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Where The Hell Is The Passion In This Arsenal Team?!

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I know I said that I didn’t mind us losing this match but certainly not in the manner that we did. We put out a strong squad whereas the opposition played with 7 defenders in their line-up. Looking at their line-up, I seriously expected for the team to go on and beat the Mancs. It was a line-up with next week’s Champions League encounter in mind and yet we couldn’t beat them.

However, what irked me most about this defeat is the lack of heart among the Arsenal players in the game. The lads were playing at pedestrian pace and not showing any passion for the match at all. It was like they were being forced at gunpoint to participate in the game. Out of all the players, the only one who really tried was Jack Wilshere and this is a boy of 18 years. The rest of the seniors players especially Denilson, Diaby and Arshavin were not even trying.

Both goals came as a result of the lackidaisical attitude of the holding midfielders. For the first, we saw Fabio having lots of space to receive the ball when Diaby was still strolling back to the penalty box while for the second, Denilson allowed Valencia to carry the ball over 60 metres up till the penalty box without even getting close to him. He was again just strolling along with Valencia. The other guy who dissapointed was Kieran Gibbs. Here is the England left back of the future but he was so poor as Rafael just breezed past him to set up the second goal.

Seriously, where is the heart in playing for Arsenal? This is the FA Cup, for god sake. If the match doesn’t excite the players, I am not sure if they are in the right profession. The opposition were certainly no better the us in terms of talent but they just showed more passion. Wayne Rooney for all his criticism was always at the back holding his court in front of the left back and bouncing forward whenever they had a break. That is what we need. PASSION!

I am too sick to the stomach to write anymore about the team. Its best to just leave the dissapointment to rest for the week. We will also be losing Djourou for the rest of the season with a dislocated shoulder. On the other hand, it’s great to see Rambo back in the first team. Pity it didn’t come under better circumstances.

Submitted by The Arsenal Kid



  1. Danny Salford Red

    March 14, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Well the game certainly didnt go the way I expected it to upon seeing the line ups. I wouldnt get too down about it though Gunners fans. I know its hard after the week youve had but dont believe all the cr*p you read in the paper about you having major problems here or there or psychological issues. Its a fickle game and a few wins on the bounce again and this last week will be a distant memory. The one negative thing I will say is that I do not see what all the fuss is about with Gibbs and never have. very very average but fast.

  2. Simba

    March 14, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Wenger needs to inspire real fighting spirit in this team. I already think that there are players at Arsenal who are not confident of winning anything and some players who just don’t care and are satisfied with their good wages at the end of every week.

    The way Arsenal play is similar to Barca but I have to point out the main reasons why Arsenal fails at the crucial stages.

    1. Unreliable finishers in the last 3rd of the pitch .Barca have invested in Messi , Villa , Pedro , Bojan – these guys are clinical in front of goal and the main reason why Barca average 3 goals a game .Arsene Wenger seems to miss that part , Van Persie is really good on his day but he is no Messi or Villa .

    2. High work rate off the ball .Barca press the man on the ball effectively and rely on the fact that that work ethic on pressing the man on the ball means that the opposition have to be technically gifted to move and pass the ball away from the pressing players and launch an attack or retain possession. Arsenal don’t press well on opposition players .The are couple of players who you see jogging back when the opposition has the ball .Bendtner, Diaby, Arshavin, Van Persie at times …You don’t see Messi jogging back when Barca lose possession .These are things that at practice Arsene Wenger should instill discipline on .I still think Wenger is too soft on the players an does not force that work rate.

    3. Creative midfield and Full back width options .Barca have focused on creative midfielders Xavi and Iniesta and have worked on those guys’ passing abilities and vision .They will keep possession and work to find that pass to their clinical finishers, they do this with the assistance of their fullbacks Dani Alves, Eric Abidal, Maxwell or Adriano..No coincidence 3 Brazilians, why??? Creativity and ability to go past their man to provide that extra width and options in the box (attacking 3rd) for that final pass. Compare with Arsenal

    Fabregas and Wilshere are very good technicians and can do what Xavi and Iniesta can do. Arsenal needs depth to cover the gap that the team faces when Fabregas gets injured as well as Wilshere who is proving to be top class talent .How does Arsene do this , he has to invest in tapping right talent from youth or go out and buy real quality back-up , because the focal point for the Arsenal approach as well as Barca depends on the two creative midfielders .Barca struggle when their midfield talisman Xavi and Iniesta are out of from or injured and it’s no surprise Arsenal struggle without Fabregas .

    Going back to the point that Xavi –Iniesta and Fabregas –Wilshere are potent midfield combos , where is the problem then in Arsenal’s approach …Fullback width to offer retained possession and options in the final 3rd .Arsenal’s fullbacks don’t offer the ability to properly retain possession or provide the final killer pass after using width to get in behind the opposition defence line in the final third .Alves and Abidal will get chances behind opposition teams’ defence line, and will always bomb forward to create options in the final third as well as fully commit opposition defences . When you have 3 forwards and two full backs stretching the defence it’s no wonder why Barca always pick a pass when the defence fails to pick up one or two players. How many times have you seen Clichy and Sagna going forward to cross the ball aimlessly to no target in the box. I always wonder why Pat Rice or Wenger go into most games and see that aimless crossing from fullbacks and still encourage it. I have seen 2 goals from those crosses, Chamackh at Wolves, Van Persie at Newcastle . That return is a disaster and those crosses only prove to give possession away to the opposition from my statistics.

    I would think that Arshavin has to be replaced with a winger or forward who has skill and finishing abilities. I saw Luiz Suarez play for Ajax and the Uruguay and now for Liverpool and wonder why Wenger would buy Chamackh or sell Eduardo. Arsenal needs 3 good forwards minimum.
    Van Persie – a good cultured striker / forward whose main problems are injuries .Injuries affect form and take that confidence away sometimes. He needs a good back –up player in the squad
    Nasri – adept at playing wide left and right, can become a Pedro kind of player .Good with possession and close control. I always wish that he got into the box a lot more because his skill would definitely bring timely penalties for Arsenal to convert and put pressure on opposition defences with yellow cards and even red cards as they battle on whom to pick him up. His skill would be useful to the front three forward line as well as his ability to play in the hole between midfield and forward line .Take a look at what Messi has been doing for Barca this season, Nasri will offer that option so well for Arsenal and allow Van Persie and the other strikers chance to run the channels between Centre backs and fullbacks. Van Persie/ or good back up forward / striker running on right side channels or left channels would provide goals for Arsenal no matter what the case. You can see where Villa and Pedro get their goals from.
    3rd forward – this player has yet come to Arsenal FC. Wenger needs to find the right man here. Pace, good close control, finishing abilities .He can be van Persie’s back up and allow Theo to come in for other games. I always wonder why Wenger does not model Theo’s game on David Villa , David Villa does not do much but runs channels using his pace to deadly effect switching from right to left . Theo lack the vision to be fully involved in the creative aspect of the game, I don’t think he will ever have the vision unless maybe if Dennis Berkamp is brought back to Arsenal to tutor the forwards. Arshavin might also play this role but has to work hard on his finishing, running channels and close control. The Arshavin who put 4 past Liverpool is the one needed for this role.

    Already Van Persie, Nasri fit the bill for a forward line but Arshavin, Walcott are not the fit technically or have enough vision to play the front three on a more regular basis.
    An attack rotating Nasri -Van Persie – Suarez has enough skill to open up any defence, i.e. has players who can dribble, run channels, hold-up possession, and finish off chances especially with midfield technicians such as Fabregas and Wilshere behind them to create chances for them. The full back options still remain open to change and are crucial in the formation and tactical approach Arsenal want to adopt .As much as people don’t like Eboue, I have seen Eboue going foward and create far more effectiveness to Arsenal’s game than Sagna does.

    Eboue v Sagna – Eboue lacks the defensive aspect of the game , but this can be rectified by retraining him on the defensive duties , you get a feel that Eboue regressed a bit after Sagna came to club , but he worked on his game and became better , Arsene can manage him and bring the best from his defensive game ( How different is Dani Alves to Sagna and then Eboue ) – Sagna is good defensively but do you think he would fit in the Barca squad – I don’t think so . Sagna is solid defensively and I don’t know if they are any of you out there who get excited when Sagna is involved in our attack and you get a feeling we never get any penetration from his role as fullback in attack. Eboue occasionally gets fouled after a run and wins free kicks and set piece opportunities .You can never expect Sagna to create that same effect or dribble or be able use his pace past a man. If the high pressing game is used effectively the full backs will never be attacked or face up with wingers a lot for defensive duties because the opposition won’t have space to utilize
    Same with Gibbs, he is better than Clichy going forward. So where do we make up our defensive frailties’ , 1stly defence starts from upfront , have the front 3 work hard on pressing for possession with the midfield and full backs creating a 4-man midfield to reinforce the pressing upfront (3-4-3 in defence). This leaves space for the holding midfielder Song and centre backs to cut out the final threat from opposition .The holding midfielder needs to have good vision, read the game well, and anticipate the focal point of an opposition attack. Busquets does that so well and reminds me of a Makelele, good on the ball and technically gifted to thwart an attack as well use the possession gained to launch an attack after defending.

    4. The holding midfielder (Libero role) – Alex Song has proved he can play well in this role .The problem at Arsenal is that there is no cover for this role .Even Barca can’t find proper cover for Busquets . The problem with this role is that it requires so many attributes, good man marking, good technical skills, good stamina, good pace to cut out attacks, good 1st touch to keep possession, good passing range and be able to play out of trouble .Alex Song is good in that role but lack of cover has meant that he played more games at became jaded now injured and dipped in form. Arsene Wenger has to scout properly for this role ,pick youngsters from the academy who can start learning this role at an early age , become trained to hone and full skill them for this role .Busquets was trained by Pep who used to play this role no wonder why he is good at it .

    5. The Centre backs – when you play the formation and pattern of play Barca and Arsenal do, you need pacy Centre backs .The need to read the game well and have good man marking skills, good stamina and good technical abilities. So far Kolo Toure and Tomas Vermaelen fit the bill for that kind of Centre back. Gallas and Djourou follow , Djourou is not the finished product and you always wonder why we conceded on counter attacks to the top clubs in EPL , he lacks that ability to break out attacks at all cost , something mental I would think .Koscielny has good pace , but once he is turned and back tracking he is a liability and still lacks the right balance mentally to avoid defensive problems , I would like to see Wenger hire a good defensive coach to fully perfect Djourou and Koscielny , and still Wenger has to bring in another quality centre back with all these attributes with the rate of injuries to centre backs in the EPL .

    You feel the games against Birmingham , Barca 2nd leg and Man Utd (FA Cup ) .The 3 aspects came into it , Lack of true finishers , lack of midfield creativity and that lack of mental strength in the centre back positions and overall winning mentality .

    4. Wenger needs to focus on perfecting the game plan, formation and tactical approach .Bring in the right players to suit that formation, develop the ideology through to junior levels so that players come from the youth already equipped with frame of mind, skill and technical abilities needed to fit in the Arsenal game plan and soon enough they team can start winning runs that stretch for 10 or more games, then we can talk of conquering EPL and Champions League.

    Without that approach Wenger will still find himself where he is now and won’t be able to explain what went wrong.

  3. Segun

    March 14, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Truly it has become frustrating watching Arsene’s boys playing with no visible committment.Many of the players have not shown that they deserve to wear the shirt yet they grossly overrate their abilities. The coach have not helped with his refusal to buy quality players that will create competition for each position in the team.The quest for bargain purchase has caused the team to be overloaded with junks. The most precious ingredient lacking in this team however is the heart to win. Arsenal team to me can be likened to the super globe trotters of yore which measured success in entertainment value and not trophies.

  4. Nakedi from Kenya.

    March 14, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Wenger kept insisting that players (B52, Almunia and Chamakh) must fight for their positions in the 1st eleven. why is this policy not applicable to all players? Is Diaby a special player at Emirates? Must he play just because he is a French? The fallow doesn’t have the team at heart and he doesn’t deserve to wear Arsenal colours.

    Wenger should dispose him of his duties at Emirates. To hell with his ‘VIERA-LIKE’ claims.

  5. Pingback: Where The Hell Is The Passion In This Arsenal Team?! | My celeb news blog

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