Swansea 3 – 2 Arsenal: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

A family event at a nearby city took me out of town for the last couple of days and is the cause for the lateness of this post. It really was unavoidable but I don’t want to trouble you with the details.

The result of the game, more so the manner in which the goals were conceded, was quite upsetting but after having a day to think it over I find there were a lot of talking points from the game.

The sight of Benayoun in the starting line-up wasn’t a complete surprise due to the rumours circulating on the previous day but I wasn’t quite sure what his role was, and given his performance it would seem he wasn’t either.

Arsenal started brightly and pressed the hosts high up the pitch in the opening few minutes. That led to a number of errors and Swansea couldn’t establish any rhythm to their game. The Gunners were off the mark much quicker and took the lead as early as the 5th minute after a delightful move. It started with an interception by Benayoun on the left just inside the Swansea half. He played it wide to Miquel who routed it back towards Koscielny. The centre-back found Ramsey who’d dropped deep. The Welshman looked up to see Arshavin directing him to pass forward towards Song, who just angled the pass into the path of the Russian who was free between the lines. His weighted ball was perfect for Van Persie who delayed his shot and probably caught everyone, including Vorm in goal, by surprise.

At that early stage Arsenal were in complete control but the goal probably worked against the Gunners. Swansea love to pass the ball around but Arsenal’s pressing was troubling them. After scoring, the Gunners eased off and that allowed the hosts back into the game. Having nothing to lose they pushed men forward and established control over possession.

Since last season Wenger seems to have instructed his side to drop back to the halfway line when possession is lost. That tactic worked wonderfully in the away games last season and some of the big ones like Barcelona but it has been a massive flop this time around as the defence has been exposed far too easily by all and sundry.

I think a major part of the problem is that Arsenal have lost two players who were excellent at holding the ball under pressure. While Arteta does compensate for that to a large extent it isn’t always enough. And with the Spaniard missing the Gunners just didn’t have enough players who played the possession game well. Thus the Gunners found it hard to hold on to the ball and had to deal with sustained spells of pressure.

Arshavin, Benayoun, and Walcott are all very direct players who don’t offer the kind of work rate needed to move the ball around to absorb pressure and create passing angles for moving the ball forward in a controlled manner. In this game Arsenal were rushing forward when under pressure. Swansea’s pressing and lack of passing options meant the Gunners lost the ball far too often (either hoofed forward, or given away with a misplaced pass, or a player was caught in possession as he searched for passing options, and so on) and were then forced to track back without really getting a chance to get into a solid defensive shape.

Despite that, it must be noted that Arsenal were not really threatened in the first half. Swansea scored from a dubious penalty that looked like a foul on Ramsey upon closer inspection, although it’s hard to blame the ref given his angle. One does wonder why the Assistant Ref didn’t spot Dyer’s foot landing on Ramsey’s leg. Apart from the goal the hosts only managed one shot on target in the first half that was a Dyer effort that went straight at Szczesny.

Arsenal had much better chances in the first half. For instance, soon after conceding the goal Ramsey went close from a tight angle. Around the half hour mark Van Persie was through on goal but his effort was saved by the keeper.

Swansea did manage to put a lot of balls into the Arsenal box but they weren’t really offering a creative threat. Arsenal could have won this game if they’d set up deep to let the hosts play in front of them.

Both sides created a lot more in the second half but Arsenal’s structural issues – too many players sucked back without the right shape, players rushing forward after winning possession/defending without providing the angles for out-balls, Miquel in particular went forward at times in an ill-advised manner – and too many individual mistakes proved costly as was the profligacy in front of goal.

For instance, the second goal came when Ramsey was caught in possession. But it’s far to easy to blame the Welshman for that goal. Looking at the sequence of events one would have to say Arshavin delayed his pass to Ramsey which allowed the opponent to close him down. Song was between the goal and Dyer when the ball was lost but was caught ball-watching when the goalscorer got behind him. Song only chased hard once he saw the ball being played towards the winger. This is a fundamental problem with Arsenal and one that can be seen with many players among whom Song is supposed to be one of the better defensive ones. Once he saw Miquel rushing forward after intercepting the ball initially – which in itself was a debatable move – Song should have been more alert to the danger posed by the Winger. But a lot of Arsenal’s defending is very, very reactive and that opens them up to such mistakes more often.

Of course Ramsey deserves his share of criticism as well. When Arshavin played the ball to him the youngster didn’t really have a pass on the right and his body shape was such that coming inside wasn’t an option. He tried to take the opponent on when the smarter option would probably have been to knock it wider for a foot chase.

Errors committed in central areas are a lot more likely to lead to goal as it open the play up for opponents. When in trouble the wise option is to take it wide. Ramsey should also have the technical ability to shield the ball from an opponent so that one of his teammates can get into a better position to receive a pass. He also needs to show more caution and patience in such a situation. But in his rush to move forward he committed a fatal mistake. These are the kind of mistakes that highlight issues with tactical awareness and to me the Gunners are severely lacking in defensive tactical thinking when compared to other top sides.

Even for the third goal, Henry’s flick that went straight to Sigurdsson was extraordinarily clumsy for a man of his experience but not one that would surprise those who have followed his career. Koscielny dropped a fraction deeper when he anticipated the through-ball. Szczesny was all over the place. It was just too easy for Swansea.

The hosts’ defensive performance at the other end wasn’t very good. Their backline was often a shambles as Arsenal got in behind regularly, none more telling than the second goal. They also conceded a lot more chances. Mertesacker showed he had no attacking instincts in the box when he spurned a gilt-edged opportunity. Ramsey, Rosicky, and Koscielny all forced decent saves from the Keeper. But Swansea didn’t lose their shape that often, a lot of the chances were a result of Arsenal’s quality. If the Gunners can learn to get into a defensive shape when under pressure they will collect a lot more points but for that there have to be additions to the coaching staff.

On the whole this was a very disappointing game with a number of deep-rooted issues coming to the fore. Injuries are definitely a part of the problem but they cannot be used as an excuse. Why did Arteta play against Leeds, just to take one example?

Individual Performances:

Szczesny: Didn’t look assured or confidence-inspiring at all. Positioning for the second goal was questionable, for the third was poor. Distribution wasn’t good either. Needs to focus on his game rather than gimmicks like singing with the fans and kissing the boots of the striker. He has a lot to prove.

Djourou: Swansea didn’t create too many chances from his end but the Swiss defender also curbed his attacking instincts to a large extent. Was fairly involved in the passing and had a respectable success rate. Also picked up a very good assist.

Mertesacker: Wasn’t as involved in the passing as he usually is, probably as a result of being pushed back. Made the most number of successful clearances. Should have done much better when the ball fell at his feet. It was as if he was on his heels and just not expecting the ball to come to him at that height.

Koscielny: A fighting display from the Frenchman. Made a fair number of passes and clearances, 4 interceptions, and also had an acrobatic strike on goal.

Miquel: The youngster had a very influential game in a positive and negative sense. He had the most touches and the most passes of any Arsenal player, which is commendable for one his age, especially in a game of such intensity and pressure. He also won the ball back most often in the defensive and middle thirds including his five interceptions. It would be harsh to blame him for the second or third goal even if he was caught up-field.

I thought the defenders did reasonably well under pressure and considering the injuries to regular full-backs. Graham’s movement was intelligent and Dyer’s pace and skill were tricky. Sinclair too was a handful. Their passing wasn’t at the usual level but many of the errors were forced by the opponents’ pressing and Arsenal’s tactical issues.

It would be worth knowing if Miquel’s forward bursts were based on instructions from the manager or just a result of  his own exuberant initiative. He did make a big contribution on the left flank in terms of passing and possession, which also facilitated Arshavin’s inward movement but would Benayoun have been more effective if Miquel had stayed back more often?

Song: Worked extremely hard but also made a number of mistakes. Received and made a fair number of passes. Had the second highest number of ground duels – 13 – but won only 5 of those. Joint highest on the Possession Won in Midfield stat. Wasn’t able to contribute in attack. Should have done much better to track Dyer for the second goal.

Ramsey: He was the easy villain for many and it’s not hard to see why. Conceded possession for the second goal and was the highest on the Total Loss of Possession stat. Some will also blame him for the penalty even though it wasn’t his fault. But he was also the player who worked hardest on the pitch. He made the most interceptions and had the joint highest Possession Won in Midfield figure. He also was the second highest in terms of passes and touches. He got into attacking areas and created three chances and hit two good shots on target. At the same time the Welshman was also putting in a strong defensive shift with a team high 19 ground duels. All-in-all the youngster was everywhere and tried really hard. Some of his mistakes were forced as the weaknesses of the side were exposed. That’s not to say he had a great game, just that he put in the best effort among the players Arsene sent out on the pitch.

Benayoun: He probably didn’t look bad to the casual observer. Made four interceptions, two of which led to good chances, and didn’t lose the ball cheaply. But given the current system Arsenal need a lot more from the third midfielder and Benayoun failed because of what he didn’t do rather than what he did. He was at least a yard off pace on many instances and wasn’t really helpful in attack or defence. Also tended to drift to the left far too often. He only received 18 passes and attempted only 25. That shows he wasn’t really getting into positions where his teammates could find him. The fact that Rosicky made 23 passes in less than half the time showed just how little Benayoun offered on the pitch. He also attempted only 4 ground duels compared to 13 and 19 from his midfield partners.

The midfield failed. Song and Ramsey had to do the job of three players as they were stretched in attack and defence. Benayoun was out of sync and off pace. Ultimately all of them made mistakes; some obvious, others not so evident without a closer inspection. But it’s hard to think Arsenal would have lost this game with Arteta in the side. It’s not an excuse but an indication of what was missing. Benayoun might improve to an extent but I don’t see him having a meaningful career or even a memorable season at Arsenal.

Walcott: His limitations were exposed as the possession game failed. Made far too many early runs and wasn’t really helpful as an outlet for an out-ball. For instance, if he had been on the right touchline, Ramsey would probably not have attempted a take-on. Did score a good goal and put in dangerous crosses late in the game. Kind of a mixed game for the Englishman.

RvP: Goal was deft. As always work rate was exceptional and there was a moment when he brought the ball out after beating three of four players in the Arsenal half. Put in an excellent cross for Henry and created the maximum number of chances, 4. Should probably have done better with his second chance which went straight at the Keeper.

Arshavin: Another player whose weaknesses were highlighted by the game. Can’t really fault his effort as he was chasing the ball but he doesn’t have the ability to contribute to a pressure-absorbing possession game that can help the side control the tempo. Received only 21 passes and made only 20. The assist did show his quality but it wasn’t enough.

The wide players weren’t able to contribute meaningfully in attack or defence despite picking up a goal and an assist between them. I don’t blame them completely as the manager has to find a tactical system that can use their skills better while masking their weaknesses. The reverse usually happens when the current possession game fails and Arsenal don’t seem to have a good alternative.

Subs: Rosicky was lively and made a much bigger impact on the game than Benayoun as he received 21 passes, completed 22/23, and had 3 shots on goal. Henry’s movement in the box was interesting but he didn’t get enough balls. He did show the ability to receive and hold the ball. Partly at fault for the third goal as he gifted possession in a dangerous area with an ill-advised flick. AOC was energetic but couldn’t make an impact.

Wenger: The manager is handicapped by the injuries and his side certainly deserved more from this game. But a lot of the issues discussed here are long-standing ones and it’s up to Arsene to find the solutions.

44 Responses to Swansea 3 – 2 Arsenal: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

  1. jeff says:

    In my opinion,Ramsey should have stayed behind with song and be more defensive since Benayoun did play.. just like what Arteta always does as a deep lying playmaker.. Most gunners have called for Wenger to put Ramsey on the bench for some time.. Walcott must as well wake up besides the goal.. he’s not close to the expectation dat people do have in him.. I’m a huge fan of Arsene.. yet i think Wenger is not fair to give Ramsey n Walcott so much chance while Rosicky n Chamberlain have done really well this season.. Wenger’s afraid to change his starting XI.. keep playing players who are not doing well.. come on Wenger….

    • Charlie says:

      Jeff I think you need to focus on Benayoun who didn’t work hard enough and when he did get the ball did nothing of merit. Ramsey made some errors but he made them because he was on the ball more than anyone. The failings in this match were down to a lack of possession and Ramsey can’t be faulted for that when he was the most active player.

      • WafflingWenger says:

        Exactly. Young players are bound to make mistakes, but I find the fact that Ramsey continually (& bravely) puts himself in the kind of positions that are either extremely successful or complete failures for the team extremely encouraging for his development.

        I truly believe that he can be a fantastic player for the club, & the kind of which we have not seen for some time (certainly not in my time).

  2. Femi Jacobs says:

    Good one. But dont you think he should have used Chamberlain instead of Walcott? Dont you think Ryo would have been far better than Arshavin? Dont you think Wenger is just a father and not more of a coach? I am sure most of these things you noted were on the pitch, didnt he note them too and would have bring in Rosicky to hold possession?

    • Dhruv says:

      I made a similar point Femi, I agree with you.

      • WafflingWenger says:

        Not I.

        Don’t you think Wenger, who sees these players week in week out, who has access to mountains of data on their every movement and development, who knows them intimately and who has an extremely sharp and astute football mind knows best???

        Everyone was harping on about starting Park, then they were harping on about starting Benayoun & now it’s Ox and Ryo. Have faith in what he’s doing sand the decisions he makes. These kind of knee-jerk result reactions are not necessarily beneficial to performances. Have patience and perseverance.

    • jeff says:

      That is what exactly i said.. the fans want chamberlain over walcott or Arshavin,the fans want Rosicky over Ramsey.. but does wenger dare to change..? time’s up for Ramsey n probably Theo as well.. at the same time, i also think that Arshavin is in danger of being booed.. I’m afraid Eboue incident could happen again..

  3. Dhruv says:

    Interesting article Desi and you mentioned that Wenger’s team “certainly deserved more from this game.” I am not a tactician but I saw that Swansea ran all over Arsenal in midfield with over 60% possession.

    May be you are right, but before Swansea, Arsenal lost to Fulham, struggled to win over QPR, and drew with Wolves. So it seems every game is difficult and Arsene seems to have lost the plot. Arsenal do not have good back up players and scoring goals is a problem. A new left back and CAM will help.

    I thought Ramsey and Kos were best of the lot and worked really hard against Swansea but they will make mistakes if there no support.

    Walcott is substandard but Arshavin is hopeless, he does not have the game to do well in EPL. Arshavin should be sold or loaned out and AOC and Miyaichi given chances.

    The tough part of the season is yet to come. Injured players will come back but they will need time to perform at their best.

  4. Davi says:

    Basically, Swansea worked much harder off the ball, when in possession and when we had the ball. They moved to give eachother more options when they had possession, making it very difficult to get it back, and even showed great composure to take the sting out of our final push. They also made it very difficult for us to keep the ball in any area of the pitch. Unsurprisingly this led to them having far more possession of the ball, and they were deserved winners.
    This often happens to arsenal at around this point in the season, but it’s rare that a side takes advantage to this degree, so hats off to Swansea. The real disappointment is that our poor performance is probably due to fatigue, and our missing arteta – we shouldn’t be so much more tired than our PL opponents at this point!

  5. 9jagunnerdoc says:

    Spot on analysis as usual Desi, but only one person deserves the blame and that is Arsene Wenger.
    The major problem with the team is that there is no competition. Players are assured of their starting shirts so they get complacent, Sczcezny is ã typical example, a top talent no doubt, but noone is going to keep him on his toes. And it’s the same in all positions.

    Has Wenger really lost it? We all thought he was so good at finding very good players at a bargain, but how come Demba Ba would go to Newcastle on a free and he missed it? Or how could Parker go to them Spuds and be having a great season and he missed that, same for VdV last season. Yet we have mediocres all over the park in our team.

    Make no mistake, i’m no Wenger out disciple but truth must be told, because it’s really frustrating. He really offer to get himself sorted out both tactically and manpower wise. No team is scared of having a go at us and they all know how to play us ’cause we’re so predictable. How come we never take any shots at goal? I could go on and on. It all boils down to one man, Wenger. So he should really sort himself out.

  6. zaragooner says:

    I’m a huge fan of Arsene, but you can’t always blame the injury or the referee when you lose the game. Yes, maybe we can blame the referee for letting the penalty scored against us, but what about another 80mins left after the penalty? We have to admit that it was a poor and hopeless performance. For 70th mins, Swansea looked more dangerous and even they pressing us a lots. True that our main players are injured, but why can’t we change our tactics based on available player? Ramsey and Benayoun are same players, playing without any direction, not knowing where to go with the ball. He started with Arshavin, I’m not discredited his assist, but why can’t we start with AOC? I think after this game, without doubt, Arteta haters can just fuck off. It’s been ages we didn’t see this poor midfield. No spines in midfield, people were easily blaming Song, and i know mostly slaughtered Ramsey, but well let’s just agree that the whole team is poor, even Szczesny. I’m not a huge fan of anyone, but when will people realize that he is not a solution to our goalkeeper problem. I know he’s young, 21 and still lots to learn and improve but until when? Why people keep letting him go with his mistakes. Stay at the post for fuck sake! It’s sad really that with 17 games left to play in the league, I think all Arsenal fans will agree with me that our title ambitions are already dead and buried. Well, let’s hope they will bounce back this Sunday or else, we can say welcome to Europa League next year.

  7. Shahr says:

    Wenger should have a self analysis.His management style of kids and marathon passing is to be blamed. So many young players have been signed and moved on. That is time wasted.Why not go for the proven players even though they will cost more?
    The accent on the future starting the last five years has been a failure.We need guys who can improve the gunners now and not in five years time. That is the amount of time that has been wasted by Wenger on his purchases.
    I am afraid this will be the season when Wenger will be unable to get the 4th spot. Then what?He will again offer all kinds of excuses when he himself holds the solution to the problems facing Arsenal.
    I feel enough time has beengiven to him and no more time should be afforded him.

  8. Charlie says:

    As with most of you i’m also a fan of Arsene but the selection was so wrong in so many positions. RW should’ve been Chamberlain, LW should’ve been Henry or Benayoun if Henry couldn’t last 90 minutes. Midfield should not have been Benayoun who might have been ok for a role on the wing but should’ve been Rosicky. You could see that the midfield would be lightweight and you could see that Arshavin and Walcott would do what they’ve been doing all season, waste the ball every time they get it. Walcott scored but it was a gift from the Swans’ defense.

  9. eddaniels says:

    It was a disappointing game on sunday and it exposes the team’s lack of quality. I know the success of the team this season has been down to wenger’s tactical approach rather than the quality in th team. Quality players win you games and that account for why van persie has been a stand out. If henry cld come and walk into the team, it means we’re short in quality. After losing 2 creative players, I expected wenger to use the wings more by buying the right players in that role. This would’ve increased the team’s creativity. Walcot is not a creative player & gervinno is always found wanting in the final 3rd. Depending on ramsey as the main creative player is a great show of lack of ambition. U cant expect so much from a player that has been out for a yr. Hope we get into top as that is becoming more difficult by the day.

  10. rohit says:

    i was very surprised to see benayoun in the starting lineup…surely rosicky warrants a start in the absence of usual starters….

    • rohit says:

      and mr.rodgers bravo….finally a gutsy manager who isnt afraid of changing tactics and substituted a def mid for att mid at half time….he could see afc midfielders struggling and presence of sigurdsson’s added pressure made us crack under pressure!!!….that for me was masterstroke…..

      • RKK says:

        I agree. Sigurdsson was definitely a turning point in the game. I had the exact same observation and the sad thing is the Gunners technical staff didn’t pick it up. When people laud this league as unpredictable and exciting, It’s bosses like B. Rodgers and teams like Swansea they have in mind.

    • jeff says:

      Wenger didn’t play Rosicky because he’s not 100% fit.. he’s just come back from sickness.. so he opted for benayoun,i guess. but we missed mikel Arteta so dearly……

      • santori says:

        Both Metersecker and Rosicky were not 100%

        Abslutely right.

        OTOH, we only have ourselevs 9and you know who) to balme that we are tactically rigid in a 4-3-3 ATM.

        Pity Rosicky could not start because he looked extremely useful. Benayoun is better off on the wings (I’d prefer AA roaming about in the middle to him…but that brings about a whole diff set of issues)

  11. RKK says:

    I’m very concerned about the confidence level within the team right now. All the other issues about our defensive frailties and such have been highlighted, and I will not be part of the brigade that calls for the selling of the likes of Arshavin e.t.c; not because they are playing well (which they are not) but because I believe that is not the solution. I’m concerned that sometimes the players don’t have that ‘never-say-die’ attitude that is so crucial in this league: something that we know Jack Wilshere clearly possesses. That we conceded the goals notwithstanding, I’m not happy that at the end of the game we were outplayed so much by the home team. There was no sense of belief that a comeback was possible. Their body language was dull. Although individually some of them gave a last gasp effort (most notably Rosicky), as a unit they almost seemed to play those last 20 min not like they wanted to, but like they had to. I would have been happier if we had lost the game but the stats for the last 15 min read something like “80% possession, 5 shots on goal, 4 on target.” It’s that kind of determination to attempt what seems improbable that you can CONFIDENTLY carry on to the next game regardless of the result. I strongly believe that they are capable of producing the sufficient quality (yes, even the little Russian, the tall Moroccan, e.t.c). But do they believe in themselves?

    • santori says:

      Hopefully, we will have Arteta back for United.

      This is a big problem with our team, with one small component missing, we are back to square one.

      Arteta maybe a concern but with Le Coq out injured (and in many ways still learning the ropes) + our CBacks deputising as fullbacks, we will find ourselves extremely horribly exposed if Song develops a nasty ‘calf strain’.

  12. The chance of a top 4 finish looks highly unlikely without positive additions to the squad. Past the starting eleven it seems Arsene lacks faith in a host of players. Injury or lack of performance from the regulars always ends up in lost points. I really don’t see a lot of harm from missing out on the champions league position. We can finally bed the younger players in the Europa n Carling cup.

    • santori says:

      I can see the gaffers reluctance to get a fullback on loan at the moment.

      I am not so sure I can understand his hesitance in getting an additional striking option/wideman with the likes of Podolski available (or for that matter maybe Leandro Damiao)

      We know that Henry’s contribution is extremely short term. We know that PArk is not yet (for whatever reason) up to mark (not evena Vela mark). We know that Chamakh is not suited for our game and may have to be replaced in due time this summer.

      What is possibly stopping him from going out there and getting in someone for a little over 10-12m who can at a bit more vereve up front and afford us the ability to put pressure on the opponents up top rather than exposing the obvious issues in our defense?

  13. GG says:

    Arsenal never struggle for goals in the past decade, but now we do, on top of that we are still leaking goals. Hate to say this but we might finish behind Spurs

  14. lanrymed says:

    ramsey! What does wenger see in him.infact i think he has voodooed both wilshere and diaby so that he cn play and he kept killing our games

    • santori says:

      He is reasonably good going forward but his defensive game (in terms of efficiency) is still developing.

      We missed Arteta plain and simple. IN the Spaniard’s absence, I expected Song to step his game up. As it was, he had a very dissapointing one for me.

      • santori says:

        Also, I feel that neither Ramsey, Walcott or AA have sufficient ‘bite’ to their game.

        Some of the more limited players representing the Swans on the other hand made up for their technical deficiencies with extra commitment.

        There in lay the diff. Nathan Dyer was an absolute menace.

    • Dhruv says:

      voodooed, I dont think you are serious. Diaby injury was caused by a rash challenge and Wilshere by Wenger’s reluctance to spend to buy an alternative. Ramsey is giving it all in the midfield. He has to improve I agree and he will if handled carefully.

  15. sikkimarsenal says:

    buying players wid pl experience and selling the deadwood and injury prone players who have nothing good to offer will save. Or else w
    e’ll be fighting for europa league place. Selling diaby, chamakh, squillaci, cy park, almunia and buying at least dempsey and demba ba will be good for arsenal.

  16. Wrenny says:

    The real problem for me was Benayoun. He was often far too advanced, failing to support Song both in attack and defence, and the midfield was completely broken because he didn’t understand what was required of him to absorb the Swansea pressure. With Benayoun going walkabout there was no accomplished passer orchestrating and controlling from deep, and it was left to Song and out-of-position CBs playing at full back Djourou and Miquel to try and bypass Swansea’s pressing.

    But with Wilshere, Diaby, Coquelin and Arteta all injured, and Rosicky only strong enough for the bench after being ill in bed all week, there were few options. The only genuine alternative I can see would be to have put Ramsey and Benayoun in each others roles. More unusual changes (such as 4-4-1-1 with Arshavin in the hole, a popular one among fans) to a side depleted of so much of its usual personnel is likely to cause more problems than it solves as players unaccustomed to regular football are asked to fill unfamiliar roles and instructions.

    • santori says:

      4-4-1-1 would have been an interesting option had Wenger made an effort to at least develop it as a back up.

      As it stands, there isn’t one.

      • Wrenny says:

        As much as I’d like to see us have more tactical variety I can understand how, this season in particular, it must have been difficult to do so. In between all the in and outs of the summer, the team’s shift to a more counter-attacking style, and now the shortage of full-backs, there’s been no let up of things that need considerable work in training to get right, all of which must take priority over developing a plan B.

  17. Wow Newcastle are in the mix to sign Papa Demba Cisse. I really like Newcastle’s signings- Obertan aside- Ba+Cabaye+Tiote.

    • santori says:

      We need someone like Podolski.

      It will give us further options out wide. If not why did we buy Park if we aren’t using him now?

      Granted I agree with Wenger that Jan is not the ideal time to bring in and bed in a new player in the PL but there are players out there that will consider a move and not just becuase they have had their heads turned because they have loss commitment to the current cause.

      Podolski is one of them He has had a very decent return of goals this season. He is n intelligent player whho can play support striker or at very least provide us with a bit of nous out wide.

      We have a bevy of direct minded players out wide right now and we can definately do with a player who is a bit more crafty out wide (or in the support striker role)

      I think it a big mistake for Wenger not to explore the option even with the very temporial solution of Henry on board (heard he now has …surprose surpise a calf strain)

      Wenger made the same mistake last season in the CBack position banking on the Vermaelen return. In this case, we are still risking the exposure to RVP currently (and more particularly our goal threat)

      I am a bit more circumspect with the LB/RB situation. This is more dependant on as accurate an assessment on GIbbs as possible. BUt with Vermalen due back along with Sagna shortly (Jenkinson not far), we could afford to hold out in this dept particularly as Wenger is correct in assessing that there is little value for a player on loan in this position unless we buy in excess at this point.

      But the striker/wideman is an issue.

      We need to kill teams off and be able to prosecute in an unforgiving manner. We are currently far too accomodating.

      • Dhruv says:

        I agree about LB situtation. Wenger probably will not buy, in fact Wenger does not fancy buying anyone in the January window but we have a few days.

    • Dhruv says:

      Oh ya I agree, Newcastle are much stronger than some of the people think. They might finish in top 6 this time.

  18. Kaygunner says:

    It is honestly with a heavy heart that I admit that arsenal are no longer a competitor in the Epl, I have been an arsenal supporter for 15 of the 25 years of my life. And this season has been the straw that broke the camels back.

    We have continually blamed misfortune on, the board, arsene wenger and other teams.I honestly believe the lack of intervention and inaction by the english fans, namely the ones that visit the stadium and pay for tickets, and are so blessed to do so…

    Thru the 6 year slump I have never heard or seen any public and well attended and message delivering protest, not even a banner saying saying you’ve had enough

    You continue to post your comments in internet forums and blogs that have no net effect, it sounds harsh, but it is true, you all know the problem, but yet we squabble amongst ourselves..at the end of the day wenger is a great manager, but if he fails to stand for the team and demand the right input, for fear of losing the second highest managerial salary in the league and just coasting by. What good is he.

    It hurts that I personally cannot do anything, cos I live in africa, this had been a last resort…let us stop complaining and start acting, let’s sacrifice for the good of the team

    If we stand for nothing, we will fall for anything

    • santori says:

      Half a season in, may as well back the current crop limited as they be to the bitter end.

      BUT the gaffer should really assess the situation and not make excuses. We are one excellent player away from regaining some competitive edge IMO and the correct position to reinforceis still up front IMO.

      OTOH, make yourself heard and you will drive the gaffer further into his trench. The only way he takes action is when we sffer immeasurable defeat and that may be coming around the corner again courtesy of United.:P

  19. santori says:

    I don’t know how many times we are suppose to ‘wake up and focus’ this season.

    Complete complacency.

    Granted we are handicap somewhat because Rosicky and Metercecker had the flu.

    Wenger therefore opted to play Benayoun in midfield whcih to my mind is too siilar to Ramsey. We missed Arteta who did the simple things for us and di it well without having to run around all over the place ineffectively ala young Ramsey.

    BUT even so, we should have had better quality than what was available to the Swans yet they played with maximum efffort and managed to boss the game.

    Another issue which has been highlighted before is the ;ack of ‘plan B’. Granted Wenger would like to give his attacking assets maximum space to express themselves and believes 4-3-3 to be the answer but some of our attacking assets are limited in dimension.

    A different tactical suit may have afforded us a better option particularly with some choice players out in midfield.

    Unfortunately, no effort has been made to develop such an approach which may have seen say Ramsey and Song holding in the middle with Benayoun and Walcott wide, Henry (and later Arsharvin)in the hole just behind RVP.

    Really dissapointed because every time we have had an opportunity presented before us to close the gap with the final four ahead of us, we have completely squandered it.

    The fan who had a go at then end was competely correct to do so. yes we support the team monsieur Henry but we also expect a bit more gumption from it.

    Not optimistic about the United game ahead and I am generally an optimist by nature.

    • Dhruv says:

      “Wenger therefore opted to play Benayoun in midfield whcih to my mind is too siilar to Ramsey” I dont see that being valid. Benayoun could be better finisher but Ramsey is much superior in midfield. Ramsey will develop but he needs to play and learn from a seasoned CAM. Right now he is just about okay, not great.

      Anyway cheer up, there might be money spent after Man U game like last time.

  20. Sandeep says:

    Mr. Desi – is there any chance I could speak to you over email about possibly contributing a piece? Regards, Sandeep.

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