Over Reliance On Robin Must Continue For Two More Games And Then Be Solved

Chelsea’s demolition of QPR was expected but their encounter with Newcastle is tricky. Everything seems rosey for the Ant Hill Mob Stamford Bridge outfit with even Fernando Torres scoring, albeit ably assisted by the absentee defence employed by Mark Hughes. As much as I would find solace in Alex McLeish dropping two Birmingham clubs into the Championship in consecutive seasons, the thought of a Premier League without Mark Hughes and Joey Barton is just too glorious to resist.

For Arsenal the formula is simple; six points and third place is secured. Had they beaten Wigan, that might have been less pressurised but they did not and that is that. The three points could equally be applied to Blackburn or any other side which should have been put to the sword but were not. It is too simplistic to see the season’s end as down to one result when others have contributed no more.

The goal by Robin van Persie at Stoke was his first in seven from open play apparently. Our results in that spell have not been bad, perhaps could have been better but as the manager succinctly noted,

He can push us over the line. There are two games to go. We have been a bit over-reliant on him, I concede that. But it is difficult to change that before the end of the season.

The feeling of being reliant upon a single striker is nothing new. When Ian Wright joined, the emphasis shifted to him away from the more egalitarian phase of George Graham’s managerial reign. Wright was followed by Henry – we’ll ignore Anelka – and so on. It is not that Arsenal need to change the strike balance in the forward, more shift the mentalities of others to accept their responsibilities in goalscoring.

In particular, the midfielders do not contribute enough goals. Arguably, if Arshavin had scored ten goals he might not be winning league titles with Zenit. A look at the scoring records indicates the point; van Persie stands proudly at the top with 35. The next top scorer is Walcott on 11, 46 between the two. The remaining twelve goalscorers manage 40 goals between them. It is not a healthy balance behind the Dutchman.

Previous seasons have seen a much more even spread, partly out of the Dutchman being missing through injury but also with midfielders who have possessed more of an eye for goal. It is this aspect that has been noticeable by its absence this campaign and one that the manager will seek to redress this summer.

Unintentionally, the dominance of van Persie was emphasised by Yossi Benayoun. Comparing the Dutchman to a pre-Chelsea Fernando Torres merely serves to underline the mental approach of the players; look for van Persie first when in the final third. That inhibits some players, stopping nascent runs when they know that the teammate in possession is not looking in their direction immediately. I don’t know if it happens (frequently) but there seems some logic in it.

That van Persie continues to score is testament to his abilities; it also highlights how much of his career has been blighted by injury, certainly in the ‘mature’ years. The failings of the midfield in this sense is nothing new though. Other campaigns have faltered since The Invincibles on similar grounds; this time I sense more of a will from the manager to identify recruits who can solve that problem.

Equally he needs to enhance Theo Walcott’s improvements. Too many of his detractors highlight his inconsistent performances without recognising his improved productivity. That would increase with consistency but Walcott is often underappreciated. A balance to me, would be three or four players hitting double figures as well as Theo and van Persie.

Saturday’s match against Norwich brings back memories of the first Premier League game at Highbury, one Arsenal were expected to win but ended up on the wrong end of a 2 – 4 scoreline. Their aim that day was as wayward as the parachutist who ended up in the North Bank building site. That sprang to mind because of the Arsenal On This Day posts which are upcoming. Today too is about beginnings and endings of an era, this time in 1974.

Why relevant? This squad is the beginning; last summer was a watershed moment, the squad assembled now feels like an important corner is being turned. One where a strong foundation exists, with experience at the club mixing well with the youth. Not wasting the opportunity to finish third is as important as a strong summer for the manager, pruning and reinforcing. Secateurs allowing more subtle adjustments.

’til Tomorrow.

296 thoughts on “Over Reliance On Robin Must Continue For Two More Games And Then Be Solved

  1. Cbob

    Yep, I wasn;t goin to bother responding, but I will now. Lazy half arsed response shows real contempt for the viewer.


    Disgusted of Guildford!

  2. Lukas Podolski.

    His father played for Poland and apparently Lukas was overlooked at a young age for the Poland team so went to Germany..

    great signing.

    Woy Hodgers for England…does this mean we will start to play gritty long ball football……

  3. ‘Shots of football managers and their behaviour on the touchline have long been a source of good-natured humour across our output and elsewhere. However, we are sorry if we have inadvertently offended you.’

    should write back and say herelies the issue

    Shots of arsene wenger and his behaviour on the touchline have long been a source of good-natured humour across our output and elsewhere. However, we are sorry if we have inadvertently offended you.

  4. DukeG

    I think you do Hodgson a disservice sir. He is a decent manager and coach, tactically aware with bags of experience, particuarly abroad and international football. Looking at CVs, he is the number one candidate. Only the hacks and lazy media have been bangin on about old Twitchy McBung as the only choice.

  5. @ arsenalandrew
    ok – see what you mean.
    Would be nice for us to bring the Red Manc era to an end, rather than City, though, wouldn’t it?

    @ consolsbob
    Standard form letter, appearing to take on your concerns but not in fact doing so, availign themselves of the refuge of supposed humour….a typical fobbing off letter, I’d say.

    @ JonJon | April 30, 2012 at 8:09 pm
    spot on.

  6. agree with dex..team woy..

    if we want an english manager then his cv is pretty good..
    hes the one..
    speaks 5 languages and the lot..

    arry gets teams bankrupt and relegated and opens accounts in pets names..

    i think if woy gets it then credit where credit is due
    to both woy and the fa for appointing him and not falling for the redknapp love in..

  7. Theres 1 thing that I am sure of in our midfield no matter who plays around him and that is Alex Song is 1st choice no if’s and’s or but’s about it. Now who plays around him mite be up for debate but there is only 1 Alex Song and he is our 1st choice point blank period

  8. Agree Dexter – Hodgson massively more qualified for the post than ‘Arry.

    And now Modric will leave the Tottering Tots and the whole thing will unravel for the Spuds.

    And ‘Arry.

  9. I see a big banner on the front of the upper tier hoarding: Manchester thanks you, Sheikh Mansoor!

    Talk about losing all self-respect and dignity! Pathetic stuff.

  10. It has all worked out quite beautifully. The spuds season collapsed once Arry flashed his knickers at the FA (even though to suggest the players lost form due to it is quite laighable). Still if he ultimately doesnt even get the England job, i predict the dodgy barra boy will be hounded out by the spuds before the end of next season.

  11. Rooney has not had a single booking in the PL all season.

    Look at that statement and ask yourself, how the flaming fuck can that be true???

  12. Rooney’s antics and poor behavior on early evidence. ManU time-wasting has been going on since the 5th minute.

  13. hes a street footballer..
    and he takes it into the game..

    robins similar but ouzes class with it..competitive sportsman

    rooney just cheats and hes got cheating perfected and he does it that slyly its like hes robbing you

    its what you expect though, hes a scouser..
    bartons the fucking same..

  14. kompany looked like winning that header even if he was being marked by godzilla..

    sometimes theres not alot you can do..
    it looks like he lost him but even if he stayed with him im not too sure he was stopping kompany..

  15. The Harry and Spud story is told all wrong. After his court case and Capello’s resignation, Spurs stuffed Newcastle 5-0. Their season took a dive when we crushed the life out of them and broke their spirit co
    Ong from two goals down to make it a 5-2 laugher. We aren’t getting the credit we deserve. Arsenal destroyed Tottenham and killed Harry’s feeble chances.

  16. I saw that Limestone. Dignity? No. Embarrasing? Certainly.

    Manu deserve to lose this. A team of journeymen, has beens and never will be’s. Plus one absolute disgrace.

    If it takes another team rather than us to expose them for the’emperor with no clothes’, so be it.

  17. As much as I agree with you CBob, the thought of another artificially doped team winning the title a la the orignal and still the vilest chavs, is really a worse case scenario than manu winning it again for me.

  18. MN City’s stadium is terribly muted. Should be singing loudly, probably saying their thank yous to Sheikh Mansoor like rosary prayers.

  19. Toure gets booked for his reaction to a Manure player’s simulation – why make it easy for the twats?

    Finally the stadium bursts into life …

  20. Manure starting to show their frustration – and panic …

    Long way to go but so hard to see a United victory.

  21. if it was not for Nasri would not mind CIty winning tbh. But i really cant stand the guy. so i dont think he deserves any trophies. Which means i do hope United will win…

  22. Ref doing a BRILLIANT job holding the ball up for Manure by awarding free kicks to Citeh rather than playing the utterly obvious advantages …

  23. I have liked Podolski since his first world cup, an excellent player with a vicious strike. I have wanted him Klose to join Arsenal ever since that time.

  24. @ arsenalandrew

    Marriner can see Webb warming up so has raised his game.

    To carry on Dexter’s joke.

  25. A joke well worth carrying on IMO.

    Manure starting to look a bit desperate; you can tell as their diving rates start to soar …

  26. Yes, yes Paul – Five Minutes of Fergie Time; it’s perfectly normal.

    The fact the trainer’s not been on once in the entire match is neither here nor there …

  27. Although I don’t want either team to win because they represent what ails football today, one with bags of money and the other with referees on their side. But, United doesn’t deserve anything from this game, they’ve been CRAP most of the season.

    Either way, football still losing…

  28. AA, I am confused. Maybe the time stopped when the managers were about to fight.

    Why is Darke calling this “arguably the biggest game in PL history”? silly!

    City made United look 2nd rate. Hopefully some people will start seeing just how good our team is.

  29. Paul – I think a few people think a line has been crossed with Citeh now in the driving seat, not just for this season but beyond.

    Man U were and are 2nd rate – I don’t think they have the money to buy in the quality they clearly need for next season. They need to win loads, they are going to win nothing, like the Chavs.

  30. They were poor Dups – and beaten by a side we beat very recently.

    Just can’t wait for next season to start!

  31. ManU has totally collapsed. Lost an 8 point lead. Good game from City they were clearly the better team. Will be interesting to see if they can win their last 2. The game away at Newcastle is going to be tough. Excellent job by the ref today.

  32. ManU’s business model is the most fragile. If they stop winning, they’ll collapse louder and faster than Liverpool. Will be fun to watch it.

  33. I think so, Paul.

    Don’t get me wrong – I HATE that Citeh have just piled in with money but my loathing of Manure goes back decades!

    I’d love to see their house of cards collapse.

  34. I was really looking for one of the United players to take a tumble in the pen area, I am shocked that they didn’t.

    Yep, without the complimentary dive and pen, United have not done anything of late.

  35. The scoreline does the game no justice to be honest. At the very least it should have been 3-0.

    AA, I agree with you. I too can’t stand City but seeing United humbled is all good for me.

    Arsenal next season, will take the league by storm. City would never play as open as this against Arsenal. They took it to United from the word go.

  36. As far as over relianice on RVP. The goals have been shared quite nicely of late, ever since the Spurs game. May that continue into next season.

  37. That was a woeful performance fron Yawnited, even mancini could not stand rednose.
    Am starting to think some arsenal fans have multiple personalities, first support for chelsea now citeh, na$ri’s man citeh!? *scratches head in confusion*

  38. Poor, miserable, weak, and pathetic display from Manure. It is such a shame that they or City will win this title. If we could get through the summer positively, we should be challengers.

  39. United have been out of form for weeks. If it wasnt for Young’s dives and friendly refs they’d have lost the title already.

    Shit game, hyped up into something it never was to begin with.

  40. There used to be a fear factor with Manure – those days are long gone now.

    I wonder how much longer for Ferguson?

    Would make sense for him to go this summer especially with Maureen and others available …

  41. Credit to Paul n ,he steadfastly refused to talk about anything other than Arsenal.
    They were both shit.
    We are better than them both.
    And I am convinced that next year we will prove it.

  42. Khalifa, no one has supported City or Chelsea. We just want to see the other team get a spanking for various reason’s. We cannot win either the PL or the CL, but atleast we can take a little joy out of seeing the big head teams that get all the help from the refs get a beating.

    You are overthinking this thing.

  43. Dead right Paul.

    Yes, George, we are definitely better than them – especially Manure.

    Night all!

  44. Paul N, nah man, i have a special place in my heart reserved for chelsea and man city, just suprised there’s more hate for barca and united, the former two are clubs that try to bully arsenal with their money in the epl.

  45. George, exactly!
    Yes, we have had our struggles but I don’t think one can say these teams are “better” than us, currently. We can call what happened to us this season “excuses” but calling them excuses does not mean thay didn’t happen and have a terrible effect.
    Our current team is better than last season’s and better than our no 3 spot.

    Roll on next season!

  46. Excuses are alright as long as they are real.
    And what happened last summer and the injuries to all of our fullbacks were as real as it gets.

  47. Guys steady there, next season won’t be a bed of roses so lets not get our hopes up 2 high, citeh will spend more money and more money on top of that they will also spend more money – you get where am going with this. Its going to be hard to win the league.

  48. Frank, love the idea of serenading players in their own languages.

    GoogleTranslate suggests the following:

    He scores when he wants
    He scores when he wants
    Robin van Persie
    He scores when he wants =
    Hij scoort wanneer hij wil
    Hij scoort wanneer hij wil
    Robin van Persie
    Hij scoort wanneer hij wil

    One Song, we’ve only got one Song = Un Chanson, on n’a qu’un Chanson

    He’s 5’4″, he’s 5’4″
    We’ve got Arshavin
    Fuck Adebayor =
    он пять футов четыре
    он пять футов четыре
    у нас есть Аршавин
    ебут Адебайора

    Big, fucking German
    We’ve got a big fucking German =
    Ein großes verdammtes Deutsch
    Wir haben ein großes verdammtes Deutsch

    And just in case they ever turn out again in Arsenal colors:

    Thierry Henry, you’re having a laugh = Thierry Henry, tu plaisantes

    Oh, Cesc Fåbregas, you are the love of my life = Oh, Cesc Fàbregas, ets l’amor de la meva vida (Catalan, not Castillian)

  49. Sorry for the delayed response.

    Pedantic – I am certainly not trying to pick a fight – I am about as pro wenger and gunners as you get. I’m just trying to be objective – our strength is our attackers, the speed of our defense, and our style of play. our midfield adds to that, but outside of Song, and Wilshire if he was fit, one of our midfielders are candidates for EPL team of the year. Ox, Wolcott, our backs all have more potential – that’s all i’m saying.

    Yogi – I agree with you – many of our players are homegrown, or undder age. My 25 man team was not meant to reflect the strict limits set by the epl or eufa. rather – those are the players that will play. Do we really need more than 25 top notch players? How many of them will get playing time of any sort?

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