Archive for November, 2012

30
Nov
12

Arsenal Fans:United We Stand and United We Fall

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The situation at Arsenal at the moment isn’t the best it could be. We as fans are ALL frustrated and this is becoming quite clear in the heated debates we are having across social networks. Over the last few weeks these have become increasingly more noticeable and I myself have contributed to them. I got into a few debates this week which involved a few people on twitter and after pondering on the opinions exchanged and the manner in which some were exchanged (myself included) I realised how divided we are all becoming as fans.

It seems the one thing all fans seem to agree on is the board at Arsenal are the biggest problem. They don’t tell the truth, they are not honest about the money situation and their obsession with finance and turning Arsenal into a corporation has had a detrimental effect on the club, football team, players and fans. The Arsenal Black Scarf Movement* have organised a protest walk on Saturday before the Swansea game which will give us the opportunity to have our say.

Where we are all dividing is Arsene Wenger. Some of us want him gone and some of us want him to stay. I personally think his time is up with us. I can’t see that Wenger will take us any further and my reasons are probably the same as everyone else of the Wenger out thinking.

The fans that are still in support of Le Boss mostly talk about the history that he has provided at Arsenal. I think ALL Arsenal fans will be eternally grateful to Wenger for those years of history and we will always respect him for it. He achieved success in ways other people failed and 49 games unbeaten will be the achievement that I will never forget. But right now this history is fading fast and the fact is Wenger hasn’t been that manager in 5 years at least, others would say 8. Another thing Wengerites are saying is that we would be lost without Arsene, that could be true but how do we know until we try? Wengerouts would argue that actually we could get a new manager and improve. The facts are that Wenger has not won anything in the last 8 years and if we get to the end of the season and fail to qualify for Champion’s League then what are we holding out for? If you employ a manager on history how can you keep a manager on nothing for 8 years. What other club would put up with this?

Before anyone says this is about trophies it isn’t…well not for me anyway. I miss the football we used to play, I miss going to the games and seeing 11 players on that pitch playing their hearts out. We have seen glimpses over the last couple of seasons in games against Tottenham, Ac Milan and Chelsea but it has been a long time since we have watched a run of consistent games where we win or even play to win. I miss seeing the players laugh and joke around with each other. I miss being competitive with the top teams and the games in which two teams would fight it out tooth and nail instead of games being one-sided against us. Of course i miss the winning and I’m fully entitled to, we went from 49 games unbeaten to 8 years without winning anything. How does that happen?

Wenger’s tactics are nowhere near as good as they used to be, he was once responsible for some of the most beautiful football played at Arsenal. Recently his team choices, formations, substitutions and his coaching ability in terms of getting the best out of players has all come into question. A lot of teams have spent their last few seasons studying the way other teams play and I’m sure Arsenal have done the same.

Where other teams are modernising and changing their tactics and improving every season, Wenger is persisting with the same old tactics which were fine a few years ago when we had players like Song, Cesc, Van Persie, Nasri and on form Arsharvin but We don’t have any of the same players so therefore it only makes sense that we should change things around to build with the players we have now.

Whilst I don’t believe that Wenger is responsible for the selling  Cesc, Van Persie, Nasri etc I do believe that he is responsible for the re-investing. Nobody can deny the standard of players dropped after David Dein left the club but that’s been discussed too many times. Wenger has made some good choices, Cazorla was definitely one of them as was Jenkinson and Oxlade-Chamberlain. I didn’t mention Arteta because he was a board inforced buy. We know Wenger doesn’t like to spend and I am not of the notion that chucking money at a team is the best thing but I do believe that if we sell a player that money should go solely towards a replacement of the same standard or better. That has not happened and that’s why the standard of our team has dropped. This is something both Wenger and the board are responsible for.

Being a top 4 club for years is impressive and very hard to keep hold of especially in today’s game when teams and improving all the time. I think Arsenal have done great to achieve this but this season that looks like it is fading away. Without Champion’s league football where do we go from there? Players will leave, we will fail to attract players of a decent standard and I can’t help but see that Wenger is partly to blame for this. If we fall out of the top 4 at the end of the season is it still a wise choice to continue this way? By the time FFP comes in we might not even have a team to succeed with.

I would like to conclude this article by saying that despite all our heated debates and opposing opinions at the heart of it we all want the same thing and that is the best for Arsenal. We all clearly have such deep love and passion for our club…so much that we would debate for hours over what is right or wrong. I chose the picture above because of the quote ” WE may fight, WE may argue, WE may disagree on many things, but whichever side of the spectrum WE stand, WE will always be standing shoulder to shoulder to cheer those 11 men in Red and White with a cannon on their chest” it reminded me that we should all unite at this time instead of dividing.

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30
Nov
12

The Positive Arsenal Article

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I thought I would try to write something more positive for you all to read as my articles of late have been critical about Wenger and the board. The only thing I could think of is to take a look at the players. How the new ones have coped and how the settled players have changed.

My first player is Per Mertesacker. I was one of his biggest critics last year mainly due to his pace but Mertesacker has been fantastic this season. He has really improved and earned his place as a starter for the team. Whilst I still agree he is not the fastest defender he has more than made up for that this season by staying bit further back during the game and blocking those chances and making important tackles. He works so well with Jenkinson and we haven’t conceded many goals from their side of defense.

Jack Wilshere has also gone straight back into playing really well. It always amazes me how strong he makes our midfield. It’s always a worry that when a player comes back from an long-term injury they might not get back to full potential but I don’t see this issue with Wilshere. He is so fast and versatile, despite going a bit hard on tackles at least he makes them and more than often not wins them. He challenges the opposition and moves through them with ease. I’m so glad to have him back in midfield, it certainly fills me with more confidence when he’s in the team.

I always thought that Olivier Giroud would come good. He’s not the best striker ever but he has talent and that is starting to show now. Once Giroud scored his first few goals his confidence improved and you can see that in his football. The best thing about Giroud is that up in the air he is what we have been missing from a striker for years. We’ve always had strikers with beautfiul feet but we needed the striker who could take on aerial challenges and that is what Giroud does best. He has also cleared most of the oppositions free kicks off the line in the last 6 games which helps when our defence is falling apart. Once he improves his finishing a little he will have been a worthwhile investment.

Santi Cazorla is the one player that Wenger bought since 2006 that has been worth every penny and more. He is phenomenal and just plays like he has been at Arsenal for years. He is just so skillful and fast at the same time, the fact that he can play with both feet is the very reason he copes so well with our style of play and he takes advantage of situations where other players are limited. He changes his direction quickly whilst maintaining control of the ball. If our team had better form and better players Santi Cazorla would only thrive even more.

Do you agree or disagree? Feel free to comment below but don’t abuse me or each other please 🙂

Please follow me on Twitter @thepitchisback and @Gunnersinarms

29
Nov
12

Here a thought for you, read all these links in this and then decide who you want out…

So on Twitter, on Facebook, on my Arsenal based website Gunnersinarms.com and on here, there is a huge debate as to what state Arsenal are or are not currently in.

It is Arsenal’s worst start to a season for 30 years. Nevermind being the worst under Arsene’s reign. I have been more critical than most but tried to be optimistic viewing 5th place as probably ‘a realistic position for the club’ after the way things have been.

I don’t often promote other people’s articles on my work however, Le Grove has made a few good points about the club and his article is worth a read after this. Go to http://www.ftbpro.com/xposts/le.grove/79073/as-a-squad-this-is-the-best-since-i-have-been-here-arsenal-vs-everton-match-report for his interesting read on the finances at Arsenal and also a must-read article on this link, possibly helping a few of you decide about this weekend’s protest march organised by a group of positive and passionate life-long Arsenal supporters. http://goonertalk.com/2012/05/21/peter-hill-wood-the-great-or-greedy/

Right so all that aside, where are we as a club. Rumours of Wenger being asked to see the board and dressing room arguments after the Everton game leave us with two options for a future. With or without Wenger. Here are the positives and negatives for both.

Nobody knows Arsenal at this moment in time quite the way Wenger does. He is a legend as far as the club goes and the man has made history with the club in his 16 years. He helped to influence the design and has delivered six major trophies in his time as Arsenal manager.

His history of unearthing gems in players is nothing short of spectacular and who had ever heard of Vieira or Henry before we signed them? Adebayor and Nasri? Fabregas and the list goes on and on. His financial acumen in impressive. Delivering Champions League football season upon season since 1998.

He has a great history against our local rivals and rarely fails to humiliate them in derbies.

However for me, that is where the positives stop.

Negatives:

He refuses to break any salary structure where somebody might earn more than him. At £7m a year, I expect better from a manager.

His record of delivering Champions League football is all that he has to show for the last 8 trophy-less years. We have been to only 2 finals since we last won the FA cup in 2005. Before anybody shoots me down, it’s not all about winning trophies, but it sure as hell helps when everybody else around you is winning them.

His transfer policy in recent years has been questionable. Selling players such as RVP, Nasri, Clichy and failing to replace them with distinctly similar players. Instead choosing to replace them with Chamakh, Arshavin and Squillaci to name but a few.

His results season upon season have been getting worse, our gap to the top teams is getting as wide as the Grand Canyon and we are currently 5 points down on last season and 12 points behind the leaders after only 14 games.

Here is the most damning statistic, 5 wins in 14 games. I worked out, that if this was a league only and we were looking at a whole season situation, we would achieve Mid-table position after 38 games. Never mind the days of old when Arsenal used to destroy teams at Home in the Champions League 4 or 5 nil. When was the last time that happened?

Ultimately the backing for Wenger is not there from many fans now.  Neither does it appear to be there from the board. Whilst Arsene has tried his hardest, he appears to have become stale, losing his control of the Club he so desires to push forward.

The board are not untouchable in all this, but we have to start somewhere. The board do not pick the team, or make the decisions on the pitch, nor do they say who they want to sign to ‘strengthen’ the team. (I use strengthen lightly).

Let’s us reward Wenger with a place on the board. A figure head position, somewhere he can make the difference instead of us rewarding Gazidis for his over-inflated salary and pocket lining schemes. If you read the article on Hill-Wood, you will understand how the club has become more of a private scheme for the board to make money, rather than support the manager, who has been forced to almost fall on his own sword.

Thanks for everything Arsene, but you need to help the team more than ever, by helping us the fans, make a difference on the board and allowing somebody else, to continue your legacy.

Follow me on twitter @savvygooner and @gunnersinarms

For more information on Saturday’s protest march go to http://www.wherehasourarsenalgone.co.uk

Savvygooner

28
Nov
12

Another Slow January Window & Wenger’s Endless Contradictions

Arsene Wenger has yet again incurred the wrath of many Gooners with his comments this week leading up to Wednesdays game at Goodison Park he has insisted he WONT be pushed into panic buying in January. he is apparently concentrating on and I quote “doing his job properly” I have grown tired of the demeanour he has adopted regarding this January transfer window. we really need another window like we had last season if I’m perfectly honest. we need another Goalkeeper although I rate Szczesny we still need competition for places and no other Goalkeeper we have will challenge him at the club, Left back cover for Gibbs word is we were in the hunt for Jetro Willems but that trail seems to have run cold surprise surprise. a holding Midfielder is a must we need a destroyer in there someone who knows his job, will put his foot in and has some real presence. Bringing in another Striker is paramount to our situation, also with African Nations coming up we will no doubt lose Gervinho although I use the word lose very lightly we will be down on numbers and how can we refuse to ignore the Huntelaar situation, This guy is perfect for us and more importantly he wants to join us and at around £6 million that is nothing for someone of his talents these days. Although I am now hearing Representatives from Schalke have said they understand we don’t have the money are you serious?

I never know what to make of Arsene Wenger’s comments these days he is either playing it coy over possible targets or he is so blinded by his stubborn ignorance maybe even arrogance to think this squad is any where near good enough. the money is there we have £40 million left from the summer and also not forgetting the £150 million emirates deal I really fail to see his problem. He preaches that we only spend what we make well we have made substantial profits every year for as long as I can remember and we are still languishing. our net spending is one of the lowest in the Premier league if not the lowest he really can’t use that excuse anymore its got tired and boring much like our average January transfer window.
Comments coming out of the Emirates today have sent me even more fuming towards our “Leaders” at the club, it appears that Wenger unsurprisingly has decided to side with his employers by suggesting that he won’t be paying attention to criticism from a minority of angry fans. This is the man that demands respect from us. His ignorance is second to none he goes on to say that he deserves respect for everything he has done in the past 16 years. well we haven’t won a trophy for half of that. It has been less of a fall more of a rapid plummet from grace.
It has become very clear indeed that the powers that be could not care about one single fan, this is what happens when you have a club run by money men and not football men. The only way they will take note if we boycott home games and hit them where it hurts in Gazidis’s Broadsheets.
That being said I will always support our boys whenever they put on the shirt and tonight is no exception. COYG
28
Nov
12

Introducing our new writer Goonerscribe

Hi All

We just wanted to take a moment to thank you for all of your support over the last few weeks. We have had incredible feedback and discussions with you all.

We are introducing our new write Goonerscribe:

Goonerscribe is also a passionate and dedicated lifelong fan of Arsenal. He attended his first game at the age of 9 and has loved them ever since. Goonerscribe is extremely proud of where this club has come from and the values it stands for. He watches every game and writes about what he feels are the burning issues at the club. No topic is too controversial if it is important and poignant to the club good or bad he will always have a view on it.

We’d love for you to welcome him to the team and read his latest article: It’s time to step up and be counted

28
Nov
12

It’s Time to Step Up And Be Counted


After a more than dis-satisfying performance away at Aston Villa on Saturday evening. I am hoping for a lot more against Everton and to get anything out of this we are going to need to show a lot more. Goodison Park is a tough place to go at the best of times and with us out of form I can see this being a tight affair indeed.

I would like to see Sagna recalled in at right back to combat the ever dangerous Leighton Baines (who we should have snapped up a couple of summers ago). would definitely stick with koscielny and Mertesacker at centre back also keep Gibbs in on the left I feel he gives us something more going forward and looks a lot better defensively this season. now our Midfield 3 which was the major concern at the weekend and has been for a while now. going to be controversial here and say I would Start Coquelin and just get him to sit, Everton have good movement in midfield and we will need that protection. then would go with Wilshere and obviously Cazorla who has to play he is our spark whenever he performs we perform. front 3 picks itself at the moment with Walcott having more shoulder problems will more than likely be the same front 3 we played against Villa. Podolski and Oxlade-chamberlain on the wings with Olivier Giroud up front. he is going to need a lot of good service.

I would give some serious thought to changing our formation but as there is little time to implement the changes properly would have to say keeping the current system is likely to be the best course of action for this game.

In the last 5 Previous meetings at Goodison Park we are unbeaten with 4 wins and a draw. last seasons game was incredibly tight and cagey with just the one goal from TV5 who I would say is unlikely to feature tomorrow.

I am hoping for a much better display on Wednesday night from our boys. they need to take a good long look at their performances from Saturday evening they have a lot to prove to the fans. we need to see some heart and desire. which was seriously lacking at Villa Park.

All feedback welcome as always

26
Nov
12

An Arsenal Fans Christmas Wishlist

Dear Santa,

I don’t think it’s too much to ask being an Arsenal fan. We comply with financial rules before they’re even brought into play. We don’t have a wealthy owner and we always try our hardest to support the players of our passionate club but some things appear to require help from an outside source.

Ah who am I kidding? Even Santa couldn’t fix our team by bloody Christmas.

I am actually stumped as to what is going on. Fresh from beating Spurs 5-2 again, we looked a team without desire, without passion and without a clue at Villa Park on Saturday. It baffles me entirely. So I thought maybe it is me being disgruntled with Wenger, till I watched the press conference after the game and saw Wenger in the style of Peter Hill-Wood saying he has no reason to explain his operation and style of substitutions on Saturday.

Er actually Arsene. We spend money which plays for your over-inflated Salary. So yeah you do owe us some explanation.

The papers seem to be bored. Linking us with Stewart Downing. If that comes true Wenger truly has lost it.

So here is what I think we should do in the January window. Lets be honest we need to sign somebody to rescue the season that is rapdily falling away from us.

1) Jan Klass Huntelaar: Just give them the money they want for him, rumoured to be £6m and get him in. If we miss out on this guy, we are going to be laughed at, he has said he is interested in us and we have every reason to be interested in him. A quality player, absolute quality. Needs to be brought to us instead of losing him to Liverpool or Spurs.

2) Theo Walcott: For god sake just get him to sign. Give him £100k a week now, I actually don’t care. He’s played through the middle a couple of times and he’s shown he can do it. Just give him the necessary and start playing a two up top system to incorporate him.

3) For gods sake ship out the cack. Chamakh should be given more opportunity after his brace against Reading and Arshavin seems to find his groove now and then. But lets get rid of Santos, lets ship out Squallaci, lets get rid of the players who are costing us wages and not doing anything for us. We need to re-build with quality.

4) Stewart Downing: DON’T DO IT ARSENE

So simple steps need to be taken. We need to get rid of 4-3-3 or whatever it is Wenger wants to play as it doens’t work. Stop persisiting with dour players and start getting quality in now we have signed a huge deal with Emirates and Addidas for the kit.

But lets face it fellor Arsenal and football fans in general, we all know what Arsene will spend in January.

Nothing.