RvP Believes Arsenal Lost Their Way Due To GPS
Players, we are frequently told, are self-obsessed mercenaries who do not care about anyone or anything other than themselves, certainly not what happens to their manager and have no clue how to relate to supporters.
In the latter, Arsenal players through social media sites are ahead of some of their more technophobe peers. Robin van Persie is a voracious user of Twitter but is one of the few players whose reputation has been enhanced this season.
Speaking at a PR event for a popular brand of football boots, the Dutchman said,
In a way, I do understand them because I feel connected with the fans. We have a really good relationship and I do understand them, I do understand their frustrations sometimes.
What can I say else about it? I know that we are giving everything. I am working with the players and I know this.
It depends upon to whom you are speaking as to whether they will identify with the comment about effort. Plenty believe that none has been put in since the title chances evaporated.
In the depths of our own self-obsession, the thought that the players may actually be disappointed is sometimes forgotten. Yet our frustration is built on a despair, a knowledge that matters on the pitch are out of our hands; only encouragement can positively influence them. Too often that encouragement does not come until a passage of play builds it.
An age-old quandry arises, do the collective off the pitch provide the encouragement before the collective on it, or is it vice-versa? It should be the former but in all-seater stadia, it is too often the latter.
The eternal optimism of players in their words was evident from van Persie,
We came close, very very close [to winning the title this season]. One thing is for sure. We need to be more consistent because we have everything in our team. To play at the highest level is to be consistent.
Consistency is not enough on its own. Confidence as well. That was not evident post February, which made the title challenge falter. A collective failure in confidence is not easy to counter but that is why the club employs psychologists. More than them though, it is the job of the manager to instill belief.
The answer may be borne of frustration to some degree. GPS systems are to blame according to Robin,
Opponents have GPS. They can track us down – how much we run in a game, is he a lazy player, is he defending well, is he attacking, is he running a lot? They know absolutely everything.
I find this to be an explanation that is partially true but more importantly it hints at the frustrations van Persie (and presumably others) feel. Yes, opponents know where the players are likely to run but it does not always have to be the case that they will run to a certain position.
Part of the praise heaped on Arsenal is the fluidity of their movement and passing. That being the case, GPS will not be that much use unless the fluidity is stylised and demonstrably pre-planned. It would suggest that free thought is not permitted on the pitch, something that is at odds with the evidence of our eyes.
The problem Arsenal face is that opponents know how to frustrate them with banks of midfielders and defenders augmented by forwards hassling and harrying when Arsenal are in possession. The fluidity of play is sometimes predictable. If channelled to the touchline and forced to cross, only van Persie is a real threat in the air and the likelihood is that he will not have any colleagues close by to snaffle chances as Arsenal are slow to support in the area.
The Emirates did not see one goal from outside of the area this season according to Opta statistics. That underlines the fact that the bad habit of passing into the net re-emerged. I find that frustrating because Arsenal have numerous players who can strike the ball. Frank Lampard made a habit of it and picked up all manner of goals from deflections. Cesc did it last season and ended up with 20 goals. This season, no-one did it successfully in the Premier League which is baffling.
To improve next season? That’s for the manager and team to work out the most effective way.
Elsewhere, Christopher Samba is going to turn Gary Cahill’s ‘dream move‘ into a nightmare and be signed for £12m whilst Carlos Vela might be on his way to West Brom. Or anywhere that he can get first team football. If Arsenal sell him. Andrey Arshavin? He’s off to Fenerbahce, Zenit or possibly Spain. Can’t be long before the ‘I’ve always supported Sporting Gijon‘ stories start.
Posted on May 19, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip. Bookmark the permalink. 260 Comments.