Bolton 2 Arsenal 1 Review and some soul-searching

 Match Reviews, Random thoughts  Comments Off on Bolton 2 Arsenal 1 Review and some soul-searching
Apr 252011
 

It’s hard to know exactly where to begin; how to summarise a game that cruelly ended our title hopes. From 4 possible trophies a month or so ago to zero is a massive disappointment.

And it’s not the first time. For the third season in a row we have been fighting on all possible fronts, in with a shout of all possible trophies, only to slip away at the end of the season. AW mentions mental strength and mental fragility more than any other manager I know of; why is it then that we seem to lack the fight, the resilience, the edge – the mental strength, if you will, Arsene – to see the season through to the end?

I can’t be bothered, frankly, to go through all the games we’ve come close to winning but failed. Some just stick in the memory. That ridiculous game at St James’s Park, the recent game against Spurs. We just cannot seem to get through the last few minutes of a game without conceding a goal. And just taking the Bolton game as an example, can a side that concedes two goals from two corners compete for the title?

I’m a big AW fan (as you may be aware!) but reading this on the official site really p*ssed me off:

The facts are the facts. I feel the players [have] had an outstanding attitude [during] the whole season and they are not to blame. If there is someone to blame, it is me. I pick the team and I choose the players. For me, the players [have] had an outstanding attitude all season.
Yes, it is very unsatisfactory because that is one of the easiest run-ins we have had for a long time. We didn’t take our chances many times during the season and that is frustrating because you feel that the potential is there. But we live in a job where you have to take your chances and be realistic. We still lack something that is called maturity, experience or calmness in important situations.

Firstly, I’m not so sure that the attitude has been right. Attitude and the inability to keep a clean sheet for the last ten minutes are closely linked. The right attitude should mean that we do not, ever, concede such goals. And all too often some players – Arshavin, Bendtner, Clichy, I’m looking at you – have been respectively completely anonymous, unbelievably useless, and on a different planet.

Secondly, in terms of “something that is called maturity, experience or calmness in important situations”, that just can’t be used as an excuse any more. Let’s not forget it was Eboue who gave away the penalty to Sp*rs. An experienced international, not someone who can be marked down as young and inexperienced. The rest of the Arsenal ‘youngsters’ – Jack Wilshere excluded – all have years of Premiership experience and international tournaments behind them. It’s about time that youth stopped being an excuse. It never was a good excuse anyway, and for one thing, they’re just not that young any more.

So what is the future for this Arsenal team. I’m not going to join the ranks of those who campaign for an end to AW’s tenure, but I am going to suggest that this team requires some major surgery to turn it from a group of promising also-rans to a team of winners.

The problem is, will AW and our new owner countenance such changes? Do we need to change the philosophy of the club and buy experienced players? Do we need to change the way we play? These are difficult questions, and the answers requires more thought than a simple knee-jerk reaction to an awful performance, even it is a performance that relegates us to third, and puts an end to any hopes of silverware this season.

In my opinion, it’s certainly a good thing to be able to laugh at oneself, and a necessary ability in any gooner. Have a look at this from the Daily Mash.

Arsenally and unhappily yours,

Will

Vermaelen, transfer and loanee news

 Random thoughts  Comments Off on Vermaelen, transfer and loanee news
Jan 052011
 

At the latest press conference, we had some welcome news about the Verminator. We’re playing so well up front at the moment, it’d be such a boost to have him return and add some stability to the back five. What could we achieve with our current front 6 and a stronger back 5? I’m creaming myself to think of it. AW said:

Should Thomas Vermaelen not come back quickly, that’s an area we would be short because we have only three centre backs available at the moment. But I’m confident he will come back. There’s a big test for him this week, he starts to run again so the first signs of how he feels will be very important.

The implication that some have drawn is that we might have to buy another centre half if TV doesn’t get back to full match fitness soon. I don’t think it would be a bad thing if we strengthened our defence regardless of the Verminator’s fitness.

According to the Metro, Liverpool are trying to hijack “our £8.5 bid” for Werder Bremen’s Per Mertesacker. Quoting figures when discussing Arsenal transfers is laughable as these issues are always kept as secret as possible, but nonetheless this is at least feasible so it gets a 4 on the transfer bullsh*tometer – 1 being pure sh*te and 10 being quite likely. It’s poo-shaped, with a guilty looking cow next to it, but it is at least possible, and desirable too. I think he’d make a great signing, though I have to say I’m unsure he’s got enough pace for the English game.

Here’s an interview with Alan Davies from the online version of Football Focus. He’s a funny guy and I couldn’t agree more with his statement that we could do with a 21-year-old Martin Keown in our current squad.

So on to some transfer news/speculation. According to the Mirror, Carlos Vela could find himself on his way to a loan spell at Bolton. I think it would be a good move, a chance for him to show AW that he’s worth keeping.

As it is he’s never reached the heights I’d hoped for. He’s a natural finisher, but needs to toughen up and to learn how to hold the ball up and track back better. Bolton would be a good place to add those qualities; he could do worse than learn a thing or two from Kevin Davies.

Given that Jack the lad’ had a successful loan spell under Owen Coyle, this gets a 6 on my bullsh*tometer. So this is possible with a mild whiff of cow poo.

On the subject of loans, according to Billy Davies, Aaron Ramsey has been a credit to himself, Arsenal, Forest, and everything he touched turned to gold. Shame he didn’t play more and I respect Davies immensely for holding him back. I hope he returns to us fired up and ready to face tougher foes than the likes of Scunthorpe and Doncaster.

Don Vito Mannone of the enormous hooter returns from his load at Hull, where he was injured in their draw with Reading. Apparently Hull are after another keeper, so there’s little chance he’ll return for the rest of the season.

According to the excellent Young Guns Blog, Ryo Miyaichi has serious pace – 10.84s in the 100m – which suggests that there’s more to him than just an opening into the Asian market. Technical, two footed and speedy – qualities we know AW looks for. Maybe I was a bit hasty in writing him off as an economic purchase rather than a footballing one.

City preview and odds to follow really shortly.

Arsenally Yours,

Will

Hi folks, I’m feeling arsenally fired up about this game with City.

At AW’s

<a title=”BBC – Alan Davies” href=”http://http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/football_focus/9336852.stm” target=”_blank”>Here’s an interview with Alan Davies</a> from the online version of Football Focus. He’s a funny guy and I couldn’t agree more with his statement that we could do with a 21-year-old Martin Keown in our current squad.

So on to some <strong>transfer news</strong>/speculation. <a title=”Mirror – Vela loan at Bolton?” href=”http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/news/Transfer-news-Bolton-waiting-for-Arsenal-to-green-light-Carlos-Vela-loan-switch-article663075.html” target=”_blank”>According to the Mirror</a>, Carlos Vela could find himself on his way to a loan spell at Bolton. I think it would be a good move, a chance for him to show AW that he’s worth keeping. As it is he’s never reached the heights I’d hoped for. He’s a natural finisher, but needs to toughen up and to learn how to hold the ball up and track back better. Bolton would be a good place to add those qualities; he could do worse than learn a thing or two from Kevin Davies. Given Jack the lad’ had a successful loan spell under Owen Coyle, this gets a 6 on my bullsh*tometer – 1 being pure sh*te and 10 being quite likely. So this is possible with a mild whiff of cow poo.

On the subject of loans, <a title=”Official Site – Ramsey” href=”http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/davies-ramsey-is-a-credit-to-arsenal-” target=”_blank”>according to Billy Davies</a>, Aaron Ramsey has been a credit to himself, Arsenal, Forest, and everything he touched turned to gold. Shame he didn’t play more and I respect Davies immensely for holding him back. I hope he returns to us fired up and ready to face tougher foes than the likes of Scunthorpe and Doncaster.

Don Vito Mannone of the enormous hooter returns from his load at Hull, where he was injured in their draw with Reading. <a title=”YoungGunsBlog – Don Vito” href=”http://younggunsblog.co.uk/2011/01/ramsey-signs-off-randall-scores-plus-plus-miyaichi/” target=”_blank”>Apparently</a> Hull are after another keeper, so there’s little chance he’ll return for the rest of the season.

According to <a title=”YoungGunsBlog – Miyaichi wun fast” href=”http://younggunsblog.co.uk/2010/12/miyaichi-rivals-walcotts-100-metre-time/” target=”_blank”>the excellent Young Guns Blog</a>, Ryo Miyaichi has serious pace – 10.84s in the 100m – which suggests that there’s more to him than just an opening into the Asian market. Technical, two footed and speedy – qualities we know AW looks for. Maybe <a title=”Arsenally – Ryo Miyaichi” href=”http://arsenally.com/2010/12/20/fixture-congestion-ryo-miyaichi-youth-news-and-mental-fragility/” target=”_blank”>I was a bit hasty</a> in writing him off as an economic purchase rather than a footballing one.