Jack, Ollie and Pearce Lunacy

And so international week ends. That’s it, done and dusted. Ciao, Hasta Luego, Cheerio, Laters and Au Revoir. So long and thanks for all of the injuries because, let’s face it, that is now what we are concerned with. Specifically a limping Theo Walcott and Laurent Koscielny. The former I am sure will recover in time for the trip to Sunderland, preparing to set The Stadium of Light ablaze with a scintilatting display that sets Arsenal on the way to a comfortable victory. The latter? Well, the concern is tempered by Thomas Vermaelen being fit enough for a place on the Belgian bench yesterday evening; if he’s fit enough for that, he’s fit enough for Arsenal duty. Unless of course, he wasn’t really supposed to be involved in a friendly in which case, Yea Gods you accursed Diables Rouges! Be more careful, we’re only one injury away from Sebastian Squillaci!

For England, Jack Wilshere had an eventful but successful evening. Relieved no doubt that Joe Hart saved Ronaldinho’s penalty and subsequent follow up, the Arsenal midfielder shone and was rightly adjudged Man of the Match in most quarters, Martin Keown adopting the position of Cheerleader-in-Chief by opining that Wilshere played like a Brazilian. Everything was neat in his play, particularly his passes and movement into space.

Little wonder that Stuart Pearce felt the need to disengage his brain before opening his mouth. Fearing that he will not be offered a new contract, Pearce’s negotiating stance appears to be one of confrontation with a key decision-maker in that process. Inevitably, he has put his own selfish interests ahead of the senior squad. It seems that every year there is some sort of Under-21 championship in the Summer and this time, Uefa are holding theirs in Israel. Of course, as manager of that age-group, the former England captain wants to take the best possible squad which in his opinion will include a number who are on the fringes of the senior squad. He didn’t specifically mention Wilshere or Oxlade-Chamberlain, instead when asked about them he offered the opinion that they would make the squad stronger.

But it wouldn’t be Pearce if there wasn’t a crass statement to justify his own position. Having confronted just about every club manager, his attitude towards the players was made apparent,

I see a lot about players being rested, but where should the priority be on burnout? Should the clubs rest for the national team? We went down the same route six years ago when David Bentley pulled out the squad because he didn’t want to burn out over the summer. Now I can’t remember the last time I saw the kid play a game.

Sometimes there are no words which can capture the sheer despair. This is the head of the Under-21 team in this country.

Away from that, Olivier Giroud has been talking of his time so far at the club. Having waited some time for his first goal, the Frenchman is finding the net regularly with 14 in 24 appearances. Indeed he is right, this is a far better return than Robin van Persie managed in his opening season at the club but there are somewhat different circumstances to those records but I like that Giroud is confident enough to put himself up for comparison to the Dutch striker. This is a different Arsenal to last season, stronger in the sense that the goals are shared around between two or three players. That offers the chance that someone will make a difference although the downside of that is no one player being the ‘go to man‘ when things are tough, when the moment of magic is required. However, my suspicion is this aspect belongs more to the fans than the players, someone we seek comfort in.

Giroud praised Arsène’s man-management, noting that a video was recently made to improve his own performance. On the pitch, ON THE PITCH! I wonder what they are doing with the defence, are they doing it or is the conversation goes something like:

“You know everything you are doing?”
“Yes, Boss”
“You know everything you’ve learned about defending?”
“Yes Boss”
“Well forget it. We’re going to start from scratch. This is the ball. This is the goal. This is Szczesny, he is our goalkeeper. Ball going past Szczesny into our goal is bad. We don’t like bad things happening, do we?”
“No Boss”

There is almost something perverse about Arsenal have a weak defence, something akin to the universe being out of kilter. Don’t get me wrong, there is something equally pleasurable about having the team score frequently as well. Tweak that balance and the season could finish rather nicely for the team. But if it were that simple, then the solution would have been implemented already. Looking back you realise that it was right at the start of the season but stretched too far in the other direction subsequently.

’til Tomorrow.

64 thoughts on “Jack, Ollie and Pearce Lunacy

  1. jackwas motm, but theo was not far behind. he was involved in both goals, and terrified adriano.

    once gibbs takes overfor cole, which on evidence could be fairly soon, and the ox comes good, england really will be based on an arsenal core

  2. It was a very impressive display by the Three Lions. If they can carry this level of play into Brazil 2014, you just might have to break out the old ’66 kit, Yogi.

    Personally I hope Gibbs doesn’t have the LB role all to himself after Cashley. Too much of a burden. Cashley’s an extremely resilient athlete. Spread it between Baines, Gibbs, Bertrand & Luke Shaw for Arsenal’s sake.

  3. “So long and thanks for all the injuries.” Another great line, YW, which makes ACLF such a joy to read. Apart from Pearce’s egocentric BS, I don’t understand how Jack is even available for the U-21s any more. He is over twenty-one, being born on new year’s day ’92. ??

  4. Ah, thanks Consols. – Well I know they can do that in club matches, but didn’t know it was so for Internationals. Makes the whole rather pointless tournament even more so if that is the case. It’s good to see that Roy Hodgson is no pushover as well as being a decent man. Almost an English AW.

  5. Nice one YW.

    Stuart bloody Pearce. Dear me. I trust Roy to make sensible long-term decisions though, as PB notes a thoroughly decent man and certainly no mug.

  6. He played an almost identical formation to Arsenal in the first half last night. Seems he really is tinkering with the idea of building a team around Wilshere and Walcott.

  7. On the age for the Euro U21 finals thing Bob it is the player’s age when the qualifying rounds for the competition began, March 2011 – in theory therefore you can have 23 year olds playing

  8. CORR: Cashley’s an extremely resilient and rare athlete.

    Stuart Pearce’s definitely got a few screws loose IF the comments attributed to him over the years are true.

    Well done SUPER EAGLES. The Malians never knew what hit them.
    After playing into extra time, and without the red-carded Pitroipa & the injured defender Koffi, the final should be easier for Nigeria.


  9. Pearce is an idiot, ok that’s all the time I can waste on him.

    Good write up Yogi.

    So Ramsey and Kos picked up knocks that could potentially have them out for 3 weeks. Ramsey picked his up in training with Wales and Kos during the match. We could either see the rebirth of Squishy or the reemergence of Miquel.

  10. PV,

    A cold night in England versus a hot one in Brazil come the World Cup and I see Brazil rolling England. Friendlies a next to useless now, there are just so many of them for the purposes of filling the coffers of the Associations. As YW stated, we all fear the injuries that comes after these fixtures.

  11. Rooney was brilliant last night too – seems like Jack brings out the best of him as he’s prepared to drive the ball from deeper positions than most of our midfield. Walcott was good but clearly wasn’t hitting all his lines perfectly, when it comes together he’ll destroy defenders on the international stage with ease.

    Still hate these friendlies as the injuries get announced.

  12. You need to up your game Theo’s Bank Account. If you seek attention and feel the need to “troll” you need to learn how get under people’s skin. You’ll never provoke an indignant reaction with that sh*t. Just an indifferent sigh with a tinge of pity perhaps. Frankly that was poor, very very poor. I’m disappointed in you. At least make an effort lad. Like they used to in the good/bad old days. Trawl the archives for inspiration.

  13. Another beautiful blog, YW. don’t know how you do it.
    lovely day for jack, me and PV obviously.
    On a side note, how about a lil transfer wish? How about any of the Nigerian CFs, Ideye and Emenike? They are both UCL regulars, and they can play across the frontline… Just wishing, lol….

  14. Pearce seems to have missed Roy Hodgson’s comment that Jack would not play for u21 side even though he is eliglble yesterday’s guardian. Gibbs is nowhere near nailing down left back position

  15. @Harry

    I completely agree with you mate about Theo as I was thinking the samething. Sometimes I miss the good/bad days, ahhhh the old days.

    Though Yogi I don’t wish to join those that have been exiled.

  16. Stoke and then Sunderland. Quite an intro to EPL for Monreal. Wonder if he can adapt to a ploughed pitch.

  17. Nice one YW,with you on here and Stew at the other blog I feel a bit spoilt today, Roy and Arsene have a good relationship, I’m sure common sense will prevail with regard to sillybollocks Pearce using our players in the summer,what a tool he’s turned out to be.

  18. I can’t say I agree with Wenger’s view (on arse.com) that Iniesta should have been given the Ballon D’or over Messi, because he won something and Messi didn’t. To be fair, he was careful to specify that Messi is indeed the best player on the planet.

    Like Arsene, I’m not a fan of individual awards per se, but if you are going to have them, you have to base it on the individual impact a player has, not the overall performance of his team. Teams already get rewarded by prize money and trophies that confirm who has the best teamwork, etc.

    From that pov, I just cannot see how Iniesta made a bigger impact than Messi last year.

  19. I have to say, I’m starting to feel sorry for Pearce.
    He was given the job to improve England’s U21 standing and he has to a point, without winning a tournament. He has managed the team to the last four U21 summer tournaments and traversed the qualifying rounds. Pearce has always had that combative nature. I just think he wants to play his best team to give England a chance to win at international level. It’s a difficult one for a manager.

  20. I am glad you are being stern with him Harry – it is the only thing these people understand. The poor chap does not seem to understand what a hook is, let alone being able to attach any bait to it.

    Under your steady hand I shall look for a better performance in the future.

  21. You have to be cruel to be kind sometimes ‘Coll. Tough love. I shall be looking for a marked improvement next time. Mark my words.

  22. @Yogi
    I will disagree with your last sentence. I don’t think that at any point this season the “balance” was right. Early season results might have stimulated the nether regions of the defencionistas, but not scoring — not even threatening — against the likes of Sunderland is certainly not the right balance, while at the same time it’s easily forgotten that in our two first games we had grave defensive mistakes that luckily weren’t punished. Even the fantastic 2-0 win at Anfield in the next game could’ve easily turned into an episode of Keystone Arsenal because we were so shaky in the first 30 minutes that Mertesacker ended up giving away the ball to Sterling who had a run at goal forcing Arteta to resort to the ultima ratio.

    Anyway, I am more heartened by the displays this year (even though I am slightly annoyed by us refusing to play for more than 45 minutes in a match) than I was by those of last year. At least with this team now you have the feeling that they could score any moment. You still have the feeling they could concede any moment, too, but with the early season team it was “they can’t score and they could concede any moment”.

  23. Agree, Harry and Anicoll re: Theo’s Bank Account. He needs to be sent out on loan, perhaps to Stoke, as his attacking instincts are poor and he offers nothing defensively. Can’t really see him developing much, despite his youth.
    The Brazil world cup will be a fascinating one. Will the home advantage help or become just too intense?

  24. @Ponyboy

    I think that the inclusion of Ronaldinho instead of Kaká will decide that fate for Brasil. Yea he doesn’t play regularly for Madrid but the last 4 times he has been called to don the Yellow for the Selecao, he was brilliant constantly driving theteam forward looking like the KKaká of Milan and Rifa Player of the Year.

  25. Evil

    Um,, I seem to remember us being blown away by how tight our early season defending was. The Bold effect and all that, true our lack of scoring was an issue. But, it was our good defending that was keeping us in the games. So I will have to disagree with what your last sentence.

  26. You’d think Theo’s Bank Account would be healthier – what with the new contract’n’all.

    No sign of it here.

  27. Yea, c, but besides the inclusion of Kaka, in those last 4 games under Mano Menezes the Seleção had Neymar upfront as a false 9. That team produced Brazil’s best football since 2005, when Ronaldinho, Robinho, Adriano and Kaká himself were at their peak.

    But then out of the blue they sack Mano and regress 10 years with the appointment of Scolari. At the moment there is little hope of winning the World Cup, among Brazilians.

  28. I think the prospect of a few months spent on loan with a naked and very soapy Tony Pulis will up TBA’s game by some distance Merlot

  29. I am not entirely sure – 270 ‘suspicious’ international matches in Asia, Africa and South America is an extraordinary number

  30. Jack Wilshere was the difference in the match. This cat opened up the attack. he has great speed and this forced Brasil to react and Brasileiros “D” was exposed. Wilshere can flat out play. The key was the save by Hart on the choke city job by Ronaldinho Gaucho. Brasil hasn’t beaten a top club since 2009. Dunga was the coach. Brasileiros is in heap big trouble. Now its back to the real season the EPL and Champions League

  31. Been out of the loop but WTF is this new AFC webplight?
    Are they trying to shave a few quid on bandwidth too?
    I am all set with them offering me cookies and $#^!
    It wasn’t much before but now the club page is just fugly!

    Of more import, are there any psych’s in the house…I need help!

    I had a terrible dream last night…nay…nightmare! The lady and I were watching this weekend’s game at home as Snow-maggedon raged outside in Boston (US) and I…I…I saw #18 score a most spectacular…own goal with little shock…and a hint of CR9-esque smirk.

    What did I do to deserve this? I mean, I’ve been volunteering, eating right, paid my taxes early, giving up my seat and holding doors…

  32. @Mentalist

    I don’t completely agree with you mate. I do agree that Fabiano while a poacher and very good goal scorer has never beeb known for his creativity. The issue for me and what has been reported is that Pato is preferred by Big Phil who wishes to imploy an attacking quartet with the likes of Pato, Neymar, Kaka/Ronaldinho, and Oscar.

    I do think that that will work and would be extrmely fluent and scary when clicking not to mention with the likes of Lucas Moura and Hulk(although I could see him phased out in favor of Fred). I also think he will prefer Lucas Leiva who is widely regarded in Brazil alongside Paulinho. The issue is with Luis Fabiano and Damio the attack can’t interchange due to them being classic #9’s. Lest we not forget that under Big Phil, the most beautiful fútbol was when he had mobile interchangeable pieces in Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho along with Edmilson, Denilson and Kleberson.

    Mano was sacked basically because Brazil had no business losing the Olympics and had told him that. Its the only major trophy they haven’t won and fielded the most talented team by far but the moment they lost his fate was sealed.

  33. @Pistol Fish
    I think selective memory might be at play here for you, as our defending wasn’t “tight”, considering that in all our early season games we presented the opposition with at least one clear opportunity to have a go at our keeper 1 on 1. So if our defence was tight early season, what was the defence of Stoke or Sunderland who successfully denied us having such opportunities? World class?

    And that mysterious “Bould effect”, why isn’t it mentioned any more? Did it just subside? Selectivity again, I think. If the defence is doing well and we are conceding few goals, it’s to Bould’s credit. If we aren’t, it’s Wenger’s fault.

  34. Evil

    3 clean sheets in our first 3 games then one goal per game for the next 7, The first game we concede more than one was against Chelsea, then after that against Schalke 4 games after that… ! Between then 1 goal per game again.
    Pretty tight defending Id say,, forget what could gave been, it didn’t come to be.
    Its like arguing that we were good in front of goal if we had put away our chances at the begging of the season. We didn’t.. I dont care how many time the opposition were one on one with the keeper, they didnt go in wich is all that counts.
    The Bold effect does not come up any more because we are not playing well defensively. I thought that was pretty obvious.

  35. Evil

    And FYI , I neither praised Bold nor Wenger, nor did I castigate any one for performance. You just overly sensitive. I merely brought up the ” Bold effect ” to remind you of the very good early season defensive performances. As that is what it was being labeled as..

  36. So *Carragher is off into the sunset at season’s end. Must admit not many like him ecspecially loyal to ONE CLUB sinceage 9.

    Honestly not many stay loyal to 1 club through the glory and the shit days. Truly a dying breed.

  37. @Pistol Fish
    Fair point to you, I am glad you looked up the numbers. I did some of that, too, and while we did concede few goals (0,7 per game in the first 10 league games) we also scored at a rate of 1,5 goals per game. No one has ever won the title scoring that “many” goals, which is why I thought it very bemusing that the media, for the first time in many years, considered us to be challengers, when we are about on the same level as last year’s team, just without the flair.

    And credit to you, for not falling for the “Bould effect” meme, which in my opinion was rather unfair to the team and staff as a whole, somehow attributing perceived improvement to one months work of one man alone.

    So you won’t be around for the Bayern game?

  38. Ponyboy

    No surprises? Do you know I think you are right. It’s sort of fitting that Arsenal’s pet paper has the worst record of all the dailies, it’s just so modern Arsenal!

  39. FFP FOR EPL??
    better late than never I suppose. The wage cap will be tough even for ARSENAL to comply.
    funny and a surprise the clubs that voted against this.
    Abstention by Reading ??
    wonder when it will bite??

  40. I like Carragher – and my regard went up a little bit more after he phoned up Durham in relation to being called a ‘bottler’.

  41. I would play Miquel. The less changes we have make at the back the better. He has looked good every time he has played and must surelky be more motivated than Squillachi (who could have moved if he were inclined to take a pay cut). Miquel is a player looking to make his mark to break into the 1st team squad.

    We should still beat Sunderland.


    Miquel (if both TV5 & Kos are missing)



    Sub: Mannone/Jenkinson/Rosicky/AOC/Santos/Diaby/Gervinho (is he back?)

  42. Andy, C’bob
    I concur… no point giving Sq game time unless there’s no choice.

    However Diaby didn’t participate midweek and might be fresher tha JW or Caz, and give extra height, so that may be an idea.

    Can anyone find Injury News on the new website? I can’t so Le Coq Sportif might be fit too???

  43. @GA

    I personally would like to see Diaby in the midfield due to both Jack and Santi playing 65+ mins midweek and Diaby not playing at all(thank the Lord). I also wouldn’t be surprised to see the Ox out on the left but personally I like your team except I would place Diaby in for Jack.

  44. We should all be thanking Jose Mourinho right now if reports are true. Apparently Malaga offered both Santi and Isco to Madrid for a combined 35M at the beginning of last summer’s transfer window and he kindly declined saying that he didn’t think that they would fit into his team or their style of play. Ironically he the went out and spent 40M on Luka Modric.

    I love Mourinho!!!!! But how come Malaga didn’t offer(though I don’t know if they did) both Isco and Santi for 35M, I’m sure Arsene would have jumped on that!…right?!?!?!?!?!?


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