Just How Many Players Should Wenger “Drop”?

Undoubtedly, Song has had a difficult time in the last few games. And I’m one among the many who have not been very happy with the change in his approach. It seems the player who impressed most of us as a Defensive Midfielder is trying to add more to his game. We can’t really fault that as a long as it doesn’t affect the balance of the team.

However, as the game against Sunderland showed us and more recently the ones against WBA and Partizan have proved, we struggle with our defensive balance when Song adopts a more adventurous style of play.

I first noted this change after the Bolton game itself. These are my exact words,

“I was surprised he pushed forward so often. Was he given the license to go forward? I thought he should have stayed back, our defenders needed some support with the second ball.”

At that time I didn’t harp on the issue because it takes away the joy of the win. Since then we’ve had plenty of discussion on this issue as a couple of poor results have brought the issue to the fore.

The worrying aspect that I’ve noticed is that many fans have started talking about dropping Song. This comes hot on the heels of the calls to drop Arshavin and Clichy. I see a dangerous trend developing here where fans are condemning players after just a couple of games.

Arguably, the noises against Arshavin and Clichy have been there for a while.

In the case of the Russian part of the problems come from the dislike towards his attitude and comments, many of which have been maliciously distorted. More recently, many fans have conveniently ignored the fact that he is far more involved with our attack this season and has already got more assists than all of last season. As a matter of fact, Arshavin has 4 goals and 5 assists in 8 games (6+2). He also put the two through-balls that won us penalties against the Spuds and if we also include his goal in that League Cup game, then his overall contribution has been nothing short of phenomenal.

In the case of Clichy, bulk of the criticism comes from the fact that he’s been guilty of some lapses in concentration and other mistakes leading to goals for the opposition. But sometimes fans don’t realize the difficult nature of his job in a system that Arsenal play. For instance, against WBA Clichy made the highest passes for an Arsenal player 79/86. That was almost a pass a minute and when you consider the fact that our midfielders didn’t do particularly well in the first hour (Eboue 8/15, Diaby 31/35 in 57 min), it’s not difficult to see that Clichy was playing as a defender while doubling up as a midfielder.

I don’t deny that some of our players have made mistakes and a few even repeatedly but the call for dropping players seems to be an extreme reaction that has come in vogue these days. It seems some fans think this is the only way the players will improve or learn their lesson. I consider that to be a flawed approach because it implies the players have no will to win and are happy with the mistakes they’ve mad.

Earlier this month I did an article discussing a quote by Wenger where the manager said we must be more open-minded. He was talking about the goalkeepers but it is just as easily applicable to the others as well. When we know the media just needs an excuse to create a negative story about Arsenal, refs are not going to give us much, and injuries are always going make it a challenge, why do supporters create further negativity with such a judgemental approach?

If Arsene started listening to these supporters we would have to drop Clichy, Song, and Arshavin. By popular opinion he should also keep Almunia, Fabianski, and Denilson out of the team as they are supposed to be useless. Effectively, we should start with kids like Szczesney, Gibbs, Wilshere, Vela, and JET more often. If that happens, will anyone be surprised if those kids were written off as useless within a few weeks as they struggle at the highest level without experienced heads around them?

I don’t know if some of this has to do with the relatively recent enthusiasm towards player ratings. It’s easy to put numbers like 3 or 4 in front of a player’s name. It’s also easy to call for their heads if this happens for two or three games in a row. As far as discussing the game or a players performance goes, I’ve no issues with criticism or highlighting mistakes. But we also need some perspective. Each player cannot be perfect in every game.

It’s also an issue of confidence. If a player makes a mistake we can point if out. But we can also help him improve with a positive reaction to his mistake. If, on the other hand, it seems that the fans are just sitting with a sword in their hand waiting for a chance to chop heads, it is going to affect the way players perform.

At Arsenal, these days, it seems the onus is on the player. Some fans are eager to jump on players who make a mistake or three. Perhaps, it’s the same at other clubs. I don’t know for sure but it’s certainly likely because this is closely connected with the growth of the internet. Everyone has a medium to voice their views and many are rash and exceedingly harsh.

One man’s rant doesn’t make a big difference but when others join in, it has a tendency of rapidly evolving into a popular opinion. Often, the line between opinion and fact gets blurred and the foundation of the rants that were written in a highly emotive state is then seen as a matter of fact.

You might point the finger at me for being harsh on occasions and I can’t claim to have a perfect, composed reaction to everything. But I try to avoid making sweeping statements and I’d like to believe I’ve improved over the last year or so. And frankly, that is my only request to other fans as well. I can relate to the disappointment and the frustration but when you want to communicate, just give it a second thought. Fans have a big role to play in the way the team performs and we don’t want to reach a state where someone can say Arsenal fans should be sacked!


77 Responses to Just How Many Players Should Wenger “Drop”?

  1. charybdis1966 says:

    Don’t forget those who ask for half our squad to be sold, as unfit to play for Arsenal.

    • desigunner says:

      Yeah that’s just a crazy argument.

      Half our players are considered useless, the good ones seem to be perennially injured; it always makes me wonder how Arsenal end up so high in the league when others are buying proven players left, right, and centre!

  2. keith says:

    The truth of the matter is that we have too many sub standerd players
    Should be a clear out next year out Almunia,Flappyanski,Denilson,Diaby,Bentner,Eboue,Clichy,Djouru

    • gunna says:

      wats rong with diaby and we cud keep almunia as our fifteenth keepa lol

      • santori says:

        I’m a defender of Diaby normally but his performance against WBA was unacceptable.

        He showed no hunger which was disappointing.

        Wenger is correct to drop him until he gets his head back in it.

  3. gazzap says:

    I disagree with the point that if the young players come into the side and make the odd error the fans will get on their backs. The fans didn’t get on the Gibbs’ back after he slipped to let man u win in the CL. ultimately we can see their quality, so we can stick with a player even if they make the odd error.
    wilshere, Gibbs and Vela are pretty much regulars now, and the likes of JET, Lansbury and Szczesny are not far behind and I have 100% faith that these players have the necessary quality that they wouldn’t struggle in the first team.
    I know one thing, they cannot be any worse than Almunia, Denilson and Diaby, but Wenger still has his favourites – I cant see those other youngsters getting many games this season.

    • Arsenalisto says:

      gazzap, it’s not that easy lol. If Gibbs makes a mistake let’s say in the league and let a win slip. Then Vela misses every chance he gets the next game and we couldn’t win. Imagine what’s gonna happen, everyone will turn on AW for playing “kids”. Now when we have a sort of experienced team, nobody likes it lmao. I don’t want to start calling people hypocrites but what else can one say.

      • desigunner says:

        That was my point. No one is going to criticize Gibbs after one game but it’s a tough position and he will make mistakes. There is no doubt people will start having a go at him soon enough.

        Mannone is a perfect example. He was a superstar after Fulham. A few weeks later he was discarded as useless by many. Senderos is another example.

      • santori says:

        Gibbs conceded a penalty against Partizan. had the margin been tighter, it could have had more dire consequences.

        However Gibbs gets some benefit of the doubt being he’s English.

        Don’t get me wrong I think Gibbs is looking good but I think the difference between Clichy and him is narrowing but still slightly in favour of the French man on account of experience.

        Gael Clichy has his weakness but I agree with Desi that the system we play may somewhat amplify his faults and not allow him to prosper with his merits.

  4. Arsenalisto says:

    Yea, dropping your supposedly best players is not a good idea at all. However, probably some words in the ears of the suspected players will probably do the trick. Arshavin needs to be more efficient because he was bought to be that, to add more cutting edge, to help us win games not the other way around. Song needs to calm down, I saw a dangerous sign from his first appearance this season, the hair lol. Clichy has never been the same since the concurrent back injury that kept haunting him since the away Villa Real game, mind you he was at a different level before he lost his head in the 07-08 meltdown.

    • desigunner says:

      I agree that a good manager cannot just let his players do whatever they feel like. But I’m of the opinion that each manager has his style. Arsene is not the type to get publicly angry but no manager can be so consistent at the highest level without being strict and demanding.

      I’m very disappointed when fans start showing utter disregard for the manager and the players. Drop X, sell Y and so on just get’s too much.

  5. Arsenalisto says:

    Villarreal*

  6. junior says:

    Good on ta Desi,time for a bit of positivity

  7. Jake says:

    Imo, any player that doesnt perform at the required level must be dropped. Why? Because its only fair to give someone else a chance when a certain player is performing badly and it forces players to work harder in order to keep their place in the team.

    • desigunner says:

      Broadly speaking you’re right. But it’s the manager who decides what he wants from the players. It’s the manager who studies their performances in detail based on a number of parameters and factual data.

      Some fans just see a mistake or two and start saying so and so should be dropped.

  8. slugboy says:

    It always amazes me how many people consider themselves to be a better judge of the quality of the players than the coaching staff at arsenal. How many of theses people have actually seen chesney, or jet play on a regular basis? Wenger sees them every day and knows their strengths and weaknesses.

    However, to put an alternative view forward, i think that there has not been good enough quality competition to enable Wenger to drop the first teamers. I actualy think That one or two of them have become a bit comfortable and are therefore not trying quite as hard as when they were trying to impress.

    Song has been poor this year to date, which is a big shame, because he was nearly player of the season last year. He appears to be trying to add to his game, which is no real problem if one of the other midfielders is covering for him, like denilson did last night.

    keep up the good writing!

    • desigunner says:

      I’m not sure the competition argument is completely valid. I think part of the lack of competition comes from a long list of crocked players. It’s a difficult balance to achieve because if we have everyone fit many will be unhappy with their lack of game time.

      Re Song, I’m convinced Wenger is trying to make him a b2b midfielder. Not sure if the timing for that is right but I’d not put all the blame on the player.

  9. Togba says:

    Good read. I am also of the opinion that the massive number of commentators on stations like Skysports and the rest have a major part to play in the swaying of our fans. What is worst is that Arsenal fans are the most volatile group of people that always claim to love the team but they do it from a distance. So many times I have watched Arsenal play and sometimes you would see that they want to try harder but are just fatigue and the supporters don’t do anything to lift the team spirit. It’s only when some of the playmakers like Fabregas or Asharvin creates something out of nothing that people cheer. Arsenal fans need to take a dose of medicine from the book of Partizan Belgrade!

    • desigunner says:

      Fair point. Since I don’t get to go the Emirates I try not to comment on those that do, but I’d certainly prefer a much better atmosphere. There are times when the situation is crying out for some supporter inspiration but it doesn’t come.

  10. twoleftfeet says:

    Great post…I think fans have been way too harsh on Arshavin,perhaps because of the high standards he set for himself in his first 6 months or because of the fact that he doesn’t seem to run around all the time! They don’t seem to understand that different players have different styles..AA will never have the work rate of Chamakh..but he creates and scores goals when they matter..that is his job! IMO he has been absolutely phenomenal this year

    • desigunner says:

      Thanks. That’s true to a great extent. Arshavin set the bar really high with the start he had. It’s been tough for him after that but I wouldn’t blame him. This season he is much closer to the form he had at the start of his Arsenal career, although his finishing touch isn’t that good.

  11. twoleftfeet says:

    Agree with Togba..we as fans definitely need to up our own level before we judge the players. I think Arsenal fans are one of the toughest to please in world football!!

    • desigunner says:

      Arsenal and I’d say Real fans are tough to please. Not sure if you’ve seen or not but Mourinho and his team have been whistled off a couple of times because they’re struggling to score and entertain.

      • santori says:

        We could start by sounding a little louder at home matches.

        When we drop our performance on the pitch, the whole place sounds like a funeral parlour.

  12. Nischit says:

    Top post.

  13. Wasim says:

    Clichy has struggled ever since we adopted 4-3-3 . he was fantastic in 4-4-2 + he has Arshavin upfront so that doesnt help either .

  14. Phil23 says:

    For me there are different situations for each of Song Arshavin and Clichy. Song has just been given more responsibility and it will take him time to adapt to that. Of course he won’t be perfect in the role straight away but he will improve as a player because of it.
    With Arshavin I think some of the calls were due to his attitude. I am proud to say Arshavin has improved greatly this season and when you see him marshaling other players you don’t mind when hes standing around because you know for sure he is involved in the game.
    Clichy is a very good player but he has a very difficult role. Thats why I think Gibbs should get more games. It keeps both of them fully match fit and less likely for injuries. The main reason that I think Gibbs should get games is because he deserves the starts not because Clichy is a bad player. Thats the thing, not all changes are ‘droppings’ as some of them are more because of ‘promotion’ and that is the kind of competition we want at Arsenal.
    So out of those 3 players I think Clichy should be rested more often, Arshavin has the capability of stepping up his leadership and finding the best form of his life and Song will turn from a great player to a superstar and rock of our midfield by the end of the year. People also seem to forget we are missing 4 genuine starters in Cesc Van Persie Walcott and Vermaelen. Did i mention those starters have a lot of quality between them?

    • david says:

      I agree with this post, especially the song situation but in a year where trophies should be the priority why are players learning to evolve, essien is the best example of the type of player song can become essien started from the holding position as well and developed into the amazing box to box midfielder he is today, even look at obi mikel very avg the last two seasons but has started to become a much better passer of the ball spraying passes and everything. It appears there is the natural progression of players with time and experience and then there’s Wenger’s way of chuck them in at a position and style they are not use to and see what happens…. which is the problem we have with players like diaby and now song. how long did daiby play left wing for??? This is not to say wengers methods are wrong some players can do it naturally cesc wilshire ramsey can plays all three midfield positions naturally even on the wing………..I suppose the problem is will Wenger ever curb his desire for the multi-functional all purpose home grown player to just win some bloody trophies??????????????

    • desigunner says:

      I agree with you Phil, as I normally do :D. My point is not that we don’t need rotation or occasional changes but that fans should not start calling for players to be dropped after a couple of bad games.

      There is no doubt Gibbs deserves more games and I’m sure Wenger will give him more games. At the start no one expected Wilshere to get these many games, last season not many expected Ramsey to get many games but they did because they’ve shown they can deal with it and deliver.

      Wenger is one of the most objective managers around and he won’t take decisions like team selection lightly.

      • santori says:

        Not to mention we are quite thin in numbers at the moment with all the walking injured.

        Dropping a slate of players would be extremely unpractical.

  15. Dave says:

    The main problem is that a great number of Wenger’s players are simply not good enough. You may only enjoy Arsenal’s playing style, but pls never think about titles, if you don’t want to be mad.

  16. chengiskhan says:

    I sincerely hope a lot of the doom mongers read this post and appreciate its sanity. It’s very easy to criticize the squad from a distance without having to maintain any responsibility for the club’s financial performance or long-term position, or without having any appreciation for how the players perform during practice on a daily basis. Also, we tend to criticize the manager’s dealings in the transfer market, armed with a tiny fraction of the information available to Wenger et al, convinced of almost everything we read in the sensationalist press. Finally, seldom do we ever as fans allow for players to actually improve. At 18-23 years of age, we instantly judge players to have reached their potential, ignoring the fact that players such as Xavi and Drogba, whom most would consider the best in their respective positions, did not become world-beaters until their late 20s. This is actually quite normal, whereas the Messi’s, Fabregas’s and Casillas’s of the world are fantastically rare. We should be proud that we have a team of 22 year olds vying for top honors against the likes of Chelsea’s post-prime battle-hardened internationals. The future at Arsenal is bright indeed!

  17. Mack Daniel says:

    The Wenger game plan most of the time is to allow players to run their imagination wild. An attack starts from the instant the player THINKS he is going to win the ball, according to Wenger-Ball. That is why players like Clichy try to finnesse the ball out of their own third and beautifully construct a flowless move intended to end in oppositions 6-yard area. That is very easy on the eye but at the same time it is a high risk factor method. Against WBA Clichy was trying to skillfully sweep the ball away from the opposing forward having taken a good look on the entire pitch with his perepheral vision. In the mean while the opposing forward was only thinking of winning the ball from Clichy with 200% commitment. It was obvious who was going to win the ball from the start. We’ve seen it too many times. These are professional players in on of top teams in the world. Surely they know what is at stake here. They don’t need me to remind them of the priorities. They do it because it is the way Arsenal play the game.

    • desigunner says:

      I agree with your point but there can be an argument that we also need to find the right balance because we make too many fatal mistakes right in front of our goal.

  18. shottagunna says:

    Excellent piece Desi. Blame the internet for this new type of fan. No other blog typifies this irrational, paranoid, sensationalist type of fan than le-doom (I refuse to type the name). Note that Arsenal easily has the highest number of supporter blogs, going by NewsNow there seems to be hundreds, most of them easily fall into the category of Anti-Arsenal Arsenal blogs as coined by Tony Atwood (Untold Arsenal). The interesting thing is most of these bloggers have little or no coaching experience, yet they have convinced themselves that they know better than AW, the coaches and the scouts, who between them have scores of years of football knowledge and experience of the highest club and national level behind them. Reading their posts, one can easily discern that the majority are pimple-faced teenagers or testorone-pumped 20-somethings with access to a satellite dish and a computer who pour out their insecurities and obsessions on a blog. It seems to me the primary source of their paranoia about the club is the lack of a trophy for five years, as if this is the only measure of success. Knowing these types, as I do, the simple inability to boast to their friends that their club has won a trophy heightens their insecurities.

    Because of the anonymity of the internet, and the fact that these emotional, sensationalist fans are the bread and butter of the commercial media I am afraid they will be with us forever. A blog like yours which is rational and analytic is a necessary but insufficient antidote.

    • rohan says:

      shutuup you silly cunt

      • 7masters says:

        idiot go wear pampers,Shottagunna is correct. Something he possible to mention most of these teens need to get a life.

    • desigunner says:

      Thanks.

      The Internet is becoming a difficult place to navigate for Arsenal fans no doubt.

      That’s the real sad part isn’t it, fans who are desperate to boast to their friends that their club has won something, as if it’s their own achievement, when in reality it’s just filling a huge void in their lives.

      Sadly, over the last couple of seasons I’ve seen many rational fans getting sucked in by this Doomer propaganda. Can’t really blame them but it’s a real shame.

  19. Noel says:

    Another great article mate. I’ve been visiting your site for a while now and have to say since you started it’s become my favourite Arsenal blog to read, overtaking a lot of the ones that have been around longer. Love your writing style and thoughtful analysis, and I think you’ve really nailed the perfect balance of being a supporter and constructively critical. I hope you’re here to stay for a long long time.

  20. bc says:

    Just back from Belgrade, did anyone else spot Clichy (& Vela) march off at the end without acknowledging the away support. My own feeling is that the reason is people are shouting for Clichy to be dropped is that there is a certain young Englishman coming through. If he was not English i dont think the shouts would be as strong or perhaps if Clichy was English the shouts would not be as strong? As for Song, IMO he still has a lot to improve on 1 good season in 4 does not make him irreplaceable. I can well see TV5 making one or 2 apps in his position soon or even alongside him. As for Arshavin, the penalty apart he was pretty good last night, particularly in the 1st half. The one thing pissing me off at the moment, is the lack of consistency with the fans, you have people saying we need more players then the same people saying have a clearout. Keith (although i have not seen Keith asking for more players) for example wants to clearout 6 internationals, our most experienced keeper and a young player that has captained Brazil at every level he has played. yeah nice move mate!!

    • 7masters says:

      I am not English but Clichy is sometimes prone to major errors which are costly. I still seethe when I remember when Birmingham came back in game in the game when Edi broke his leg. That was our title but one second of madness from Clichy and we become demoralised and Even I could understand Gallas frustrations that day.

      But let the competition between players commence cause most of them have become slack without it.

    • desigunner says:

      That’s possible. If Clichy had been English he would have had a lot more support as the press would not have focussed on his mistakes at all.

      Song will improve no doubt. He’s developing as a player and his current mistakes are a part of that.

      Interesting that you mention TV5. I’ve been hoping he gets fit and we see him in a midfield role in some games.

      • santori says:

        Rather Koscielny than TV5 in the midfield covering role. He’s quicker and seems quick to read things.

        TV is better built and probably better covering with Squillaci at the back.

      • desigunner says:

        I thought of TV5 in midfield because he is far more skillful on the ball, can pass better, and has a lethal finish.

  21. 7masters says:

    Great article mate In fact I would say it the only Arsenal blog I read nowadays. Le grove, Arseblog have become to predictable, Le grove is extreme anti-Wenger while Arseblog despite having it moments the language used sometimes or views is plain crazy.

    Let look at Arsenal fans or supporters, First Wenger policy of blooding youngsters and expose them to high pressure early on is problematic and downright bad sometimes. If Arsenal are winning and you gradually introduce a player the way Wiltshere or Ramsey have then it great. Otherwise it can backfire etc Fabianski or others.

    Arsenal supporters need to get behind the team and try to be reasonable with expectations cause when we do win it truly great. Wenger and his players should just shut up and knuckle down cause nobody would blame them if they made effort in the first place.

    On Sunday we have game of our life and we need to support our team come rain or shine. I feel these is truly epic game to see who has power to carry forward, Manchester United are spent force and look dull without Ronaldo. Rooney is not going to reach same level ever again due to his problems. While Chelsea have key players who we need to be careful Drogba, Essien,Anelka, Malouda the others are easily beatable.

    Arsenal need to come there physically ready to wrestle them all the way and an early goal or two would help in the process.

    • desigunner says:

      Thanks.

      I think Wenger has made some decisions based on the limitations imposed on him by the move. Now these players have the experience and it’s time for them to deliver.

      • 7masters says:

        Agree I doubt all these people queuing to blame Wenger could do what he did with limited Transfer money. Most of them are like kids buy, Buy, buy? Money is not the only Solution and even united are copying our policies cause they have no more money to burn.

        But one thing Wenger should know is that we do need some quality players in some position cause we are weak. I think defence and Goalie, Defensive midfield and a striking positions should be strengthened by buying suitable players. I have in mind Pepa, Torre from pool and Brazilian Felipe Melo. These could cost a bomb but good enough to cross us over the line. Torres or any world class striker would do in case pool refused to budge.

        But then you look at Arsenal despite not spending anything we are up the with the big boys who spend billions. And give them a run for their money, It not like they beat us senseless but with tiny margins. Only Chelsea looked like doing so in the 4-1 defeat last seasons when we defensively we where rubbish.

  22. cyberbiztoday says:

    Best piece of article I ever read! Great stuff. Get REAL fans!

  23. Nice article Desi. I dont understand your logic of not dropping the players. If somebody is not performing you just keep playing them until they perform, what if they do not perform ?
    I understand that our coach is in much much better situation to judge any player and he has to decide. It is just inevitable to drop players who are not performing.
    As a guy who wanted Song to be dropped i will try to reason it. As everybody accepted Song was playing really bad in all the games this season. I accept Song could improve with forward runs etc. but the point is he is a senior player ( past his young player tag as Arsene accepts now they have to perform) , any more learning has to be gradual and certainly should not be detrimental to Arsenal. As you have accepted his learning was severely affecting our results .
    I am sure Arsene has noticed Song’s runs probably Arsene asked him to do that. But i just do not understand why cannot he just stop it when things are not going well. Lets say he does not have brain to understand it or you can say inexperienced , Arsene must have taken that license back that did not happen and it is the same story for 4 consecutive games. It was obvious in Sunderland game once Song left or sent off, we were going to be better.
    We just cannot have an infinite learning cycle for players.I mean learning in the sense where we allow or accept mistakes from them. It is quite possible that there is something more to it which Arsene knows and i do not know so it is better to accept Arsene’s decision.

    • desigunner says:

      I’m not saying we should never drop players. Since you’ve been reading for a long time, surely you know I am a big fan of rotations. And I’ve no problems with benching a player if he’s really out of sorts.

      But that doesn’t mean we start dropping players every time someone has a couple of bad games.

      Song is certainly trying to add to his game and I’m convinced they must be working on it in training. That means the other players also know what he is trying and are adapting their game to that. I don’t think it’s as easy as flicking a switch i.e. he can’t just stop doing what he’s been training for and revert to what he used to do. It can never be that easy, other wise the whole idea of regular, hard training would be meaningless.

      Just consider Walcott. How many games have we given him to learn? Same with Bendtner. I think adding different qualities to your game takes time and we cannot lose faith in the process.

  24. cjuillet says:

    great read I agree so nice to find this site-some of the ‘fans’ on facebook page so damning to various players even when we win I really wonder if they are fans -at end of day players are not robots. Good to see stats for Arshavin even I was feeling he looked sometime disinterested (until I read Fabrgas’ praise of him) and realize its just his manner. Song when he is playing his right role has ben immense and am sure Wenger would by now have sorted him out.All in all apart frim WBA match I think team have been terific especiciaaly being without 7 key players across board-amazing really

    • desigunner says:

      Thanks.

      You’re right Arshavin often gives the impression that he is disinterested but I like to trust the manager and the player. Wenger won’t keep on playing someone who doesn’t care. It’s Arshavin’s style and fans should respect that.

      • santori says:

        I’ve said it before, kudos to you Desi for giving Andrei a shout.

        Yes he is wasteful and yes he looks languid but he does also pop up in those all important areas, get those assists in and weigh in with his fair share of goals.

  25. gunna says:

    next season we need a goli if cesc leaves a top quality midfeelda like malouda or ribbery and if van persie keeps gettin injured a striker

  26. gunna says:

    best article ive read

  27. Jay Jay 10 says:

    FACT – Song is still our best DM , Arshavin is still on his day our best AM ( incl Nasri)…both times he was on the bench this season he has come on and changed the game.. Gibbs is good…but Clichy as of today is still better, quicker and is a better tackler than Gibbs..If u give Gibbs a run in the team then u will see the mistakes he would make..same goes for Vela give him a run and you will all be crying for Arsh back…The only sad thing is that Song does not have competition…Frimpong and Denilson are still miles behind…We Gooners complain to damn much !!

    • desigunner says:

      Well said.

      • santori says:

        Song is combative but he is also slow.

        Add to the fact that he now feels more adventurous than usual, he has that much more area to cover.

        Unless he can get back to his old discipline, I think the best way to cover him is a 4-2-3-1 with the dynamic young Jack or either of Denilson or Diaby next to him.

  28. Thomas Moore says:

    At Arsenal, we have players who are incapable of performing consistently.But one can say that about all players. What is so pathetic about Arsenal fans is that they have never held Wenger to account for his mistakes. He is the one who selects, trains, and places players on the pitch. His choices over the past three years have been nothing but contempt for the fans. He is incapable of taking responsibility and does not own up to his miscalculations, misplaced trusts, and horribly wrong decisions. For example, he cold not even control who takes the penalty against Sunderland (a fiasco). What are his assistants for? Couldn’t have they yelled in the name of the proper penalty taker? Then, he lets Diaby out on the pitch for the WBR game. Diably should never be on the Arsenal team, if you ask me. He has poor attitude, poor skills, horrible performance, and he is truly a drag on the team. But who is responsible for the 11 players on the pitch? Mr. Wenger!

    • desigunner says:

      I don’t see your point at all. Arsene let’s the players do their thing. That’s the key behind Arsenal’s beautiful style. If he starts micromanaging everything we’ll be another dire,functional team.

      What happened at Sunderland is the kind of thing that happens to all teams. Fergie was pissed that Nani took the penalty against Fulham. Were you aware of that?

      Sorry to say this but you’ve just made random statements without any real thought.

      • santori says:

        I think what he’s trying to say is in as much as the individual players are culpable for their mistakes, Wenger is also sometimes at fault for making poor tactical judgements.

        Point in case (WBA game):

        1) If you see Diaby and Eboue failing to catch the game by the scruff of the neck, why wait a full hour before sending in the subs?

        2)Yes take off someone if you like to put on Vela but why would it be the Central defender? We shipped another goal soon thereafter

        Not to mention last season with games against big teams (United, Chelsea, Barca)we rigidly stuck to 4-3-3 and got punished.

      • desigunner says:

        I’m not saying that Arsene is perfect. He makes a lot of mistakes but often it’s clear only in hindsight.

        Substitutions are rarely easy choices. If you make a couple of early subs and someone gets injured later it can lead to a big problem. Even at halftime we weren’t playing well but we were not behind either. It’s difficult to predict that in 10 mins we will concede two stupid goals.

  29. drvics (mumbai gooner) says:

    Spot on Desi.
    I hear a lot of ‘supporters’ calling for players heads when their performances are not up to the mark. But, how do we judge the performances? How many errors is one allowed? And how much should injuries and fitness determine the pecking order in a given position on the field? Unlike cricket, most of the times, it would be really difficult to correctly analyse the player performances unless they are stand out ones. Analysis of different units (defense, midfield, attack and substitutions) would be a little easier, but at the end of the day, all 11 players are on the field at the same time and if a majority of them are having a bad day, we would most likely lose, a we did against WBA.
    Similarly a player can have a shite match but score a goal that wins the match (arshavin has had a few of those).

    That is the dilemma of man management. Not only is it important to understand when a player is out of form but also that his substitute is ready to take up the mantle. Thats why arguments suggesting that Diaby Denilson and co got more opportunities than the youngsters are getting now because they are Wenger’s favorites is total bs. They had more opportunities cause they had lesser competition for their places.
    And how can we consider a youngster to be up for it after watching just one of his performances when the coaching staff have been watching him day in day out for years.
    The powers in European football are on the verge of a major overhaul. Several big names are on the decline and we are in the upswing. The tide is turning and once it turns, it will be a bright tomorrow, a Red and White tomorrow. We just need to be a little patient.

    • desigunner says:

      Thanks and well said.

      Ultimately, I think it boils down to how short one’s memory is and how soon one wants to start judging. That is at the core of the fickleness of some fans.

  30. Busch says:

    I agree to an extent, but when one says something like; “it’s not difficult to see that Clichy was playing as a defender while doubling up as a midfielder.”, then the fault has to be placed somewhere (on someone) for why he is having to do too much.
    Which, is of course, another criticism of a player(s).
    Someone is at fault. The broad brush of ‘the team was sloppy that game’ or whatnot then falls on the manager for why the whole team looked bad in a game.

    I don’t believe in being completely negative, but it seems there is such a disconnect between the 2 blogging sides now that the ‘optimists’ are going overboard to protect/justify/defend poor play (and players) that they are now as delusional as the pessimists/doomers.

    • desigunner says:

      I’m guessing you’ve not read this blog regularly.

      This article will show you I’ve no problems with criticizing players,

      https://desigunner.wordpress.com/2010/09/19/thoughts-on-the-tactial-and-technical-aspects-of-the-sunderland-game/

      I agree that the fault has to be placed somewhere but that doesn’t mean we should start talking about selling or dropping players after a few mistakes.

      In fact your comment is the perfect example of the problem I have. Haven’t you rushed into a judgement about this blog?

      • santori says:

        Spot on.

        The way we’ve been playing, we’ve heaped unnecessary pressure on the back. Something has got to give, someone will make a mistake.

        4-3-3 is simply too open and does not afford :

        a) Sufficient positional discipline (read Song, don’t forget he is slow and has to cover more area)

        b)pinches our midfield inwards and means our forward wide men have that much more space to have to track back on.

        As much as individual players can be culpable, I feel Wenger’s tactics sometimes do not do him any justice.

        I sincerely hope we don’t elect to go 4-3-3 against the big boys (read Chelsea) but I have my doubts.

  31. santori says:

    I don’t know if we have the luxury to afford to drop any of our big game players at the moment on account of injury but some of the ‘coming of age’ graduate players (Diaby) in particular should be reminded that there are others waiting to take his spot.

    Wenger is at times too lenient on his academy graduates particularly with overt messages in the press emphasising development over purchase.

    Development is the correct way to go but need he be so vocal.

    I feel he is sometimes sending the wrong message out to the young graduates in playing to their comfort level.

    He must put the message out that whilst we will continue to nurture our own, we are not afraid to replace from market (or Academy) if need be.

    ie. The path forward is not to be taken for granted.

    • desigunner says:

      The problem for Arsene is that no matter what he says it will be twisted and pulled out of context. If he says we’re not afraid to replace from market, it will be printed as – wenger gives up on players and is looking at the market. Then it gives more ammunition to doom mongers. Ultimately, if he doesn’t buy then people will start saying he is a liar. Point is, there is no right answer for a man in his position.

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