Arsenal pragmatism is upsetting fans

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Yesterday was a weird one. You can’t quite fathom what really happened. Arsenal fans are suffering something akin to Pavlov’s Dog (ring the bell – salivate regardless of whether food is brought).

We generally know what to expect of Arsenal against big teams. Drab performance, upsetting result. The first half yesterday felt like a drab performance.  It felt like the full force of a typical Arsenal hangover swinging into effect. But did it feel like that because we’re preconditioned to be disappointed?

Quite possibly. To the naked eye, we lacked confidence, we defended deep and we created nothing. If that was a Chelsea first half performance, we’d all be coo-ing like a sycophantic Sky Journalist in the midst of a ‘witty’ Jose interview. Instead, a large majority of fans were dismissive and annoyed by a shit show of a game.

Sure, there were plenty of reasons to be angry. We didn’t find our attacking rhythm, Giroud did a particularly poor job in front of and around goal… the defence creaked badly for the Herrera goal.

… but, was playing a reserved first half game part of, you know, part of a bigger picture plan? One that wasn’t executed to perfection… but one that was at least executed.

Well, you certainly can’t deny we did come to life in the last 25 minutes. The second half was certainly punctuated by a much smoother flow. We found our game, played with more ambition and created the bulk of chances.

Wenger switched things up dramatically on the all too predictable 70th minute mark. He brought on Jack and Theo, switched Coquelin to right back and aimed to stretch United with penetrating break outs through midfield and blistering runs out wide. The result was positive-ish.

Theo forced United subs Blackett and Valdes into a disaster when they broke into the box, cut a hard low cross into Blackett, the ball ricocheted up and over a misstepping keeper. A strangely sweet equaliser.

… worth mentioning the stunning long ball from the impressive Ramsey!

So the game played out with a point shared a piece. The top four all but secured. We miss out on second, and we miss out on making much progress on our points tally of last term, but plenty to be pleased about.

Conclusion:

Don’t become Pavlovs dog. You have to relearn how to watch Arsenal in this modern era of planning and doing clever things. I was as guilty as many of you. I didn’t see the plan, but on reflection, I totally can now. Arsenal play with purpose, we don’t just play to entertain.

Have we nailed it perfectly? No. Did we win yesterday? No. But a point away at Old Trafford is always an achievement. Sure, I understand that the United team we saw was average, but they’re managed by a Wiley old fox who is very good at getting the most out of average teams.

I think what yesterday showed is that we are still lacking quite a lot quality wise. If we’d had more quality around the pitch, we’d have made those three points ours.

Olivier Giroud really didn’t cut the mustard again. He made some very cute touches, but his finishing under pressure and his overall game just isn’t world class. He had two very good chances yesterday that a Thierry would have scored. He fluffed both. When the team is playing for one chance, you need someone who can convert it. That’s not Olivier long term. I also have major doubts about his lack of pace, really doesn’t work with counter attacking tactics. How much more would we get out of a Benteke style player?

I also think you’re starting to see the pitfalls of having a keeper that’s not quite there. I think Petr Cech would have done more with the Gomis goal last week and the goal yesterday. It’s a very subjective point, but I just don’t think he’s the right man. There aren’t many keepers in the Premier League that get away with being small. He’s managed it for a while, but I kind of feel like that’s more luck than pure ability.

I also think it’s interesting watching Bellerin. He’s an immensely talented young player, but jeez, he was getting roasted by Ashley Young yesterday. He’s certainly a player who relies on his pace to bail him out of trouble. I think I’d prefer to see a bit more stability in that role when Debuchy picks up his fitness.

Overall, it’s a bit of a tough one to get your head around. We played pragmatic Chelsea style football and picked up a pragmatic Chelsea style point. We all hate it, but we went there, did a job and now we’ve secured Champions League football without having to qualify.

The performance wasn’t what we’re used to seeing, but maybe that’s a good thing? Maybe that’s part of the evolution of the club?

Well, it can be part of the evolution if we build in the quality to deliver in those games. There are still very big quality gaps that could be filled this summer. Question always centres around whether the manager has the ruthlessness to deliver on it.

A drab point, but one that allows us to start thinking about the FA Cup final.

Onwards and upwards!

424 Responses to “Arsenal pragmatism is upsetting fans”

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  1. shad

    Have Arsenal turned a corner? Half way.

    All negated by Wenger playing his favourite 11 even out of position if he has to.

    I don’t trust Wenger to come correct in the transfer market or to adapt tactically when the going gets tough (unlike you Pedro, I don’t consider a point against a flailing ManU team a decent result – we should be stuffing them silly, and we had the team to do so; Wenger once again bottled it.)

    It’s silly he doesn’t give other players a chance even at this stage of the season. Icing Rosicky and Walcott has just been plain silly.

    We may be improving tactically but Wenger will always guarantee us a top 4 finish and the odd FA cup and nothing more. He will always be found out against more tactically astute, dynamic teams, especially the elite of Europe.

    Bottomline: We need 3 or so players AND a new manager.
    Likelihood: 2 new players. Wenger stays.
    Outcome: Top 4 trophy, last 16 UCL exit, FA cup semi final or QF exit (we won’t be 3rd time lucky).

  2. Wallace

    shad

    ” I don’t consider a point against a flailing ManU team a decent result – we should be stuffing them silly, and we had the team to do so; Wenger once again bottled it.”

    happens all the time, doesn’t it? Utd getting stuffed silly at Old Trafford.

  3. gambon

    Shame we couldnt make a real leap into 2nd, but 3rd and the cup is improvement

    Just hope Wenger recognises that we need some real significant calibre players to make another step forward.

    Certainly we need world class at each end of the pitch.

    Giroud & Ospina are not that. They should be deputising for top, top quality players.

  4. foxy

    Hopefully yesterday signals the end of the Ramsey right wing experiment. It will work against crap teams like hull, burnley and liverpool but against the better sides Rambo’s lack of pace is found out when he is out wide and this has resulted in us playing too narrow and counter attacks breaking down on numerous occasions. Our attacking threat became so much more evident and purposeful when he was moved inside with jack and theo deployed on the wing.

    And fellas its time to agree with Bamford whether you like the guy or dont like him. Giroud simply isnt to the level we require when we play against our rivals. The turn of pace isnt there, the finishing isnt good enough and you sense the player himself doent have the confidence within himself to win us games against these type of sides when chances are at a premium.

    Benteke or Lacazette in.

  5. Bamford10

    Not a bad post, Pedro, but the problem in the first half wasn’t the “pragmatism,” it was the ineffectualness. Any attacks we had were snuffed out easily and we didn’t even manage a shot on goal.

    Yes we were better in the second, esp. in the final 15 minutes, but that didn’t negate the first half in my mind. Though it did on the score sheet obviously.

    One positive is that Jack looked good when he came on, as did Ramsey when he was shifted centrally.

    Quality must be added this summer, though, as you say, especially at CF, GK and wide right.

  6. Hitman49

    So we are now a second half reactionary team ?

    We always have been ? Our second half performances are always slightly better in my opinion,

    But yes lack of real quality keeper for me again that’s two goals to his left have undone him both I think we’re stoppable.

    Let’s hope we don’t let villa get more than a one goal lead in the final,before we decide to start playing it was hard enough to last year !

    No change

    No improvement

    Wenger out ! For me

  7. mysticleaves

    Hmm..very articulated, best-of-both-arguments post today. Nice read. But again Ospina couldn’t have done anything on that goal…

  8. Crusaderrabbit

    Mmm…am willling to conceed our tepid/drab performance was part of an overall plan, though we did go behind in the first half and did not manage a shot on goal to something like the 51st so it doesn’t seem particularly well executed to me. However in the bigger picture getting third was more important than the performance – although that was a weak a Man Utd team we’re ever likely to face – so we can give them the benefit of the doubt.

    However for me the same issues remain – all entirely connected with the manager.

    1) Plays Ramsey out wide – completely pointless, as soon as he was moved infield we were better. It’s obvious to all of us not earning £8m a year that width and penetration is needed, in certain games. TBF he did bring Theo on yesterday but why does he have to persist with out of formation players just to prove a point

    2) This relates to above. Turns out when we’ve got a fully fit squad – he plays the same first XI time and time again. Personally I think Wenger hates having to make tactical squad decisions, rotating players etc, and this continues to make us very very predictable. When he has no injuries he has no excuses and this scares him

    3) And finally this is the really big issue in regards to whether we are moving on as a club. Man Utd will finish 4th this season and go out and spend £300m on players, we will finish 3rd and I wouldn’t be surprised if our net transfer spend is a tenth of that. Am not saying we need to spend their kind of money, but if we don’t address our quality gaps any progress we have made is completely wasted. The CL clubs will all strengthen – but I have zero confidence in our Manager’s ablity to do that. So bigger picture – whilst I admire the pragmatism once again I think all a result like Sundays does is make Wenger more confident we’re good as we are – so I don’t expect much improvement on our points haul next year either.

  9. shad

    @Wallace,

    I know I’m being a bit dramatic but you catch my drift. We just didn’t turn up in the first half.

    And I don’t think Wenger will ever lead us to the promised land. Anyway,let’s see what the summer brings.

  10. mysticleaves

    Shad
    you know I asked yesterday and no one answered.

    When was the last time a top team “stuffed Man Utd silly” at OT? Any wins there are smash and grab. Top teams always turn up against fellow top teams no matter the form they are in.

  11. foxy

    I don’t consider a point against a flailing ManU team a decent result – we should be stuffing them silly, and we had the team to do so; Wenger once again bottled it.”

    What a stupid comment. This bang average team stuffed city spurs and liverpool at home this season and are second in the mini table of top four teams when it comes to points taken from each other.

  12. qna

    “You have to relearn how to watch Arsenal in this modern era of planning and doing clever things. I was as guilty as many of you. I didn’t see the plan, but on reflection, I totally can now. Arsenal play with purpose, we don’t just play to entertain.”

    Condescending much? So we have to relearn do we? We cant see this secret hidden plan hey? Perhaps we all see just as well as you can and we just see it differently. You may have changed your opinion, but that doesnt mean your right.

    Arsenal are the same old story year after year. We can be supurb (like our record of 57 points from 66 against the bottom 12 teams in the division), and we can be well below acceptable (like our record against the teams in the top 8 of 14 from 42). These numbers are more than just opinion, these are the hard facts that show that Arsenal are the same old flat track bullys. I fully expect us to get another 6 points and finish the season with 63 points from a possible 72 against the weakest teams.

    This may be enough for many fans. Its nothing to sneaze at for sure. But I am one of those fans that don’t accept this to be good enough. I want us to be fighters that compete with teams at the top end of the table. The FACT is, we havent done this for years – including this year and last year where we have supposedly shown so much “progress”.

  13. MikeB

    This site posts some of the best and most thought-provoking articles on the web. This was another such article.
    Unfortunately, it also attracts some of the most negative and moronic commentators on the web. Such a shame, because the idiots detract from, potentially, the best Arsenal blog around, and dissuade healthy and informed debate.

  14. mysticleaves

    Hitman
    We are not a reactionary 2nd half team. Apart from this game, am trying hard to remember when we haven’t had a better first half than the 2nd half in 2015. Maybe Monaco and Swansea..

    So this “first half drab” might have actually being a plan. Which posters here always accuse Wenger of lacking. Let us all try to balance our thoughts once in a while.

  15. Wallace

    shad

    given the choice i’d take a team that starts slowly and gets stronger as the game goes on over one that flies out of the blocks and dies on the hour.

    Crusader

    when fit the Ox started all the big games this season as far as i can recall. he’s Wenger’s first choice for the wide right role.

  16. vicky

    Swansea parked the bus against us, made a few substitutions in the last 20 minutes, gave it a go and won the match.

    We did something similar yesterday, not really parked the bus but played with “handbrakes” on, and then dominated United for about 20 minutes and created several chances. With a more clinical striker we would have won the game.

    Swansea’s tactics were lauded here on LG, so why not Arsenal’s. Okay, we are much bigger than Swansea and should have done better in the first half. But tell you what I would rather Arsenal drew the game against United playing average football than losing to them by 2 goals in spite of dominating the whole game as it happened when we lost to them at Emirates.

    It’s simple really. But no doubt, once again the need for a top notch striker, a quality right winger, another DM was felt.

  17. gambon

    “Such a shame, because the idiots detract from, potentially, the best Arsenal blog around, and dissuade healthy and informed debate.”

    So what you are saying is it can only be a health debate if everyone if purely positive about the club?

    Thats not a health argument at all, thats a censored and agenda driven conversation.

  18. Lee

    Weird how everyone talks of moving Ramsey into the middle but nothing of the Impact theo and wilshire had yesterday.
    Would Young have had such confidence going forward if theo had started? I doubt it.
    Ozil was awful uesterday
    He stank the place out. Obviously needs a rest along with santi and giroud.
    Yesterday was a timely reminder of what walcott offers. He is totally unique in our squad and was the only player to offer a goal threat yesterday. Nobody in the arsenal squad is as dangerous, it would be criminal to keep him on the bench let alone selling him

  19. Crusaderrabbit

    Wallace – point taken, tho I think we need proper wide players. IMHO we are slightly overloaded with AM type players, which means we nearly always lack genuine width and pace out there. There is definitely a requirement for more conventional LW/RW players in our squad but Wenger seems determined to whack more square pegs in round holes, for example as we saw with Ozil playing wide – pointless as far as am concerned. Another example of making do, rather than building a complete squad

  20. Hitman49

    Mysticleaves

    Weather you like it or not and I’d guess not, we are a reactionary team….
    Have been for a while I’m afraid rub them and have a look at the games,
    If your in the stadium and I’m not being funny by that but you can see our set up sometimes is so conservative at times no most of the time,
    Then half time adjustments are made ! Fact

    All teams do it ! Then why have managers and coaches ?

    That’s a really uneducated reply to an observation.

    Qna..

    Spot on with that !

  21. Bankz

    The Bamford show.

    Are we still debating Arsenal’s progress?
    I think it’s safe to say most clubs around us underachieved this season. We’ve made 3rd with less points that we made 4th with last season.
    I think we’re a bit stagnant & only the right additions this summer will take us a step closer to competing with the likes of Chelsea.

  22. omar

    Improvement???
    -Still average vs other top4 teams, 1 win from 6 games.
    -Still dominating only bottom teams but struggling vs anyone with half a game plan. Only 6 wins out of 18 games vs other 9 teams in top 10.
    -Still cant get past the 2nd round of the Champion’s League.
    -Less points than last season.
    -Further behind 1st place than last season.

    Where is this improvement? Have we improved simply because we caught Man City in the midst of a bad spell and pulled of a win at Etidad. Or is it that we didn’t get our asses handed to us at Stamford Bridge so losing only 2-0 means we have improved.
    We are going nowhere under Wenger. The quicker he goes the better. Its about time we get a manager who at least has the ability to make a sub before 68 minutes.

  23. Ankit_gooner

    He had two very good chances yesterday that a Thierry would have scored.
    Thierry missed quite a few presentable chances in ucl final 2006.Not saying olivier is at the same level as thierry of course but again,its not easy.

  24. Wallace

    Crusader

    agree we’ve missed a player who can go past opponents since the Ox was sidelined. in the current squad i think we have three in the Ox, Jack & Gnabry. whether we look to add another one i think will depend on how Wenger sees Gnabry.

  25. Emiratesstroller

    Vicky

    The criticism of yesterday’s performance relates to a first half where we lacked any control. For most of the first half we lost the ball far too easy and the fact that we did not have a single shot on goal was equally depressing.

    However, we did improve in the second half and might have won the game with better finishing.

    Pedro

    Pedro suggests that Ospina might have been to blame for goal. That is ridiculous. The reason that the goal was conceded was that the player was unmarked by Monreal and the shot was unstoppable.

    Ospina is actually a good goalkeeper with excellent reflexes, positional sense and composure.Most of the criticism directed towards him is his size. If you look at the goals conceded since he became first choice few can be directly attributable to him. The only one in recent times is the goal scored by Swansea.

    All goalkeepers including the best make mistakes, but from what has been written Ospina’s stats are in fact rather impressive.

  26. mysticleaves

    Hitman
    We see things from the telly as clearly as you see it on the stadium. No offence taken there bytheway.

    But you just switched your argument to suit your agenda. Of course we are a reactionary team, everyone is. But you suggested we play drab first halfs and react in the 2nd. You suggested it was a “thing” for us.

    And I said we have had more flying first halves than 2nd halves. At least since 2015.

  27. Arsene's Nurse

    “Don’t become Pavlovs dog. You have to relearn how to watch Arsenal in this modern era of planning and doing clever things. I was as guilty as many of you. I didn’t see the plan, but on reflection, I totally can now. Arsenal play with purpose, we don’t just play to entertain.”

    Utter drivel. Jesus Pedro you really have gone down hill.

    “We played pragmatic Chelsea style football ”

    It’s OK I see you are were drunk when you wrote it and didn’t watch the game.

  28. blsany

    Sanchez was awful, the goal was about third time he failed to do his defensive duties. Giving the ball away from Emirates is not good enough.I dont wan to slate him as he had great season but what a Selfish player.Lost count how many times we’ve lost the momentum with him taking 287 touches when a pass and move situations is on.Maybe Barca sold him because he is not a team player.Needs to be dropped for Walcott for next game..

  29. shad

    @foxy,

    Calm down. I was typing in the heat of the moment. Realistically I’ve never expected us to tank ManU, even at their worst. They always save their best performances against the fellow top 4.

    My qualm is Wenger sets up the team to just barely get over the line. He couldn’t even get the better of Moyes’ United.

  30. Wallace

    he still comes up with vital goals but Sanchez has been pretty frustrating to watch since Jan/Feb. i think Theo should definitely have seen more game time at his expense in the last few months.

  31. Bade

    Maybe there was a plan for the 1st half, but it certainly wasn’t executed well, if I’m generous`

    It’s not about defending deep or opting defence over attack. That’s OK. We didn’t even defend well, we couldn’t link passes even at the back. We just looked bad (or executed the plan badly)

    Nacho & Hector pushing further up the pitch in the 2nd half helped us peg United back & the substitutions were just great (I just wish he’d made them 10 minutes earlier)

    Also, we should note it’s the 2nd game running were Hector has been roasted by his winger. Young really gave him hard time yesterday & the same was with Moreno (or whatever his name is) of Swansea. Add to that his tendiness to drift centrally (too centrally often) & that’s a point of worry if you ask me

  32. Mark

    I’m not saying Akpom is the answer but if we secure third on Wednesday stick him up front for the last game. Let’s see what can be done with a big man up top who also has a bit of pace. I’m sure Sanchez and particularly Ozil would appreciate it. Their body language suggested they were getting frustrated with Girouds lack of mobility and pace.

  33. tunnygriffboy

    Bit harsh on Giroud and Ospina in the write up.

    Certainly we were pragmatic and wanted to keep it tight and bar the goal they didn’t create much. Problem in first half was there was too much space between defence , midfield an forwards. They pressed us well and we misplaced so many passes it was untrue. Santi couldn’t get in the game and Coquelin didn’t look great when moving the ball. Whether that’s because he’s not confident, is under instruction not to or doesn’t have the skills we have to find out. Certainly it’s an area he needs to improve and the reason why we need another DM

    We wanted to break with pace but missed Welbeck and the Ox. Ox caused havoc up there in the fa cup

    2nd half we were much better. Passing was sharper and Ramsey started to get into the game. Key was the good substitutions although they could have been made a bit earlier. A tired and poor Santi was taken off along with Bellerin and Ramsey and Jack went into CM and invigorated it Jack was excellent and was great on the half turn driving through the middle attracting opponents to him creating space for others. Theo worried them as well. Infact in a game of few chances we had the better ones

  34. tunnygriffboy

    *** continued ***

    As the game went on we looked the stronger. We got a point, would have liked three but we did a job

    Re Ospina. Really harsh saying he could have done better for the goal. Giroud held the ball up well and in 2nd half he started to bring others into the game. He had a couple of 1/4 or 1/2 chances and his lack of a yard meant that he couldn’t turn them into better opportunities. We do need another forward with a different skillset to Giroud but I’m not going to bash him as by now we now what he does well and where his weknesses are.

  35. qna

    Very disappointed that we didnt sign Dybala. I do realise that he didnt want to join us. But that in itself is disappointing. I also dont know if he will be great or not – nobody does yet. But we are not going to win anything in the near future, so the best I can hope for is that we sign some gun 21/22 year olds that will be players in 2 years time when (hopefully) the new manager comes in.

    Although I would love us to sign Reus, Cavani or even a Bale, the reality is these guys wont be enough by themselves. I hope we look at guys like Leno, Gaya, Rugani and Fekir, maybe even Vietto. Guys who will start to peak in 2017/2018 when hopefully we have a new manager who has the will to add some world class players to the core that we build from now until then. I think the only players from this squad that will be part of a league winning team will be Bellerin and Oxlaide when they are in their mid to late 20s and a new manager has come in and rebuilt the team.

  36. daz

    I have no objections to upgrading giroud just think if are to do it then should be someone who is significantly better not a marginal upgrade so the question is can we find an available player who is significantly better

    Oh and bamford did you get round to answering the question from yesterday?

  37. El Patron

    Is it that teams are under performing or the rest or the teams are getting a little better?

    Lets have a look outside the top 4….

    Liverpool
    Tottenham
    Southampton
    Swansea
    Everton
    Stoke
    Leicester (yes I said it. They caused the big teams a lot of bother even if they lost. surely wasnt a one way beat down as it normally is with small teams)
    Crystal palace (After padrew went there)

    These are 8 other teams on their day would be any top 4 team or atleast get a draw to take points off.

    Lets be honest. Chelsea were great but also lucky to have a fully fit squad 90% of the season. Soon as they lost Costa and Fabregas for a while they weren’t the same team. They struggled to take teams apart.

  38. Carts

    Fixture played out like the last dozen times we’ve gone to OT in the league.

    As LVG said, Utd really need to be clinical – to kill games off like Chelsea. In fact, all they needed was soeone who offered up a bit more than Falcao.

    They pretty much domniated us for 2/3 of the game. We look almost frightened to try anything inventive.

    Interstingly enough, LVG also said we ‘have the best team’, which I agree on from a personnel stand point. But our front line just doesn’t have the va-va-voom

  39. Emiratesstroller

    Cazorla is a very talented footballer, but in games like those against Chelsea,Swansea and Man Utd he is going to struggle against players who are
    quick,strong and physical.

    Realistically he is best suited to the playmaker role competing against Ozil for
    that position.

    What we saw when he was replaced is that Ramsey is better suited for position. The only issue with him is whether he is good enough in his defensive responsibilities. That is why I would buy Schneiderlein, because he can meet
    dual requirements i.e. play as alternative for both Coquelin and Ramsey.

    Arsenal are not short of creative players with options like Ozil, Cazorla, Ramsey,Wilshire and Ox all in squad.

    Where we are lacking for many seasons are quality defensive and box to box players who are skilful but know how to defend properly against the best teams in the league. We have relied too often on players of calibre of Arteta and Flamini.

  40. TheBayingMob

    “(unlike you Pedro, I don’t consider a point against a flailing ManU team a decent result – we should be stuffing them silly, and we had the team to do so; Wenger once again bottled it.)”

    I agree, City, Chelsea or other top European outfits I can accept these comments about, but Pedro himself has openly criticized LVG for being a shit storm, now he’s a wily old fox who’s hard to beat; can’t have it both ways IMO. All of United’s top signings have failed, they were missing Rooney and Shaw with the worse defence they’ve had for 20 years …

    United have looked rubbish at times and we should be putting them to bed, Wenger always bottles it at Old Trafford and he did again. Rolled over like a the timid volleyball p#rv that he is.

    I’m fed up with a team that mirrors his image; gutless when it comes to the crunch; when we had the opportunity to put in two decent performances for 2nd (one at home to workmanlike mid table outfit) we were fucking dire in both games; I don’t buy this second half revival yesterday; if he had a tactical master plan why didn’t he do it before 70mins?

    The subs were pre planned regardless of tactics like they always are, the equalizer was a massive slice of luck (which I’m not complaining about) any which way you look at it.

    Gutless. Spineless. Wenger out.

  41. Arsene's Nurse

    Bade
    May 18, 2015 09:16:11

    Maybe there was a plan for the 1st half, but it certainly wasn’t executed well, if I’m generous`

    It’s not about defending deep or opting defence over attack. That’s OK. We didn’t even defend well, we couldn’t link passes even at the back. We just looked bad (or executed the plan badly)
    —————————————————————————————
    The plan was definitely to not lose, but that is as far as the plan went. A point at OT meant we’d be all but home and dry. It’s sensible to do that.

    The problem was Arsenal were very disjointed in midfield and with Ramsey playing wide and a fatigued Sanchez meant there was no coherent and organised defending.

    If you watch the Man U goal you can see all the midfielders get pulled into the middle which left acres of space wide. Ramsey and Sanchez certainly weren’t doing what Oxo and Sanchez were doing earlier in the season.

    Sanchez just walks back aimlessly as the ball goes out to Young. 6 months ago he’d have been busting a gut to get back. On the other wing Ramsey was out of position and couldn’t help Bellerin.

    When the cross comes over it’s Monreal who fails to look over his shoulder and gets sucked in. No keeper would have saved the shot. Blaming Ospina for it is ridiculous.

    None of that is planned [in the modern Arsenal era of planning! lol] Chelsea would have snuffed the threat out long before the cross.

    We had no shots in the first half and 38% possession. We simply could not keep the ball and were getting physically pushed off it in midfield. That’s why we ended up reverting to Mertesacker humping it forwards. Yep, the plan was to play like Wimbledon!

    It wasn’t until the 58th minute that Sanchez, who had a dreadful game and should be rested/dropped, managed to skew a left footer wide that we started to get out mojo back. We started to pick up from there and in fact Man Utd looked all at sea for 10 minutes. Only our awful finishing stopped us from getting level and maybe more.

    After that Wenger had to change it up and did so on the 70th minute as usual, which turned into 73 minutes as De Gea crawled off the pitch. Our tempo was upset a bit, but we managed to bring more of a threat, which ended in an own goal.

    Walcott and Wilshere should have come on before the 60th minute if we wanted to secure a result and pin Utd back. Thankfully Rooney and Carrick weren’t fit otherwise we would have lost that game.

  42. shad

    Agree with you @daz. The Giroud upgrade needs to be proper.

    Pity we haven’t given Chuba a chance.

    I think we can get a significantly better upgrade (Lacazette, Benzema..) just that I don’t think Wenger fancies bidding wars, and even if he did have the upper hand, he is loathe to spending money and managing talent and egos. He loves his yes-kids all around.

  43. blsany

    When we said play like Chelsea a bit we didn’t mean not managing a shot of any description in the opening half, the first time that has happened since a game against Liverpool in 2004.
    Progress?

  44. Dream10

    The biggest worry is that AW prioritises the internal development of players to bridge the gap instead of buying three or four players of genuine quality.

    Goalscoring and chance creation are the main issues for me. Don’t know how who is available this summer, but ideally we need two attacking players
    (one CF and one half striker/wide forward) who can score 15 each in the league.

    Also, Alexis Sanchez is a frustrating player. I don’t expect him to run in behind to provide a vertical threat. We won’t win a league if we’re depending on him to be our chief goal getter

  45. Thank you and goodnight

    @Tunny

    Some people are just posses off with lack of progress mate. In a way you can’t blame them as they’ve been promised a golden era once we moved to the new stadium and it hasn’t materialised. The club was hurt a lot more ON the pitch with this move than they’d care to admit. We didn’t have the funds for a number of years so wenger placed his bets on young plays brought or coming through the ranks a la uniteds class of 92. That coupled with wengers midas touch in transfers deserting him, put our team back further than they anticipated especially with the few genuine WC players we had leaving. Now that we do have some funds available the problem is we will always now be one step behind Chelsea and city as our squad is to weak that even with the aquisition of 1 WC player a season, still doesn’t strengthen our squad quite enough to genuinely mount a challenge for the title. Unless someone comes in and injects vast sums into the club in one go, we will be behind Chelsea and city for the foreseeable future. Just my opinion.

  46. Pedro

    TheBayingMob, whether I rate LVG or not… it doesn’t change that he’s a Wiley old fox.

    You can be both.

    He’s a dinosaur imo… but he’s made United hard to beat. He didn’t flunk out like I thought he would.

  47. Bigper

    Good post today, I agree with all the points, although I actually quite like watching more pragmatic performances compared to the naive shit we’ve been dealt in recent years

    Still along way to go but progress is certainly evident in the way we are now setting up, a much better defensive balance now, we just need to work on our transition into attack in games such as yesterday which hopefully should come with time plus a few quality additions in the summer lol

  48. Dark Hei

    Agree with Pedro.

    We need a new striker, a new keeper and a new DM. And yup, all from your resident AKB.

    While we probably need the buy a keeper and deep lying passer, the question of new striker is tough.

    Dybala as many mentioned is good. But I think he will take a season to settle. Very young South American. He is needs shelter in the EPL not thrown into the deep end. If he comes over, he will have Giroud taking the pressure off him as someone reasonable to start matches and someone whose quality means that you can overtake him, with time.

    Lacazette record is fantastic. Which means United’s going to blast Lyon with so much money their president will be smiling till next year. And less we forget, Giroud himself is a top scorer in Ligue 1 and Gignac has also thumped in plenty this season, but we don’t think either is the answer. My point is that transferring goal socring from different leagues is hard to gauge. And does Lacazette play in a single striker formation?

    If we want someone who is a 90% guaranteed success, I think Cavani is the answer. And we have zero chance prying him from PSG with Ibrahimovic Americanising.

    So perhaps, what we need is science. Shad needs to find a way to fuse Welbeck and Walcott 2013 together and form Welcott. A guy with all the goal scoring ability of Walcott 2013 and the build up, touch, and passing ability of Welbeck. We will also need to invent a time machine as the current Walcott is not very useful.

  49. Carts

    I ust say, the title does rinrue though.

    It’s almost as if no theoretical thought goes into how we play. We go throught the motions based off of motivation and ‘being up for it’.

    If you look at how we dealth with City away from home to how we shit bricks against Utd at OT it tell two complete different stories.

    I think a clear indication of Wenger’s lack of game plan and prep’ is testament to his incessant attitude on substitutions. You actually wonder whether Wenger look at their probnably starting line up and decided on ‘Bombarding Rojo’, as out of the entire back 4, he’s probably your weakest link for Utd based on fact that he more comfortable at CB.

    So what does Wenger do, he put Ramsey wide right, and Sanchez wide left whose pace is more matched with Valencia’s. It really is baffling.

    And also, though I’m far from Theo’s biggest fans, the idea not to introduce him sooner (along with Wilshere) is beggers belief. Between Bould and the other bloke (forget his name) I really do question their input and validity.

    All I ever see them doing is absorbing Wenger’s rhetoric about some marginal decision that went against us

  50. tunnygriffboy

    Qna

    You don’t half bash our team. Seems you don’t rate any of them and want a total culling and bringing in loads of new players. Afraid that doesn’t always work. We have some excellent players and players who will improve as they get older as they move into their prime

    We need 3 players in the summer a pre season for players to keep working on their combinations and an improvement I n our condition and injury management

    Firstly we need to be seriously pushing for the PL
    Then win the Pl
    Get into last 8 and then last 4 of CL. That is tough and may take some time as we’re miles behind the big 3.

  51. WengerEagle

    If Wenger is underachieving at Arsenal (which he is) then LVG is massively underachieving at United.

    They spent over £200 million last summer only to finish 4th and get knocked out of the Cup.

    Spent £60 million on Di Maria who rarely starts these days.

  52. Emiratesstroller

    Sanchez and Ozil have not played particularly well recently, but that is to be
    accepted. Few if any players are likely to maintain a high level of performance throughout a season particularly in the Premier League which is so physically demanding.

    Wenger has played more or less the same team for 12 weeks and that is beginning to show with some of the players. You need now some rotation and in absence of Welbeck and Ox that is not so easy.

    At the moment we have no option to Giroud as striker and when it comes to
    genuine wide players the only option is frankly Walcott who has hardly set the world on fire when he makes cameo appearances.

    My view is that we should give a break to at least two from Cazorla, Ozil and
    Sanchez against Sunderland in midweek.

    We are not going to lose this game whoever plays and one point is enough to secure third place because of goal difference between us and Man Utd. Obviously I would like us to win last two games in view of our average form in recent games.

  53. Arsene's Nurse

    Pedro
    May 18, 2015 09:52:03

    Arsene’s Nurse, this guy knows his shit.

    Not sure how you can say that we didn’t play pragmatically, sounds like you were drunk.

    Especially as later down you contradict yourself by agreeing that we played with pragmatism in mind.
    ———————————————————————-
    No I don’t contradict myself because I’m responding to your statement which is qualified by the word “Chelsea” written in it.

    We may have been pragmatic but we certainly didn’t try to do it in the Chelsea style.

    If you look at how we started you’d see the front 3 of Ramsey, Giroud and Sanchez all pressing at the same time whilst Cazorla and Coquelin sat deep alongside an even deeper defence. That left huge gaps in between and Utd just passed the ball in between. We made it easy for them in the first half. It’s one of the reasons why they had so much possession. At one point Utd were playing Olé football.

    We were a million miles away from a Chelsea style. We were disjointed and lucky Rooney wasn’t playing otherwise he’d have made mincemeat of us in the first 45 mins.

    All that Guardian writer is saying is that we tried to do what we did against City but failed, which is correct, because the two wide players weren’t fulfilling their role. Player power was the reason for that switch not Wenger. It wasn’t a plan.

    Wenger has been a very fortunate bunny this year, he’s had two very serendipitous moments; Injuries to midfielders thereby getting Coquelin back who has been a success and the players deciding they weren’t going to play Wengerball away to City.

  54. Carts

    “If Wenger is underachieving at Arsenal (which he is) then LVG is massively underachieving at United.”

    I don’t think that point is in dispute tbh. However, what was asked of him has been achieved – top 4 qualification.

    Next year, however, LVG will expected to make further gains. Challenging for the title, a sustained CL cup run and possibly winning either of the domestic cups.

  55. tunnygriffboy

    Tyag

    Agree with much of what you say. I do think we look as strong as we have in years though. We’ve spent big in the last couple of windows and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t again. We are still behind City and Chelsea but as you say they had a head start on us. Thing is people now this but still have a hissy fit when we don’t win the league.

  56. reality check

    “He couldn’t even get the better of Moyes’ United.”

    Breaks my heart we didn’t destroy them. We will never get a better chance to avenge the 8-2.

    We need serious improvements this TW. No excuses. No half hearted attempts.

    I love the guys work rate but no more danny welbecks.

    Time to cut loose all the dead wood.

    Are there any excuses left. All akbs and wobs should be on the same page by now?

  57. Thank you and goodnight

    @Tunny

    We are the Arsenal mate and it hurts a lot of us fans to see how we’ve fallen behind these other teams, especially when you consider promises made by the club. I love wenger for everything he gave us in the past…..Unfortunately that was the past and these days I believe he’s past it.

  58. WengerEagle

    ‘Next year, however, LVG will expected to make further gains. Challenging for the title, a sustained CL cup run and possibly winning either of the domestic cups.’

    True, his squad doesn’t look capable of it though and it’s hard to see him buying another batch of players after getting 6-7 last summer.

    Depay looks a talented boy but there will be huge pressure and expectation on his shoulders from the get-go, he’s still only 21.

    They are even more in dire need of goalscorers than we are and as we know too well, what strikers are out there atm in Europe that are worth breaking the bank for?

  59. Carts

    “Sanchez and Ozil have not played particularly well recently, but that is to be
    accepted. Few if any players are likely to maintain a high level of performance throughout a season particularly in the Premier League which is so physically demanding.”

    With Sanchez, I think we have to get used to accepting that he’s virtually a one man band. Either that or Wenger curtails this charaterisitc of Sanchez. It’s a grey area with Sanchez, however. Mainly due to the fact that he feels he’s our most effective player and our number one source of goals – which for the most part is difficult to argue against.

    Let’s not forget that it’s his forst season with us and he’s played quite a lot of minutes, more than he probably should’ve. Next season I expect to see a more rounded player.

    Now with regards to Ozil, as you said, I’m not willing to accept this notion that him not playing well is to be accepted. 1) he’s spent nearly half of the season on the sideline 2) I genuinely struggle to see what he brings to the team. Im not trying to kick off another Ozil debate, but for the life of me, I really haven’t seen the real difference between him not playing and returning.

  60. Shinzamoby

    i think we’re used to seeing arsenal play a certain way, but I have come to realize that until we get the required quality throughout the pitch, we will never be evolve from a B+/A- team into an A+/A Star Team……..I loved the way we played for two reasons – 1. we came with a game plan and even though it didn’t work, it was quite obvious there was a sensible plan, 2. Wenger was able to assess the situation and make changes where necessary (taking off Bellerin, who was being roasted with Coquelin) bringing on Wilshere and Walcott to add urgency and finally Flamini to ensure we got away a positive result…………I like the direction things are going, all we need now is a more decisive Striker,(Lacazette, Benteke, Cavani,Lewandoski) another classy do it all midfielder(Schneiderlin) and a world class stopper (Cech) and it would be foolish not to tip us for a title run

  61. blsany

    Reality is this.That team (Barca) we were compared to the other day have won La Liga for 5th time in 7 seasons and We could not muster a shot against shittiest Manure team without Carrick,Rooney in the first half.

  62. Ashwin Gunner

    Giroud is not going ot win us tight matches. He needs to be replaced. Irrespective of what ever Wenger thinks or says, neither is Giroud nor Walcott are suited for taht role. none of them can bury that one chance which we will get. We have to go all out for a pacey striker, who can shoot and dribble. Link up play is fine. but we cannot afford to be one dimensional. Walcott’s goal was lucky, for all we know, We could have lost the match.

    Bellerin is young. but boy he has pace and is fearless going into tackles. He can be a beast in a couple of years. Sadly we might have to lose him when he is 23 to Barcelona..

    Sanchez of late has been out of form. His passes are not correct. he tries too much to dribble past players and he tends to shoot straight to goal keepers hands.. dont kwo what Ramsey did to him.. :). but he should find his form for FA cup final.

    The biggest progress this seasno is Ozil.. my goodness. yesterday he ran back to gather the ball from a header and managed to keep it with him pushing Mata and Herrera away until he was eventually fouled. He has been a different guy since his return from injury. No idea what Shad is doing to him. but the guy has become strong and is not looking like giving up the ball that easy…..

  63. Emiratesstroller

    Carts

    I don’t accept that Sanchez is a one man band. He works extremely hard for team, but let’s be realistic he is actually the ONLY OUTFIELD PLAYER outside centre back position who has played in almost EVERY GAME THIS SEASON. That has impacted on his recent performance and goalscoring. He needs a rest.

    Ozil is in a slightly different situation, but has also been obliged to play in every game since return from long term injury. His performance level may not be as obvious as others on pitch, but his workload is actually impressive.
    The only criticism I have with Ozil is that there are occasions when he has
    the best opportunity to shoot at goal rather than pass the ball. On those occasions he needs to be decisive.

  64. WengerEagle

    ‘he is actually the ONLY OUTFIELD PLAYER outside centre back position who has played in almost EVERY GAME THIS SEASON. ‘

    Santi has played in more matches than him. I take your point though.

  65. Romford Ozil Pele

    Morning gents. Not the worst result last night. Would’ve been nice to see us push for second but 3rd and the cup is an improvement.

    The big issue for me is still our attacking game, more so than defensive. Combination/innate movements need to be improved.

  66. Highbury4ever

    “…that allows us to start thinking about the FA Cup final.”

    If we play like yesterday, we won’t win the final.

  67. Carts

    Eagle

    I think LVG can expect a maximum of 4 players (including Depay):
    GK
    CF
    CM/DM

    I suspect around 5-7 will be leaving either on loan or permanently:
    Januzaj (100%)
    Wilson (100%)
    Rafael (90/10)
    Nani (80/20)
    Falcao (80/20)
    RVP (50/50)
    Di Maria (50/50)

    As for forwards out there, whom ever it is, I would like to think we’d be in the mix too. I’d say there are about 10:
    Cavani
    Lacazette
    Icardi
    Vietto
    Martinez
    Firmino
    De Bruyne
    Dzeko
    Jovetic

  68. WengerEagle

    IMO Santi has been our player of the season ahead of Sanchez.

    Sanchez will win it by a landslide but nobody has been more crucial in that run of form we had post Christmas than Cazorla.

  69. Romford Ozil Pele

    “De Bruyne”

    He’s a playmaker. Jovetic is broken. Cavani for what he’d command isn’t worth he hassle. When you whittle it down, you realise the transfer market in itself is a shambles. Most players all have question marks hanging above their heads.

  70. Carts

    Stroller

    Maybe ‘one man band’ was a bit harsh; though I acknowledge he has played a lot of minutes, his play, at time, doesn’t always seem to be in the best interest of the team. Something I’m confident will be addressed in pre-season.

    Ozil works hard in his own right, and at times is set upon by upto 2-3 players at a time. I just don’t class him as being a pivotal player, that’s all. Good player but not pivotal.

  71. TitsMcGee

    Improvement???
    -Still average vs other top4 teams, 1 win from 6 games.
    -Still dominating only bottom teams but struggling vs anyone with half a game plan. Only 6 wins out of 18 games vs other 9 teams in top 10.
    -Still cant get past the 2nd round of the Champion’s League.
    -Less points than last season.
    -Further behind 1st place than last season.Where is this improvement? Have we improved simply because we caught Man City in the midst of a bad spell and pulled of a win at Etidad”

    Pretty much.

    I think most are happy with anything at this point though. Pedro talks about conditioning but AFC fans are definitely conditioned just not in the way Pedro thinks.

  72. Romford Ozil Pele

    We can create chances but this area still needs to improve. We’re not particularly cohesive. As Wenger said, yesterday there was too much space in the middle first half which United exploited. Second half we pushed the line higher, got the FBs up more and found Santi/Ozil in better positions. Think Ozil set Giroud up like three times in that second period alone. Appreciate L’Oreal’s qualities but he really needs to be scoring.

  73. Carts

    ““De Bruyne”

    He’s a playmaker. Jovetic is broken. Cavani for what he’d command isn’t worth he hassle. When you whittle it down, you realise the transfer market in itself is a shambles. Most players all have question marks hanging above their heads.”

    I’m well aware of the playmaker to the poachers. I just compiled a list of the top of my head based on those who could well be on the move.

    I don’t for one moment expect us to be remotely interested in 2/3 of that mob.

    But if anyone is implying that the state of the market is so distorted, holding on to Welbeck and Giroud is our only option, I will lose my shit!

  74. WengerEagle

    ‘The big issue for me is still our attacking game, more so than defensive. Combination/innate movements need to be improved.’

    Agree, it’s such a tired cliche used by the BBC and Sky bozos that we have a’ soft centre’ and defence is our ‘achilles heel’, etc.

    Going forward is where the real problems lie IMO. The lack of control in midfield is concerning too, in away matches vs Liverpool, Chelsea, the Spuds and United yesterday we barely looked capable of stringing 4-5 passes together.

    Thought that Jack made a big improvement to us when he came in on a more positive note.

  75. Romford Ozil Pele

    If we’re talking underachievement. Real Madrid have spent over a billion in the last decade and have one La Liga in 7 years. That’s massive underachievement.

  76. Emiratesstroller

    Wenger Eagle

    You are right Cazorla has played in one more game than Sanchez. However, Alexis has played more minutes on the field.

    Nevertheless both players are likely to play more than 50 games this season and that is far too much football when you factor in the intensity of EPL, FA Cup and Champions League.

    What is clear is that Messrs Cazorla, Ozil,Sanchez and even Giroud are considered almost indispensable to the team with no adequate replacements for any
    of them.

    That is why we need urgently additional players of similar or better quality so
    that we are not so dependent on them playing so many games. Pedro has made the point on many occasions that we need to rotate more and that should be the goal for next season.

  77. Romford Ozil Pele

    Yeah Eagle. Believe me, Arsenal’s attacking game is much more of a bigger issue than the defensive side. We have quality but we still look like we’re winging it at times. There’s not enough fluid combination movements.I don’t want to seem harsh on Alexis but you watch Neymar’s movement off-the-ball and you see why Barca were happy to shift him on. He showed a couple weeks back signs of improving in this regard but there is still so much more room for improvement. My Barca friend was telling me that tactically he’s not very smart. Great at scoring solo goals but has never really learned how to play as part of a collective. It’s where he needs to improve.

    “United yesterday we barely looked capable of stringing 4-5 passes together.”

    In the second half this improved but generally we don’t cope well with teams that press us. Jack is one of the few who can evade the press with first-time passes through the lines/or a dribble away from his marker (though he needs to not overdo it).

    Essentially what we are is still a work in progress. You can see the potential but the younger players need to start stepping up now. Hopefully we have a really good pre-season. That’s vitally important. And bar Alexis, everyone should be around.

  78. Paulinho

    Sanchez is going to shit away from home all next season as well.

    At some point, instead of improving, his general ineptness on the ball in away game is going to lead to a regression rather than progression. The likes of Ramsey will stop making runs.

  79. WengerEagle

    ‘Cavani
    Lacazette
    Icardi
    Vietto
    Martinez
    Firmino
    De Bruyne
    Dzeko
    Jovetic’

    De Bruyne is a number 10 and plays just off the striker, also no way that Wolfsburg are selling him, they’re flush with cash and can pay him what he wants.

    Dzeko has had an awful season and even at his best I’m not convinced that he’s a step up from Giroud (same goes for Mandzukic).

    Jovetic while talented is just too injury prone.

    Don’t really rate Icardi as anything more than a goalscorer, his all-round game is very limited.

    Cavani and Martinez will both be overpriced and are getting on? (both are 28 as far as I know). Also don’t rate the latter as a top class CF, Cavani hasn’t shown he is in quite a while.

    So really it’s just about whether not we’re willing to take a risk on one of Vietto, Lacazette, Firmino and you could add Dybala to that list.

    I personally would take a risk on one of them, not 100% sure which one, maybe Dybala.

    Agree with your out list for United except for Di Maria, would be shocked if they gave up on him after 1 mediocre year.

  80. Romford Ozil Pele

    “that we are not so dependent on them playing so many games”

    We will always be dependent on our top players playing the big games. We’ve been playing catch-up most season due to bad early season form and our best players injured so we have to max them out to bridge the gap. MSN pretty much play every game for Barca. Hazard never ever gets rested for Chelsea, ditto Rooney and Aguero at United and City respectively. Your top players are always likely to have a heavy workload.

  81. Romford Ozil Pele

    “So really it’s just about whether not we’re willing to take a risk on one of Vietto, Lacazette, Firmino and you could add Dybala to that list.”

    And this is it. They all have question marks over themselves as well. None of them have done it over a long period and all in less competitive leagues too. I wish people would factor these kinds of things in when mentioning players. Like Giroud, i’m not his biggest fan but at least you know what you’ll get from him. Doesn’t mean i’m not ripping my hair out when he’s missing key chances though!

  82. Redtruth

    Completely missing the point on Arsenal.
    How often have we started games slowly in the past to only then step up the pace in the 2nd half.

    2or 3 seasons ago at Old Trafford Arsenal were slow out of the traps and found themselves 2-0 down before concerted pressure in the 2nd half resulted in Cazorla scoring a consolation goal.

    Please don’t insult our intelligence by suggesting that Arsenal have become pragmatic when in fact it was a poor display.

  83. Romford Ozil Pele

    Lost count of the amount of times Alexis lost the ball yesterday. Really needs to get over this ball-hogging obsession. Keep it quick, keep it moving.

    Ramsey played well yesterday but consistency has always been his issue. Ox 🙁

  84. Romford Ozil Pele

    “Anyone seen dost at Wolfsburg I haven’t but heard he is decent?”

    Reminds me of Huntelaar. Good finisher but offers almost nothing else.

  85. Highbury4ever

    “Wenger has been a very fortunate bunny this year…”

    Only this year ?? lol
    No other manager in the world could have been staying in cherge in a big club with our (lack of ?? lol) results during the last decade lol

    Wait… did I say “big club” ??

  86. Emiratesstroller

    Cart

    There are only 2 strikers in the entire market that I would be remotely interested and are potentially buyable within our likely budget.

    These are:

    Higuain who we missed out on 2 years ago but is consistently a 20+ goal a season in a high standard league. He can also play if require in wide positions or I suspect alongside Giroud. He has the pedigree and at £35 million level is affordable. Napoli won’t be in Champions league next season so that he should be a realistic target.

    Lacazette as you mentioned would be my second option, but for different reasons. He is still young at 23 and has scored 27 goals this season in French League. France is beginning to produce once again some very good players and at a better level than England. We know that Wenger has had good results with French players so that he is worth a gamble and probably would
    be prepared to come to Arsenal if he decides to leave Lyon.

  87. WengerEagle

    Was funny seeing Ronaldo celebrating his hat-rick yesterday as if he had just won Real La Liga.

    You just know at the end of his career that he will be showing his grandkids his Pichichi’s rather than his La Liga medal.

  88. Carts

    Eagle

    Totally agree that there are massive question mark on alot of those player, I agree with RP on that point. Maybe you saw my post late, but again, I highly doubt we’ll be anywhere near 2/3 of said players. But a lot of those players, imho, will be on the move.

    “None of them have done it over a long period and all in less competitive leagues too. I wish people would factor these kinds of things in when mentioning players.”

    I find this to be a moot point.

    Hell, Bergkamp, Anelka, Sanogo, Henry, Giroud etc – done fuck all over a long period. Yet our success rate with players who haven’t done it over a long period is probably around the 60% mark.

    If you want to go down that route then we may as well wait for Sanogo and Chuba to blossom into Anleka and Henry ffs.

  89. tunnygriffboy

    I’m not one to bash Giroud as I realise he has limitations but Ramford makes a good point. Ozil did excellent work on the right and created 3 half chances for him. He needs to be taking one

    Wilshere had another good cameo and Ramsey was excellent when he moved to the centre. Imagine if Gerrard hit that ball to Walcott for the goal ! ! !

    In some ways I see why Wenger wants to fir Ramsey in on the right when Alexis atm tends to give the ball away too easily. Perhaps Theo could have had a run there and we have missed Welbeck and the Ox.

    I would make 2 or 3 changes only for the Sunderland game to ensure we get a result. If we do get the point I would make a couple morefor the West Brom game. Sunderland will be massively up for it and cannot afford a heavy loss as their goal difference is precarious and they have Chelsea on Sunday.

  90. Romford Ozil Pele

    Carts – main point is that if we’re spending big money, it needs to be on someone proven. At the end of the day, our target is now to bridge a specific gap. There are only certain players who can do that and we’re not the only ones after them.

  91. Paulinho

    Ramsey is a strange one because for me he’s the only one who consistently has the right idea and has the balls to do it consistently, but his form and all round physical shape at the start of the season was baffling. He was so slow and lethargic. That’s why you can’t really count on him either.

  92. Bergkamp63

    “we miss out on making much progress on our points tally of last term, but plenty to be pleased about.”

    I see the tone has already changed slightly within a fortnight !

    Let’s summarise again:

    Last years points total has already gone, 3rd place instead of 4th (whoopdi doo Basil !)

    CL exit at round of 16 again for lost count how many in a row

    Possible chance of FA Cup.

    If it wasn’t for an ageing Man City and a Man Utd team who haven’t looked this average in a generation, there wouldn’t be any what you call “progress” at all ?

    In the first half of yesterdays game we managed something we hadn’t achieved in 11 years, not a single shot on or off target, the only shot’s we did have on target of memory was Girouds (might have been on target) saved by the keeper and an own goal !

    You can spin this as much as you like, it changes nothing and the table doesn’t lie,

    We will need a keeper & 3 players probably to stand still next season, oh and a new Manager if we want to progress !

  93. Romford Ozil Pele

    “In some ways I see why Wenger wants to fir Ramsey in on the right”

    Part of this is because Wenger always likes to have a midfielder on the wings to give technical security/increase possession. As you say, Alexis gives the ball away a lot so it needs to be balanced on the other side. I could also be talking hogwash though as when fit, Ox has played on the opposite wing and he isn’t exactly one for ball retention though he does actually help give a good balance as he knows when to stay wide and when to come in.

    I’m sure Wenger doesn’t plan to keep Ramsey wide long-term but Rambo himself needs to improve on his distribution. There are games when it just goes to pot. And these are the kind of inconsistencies we have to deal with as these players develop.

  94. Carts

    Stroller

    I completely forgot to mention Higuain. After Benitez’s all-mighty cock up last week, Napoli look likely to miss out on CL football now. Not to mention Benitez has spent quite a bit of money that’ll need to be off-setted with no CL revenue coming in. £35m bid for Higuain could well do it.

    Lacazette ranks high up there for me. Lyon drive a hard bargain, they’re back in the CL and have a new stadium to look forward too. All that could make an pursuit of Lacazette difficult.

    Moreover, the majority of that list I wouldn’t touch. Although I’d take a hit on Martinez for about £20m + Joel Campbell.

  95. Paulinho

    About the post though, it’s not really pragmatism, more that our collective patterns of play are so poor that we can’t make inroads until the other team run out of gas. Yesterday we didn’t really do anything; just all of a sudden the players found themselves in space around the sixty minute mark.

  96. Romford Ozil Pele

    “Yesterday we didn’t really do anything; just all of a sudden the players found themselves in space around the sixty minute mark.”

    I think we stepped the line up a bit after half-time and pushed the FBs higher. But yeah, United generally looked dead after 55 mins. That’s where I give the team credit. We do have good fitness levels and seem to be able to go later than most. Annoying we don’t start enough games well though.

  97. Wallace

    Bergkamp63

    “In the first half of yesterdays game we managed something we hadn’t achieved in 11 years, not a single shot on or off target, the only shot’s we did have on target of memory was Girouds (might have been on target) saved by the keeper and an own goal !”

    as Utd proved at the Emirates – 1 attempt, 2 goals – shots on target are overrated.

  98. WengerEagle

    Romford

    Agree, Neymar’s off the ball movement is first class and tbh his combination play is miles ahead of Sanchez’s as is Suarez’s hence Barca look much more fluid this season.

    ‘In the second half this improved but generally we don’t cope well with teams that press us. Jack is one of the few who can evade the press with first-time passes through the lines/or a dribble away from his marker (though he needs to not overdo it).’

    Yeah the Liverpool and Spurs matches away particularly stand out for me, we literally shat ourselves and couldn’t hold on to the ball for more than 5 seconds at a time. I’m not sure whether this is solely down to a lack of quality, a lack of preparation or maybe a bit of both.

    Yeah Jack is our only player who’s 100% comfortable receiving the ball with his back turned to the opposition midfield and he is great at half-turning his way past pressing players. Santi can sometimes do this too but he lacks Jack’s acceleration over short distances.

  99. Carts

    “main point is that if we’re spending big money, it needs to be on someone proven. At the end of the day, our target is now to bridge a specific gap. There are only certain players who can do that and we’re not the only ones after them.”

    How do you definie big money though? £20m? £50m?

    Again, our track record on player that have yet to fully prove themselves, but generally come good at Arsenal isn’t the worst. Therefore,going for someone like Lacazette or Higuain (as Stroller mentioned) makes sense. With those two, you have an option of a proven player and one with bags of potential.

    Us not being the only ones to go after player X goes without saying. To me, sound like you’re insinuating that we’d lose in that battle if we went head to head with another top team. We have the money, now we need to show abition.

  100. Romford Ozil Pele

    It was interesting to hear LVG say he thinks Arsenal have the best team in the PL but lack Che;sea’s ruthlessness (which we all know about already). Since our team is realtively young, the hope/expectation is that as the younger players continue to grow, they cultivate this habit of ruthlessness. Winning the F.A Cup can only really help. But I just want our football in the middle third to improve 🙁

  101. blsany

    Because of Mert Wenger tried to defend in a low defensive block.If you do that,you need to transition well from def. to attack or else you will be under constant pressure(think of the spurs loss).Had Gabriel played we would not have to watch Young murder Bellerin for the first 80 minutes and could push Man Utd back and give ourself a bit of time to get our passing patterns going.

  102. Romford Ozil Pele

    “Agree, Neymar’s off the ball movement is first class and tbh his combination play is miles ahead of Sanchez’s as is Suarez’s hence Barca look much more fluid this season.”

    Yep agreed. I don’t know how much can be changed now Alexis is 26 but his off-the-ball movement needs work. It’s annoying when opportunities fly by because he holds onto the ball for too long.

    “I’m not sure whether this is solely down to a lack of quality, a lack of preparation or maybe a bit of both.”

    When you do get pressed, you need players who can do something different, e.g, accelerate away from their marker to create space. In the Arsenal squad, I think of JW, Rosicky and Ox who are all very good at this. Now it looks like TR7 is off which is a shame but not unexpected. But generally we just need to improve our football in the middle third. Like I say, pre-season is massive. Yeah Santi doesn’t really have the acceleration to get away long-term from his marker. And with his body only declining physically, it’s something we have to look at.

  103. Cesc Appeal

    Ramsey in the middle for Wednesday now please, banged on about it for weeks and got shit for being a ‘Cazorla hater’ or something…Ramsey looked much better in the middle and we as a team did as well. So there’s not really a case for him to be back out wide again is there?

    I’d give a few fringe players a run out on Wednesday as well like Wilshere and Walcott.

    Start Gabriel as well, all well and good everyone doing the Wenger and claiming we don’t need to sign anyone there because of him…sort of need to see him more than five times before making that statement.

  104. Emiratesstroller

    Carts

    For me Higuain should be a major target.

    He has scored 26 goals in 50 games and has exceeded 20 goals in 5 of the last 7 seasons. In the remaining 2 seasons he scored 14 goals [in second season at Real] and 18 goals.

    He may not be in Ronaldo or Messi class but he is a consistent goalscorer and
    reliable when it comes to injuries. At 27 he is now in his prime.

    Arsenal missed the boat 2 years ago, but if I want to buy a class and proven striker that would be my man and anything up to £40 million is affordable.

    The reason we did not buy him before was that Real Madrid moved the goal posts having agreed a price with Arsenal and on a point of principle the club refused to increase their offer. Whether Higuain would come to us now is a
    different matter.

  105. WengerEagle

    Higuain is overrated IMO, maybe I’m slightly biased as I’m still bitter about his shambolic World Cup performances but he’s only averaged a goal every 2 matches at Napoli, hardly blow off your socks stats and he’s primarily a goalscorer, doesn’t have the greatest all-round game.

    He’s also never scored 30 goals in a season.

  106. Willow Wilson

    “(unlike you Pedro, I don’t consider a point against a flailing ManU team a decent result – we should be stuffing them silly, and we had the team to do so; Wenger once again bottled it.)”

    Lol. Pedro was spot on and nailed it pretty much.

    This is the sort of crap that comes out from some idiot whenever we don’t win a game. ‘Stuffing them silly’?

    What is wrong with this group of ‘some fans’? This morning, ‘some fans’ ‘were complaining that we adopted a pragmatic approach at OT, preferring we had gone gung-ho. They based this on the fact that Man Utd are hopeless and that this was an easy game. These would be the ‘same fans’ that complained when we played gung-ho and wanted us to be more pragmatic…..!

    Very predictable how some fans roll, they inhabit a world of fantasy football and have convinced themselves they know what they are talking about, despite doing their best to prove otherwise. Obviously don’t have a betting account or they wouldn’t have any money left to pay for an Internet service.

    Back to the real world:

    A point at Old Trafford is a very good result for several reasons:-

    1. Secures third place
    2. We can rotate with the FA Cup Final in two weeks
    3. Guarantees us a place in the CL and eliminates the qualifying game
    4. We will be able to have a proper pre-season preparation
    5. The players will get a longer rest at the end of the season

    I can’t see a negative from the result. The Man Utd fans are the ones that should be concerned.

    All the Gooners I was with were pleased with the point and the fact we really could have nicked all three. Disappointed in some of the performances from the players in the first half, as Monreal said they quite rightly received a rocket from Wenger for that. Players have to take responsibility, they receive the praise so it has to be a two way street. If they don’t follow tactics to the rule, it is down to them.

    A good point that removes the problem of that Cl qualifier and gives us the opportunity to have a good pre-season and hit the ground running for our title assault next season. In addition, we can start the preparations for the FA Cup Final. Sorry but what is there to moan about?

  107. Romford Ozil Pele

    Carts. I think anything above £30m is big money personally though it’s open to interpretation. Lacazette will extract a lot of money due to his age and the fact that Aulas charges a bomb for his players. Higuain? I’d be surprised considering we were happy to drop interest in him a couple years back. I’d still take him for sure but the fact we’re mmming over him should speak volumes. There’s a real dearth of quality on the market.

    “To me, sound like you’re insinuating that we’d lose in that battle if we went head to head with another top team”

    Not that we’d necessarily lose but then you get yourself into a bidding war. How far do you go before you question whether the deal is worth it or not? This is the issue.

  108. Paulinho

    Wengereagle – How good is Kondogbia on the ball, when he’s not just containing?

    I haven’t watched him enough to know for sure, but if he can travel with it like Matic does at times I would like him.

    Think we need a left footer to open up angles in midfield, and someone that will take it under pressure, back into players, and roll off them before going on a surge, and get us playing higher up the pitch. A more defensive, statuesque version of Wilshere.

  109. bnsb

    “…that allows us to start thinking about the FA Cup final.”If we play like yesterday, we won’t win the final.

    If they play like Saturday we will.

  110. Romford Ozil Pele

    “A good point that removes the problem of that Cl qualifier and gives us the opportunity to have a good pre-season and hit the ground running for our title assault next season”

    This is the hope/prayer. Removing the qualifier should give us time to hopefully get in our targets and prepare better for the season.

  111. Redtruth

    Of course it’s kidology by both Mourinho and Van Gaal to suggest Arsenal have the best team but would that Wenger have the mental strength and fortitude to prove these nobs wrong

  112. Cesc Appeal

    If people had to choose between a LM/LW signing this summer, or an ST, which one would you go for?

    We need both in my opinion, but if you could only have one…

  113. Romford Ozil Pele

    Paulinho, you’ve pretty much just described him yourself. I do see similarities between Kondogbia and Petit. I remember Edu too though I think he was a better passer than the aforementioned two.

    Loved me some Edu.

  114. Paulinho

    There was a moment yesterday when Monreal had the ball at the halfway line and was trying to buy time, waiting for Cazorla to make a run forward past their midfield so he could slip it through, but Cazorla was rooted to the spot and Monreal had to pass it back.

    Cazorla’s too static to play in that role.

  115. WengerEagle

    Paulinho

    Not too sure haven’t watched a lot of Kondogbia, Romford or karim would know more than I would.

    ‘Think we need a left footer to open up angles in midfield, and someone that will take it under pressure, back into players, and roll off them before going on a surge, and get us playing higher up the pitch. A more defensive, statuesque version of Wilshere.’

    I don’t know if you watch much of the Bundesliga but you’ve just literally described Granit Xhaka of Borussia Monchengladbach to a tee.

    He’s superb defensively and is a quality distributor of the ball, he can also make the defence-attack transitions through dribbling and as an added bonus has a cannon of a left foot.

  116. Paulinho

    Romford – I remember that match at the Bridge in 2003/04 and Edu in that first half was a beast. Won all the 50-50’s and then started using his passing range. What was impressive was that he stood his ground and eventually Chelsea’s midfield started dropping off.

    Coquelin – Cazorla concede ground far too readily.

  117. Emiratesstroller

    Wenger Eagle

    Let’s face it we cannot afford a 1 goal a game striker who scores 30 goals+. They will cost more than £50 million + £250k wages.

    What Higuain offers is consistency. In seven seasons he was injured only once
    when he scored just 14 goals. Otherwise he has played in 40 + games each season and scored consistently 20+ goals.

    This season he scored 26 goals in 50 games for a rather average Napoli.

    Personally I would prefer to have three 20+ goal a season forwards than one 30+ a season goalscorer who gets injured regularly as we saw with Van Persie.

  118. WengerEagle

    ‘When you do get pressed, you need players who can do something different, e.g, accelerate away from their marker to create space. In the Arsenal squad, I think of JW, Rosicky and Ox who are all very good at this. Now it looks like TR7 is off which is a shame but not unexpected. But generally we just need to improve our football in the middle third. Like I say, pre-season is massive. ‘

    Yeah Jack and Rosicky are very good at this, Hleb was a master at it in his time here.

    I’m not sure that the Ox is as comfortable in the middle with his back to the opposition, out wide he’s under less pressure to lose the ball and plays with more freedom I’d argue. In the middle against Chelsea at the Bridge and this season vs Monaco in the UCL he cost us losing the ball in this area.

  119. WengerEagle

    Paulinho

    Yeah he’s only 22 so he’d probably cost in the £20 million-£30 million bracket if I had to guess which wouldn’t be bad business as United paid more for Fellaini.

    The worrying thing is that apparently Bayern are swooping in for him. If that’s the case we might as well not even bother.

  120. Romford Ozil Pele

    “I remember that match at the Bridge in 2003/04 and Edu in that first half was a beast.”

    Remember this too. There was a stage during the Invincible period when Edu ousted Gilberto and played alongside PV because he offered more on the ball than his Brazilian compatriot. He had a great passing range. Vieira would often be up and down and Edu could help dictate from deep. There was also a game away to Celta Vigo in the CL which he was imperious in and scored twice if I remember correctly.

    I like Kondogbia but he doesn’t really possess that passing range of Edu. I do agree that the likes of Santi and Coq cede space when ideally we’d push higher up, confident that if we lose it, we could recover anyway. That’s what a Kondogbia offers you. He’s like a bigger, more combative version of Wilshere.

  121. Wallace

    “Such a counterattacking approach was most notable in Arsenal’s 2-0 victory at Manchester City in January, memorable for a superb performance from Santi Cazorla, possibly the best all-round midfield display of this season. In his new deep-lying role, the Spaniard’s slaloms past opponents and his positive distribution means he is ideal for launching counterattacks, but here he endured a terrible game, frequently conceding possession unnecessarily.”

    – Michael Cox