Quicks Thoughts On Olympiacos … and Swansea

First things first, some of you might have noticed the conspicuous-by-its-absence match analysis after the Swansea game. Well, to be honest, I just didn’t feel up for it and there doesn’t seem to be much to gain from getting into the kind of details we’ve already discussed on numerous occasions. I understand there are some fans who might not have seen the game and were relying on the match report, to them my apologies; but I’m fairly certain these souls will understand my sentiments, perhaps even share them.

It wasn’t a rank bad performance over 90 minutes but it was far from the level Arsenal absolutely have to achieve and the mistakes for the goal were frustratingly familiar. As Wenger said, I’m not that concerned about 10th place in the table, it’s the quality of the game that is worrying and the fact that Arsene is uncharacteristically struggling to shape his best and most effective attacking unit despite having had a full pre-season with most players. Focussing on the position in the table is a little misleading because the gap with 3rd and 4th is not that big. If the quality of the game comes back the Gunners will move up the table swiftly but, unfortunately, we haven’t seen many signs of the unit clicking as a whole in a balanced manner.

I am currently trying to put together an article covering the broader view of the problems that Arsenal have faced over the last few  seasons, and I hope to follow that up with more specifics on this season’s issues. Articulating the points without making the article something resembling a doctoral thesis is proving a tough ask. But hopefully I’ll be done in a couple of days.

In the meantime, there’s a game against Olympiacos. In the years to come, this will probably be viewed as the most pointless game Arsenal played this season. Yes, there is some bearing on the position in the group, which in turn will affect the draw for the second round, but let’s face it, that’s too far in the future and the immediate problems are of a much more pressing nature.

Wenger has decided to rest most of his key players, a move that was long overdue. So the squad to face the Greek champions consists of many youngsters, a few regulars, and fringe players whose continued presence in the squad has puzzled many.

Picking a competitive and balanced line-up from that squad that can win such an away game will be nothing short of miraculous. In other words, I will be pleasantly surprised if Arsenal come back with the three points.

Szczesny, Vermaelen, AOC, Jenkinson, Ramsey, Coquelin, Arshavin, Gervinho, and Chamakh should all start. Wenger might also pick Rosicky, although I hope it’d only be done with complete confidence rather than a gamble over his fitness just because the squad is short of experience. Squillaci is a possibility alongside Vermaelen.

If Rosicky plays, we could see Coquelin at right-back and Jenkinson at left, or vice-versa. If Little Mozart doesn’t start, one of the youngsters in the squad will likely start in one of the full-back positions. Meade seems the most likely choice at left-back.

We might see,

Szczesny – Coquelin, Squillaci, Vermaelen, Jenkinson – Ramsey, AOC, Rosicky – Gervinho, Chamakh, Arshavin.

That is just my attempt to fit in all the relatively experienced players into the starting line-up. Way too many permutations are possible but I don’t really care.

I was a little surprised Eisfeld wasn’t in the squad for this one, or Djourou. Are they injured?

It’s a game that has to come and go. If the Gunners somehow get a result then it might help stem the rot otherwise it’ll just be a statistic. I’m not too concerned about a defeat or a draw in this game and will most probably not watch it. There will definitely be no match report after this one but watch out for the other articles that I mentioned earlier.

The game on Saturday will probably be just the opposite of this one. Those looking back might see that as the most important one of the season, particularly if it can kick-start a turnaround. If not that then at least it will take us closer to January…

21 Responses to Quicks Thoughts On Olympiacos … and Swansea

  1. Siva says:

    Eisfield doesn’t qualify. I think Gnabry too. Djorou?? No idea.

    • santori says:

      Yeah surprised about that too.

      Young Eisfeld has been excellent for the reserves. Ditto Gnabry who could surely do with something like this (with an eye for Gervinho’s spot in one-two seasons)

      No Miquel either. Injured?

      • winner says:

        I suspect Wenger has plans for Essfield and Gnabry for the weekend if they are not injured. I rate Ranmsey and Wiltshire very highly. However, when Wiltshire played a couple of games with reserves on his way to gain fitness, on each occasion he was outshone by Essfield. Admittedly, this is not the time to experiment, but I cann’t see Essfield doing much worse than what the other midfielders have done lately. I will also confess that for the first time in more than a decade I was at a complete loss of emotions after the Swansea game. Two things came to mind…1) Robin’s statement that he was worried with the direction the team was going and did not agree with it. Well, I had hoped he was wrong but based on current evidence it is difficult to fault him. 2) Diaby’s absence has hurt Arsenal badly. At the beginning of the season the team was so balanced and so promising that even Mourinho of all people saw the potential and tipped Arsenal for the championship. Wenger took a great gamble on Diaby’s fitness and did not buy a defensive midfielder. This has backfired badly. We have not been able to control any game lately….even against Montepellier, Yanga Mbiwa terrorised us. Arteta is being played out of position. While this will work in some games certainly the evidence is there to show that it is not a long term solution.

        My heart bleeds for this club. I fear that for me it is a case of blind love.

  2. santori says:

    Don’t blame you. Who would feel up to writing an article after that abject display? Having said that, really look forward to the breakdown forthcoming.

    • wawa says:

      oh thanks Desi for the information. am one of the guys who didnt watch the Swansea game and was really looking forward to read your Report + Analysis. will watch the Olympiacos game without any pressure so am sure i will enjoy watching it

  3. santori says:

    1) Ramsey holding? You must surely jest sir.

    Coquelin and Rosicky for me. Put Ramsey forward or Arsharvin through the middle with Gervinho and Chambo on either flank. Podolski up top.

    I want to see Coquelin in the holding role. We must know if he can remotely hold Arteta’s position with help alongside (Rosicky). Last chance.

    2) Jenkinson can barely hold his own flank. Rather see Angha get a shout.

    3) Squillaci? No thanks. rather have the new kid Handravic is he?

    This is a throwaway game, might as well try out new tactics and players.

    Maybe a possibility to go 4-4-2/4-2-4

    Hope we win all the same.

  4. Arsenal says:

    Eisfield is not illegible as he needs to play 2 years in the EPL.
    This year UEFA COMPETITION and teams are of even higher playing standard then before, so to come in first or second really makes no deifference and its the team dynamic and quality that will go further in this competition.

    • Dhruv says:

      Hi Arsenal, how are u feeling? I guess we will know in a few hours time!

      Personally I think this match is a welcome break for Arsenal players and fans, who can be their carefree self. Arsenal should give good account of themselves. I see a 2-1 win.

  5. Kay says:

    Eisfeld played for Under 21 on Sun. Where is Djourou? Can anyone give me an answer?

  6. Yevgeniy says:

    I have been very busy lately and missed the Swansea game. I was able to track the score through the ESPN app… and saw 0:2 to Swansea… it took me 2 days to overcome the feelings and watch only bitesize highlights. I still didn’t see the ManU 8:2 highlights. But I still keep the faith in Gunners!

    • Foolishgooner says:

      Man U 8:2! No highlights in that one mate.
      Desi no worries, Swansea were more focused and lethal. They tried to hurry us and played for the draw in last 35min. We were never up for it, Theo got lost cause No Song to find him behind a Hard working banks of 4 defense. TV went close and then lost it neglected his duties. Jenkinson for got to play safe and kick the ball out… 2:0 match set. This team is timid, lacks believe and ideas, they play down to competition or not good enough. Arsene list faith in his bench…he seems mentally fragile and defeated man. I hope we win tomorrow and Rosicky/Arshavin/Chamakh shine, more importantly Coquelin. I looking forward to ending Arteta playing HDM! And eliminating possibility of Ramsey and Arteta on a same pitch ever again! They are too similar, they pass back words do not make runs, no physical presence, pace to recover from mistakes… Defense just get close to them and they pass side ways backwards and loose the ball. There you go, glad to add your reasons of skipping post match report.
      Cheers gooners.

      • No mo'mojo says:

        I think Arsene has lost faith in himself and is no longer hungry for glory.He’s lost his Mojo and needs to reintroduce himself to …himself.He has invested too much energy into the high possession style of football which has ensured a continual top four spot but by its nature actually takes the fight out of the team-players become accustomed to holding the majority of the ball and lose the urge or are too shagged out to scrap for it..He needs to create a more direct game plan which demands hunger and fight from all eleven -not so much of the tired old focus focus mantra which is something you use for a rubik cube.I’m sure old Fergy doesn’t brainwash his lot with ookee luds fookis fookis fookis.They know they’ll get a kick up the arse if they don’t fight-which is why they can let in 3 goals but score 4 and win. Has anyone found a lost French Mojo?

      • Scott (USA) says:

        Ramsey is not in Arteta league. I get the style thing but Ramsey is a very average player and has never done anything very well. Arteta is class just not a true CDM and probably a little tired. Comparing them is doing a huge disservice to Arteta. Agree they shouldn’t be on the pitch at the same time but I don’t want Ramsey on the pitch with any of our Mids. Eisfeld will be far better player and already has a better feel for the game. Everything Ramsey does feels forced. No flow, he doesn’t feel the game. He has trouble in the middle of the pitch when it is tight and can’t play wide and never should be in a defending midfield position. He doesn’t react well when the other team gains possession and is slow to recover. Sorry about the Ramsey rant …. Gervinho (better in France), TV5, Kos really need to pick it up. All having very average seasons. Thank god for Merts. Who would have thought after last season. I know Wenger will not buy in Jan but he needs to get a clue. M’Villa and Ba(Klas would be good also but to much money for Wenger) would really jump start this squad. A good run would really get us back in the thick of things but I am not seeing a light at the end of this tunnel right now.

    • winner says:

      I had to dash to airport after twenty minutes. Just before boarding the plane i PHONED HOME AND THEY TOLD ME THAT THE RESULT WAS well what it turned out to be. I am still in shock. However, given what I had seen in the first 20 minutes the result was not surprising. I am just hoping for better days. The season is not over but we now need an incredibly good run of good results.

  7. Caribkid says:

    DJ is out injured. Failed last minute medical.

  8. Nizam says:

    I’ve just checked that Meade is only 160 cm /5ft 3inches tall.I don’t know. But to me 99% of epl players are at least 176cm in heigtht. I know Aaron is 5ft 5.To play Meade against towering players is cazy.
    He is supposed to play against Olympicos.
    What exactly is Wenger trying to prove?

    • Redcore says:

      Did you see Meade play for us in the 5-7 turnaround? He is a natural left back and is capable of playing out from the back on his own. Evwn Jenkinson does not do that. IF Meade manages to hold his own the team will be much more balanced than if say Jenkinson were to play that position.

      That said I do agree that it is a gamble to start him. Good luck to the lad if he gets to play..

      • Scott (USA) says:

        I like Meade. He has got some game and will be fine for Arsenal this season if given chances. Is he really that small? dang!

  9. jeff says:

    Tomas Rosicky.. we could see the creativity he added during his last 10 mins against swansea.. he tried many through passes which is what we are lacking at the moment,not all are successful but it’s normal for these kind of creative passes.. and his one touch combination passing is just as classy as usual.. he doesnt always hold the ball and this is what i like about him.. but we could as well see that he’s not yet 100 percent fit since he’s not as fast as usual.. but so glad to see him back.. perhaps wenger could use this match to gain rosicky’s match fitness..

    • Scott (USA) says:

      I miss Rosicky this year so far. Rosicky could have really given Cazorla a break in this first part of the season. Cazorla looks a little tired and it isn’t even the winter break. Hopefully Tomas will be fit enough to give Arsenal some minutes. We could sure use is energy and great experience in the mid in the next few months.

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