Avoid Burn Out: Douse The Olympic Flame & Keep RvP Fresh

Ahead of the expected bruising encounter with Stoke City on Sunday, the Olympic Football Tournament has taken a battering from Arsène at his pre-match press conference. According to the manager,

I think it’s good if Great Britain does well at the Olympic Games but we have to find a common sensible solution to the use of the players. I think it’s important for us as well to have our players when we need them.

The source of conflict between club and country is all too apparent. An international tournament that may deprive clubs of key players at the start of the season. The fear for Wenger is burnout,

At some stage you have to decide how far you can go medically for the players to play so many games under so much pressure. I would say there is already no real break because of the European Championship and the Olympic tournament for me is not a real football tournament, for me the Olympics is for track and field basically.

It strikes me that whilst Arsène raises valid points, he might be jumping the gun with Aaron Ramsey as the FAW have, like their Scottish and Irish counterparts made it abundantly clear that their players cannot be selected. Equally, there is a balance to be struck between the England national side and ‘Team GB’; Fabio Capello’s successor will have World Cup 2014 qualifiers less than a month after Olympic Tournament ends.

As England’s older players, such as Lampard and Terry, find their international careers drawing to a close, the national coach will be requiring the services of the younger generation, such as Jones and Smalling, whilst Walcott and Wilshere are too pivotal to the senior squad to be risked, no matter what Stuart Pearce may wish. Personally, if there is to be a decent squad put out, I believe it should be the Under-21 squad. There is enough talent to be drawn upon without needing the services of influential players.

Ultimately Pearce is fighting a losing battler, the desperation that caused him to beg his ‘stars’ to insist upon playing hints at an unedifying summer ahead. Fifa has decreed it is not a mandatory competition in their calendar which means the club can insist that players do not participate. If Arsenal do not ensure all first team squad members remain at the club for the duration of the Olympics, I for one will be hugely disappointed.

A more immediate problem for Wenger is Robin van Persie’s fitness. It is one of those things that leaves you on tenterhooks; the Dutchman has been unlucky – almost beyond words – in this aspect of his career. For the first time though, the choice is down to the manager, a choice complicated by 28 goals in 35 games,

This season he is certainly [the best all-round striker in the Premier League] and, in the last six months, certainly the most efficient. You like Robin because he’s not a typical goal-scorer. When you see him play it never comes to your mind that this guy is a goal-scorer. And then you look at the record and think he’s not only a good player, he’s a top-class goal-scorer as well.

No matter how much passion he may play with, van Persie is aware of his own limitations and his importance to the team. That much of the goalscoring responsibility has fallen on his shoulders is an indictment of the rest of the team . A hint, perhaps, that the worst excesses of Thierry Henry’s latter seasons at the club – pass the ball to the goalscorer, he will do the rest and the rest of the team do not score nearly as many as they should.

Park’s adaptation process to England is taking longer than it should, already his signing is being cast as a Wenger mistake. That remains to be seen but with Marouane Chamakh out of sorts, the forward line is looking somewhat threadbare in terms of goals. It is an age-old refrain but others really need to step up to the plate on a consistent basis.

Key to this season’s travails though is the brutal manner in which confidence has been missing. Creativity, according to the manager, will be ‘rekindled’ with confidence. An extension of that is the creation of chances and their conversion. It tags onto Big Al’s post yesterday.

However, there is a balance to be struck. Recent wins have seen a certain doggedness, a willingness to work harder as a team to snuff out the opposition. It is shaky but this aspect is perhaps better suited to the personnel available at the moment than the free-flowing football of previous seasons. That is not to wish for the turgid football that marked the end of George Graham’s era – a stark contrast to the sparkling football of 88 – 91 and a contributing factor in his downfall – but the obdurate defending allied to Wenger’s desire for passing and movement is a potent combination, one that might serve well as the squad seeks to climb up the table.

For a team rebuilding itself, getting the defence right is a crucial building block. Signs are that it is coming together with the eleven seeking to protect the goal. In itself that is a step in the right direction. Small steps, building blocks cautiously being put into place. Next we’ll be talking of strong foundations. And from there? Who knows.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on October 22, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 97 Comments.

  1. Great Post Yogi. Arsenal feels like a family where everyone is fighting for each other, Go Gunners!

  2. bigbrova missed out? LOL

    i really agree with the post. AW needs to keep the arsenal key players at the club for the Olympics… there are enough in the U 21 to make a decent team out… maybe Rooney for one of the senior players, let him miss the euros, since he is suspended for 3 matches

  3. Morning Yogi, interesting piece as usual

    The review of the Olympic question seems to focus only on English/GB players and the PL and that is the same way it has been reported elsewhere. Am I missing something but are not PL players of all nationalities likely to get the call from their countries next Summer?

    And by no means are all of them as lukewarm concerning their participation in the national side as our brave lads – esp with the World Cup due within 2 years.

    I would like to see a bit of give and take on the issue – for expletive every PL club agreeing to give up two players to Olympic duty

  4. Team Spirit

    Its one of those things – you have to hope that BB is OK and he’s just busy!


  5. Anicoll5

    Why should the club’s give up any first team players for the Olympics? I don’t see Uefa or Fifa dropping all international friendlies next season to compensate and allow domestic seasons to start in September? Its give and take; the clubs are as bad as FAs but ultimately, clubs pay the price for too much football.


  6. ideally Cappello should pick his 23, then Peace should choose his 18 from the remaining. Personally I’d be happy if the likes of Chamberlain, Gibbs, Afobe, Ramsey, Frimpong, Bartley, Aneke, Jenkinson, could turnout for the olympics. Its a better prep for the season than the Emrites cup, and to be honest it Arsenal got their act together in pre season, squad depth should never ever be a problem in the first handful of games of a season….its as the weeks progress squads are tested. Ryo, Coqulin, Miquel, Ozzy, etc all turning out for their nations would be fantastic to….lets show the world some success stories and breed confidence in these players! .

  7. I don’t know if Ghana have qualified for the Olympic tournament gunnerguru?

    It should be an U21 tournament only and I think if Pearce were to select only U21 players who haven’t played in the Euros then everyone would be happy. However, the man is an imbecile so it remains to be seen if any common sense prevails. I have my ticket for a double-header at Wembley anyway, not going to see some of the Olympics when it’s on your doorstep would be criminal.

  8. Why I think clubs should be a bit more amenable is that involvement in the Olympics will allow some players the only chance they ever have to play in a major international football comp – Bale and Aaron being two examples
    The other side of give and take will come with – for example Santos – ifBrazil call he’ll come running which will cause aggravation – all clubs are going to face the same pressures

  9. I can only hope if thee is a PL boycott of the Olympic team that it does not coincide with the annual pilgrimages to Chicago and Kuala Lumpur by the top clubs

  10. Stuff their Olympics up their arse. They spend season after season slagging off our team and giving them fuckall credit when it’s due to us then it’s ‘oh yeah and can we take Jack or Theo’!?

    Sick to death of these cockroach anti Arsenal bastards taking the piss out us.

    They love harry so much he has his own tv and media paper slot so why not take his English players? After all shit spuds are a much better club according to the media they have just been unlucky eh.

    Seeing those shots in the paper of that fat bastard clive allen chasing down our manager like some bully. Do you think he would of chased down Tony Adams, Bould or Keown like that? Piss takers. I say f*** em all.

  11. I wanted to read something about our CL wiin and tomorrows match.not something about team GB. Why are concerned with that?

    I wanted to debate and discuss team and tactics for stoke and if anybody else agrees that oxo should get a start ahead of Theo and who’s playing at the back and how far away should we keep djouru away from the stadium.

    Arsenal are not regarded as an English team by these same bastards who will be looking to take our players and get them crocked up?

  12. Notwithstanding the fact that next year’s Olympics will be held in Great Britain, I feel that a GB football team is now a non-starter, following the decision of the Scottish and Welsh FA’s.
    Oh for the days of only amateur teams taking part.
    Managers make me smile when they express their fears about too many games and a consequent burn-out. No sooner has a season ended than, within 5 or 6 weeks, an exhausting but lucrative Far East or USA tour takes place under the guise of pre-season training. Injuries invariably result and are put down to the previous season’s hard graft.
    It’s about time, IMO, the Champions League was restricted to the Champions of each country alone. The Europa and Carling Cups could be scrapped for teams in the EPL.
    In this way, games at the top level would be reduced. Of course I would then expect an inevitable attempt by Clubs to arrange money-spinning friendlies in order to boost income.
    The love of money is the root of all evil!

  13. I just dont see why this cannot all be managed correctly in the first place we have known about both tournament for years but only now is everyone raising their concerns. a worldwide footballing calendar could iron out problems like friendly internationals tournaments weather conditions etc. i submitted a blue print to all the relevant bodies years ago. to be fair uefa took up one proposal and switched the champions league final to a saturday the english fa look like they are considering some of my proposals for academies too. but as with most things any change takes times. under my proposals internationals would be grouped in pools by co efficiency not by continent and at no point would their be friendlies. All internationals would be played during close season. domestic leagues would be Shorter in terms of time to allow for international breaks. internationals matches would be able to field more subs and use bigger squads. premier clubs would join the domestic cups a round later than currently the most radical changes would be the starting of the league in march and finishing in october and the introduction of 18 team leagues throughout the world if they can support that many. the play offs would change too with more clubs involved but less matches.

  14. gunnerguru

    A bizarre way of looking at it, a non-national team taking precedence over your club in a meaningless tournament that has not been an issue since the 1970s for these sceptered isles. Why? We never enter and have not done so since the FA ended the distinction between professional amateur at this level.

    With the Scots et al, taking the view that it threatens their national identity – bizarrely in my opinion – there is no likelihood of it being an issue again.


  15. nicky

    The managers rarely choose the destination of a tour. If they did, Wenger has made no bones about Central Europe being his choice not the Far East or USA


  16. I thought the Olympics is meant to be a sport for amateurs anyway? This would obviously not preclude and Spuds players participating, but still?

  17. I wonder if we will start with Chamakh up front against Stoke?

  18. Yogi, why do you write ‘YW’ at the end of each comment. We already know you are Yogi’s Warrior from your name and the avatar.

  19. I think going to the olympics would be a great experience for our young players. Its suppose to be a great experience, living in the Olympic village, and migling with the other great athleets in the world.
    And there truly are some REALLY great athleets outside PL.
    the Olympics is not only about competition and money. Its about winning the right way. Thats someting that does not excist in footy anymore. “winning the right way” died with Chelsea.

  20. i mean ofc truly GREAT athleets outside football. I think as a football player playing in the Olympics being exposed to that may broaden your horizot a bit…. that can only be good if you are an overindulged teenage footballer on 25k a week..

  21. > Block 4

    No I don’t know who have or what the criteria for Olympic qualification is for the nations, so no I don’t know if Ghana are in. However my statement was ‘I’d be happy’ if the following players were involved, meaning playing for GB. Including Frimpong.

    I don’t see why everyone is so anti the GB olympic team (shame we have a shit manager, but so do the England team and have done for years!). Its football, its a one off tournament in our own country, and hopefully it will be a young team with a good percentage of English players who may well travel to Brazil, France, and Russia in the next 6 years, so to see them together on a big stage would be brilliant. Hopefully Arsenal will make up some of this team?

  22. Walcott to arsenal.com

    “How happy are you with your own form?
    I’m happy. I’ve been asked to do a lot more defensive work but that is part of the job and it has worked so far because we’ve been getting the results”

    Can this be why some thinks he looks so “tame” upfront nowadays? Many of you have alredy touched upon how he does contribute alot more in defence now..

  23. Messie had a huge row with Barcelona over last Olympics as far as i remeber. Many up and coming stars will play the olympics and they will look back fondy on the memory. Cos its totally different from WC and EC. its a totally different atmosphere and a very ejoyable tournament. or so those that have been says..

  24. gunnerguru

    It’s at the start of the season, Team GB is in fact going to be a Team England and it is in the same summer as Euro2012. So it means that either the clubs rest any players involved or they play them and they get burnout injuries. Why should the clubs suffer? Why don’t Uefa drop Euro2012 for example.

  25. It is the club that pay the players wages. It is not a FIFA tournament, so the clubs are under no obligations to release the players. The players are meant to be in pre-season (or resting after the Euro’s) during the Olympics. Pearce can go and fuck himself.

  26. Thanks for the post, it is an issue, that come next season, will certainly make intersesting viewing at the table if AW is right and players fitness levels are affected. Ive read some good alternatives on here, playing under 21s, playing some who are at the end of their carrear. I agree with AW that the olimpics should be track and field only. I would go a bit further and say that only ams should take part. Impossible these days, I know. The Olimpics is supposed to stand for everything good in sport. Its history and images of the munich olimps pre WW2 in a sence provide a leveler. Nowadays its no different than some other things in sport, vunrable to corruption. So I say only players from the ams or lower divisions to take part in the olimpics. Important game again tomorrow. Most of the teams above us have, what look like, easy games but 3 points will at least move us up a place. Im wondering what the team will look like. Gervo will start, i think and could he possibly rest arty and bring in ramsy. I would like to see oxy on the bench. The Ram, The Ox, maybe we could have a full eleven of players with farm yard animal names

  27. Theo being asked to help the defence a lot more is meant to improve his overall game, not an excuse for a shoddy display in offence.

  28. And if defence is theo’s primary game,he’d be useless against the stoke bruisers.he should be dropped for a bigger lad.but i’d rather have him play than arshavin

  29. V.pessie sud be rested

  30. He should play. He won’t feature in the CC so will have a whole weeks rest before our next game.

  31. .but i’d rather hear him than Gooner2.

  32. I have found a new game.Take stupid posts and alter them so as they make better sense 🙂

  33. 1. Surely if a player is not selected for the Euro’s, but instead plays in the Olympics, they get more rest than a player who is in the Euro’s and then starts the domestic season with their club. Thus meaning as long as a player can not be selected for both there is no extra reason for burnout.

    2. As for the clubs, well if over 80% of the players taking part in the Olympics are u23’s, then most clubs won’t be stripped of their main xi and certainly not their star players. Arsenal might be an exception due to the high density of young players, but even in Arsenals case how many of the current first 18 players would feature if you exclude over 23’s and those who have already been involved in the Euro’s? I doubt many.

    I think the selection solution should be; A. Only players who were not selected for the Euro’s B. Only u23’s (if Beckham wants to go let him be a coach or mascot!).

    And if we (England) end up without the participation of Wales, Scotland, and NI, then all the better for our young prospects. Just a shame about the sh#t manager!

  34. I have found anew game. Take stupid posts and alter them so THAT they make MORE sense.

  35. hahahahaha….. PG’s in the building.

  36. He would have had you there George, if he had put a space between ‘a’ and ‘new’ of course.

  37. pedantic george at 11:34 am:
    “I have found a new game.Take stupid posts and alter them so as they make better sense.”

    You will be very busy p.g. To quote Sally Field in Forest Gump:
    “Stupid is as stupid does.”

  38. rvp really is carrying us right now..
    the other forward players really do need to start chipping in..

    weve been stumbling our way through this season so far if we really want to go on a run and push our way back into contention we need goals from the others

    rvp is in fantastic form but over reliance on one player can be a dangerous game..

  39. Even better George, just scroll past them. If you don’t read them, they can’t annoy you. Works for me.

  40. Now we just need to find some one to alter your stupid post’s George, then all will be Zen on here.
    Im with JJ on over reliance on RVP, if he gets a injury we are in the shit. I hope Chamak gets a run today, we need him to find some of the form he was in the start of last season and he will not find it on the bench.

  41. If it was only RVP scoring in the CL, we would be in the bottom of our CL group, or wouldn’t be in the CL anyway. I believe other players will step up.

  42. This BS has to stop. The players need to go one strike and stop this garbage. This is why the guys are going down like flies. The body is not meant to play upwrds of 200 matches a year. The players need to form a union and fight this junk tooth and nail. This is RVP was hurt all the time, Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Kaka, Cesc Fabergas, need I name more.

  43. George, only posts stupid posts when he quotes other people stupid posts.

  44. Stoke vs Swansea – not bad at all.

  45. Forecast for tomorrow is sun.
    Will Delap opt for one towel, or two?

    Hopefully we’ll hear some gr*tty or even witty heckles directed towards the Manc C team.
    After beating the Manc B team last week, I’m optimistic!

  46. Great post Yogi as always:

    “For a team rebuilding itself, getting the defence right is a crucial building block. Signs are that it is coming together with the eleven seeking to protect the goal. In itself that is a step in the right direction. Small steps, building blocks cautiously being put into place. Next we’ll be talking of strong foundations. And from there? Who knows.”

    I copied and pasted your last paragraph because I loved it so much that I wanted to read it again. Can’t remember how many nasty names I have been called for trying to say the same thing. I guess it must be the way I say it that annoys people. Oh Well. I will continue to battle despite the adversity.

    Great stuff from you again today. You are the best football pundit in the world.

  47. Are you gloating Bill?

    Truth is, you have every right to say I-told-you-so, considering how much stick you got for suggesting that we played a more defensive game. Lets just hope we don’t have to do it for too long.

    I’m not sure we have it in us (quality wise) to play at the level of the 2007-2008 team again. Although one can never rule out Wilshere giving us some of what we missed from Cesc. We’d still need 2 or 3 of his type though, and that would be pricey indeed.

  48. ace you boring bloody git.

  49. If our wing forwards are doing more defensive work, then I think it’s the perfect time to play 2 strikers up front, with RVP contributing in midfield as well.

  50. This one’s the best, Finsbury :

    “If I go into a season and I say, ‘For fu*k’s sake, if we don’t win anything, they will all leave,’ I have already lost. The problem of the media is always to imagine the worst. The problem of the manager is always to imagine the best.”

  51. @bill, no one says defending was not a good thing, just that we have had more off side goals and illegal pens given against us than any other team and so, in games when we could have kept cleans sheets, we are shortchanged and man u not getting pens called against vidic in particular and many other of their players in general, mean they end up keeping more clean sheets than us, how be it with illegal assistance.

    many may wish to be manly and take in on the chin, but it is getting worse and worse and since am not a man, i will continue to point it out!

  52. from AW…

    [After the Arsenal fans booed a 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough in November 1998] “If you eat caviar every day it’s difficult to return to sausages.”

    yep… arsenal fans re spoilt!

  53. [After the success of the Great Britain team at the Olympics] “I didn’t know the English were good at swimming. I have been in this country for 12 years and I haven’t seen a swimming pool.”

    Are swimming pools that scarce in England?

  54. 3 points tomorrow and we are at 7th position…

  55. Team Spirit, I’ve yet to meet a football fan who says they’re not interested in defending.

    I have heard and read of people who say Arsenal need bigger or more expensive players. That they have a preference for a particular formation. Or style.

    No mention above of the last season similar to this one after the last re-build, which was not so long ago that it could be credibly forgotton. Rebuilding being the context here*. Where RVP was scoring all the goals at one point and led a team which went on to a 20+game unbeaten run in the league after adopting a more cautious approach as new/young players settled.

    MJ, here’s another quote I liked because of its relevance:

    “For me, when you change more than three players in a team, you always take a technical risk because you change the deep structure of the team and the deep balance of the team, mentally and technically.”

    *The loss of Rosicky, Flamini, Eduardo & Hleb from the starting eleven was marked down as rebuild in my scrapbook. Judging by the above quote, for others too.

  56. Ha ha Team spirit,
    Spoken like a true Deltan.

  57. Anurag, you took the words out of my mouth!

  58. @ finsbury

    Bill gives the impression that he is the only one that wants a stable defense in the team, we have hardly had bad defenders… even senderos (who was unfairly treated by many fans) was part of a record setting CL defense with flamini at left back no less (who knows how playing flamini there for that final may have eventually panned out. hmm)

  59. Correct Finsbury, Wenger took a more defensive approach a couple of seasons ago. There is nothing new about what Arsene is doing.

  60. No Bill, you never said anything of the sort, you just got all moist about the chavs and mancs defence.

    Hope that clears that up for you amigo? 😀

  61. more from AW… indeed all are worth a read

    “The biggest things in life have been achieved by people who, at the start, we would have judged crazy. And yet if they had not had these crazy ideas the world would have been more stupid.”

  62. PaulN

    We went something like 22 odd games unbeaten a few seasons back after we looked very vulnerable. AW playing Song and Denilson in CM, we were more solid, but the attacking threat dried up.

  63. So much for la liga being more competitive this season thanks to malaga having a sugar daddy; they are getting stuffed 4 nil at home by Maureen’s Malacas.

  64. AW is good. end of! LOL

    [Upon being asked if he had received the apology that Sir Alex had announced he had sent to Wenger] “No. Perhaps he sent it by horse.”

  65. Thats right Dex. What happened last year was way too much focus on poor defending when it was the goals drying up that was an even bigger problem. Only RVP was scoring at the end and it was worse than this season.

  66. this quote is what sums up the recent re building that has been on for a few years. sme of the players let AW down, others had to leave for various reasons… but if all had stayed… what a team!

    “We try to go a different way that, for me, is respectable. Briefly, these are the basics. I thought: “We are building a stadium, so I will get young players in early so I do not find myself exposed on the transfer market without the money to compete with the others. I build a team, and we compensate by creating a style of play, by creating a culture at the club because the boy comes in at 16 or 17 and when they go out they have a supplement of soul, of love for the club, because they have been educated together. The people you meet at college from 16 to 20, often those are the relationships in life that keep going. That, I think, will give us strength that other clubs will not have.”

  67. “even senderos (who was unfairly treated by many fans) was part of a record setting CL defense with flamini at left back no less (who knows how playing flamini there for that final may have eventually panned out. hmm)”

    But had he played Flamini and we lost we would not be hearing the end of it even now!

    Re defence – we either seem to defend well or attack well. It’s that balance of doing both at the same time that we have yet to master. Hopefully the latest incarnation of Wengerball will get the job done!

  68. Defensively we are shaping up quite well,
    But now attack seems to be a problem apart from RVP, Gervinho needs to come out of his shell and take more risks

  69. Team spirit,
    The point with Bill was that when in the past he advocated that we play in exactly the way we are doing now, many people shot him down, saying that our poor defending at the time was a natural consequence of our attacking play. Some of the other things he was told:
    -playing defensive was boring and un-Arsenal.
    -we should concentrate on outscoring the other teams
    -its better to win 3-2 than 1-0, or words to that effect.

    I don’t disagree with many of these sentiments, but to make it out as if people weren’t over-critizing him on these issues is not fair. I do admit he tended to repeat himself a great deal, but much of the time he was treated as some kind of traitor for thinking we could be more defensive.

  70. An argument could be made that focusing on a good defense (like we seem to be doing now) is something we should be doing all the time, not as part of a rebuilding process (in response to loosing players).
    If we defended well when we had those good players, they might actually have won stuff and maybe not all would have wanted to leave.

  71. Limestonegunner

    Stoke hasn’t done well after Europa league matches but this time they were at home against weak opposition and managed to rest 7 or 8 players, so I don’t expect them to have any dropoff. They will be well up for this game and physical. I hope AW does play Chamakh; perhaps he won’t but I hope he comes on early if possible. His presence will help in attack as well as defence on set pieces. It is true that he hasn’t played much since dropping in form and making way to RvP last December. But when he has played he has been far more effective than we realize. Even if he isn’t scoring goals, the team does quite well because of his linking and hold up play. What he hasn’t had is enough games. Early this season he had a bad game but he played well the other several times he came on or started. Stoke is a perfect game to bring him in and RvP could use some rest against a very physical (and irresponsible) side.

  72. Limestonegunner

    I meant perhaps he won’t start but should come on early in the second half at least.

  73. Limestonegunner

    Jeff from 7amkickoff in his “Hitting the Bar” statistical column made the case that Chamakh hasn’t been as bad as we think, it is just that RvP was so good and as a result he hasn’t played much.


  74. Limestonegunner

    Can I just say how much I appreciate and like Norwich City this season? The Canaries have been terrific and took a point away at Anfield and deserved much better in their losses to ManU and Chelsea. They deserved a point in both those games, alas. We play them on Nov. 19 and I consider that our toughest game after Chelsea away in Oct/Nov until ManCity away Dec. 17. That includes tomorrow v. Stoke, because at least we are at home.

  75. @ henristic…

    it is exactly the idea that he only was interested in being defensive that people reacted to. the team was not being casual about defending, just that things were not working out…

    even leaving aside the officials… TV5 was in his first season 2 yrs ago. Kos was in his first season last yr… JD was coming back from a long term injury… hence there was change in personnel which leads to mistakes and all that… These are factors. not just about looking for excuses. the team actually consciously works on defense… on the pitch however, anything can happen!

  76. the real reason Park Chu Young hasn’t played yet

  77. TS is correct.

    No one in their right mind wouldve complained about the statement that Yogi made. As Finsbury has noted, “rebuilding” is the operative word. The team last season was not a rebuilding team, this one is.

  78. Team spirit,

    Of course the team works on defence. I’ve always found it amusing when some people say we didn’t.
    And regarding your point about player turnover, we have new defenders this season too, and have also suffered mistakes borne out of “bedding them in” (by the way, the high turnover of players is largely down to our management choices, but that is another topic).

    The difference between this season and previous ones is that we weren’t focusing enough on the defensive side of the game, compared to now.
    Arsene and the players (Theo, Sczesny, etc) have all talked about the extra attention being given to improving our defensive stability this season. No one knows for sure if it will work in the end, but the effort is clearly there.

  79. Team spirit,
    So in a sense, the team and management were indeed being casual about defence, relatively speaking.
    Recall that Arsene even said it was an ‘easy’ problem to fix at one point (i.e defending set pieces).

  80. Limestonegunner | October 22, 2011 at 8:53 pm
    “Jeff from 7amkickoff in his “Hitting the Bar” statistical column made the case that Chamakh hasn’t been as bad as we think, it is just that RvP was so good and as a result he hasn’t played much.”

    I suppose it depends on how bad we think Chamakh is. The stats on 7amkickoff (thanks for the link btw) doesn’t exactly paint him in a good light. They show that his offensive contribution per minute played was not affected by the amount of game time he was allowed. i.e. His goals and assists ratio were the same when he got loads of games, compared to when he didn’t. I find that interesting, as one would think that playing fewer games should see his performance deteriorate due to lack of sharpness.

    You’re right though that RVP is so much better than he is, no shame in that. But I was slightly surprised read that his 0.54 goals + assists per game was not as good as Cesc, Arshavin, or Walcott, but 50% better than Nasri, and that his minutes per shot was the worst of all the main offensive players.
    Clearly does not fill one with confidence that he can be relied on come in and change a game in our favour, and I can understand why he seems to have fallen out of favour.
    The strange thing is that no one seems to have taken his place (as second choice striker). We have Park but he never gets to play either.

  81. Paul.

    TS also reminded us that the team has/does work on ‘defending’.
    After the Chelsea Home game last winter both the former Captain and Theo Walcott stated in post game interviews that they were pleased by the ‘pressing’ or defending that day. The team work. Two of the Arsenal goals that day came from forced errors.

  82. No surprise that the few times we actually press well in a game, it works. I do wonder why we don’t do it more often.I suppose the boys were up for it at that chelsea match, and are probably less motivated for most other games.

    Incidentally, I haven’t noticed much pressing this season, compared to the start of last season for instance.
    Looks like Arsene decided to be more compact in midfield instead (whatever that means), like Arteta was saying the other day.

  83. Different games can bring different tactics. Sometimes even during the same game.
    Same as last season. And the one before. And the…

    Sometimes, the game itself matters. The timing of goals? For Dortmand & Marseille Away did Arsenal begin the game with very different set ups? Or very different to some games in the PL & CL in previous seasons & probably this?
    Marseille themselves were a little more reserved, towards the end, compared to Dortmand. That was one small factor that helped Arsenal win the game in stadium where few PL teams have had much if any joy. A defensive performance with 55% possesion. Away.

  84. Another Wenger myth to bite the dust?
    “Tackling is fine by Arsène Wenger as long as technique is top class.”
    The key factual observation is buried in the last paragraph where he speaks of ankle injuries:

    “Wenger’s main relief regarding Ramsey is that, unlike his other two players who suffered terrible injuries because of reckless tackles, Abou Diaby and Eduardo da Silva, the injury did not affect his ankle. “The thing you hate the most in football is to be injured at your ankle,” Wenger says. “Every single uneven surface in football you correct with your ankle. When that sensitivity diminishes a little bit you are much more injury prone.” Diaby, who had his ankle broken in 2006 by Sunderland’s Dan Smith, has had an astonishing 28 separate injuries since. He has never really recovered to full strength and is unavailable to play against Stoke.”

    Will that silence the Diaby haters?

  85. Finbusry
    All of what you’re saying could be true, but I’m not sure what it means in the current context?

    For a variety of reasons we’ve been lacking in our defensive abilities for some time now. Arsene seems to be paying more attention to correcting the problem this season, especially since we can no longer boast of the attacking quality we used to depend on.

  86. Wenger just can’t win with some of these jokers here. Henristic banging on about Wenger and how he should have employed more defensive tactics, yet on the other hand also wondering what happened to our super attacking pressing game. LMFAO. The comments section here so depressing nowadays. It’s basicaly been reduced to a quick scroll.

  87. Shotta,
    It certainly won’t silence those who think we pay him too much, and should get rid.
    I look forward to seeing him back in the team. There were times in the past when he only seemed to play well when Cesc was also in the team.
    I wonder how he’ll do now, considering that he’d be expected to take way more creative responsibility.

  88. Apparently Cesc has called Kanouté a terrorist.

  89. Loomer,
    If you’re that prone to depression, I suggest you not bother supporting a sports team. Certainly not one like Arsenal. You could perhaps consider Manure? I’m sure their blogs are less depressing.

  90. Limestonegunner

    Chamakh is a quite decent backup striker, so his numbers would reflect that. Even though his are not in the RvP class, the team overall performs quite well when he plays. Furthermore he brings good defense, help on set plays and a strong aerial threat, which is unique for our side and thus gives us tactical flexibility. If we are going to cross a lot, he will get on the end of more high balls than our other forward options. So I would start playing him more especially against physical long ball teams to try to keep RvP fit in Europe and against the higher quality league sides.

  91. Nice try but everyone already knows you’re the closet Manc, Henristic.

  92. Limestonegunner

    More than a club, it is a den of racists and Islamophobes. Cesc, you’ve degraded yourself; you never should have left Arsenal. The irony is that Barca has been involved in a serious propaganda effort in teami g up with UNICEF in an anti-racism initiative, yet their players routinely engage in racist baiting of any opposition that stands up to them. Truly disgusting club. I hope we get a chance to knock them out of the CL.

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