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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Arsenal 0 Swansea City 2

I wrote on Friday that Arsenal`s recent away draws would be better judged in the light of proceeding home results. I think we can agree that that went well. Pre match I watched Chelsea`s malaise beamed back onto the Arsenal Tavern screens, their despair burned onto LCD display for a crowd of cheering patrons. Usually Chelsea`s misery is my meat, but somehow I felt to delight in their plight would be premature. Arsene made some changes to the side that drew with Goodison on a bitterly cold day in North London.

Carl Jenkinson and Kieran Gibbs came in for the injured Laurent Koscielny and Bacary Sagna. Lukas Podolski came back from illness and was awarded his chance as a centre forward, with Gervinho and Walcott flanking him. I think the idea was that the front three would form a liquid, interchanging unit. It ended up looking more of a grey sludge of inertia. Neither of the three, as individuals or as a collective, produced much for the Swans defence to trouble themselves with.

The atmosphere and the performance was flatter than the Netherlands from the off. Swansea made hay with their patient passing game in a way we just couldn`t. Confidence is fragile and the main outlet for Arsenal`s passing appeared to be backwards to Vermaelen and Mertesacker. I still think Arteta and Wilshere are adjusting to playing together. Wilshere plays higher up the pitch than Diaby was doing earlier in the season and Arteta often looks isolated. This is exacerbated when we look as bereft as we did yesterday because Wilshere`s youthful enthusiasm sees him move even higher up the pitch to try and make things happen, rather than coming from deep and building play.

Arteta also prefers to play slightly from the left of central midfield where he enjoyed such imperious form in the late summer and early autumn. Wilshere`s return has seen him shift to the right, where I think he`s slightly less comfortable. Arsenal are still trying to work a balance further forward and the shape has been different in the last few games. Walcott has started wide but often ends as a nominal striker with Cazorla drifting towards the right flank.

Swansea nearly took the lead early on as they took the game to Arsenal, bossing possession. Davies` low cross was controlled on the spin by Shecter and he fed Rangel running in from right back. Szczesny beat away his first powerful effort and was then up smartly to paw the rebound away too. The Gunners created little of note, Jenkinson`s cross was met by a Cazorla header, comfortably saved by Tremmel. The Swans visibly grew as Arsenal`s malaise dug its heels in and went from a rut to a stone groove.

Rangel`s long ball from right back was flicked on by Michu on the halfway line, Vermaelen was caught napping as the ball ran through to Nathan Dyer. Dyer made a beeline for goal, but Vermaelen made amends with a fantastic last ditch block. Jonathan de Guzman whipped a free kick onto the roof of Szczesny`s net after Arteta had bundled Michu over. But at half time, a gentle chorus of boos (from those that could even be bothered to boo) punctuated a disappointing half. Perhaps the most uplifting part of the whole day was listening to the ever charming Bob Wilson interviewed on the pitch at half time. His every thought drew applause from a home crowd desperate for something to applaud.

The Gunners appeared to inject a little more pace into their play early in the second half and vaguely, kind of pinned Swansea back for 15 minutes or so. I think. Maybe the dreariness of our performance for most of the other 75 minutes made that spell look promising in merely relative terms. Wilshere dribbled into the Swans box and fed Cazorla, his low left foot shot was comfortably saved. Cazorla tried his luck from distance with his left foot. Podolski almost unwittingly made a routine save less comfortable when he slightly deflected the Spaniard`s shot, but not enough to trouble Tremell.

But Swansea were hardly shrinking in deference to Arsenal`s improvement. The impressive Rangel glided between Walcott and Cazorla all too easily from the right and sashayed into the Arsenal area, another firm Szczesny stop at the front post denied him. The away team nearly shot themselves in the foot when Jonathan de Guzman`s pass to Chico Flores was overhit, substitute Olivier Giroud looked to be clean on goal as a result, but Flores made a last ditch, toe ended saving tackle. When Arteta`s hopeful cross was headed out by Ashley Williams, Cazorla warmed Tremell`s palms with a stinging left foot volley that was well held. The Swans keeper hadn`t even been forced to parry any of Arsenal`s rare attempts on goal.

Laudrup made an astute substitution when he brought Luke Moore into the fray for Itay Shecter. He immediately gave Swansea a focus, a sounding boards for their promising counter attacks. He played a neat one two with fellow sub Dwight Tiendalli, only for Szczesny to make another sprawling save. Arsenal briefly threatened when Chamberlain`s deflected cross was met by the onrushing Vermaelen, but his firm header was well held by Trendell. Arsenal were huffing and puffing and Swansea sensed their chance for some rope a dope.

Chico Flores found Michu, free to drop off of the front line between Arsenal`s defence and midfield with Moore playing as more of a target man. Michu collected the ball unchallenged and played a neat one two with Luke Moore, Michu skipped in behind the Arsenal defence and bent a sumptuous finish above the despairing dive of Szczesny. The Pole in the goal couldn`t save our hides this time. Arsenal tried in vain to attack for an equaliser but played into Swansea`s hands in doing so. Carl Jenkinson found support hard to come by on the right hand side with Walcott having already made a central run. Nathan Dyer bullied him towards his own goal.

Finding no Arsenal player behind him in his enforced retreat and with Szczesny looking like a lonely beach towel as you battle the tide in an aggressive sea, Jenkinson stumbled and the ball rolled to Michu. The Spaniard had the freedom of the Arsenal half to nonchalantly stride towards goal, before picking his spot and putting the seal on a deserved victory. Only Rosicky made a vague intonation to try and catch him. Everybody else knew the game was up. Szczesny launched the ball into club level in frustration. Boos rang out around the Emirates.

Whilst it`s clear that this is an Arsenal team still trying to find themselves and each other, the problems seem to be deeper than that at the moment. From the first minute we looked devoid of inspiration and energy. Frankly, the game looked like a grinding chore to the players, who rely so much on confidence and joie de vivre to make their style work. Expressions were hangdog, shoulders were slumped, both in the roomy seats and on the plush green pitch. Once again, we were unable to introduce any kind of chaos element from the bench to change a game that didn`t so much drift away from us, as yawn, scratch its bollocks and wearily walk away from us. Even in some of our more inglorious defeats over the last few years, I`m sure I recall a chance, a refereeing decision, or something to at least make you think, "Well if that had gone our way, who knows." But the simple fact is, Arsenal lost 2-0 at home to a midtable side and their goalkeeper was easily their best player. LD.

ARSENAL: 1.SZCZESNY, 25.JENKINSON, 4.MERTESACKER, 5.VERMAELEN (c), 28.GIBBS, 8.ARTETA, 10.WILSHERE (7.Rosicky `80), 19.S.CAZORLA, 14.WALCOTT, 27.GERVINHO (15.Chamberlain `67), 9.PODOLSKI (12.Giroud `67). Unused: 16.Ramsey, 18.Squillaci, 22.Coquelin, 24.Mannone.

SWANSEA CITY: 25.TREMELL, 22.RANGEL, 6.WILLIAMS (c), 4.FLORES, 33.DAVIES, 24.KI, 20.DE GUZMAN (21.Tiendalli `75), 7.BRITTON, 12.DYER, 9.MICHU, 17.SHECTER (19.Moore `67). Unused: 13.Cornell, 15.Monk, 18.Richards, 26.Augustien, 34.Donnelly.




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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday December 2 2012

Time: 4:59PM

Your Comments

A few weeks back Wenger pointed to the fact that football had changed in the PL league with teams adopting a more European style. I think you can see that in Swansea and a few other teams, Norwich for example. It is more technical nowadays which makes other teams like Swansea better to watch I feel but challenges our previous technical dominance as well as that of other teams. In many ways we're getting beaten at our own game.
Amos.
'Only Rosicky made a vague intonation to try and catch him' - so i'm not going crazy then! Anyway that's not the important bit of yesterday, I really want Arsene to turn this around, and it still wouldn't surprise me if we manage to get 4th, but right now we're in a mid table battle with some really strong sides around us
shewore
go now, Arsene
Sajit
I think for us not to get into too much trouble we need to have a very positive December. The rest of our games are very winnable and we need to be to be practically flawless because the new year sees fixtures come thick and fast and we've got some very tough fixtures. A bad December could see us in really deep sh**.
Rocky7
Squillaci ahead of Djourou on the bench? I know it is the bench, but really? Thanks for the report, by the way. It's the closest I have had to what transpired.
Naijagunner
I agree with you there Rocky. However, unless we deal with the confidence issues, the trend may just continue with the anxiety of the players becoming a factor. If Rosicky can return to fitness, he can play the role of leader in the dressing room, if not on the pitch. We need senior players to Shepard the side towards stability and a good run of results. The teams around us will only let up if they suffer from fatigue or are "jaded" (Wenger sure knows how to make cliches out of simple words. Picked that up from Steve Bould and hasn't stopped using it since :-) ) from being involved in the league and cups. Maybe, our larger squad will come into use soon, to get us out of this.
Naijagunner
I assumed that a 'vague intonation' meant that he was shouting (but not too loudly) for others to get their arses back!
Amos.
Nah, according to some here it's all the fans fault and that everything will be better if we blindly sheer at 2-0 down with 10 seconds left on the clock. In case we demoralise the poor little darlings who seem completely in capable of doing what they are paid an absolute bloody fortune to. Careful not to blame the manager either as that won't sit well in some quarters, in which case that leaves us with Steve Bould, The Board and the Tea Lady. The board don't make tactical or on pitch decisions, Bould's only just started in the role which leaves Agnes, clearly all her fault!
Scotch Eggs Rule
Really? Can you find any comment where anyone's claiming that it's all the fans fault? Or is asking that question too patronising for you?
Amos.
We have, this season, so far failed to beat Fulham, Villa, Norwich, Swansea and a couple of others. We have absolutely no excuse for not beating teams as poor as Norwich and Villa. Yes Utd lost to them, but then they are top of the table or there about's, we are not.
Scotch Eggs Rule
The match day thread there is about 5 examples of people blaming or partly blaming the fans. I won't bother linking it as you know where it is. Does that answer your questions or should I of said "on here" and elaborated with "the whole board"? You don;t need to ask a question to patronise people it just comes naturally to people like you.....
Scotch Eggs Rule
5 examples/comments
Scotch Eggs Rule
Not patronisation at play here ScotchEgg just your victim complex. I suspect you'll always feel patronised by someone if it isn't only about you. There aren't any comments blaming or even partly blaming the fans. There are some expressing the opinion that some fans aren't helping which is a fair enough observation. Nothing for anyone to get too precious about.
Amos.
No not in the slightest do I have a victim complex as you haven't patronised me, so what your talking about I don't know. It's the way you talk to others that I was referring to, so maybe it's you with the victim complex then or just getting ahead of yourself and assuming something....So there were comments hinting at the fans not helping (therefore hindering) the team? Which is exactly what I was saying.
Scotch Eggs Rule
Agree with Rocky. All eggs in the League basket for December. Send the Cup team to Greece and for Bradford so that our first XI get a full week recovery before WBA and after. I'm pinning a lot of hope on Rosicky (love him. A true Wenger midfielder. One of our last). Wonder what it says about the league that with only 5 wins we are sill only 5 points behind 3rd?
DeadwoodGooner
Oh I see. So you're the self appointed arbiter of how others are feeling? Able to tell whether they're being patronised even though you don't feel patronised yourself? Personally I think you setting yourself up as the defender of others here as though they aren't perfectly capable of making their own points for themselves is about as patronising as it gets. Seems you are not too clear about what you were saying either which was according to some here it's all the fans fault. Making the point, as some have done perfectly reasonably, that some fans aren't helping isn't anything like the same as blaming them or claiming that it's all their fault which is what you were saying.
Amos.
I half-expected us to mess up against the Swans on Saturday. Its no news that they play the ball better than we, they pass it around a lot better and more importantly, they look like a team. I read an article after the match which described Arsenal as a bunch of individuals and not a team. And frankly, I agree. Lately, we have struggled against the weaker sides in the PL and its really becoming baffling. We couldn't score against Villa, the same team that had 8 goals pumped past their defence by the Manchester teams. Where has our Arsenal gone? For me, its a little more than winning games. Cos when we do, we do it unconvincingly. Its more about our style of play. Its boring and confusing. We are known around the world to be excellent passers of the ball, and a formidable attacking side. Cough..Cough..I can't say that again for this season. Something's wrong, something's terribly wrong. I think we should switch back to 4-4-2. We can provide better cover for our defence, utilise the wings better, and pose two strikers to any opposition's defence. I cringe whenever I see the ball hoofed to Giroud for knock downs, that's the sight of another London side. Our current formation can only be effective and successful a la Barca, when players press the ball as soon as they lose it. This current line up do not press when out of possession, and when they do have possession, they look like little rats scampering all over field, zero cohesion. All we see are side passes and too many back passes. Only Rosicky attempted passes through the middle. I mean how many times have we seen misplaced passes in the middle. Its unbearable and difficult to watch. I must say: officially, Arsenal has become totally unwatchable.
Guyfox
There's no denying that this is the least attractive Arsenal side to watch for some time. The shape of the team for the players we have out there seems wrong. Maybe a 4-4-2 might provide a better balance but for sure playing 3 midfielders and 3 strikers hasn't worked often enough this season. If we can't find the players to make the system work then we need to find a system to suit the players. I can't imagine that hasn't crossed their minds though.
Amos.
Calls for the manager's head are really not required now. Although I think he needs a check in the head. I wonder why Arteta, a 30 year old athlete, who is naturally diminishing in agility is given the responsibility of covering the defence. Arteta is too skilled to be pegged back. If we won't get a proper DM, atleast play Coquelin. The young lad can only learn if he plays regularly and I can pardon his mistakes (we all pardoned Song's). We don't play as a unit because the middle three do not have responsibilities or maybe have wrong duties. Maybe its only me, but i'm becoming increasingly fed up with Cazorla. This dude certainly is no Fabregas, and is no replacement either. Too many turns on the ball, when a simple pass will suffice. Another example of a player playing where he shouldn't. I believe he will serve us well if he is deployed on the wings. Wilshere and Arteta can move further up with a proper DM behind them. We have got talent sitting on the bench but the boss always insists on using the same methods, making the same mistakes, making the same speeches over and over again. Aaaahhhhh!!! Its brain-numbing!! In what world does Ramsey get a start over Arshavin, and gets deployed on the right? I don't wanna sound like a whiner. But I think I will rest my eyes from this horror show. We will win matches but I wanna see us win matches convincingly. I want my Arsenal back. I loved the days when we will play matches and I will be on the edge of my seat, lost in awe at the beauty of football my eyes beheld. Those nil-nil draws with Man U or City, where we would own possession and mesmerise the fans with technical football. I miss those days more than I miss trophies. Right now, I'm an unbelieving fan with no pride.
Guyfox
True Amos. It may have crossed their minds. But they have stubborn minds. I mean Fergie has started experimenting with a diamond formation and they may not be playing particularly well but they are winning games. We don't have bad players but we have got a bad system. With 4-4-2, we can manage our players better. We will suddenly have a plethora of players for every section of the side. Wenger has always been trying to force players to play outta their comfort zones. U can do that to toddlers and teenagers, but not to established players like Arshavin, Arteta, Gervinho, Coquelin, Ramsey, to mention the usual suspects.
Guyfox
Our passing is so slow and laboured. And nobody from the middle calls for the ball from the defence at most times. Against Man U, I was so gutted. We had Per and Verm facing the United front for most of the match even when we were playing outta our half. The middle three had advanced so far forward waiting for route one balls. Come on!!!! When did we begin to play this way? Its terrible!
Guyfox
The only way we'll switch to a 4-4-2 is if a team wins the league playing like that, that's how we went with this formation. I think with Giroud a 4-4-2 isn't such a far fetched idea, i'd like to see Cazorla off of him though.
shewore
I believe Giroud in a 4-4-2 will be a lot more effective than the Giroud now. Not taking anything from the lad, he has done well. With anybody playing off him - Cazorla, Arshavin, Rosicky, Ramsey, Wilshere - he could be more potent. No offense, shewore, but if we wait till another team does something before we make the changes that may take us forward, we may not have an Arsenal to cheer about come May. I think its time we rebuilt our identity and stop modelling Barca. Let's play football the English way - fast, precise, direct, lethal.
Guyfox
a very innocent comment becomes the key factor in the demise of the club... modelling Barca.... all the top English sides are playing with 2 box-strikers, even the Italians are now going to 2 strikers (albeit in a 3-5-2 which seemed to work quite well against Citey last CL v.Napoli and Chavs v. Juve).... evolution waits for no man... or team.
Viyyash-Ramosh
Maybe what Theo has been trying to say all along is "play me as an additional forward...let's switch to 4-4-2"
Guyfox
the truth that dare not reveal itself.... to 4-3-3 fans... is that 2 forwards can account for FOUR defenders, using clever movement and intelligence. if the strikers go wide its very dangerous for the marking centre-half to track him as it creates a huge hole between the CBs and so the fullbacks become encumbered and have to hold position more.... 2 occupies 4.... no other system, certainly not 4-3-3 gives the same bang per buck (3 forwards could tie up 4 defenders but thats only a 1 man advantage).... if 2 neutralise 4, then you have at least a 1-man advantage... THAT is the beauty of 2 strikers (over 1 or even 3)
Viyyash-Ramosh
Very well said there, Guyfox. I had worried about the need to change system mid-season but I quite like the idea of a 4-4-2 as it is the easiest to adapt to for most players and sends the right message to the players. The team does need a tweak of any kind....shake up things. Cazorla is a better wing man than any we have now and should thrive in that formation, with Rosicky or Arshavin playing off Giroud. The left side will be a choice between Gervinho and Podolski. Theo may come in for any of the front men, as the games allow and if he insists he needs a guarantee to start games before he signs for us, let him be on his way.
Naijagunner
From now on, it has to be backs-to-the-wall stuff for this team. Let's hope they can draw strength from adversity and develop a positive siege mentality.
Naijagunner
Guyfox, no offence taken ... i was inferring that we take too long to change things that aren't working.
shewore
AW will not change from his beloved Barca-lite 4-3-3.... we all know it, so its totally academic to discuss changes. I think AW will go very soon, as the whole system has become way too schlerotic (nice word eh?) from the top downwards.... you need a new broom before you go vroom vroom.... sounds abit garishly 'obvious' I know but maybe.... M.L. ?
Viyyash-Ramosh
Does anyone actually think that Vermaelen is getting worse? Actually... can anyone suggest someone who's over 20 that Wenger's improved over the last season or so? Maybe Koscielney? Even this year he's looked nowhere near as good as last.
shewore
PERSONALLY, AS A CENTRE-BACK i THINK vERMAELEN IS FAIRLY AVERAGE, BUT HAS BEEN ABLE TO 'DINE OUT' ON HIS EARLY SCORING SUCCESS WHEN HE 1ST JOINED...bluudy capa again!
Viyyash-Ramosh
in his first 12-18 months, Vermaelen was immense; goals were a bonus, but he was heading away or intercepting any long pass that came towards the defence. He is definitely not enjoying the same sort of form now; but everyone's form seems to be ebbing away, sadly. I believe we have a better squad than we've had for many years (laugh all you like), but aren't pulling results and performances together. I think that's because we play too far up the field, compressing the game in the opponent's half and leaving ours wide open. But what do I know.
damiano_tommassi
I agree man for man we're actually pretty good, nothing is clicking at the moment though and if that's down to overplaying, then he needs to sign people he actually trusts. And he needs to do it in Jan, one player might make all the different short term - and that'll be what we need in Jan.
shewore
There are definitely players that AW doesn't trust, Shewore, yeah. Such a shame for AW that they didn't kick-on, for one reason or another. I'd be ashamed of myself if I was Chamakh, Arshavin, or a couple of others (you can all pick your favourites); professionals, with experience/pedigree, who have had many chances but never made it happen. For a few of these players, it is surely time to get them shifted and get someone else in.
damiano_tommassi
so, why is Chamakh classed as a failure, with his impressive goals to gametime ratio and assists ?.... and Arshavin is the classic example of a player who switches off cos he feels he's not part of the 'project' anymore and plays accordingly..... Diaby, has there ever been 1 player in a Prem team that so dominated how the whole TEAM functions ?
Viyyash-Ramosh
Viyyash - there's that Diaby-based-boner again! (don't mean to offend) Is there anyone else who feels as strongly as Viyyash that Diaby 'dominates' the way that Arsenal's team functions?
I don't think Arshavin ever switched-off because he felt like he'd always be a part of things... he's never been an automatic starter, hardly been here 3 years(?), shipped out on loan last year, can't buy a goal (or a five yard pass, in truth). I have no idea why he's fallen apart, but I've seen nothing to suggest it's due to complacency or over-confidence.
And Chamakh... 65 games, 14 goals, 10 assists... is that impressive? Further to the statistics, he's never seemed to play particularly well, at least for more than ten minutes.
damiano_tommassi
Did you all see Arshavin in the build up to the Euros this year? Certainly not the Arshavin we know at Arsenal. He wasn't the best player for Russia during those times but he was immense. My point is, why can't he replicate that form for the Gunners? Yeah, there are certainly some players the boss doesn't trust. But that doesn't make the ones he trusts any better. We were beaten by Swansea this weekend, conceded two against a GBP2mil striker. Its the team's philosophy that really counts, amidst all the stars. I'm afraid we have lost ours. Like Naija said, its back-to-the-wall stuff now for em players.
Guyfox
@shewore. I also believe he is getting worse. Dunno if its the captain armband or something. From the start of the season, Verm has not been very Verm. Dunno if its a loss of form or confidence, he's got to carry this team on his shoulders and drag em forward.
Guyfox
off topic but interesting article on our on-loan striker Joel Campbell - http://inbedwithmaradona.com/the-100-for-2012/2012/11/26/joel-campbell.html
Gooner_Vin
damiano.... very crafty with your Chamakh stats, how many of the those games were starts for Arse ?... as for Diaby, you only have to see the dramatic drop in performance since he got injured, when other factors have been relatively unchanged.... you dont always have to dominate by being dominant, sometimes its as simple as killing with kindness...
Viyyash-Ramosh
The question is - can Wenger pull off another miracle in getting us 4th place? I still believe that it's possible, but it's looking more and more unlikely. It depends on how this team reacts to the dressing down from Bould. Does this team feel sorry for itself and not push on, or will it be a 'back to the walls' and an aggressive reaction? That will be telling.
prits
There we go again about the "Bould effect"; why should the 'dressing down' be from Bould and not the Manager, on whose desk the buck stops? I don't hear too many blame our recent defensive frailties on Bould half as much as they gave him credit for the clean sheets we kept at the start. Let us just agree Wenger is responsible for the team and guides whatever decision is made, even the decision as to who gives the dressing down. It is easier that way. Sorry, no offense intended, Prits but I have been feeling the strain lately.
Naijagunner
I feel the weight of being captain is weighing too heavily on TV as he had a lot of respect for his predecessor, good friends and all that. He hardly thought the role would be foisted on him so soon; then, who knows the conversations he may have had with the Dutch man in the summer. He may have been made to believe he will be at the head of a team of no-hopers and is anxious not to be the skipper of the Arsenal side which failed to make top 4 in years.

It is conjecture but if I am correct, well guess what, young man. There is no turning back on this one; we have to see the warrior in you. If one player plays well and proves to be reliable, it could be the elixir for improvements, all around. The Captain has to decide to help the team or we will have another captain out the door next summer.
Naijagunner
Diaby dominates? On his day and when fully fit, we know how much of a handful he can be, offensively and defensively. What I won't do is put it all down to him as I can recall many games we lost, even with him playing and fit. He is an asset, but an unreliable one, these days. I can recall his diabolical contributions to our defeat to United, two seasons ago (?), including beating our keeper with a well struck header, after nicely disguising it as a clearing header, fooling everyone in the process. He is our player and we want him back; but, he won't revamp everything, suddenly. He will make us a bit more secure defensively, though, mind you.
Naijagunner
Saw the list of our players for the CL game away to Olympikos tomorrow and can understand the need to rest tired players. But, is Johan Djourou also tired? Why didn't we take Gnabry and Eisfeld?
Naijagunner
Naija, Djourou is injured and Eisfeld and Gnabry are not eligible. And Gnabry is also injured
DeadwoodGooner
Thanks, DeadwoodGooner. Found out about Eisfeld's. situation. Djourou has not been mentioned as injured in the Team news; so, we shall be seeing Squillaci play today.
Naijagunner
Vermaelen was defensively suspect last season as well - his defending has not become worse since then. Don't think captaincy is weighing him down - I don't see any change in his on-field demeanour. As for the 'Bould effect' I was simply commenting on the reports that it was Bould who administered the dressing down to the team. My point was more around how the team reacts to this, and not who is screaming at them. You're right Naija, the strain seems to be getting to you, but no offense taken.
prits
Viyyash, nothing crafty about that, they're just the bare stats. For your benefit, I've looked it up; 35 starts, 30 sub appearances. Most of them awful.
damiano_tommassi
'awful' is a subjective term Dammy, and a constant stop-start pattern to his gametime will affect any player's morale, confidence and 'feel' for the game and teammates around him... but he still managed a near 1 goal per 2 games started as well as 10 assists.... hardly 'awful' but if you want to go with the lemmings, as a Spuddie you can be my guest.... would be intrigying to see Giroud and Chamakh together and Cazorla out wide right.... but then you'd need to drop darling Jacque for a more robust centre-midfielder..
Viyyash-Ramosh
Oh definitely, it's all opinion. In his first season, he had 27 starts and 17 sub appearances, scoring 11 goals. Since then, 8 starts 13 sub and 3 goals. Giroud started 14, sub in 8, scored 7 goals, for comparison. the difference for me is that Chamakh has never played one game - not one - where I've thought 'okay, he's got something about him, he could be useful'. He's not quick, strong, reliabel as a finisher, good from long range, good with his head, good at link-up play, doesn't take free-kicks... just doesn't bring much to the party. Comparatively, I've seen Olivier play a few games where he's shown signs of a quality player waiting to break-out; he's made a lot of assists with intricate through-balls or by holding off a defender and getting a knock on to someone. Just clearly (for me) a superior player. Marouane had chances, had runs in the team; never kicked-on. And any time he gets a game now, I would be as delighted as I would be surprised if he scores. Or runs, frankly.
I'd hate to see them play together, as the play such similar roles, lack pace, and as I've said I think one player is far better than the other. Also, shifting Cazorla out wide would lose a lot of our midfield fluidity and reduce the space he can work in (as our best passer of the ball, our playmaker - and a player that can (and does) shoot from distance - that would be a waste).
Interesting to see your consistent love for Diaby but disdain for Jack... I say interesting; mystifying and unusual is probably closer the mark. jack is surprisingly robust, you know - not 7' tall, but strong and puts in plenty of 'tasty' tackles. Really strong character. I like Abou a lot, but the fact he looks a bit like Vieira doesn't mean he's a tough-tackling centre mid who breaks up lots of opposition attacks.
damiano_tommassi
any fool can go around throwing themselves into 'tasty' tackles, it means very little... its about having the physicality to close off space in a timely fashion as well as getting forward to support the attack... Jacque is what most fans like to see: a bit of fluff that comes up shiny now and again, we can all go 'awwww' he's so young and so cute, will be world-class in 2yrs time YEAH RIGHT.... the guy is a nice mascot currently.... you and the rest carry on mooning over him, while the team descends evermore deeper into oblivion.... a middle of Arteta, Cazorla et petit Jacque... so cute..
Viyyash-Ramosh
He's also recognised by most as a very promising and already capable player... expected to be a regular in the England team now he's fit... not a mascot. If you really don't think Wilshere Cazorla and Arteta are good players, I think all hope of a decent conversation is lost.
damiano_tommassi
any fool can go around throwing out childish insults and prosaic superficial 'analysis' too. Wilshere isn't the finished article and nobody, Wenger especially, is claiming he is. Clearly though Capello, Hodgson and others see more strengths than weaknesses in his precocious potential. Your mocking of him is nothing more than juvenile tongue poking.
Amos.
Watched MOTD on Saturday night and was shocked by the number of empty seats in the emirates.....but the Prem League official site has the attendance down as over 60k! Eh?
skins
**DO NOT FEED THE PIGEONS**
shewore
what about the sparrows?
The Fear
Skins, I've noticed that a lot over the last couple of years; you can be sat in the stadium and see with your own eyes that it's only around 80% full, but then hear that the 'attendance' is 60,000... Even allowing for people having a pee, buying a drink or watching inside on the TVs, I don't get it.
damiano_tommassi
The 'attendance' is tickets sold. Depending on the opposition not all the season ticket holders and corporate seats are always taken.
Amos.
Hence why it's not announced at the stadium due to the imminent laughter after every announcement. They really should see if tickets aren't taken up for 3 games in a row say they get put back into circulation, there are always corporate tickets being given away at the moment, like confetti tickets for any game apart from maybe Tottenham, Chelsea and Utd.
shewore
Dammybaby... but I do think Jacque, Arteta and Cazorla are good players.... I also like strawberry-jam, 2 boiled eggs and a slice of black forest gateau - but not on the same plate...innit.
Viyyash-Ramosh
 

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