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Just what the Doctorate ordered

Premier League Arsenal
by TheHotHead (U1997057) 19 September 2009
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A strange game, it was a comfortable win in the end but alarm bells should be ringing.

Wigan were pretty poor but Arsenal's soft centre was on display for all to see again.

Man of the Match for me was Vermaelen, 2 important goals and a strong defensive display but I thought Eboue ran him close. Playing for the most part in the middle of the pitch Eboue's thrust and attacking skill caused no end of problems for Wigan, I think he was magnificent, only let down by an abysmal final product.

The strangeness of the game was due to the relative ease of the game for Arsenal but yet Wigan fashioned enough chances to cause concern - from poor Arsenal play mostly.

Fabregas' passing game was again suspect, Song left a lot to be desired at times too. I think his biggest problem is his lack of pace forcing him to make cynical challenges or simply letting players run past him - this highlights our soft centre. Diaby was hit n miss - more hit than miss, when the guy is playing well, he is a frighteningly good player, I hope he can get consistency, thats all that is missing.

But, there were enough positives to take from the game, a pretty steady game from Manonne, Eboue in the middle, Eduardo getting better and better, a raft of Arsenal chances created by great movement and, Rosicky !! This guy surely was and is who we have missed the most. He floated around demanding the ball and he is a magician, the whole team ticks properly when he is around.

Not the best Arsenal performance by a long shot, but it was important to win - and we did.

Come on you Arsenal.

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posted Sep 20, 2009

comment by the HotHead - Eboue's Publicist and Advisor (U1997057)

darkanddom (U11758637) - I suspect your knowledge of football isn't very great. A DM is not supposed to let players simply run straight past them. And if you could read you would see I ALSO said Fabregas' had a poor game, so how am I picking on Song ????
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My knowledge of football is in fact VERY GREAT. Comes from years of watching and playing. I watch all the league games (La Liga, English PL, and Serie A). I watch every UEFA CL game and WC qualifier...all thanks to DVR and some shrewd financial investments that afford me the time to indulge in my passion - football!. So I do understand football very well. And no where in any football manual or team can you show me a DM that has not been beaten by an oncoming player every so often. Essien has. Mascherano has. Keane used to. Gatusso all the time. Makele used to. Felipo Melo in Juve gets beat quite a few times. So does Yaya Toure. Same with Marco Senna and Gareth Barry. Even Vieira used to get beaten. So to say that Song gets beat once in a while makes him a bad DM actually shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the role of a DM. A DM is not the savior or preventer of goals (if that were true then none of the teams with the admittedly world class DMs enumerated above would ever concede a goal). A DM's role is to disrupt attacks, help out the defense and stand ready to push the ball forward. Some DMs just sit back and wait for attacks like Makele used to do. Some join in the attack a lot, in teams where ball control is their trademark (like Yaya Toure at Barca). Others roam all over the pitch chasing the ball (like Lass Diarra at Madrid and Song with us). The chasing style is necessary when you have a free flowing style of play like Madrid and us because it gives the attackers bactrack room as they try to pry open the defense. Of course that means sometimes the DM gets out of position and has to track back. That is the style we play and Arsene is making Song play and he is doing very well. His clumsy tackle today was a professional foul like most DMs do when the attack is on its way - you see that foul all the time! So to use that example, or his roaming style to slate Song is objectionable. Yes, his passing needs to improve, just like passing of Fabregas today and other members of the team. But my point is your article seems to suggest a frailty in defense when we spanked a team 4-0. That is unnecessary whinging.

By the way, unlike many here, I believe our problem is not in defense - it is in finishing. In all our games so far, if we had clinical finishing, we would be hitting 5 past teams. If we had clinical finishing, we would have put away United and City rather than lose those games. That is our problem and has been our problem for 3 seasons now IMO. We need clinical finishers and I believe if we had clinical finishers we win the title hands down.

Finally, we have played 8 competitive games. We have given up 8 goals and scored about 17 I think. Of the 8: Song had nothing to do with any of them. 4 have been from purely individual errors (Eddy, Gallas, Diaby. Almunia); 2 of City's goals came after Song had been withdrawn. United's 1st goal came from Rooney's dive. So to pick on Song as being the poster child of our so-called soft centre does not do the lad any justice and that is unfair. Anyway, I just think it is improper to write a post complaining about the team when we just won 4-0. I dread to read your post when we lose!

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comment by John (U14100568)

posted Sep 20, 2009

I used "glass spheres" as opposed to "crystal balls" intentionally smiley
Only real magicians can use the latter. We can't predict future, but we can go be the judgement of real football knowledge. Arséne has that and could hardly make a fool of himself by dropping that youngster in from the start of the season without knowing what he was and is capable of.

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posted Sep 20, 2009

As AW always says all we need are consistency and continuity in winning games. So long we have those, I don't care whether we play good or bad games. Well done Boys!

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posted Sep 20, 2009

#######Decent Keeper!######
Sanga-Vermaelin-Gallas-Clichy

Arshavin-Fabregas-Rosicky-Nasri

Eduardo & Van Persie

we could go far if they all played together for us ,just imagine ! smiley

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posted Sep 20, 2009

I think Arsenals biggest weakness is mentality followed closely by a clinical striker.

IMO ManU punch above their wieght because of team mentality, also Liverpool... while Chelsea rely on one of the best teams money can buy. What strikes me about when ManU or Liverpool play is that their player press and don't give up. The whole teams defends and their body language says we deserve to win and you are inferior! MOTD summed it up for Arsenal at the end of last season when they showed Fabregas, Nasri and others strolling back as Chelsea attacked. Most of Arsenals midfield does not feel it is their duty to pitch in and defend. When the going gets tough they drop their heads. That is Arsenals soft center. Fabregas has some great moments but I'm afraid he thinks he is a better player than he actually is... or he has given up on ever succeeding with Arsenal and is already looking at Barca with envy. Wenger should cash in big, and soon, and he should buy big in return.

Second is the strikers, how many goals have they scored this season? RVP is no Torres, not even close. Bendtner... well enough has been said there already. Eduardo looks the only real gem (and the only one scoring this season). Imagine Arsenal with David Villa up front. I agree with the poster that said Arsenal would win the Prem. with a clinical striker, someone who can turn -beat their man and score.

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posted Sep 20, 2009

darkanddom (U11758637) - Ok, I can accept what you wrote, but I am not saying a DM can't be beaten, I am saying that - and this has already been highlighted in the media - Song gets pulled out of position too easily and is not there where he needs to be - in the centre. I accept ALL DMs make cynical challenges.

He dawdles on the ball far too much, his speed of thought is slow - in CM you need to think fast, players are on you in no time. I've seen him play fantastically well there against big teams, I guess the bottom line is he won't be suited to all games played.

The problems we have with strikers not scoring I think are not personnel based but positions.

Bendtner should play as a target man and nothing else, having him wide or dropping deep is pointless.

RVP is no target man and is too lightweight to play there.

Diaby on the left of a front three is pointless, he should be in CM, by far his best position. I'd rather we play the likes of Wilshere in the attacking left position, he can beat a player for fun and can also be strong.

We play in front of teams too much and we don't have anyone who gets in behind the defence - Bendtner did against Liege when Diaby played him in, we need more of that ... a player on the shoulder of a defender to run in onto through balls, all this pretty passing outside the box gets us nowhere most of the time.

I like the way Ramsey, Arshavin, Diaby and Vermaelen are willing to shoot from long range too, we need more of that.

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posted Sep 21, 2009

comment by darkanddom (U11758637)

By the way, unlike many here, I believe our problem is not in defense - it is in finishing. In all our games so far, if we had clinical finishing, we would be hitting 5 past teams. If we had clinical finishing, we would have put away United and City rather than lose those games. That is our problem and has been our problem for 3 seasons now IMO. We need clinical finishers and I believe if we had clinical finishers we win the title hands down.

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I agree with this 100%, in fact I wrote the following in another thread last week;

“My main concern is at the other end. It seems we are destined to lose quite a few games that we are dominating if we take the Utd and City games as the beginning of a trend for the rest of the season.

The Utd game was the closer of the two, but IMO we should have won it.

The City game was infuriating we had more shots on and off target, and more genuine goal scoring opportunities yet score two less!

Lack of clinical finishing has blighted us for at least 3 seasons. Hearing the crowd at Emirates screaming at players to 'SHOOOOOOOOOOOOT' when through on goal is testament to that!”

I also agree with Hothead, I was expecting big things from Song this season, so far he has been underwhelming, but I still believe he has a lot of potential to be realised.

I also understand the thrust of the post, as IMO it wasn’t a great performance despite 4 goals and a clean sheet – but this can be taken positively or negatively.

On the positive front to win 4-0 against ANY opposition when NOT playing well is league winning (or at least extremely competitive) form. On the other hand you could cite the paucity of opposition as being the reason for claiming that this was a ‘papering-over-the-cracks” performance.

Personally I see it in the former light, but that doesn’t mean that the team or tactics are above (constructive) criticism.

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posted Sep 21, 2009

Eboue's thrust and attacking skill caused no end of problems for Wigan, I think he was magnificent, only let down by an abysmal final product.
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That's right and it's not the first time and won't be the last time.

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posted Sep 22, 2009

Which of the top 4 teams in the PL would want RVP, Bendtner or Vela. Only Man City is crazy enough to pay over 10m for Adebayor. And I agree with the above, our problem lies there. Don't get me wrong, I love these guys to bits, and they work their socks of every game, but they just ain't good enough to win the Premiership. As a fanatical Arsenal supporter I have learned to stop dreaming about winning the PL or CL, and just enjoy every game for what it is, a chance to see some good football, with the more than often bonus of winning the match. Finishing top 4 and being able to play champions league is a bonus. With our current financial policy, rightly or wrongly (who am I to judge), we will never be able to compete with those clubs spending between 40m and 80m on players. Anyone who believes that, regardles of how good AW is, is naive.

Lets just enjoy exciting players like Song, Diaby, RVP (Boy can he make magic every now and again), the maestros Fabregas and Arshavin, and get off their backs when they are of form for a while. As Arsenal supporters we live in the past, and forget to enjoy each win. What we had with the "unvincibles" is unlikely to happen again. The quicker we understand that the more we will enjoy our exciting football team. I say keep the players that wants to play for Arsenal, and if we finnish 4th I believe we had a great season, but we should expect top 6 and to finish above spurs.

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posted Sep 23, 2009

comment by StockholmGooner (U3430532)

Which of the top 4 teams in the PL would want RVP, Bendtner or Vela.
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I think Vela at the tender age of 20 would walk into any of the top 4 teams as, at the very least, a squad player. He has bags of potential.

An on form RVP walks into any top 4 team, maybe not as their main striker, but definitely as a first team player. On form he’s up there with the best.

Bendtner, no.

My criticism wasn’t aimed specifically at our strikers but at the team as a whole. The cliché that we ‘try to walk the ball into the net’ has a nugget of truth in it.

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