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. Romford Ozil Pele

    “Borussia Monchengladbach”

    They’ve had a great season. Interested to see them in the CL next season. Naturally they’ll have to get the balancing act right and players like Xhaka will be under more scrutiny so it’ll be interesting to see how they deal with that stage of their development.

    CA – Funnily enough, I think I’d go for the wideplaymaker tbh. Not that I don’t want a L’Oreal improvement but anyone that can help us become more fluid, aid us in the middle third will be welcome IMO. Thinking Reus/Fekir here. Who knows though really. I’d love to see Wenger’s transfer list right now beause I reckon all the papers are well off. I generally couldn’t tell you who we have interest in.

  2. Romford Ozil Pele

    “but here he endured a terrible game, frequently conceding possession unnecessarily.”

    Was very unlikely Santi tbh. Was very sloppy in possession but then he wasn’t the only one either. Just wasn’t a very good performance although we did improve in the last 30 mins and could’ve won it at the end.

  3. Paulinho

    “I like Kondogbia but he doesn’t really possess that passing range of Edu.”

    Kind of what I suspected, although if he can run with it then a basic pass at the end is still okay because of the amount ground he would have covered.

    I wouldn’t mind Cazorla as an option, because he’s still somewhat useful and dangerous when he gets in and around the box, but it seems as if he wants guaranteed football.

  4. WengerEagle

    Romford

    Yeah keep an eye out for them, Raffael, Max Kruse, Patrick Hermann are a formidable attack and our old boy Nordtveit has had a solid season for them.

    No one in the Bundesliga has been better in the last 3 months, worth noting that they’ve beaten Bayern, Leverkusen and Wolfsburg in this time period.

    Agree about Xhaka, it’s like Fekir and Lacazette at Lyon, will be interesting to see how they perform in the UCL next season.

  5. qna

    TGB: “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”

    Not true. I rate Ozil, Sanchez and Cazorla as first rate players. But Ozil and Cazorla are best in the same position, so really only adequately fill one position in the team. Cazorla has been excellent filling the role of CM, but he is not a true CM and you lack what you get from a true B2B like Toure (last year), or Pogba. Cazorla is still a better CM than Ramsey.

    I am happy to play Bellerin as a first team player, keeping Debuchy to cover him, so there’s two more. I think that Kocielny and Monreal are players that are as good enough for a title challenge, but they only have a couple more seasons before they will naturally drop away, Debuchy too.

    I think we have squad players that I am happy with, even Giroud is fine with me as our 2nd striker. Ramsey is a fantastic player – just not at the level that is needed (yet). Oxlaide has the potential – great squad player. Ospina is also good as a squad keeper. Coquelin too is good as a squad player.

    So that’s 12 players that I rate, 5 of them as starters. But my point was that in four or five years time, when Wenger is gone and the new manager has had a time to rebuild a team that has not won the league in 15 years, then most of those players will have aged out of their prime and will no longer be top players. Only Bellerin and Oxlaide, and possibly Ramsey will still be in their prime.

    So if I am being a realist, our best possible outcome this summer is to buy top players in Bellerin and Oxlaide’s age bracket in the hope that we could be successful with them in 5 years time. Hope this type of pragmatism doesnt upset anyone.

  6. tunnygriffboy

    Cesc

    Depends who is available. Would prefer a striker but if there’s not a top quality one available and we have the option of a WC wideman I’d go with that

    Agree about Ramsey or Wilshere in for Santi on Wednesday, he looked knackered yesterday and could do with a rest. Maybe a run for Theo as well. I wouldn’t make to many changes, need to secure the point. If we do that then we can make more changes for West Brom and rest key players for fa cup. Sunderland will be up for it though. They need a point and also play Chelsea on Sunday

  7. Paulinho

    Wallace – Yep, Cazorla was great that match. But obviously even you could probably see that when he’s diving head first to tackle someone then it’s probably not a performance that he would be capable of re-producing week in week out.

    As we’ve seen since.

  8. Cesc Appeal

    RP

    That’s what I worry about. You just never know with Wenger, he lives in his own little world and his goals don’t necessarily line up with that of the ordinary fan.

    For all we know he could be sat there with a list as long as you arm, or with nothing at all doing his classic, reactionary ‘if something comes up…or someone becomes available’ thing but being happy with what he has and convincing himself we can challenge with what we have.

    But for the last two games of the season and the FA Cup final, we must go back to playing a balanced team, not individual players.

  9. Romford Ozil Pele

    Yeah Paulinho, you wouldn’t really want him in your team as a dictator because he isn’t that type. But like Pogba, he has a lot of flair for his size and can run pass players seemingly. He’s kind of caught in the mode of being a DM and a B2B so you’d have to decide how you wanna use him. That said, him and Pogba did play as a pivot back in the U20 WC for France. I’m sure it’ll happen for the full national side in the near future

  10. Romford Ozil Pele

    Yeah CA, nobody really knows how it’ll work out. I’m sure we’ll sign but where and how they fit into the 11 is up for debate. Shame Ox isn’t fit. Him and Welbz are always good to have around for their versatility.

  11. Cesc Appeal

    Tunny

    We should easily be able to get a point out of West Brom and Sunderland at home.

    And I mean, if Wilshere and Walcott and what have you coming in means we can’t…says a lot about this supposed squad strength doesn’t it? All these names on our squad sheet, they actually need to mean something. We need to be able to count on them in terms of performances and staying fit.

    I don’t know what’s going on with Debuchy, whether he will be fit, if so I’d give him a run out as well. But certainly Ramsey at CM, give Wilshere a game (though not a fan of those two playing together), play Walcott, give Gabriel a game as well. We look totally off the pace right now, tired and ineffectual.

    Nobody can tell me that was a ‘pragmatic’ display yesterday, or some sort of plan, that is reaching beyond belief. We were just crap, tired and have given up in the league a bit.

    Since Ozil’s ‘job done’ tweet after Hull where 4th was secured, we’ve been rubbish.

  12. blsany

    Ozil is a final third player.He needs to be used as such.If your midfield gets overrun,he can’t do anything,he is not that type of player.He is basically a strategist who creates holes in opposition’s defensive structures so that our players can take advantage of it and score.Not his fault that our players (Sanchez,Giroud) are not as intelligent enough as he is.

  13. Wallace

    Paulinho

    Santi’s had a few quiet games in his new role but he’s been one of the 3 or 4 main reasons why our form picked up so much from December onwards. Wenger obviously wants a clever player in the centre, and at the moment he’s the obvious choice.

  14. MidwestGun

    I’m all for pragmatic (if by pragmatic you mean not bombing fb’s forward)if it’s working, however it wasn’t as evidenced by not creating even a shot until 60 minutes or whatever it was. Absolutely awful passing from Giroud/Santi/ and Sanchez. Couple that with some bizarre militaristic substitution pattern and it sucks if that’s the new plan. Even Pavlovs dog could see we needed pace on the shoulder of the last defender to threaten that frankly pathetic backline of Man. U. Just react and make adjustments, quicker…. you know do some in game coaching. (Sorry Willow, its my moan, get over it.)
    So not surprising we looked an actual team when Theo came on and Ramsey replaced Santi in the center.
    Anyhow, it’s all mostly moot as we salvaged a point. But i surely don’t see some big picture from that. The bigger picture is we need better players in some positions, and that’s not new. Anyhow, tired of the great Progress debate. Lets just win the FA Cup and have a great transfer window. (3rd place should make it easier right?)
    Is AW ruthless in the tw?…. ya…. ok. Think we know the answer to that but time will tell circa September 2015 and our first meaningful match. Then I’d imagine we will be having similar Le Grove debates. The circle of life.

  15. qna

    blsany. Agreed. Ozil is a bit like a composer, who waves his batten and brings the right players in and out of play at the right time.

  16. Paulinho

    Wallace – But he’s not that clever though. If he was he would realise not making runs to create passing angles is hampering the team’s ability to put pressure on the opposition.

    He also wouldn’t continually take half a century to shoot and watch his shots get blocked over and over again.

  17. Romford Ozil Pele

    Mid, i’m good dude. Just got a new job but don’t actually start until July 1st so enjoying my last month or so of freedom before I pretty much wave goodbye to LeGrove. To be honest, can’t really go away anwyhere because of this new job though I do have a few trips abroad later on in the year but nothing like Vegas!

    Hope you’re well.

  18. tunnygriffboy

    Qna

    Kos and Monreal and Santi will have gone. Ozil and Sanchez are only 25/26 Ramsey is 24 and of course Ox and Bellerin are still babies. You miss Wilshere out as well. I think that when he grows up a bit and sorts his head out he’ll be very good as well. Positive he’s had some good cameo’s, perhaps he’s realised he’ll have to up his game if he wants his place.

    Theo and Gibbs are mid twenties as well but I’m not going there with you 🙂 🙂 🙂

  19. tunnygriffboy

    Hiya mid

    Hows your head after yesterday on here 🙂 🙂

    Genuine question and I don’t want to start the whole debate again or I’d dissolve in a pool of tears. I know we were poor first halfm and I know we didn’t have shot on target until 50 mins or something but surely we’ve had worse halves of football eg lpool, Chelsea last season and Stoke this.

    I have re watched the game and we were on top in the second half before the subs. Actually in a game of very few chances we probably had the better of them

    Cesc

    I’d be happy with Walcott, Jack and Gabriel come in and Ramsey to go into CM. Not sure if Debuchy is fit or Welbeck. They are near and if not Wednesday they should play on Sunday

  20. SpanishDave

    A repeat and rinse year again, no improvement at all.
    Same injury prone British players only able to give half a season.
    Same old tactics
    Same old 67 min subs regardless of need.
    Same results against top teams.
    Same results in Europe.
    Same old lame excusses from Wenger.
    Finally it will be the same old summer with bargin basement french players, and contract extensions to our average joes.
    Wengers done, wont retire he would rather take us down with him.

  21. Wallace

    CA

    “Since Ozil’s ‘job done’ tweet after Hull where 4th was secured, we’ve been rubbish.”

    i’d imagine motivation makes up a big part of being a top-level sportsman. remember Wenger talking about how hard it was to keep the Invincibles going once they’d wrapped up the league. 3rd is obviously much more preferable to 4th but i can understand the players subconsciously dropping a few levels once CL qualification was secured.

  22. MidwestGun

    Romford –
    I’m good…. only slightly hungover.
    Noooooo! Say it isn’t so. ….. you leaving Le Grove. …. shit. Hope we sign a monster player then…, force you to comment. 😀

    Ya.. i can’t make Vegas either this year. Heading down to Texas….. hmm possible country song there. Anyhow, congrats again on new job!

  23. MidwestGun

    Tunny –
    Ya.., I’ve had a day to sleep on it. Not the worst half ever because we defended well… well except for Bellerin getting torched.. at times.

    Anyhow, like I said… it’s mostly moot. You should have been at the pub tho.. first half. … i was getting payback for FA Cup Manc abuse… lol. Just frustrated, mostly. We got a draw.., so I’ll live. 😀

  24. Highbury4ever

    “Like Nike. … just do it!”

    Favorite wenger’s quote, when it comes to the summer transfert window.

  25. TitsMcGee

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

    He’s all about himself.

    Loses the league but as long as he scores he’s happy.

  26. Paulinho

    Would like to see Coquelin and Wilshere given a run out together before the end of the season.

    Think Wilshere would bring out the youth cup swag out of Coquelin.

  27. Romford Ozil Pele

    Mid – yeah pretty much. With the new job, only time I’ll be free is evenings and weekends to watch The Arsenal though i’m sure if we sign Nemay, Messi and Suarez, i’ll work my way on here 😉

    Looking forward to the new role, more money etc but naturally very time-consuming. What’s Texas like? Do I need to pay it a visit?! 😀

  28. Romford Ozil Pele

    “Ozil once again anonymous in a big game”

    So I imagined those chances he created for Giroud right? Come on, man. This narrative is boring now. You don’t like him. That’s cool. But offer some insight, that’s the least you could do. Maybe not though, you do support Chelsea.

  29. Insomnia

    I would have been very happy in previous years and I’m ok with it last night.

    Irrespective of the fa cup final I think this season will be judged when the NEXT transfer window closes. Theoretically we could spend 50m net – possibly 70m in total.
    Not much you can get for that but keeper 10m, cm 25 and winger/forward 35m.
    Cech, Schneiderlin and Higuain.

    If only…

  30. Redtruth

    No wonder Arsenal underachieve when you have idiots like Wallace making excuses for them.

    I’d say the real reason Arsenal have stuttered is playing two top half of the table teams as opposed to bottom half easy meat teams

  31. Bamford10

    Cesc

    CF over wide player. Ox and Welbeck are less limited there than Giroud is up top, so we would get more out of a better, more dynamic CF. Further, CF is a bit more important of a role than one of two wide players.

    QNA

    Far more reasonable prescription for signings above. Bravo.

    WE

    I might agree that Cazorla has been MVP. While Sanchez has scored a lot of the goals, and Coquelin has done a lot of the defensive midfield work, Santi has connected our defensive third to our attacking third, has worked hard on both sides of the ball and has been very consistent. Tough call.

  32. MidwestGun

    Romford –
    Ya… Texas is awesome. . Because it’s so big and plenty to do.. like 4 major cities within a days drive. Plus it’s on the Gulf like Florida and borders Meeehico so you can always do a trip there. Altho, that can be sketchy. Lol
    I recommend Austin… amazing music scene, San Antonio…. history, food, scenery. Corpus Christi, amazing beach scene and world class fishing. Then there’s Houston and Dallas with sports. Big Gooner fanbase in Houston
    And the weather is normally pretty great year round. Anyhow, ya, if you get the time. Worth it.

  33. Pedro

    No, but I’ve read a lot about it and I’ll certainly be looking to… the music scene there is supposed to be amazing.

    … the biker thing isn’t great, but whatever.

  34. Pedro

    Also, not sure why you think this means you leave LG, it easier when you’re on a different time zone!

  35. Romford Ozil Pele

    Marble/Dial/Redtruth/Your new name in the future

    Ozil was functional. Did some good stuff, did some not so good stuff. As the game wore on and the team’s influence grew, so did his contribution. He created a couple chances for Giroud which could’ve gone on in on another day. The notion that he was anonymous is obviously silly and agenda driven. The best players yesterday for me were Monreal and Ramsey.

  36. Romford Ozil Pele

    Mid, sounds good. I have actually heard some good things about Houston so will put that down for the future. San Antonio and Corpus Christi look pretty sweet too. Cheers man.

    Lol Pedro, think you got it mixed up. I’m not moving. Mid and I were just talking about places in America. I have a new job in this country but it’ll just be harder for me to post because i’ll be more busy.

  37. Insomnia

    Cheese on toast is a culinary equivalent of a Rorschach test That will addle redtruth or reveal his true self…

  38. Romford Ozil Pele

    “Hardly a ringing endorsement of the player.”

    Didn’t say I was endorsing him. Just disputing the notion he was supposedly anonymous. There were worse players out there. Alexis for one.

  39. MidwestGun

    Pedro –
    Haha ya… that biker thing was crazy. Like 80 shots fired and only biker dudes were shot. Amazingly no bystanders. In Texas you just assume everyone is armed so why start a gunbattle unless your crazy.
    But that was Waco. … no reason to go there except passing thru.

    As far as time zones. .. i don’t know, 6am kickoff times test your drinking mettle…… and on Le Grove you just end up talking with insomniacs and Aussies, hahaha.

  40. Highbury4ever

    Lyon will play the Emirates Cup this summer.
    lol Fékir and Lacazette will r*pe us…

    Also with Villareal and Wolfsburg.

  41. karim

    N5
    Hi mate, think Benny De Vito mentionned some sort of a meeting for the Emirates Cup, I would be tempted to pay you guys a visit this year, would love to see Arsenal v Lyon on a sunny London afternoon.
    Read this morning about the ticketing process, and as I am a member of the tourist platinum section, was wondering whether it was easy to get a pass as the stadium may not be as full as usual ?

  42. Insomnia

    “on Le Grove you just end up talking with insomniacs and Aussies, hahaha”

    I take offence at that!

  43. John T.

    Arsenal was DAMN lucky yesterday and everyone should know that. Giroud proven once again he’s an average striker and being average doesn’t cut it in the EPL. Henry is correct and his point was proven in Giroud’s past two matches. Instead of feuding with Henry in the papers, our illustrious manager ought to taking his advice and get a WC striker. Instead Wenger will stick with his French pet and get the same results. So just where does the real problem lie?

  44. Wallace

    “Instead of feuding with Henry in the papers, our illustrious manager ought to taking his advice and get a WC striker. …so just where does the real problem lie?”

    a realistic option, who is a definite upgrade on Giroud, and would be comfortable in our system?

  45. gambon

    Brilliant report

    Arsenal are after Marseille winger Nabil Fekier

    Even though he plays for Lyon, and is called Fekir.

    Who the fuck writes this shit?

  46. Romford Ozil Pele

    “Arsenal are after Marseille winger Nabil Fekier”

    That’s really scary. And to think people get paid for writing this.

    Anyway it wasn’t a surprise to see Fekir win young player of the season. Challenge for him is to keep it up next season when he’s not an unknown quantity, will be double marked and has CL footie to contend with as well. FWIW, I thin both he and Lacazette will probably stay at Lyon a season more.

  47. salparadisenyc

    I was hoping we press on into 2nd place and take that momentum into the cup final.
    Im not feeling as progressive as I was a few weeks back regarding this team. Constant baby steps.

    Texas… Good luck with that boys. Think No country for old men was a nice summation of that large state.

  48. Carts

    “I was hoping we press on into 2nd place and take that momentum into the cup final.
    Im not feeling as progressive as I was a few weeks back regarding this team. Constant baby steps. ”

    Second was up for grab and would’ve helped us mentally, going into next seaon.

  49. Keyser

    The first thing Wenger said in his post match Sky Interview after the Citeh game was that we should’ve scored more.

    If you think that was our first attempt at ‘Pragmatism’ then either you haven’t been paying attention or you’ve been pre-conditioned by Sky’s bullshit machine to begin with.

    MoTD highlighted the way our front 3 pushed on to try and press United’s backline, Fatigue, mental or otherwise would’ve played it’s part, especially Sanchez. As they failed to track their runners back.

  50. Keyser

    This is another thing that people have been pre-conditioned with, the idea that Mourinho is tactically advanced and that his overly defensive approach is something new and to be heralded.

    Van Gaal at 50, 60 or whatever he is, is still trying to implement far more difficult and progressive methods.

    Sitting deep, in disciplined, reactive, styles is mentally and physically taxing, it’s why Chelsea have dropped off in the second half of the season, unless you can implement effective attacking patterns, or a more adventurous style, you’ll always be relying on ever increasing squad strength and quality.

  51. blsany

    “a realistic option, who is a definite upgrade on Giroud, and would be comfortable in our system?”

    Danny Ings,Gomis,Walters, Crouch,Balotelli,Austin,Kane and those are the shit ones.

  52. Keyser

    This is why the key thing was how we failed to escape United’s pressure, and our inability to hold on to the ball as Individual’s or as a team, both Sanchez and Ozil pretty much fell flat on their faces everytime they recieved the ball.

    Contrast that to Wilshere when he came on, or when Ramsey moved back inside in the second half and you can see the difference. This could be down to numerous reasons.

    Also that United aren’t close to being efficient, they’re a work in progress to, yes they’ve spent squillions, but that’s the state Fergie left them in.

  53. Wallace

    “Danny Ings,Gomis,Walters, Crouch,Balotelli,Austin,Kane and those are the shit ones.”

    and the good ones?

  54. MidwestGun

    Sal-
    Haha. … Republic of Texas does not recognize your summation.
    Where you been? You missed out on all the excitement of Keyser doling out idiot badges.

  55. Bayz

    Wenger needs to buy a world class striker for us to truly ever see the genius that is Ozil, right now Giroud is making Ozil look bad.

  56. Keyser

    The last game where we failed to register a shot on goal in the first half was the Liverpool game where we conceded a Mellor goal right at the end.

  57. salparadisenyc

    Middy,

    Did Keyser label everyone idiots?
    Hehe.

    Family drama my end, old man passed last weekend. Its was coming but that doesn’t make it any less surreal. The Arsenal and all the accoutrements have been put on the back burner. Can’t be bothered with watching this side limp across the line into third, ze mental strength is sapped.

  58. Willow Wilson

    ROP
    “Removing the qualifier should give us time to hopefully get in our targets and prepare better for the season.”

    Exactly. Get the targets in. Let our players have proper rest, ready for a FULL pre-season – uninterrupted by a dangerous qualifier.

    Last year our pre-season was not only screwed because of the qualifier but also because of the World Cup, especially players who played in the latter stages/final. We had new players arrive who were unable to enjoy a pre-season with the current squad and gel.

    Remember, the start of the season where we dropped 19 points from our first 36. In those 12 games, we dropped points in 8 of those matches; we drew 5 and lost 3. Most of those can be attributed to poor pre-season preparation and conditioning, as stated.

    A good start is essential and that is why the point yesterday was such a good one.

    PS: Good to see Jack yet again looking strong. He is one of those that we have missed, especially when we need to switch quickly from defending to attack. Without The Ox, Theo and Danny Welbeck, we have no real pace out wide, which has become evident in the last few games.

  59. Romford Ozil Pele

    Lol Kesyer, well there’s that. And the fact we conceded with the last kick of the game against the human version of Mr Blobby. It was on Valentines Day too!

  60. MidwestGun

    Sal –
    Awww man…. condolences. Went thru that about 4 years ago with my father. Never a good time no matter the circumstances. Still miss him every time a sporting event is on.

    Naaaa.man just me and Dissenter. Keyser was a bit spikey and I was a bit liquored up…, i know shocker. . Lol.

  61. tunnygriffboy

    So FFP rules to be relaxed. Got to say that’s absolutely shite. Changes goal posts and affects clubs who have cut their cloth accordingly. I’m not just saying it because we’ve adhered to it but Chelsea have followed it as have Man City who’ve been fined for breaking it.

    It’s because of our bumper TV deal I’m sure. The elite in Europe are worried about it.

    Cue massive spending by PSG, City. It lets them off the hook big time. Afraid Mr Kronke will have to open his wallet if we are to compete with them. Yeah right the tightwad.

    Rant over. Sorry

  62. N5

    karim, I was thinking if you, Eagle and benny can make it over then I’ll sort the tickets out mate. It’ll be no problem at all! that would be amazing if you could all arrange the time off of work or what have you.

  63. N5

    Sal, sorry to hear about Sal SNR mate. I know it’s no consolation, but we’ll all be thinking of you and your family mate.

    Arsenal’s 3rd/4th place finish can wait til next year mate.

  64. Carts

    “Contrast that to Wilshere when he came on, or when Ramsey moved back inside in the second half and you can see the difference. This could be down to numerous reasons.”

    Which begs the question: why not that change wasn’t made sooner instead of leaving things to the 70th minute almost every time

  65. Paulinho

    The Liverpool game at Anfield we didn’t have single shot on the target in the whole first half – until Debuchy’s header two minutes into stoppage time. And that was a header.

    I’ve lost count of the amount of time in recent years we’ve had zero shots on target in matches like yesterday.

    So the assertion that yesterday was some freak occurence is nonsense. I’m sure we had similarly awful stats against Barca away at the Nou Camp as well.

  66. Bennydevito

    Afternoon Grovers,

    Good post Pedro. I get what you mean about pragmatism, if that’s actually what it was. I can’t help but think it was more likely good old fashioned handbrake than tactics. We played a typically timid scared to play clinging on for dear life first half, but were far better in the 2nd half of the 2nd half, which is frustrating to a degree, but a point at OT is always a good point.

    I echo gambon’s earlier comment regarding Giroud and Ospina in that they should be deputising for WC talent only. Even though I don’t feel Ospina has been to blame for any goals I still think a top class keeper may have done better.

    However, given LVG’s comments after the match I would say DEGea is nailed on for a move to Madrid with Bale going the other way. It also means that utd will be in for whatever keepers are available and think that Chelsea would sell him to them but not us.

    Also Wenger has come out and said he has no plans to retire which means he’s either going to extend his contract when it runs out end of next season (dear god no), go upstairs and royally fuck with everything and the new manager (dear god no), or go and manage France (Would be perfect).

    Plenty to mull over.

  67. MidwestGun

    Keyser –
    You said it perfect. Having gone thru it. Nothing you can say, really.
    That’s the biggest benefit to sport, imo. Despite all the negative crap, it takes your mind off stuff.

  68. Bennydevito

    karim May 18, 2015 13:08:09

    N5
    Hi mate, think Benny De Vito mentionned some sort of a meeting for the Emirates Cup, I would be tempted to pay you guys a visit this year, would love to see Arsenal v Lyon on a sunny London afternoon.
    Read this morning about the ticketing process, and as I am a member of the tourist platinum section, was wondering whether it was easy to get a pass as the stadium may not be as full as usual ?

    I did. And N5 has kindly agreed to sort tickets. I’m probably going to make a wknd of it and book a cheap lenny henry Saturday or sunday depending on what game we all go to. It runs sunday to Monday this time yes?

  69. Wallace

    “I think we have to have a reality check on Ramsey, When he plays, he’s always around a seven or an eight, and we’ve started to take that for granted, he’s that good.

    “Today I think he was nearer a nine, nine-and-a-half. He’s consistent and I think we take him for granted. I think people should start to highlight what a really good player he is at 24.”

    – Souness on Ramsey

  70. Bennydevito

    Salparadis,

    Condolences to you. Lost my Father many years ago now so know how it feels.

    Keep on gunning.

  71. S Asoa

    Bsalsany
    A good assessment of Ozil . His passes up front to Giroud been calling throwing pearls in the through -unappreciated .
    Reg yesterday game
    Looks like another Me & Mine Show by Le Imbecile . Bould was relegated quietly to the bench . A person with insight could have seen it. If we bomb the next games it is 4th place here we come. Hope the Kroenke son interdicts again.

  72. MidwestGun

    Sal –
    Ha.. ya..I was discussing that earlier. You just have to assume everyone in Texas has a shooting iron. But that’s a biker thing, too. Popular biker area west of Austin in the hills.
    But also Waco is sort of the nexus of evil. Bad stuff happens there. Luckily it’s basically a truck stop, no reason to visit.

  73. Bennydevito

    tunnygriffboy May 18, 2015 14:04:49

    So FFP rules to be relaxed. Got to say that’s absolutely shite. Changes goal posts and affects clubs who have cut their cloth accordingly. I’m not just saying it because we’ve adhered to it but Chelsea have followed it as have Man City who’ve been fined for breaking it.

    It’s because of our bumper TV deal I’m sure. The elite in Europe are worried about it.

    Cue massive spending by PSG, City. It lets them off the hook big time. Afraid Mr Kronke will have to open his wallet if we are to compete with them. Yeah right the tightwad.

    Rant over. Sorry

    Bollocks. This was always going to happen. Money talks and bullshit walks. Trouble is Wenger, Gazidas et all genuinely believed that ffp would happen and that we would be left with our bulging piggybank snapping up the top talent. Well we can kiss that goodbye.

    Clowns.

  74. Willow Wilson

    blsany
    “Yeah Ozil’s magic is lost on some people on here by that I mean Thomas and Retruth”

    That’s because they are trolls. Say what you like about Redtruth, at least he’s pretty honest about what he is and clearly has his tongue firmly stuck firmly in his cheek. Unlike that Chelsea fan Thomas who has his tongue firmly stuck up his arse. Typical Chelsea fan.

  75. salparadisenyc

    Keyser

    Were winning the cup… the day Sherwood pulls one over on the Arse is the day I have to seriously reconsider my position.

    Middy

    You can’t stop whats coming, friendo.

  76. Thomas

    blsany
    May 18, 2015 14:37:04

    S ASosa
    Yeah Ozil’s magic is lost on some people on here by that I mean Thomas and Retruth.

    _____________

    Yeah cowering around for 90 mins. ‘Magic’ lol

  77. Redtruth

    Wallace

    You’ve misjudged me i wholeheartedly believe in what i say as the truth.

    Trolls are people like youself who give Wenger the benefit of the doubt.

  78. Thomas

    After 11-year-old Charlie Patino, here comes 15-year-old Yassin Fortune, U16 French international from RC Lens.

    ____________________________________

    Wenger getting his Gary Glitter on.

  79. Cesc Appeal

    Not sure on the numbers, but could this be anything to do with the fact that the Spanish sides are pushing for equal distribution on TV money?

    UEFA have to protect Madrid and Barcelona. Just speculating.

  80. Carts

    “Lets see if you can work it out, what reasons do you think Wenger has ?”

    Instead of sounding like a condescending twat, you could in fact answer that question for me, no?

  81. Keyser

    Carts – Lol, fuck off, how has that worked out in the past ? I research all the articles, give you tangible stuff you can access for yourself, you ignore it all and post the same response each time.

    Why didn’t he make the change earlier ? Because we were below par in the first half, he wants to give them time to adjust and work through it.

  82. Bamford10

    Thomas

    Liked your quip about Ozil “cowering” for 90 minutes. While he is a gifted player, he is also a complete pussy at times, physically and mentally.

    He’s been better this season, though.

  83. MidwestGun

    To be honest FFP always seemed a bit pointless to me as the loopholes seem endless. But that’s me speaking as an American where we have hard salary caps. So i guess. … it always seemed silly from my perspective. Either you want parity or you don’t. Player agents probably lobbying hard against it also.

  84. Carts

    “Why didn’t he make the change earlier ? Because we were below par in the first half, he wants to give them time to adjust and work through it.”

    Fucking LOLOLOLOL

    Having realised we were shite from 1-70 minutes, Wenger sat there and thought ‘yep, another weak performance – you had your 70 mins – time for some fresh idea’.

  85. daz

    “The fact that the stronger team does not always win the game nor finish above the other in the table.”

    So your saying the strongest team doesn’t always win the league?

    Bamford answer the question

  86. Keyser

    Carts – I hope to God that was some ironic attempt at what you thought the sort of reply I was expecting.

    We improved after half-time, but it wasn’t enough, so you send on fresher legs as both teams tire.

    What were you expecting ?

  87. Bamford10

    Daz

    Didn’t you correct Joe’s grammar? Yet that’s the second time you’ve erred with “your”. You know the difference b/t “your” and “you’re”? Probably not.

    I’ll answer your q when I have the energy. It isn’t that complicated, though.

  88. Carts

    FFP was never sustainable. Hell, City FFP lawyers consist of a couple bods who actually helped draft that shit.

    My only suggestion would be to increase the amount you’re able to lose, keep the squad limitation penalty, but instead of fining the team such an atronomical fee that doesn’t make much sense, limit spending as they did with PSG