Oh good morning you sexy beasts.
ARSENAL STOKE DAY
I love days like this. At home, they’re a lot more bearable. Total scuzz bucket of a team now laden with a few ex La Masia players. Bojan will probably have a good game today. I imagine coming to The Emirates is a bit like heading to The Coliseum back in the day… you’d be showboating your ass off to win your freedom!
I can just imagine him slaying three of our defenders, marching over to the dugout looking at Arsene… ‘ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED’, before taking off his flouro boot off, lobbing it at an old lady in the crowd.
It’ll be tough today, but we’re starting to see some of our boys creep back into contention. Theo might start today, we might see Ozil. I think the back four is fit. We have the cavalry back in town. Which is bloody great news.
Even better news, Marca are reporting that Madrid have dropped out of the running for Lucas Silva. The boys a defensive midfielder. He’s Brazilian. He’s handsome. He’s 5 feet 1121⁄32. He has some very fancy videos on Youtube of him breaking up play. What I like about his is he started his career as a striker. So he’s aware of the creative side of the game. His game looks a little Pep-esque. He breaks up play and distributes the ball quickly and sublimely. He sits in front of the back four mopping up but he also has the ability to get forward and expose the defence. Perfect for Arsene right?
He’s 21 years old. He looks the business. He talks the talk. He could be a major coup if we could get him to settle and adapt to the pace of the league. Concerns I have is that it’s relatively easy to look incredible in the Brazilian league. The pace isn’t anywhere near what it is in the Premier league. He’s not a destroyer by any stretch of the imagination. His game looks more based on intelligence. Where I really started firming up was imagining a midfield with him lying deep with a player like Schneiderlin flanking him. It’d be quite Cesc / Matic like. That’d make the team pur. Then you’d have protection for a player like Ozil to roam and do his thing…
Looks like a very good player. Dick Law was a big part of the deal to bring Gilberto over the Arsenal back in the day. Could there be something in this? I hope so. Give me a vision of how you see this side lining up Arsene. Give us a clue where you want to take this side!
Wenger made some interesting comments again about back fours not being what they used to be…
“If you look at the evolution of English football, when I arrived here, the back four was English.
“But they weren’t only English – they communicated because they had the same culture, the same way to see the game and they were educated together.
“Communication is less in the back four than before. It doesn’t mean there aren’t any leaders. But they don’t always speak the same language or have the same way to respond to situations.
“We also had another defence, which nobody spoke about: Lauren, Kolo Toure, Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole. Maybe less physically fantastic, but a top back four.
“Is it a regret that I haven’t managed to replicate that? Yes. But we are not that far away. We are getting there.”
Aside from sounding rather Nigel Farage on the language front, it’s an interesting comment to make especially as he’s passed on players like Gary Cahill. Wenger was pretty close to landing John Terry before Abramovich swooped in and took over the club back in the day. So he’s had an interest in him as well.
I think the technical side of defence is a important, but as managers like Pulis have proven. Sometimes you just need good old fashioned defenders who know how to keep things solid. I think Pep changed the game where he wanted 11 players who could all play football. I mean, crazy that became a strategy, it’s so obvious… but I guess it maybe highlight how messed up the coaching in our game is because I remember at school the defenders were always the big kids who didn’t have the skill to play further forward.
I think Neuer throws even more petrol on the fire that you need everyone to be able to player your way. He’s created a role where he is actually a sweeper. A very good one as well. I think the glaring flaw in our defence is that the league is lightning quick these days, but we have a Per sitting in the middle, who is, well, not very quick. I think we need to look into rectifying that right now. The language thing is an issue, but plenty speak English around the globe. If English isn’t being spoken on the pitch, we need to address that…
I think the deeper issue is that we don’t train the defence properly. We don’t address the flaws that we have from a personnel persepective. We don’t seem to rectify mistakes. How often do we expose ourselves early in a game with marauding runs? How do you explain Gibbs not putting a boot in to defend two crosses in one game. How do you explain World Cup winners being turned inside out from throw ins? How do you explain a keeper who is regularly out of position and bad with the ball at his feet?
I think Wenger is still of the mindset that intelligent players will find a way. Well, he’s been trialling that method for years and nothing has changed. We need to focus on defensive basics, but we also need to focus on defending as a team. There needs to be a plan on the ball and off the ball. We kind of do everything in quite a half arsed way. I don’t feel there’s much communication that goes on. I don’t feel that there’s a passion to keep clean sheets in the same way you feel there is at Chelsea.
If you have a problem, you can’t bemoan things like language and a lack of old school defenders. You need to ask the big question… how do I find a solution to this? Pointing at players is weak. What are you doing to make the individuals a cohesive unit?
I don’t feel Wenger is a solutions guy anymore…
We’ll see today!
Enjoy the sunshine!