Great Minds Think Alike

Hey, Bouldy, might be onto something. If we keep the ball here for 90 minutes, they won't score...
Hey, Bouldy, might be onto something. If we keep the ball here for 90 minutes, they won’t score…

At first glance, a ten day break as the business end of the season begins is not the ideal scenario. On the back of Sunday’s defeat, it is not such a bad idea. With ten Premier League games to go, Arsenal need to clear their heads and take stock of their situation. The reality is that forgetting everything which has gone before would probably be the better option. For a realistic chance of finishing in the top four, Arsenal need to take 24 out of the remaining 30 points, a run of form which has thus far eluded them all season.

The objective is simple; win as many points as possible and hope that Chelsea or Tottenham implode. In truth that is secondary as they need to ensure that Everton do not overtake them to finish fifth, the only guarantee at this moment in time of European football next season. Some claim not qualifying for the Europa League is preferable to participating. That reflects more the myopic view of club competitions from the English; unless it is the Champions League, most are not bothered. Continental Europe holds the competition in higher esteem but then they respect the European Super Cup as well, something the English game patently does not. Unless you win it, of course.

Thursday night football is a derogatory term, the ultimate insult handed out in the battle of the bragging rights. The reality is that it provides the opportunity of more revenue, albeit on a reduced scale, with differing competition. The belittling of the tournament is a defence mechanism against failure to qualify.

That is for the end of the season though. Right now, wounds need to be licked and the basics of the game reinforced. The squad has a fundamental issue which has never been able to get to grips with. Confidence is born from results; win often enough and it becomes a habit. Chuck in a few draws here and there, the result is an unbeaten run. During that time, performances improve; good habits all round. We’ve seen it happen in previous years, a scrambled late winner, a scrappy early goal defended for dear life morphs into four or five without defeat, each win continuing to be as a result of better play. Arsenal in 2012/13 have not been able to sustain the performances, lurching from win to draw to defeat. That is a psychological problem, the roots of which are traced back to a week in October when Norwich and Schalke managed to negate Arsenal to such an extent that barely a shot on target was mustered.

It is an area which concerns the manager as well,

Of course, you are not feeling great if you can’t win, but we can stay solid or crack under the pressure. I am not worried about us potentially coming back against Bayern, I am more worried about consequences that could manifest in the heads of our players. You will never know how they can absorb those blows and how the team responds to disappointment. This is the most worrying aspect for me.

For Arsène to speak publicly about this is highly unusual, at first glance counter-productive. Tough love or throwing down the cyber-gauntlet to his charges to prove him wrong; whatever the case, it acknowledges the fact that however talented the group of players are, the squad is imbalanced, lacking in leaders to pull them out of whatever slough they inhabit (and having lived near Slough, I am unanimous in believing it is not a nice place to inhabit). When the captain’s form is all over the place, he will be pre-occupied in resolving that, perhaps more than he should be as the team’s notional leader. That said, being handed the armband at Arsenal is the equivalent of the black spot; you know a career at the club is coming to an end when the black and white adorns the bicep. A signal that the season is deemed to be over comes in the news being dominated by transfer gossip, Ashley Williams will join with Vermaelen reportedly being followed out of the door by Carl Jenkinson; the silly season has begun early.

’til Tomorrow.

155 thoughts on “Great Minds Think Alike

  1. Well, what we needed was Arteta then and, perhaps a Denilson of 25 now, perhaps.

    Though I agree with C that we would be best served with a strong DM. It wouldn’t solve everything but would balance our midfield. Of course the best way to improve the attack is to get a great striker who can create his own shot, as Bill suggests. These aren’t mutually exclusive, but the striker will be very costly if we really intend to get a quality player. Strikers cost the most.

  2. Interesting development. Bale just got booked for diving(that’s not interesting as it happens quite a bit) but he will now miss their return leg of their Europa tie against Inter.

  3. Scoring with his head now is Bale , is there anything this welsh cunt cant do??

    yeah, use tools coz he doesnt have the thumbs!

  4. They are trying to put the tie to bed tonight so they won’t need Bale at Inter.

    Inter had a shot before Spuds broke for their second goal which clearly clipped Vertonghen and should have been a corner. The extra officials are purely there for show as the guy behind the goal should have seen that and signalled the ref that it was a corner. Too many times the extra two officials have provided no input at all when they should be catching everything in the area. UEFA/FIFA nonsense introduced because they didn’t want to bring goal line technology in. They are finally brining it in next season, so hopefully they will get rid of the idiots behind the goals.

  5. Jonny you do like some freaky shit man. i suspect a night out with you could well be interesting!

  6. The best thing is that Inter get that crucial away goal their 2 goals tonight will pretty much count for not. Unless I have been missing something.

  7. @Wavey

    I completely agree. People give Gervinho shit for some of his misses but their Alvarez could have rounded Freidel 2X and a defender still wouldn’t have got there.


    My commentators for half time have just said that Bale has no weaknesses at all! They said that he is the 3rd best player in the world at the moment! If he is then I am a better defender than Thiago Silva!

  9. Hoping Chelsea show some of that indifferent play in the league, would give us a real chance of catching them.

  10. Fucking Spuds scored again. Must admit, Inter has been absolutely terrible in everything that they have done tonight.

  11. Can’t believe Jenks is ever going to City,

    1. He has just signed a new long term contract, so City bid would have to be fairly big.

    2. He and his family are massive gooners. His bedroom at his parents house is still completely decked out with Arsenal gear.

    Can’t believe Spuds are now 3 up, Inter are terrible.

  12. All 3 of the Spuds goals tonight have come because Inter have been worse than a 2 year old playing FIFA as a goalie!

  13. Inter have lost too many big name players and it is starting to show. They are struggling in Serie A and are making a disciplined Spurs team look very good tonight. Bloody annoying that Bale was banging in all the goals whilst Defoe was injured because they look very dangerous with both of them in the team.

  14. Short corner which was very badly handled by Inter. Just bang it into the box rather than bugger around with it.

  15. Just can’t believe I am watching Inter here. I know Italian clubs do not travel well, but this is shocking stuff.

  16. @Wavey

    I completely agree with you. The thing is that Inter seem to lack any confidence. With the sale of Countinho(which was stupid because they thought that they were going to buy Paulinho to replace him but his club said fuck off and Inter Manager said keep him but Inter Chairman wanted to line his pockets) they have no creativity outside of Cassano now that their other winger(Nagamota I think) is out for the rest of the season.

  17. Ha! Thanks Duke (I think). To be honest the stuff I post here is usually amongst the tamer things I listen too. 🙂 I’ve rarely, if ever, been accused of being normal.

    Nice tune there thanks for that – I think I might like it even better without the vocal.

    I have given up on watching the spudfuckers and now watching the cricket – I don’t know why though – awful goings on all round.


  18. Another chance goes begging. Clean through and he rushed when a bit more composure would have caught out the on rushing Frieddel.

  19. According to an article in the Telegraph in April last season the most yellows any player had picked up for simulation in a season was two. Last season it was Bale (surprise, surprise).

  20. Q. Why are there grazers on the pitch at Ashburton Grove?

    A. Nobody wants to fix de’fence.

    Get some lions. Attack is the best form of de’fence.

  21. AVB is starting to look like a proper coach now that he is away from the dressing room Prima Donnas he had to put up with at Chelsea. Was clearly a talented bloke before he went to Chelsea, but was never going to be able to take on the old guard at Stamford Bridge. There were too many egos for him to be able to bring in new ideas.

  22. Heh. Now AVB is this tactical genius after beating up on an extremely poor Inter side in the Europa league. Please. They’re a one man team in every sense and would be pretty mediocre without Bale. I must say though Ive been very impressed watching him blaze this brave new trail in the world of diving. He makes Pires and Klinsmann look classy.

  23. Well at least they win. Do well and are on a high. Our players are on a low. Tottenham semi finals InEurope and 3rd in PL. that is a good season that. I’d gladly swap…

    Better to crush a poor intent team than to go out against a good Bayern team. As it is today. Tottenham are better than us. The table does not lie. Their key players deliver every time. Ours do not.

  24. Bale is obviously their best player, but he’d be a lot of teams best player, Spurs have a fairly solid squad now – Lloris is a top keeper and Friedel is their back up! That alone makes me jealous.

    I hate listening to AVB’s gravelley mumbling but part of me wants Spurs to finish above Chelsea – he seems like a decent enough fellow who clearly loves the game and takes his job seriously, perhaps I don’t know enough about him but I can’t find a good reason to hate him.

    We have the better squad which highlights how much we’ve underperformed this season.

  25. oh and Bale is this years RvP. They got a star player that delivers, we dont. i think that is the difference between the teams today. All over they got a strong squad. A good sqad.

    We do to, but theirs deliver. I guess that is the difference.
    This summer i was convinced our was better than theirs, im not so sure anymore.
    Defoe is what walcott should have been imo.
    They got a strong midfield,not very exciting but solid, they got good winger in bale and Lennon.
    they got a decent defence. and a very good keeper.
    They should be proud, they composed a team that is exciting to watch, that wins and that is robust.

    I think they will be no 3 this year and we no 4.

  26. @Zinc do we actually have the better squad? i mean their back 5 is good. Our back 5 is decent.
    Their midfield is decent, our midfield is decent
    their wingers are very good, our wingers are decent.
    their strikers are probably like ours except defoe is bette than walcott. Besides they are not so reliant upon a good striker, they got bale, he sscores enough…

  27. i mean, if we actually were better we would be above them in the league. I know we havent geled and all that, but in reality their balance is better.

    Its better atm anyway..

  28. Poodle

    Right now the best 11 between the 2 teams would include sagna, wilshere cazorla. Would be argument between Walcott vs Lennon but I would take theo. Right now I would take Defoe if i had to win today but hopefully giroud will surpass him in the next year.

  29. Bill I think Mertesacker gets in ahead of Dawson, Gallas or Kaboul. Vertonghen is the best of the lot this season, IMO. Maybe Arteta ahead of Parker but probably not ahead of Sandro this season. Monreale is better than Assou-Ekotto.

  30. limestone this is our problem you would take Arteta over Parker, they are different players, we have too many Arteta type players and need more Parkers to get the balance right and protect our back 4. Parker played v well against us.

  31. I think Dembele is a quality footballer, would not have been disappointed to see him come to us last summer. Noticed him once for Fulham @ Old Trafford where he was the best player on the pitch.

    They bought well last summer, can’t deny that – Lloris, Dembele, Vertonghen, even Dempsey can do a job. Probably had almost the whole lot paid for by the sale of Modric. Arsenal style summer transfer style.

    Who’s the best squad, almost a pointless discussion as of course our loyalties are going to see us pick ours even in 60/40 discussions.

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