Brand And Ramsey Stops, Looks & Listens

Summer 2013 will once more involve a jaunt to the Far East with the club announcing a trip to Indonesia and “further fixtures in Asia“. With no international tournaments of note once the season ends, there will surely be a strong squad travelling as Arsenal seek to consolidate the brand work done in the two previous Asian trips.

As much as Arsène may not like them, these tours are commercially driven and are the club’s lifeblood in terms of exploiting the markets. They lag behind United and Chelsea to some extent. Both of them were active in the Far East whilst Arsenal stayed in their Central European training base for the Summer. They have moved onto the USA and one wonders with that being the owners base, how long Arsenal will resist such a tour? Quite possibly for Wenger, that is one trip too far and with the way the club organise themselves, someone is probably talking about this in the same breath as an Asian tour.

You can understand why the manager might view these events as intruding on his preparations for the coming campaign but there is no evidence that they are in anyway detrimental to his preparation. The biggest impairment to that are international tournaments and this is something which the FA have to collaborate with Fifa and Uefa, working towards reducing the size of the top flight so that players can properly rest before joining up for pre-season training. Less clubs means that the Premier League can introduce a later starting, and consequent finishing, date for a season as well as looking at mid-Winter breaks, maybe after the FA Cup Third Round until the end of January which is when most postponements seem to happen.

It’s a quiet time for the club despite the regular flow of matches. You know that nothing is happening of note when a newspaper mocks up a picture of David Beckham in an Arsenal top with the former England star training with the club to keep fit. It must be really boring at Wapping this week. Midfield – certainly the wide positions – is not somewhere that is suffering from a shortage of talent at the moment. The right side is better stocked with Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott, Santi Cazorla in the background for either flank.

Centrally is a different story. It is repetitive, I know, but relying on Abou Diaby is a high-risk strategy for a conservative club. There are, of course, concerns with every player but they are fleeting whereas the Frenchman’s are constant with his body’s recuperative strength a worry for his manager. To that extent, it would be surprising if no additions were made this transfer window and yet not so. Arsène will have been heartened by recent displays from Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman is unfairly maligned, played out of position by his manager earlier in the season and suffering abuse that if it were pointed towards an animal, would bring about a prosecution by the RSPCA. Each team has such a player, one whose name brings an audible groan but that does not make it right, or even alright.

Playing in his favoured central role has seen his form return and Ramsey appears contented with this,

I think I’ve played well in the last two games. That’s pleasing for me and hopefully I can keep myself in the team and carry on. Hopefully I get picked for the next game. I had a meeting with the boss the other week and he explained to me what’s required for this role. I think I’ve done that in the last couple of games and I feel good in myself.

[I’ve been] getting stuck in and winning the ball back, been involved a lot more and got a lot of touches of the ball so hopefully I can continue the form I’m in at the moment. You always have to be wary of the hole you’re leaving behind you, but there are occasions when I can get into the box and one of the other midfielders sits.

I got into the box a couple of times [against Brighton], maybe it didn’t break for me but I got forward and Abou Diaby sat. I can still get forward but I’m a bit more restricted as to what I can do.

It is certainly the role I envisaged he would play in when he signed for Arsenal. Nothing since has suggested he has the pace for that role and it must be dispiriting for the player to know his efforts are unappreciated through performing in a position which is unnatural for his game. Despite the derision, Ramsey has comeback and shown form in Arteta’s absence, sitting deeper to cover other players. Whether it is enough to keep him in the team when the Spaniard recovers is another matter and for this season, probably not. However, as a longer term plan, there is some considerable sense in the idea with the stats supporting his inclusion in a deeper-lying role with high ball retention and completed passing percentages on Saturday a hopeful sign.

’til Tomorrow.

184 thoughts on “Brand And Ramsey Stops, Looks & Listens

  1. Will – Normally i would have; but he is a stiker who has scored fairly regularly in the PL so it would be an option.

    Do I think he is Arsenal standard? Not really. But would he be better than nobody and simply hoping that Giroud remains injury free and able to play virtually every game? Yup.

  2. The great equaliser for United well be when someone Shawcross’s RvP. Rooney is no where near what he was, he is not to be feared now. The human version of Mr Potatohead just is not as effective as he once was and you can see it in all the games. Kagawa is another not exactly playing up to his billing, but it is all by the way side when you see RvP keeping them in every game not unlike us last year.

  3. I think Gervinho is a fuckign clown. There, out in the open, I feel clean.

    If he wore a white shirt with a cockerel on it he would be an endless source of mirth for us. Doesn’t change my opinion because he wears red and white.

  4. Alas Jonny I merely have my E certificate and D license in coaching. I cannot see Arsenal pulling me out of the hat, but it would be a dream job 🙂

  5. Miami – Rooney’s scoring rate this season is nearly one in two. There is no doubt that RvP is their main man, but when you consider that Rooney is better than our strikers(r) and you consider him “not what he was” tells its own story.

    Manure missed out on the lge by 30 seconds last season without RvP, so they are hardly reliant on him.

  6. Miami – I think ManU will look to get rid of Rooney in the Summer. One of the most over rated players about.

  7. @GA

    RvP 18 goals, 6 assists in 23 games. They must be delighted that they don’t need his contributions to continue to win :).

    I saw the stats on Rooney, doesn’t change the fact he is not what he once was. Most of his goals have come at home (no shock there) and he still takes penalties (some not all) which when you are United are generously awarded. Arteta takes ours, if they were handed to a striker then one of them would have 4 more goals if they had scored and missed the same attempts.

  8. Imagine if Theo took penalties and we were talking today about his record of 12 games another 7 as a sub and 14 goals with 7 assists. It wouldn’t be bad would it 🙂 or Giroud on 12 goals or Podolski on 11 with his 9 assists.

  9. Miami

    We’d still be 19 points or whatever off the top. You can skew stats any way you want, that’s the only one that matters.

  10. I am not saying Rooney is shit, never said at all. What I said is he isn’t the player he once was, his movement is slower and he often anonymous in his starts. Whether it is down to the fact he is not the lad wearing the big boy pants due to RvP’s arrival or whatever, the fact is he isn’t. I unfortunately get to see a lot of United, the US market pretty much show every game United play.

  11. 2-37 jonny, I know who Amy Lawrence is and Tommy Cooper, the other 2 I’m pretty sure are ballet dancers,do I get a biscuit ? (I don’t want a fingering round the back of the bike-sheds).

  12. Miami

    My point was purely that it makes no difference if it was Theo or Podolski or whoever, or van Persie or Rooney in the case of United.

    Only 1 statistic matters in football.

    I wasn’t having a pop.

  13. GA,

    Interesting you claimed assists like all stats can be misleading but you whip it out to defend Rooney.

    United lost the league because of an inferior goal difference to city. Look at the goals scored column and you’ll see the gap between them and City now. Also, I think City would have ran away with this year’s league title as they could only get better after another season together. Don’t forget the city squad was really new last season so they could only get better.

  14. “Miami – You are presuming that they would score the penalties” As I said in my post mate, if they scored and missed the same chances 🙂

    No I wouldn’t swap Rooney for Gervinho, I would swap him for Nani, Jovetic, Belhanda etc. I don’t see Gervinho as a striker, he is a wide player and that is an area we are shorter on than striking.

  15. @Steve,

    My comment came out harsher than intended, I was having a jab just meant to ask the point. I expressed my viewers earlier on the points issue, we have been poor no question. I also mentioned it is why it irks me when people say it is hard to find quality to add. If you cannot find something to help your team when you are so far off the pace then we are in deeper trouble than most of us even realise.

  16. Yes that is true Jonni, I hate this window as my expectations are always high. I’m also v impatient and can’t stand all this mucking about.

  17. Touchdown – “GA,

    Interesting you claimed assists like all stats can be misleading but you whip it out to defend Rooney

    I don’t think I mentioned assists when speaking about Rooney. “Goals scored” if one of the few stats which can’t really be manipulated in an argument. A player who scores on a regular basis is what every team wants.

    Anf i am not defending Rooney, I can’t stand the pug faced little twat. But he is a good footballer. I don’t see how a player with a goal every other game could be described as past his best. If that is the case, I wish we had a few like that in our squad.

    Miami – I used Gervinho as an example as he started the season as our stiker. Which says AW potentially see’s him as an alterntaive to Giroud.

  18. “Imagine if Theo took penalties………….”

    Noooooo – we have only just got Theo away from free kicks !

    As for Gervinho he is a free spirit, a wild soul, the principal dancer in the ballet that is Arsenal, half deranged gazelle, half elfin enchanter of the football

    Actually I have no idea what actual position he plays in or is best in but I do know “don’t fence him in”

  19. I think gervinhio is a confidence player when he is confident he can beat anyone and appear unplayable when out of confidence he is difficult to watch and open to the sort of abuse he has taken of late.

    Looks like his african nations jaunt is doing him the world of good long may that continue.

    To say I would be peed off if we fail to sign another defnesive mid and another striker would be putting it mildly I am praying we do. The thought of the rest of the season with just Giroud and Theo as our two main strikers doesn’t bode well when the cursed injury jinx strikes. In midfield the recent good form of ramsey has allayed some of my fears but I can’t help but feel like we could do with a ball playing destroyer in there against the more physical teams.

  20. Miami it’s v hard to bring in a striker who will score goals without having time to acclimatise., hence I would always look at form players in the EPL or players who have a good record who are not being picked (Bent). This is why I find it hard to understand why we didn’t sign Ba, who is on 14 goals this year and scored 16 for Newcastle last year.

    yes he is like Giroud, but isn’t that the point. We need a replacement for our main striker played in our current fromation, AW won’t change to 2 up front as he would have used Podolski with Giroud by now.

  21. @Will

    I cannot argue with you on Ba, I argued for him in the first place. If I recall YW was none to keen on the lad. You do however point out that we are lacking in depth and I think most of us agree. It was Arsene that recently stated he liked Giroud because he brings something different from the normal Arsenal type player in that position. If those words (not verbatim) were to be taken to heart it is very unlikely, bordering on extreme unlikey that Arsene would sign a similar player to Handsome Man.

    I maintain we need a flexible player able to provide cover at various positions but most acutely our flanks. The striking stable is not bare, Giroud, Theo and Podolski all offer something. I cannot so easily be swayed on the issues of our wider players, where Theo, Ox and 3G represent lot. We have missed pace on the wings this year, at time quite telling and it is with that thought in mind I look at attacking players.

    I would love to see Capoue or a similar player, but that is for another day.

  22. Both Walcott and (especially) Podolski could do a job at FC if needed. The probelm is that their replacement in the wide area’s are not really goal threats. So whichever way you spin it, the teams would have less goal threat on the pitch. Better IMO, to have a ready made striker to step into the breach.

  23. @GA

    I am hoping upon hope that if something happens it adds pace to this side. I am a firm believer in the asset of pace, especially for an Arsenal side built around high tempo movement.

  24. We are one fractured collar bone away from the mob unleashed

    Perhaps a dislocated shoulder

    You have to admire a man who takes a risk

  25. Confirmed Done Deal: Mario Ballotelli has signed a 4.5 year contract at AC Milan and is at the SanSiro getting physical as I type.

  26. Bottom line is that Rooney is not the same player he was about 3 seasons ago, where he almost single-handedly won them the league. It was during the phase where he couldnt stop scoring headers and who can forget the overhead kick against City. He is a very good player, but after showing what he is capable of, he has somewhat disappointed.

  27. Looks like Becks has inherited Chamakh’s peg and he could probably use any hair gel he’s left in the locker.

  28. I don’t think it is a physical he needs C

    I shall miss Mad Mario though – every week some new bit of brilliant clowning, burning his bathroom down, stamping on an opponent, fighting with his manager or, best of all, being trapped by a angry bib;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erI5dG3_R5E

    Mario I salute you

  29. We should emply Jens as our Mr Motivator and it should be his job to bollock players who don’t do their jobs properly. That would learn them!

  30. Anicoll5 its a shame Super Mario has gone just for his sheer entertainment value but I think the last spat with mancini put and end to his city career.

    I personally dont think we saw the best of the lad at times under Mourinhio he was amazing. The kid needs a shrink and badly if he want to have a sustained playing career……

  31. Yea Ray Lewis is our motivator me and Jonny have long made that perfectly clear.

    Could imagine what he would what he would of said or did to Kos for that penalty and red card. He would have said nice tackle and then ripped his head off for hurting out team. It wouldnt have been pretty.

  32. @Anicoll and Silver Gunner

    Yea I do think he has something missing upstairs but lets not forget he is still very young. Do you remember what type of craziness you were doing at his age, the only difference is he is a professional futboler.

    I think back in Italy we will see the best of Mad Mario. He was brilliant at times not only under Mourinho but also at the Euros when at times he just decided to show all of his skills. At times he s unplayable but his immaturity is what is holding him back.

  33. One of my close friends is a balls-to-the-floor lifelong Ravens supporter. He’s currently eating his own fist in anticipation. I’m having an SB party here Monday morning. Shudder.

    The RL story deserves the sunset ending. It’d be up there with the Jerome Betis fairy tale.

  34. @Jonny

    As a lifelong hardcore Steelers fan I’m can’t root for the Ravens but you did strike a beautiful cord with the Jerome “The Bus” Betis reference( won the SB in his hometown the year he said he was going to retire).

    I am actually rooting for the 49ers as a good friend of mine Ahmad Brooks #55 starts for them. We played at rival high schools but are good friends nonetheless.

  35. What a strange day.

    So Mad Mario is off after Manshitty swore he wasn’t and now Fergie has officially been charged by the FA for his attack on the refs.

  36. To be fair to Mario I reckon we have all lost it with a bit of clothing or household implement that is deliberately defying us – I know I have

    Fisticuffs with the boss and fireworks in the bathroom though ?

    Tempted of course, as we all have been (not the fireworks) but the laying on of hands – perhaps that is where I have gone wrong

  37. The Bus came home. Amazed it has not been made into a movie.

    49ers suck balls. How can you not want the RLFT?

  38. I have fought several of my coaches and teammates personally but we always kept it in house due to my lack of professional status at a major club.

    Fireworks, maybe not in the bathroom but definetly on a drunken night around a house. The lad by all accounts is just a kid dat just happens to have been thrust into the limelight early in life due to his talents.

    I hope he does end up becoming the player his talent warrants. Just glad he will do it in Italy in not in England.

  39. @Jonny

    I want my friend to win a SB and since he plays for the 49ers,well tthat’s who I’m rooting for.

    Not to mention the Steelers and Ravens HATE each other not, the w2 cities HATE each other. It would be like an Arsenal fan cheering for the Spuds to win the PL on the final day of the season.

  40. @GA
    Applying your logic thoroughly I am sure you will see that even the goals statistic doesn’t really tell the whole story. MA already had a good point with penalties, which can skew any players goal tally but you just have to look at Drogba to find a really good example of a really good striker with a not that outstanding goal scoring record. He only scored once more than 20 goals for the Chavs in the league and he has been scoring well below 1 in 2 games (which puts him on a similar level to, say, Berbatov, Adebayor, Tevez, Torres, Bent, Yakubu etc. ) which is worse than those really prolific strikers like RvN, the other Rv, Henry, Rooney etc.
    Furthermore, his scoring record is very inconsistent, scoring 20 goals one season and then 5 the next. Nevertheless, I think if you’d pose the question to anyone who has been one of the outstanding strikers of the 00s in the PL, Drogba would surely be one of the names that pops up, despite his distinctively average scoring record for what is a top striker.

  41. I have had a soft spot for the Ravens ever since the Colts loaded up and moved to Indianapolis in the mid 80s – if you see what I mean

    How in Gods name can you do that to your fans ? 🙁

  42. I do wonder what plan B is if we dont get Villa. It would indeed be weird to go into the last half of the sesason with only one striker. For a while i thought we delayed it unitil Walcott signed, but its weeks since he signed now.

    We already lost Mbiwa which would have been perfect as the utilityplayer in the back.

    Hope something happens before the window closes.
    Something more than Beckham, though it would not suprise me if the board wanted him to sign, he would selll alot of shirts after all….

  43. Anicoll it’s a bizarre thing – LA had two teams and now have none. Owners eh?

    C – wow, who is the player. Will I see him?

    Also – valid reasons!

  44. Evil – Yeah, that is very true. I suppose that particular Chelsea team scored loads though, so that aspect was overlooked. Generally though, a successful team will have a striker who gets 20+ goals.

    Drogba was certainly a big game player though. He scored when it mattered. I am glad he has gone, he seemed to like playing us.

  45. In the loosest sense of the word I fucking hated Drogba, Andy.

    Nightmare to play against and raised his game against us but a commonly a devious, injury-feigning, pathetic, egocentric, manipulative tit with shit hair.

    So much talent, so little to admire.

  46. @GA
    Actually, that particular Chelsea team never did score loads — that’s probably the even funnier thing. When Chelsea won two league titles in a row they scored 72 goals both seasons. Only once did a team score even fewer goals than that to win the league since the turn of the century.

    That one season when Drogba was actually prolific, scoring 29 goals, Chelsea scored over 100, though.

    But I can’t agree more with your last sentence. I was always confident of our players handling any striker but not Drogba.

  47. @Jonny

    Yes he starts on defense and is #55, Ahmad Brooks. He plays outside linebacker.

    Yea so that’s why I want the 49ers to win, but I just want a good game when its all said and done.

  48. Formidably average game at the Stadium of Light – I’ve sad it before but this time I mean it

    And another bit of witchcraft from Arry in Shepherds Bush

    Football eh

  49. Just looking at the table after tonights results. We are closer to 2nd bottom that top of the lge. Amazing.

  50. And that is why Andy, given tonight’s result at Loftus Road, and the crushing of Chels at the Bridge, it would be foolish to write Arry off for a late run at a CL place

  51. @GA

    I must admit though that we are only 8 points away from 3rd, 4 points away from 4th! You failed to mention that.

  52. @GA
    I’ll add some pointless trivia to your pointless trivia. Last season at the end of January we were equidistant to the top and 2nd bottom of the league. Not sure what we can do with this information. Got an idea?

  53. @C
    I got something on that, too! Last season at the end of January we were 5 points away from 4th and 10 points away from 3rd.

  54. C – I am not trying to paint some picture of how we are going to get sucked into a relegation fight, because we obviously aren’t. I just noticed the figures and found it quite weird. No sinister agenda.

  55. @Evil

    Not to mention we seem to be rounding into form and the Chavs and Spuds seem to be in turmoil right now. If we win and keep the pressure on those to squads who knows what could happen especially with the Chavs pretty much hating Benitez(both fans and club officials alike) and not knowing how long Hazard will be out with a leaky defense. The Spuds confidence is even more fragile than ours not to mention their best player Dembele questioning the team and AVB.

    If we get 6 points from the next 2 matches we could very well be in 4th with our great GD.

  56. All it means, Evil, is that we aren’t in the title race nor are we in a relegation struggle! But we knew that…

    For all the talk about finishing 19 points back last season and our current gap with the top, in 06 we finished 24 points back, 07 was 21, so we’ve been there before. In 08 we were just 4 points back so there is always hope for next season. The right players combining well and we can be in the hunt.

  57. @GA

    I was just ragging you a little mate. The question is who will the pressure get to: The Arsenal, Spuds or Chavs. Well the good thing for us is that WE ARE ALWAYS UNDER PRESSURE from Gooners, Doomer and Neutrals alike so its nothing new for us.

    WE ARE THE ARSENAL AND WE WILL SECURE 4TH IF NOT 3RD!!!!

  58. C – All good mate 🙂

    I am still hesitant to say we are hitting form though. Aside from the West Ham game we are seeing the worst and best of this squad on a game by game basis. Awful first half’s followed by a much better 2nd half.

    I hope we do get some consistency, as I think we are a better side than all the others around us battling for fourth.

  59. @LSG
    I am in full agreement. I do think it’s a bit weird that we have turned from a team that starts strongly and then fades away after January to one that misses the starting shot but then turns it up in the second half of the season. Can’t we do it both? Like, start well and finish well? That’s my personal recipe for a credible title challenge right there!

  60. @LSG

    Apparently Dembele questioned the players and manager and direction of club after their lost in the FA Cup. Trying to find the article now.

  61. @GA
    I think if we do well against Liverpool, we are probably going to have the momentum to catch up. Last season our January was even more miserable, losing to Fulham, Swansea and ManU and then we drew against Bolton but somehow after that we turned it up. We have a similar fixture list coming up (playing a lot of the same teams we played during our winning run) so I will keep my fingers crossed we can emulate it.

  62. @GA

    I do think that we are starting to see the best and understanding. I noticed it by the way we pass the ball and the way we have pressed. We seem to be getting an understanding of how and where and when each other will be.

  63. @Evil

    I think what really hurt us this year is that we had started quite fast and yea its tough to point the finger but I think a major part of our early struggles this term was the Chavs match when Diaby went down. We were flying and playing and defending and starting to figure out scoring and then Diaby got hurt, Jack wasn’t available and then we hit a rough patch that Arsene or anybody really knew how to get out of. So the Diaby injury was MASSIVE this term.

    That is just my honest opinion.

  64. I have noticed that he never seems to know if his chairman has made bids for players as well. Who is he trying to kid?

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