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A few thoughts on the Southampton match

January 2, 2015

As per usual for this season the result of the game against Southampton was always going down to what Arsenal team turned up at St Mary’s. I say this because I have no confidence that this current Arsenal team can go into any match, dominate a game and take the game to opposition. Sadly it was the wrong Arsenal team that turned up. Thirty matches into the season, Arsenal have hardly got going at all and there is absolutely no consistency whatsoever with this team.

To be fair Arsenal have recently been on a mini-revival run of sorts, but it’s hardly been convincing has it? Now I speak here purely as an Arsenal supporter with no axe grind against anyone, everyone’s entitled to their view. I’m not anti-Arsene nor anti-any player. I simply want (like I would imagine all you do) what’s best for Arsenal, for Arsenal to be playing good football and by playing the good football making a challenge for honours, but Arsenal-are-not-playing-good-football.

How many matches this season have Arsenal actually played well in? The sort of “played well”, where after the match has finished you can honestly say, for the best part of ninety minutes Arsenal dominated the game, passed the ball well, took their chances, defended well, players battled, had good tactics that took opposition into account. I’m struggling to think of any.

Arsenal when they do play, play in short spells at best which reminds me of : Blackadder wanting to be part of the Flying corps called the “Twenty  Minuters” squadron, so named because new pilots only spend twenty minutes in the air. General Melchett allows the transfer only for Blackadder to find once he has joined the actual reason for the name ‘Twenty Minuters’ is because the twenty minutes is the life expectancy of a new pilot. Arsenal only play for twenty minutes here and there.

I’m often seeing some supporters harking on that other supporters should not be moaning as it does the team no good, that we should all be getting behind the team and of course this is important. However, if supporters are like me and I’m pretty damned sure most are, then we ARE all getting behind the team, full on, every bloody match they play. My question would be are the team in front of us playing for the supporters? I’m sick and tired of making excuses for the manager and players.

Arsenal have players who like telling the supporters on or in newspaper articles what they are going to do, or telling us they are sorry for poor performances and they need to/are going to put it right. Arsene was just recently quoted as saying ‘I believe with injuries back we will have much stronger squad and 2015 can be very exciting if we get injured players back and have a good run” basically talking the talk, yet not walking the walk. How is it many fans cannot see this?

I would ask – when do you stop accepting what the club, manager and players say? Most of what the manager/club/players are saying is simply excuses. It’s time to accept Arsenal are not playing good football and in fact are pretty poor, you could say boring to watch. I would say Arsenal are where they are (sixth), because the premier league apart from a few teams is basically poor, exciting poor though.  Southampton are not a poor footballing side, but they are not special, yet they are doing very well this season. Southampton have already knocked Arsenal out of the League Cup this season and only an eighty-ninth minute goal from Sanchez gave us victory against them in the league match at the Emirates just twenty-nine days ago. Yet when you look at the players Arsenal have, even with injuries neither are Arsenal a poor side and yet look how easy it was for Southampton in the end yesterday.

So why can’t Arsenal play our style football anymore? Why can Arsenal be so easily dominated in games. Once Arsenal went 1-0 down they fell to pieces and eventually lost 2-0 and it could have 4/5-0. We have no leaders from the top to bottom of the club.

Our tactics I understand are prepared on the training pitch during the days or week before a match and so when things start going wrong on the pitch during a match, which is often nowadays, Arsene expects the players to find the answers themselves and sort it out – Arsene says they are all intelligent players. Arsene will sit there in his seat watching it all unfold and the only time he will get up is to berate the fourth official, not shout instructions to his players. I feel if things are not going well during a game, such as the opposition managers tactics are nulling your own, why not change things around, get up and shout instructions to you team, give them a lead, after all you are the manager.

There is no point into looking back analysing and dissecting the game, we all saw it, we all saw the usual pitfalls, mistakes, team falling apart, erratic passing, giving the ball away cheaply, having the ball taken from you as if taking candy from a baby, criminal failure to make use of dead ball situations, being bullied out of the game, no fight, no passion, no tactics etc.

So I ask when do you actually decide enough is enough? When do you feel you have seen it all and it simply does not look like it’s going to improve? A mini run of good results covering up major faults in the squad depth, tactics, style of play, taking opposition into account. I’ve had enough. I can see that a change at the club is needed and that a few good results here and there does not make the real problems within the team go away.

Arsene has messed this season up royally. Yes! Arsene brought in the summer, but he still left the squad short. We brought in a new man to help with injuries, but those injuries just got worse. The team is never settled. Arsene buys yet never buys to complete the squad and give the depth needed with class. Arsene says he’ll buy if the right players are available. Yet when are the right players available? If the ones he wants are never available this means the squad will never be the finished article to give Arsenal the best chance to compete. OK! you buy Ozil and Sanchez, but buy the time you have the final piece of the jigsaw, if you keep waiting for the right players, the players you brought have now been at the club a few years and their contracts are run/running down and may now want out.

Now maybe I’m wrong here but the transfer window opens on 1st January. A player cannot come in to the club until that date, but surely you can be arranging transfers long before this date by being in talks with the player you want, his agent, that players current club, and getting everything in place. So why tell me if Arsenal have anyone in mind, such players are not joining Arsenal like now! Maybe the selling club want to keep the player as long as they can, but surely if a player has been contacted and a transfer is likely it’s just as well for the said player to leave, join his new club and at the same time give his old club the money and time to replace the player leaving? Why do Arsenal’s transfer seem so drawn out and protracted, yet if a player leaves Arsenal it’s done and dusted.

When things were not going right in the match yesterday Theo Walcott was brought on at last after being on the bench for three successive matches, Podolski was out injured. When Theo came on he hardly touched the ball. It was like go out there Theo, but don’t get involved. I said a few weeks ago Theo is not ready, he was put on bench to placate the supporters. Arsene knows he has messed up and he knows the fans are getting restless, he has to do something, hence players are being brought back to early from injury. No way is Koscielny ready yet to play. I’m not sure Ramsey was even ready to be brought back. My view for what it is worth is Arsene is simply making one mistake after another.

Arsenal haven’t actually been playing well for a  years now, not the sort of “playing well”, we have come to expect under Arsene Wenger, yet we won the FA Cup and that was a pretty good end to last season. We lost 3-0 at Everton but then the team, though maybe not playing super Arsenal style of football, battled their way through, showed great passion and fight and got the reward of the FA Cup. Maybe even the players then thought we’re on the up. New players coming in to strengthen the squad for the season 2014-15, I’m sure the players were thinking of a proper challenge for the title this season. Yet maybe the players themselves are fed up with what is happening with how the manager has let another season slip by. Maybe their football is speaking volumes. Maybe they don’t like what is happening as much as the rest of us.

I would love it if Arsene proved me wrong, if he changed, signed the right players this January, the team started playing again, showing that passion and fight so sorely missed and maybe win the FACup again, because no way in a month of Sundays are Arsenal going to win the Premier League or the Champions League, unless every one of our players is free from injury for the rest of the season, we signed a new defensive midfielder, centre half, top forward and are granted a miracle by the good Lord himself.

Will this happen? Put is this way, I won’t hold my breath.



One Comment leave one →
  1. Maggie permalink
    January 2, 2015 11:18

    Good article. I’d like to see the results of an internal inquiry as to why we have the worst injury record in the league…

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