Liverpool Review: A Point Gained But Will The Two Dropped Hurt More?

Arsenal 3 – 3 Liverpool

This is a different post to the one I was writing at half-time. As that whistle blew, the players trudged from the pitch to a chorus of well-earned boos.

Without hesitation, I nominate it as the worst performance at the Emirates by an Arsenal team in the Premier League. We were fortunate to be just the one goal down and failed to register a shot on target.

I questioned whether the players would respond to the manager; dredging a performance from that shambles was a Herculean task. They did respond before slumping back into old ways.

The key to the response was getting at the Liverpool backline and we did. They responded as predicted in yesterday’s post, “one half-decent side they faced put three past them”. Make that two half-decent attacks.

Three goals in five minutes turned the match on its’ head. By then Salah had taken advantage of more slack-jawed defending to put Liverpool two-up. Alexis stooped to head in, Mignolet flapped Xhaka’s shot in and Mesut Özil dinked the ball over the goalkeeper to put Arsenal 3 – 2 ahead.

The response to manager’s words took time to appear and but come it did. Eventually. Briefly.

We weren’t done with the goals. Petr Cech turned the ‘Mignoletometer’ to 11, flapping Firmino’s shot into the net for the equaliser, which deflated everyone. Both sides reverted to huff ‘n’ puff without testing either goalkeeper. Mignolet pushed Özil’s shot onto the roof of the net when it seemed he might gift us three underserved points.

This morning we survey the world in a lighter hue than the bleak darkness which engulfed Arsenal at the interval. It’s murky at best; so much was wrong with the majority of that performance that relief is tinged with concern about the second half of the season.

Down in the Dumps

The positives from the evening are few and far between. A point; three goals and recovering the two-goal deficit. I’m not sure who I’d nominate as the Arsenal Man of the Match. For each of them, there are as many, if not more, negatives than positives.

At a push, I’d put Jack Wilshere’s name forward for the ‘honour’. Even then, he contributed inadvertently to the first goal. His slip opened the pass over the defence for Salah where Maitland-Niles inexperience meant he was out of position, further up the pitch. That slip meant Coutinho stole a march on him and outpaced Xhaka as well, with the Brazilian meeting Salah’s deflected cross with a cushioned header.

The second Liverpool goal began with Maitland-Niles robbed of possession near the Liverpool corner flag. Salah outpaced the midfield and like children in the playground, the Arsenal defence all followed the ball while the Egyptian passed and ran into the gap which appeared in the middle of the last third. Salah finished, something he failed to do in the first half when Cech pulled off what proved to be an important save.

It was negated, if you like, by the third when he pushed Firmino’s shot upwards and watched helplessly as it dropped into the net. That came about as a result of Alexis losing possession, trying to counter a Liverpool corner.

Mane’s volley was also a clear opportunity in the first half as well. Going for the spectacular worked in Arsenal’s favour; he had time to set himself for the volley and execute, pushing the shot over the bar instead of guiding it into the net in an unfussy way. The defence was busy chasing back, out of position and dishevelled by this point.

You Were Only Supposed to Park the Bloody Bus

There is a lot to digest from the performance. The fundamental issue is we cannot defend. There’s no ‘like that’ to add in here, we are just hopeless defensively. There was a good reason for moving to a back three all those months ago and last night provided more of a reminder why.

Fundamentally, we have central defenders who are bereft of confidence and understanding. Laurent Koscielny’s injury is I think, impacting on his performances. He’s certainly not providing the leadership at the back which we desperately need. That’s why Per Mertesacker’s return for the cup final last year was such a success; we had an organiser, someone prepared to bark instructions to others, reining in their attacking instincts before they became defensive ill-discipline.

Ultimately, the buck stops with the players for the naivety of the performance. The manager sat and watched in horror as the shower unfolded in the opening 45 minutes. The half-time interval gave him the opportunity to put things right but even then, there’s something to be done with the defending of leads.

Wenger dismissed criticism that we didn’t “park the bus”,

I don’t know what you mean by parking the bus, I don’t know who created this expression, but it has not a lot to do with football. We defended well, but you know that with their quality going forward they can always score a goal. I hoped that we could score one as well and I think in the second half we were not so much in trouble, but they have quality everywhere going forward and it’s difficult to say that you guarantee that you don’t concede a goal.

Instead, we pile forward, leaving holes to be exploited for which we were punished for a sloppy error.

Pretending to See What the Future Will Hold

The spoils were shared and joy abounded. Television celebrated the game as it unfolded, selling the world the spills and thrills of the Premier League. The rest of the world marvelled at the game before asking, “So, you English, you don’t defend anymore?”

It’s a fair question and the answer is indicative of why neither club is challenging for the title. No manager watching this will believe they are going to see their side end the game without creating at least two or three good chances. If you can do that, anything is possible.

That’s what Arsenal need to work on. The defence is creaking and the midfield too slow to protect it. Adding quality to the spine of the team is imperative this winter if we are to genuinely challenge for the top four finish Wenger so obviously craves. If we don’t, lower than 5th is a genuine reality we face.

’til Tomorrow.

62 thoughts on “Liverpool Review: A Point Gained But Will The Two Dropped Hurt More?

  1. Great entertainment but from the perspective of competitive sport that was a farce. What next? Custard pies and clown shoes for the defence? Apparently AW spends all his spare time watching football matches, but based on the evidence I’d say that Laurel and Hardy was more likely.

  2. Keystone cops.

    deep joy of my Now TV crashing as Alexis scored, by the time I got it back we were ahead. Good to see Theo getting some pitch time (why oh why ?)

    at least I manged to miss most of the first half too !

    Surely some of our other defenders could/should be given a run .

  3. I said earlier in the week that there was too much hype around AMN. Personally think the decision to play him left back last night was a total disgrace by a manager who now clearly couldn’t care less about the club. Seems to me he now does whatever he wants and sod the consequences. Board needs to wake up and end his management because it will only get worse now. And someone please tell me what Steve Bould does!!!

  4. Nacho is preferred at centre back it shows what Wenger thinks of Mustafi, zero. It’s a point saved, but the farce continues scousers should have been 4 up at half time

  5. Great review Yogi

    Highly entertaining game which is certainly a change after what we have been watching for the last month. A really positive response that I was not expecting with the 6 minute purple patch that we hit after their second goal saved us from what otherwise was a poor performance. In the end it was either a point gain or 2 points dropped depending on how you look at it.

  6. Mike,

    Absolutely correct. Throwing a youngster into that game, playing him out of position against a player like Salah was bloody stupid and unfair.

    It was also inexplicable as we had two International left backs in the squad but of course one of those had to play at Centre Half because…er… we only had another two available…..er..

  7. Its exactly half way thru the league season and a good time to review what has happened

    The positives:

    We are one of the favorites to win the Europa league.
    Surprisingly we are somehow still reasonably close to 4th place.
    Maitland-Niles has looked good

    Jury still out:

    Jack W. Played several games in a row without getting hurt. However he is still injury prone and out of contract and while he has flashed brilliant in the Bate games the league games have been OK but not great

    Lacazette and Kolasinac: Both started very well but both have faded in the last 1-2 months as the early adrenaline surge has worn off. Time will tell.

    Iwobe, Holding, Bellerin: Our hope they might be impact players of the future has to be tempered with some realism based on the way they have developed so far.

    Negatives:

    Sanchez: Biggest individual dissapointment of the season. Really poor.
    Ozil: Scored in the last games to paper over the cracks but below expectations.
    Xhaka: Not right for playing DM in the PL
    The defense which has been incredibly inconsistent and a potential disaster
    The attack which has been slow paced, boring and mostly ineffective

    The bottom line:

    We are on pace to finish the season with 68 points, Score 68 goals and concede 46 goals, finish 40 points behind he league leaders. Our 3 most important attacking players from yesterdays game are all out of contract at the end of this season with no replacements on the squad and the possibility of all 3 mentally shutting down in the second half. We are on currently pace for what will easily be the worst league season of the Wenger era. All of that said a better second half of the season and winning the Europa league could rescue some respect but realistically the short and long term future is not very bright

  8. From a statistical standpoint our season looks a lot better then it really is. We have scored almost 40% of our goals in 3/19 of our games and our recent run of clean sheets before yesterday made our defensive stats look better then they really have been. Yesterday was another example of how we are a team of extremes.

    The other negative that I forgot to mention was our away record.

  9. How many people would take fat Sam?? Why not… Its nice to watch a side who know exactly what they are doing. You can see the planning , very George Graham esc.

  10. Excellent stuff Yogi

    Well that was to be honest, exactly what I thought it would be. Two teams who have plenty of quality going forward but when it comes to defending especially the DM’s, and as a group of defenders and the GK are wildly inconsistent. The defending from both sides yesterday was schoolboy-esque but the thing that makes it even worst for Arsenal is the fact that its of Arsene’s own making.

    I know it’ll be, ‘there goes C again defending a youth player’ but any criticism of Maitland-Niles should be directed at him but at Arsenal. Maitland-Niles is neither a defender nor a LB and overall he wasn’t nearly as shambolic as say Kos and defended better as the match drew on. Why Arsene doesn’t use Sead is beyond me, sure his attacking dipped but he was still defending and using his power and pace to do it. I know Arsene never will do it but Kos needs to be dropped and dropped immediately, go with Mustafi and Chambers with Bellerin and Sead as FB’s’; do something but Kos is a liability and his injury is only going to continue to get worst. Kos relies so much on his pace and quickness and as that fades so does he.

    Have to say the two players that stood out to me were Jack and Ozil, they were the two that started and finished the turn around at the heartbeat of everything and Ozil ran the match in the 2nd half unfortunately Cech again showed why I preferred Szczesny stayed and Cech get dropped.

    I know Lacazette is in the team to score goals and he will but right now he is pressing but in the 2nd half his all-around game shown.

  11. I’ll say it because I truly believe it, with another manager with this same group of players we could be closer to if not challenging Citeh for the title.

  12. andy1886,

    Yes, even today, it’s still hard to come to grips with how poor our defense were.

    I can’t imagine that we practice defense. Tony Adams word about ”Arsene couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag” just keeps on coming back to me😧.

  13. consolsbob,

    Exactly really unfair and like you say we had two experienced left backs available. Will be another young player set back because of bad decisions by the manager – just like Chambers.

  14. Buckagh,

    It’s a shame cos it now makes him look like another one with his nose in the trough. Could at least understand Pat Rice doing it from a generational point of view but surely Bouldy doesn’t need the money like Ricey did?

  15. Does anybody else feel like Arsene is trying to cop Pep with the formation of having Ozil and Jack playing in with Xhaka sitting?

    The problem is two fold for me:
    1. Xhaka doesn’t have the pace and isn’t a DM ala Fernandinho who runs and covers and is IMHO one of the two best DM’s in the PL and has been but doesn’t get the recognition.

    2. Iwobi offers very little and thus teams can literally ignore him unlike Sterling who Pep has turned into a brilliant player and goal scorer(he has more goals and more important goals this season than Aguero).

  16. I’ve just watched El Classico, 0 – 3 to Barcelona. At 0 – 2 Barca effectively shut the game down. They kept possession, made only safe passes, played at a much slower pace and frustrated the hell out of Real.

    It’s precisely what Arsenal should have done after taking the lead last night. Unfortunately, our players aren’t smart enough to do that. Instead Cech persisted in hoofing the ball up field or into touch, we are normally quite capable of passing the ball sideways across our own half, usually when we need to move quickly forward, but we kept trying to thread balls through the Liverpool midfield…and losing possession and eventually two points.

  17. I thought M-N looked a very good athletic and pacey player, who for the first time this season showed that Salah had found someone he could not out-run.

    The problem for M-N as it is and has been, now and over the years, he, like Monreal and Gibbs before him, have been told to get down the wing and support the forwards, meaning he became totally out of position following that instruction, and with half the team throwing themselves to the floor and giving the ball to ‘Pool, enabling Salah and Mané licence to skin the CBs.

    The same happens, and has happened, countless times in the RB spot, with Bellerin ‘attacking’ and losing his focus, as has Debuchy and poor old Jenkinson, not to mention the CB Chambers when he has played there. Don’t blame the players — look instead at the person giving them their ‘attacking’ instructions – and to hell with defending.

    And what is it with the Arsenal boot studs. The number of times our players slipped over was ridiculous, but none of the ‘Pool players did. Can’t we afford longer studs?

    C is right, with these players, under a different manager, with different defensive instructions we would be much, much better. That said, we really need to upgrade in a number of positions – Kozzer looks like he is rapidly fading as a PL CB as his pace has gone — Xhaka — who knows? he is not for me, and to be candid, neither is Cech — another fading star.

    I really enjoyed the 2nd half, not having seen the first half, and other than ‘Pool’s two fortunate deflected goals, and a poor keeper error by Cech, we could have won that, despite all our poor defensive shakiness, which does not say much for the so called ‘Fabulous Four’ ‘Pool attack.

    What? Pool could have been 2 or 3 or 4 up in the first half? Well they weren’t were they — send letters of complaint to Klip Klop, Forwards Dept, C/O Liverpool FC. 😀

  18. C

    Full credit to Ozil for scoring that goal.

    We only looked dangerous for about 15-20 minutes and we were terribly out played for most of the rest of the 90 minutes. You could argue that Jack and Ozil were our best players during those 15-20 minutes. However, those 2 are supposed to be the engine room and they are supposed to be the main cogs in how we control the game and they allowed Liverpool to dominate them for most of the game. During that 6 minute run of brilliance we scored 3 goals and Wilshere was not really involved in the final buildup of any of the 3 goals and Ozil was only really involved in the last of those goals. Suggesting that they both had good games is probably a bit of a stretch.

    I agree that we could be a lot better with a different manager but suggesting that we could be competing with City with these players is not realistic. The only way that could even be possible is if everyone on the team played at their absolute best for 38 games which is never going to happen even the worlds best manager. You can’t look at what someone does when are playing really well during a few games or how they played during 20 minutes of yesterdays game and then project that to what they can do over a 38 game season. I hope that makes sense.

  19. Orson,

    Arsenal 0 : 2 ‘Pool ———> Arsenal 3 : 2 ‘Pool ———-> Arsenal 3 : 3 (Boo)

    Klop gurning like a madman — so-called TV ‘commentators’ (Carragher especially) having their Liverpool gloating shoved up their asses.

    Not that I need to explain myself to you.

  20. Orson Kaert,

    Cech’s distribution waa horrid all night, it seemed to be a talking point for Dixon too. Ozil would have been clean through on 2 seperate occassions but Cech threw it horribly out to him and it was intercepted both times when in no way shape or form should it have been with Ozil in acres of space.

    Its something I have said and only made worst by every match. For a possession team, we need a better GK and we had one but he was sold to Juve and has 4 clean sheets in 8 starts and with Buffon out haa a chance to really show his stuff.

  21. Bill,

    I didn’t say they had good games, I said they had good 2nd halfs. Jack wasn’t involved in the build up, he plays the Santi role for Ozil and you saw the difference, Ozil was able to stay higher up the pitch and affect the game in the final third. He ran our attack in the 2nd half and we looked much better for it, hell both even did some defensive tracking back. The problem, as it has been is that defensively we are shambolic and can’t always clear our lines.

    Say what you want but I would start Elneny at the DM with those two because he not only has the engine and does the defenaive duties but unlike Xhaka, he won’t lose the ball which, like Sanchez, was the heartbeat for most of the Liverpool counter attacks.

  22. HenryB,

    Spot in about Maitland-Niles, again we are in agreement. Several times in the 2nd half he defended well and matched him for pace and quickness. His problem is positioning at times but to be honest thats not his fault, I lay that at Arsene for playing a CM at LB.

  23. C,

    As I said, above, Cech really is not still a top GK — sacrilege to some — but there it is, his kicking and throwing was worse than an inexperienced GK would be.

    Each time ke kicked the ball upfield, it went to an orange shirt, or straight out. Throws caused more problems to the intended Arsenal player, or did not even reach them.

    Another manager would not tolerate that — and Guardiola bans his keepers from doing it, on the grounds that out field players are the best ‘out’, for a keeper, and defenders should be given the ball by the keeper at the first opportunity so that Citeh retain possession rather than giving it away, like we do.

  24. C

    When 2 teams which are close in the table meet there is rarely a game where 1 team can be totally dominant for the full 90 minutes. You would expect us to look good for at least part of any game and we had about 15 minutes of that game where we truly looked dangerous. Pool completely dominated the first half and they were the more dangerous team for about 70% of the game. That is not encouraging. You could argue that the fact we scored 3 goals during that 15 minutes might be more down to the fact that Liverpool’s defense resembles ours and lost concentration rather then our brilliance. In the end we got a home draw. That might be consisdered be a moral victory against Man City but we should be expecting better against Liverpool.

    Realistically the negatives of the game certainly outweigh any positives and the way the game played out would not give most people the feeling that we have an Uber talented squad that only needs a new manager and a couple of tactical tweaks to become a title contender. A Liverpool fan would argue they were clearly the most talented team and if they could only get their defense to concentrate for 90 minutes they would have totally blown us away.

  25. C,

    Here’s a report I saw earlier,

    Italy:

    On Saturday evening, Wojciech Szczesny and Roma’s Allison go head to head. It will be the first the two shot-stoppers have met since Woj signed for Juventus in the summer. Their rivalry while both at Roma was apparently well-known but this time they’re also on opposing teams.

    Gigi Buffon is still the Old Lady’s #1 until the 39-year-old’s contract expires at the end of the season but Woj took over when his teammate picked up a muscular problem. And it seems that he didn’t do a bad job since Italian outlet Gazzetta are impressed with what they’ve seen.

    Although the 27-year-old has only featured seven times in Serie A compared to Allison, who’s made 16 appearances, the Poland international has kept four clean sheets – 57% – compared to Allison, who’s kept nine clean sheets (56%).

    Juve’s defence is more solid, meaning that Woj theoretically has less to do. However, as Gazzetta points out, Allison has been given more chances to ‘show off’ and boost his stats.

    Therefore, it really does seem as if the goalkeeper Arsenal sold to Juventus for just £10m could be swiftly developing into one of the best shot-stoppers in Europe. And Gazetta know it.

    Meanwhile, Cech has kept nine clean sheets in 19 Premier League appearances this season. Just 47%. The 35-year-old dropped another clanger on Friday night after failing to save Roberto Firmino’s shot. Instead, he palmed it into Arsenal’s net, allowing Liverpool to draw level. His mistake cost the Gunners two points and a huge win.

    We are not alone in rating Chezzer, the Italians do too — a rubbish decision by Arsenal – again.

  26. HenryB,

    Exactly and the thing that is so alarming is that more often than not Cech has plenty of options to quickly get rid of the ball but instead holds it.

    I mean his distribution is horrid and is part of the problem why the ball comes straight back at us. A simple ball to Bellerin or finding Jack or Xhaka and we would be much better. Its crazy that a club and manager who wants to be a possession team has such a poor distributing GK.

    Pep wanted a better GK and got one and if you watch there are times his distribution is leading directly to goals or gets them going. Against Spuds he hit a ball that led directly to one of their goals. Cech yesterday had a chance to throw the ball down the channel and Ozil waa clean through and he somehow ended up throwing it short and you could visibly see Ozil and a couple other players frustration.

  27. Maitland-Niles did as well as you would expect. Hopefully Nacho or Kolasinac moves back to LB if we continue to play a back 4. Maitland-Niles should probably move back to the B squad because he can go out with mostly positive performances. If history repeats itself he will begin to struggle if he stays in the starting line up of the A squad until the adrenaline of wears off and that can do a lot more harm then good.

    It will be interesting to see what happens with Sead. He was first choice at LWB when we played 3 at the back but right now he is 3rd on the pecking order for LB when we use a back 4.

  28. I saw that, C.

    Not good.

    You may have seen my current concern about Kozzer, who I think has saved Arsenal from humiliation on a number of occasions in the past, but the poor clearances also affect him.

    Many times he has looked up and kicked to a forward – maybe he does not trust the midfielders – bu t so often those kicks go off or are intercepted.

    We cannot win games when both the CB and the GK keep kicking the ball away.

    It was a poor performance last night, altho thankfully I missed the first half, but the goals lifted the game for me, as it gave hope of an exciting and somewhat undeserved win — but it would have been so much worse if we had not scored and lost 0 : 2, in a poor performance — but it gets us nowhere near challenging for the title, and it is just not good enough.

    I have already switched off, to be candid, and cannot wait for the summer — again — which is a bit sad. But I am still, and will always be, a supporter — players and managers come and go, but we fans are here for life.

  29. Bill,

    It does not materially matter who plays at LB or RB, if they are told to get upfield to support the attack and leave their defensive duties behind.

    Any breakaway counter attack spells disaster, whether the players are inexperienced or not.
    They cannot defend from the opposition’s half of the pitch.

  30. C,

    Good afternoon all. I agree C ANM is not to blame. He’s only doing what is being asked of him.

    I AGREE that Kos must be taken out of the team. He’s been terrible of late and a serious liability. I also think that Iwobi needs to be given a rest.

    This is just my hunch and I of course cannot verify it but I think that Mustafi was dropped by AW. The excuses that he trots out that such and such has a knock( TW and Musrafi) recently I don’t buy it personsally in no shape or form.

    I tell you that the 2 new additions to the Club are going to have their work cut out in identifying and bringing in new talent to the Club. A serious clear out of a good number of the players is needed.

  31. HenryB,

    Yup read that report and read all the reports in Italy over the past 2 seasons which read the same.

    Yup, people can talk all they want about our midfield but it all starts with our defender, in particular Kos, and our GK is giving away possession and not even hitting an Arsenal player.

    The goals lifted me but that poor GK by Cech, similar to the game, kind of deflated me because we keep hearing how Cech is still good enough but in reality he should have been made #2 after last season.

  32. Ras,

    Its funny because a mate of mine said the samething about Mustafi, he felt Arsene is being loyal to Kos(understandably) for all he has done for the club in saving us plenty of times. Personally I get it but Kos is turning into a liability bith defensively and with his suicide passing. Its a shame but he needs to be dropped and put Mustafi next to Nacho or Chambers and lets see what happens.

  33. HenryB,

    Salut Bill comment t va? Bien j espere?. Serious I repeat SERIOUS surgery has to to be undertaken to the squad.

    Mert retires. I’d get jet Santi go. There is no time for sentimentality. Le Coq, Ospina, Debuchy, Walcott, Giroud, Welbeck, Xhakia, Jenkinson for starters.

    We need another right back to challenge Bellerin. We need at least 2 CBs and stop playing Nacho whose getting on as CD. He should only be pucjed to play at left back. We need a genuine CDM in the ilk of Gilberto- Viera- Kante whom just sits in front of the defence.

    We need another CDM whom also has the ability to break between the lines and distribute the ball.

    This current Arsenal team are shite without the ball.

    I noted earlier that AW is a Chancer. We were found out last night by a better attacking team. Liverpool failed to convert a number if chances.

  34. Henry

    Fair point about our fullbacks. However, in the past Nacho has shown he can do a good job of balancing the attacking side with the defensive. Nacho is on the wrong side of age 30 and probably not the long term answer but it is possible for a full back to handle the position. Sagna did a reasonable job of balancing both ends for several years. On the other hand Bellerin has not been very good on either side of the pitch for more then a year and his status as a long term positive impact player has to be in question.

  35. Bill,

    Yes Liverpool dominated but part of that was down to some terrible unforced play by Arsenal, specifically Sanchez, Xhaka, Cech and the first half passing. We have talented players for that there is no doubt at all, thr problem is we have a manager that simply doesn’t know how to get the best out of them. A few tweaks would make a world of difference, for instance playing a full international at LB since we have 2 of them ok the roster, or maybe dropping players like Xhaka or not starting Iwobi.

    We will disagree but there is little doubt in my mind that we habe talented players.

  36. C

    I can’t speak for anyone else but I suspect that the vast majority of neutrals who were not influenced as much by reputation or bias would look at Liverpool and Arsenal and say that both have mistake prone defenses which are a huge liability. I also think that most would suggest that Liverpool is the more talented team and if they can organize the defense they are the squad with a lot more potential.

  37. Salut, Ras, mon ami — oui, je vais bien merci de demander. 😀

    I cannot argue with a thing you said — it could have been me writing that comment.

    Mais, tu comprends que cela n’arrivera pas? Unless there is a big change forced on the club by our new appointments, or AW retires/

  38. C,

    Lo Your friend and Me can’t be both wrong. I think that loyalty has its place. However it can cause resentment amongst Players.

    AW in my mind is unable to keep Players ” happy”. He’s respected by Players but not loved if you follow. It is this that helps the seeds of discontent within a squad gain fertile ground.

    You see PG he’s authoritarian but likable .His plagers buy into his Philosophy. He commands respect from his player. What is Arsene’s philosophy ? Apart from the FA Cup what has he won lately

  39. Ras @ 5:57

    The thing is that Pep has earned his respect from the players because of all the titles he has won, and now is on the way to the PL, and who knows, another CL title.

    AW also had the respect from the players – but it has been so long since he won a PL title and he has never won the CL. I think that is why Özil and Sanchez want to move on — because players want the money, and that is easy for them to get, but they also want to tell their grandchildren that they won plenty of top titles too. Not too likely to happen at Arsenal.

  40. Bill,

    While enjoying a chat with you guys, I am also watching your namesake ‘Bill’ on BBC TV — Bill Shakespeare that is. You ‘Bills’ are very interesting people — whereas I do not know any other Cs than our friend on here! But he is interesting too. 😀

  41. C

    Placing all the blame on Xhaka Sanchez and Cech for our poor play in the first half is not reasonable. Wilshere and Ozil were just as bad as the rest of the team and they are theoretically the 2 players we should be able count on to stabilize a rudderless ship. We have talked about this a lot when we complain about the Wenger forever fans giving Arsene all of the credit when things go right and none of the blame when things go bad.

    The whole idea behind a creative player is they are supposed to make everyone else on the team better and everyone else should feed off them. Its exactly opposite of the way it should be if those 2 players can only play well when the rest of the team is playing well. You can’t have it both ways. If Wilshere and Ozil get credit for driving the team when it’s playing well then they deserve just as much blame for the time we are playing poorly.

  42. The ability of a team to play defense is more about its philosophy and its ability to focus for 90 minutes then about its talent. I doubt anyone would believe that Burnley has more talented defensive players then Arsenal or Liverpool but they are the second best defensive team in the league and they have conceded 1/2 as many goals as Arsenal and Liverpool because they play better team defense.

    On the other hand the potential of a squad is based more on the attacking talent. Despite having a great team defense Burnley is unlikely to ever challenge for the top of the table because they don’t have the attacking talent. I think most non biased observers who have watched us an Liverpool this season would believe they have more attacking talent then we do and theirs is the squad with a lot more potential and its not really that close. The comparison get even worse when you consider that Ozil, Sanchez and Alexis are all out of contract after this season.

  43. Ras,

    I think your spot on with all of that. I think the other thing is that players surely look around the landscape of world futbol and see the same thing you reference in the last part of your post.

    Its strange how everybody sees it but yet kill players for wanting to leave to lift silverware(everybody can give big wages and quite frankly I think thats a lazy arguement that people give).

    Shame that Arsene didn’t bow out after last season’s FA Cup with his head held high, players loving him for one last conquest and supporters singing his praise.

  44. Burnley sitting in the top 4 proves just how influential good defense is in terms of results. Team defense is the great equalizer and it can make a team with average talent competitive with teams like Arsenal and Liverpool who spend a lot more money and in theory have a lot more individual talent on their teams.

  45. Bill,

    Sorry but Liverpool are talented but more talented, sorry can’t agree with that. Sure Firmino, Mane, Salah and Countinho are brilliant futbolers and Wijanidum and Can are better than they get credit for but the rest, nope. The problem we face is that we have players who are either not performing(Sanchez and to a lesser extent Ozil just for you) or are not being coached up. Anyways, I’m off but to suggest our defenders aren’t more talented alone is madness.

  46. Bill,

    Again, I didn’t blame the first half performance squarely on those players, see me reference Ozil anD Jack had a good 2nd half. Thr fact that the talk coming out of the game was how shit our defenders were and how shit Cech’s distribution is, I would venture to say those pieces played a larger part along with some terrible passing.

    Honestly mate, sometimes I wonder if you only read part of my post.😂

  47. A better CB would be good but I think we could be a reasonably good defensive team with the players we have with the right management. However, we need a real upgrade in attacking talent and a couple more difference making players.

    C @ 7:37

    Reread the first sentence of your comment at 5:53 and you will see why I interepretted your comment the way I did.

  48. A better RB would also be helpful but we don’t have to spend a huge amount of money on that position. However you can’t buy top attacking talent without spending huge amounts of money.

  49. If we had Jack Wilshere from 10/11, Aaron Ramsey from 13/14, Mesut Özil from 14/15 Alexis Sanchez from 16/17 we could compete frim a talent standpoint with almost any attacking team in the world. However those are not the players we have in 17/18.

  50. We are in 6th place at the halfway point of the season. Despite being on pace for arbuably the worst statistical season in the Wenger era we are only 1 point out of 4th. Burnley does not have the firepower to stay competitive but we are very fortunate that spurs and Liverpool have dropped this many points.

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