Running On The Spot: Cech Highlights Problems


“When he [Mourinho] arrived at Chelsea from Porto, he brought the main thing: he came from a club where he not acceptable to him to finish second of the championship. “He brought the same spirit in Chelsea. He thinks only about victory, whatever the price.”


“The philosophy at Arsenal is completely opposed to this: it is not win at all costs but we want to win with a good way of playing. This is beginning to change in our approach.”


“We refuse to play without a good way of playing and that’s something that is passed from generation to generation.


“I think we find good balance during the last weeks of last season. The main idea today is to continue to control the game including securing our advantage at the back.”


“My dream today would be to win as much with Arsenal as with Chelsea but I do not think I have ten years left in me for that.”

This spoke Petr Cech to French football magazine, So Foot.

In other words, the papal infalibility conferred on Le Boss’ philosophy isn’t merited; we’re not winners, we’re winners only if we do it in the right way. And as such, there’s nothing wrong whatsoever in taking that view. Every club needs a philosophy and the manager ingrains that into the fabric of every squad. Arsène has done that although it’s not a stretch to argue that he’s done it a shade too much.

If you define ‘shade’ as pressing as hard as you can on the paper and scribbling the colour in to the point of creating a tear so that the pencil goes through the page.

I Was Hoping We’d Make Real Progress

Cech is against reverting to a flat back four. All of us agree a back three comprising just full backs isn’t a good idea and we suffered accordingly. The question is whether we’re in a phase of Wenger procrastination. He’d dither even when faced with the offer of a no deposit bonus casino.

He shouldn’t change the formation every time we lose a match but how long will he keep faith with the system if results don’t improve? At the root is his philosophy of letting players express themselves. It’s too laissez-faire; our squad aren’t disciplined enough. Aaron Ramsey is the lightning rod for criticism in this area but it applies to most of our XI.

We don’t get it wrong every minute of every game but indiscipline seems punished more ruthlessly by opponents than vice versa.

Back-to-back defeats on the road is a great concern. We face a Bournemouth side needing points this weekend and even though it’s a routine home win most seasons, we’re in poor form and off the back of the international break; there’s no guarantee which Arsenal will turn up.

Hopefully, a fully motivated one but that’s doubtful. Alexis was royally fed up with the Chilean press criticising him and a failed move to Manchester City won’t improve his mood. City, it’s claimed, will be back with a £20m bid in January. We turned down £70m and they are coming back with less than one-third of that? Yeah, there’s logic there. Somewhere, screaming to stay in.

Wenger’s philosophy is one end of the scale, Mourinho’s the other. Win well vs win; Graham found the balance fleetingly, landing two titles; Arsène likewise and took it a step further with the unbeatean season. Only in the 1930s did the club get the balance consistently right for a sustained period of time. We’re currently going too far toward the pretty play.

But It Seems We Have Lost The Power

He sought to defend himself by drawing comparison to the England team at this morning’s press conference:

If England hasn’t won in 50 years on the international stage, you have to change the conclusion. 

If you take the biggest teams in the world, they play all types of football. To say winning ugly and kicking the ball into the stands to win matches, it is wrong.

We want to win but the best way to win is to perform.

And even then the play this season isn’t particularly pretty. Misfiring, the open passing game isn’t working with baffling team selections a major contributing factor. This weekend is new start, a fresh chance to gain impetus for the campaign.

Part of that problem is solved with Ox at Anfield for his second consecutive Liverpool outing, even if one of them was supposed to be for us. Glancing at the way he spoke about Jurgen Klopp, I was struck by the words. They were the same as how players used to talk about Arsène; it’s been a long time since I’ve seen any of the current squad or even the new signings talk that enthusiastically about Wenger.

Whether he can regain his mojo, only time will tell.

’til Tomorrow.

45 thoughts on “Running On The Spot: Cech Highlights Problems

  1. A decent run of form, and a cup triumph, at the end of last season promised a new dawn but we appear to be back in the old groove.

    It’s almost as if any tiny step of advancement Is like a raindrop falling into the ocean .

  2. Any tiny step of advancement
    Is like a raindrop falling into the ocean –
    We’re running on the spot – always have – always will?

  3. Nice one Yogi,

    If Wenger picked a team on merit and skill set the back 3 would be a real positive toward keeping some clean sheets this term but that would be too easy. I hope we get the result at home but I’m not holding much hope to be fair. If both Ramsey and Ozil start we’ll struggle to take all 3 points.

  4. We played “a good way of playing” a couple of times against Chelsea last season. I could probably count on both hands the amount of games we’ve played attractive purposeful football and won in the last 4 maybe 5 years. Most of those have had Santi in midfield.

  5. Good stuff Yogi!

    I agree with Cech, we just need to win but the thing about Arsenal is that, and I posted something similar yesterday, when we have won or even lifted the FA Cup the past 3 times, we have played and looked well (minus the start of the Hull FA Final). So I can see why Arsene thinks it can work and why Cech mentioned it, we have played some really good futbol when we have won but the problem comes when we aren’t playing beautifully, the struggles happen and we can’t seem to simply win a match. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are times where we have but its not en-grained in the DNA and because of that its wildly inconsistent and that generally leads to those runs of back results.

  6. Just throwing it out there, but Ox should probably focus on trying to get into that match day squad let alone the starting XI, though his comments about Klopp are damning to Arsene but then again you could say the same about Gibbs.

    I just read more of Ox’s quotes and he talks about playing on the wing and telling Klopp he wants to play as an ACM, problem for him is that Coutinho currently occupies that spot and Can and Wjanidulmn are better players in midfield. On the flanks well he Mane and Salah are CLEARLY ahead of him and I’m sure when Sturridge plays Firminio will be moved there.

    Plus, Clyne is out for a while so Ox will be playing RB HAHAHA

  7. There’s an article in the Telegraph this morning about Mbappe, apparently when he met Wenger he told him he could as good as Pele. Mbappe said Arsenal was an option but what he really wanted was to go the team from his boyhood neighbourhood, PSG. So regardless of what Wenger may hint, we were never going to sign him.

    Incidentally, it was nice to see a young footballer properly dressed, smart dark tailored suit, white shirt, sober tie and highly polished shoes with not a diamond earstud, tattoo or wagon wheel sized wristwatch in sight.

  8. Cheers yogi,
    goodly morning.

    Wenger needs to regain a mojito, bite the bullet and listen to the universe. Especially when it gives you a wet slap in the shape of the Chamberlain. He’s essentially fighting himself, sad really as acting like a father instead of a “dad-mate” would extract what he desires on the field. Embrace or be replaced.

    Cech’s comments can be added to the list of evidence that supports wexit. Disagree about the back four though, might be the way to go given our situation with centre backs.

    Mustafi: doesn’t really wanna be here, club not to bothered either.
    Per: last season (thank God).
    Kos: getting old.
    Holding: green.
    chambers: turquoise.

    As Mr no horses prefers to make his job harder than it needs to be by placing philosophy over actual coaching. He should at least be able to pick a team that doesn’t require him to do his job.

    Bells Chambers kos sead
    Elneny/xhaka Francis
    ozil lacazette Sanchez

    Theo then becomes useful again.

  9. Speaking of transfers, apparently the PL voted and it has been approved to shut the summer window before the first game of the season starting in 2018/2019.

  10. Great post Yogi

    Its great to win with style and playing attractive football is great but the most important thing for results to meet reasonable expectations and that has not happened. The FA cups are good but we should be competing for big trophies and occasionally winning things. The last time we competed for the league title was 07/08. Since then we have finished at least 10 points behind the league winner in every season but 1 and our final points total has been closer to 5th then to first in every season. We have gone out of the CL in the round of 16 every season in this decade. Those results do not meet excpectations and when that is happening the players and the fans are going to be unhappy and pretending we are trying to play attractive football isn’t going to cheer anyone up.

  11. I have seen several people suggest we go back to the flat 4 at the back of defense and return to the 433. I think that is a bad idea. In the 433 the fullbacks have to provide the width. Its early but my impression of Saed is that his mindset is more focused on aggressively attacking down the wing rather then his defensive positioning. We know with 100% certainty that the same is true of Bellerin. I think both Bellerin and Kolasanic would be much better as wing backs because we have more cover behind them. With a 433 Ozil moves back to central midfield which means that we have Ozil and Xhaka as 2/3 of our midfield and neither of them are defensive minded. That leaves us with 2 fullbacks whose mindset is mostly about attacking and 2/3 of our midfield who are poor defenders. That certainly is not the recipe for a solid defense.

  12. Sounds like an attempt to establish a new excuse for not winning anything.

    From now on Arsene can say after every defeat that the plan is ‘to win with good football and we always try to do that….’ Repeat ad nauseum/

  13. When you play 3 at the back the width comes from the wingbacks and when they go forward at least there is still 3 defenders who (in theory) are staying back to cover which leaves us less exposed compared to when the fullbacks in a 433 are in the attacking zone and there are the only 2 CB who are deeper.

  14. Despite a few weaknesses in the starting XI, the England cricket team and putting the West Indies to the Sword today. Currently 101-7.

    Haven’t seen the England football team or Arsenal be as ruthless in a long time. Used to enjoy Arsenal ripping the opposition to shreds in the first 30 mins or so. Always remember a couple of matches against Blackburn in the late 90s/early 2000s when the match was over before half time.

  15. consolsbob,

    I would say that or that he is trying to be like Pep minus the trophy cabinet and willingness to spend on areas of need.

    Pep said something similar last season about wanting to win in style.

  16. C,

    A bit odd in that the window closes at 11pm on the Thursday before the start of the season for purchases but clubs can still sell players right up until the end of the old window (end of August for most leagues). So there are 2 or 3 weeks in which say Barca or Madrid can buy a club’s best players and they will not be able to replace them.

    We’ll still do our business right up to the last second.

  17. Bill,

    I don’t want a 433 but a 4231 where the pivots actually stay deep and the width is initially had by the wide players (in my formation Sanchez and Welbeck, both naturally stay and keep their width for the most part until we get closer to the goal) thus instead of having just the 2 CB’s back, we would actually have 4 players back, 2CB’s and 2 midfielders. Even if we play a 4231, I think we can still have Sead and Bellerin pushing forward but our DM staying/sitting infront of the CB’s essentially making a back 3. The problem comes with the ‘other’ pivot, they have to be willing to do the defensive work as well.

    A 433 is something completely different to what I want just fyi, because if I play a 433 then Ozil would actually go to the RW with Lacazette at CF and Sanchez on the LW but my midfield 3 would be Xhaka/Elneny/Le Coq.

    Actually, its one of the reasons why I want either Low or Allegri who both play both 3 at the back and 4 at the back but ALWAYS makes sure that there are 4 players staying ‘back’. For instance, with Low and Germany, they play with 2 defensive midfielders and while one may venture a bit forward, they are rarely making those deep runs into the box ala Ramsey. Allegri plays with Pjanic and Khederia and both are more defensive or like to sit deep and while they may venture forward, they also tend to stay positionally aware and don’t just go bombing forward.

  18. Stu,

    The Windies are on the horns a of a dilemma. At one all in a three match series, in which they were expected to take a real hammering, they didn’t know whether to stick or twist. If they could hang around for a day or so bad weather could likely help them to get a draw and thus avoid a series defeat. To try to compile a decent first innings total would have put pressure on England bit needed a concerted effort. The England bowlers have done a good job though.

    We need to quickly clean up the tail and then bat positively to build a solid first innings lead.

  19. The problem is we very, very rarely play attractive football these days.

    In truth, its only been the odd few games a season for quite a long time now, so this claimed “philosophy” is actually a complete crock of shit.

    So we don’t play “ugly” to win.

    We also don’t play “attractive football” to win either.

    Nor do we play “attractive football” to lose.

    Are we to assume we’re playing “ugly” or boring football to lose then?

    And the Wenger fans wonder why some fans think he’s just a deluded fraud whose out of his depth.

  20. andy1886,

    On top of that, when exactly does our season start. Is when the Championship have their first games, is when the qualifying rounds of the Europa League start or when the Premiership kicks off.

    The Premiership may have voted in favour, but what of the Football Association? What of the Football League? Don’t they have a say?

  21. Orson Kaert,

    Totally agree with that Orson. Although even with a clear mind Stokes, Anderson and Roland-Jones have been outstanding today. R-J looks like he could useful in the Ashes series.

  22. I’ve just read the news report, I should have done so before commenting, the window will close on the Thursday (5pm) before the first Premiership game.

  23. Orson Kaert,

    Yup, not 11pm as I said earlier. Personally I’d scrap the idea of windows and go back to the old system where you could buy and sell players any time you want. TW’s create an artificial bubble and inflate prices.

  24. Yes Cap’n, standing to attention Sir!

    Orson Kaert:

    Incidentally, it was nice to see a young footballer properly dressed, smart dark tailored suit, white shirt, sober tie and highly polished shoes with not a diamond earstud, tattoo or wagon wheel sized wristwatch in sight.

  25. andy1886,

    I don’t know what the answer is but to have an international break during the transfer window just seems to be total madness to me. Still it’s only what we have come to expect from an organisation like FIFA.

  26. What a pile of old bollox that press conference was. Questions the definition of a legend and then highlights that all of the old players had the potential to put in a weak performance. Obviously no player, or team played perfectly every time and its just Wenger deflecting again to say otherwise. The difference is that the legends didn’t put in such disinterested performances on a regular basis. And I can’t think of any team other than those under Wenger in the Emirates era who have regularly had their arses handed to them.

  27. Good evening all. YW you are the Man. Your ability to scribe on a consistent basis is unsurpassed.

    I had to laugh when watching the AW Prmesser earlier. He’s now apportioning blame on the media for “influencing ‘ the fans who give the team a hard time.
    Is he serious?

    Deluded and totally out of sync with the “real” world.

  28. My first sponsored ad on this page is offering me “award winning match day hospitality from JUST £375 per person”

    I haven’t the heart to tell them I won’t pay a penny for tickets any longer. Nor Sky Sports.

  29. Damon,

    I’ve decided to give up my red membership, refrain from buying AFC merch, and have scrapped a plan to come to London at the end of the month to attend some matches. I have adopted Arsenal’s to sell first to buy, so if anyone wants the last few shirts in medium, drop me a line!

  30. Damon,

    I’ve decided to give up my red membership, refrain from buying AFC merch, and have scrapped a plan to come to London at the end of the month to attend some matches. I have adopted Arsenal’s sell first to buy policy, so if anyone wants the last few shirts in medium, drop me a line!

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