and i am not looking forward to it at all its such a big game for us probably the most important derby in many years as it may cost us a spot in CL and worse give it to them

    In ending this can anyone explain the AV goal I cannot believe that he let that in if thats what we are depending on to get in to CL then its not looking good.

    I almost thought that Stan was going to but his blankie over his large turnipped head, he looked like he was having such a great time

    Still 3 points and on we go COYG

  36. Doublegooner

    After the game my mates were embarrassed when I walked under the Hornsey Rd bridge with a WENGER OUT banner. Cunts !!

  37. Keyser

    AN = Sorry for the late reply, heh, if I wanted to bait you I would’ve done, I genuinely think it’s down to the players,, it’s no biggie we’re just talking pretty general tactics here, I just find it odd that people mention them all the time and yet aren’t willing/capable of going into any detail.

    Think I should mention this isn’t a defence of Wenger, obviously everyone makes mistakes, but that he’s used such tactics with other teams to far better effect. Dortmund have done it, and it’s Mourinho’s go to move. If you studied either, while the tactics remained similar results changed as the personnel did.

    “You don’t need world class CBs or midfielders to beat Bradford or Blackburn. A mixture of first and second team players should be enough to play well and beat such teams.”

    You can’t look at such things in isolation, Bradford and Swansea made the final, it’s not just us they knocked out on the way, I agree that there are capable players, but ones who are already into their mid to late 20’s which makes me wonder how much they are seen as a means to an end rather than any long term future for the club.

    The record at the start of the year was pretty meaningless in terms of conceding goals, because we were barely creating and drew at both Sunderland and Stoke, and soon enough the record became Wenger’s lowest ever points tally after a certain amount of games, if you’re Stoke or any other mid-table team you can push such a consersative gameplan until your hearts content, but when you’re Arsenal you can’t unless you’ve built up that clinical efficieny at the other end.

    Gilberto said that the 2004 team or thereabouts were soo comfortable with each other that they’d let the opposition have the ball, they knew that not only could they win it back but they could break with cohesion and to devastating effect, a team that came together over several years and seen as one of the best in our history.

    Not only is time a diference but that team’s style would be described as anything but conservative, though if you look at our goals scored or just how we played we weren’t as good as were the year before, another example is the way we set-up to make the Champions League final, we sat deeper, packed the midfield but in Henry we had someone who was efficient enough to score when we needed to.

    Even some of our games against Barcelona, a team we knew wouldn’t succomb to our passing game over individual legs, would you put it down to tactics, or individual errors ?!

    Anyway bar sitting deep and reverting to shape and numbers, I’d say our biggest problem is transition defence, certain players just aren’t able to cover the distances needed to in our vertical passing game, they weren’t able to when we had Fabregas, but the difference now is that we simply don’t have the same ability or understanding to even play to the level we did back then.

    So either these players aren’t good enough, misplacing simple balls, taking the wrong option further down field, or they need far longer to adapt then 2-3 games at the start of the year or any other period you want to give them. In my opinion I don’t think it’ll be anywhere near enough.

  38. Keyser

    Don’t usually buy in body language unless studied over time, neither Bould or Wenger seemed as agitated as they’ve been over periods this year, it seemed more like acceptance than anything else or that they’ve been assured of their jobs and the future of the team/club.

    Could just be co-incidence with the reports in the press or that Kroenke was there, but Wengere usually shouting something at the players or abusing an official, maybe it was just cold.

  39. Phil

    Keyser, you start off by saying you think it’s the players, and end by stating either they arent good enough, or haven’t played together enough. Which means its the managers fault.

  40. Keyser

    Also when I mean general tactics, I mean a conservative, risk limited approach, push back quickly and defend zonely in numbers and with a disciplined shape, we didn’t press high up the pitch or surround the ball player pushing him into making a mistake, we funnelled back or held up play until we were set, where we’d try and catch the opposition in pockets rather than push them into making mistakes.

    That’s just not a pro-active gameplan even in terms of defending. It’s acceptance that you’re not good enough to enforce your will on others.

    The difference between Rope-a-dope and going for the clinch until you recover.

    You see this across all manner of sports, where a team knows it’s not good enough to win on it’s own merits and then hopes that if they remain disciplined enough they will force their opposition into making enough mistakes that they can take advantage.

  41. Keyser

    Phil – He buys the players so he’d get the blame for that, this is about tactics, people bring them up yet don’t bother to explain them.

    We’re not as good as teams we’ve had over the years because of tactics, I’d say it’s the players he’s bought, and the time frame they’ve had to adapt within.

  42. Phil

    There are some managers/coaches in all modes of football who believe great teams are built on a great defence. Others who equally believe in expansive high risk strategy.
    There isn’t one right way to go. Both have been applied with success.. Does the manager come to a club with an entrenched philosophy, or does the quality of the players determine the style of play?

  43. Keyser

    Incesc – Shurrup.

    Seriously Arteta’s been poor this year, I don’t like blaming players and I like him, but there’s this weird blindspot people have and Ig et suspicious of it, against Bayern he overhit a simple ball to Sagna and then seemed to blame him for it, today he did the same to Jenkinson.

    That’s the cynical side of me kicking in thinking he’s a bit too arrogant, people have moaned for years that we’ve been carrying players, well now we’re carrying him, except Wilshere and Cazorla are midget donkeys that can probably carry a satsuma or two.

    Hope that clears it up for you.

  44. Phil

    No, I am not American.
    I get your point.
    for me it’s simply that player for player we aren’t as good as we once were.
    watching the Bayern game, only LJW would make their team.
    If your personnel isn’t good enough, then you need to be flexible enough to change things.

  45. Keyser

    Phil – Didn’t mean anything by the American thing, just watch some American sports.

    You can teach good defence, but you can’t teach great offence.

    I’ve heard/read/made that up from somewhere, and it always plays on my mind, unless you have players that can make something of nothing, then you’re just playing to avoid defeat, we need to play to win, we can’t sit back and let our defence carry us through.

    Therefore we need an attacking philosophy.

  46. Keyser

    Incesc – Also, post the article tomorrow, I think you might get some stick for it, but you’ll get stick for anything these days, and Marmalade ? wtf.

  47. Keyser

    Phil – “If your personnel isn’t good enough, then you need to be flexible enough to change things.”

    Yeah, exactly, but you can’t analyse us through a vacuum, take Bayern for instance, many people say the true distinction of a bit club in Europe is made through the Champions League/European Cup, well we’ve made one final in our history, Bayern have won it 4 times in total and made 4 finals in the last 15 years.

  48. Phil

    Keyser, don’t worry, I was offended. it was just a question.
    I watch plenty of US sport. Packers specifically.
    To your point that you can’t teach great offence., not sure I agree with that.
    Obviously there are people who are more instinctively attack minded, but pavlov’s dog and all that..

  49. Keyser

    Phil – I mean the sort of offence that you’d associate with Great players, you can drill players into the ground defensively, it’s basic principles done to the nth degree you build up muscle memory and it becomes inherent.

    You can only do that to an extent at the other end, you’re not going to tell Ibrahimovic to practice 40 yard yard overhead kicks at the angle once the keepers rushed out.

    We’ve got players who can do the sensational from time to time, Cazorla’s goal against West Ham, he delays the shot, throws the player into selling himself for the sliding tackle and backheels into goal, not even sensational just smart.

  50. Phil

    Incesc- yes.
    Keyser, I know. As I said, there are players who are instinctively attacking, know when to pick the right option. Just football smarts- which yes, you can’t really teach. Even if the teacher has been doing it for 30 years, and made 50,000 substitutions



    Keyser is an absolute bore & talk’s bullshite..All day long…

    Incesc,is his sidekick.Has no opinion,just follow’s the prick Keyser,like a lap dog..!!

    Incesc in short is a pussycat..Meow,meow…

    Keyser is a stench,that permeates the room..Can’t just get rid of the stench..!!



    Remember Keyser “The L’Escargot Sucker”,has no opinion..

    He’s just a wind-up merchant..Brought into this world,to simply contaminate the earth!!

  53. Rhys Jaggar

    In terms of practice and drill, let me say from experience of studying the violin seriously as a youngster:

    1. The greater the range of technical exercises you practice, the more general competence you acquire across the board.
    2. The key to this is matching aim to execution: if you are taking corners you can float one to the near post for a flick, you can curl one high to the far post or the six yard line, you can hit it at knee height to the D for a volley, you can whip one in hard near post for a van Buyten-style header etc. What’s key is that you can hit what you intend to hit. If you are a winger crossing on a break, you can hit the ball along the ground, at head height or over the defence for the other winger attacking the box, you can cut inside and hit a shot etc etc. What’s imperative is that what you do is accurate. You can practice free kicks with a wall and you can practice hitting pile drivers from 10 , 15, 20, 25 and 30 yards. You can practice first-time lay-offs followed by a spin to receive a return ball. You can practice dribbling at pace, ever faster.

    The great educators always devise systems of practice/study which add to performance. The great pupils always learn from as many great educators as possible, although when to expose yourself to each one is a matter for each individual.

    It’s actually the same for defence. You can drill all you like, but ultimately what is required is a sixth sense of what is about to happen. You don’t achieve that by drilling out spirit, individuality or self-directed activity. In fact, you destroy that.

    Discipline whilst building self-awareness, awareness of others and increasing self-directed learning is what is required. The amount of ‘coaching’/senior input varies for each person over time.

    What is key is that the educators make the right judgements of how much input is required by whom doing what with whom.

  54. SUGA3

    To be happy that the team can just about overcome relegation contenders at home is clutching at straws. However, a silver lining. Abou Diaby’s removal from the fray for another injury will mean we do not have to put up with any more of the standard of performances we have seen from him since his return. Get back to the treatment table where you belong Abou and stay there. Please. I think 2014 is the end of your deal when you can depart along with the man who has ensured you will never have to do an honest day’s work in your life.

    lovely little dig from Whitcher just at the end of his article 😆

  55. SUGA3

    although Diaby’s deal runs until June 2015, I believe…

    Diaby is our equivalent of Ledley King, its just that he is not as good and he is unable to hit the form on demand just like that if played sparingly to ensure that he stays fit…

  56. ozrus

    hahaha the revolutionaries at LeGrove are upset – Arsenal won! lolzies gambon is SOOOOO emotional he’s going to wish cancer on someone. wah wah mama’s bratty boys, have a good fucking day hahaha

  57. Ric

    ozrusFebruary 24, 2013 10:40:51

    What a baby you are, you don’t know football, or apparently much else, so why do you even bother? You couldn’t say one good thing about this team even if you tried (I’m slightly surprised your able to form full sentences at all actually…)

    But don’t you feel ashamed yelling at other fans in order to let the rot continue? You are a dispicable person Oz, if only you’d be a manc in disguise? Then at least beelsebub himself could morally justify you existence.

    As it is you’re just a blight.