Jack, Marmite and Passion

It’s fair to say that almost every member of the current squad is a ‘marmite’ player and Jack Wilshere is no exception. He found himself the centre of attention for all the wrong reasons last night, with a red card for a contretemps in the U23’s 4 – 3 win over Manchester City.

Many will argue that Wilshere, in his mid-20s, should know better. And that’s right if you like your players anodyne and sterile; god knows we have plenty of those at present. Indeed, there’s a strong case to be made which points to that being part of the current problem. I’m not saying that we need eleven Steve Williams but some personality which lifts the XI out of their numbness on the pitch.

In case you haven’t seen the incident:

The typical reaction on social media was abuse; it’s social media’s default response to anything and everything. Looking at it, you wonder whether mandatory IQ tests for web access are required.

First and foremost, Wilshere’s anger at the challenge is understandable. Given his history record and that he’s just recovering from a serious injury, it’s safe to say that most people would react similarly. If not, here’s your squad number; you’re a perfect fit at Arsenal.

There was no attempt to play the ball, it was a case of frustration at being given a footballing lesson and an attempt to wind Wilshere up. It succeeded but my godfathers, it’s no wonder the academy leagues are in disrepute. The big names are there to be shot at and if they don’t go down, there are always some irksome oiks who want a piece of them. Jack was only too happy to oblige.

Tunnel of Love

Most of it was a Vince McMahon Production; arms flailing, shoves, faces held when contact was nowhere near but it seems the real action was in the tunnel; Keegan and Bremner without the shirts off.

Now, Jack should have know better, a point he will acknowledge but jesus wept, anything goes these days when it comes to the media; Jack dealt with it:

Mind you, anything goes in blogs as well. I’ve spent 400 words talking about a sending off in a reserve match. But let’s be honest here, most football supporters like a rumble on the pitch; it’s an outward display of showing the players care. Think back to some of your favourite moments for Arsenal and I genuinely will be surprised if at some point you don’t mention Old Trafford in 2003 or if you’re of that age, 1990. Norwich City too, when Spider lost it.

These are the things you can waste a day talking about 20-30 years later and bring a smile to your face. Not quite as broad as remembering a goal but it’s part and parcel of football. Unless you want the sporting equivalent of a night at the opera, that is.

Fair play to him for giving us a break from the routine sterility of the Premier League.

The Exit Door Opens

Away from bundles, Carl Jenkinson and Cohen Bramall joined Birmingham City on a season-long loan for very different reasons. In the former’s case, he’s in the shop window and at a level where he ought to excel. The offers from Championship teams ought to flood in but I would have thought one in the bottom half of the Premier League will probably step in as well.

For Bramall, it’s a way of finding out if he is the ‘next Jamie Vardy’ as the PR email called the programme. Can he cut the mustard in first team football or is there still much work to do? Good luck to the pair of them in their quest this season.

Chuba Akpom is also on several clubs radar. Brighton used him sparingly during his loan spell so a proper run in a side will do him good. If I’m honest, I don’t think he’s going to make the grade at Arsenal and will be another promising striker which didn’t work out. Can the next one on the production line step forward.

That’s it for today. Just a reminder that there were two playlists on Dad’s Jukebox: the latest in the Great Compilations and Times of our Lives series.

’til Tomorrow.

113 thoughts on “Jack, Marmite and Passion

  1. You can watch 20 minutes of u-tube videos and see that a guy like Xhaka can make some really nice passes with his left foot when he is not pressured. However, you need to watch dozens and dozens of hours of game film to really get a feel for how good someone is at defending. Arsene is the final decision maker and when would he have time to watch dozens and dozens of hours of film especially when the purpose of spending those hours is figuring out is someone is really good at defending which is not something he really what he prioritizes anyway.

  2. The fact that Xhaka tends to struggle on the ball when he is put under pressure is another thing that was not part of the scouting reports we saw here on ACLF because you can’t really see that without watching a player for lots and lots and lots of minutes. You watch a few games and the thing that stands out is what ever is the most eye catching thing which in Xhaka’s case is left footed passing. I suspect the same is true for Arsene which is why we should not have the field manager being in charge of making these sort of decisions. We need someone whose full time job is player evaluation and acquisition who has the time to spend reviewing and comparing all of the potential candidates.

  3. consolsbob,


    I’ve completely stopped caring but I’m sure once Wenger is gone we’ll see some passion and pride in the jersey again.

    Yes the money is silly but I agree with HenryB’s position in that the cost of a player or the amount of money spent on a team is no concern of mine. All I care about is
    a) players giving 110% for the club and each other
    b) results on the pitch

    We haven’t seen that consistently under Wenger for over a decade.

  4. consolsbob,

    I enjoy chat with fans and watching some of our skillful players and skillful moments. But we have a serious problem as supporters, a genuine dilemma, for the reasons you point out. I am hoping something might come out of Europa play–it is a different competition and new teams at least. But globally, I see no way out as long as Kroenke is satisfied with the status quo and cares little for footballing success. He will keep AW in situ unless disaster strikes. This is a dysfunctional but codependent and mutually reinforcing relationship these two have.

  5. I know this is all speculation and I assume Arsene has a bunch of scouts who give him reports, However, he is the final decision maker and there is no way he has the time to do the in depth research for each player which leaves to make decisions based on the things that catch your eye.

  6. Bill,

    The one problem that if you don’t watch other leagues that is different is the actual constant pace and end to end in the PL. i know you care less about tactics and style of play but in the other top European leagues, its much more tactical and less based on pace, power and how many bladea of grass you cover. Ita actually one thing you can’t and won’t know until the player starts playing in the PL and some adapt quickly, some take some time, some are inconsistent with it and othera never get up to speed with the pace. I think Xhaka is one that falla in the inconsistent, we have seen brilliance from him when pressex, see Spuds MOTM and in the FA Final, but he can also struggle. I think the other thing is you alao see players like Ox, Jack, Ramsey and even Sanchez who also fall into that category who have played in the PL for a couple seasons. I think the thing that Arsene strugglea with the most ia understanding a players weakness and putting them into position to succeed for the good of the team. For instance, with a player like Ox, why not put him in one of the front 3 attacking players and say Bellerin as the RWB to ensure Ox doesn’t have to worry about the defensive dutiea or in Xhaka’s case playing him with Elneny who is always available and when teams press us Elneny can be the player that can releave the press since he rarely if ever loses possession instead of Ramsey who we know always ia looking to push forward.

    Hopefully that all makes sense.

  7. I think as Arsenal and football fans, we need to commiserate and realise that the golden era of football is over – it’s now a sterile business.

    But also, we should celebrate because we were lucky enough to live through the best 10-15 years of football (not just Arsenal) anyone will ever see. Just remembering the matches, results and passion of the period between ’97 and ’09 is something I won’t ever forget.

    I think that we have to understand (and alot of Arsenal fans are waking up this ) that particular chapter is over now. Football is not what it was nor ever will be again. There is no real soul anymore, just mercenaries, flaky characters and money.

  8. consolsbob,

    Great comment, catches the mood of many I reckon. Myself included, as most of you know.

    My terror comes when I think about when Arsene leaves and nothing (really) changes and our true nemesis is completely revealed.

    As you say though, with the way that the boardroom business has changed now, I’m not sure that there is anyone out there financially capable, interested and that is also close to being suitable. Perhaps that’s just my eyes though?

  9. C,

    Time differences mean you will probably won’t get a chance to read this, but your comment;

    — “Size is overrated for me (all you PL strictly people look away) because you can be physical and small. Kante is an example but so is Gueye of Everton (who I think is on par with Kante but funny enough defensively is a better reader and tackler), those quick accelerating but physically strong players that ride challenges and use their body.”

    And of course the NFL is populated by a whole bunch of pygmies ——- not! ๐Ÿ˜€

    It cannot be argued that Kante and Gueye are small, very good, sharp and rarely seem to get injured.
    What you are not giving credit to is that no one, to my knowledge, has denied that – but like everything in life, you cannot rely on a team of small (short?) players, or a team of giants (tall) players, but it is essential to have a team of physically mixed players.
    If you are talking about Arsenal, we have more than our fair share of the vertically challenged players, both at FB, and at CB and …. oh, yes — MF too. ๐Ÿ˜€

    That is too many small guys, and together with zonal marking, is why any cross into the Arsenal penalty area always causes mayhem – especially with an ageing GK who is not too good at collecting crosses.

    You have also ignored what history teaches us — the Great Invincibles were renowned for not only their skill, but also for their intimidating size. Even Roy Keane and Gary Neville have said that when Manure lined up in the tunnel, next to the Gunners, they were already fearing the worst standing next to our tall, athletic, and skilful players. They should know.

    Finally — and this hurts me to say — that awful sh*t Maureenhio has built a similar sized team to the Invincibles, with currently the tallest team in the PL – and to be fair, after the first two games they look pretty skilful too. Will they win the PL? I regretfully say they have a far better chance than we do.

  10. HenryB,

    Excellent comment there H ๐Ÿ‘

    As someone said “a good big ‘un always beats a good small ‘un”. All of our title winning sides were strong and powerful teams, the mystery is why AW moved away from that model. We used to get red cards aplenty but that didn’t stop us winning. Our recent sides are the very antithesis of those teams.

    As for zonal marking, it’s a particular bug-bear of mine. Not only do we not have the players for it (and yes there have been small players with a big leap but we haven’t got any of those) but it is the very worst system to use when a manager doesn’t like to attribute responsibility to individuals. What we get is ‘collective responsibility’ which means a) players avoid scrutiny, and b) individual mistakes are not addressed.

    I’d be worried when our midfield face United. They could do to us what we used to do to others when we had Vieira and Petit bossing the game. As you say we may not like Maureen but you can’t deny that he has a plan is at least trying to implement it. I have no idea what our plan is other than keeping the costs down and maximising revenues.

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