Arsenal at the World Cup & Is Petr Ceching Out?

It’s claimed that fans in Russia, who cheered Saudi Arabia and Iran, will ‘boo’ Mesut Özil and Ilkay Gundoghan for having their photo taken with Recep Tayyip Erdogan because of Turkey’s abysmal human rights record. I’ll leave that one there with no further comment.

Yesterday was a day to forget for Alex Iwobi and Nigeria generally. They were woeful to the extent that Croatia could afford to be pedestrian to beat them. If Unai Emery was hoping to see a player looking to impress him, he will continue looking for Iwobi was poor. No worse than his team-mates – better than some – but failed to stake a marker as anything other than a squad player at Arsenal.

Of course, that’s a typical conflation of issues by a football supporter, in much the same way comparing two opening matches is a poor benchmark in the Messi vs Ronaldo battle. There’s more to the football equivalent of the original Star Wars trilogy vs everything else that followed.

Iwobi looked busy without achieving anything, which is more than his team-mates managed, but Nigeria’s foot is already halfway through the exit door.

After the high standards of the previous days, yesterday was something of a lull. Iceland’s draw with Argentina was retro football, 1980s First Division football which is why it’s so effective. No-one knows how to deal with the agricultural style these days, post-tiki-taka. Hmmm…long throws…route one…jumpers for goalposts…

Of course, when you have Messi in your side, expectations rise. The difference between he and Ronaldo is that I would pay to watch Messi but the latter is the one I’d want in my XI. He already is, of course; the ‘Nearly Signed XI’ remains strong.

Will we be adding to it this summer? Are we going for that calibre of player?

Arsenal, Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are…

VAR caused some controversy in the France game. I didn’t think it was a penalty before and the replays didn’t change my mind. I wonder if VAR says to the referee ‘go and have a look at it’, there’s a psychological impact on the official? Is he subconsciously attuned to changing his mind before he sees the replay?

Although Griezmann was clipped after the ball had gone, he couldn’t reach it and didn’t have it under his control. The latter in isolation isn’t important but as part of the overall incident, it surely matters? What’s done is done and despite Australia feeling hard done by, France deserved the points.

There’s not much by way of Arsenal at the moment. Petr Cech, it’s claimed, is wanted by Carlo Ancelotti at Napoli. That’s a scary move, hinting that if we don’t land Jay Leno, Ospina is our Number One. Think about that when you watch Colombia’s match.

Team Jack briefed the press yesterday and the stories of Wolves, Everton, and West Ham filled the back pages. As well as Juventus and Sampdoria, but I can’t see him making a move to either of the Italian clubs on cultural or fitness grounds. He would get kicked from pillar to post with his style of play, more so than in England. Maybe he would fit into the Italian way of life but he strikes me as too much of a ‘homeboy’ when it comes to the London way of life.

And, if nothing else, he is a West Ham player at heart; he’d fit into their traditional style quite well.

’til Tomorrow.

98 thoughts on “Arsenal at the World Cup & Is Petr Ceching Out?

  1. The Griezmann penalty, it looked to me that with the challenge, the ball moved to Griezmann’s foot which while in motion kicked the ball further than he could control, so went down a little easily..so yes a penalty.
    It is good that the refs are giving penalties without fear or favour, there should be more in an effort to stamp out some of the shit that passes for football.

  2. Great post yogi, a few interesting talking points.

    I have been hearing rumors that Iwobe has been brilliant for Nigeria and his contributions were critical in driving the team forward. Unfortunately, you have to take those sort of reports with a grain of salt. Based on yesterdays evidence I would say that was wishful thinking and more a case of Arsenal fans seeing what they hope to see. The entire Super Eagles team struggled but it seems unlikely that Alex would not have been the first player substituted at 60 minutes if the manager had felt he had been critical to the team’s previous success. Alex is sort of the prototypical player to come thru our academy in the Emirates era. He has bags of technical skill and he looks great against academy level players and teams but as defenders get better and more experienced and team defenses become more organized the technical skill is no longer effective and the lack of end product becomes the limiting factor.

  3. I was certainly wrong about Petr Cech at this time last year. I thought he was going to be better then he was but in reality he was as poor as any individual player on the tram last season. The not positive thing is at least he admitted his struggles and did not try to make excuses. Perhaps he has something left to offer but he we clearly need a new GK if we hope to move up the ladder in English and European football. I am not impressed by the idea of Jay Leno but I have never watched him play and judging GK is more difficult then outfield players. Kasper Schmeichel was brilliant in goal yesterday and he is a PL winning GK. Perhaps we can tempt Leicester

  4. Good luck to Jack wherever he goes. I agree that he will probably end up on a team in England and probably in London.

  5. Go Mexico. Our North American next door neighbors are my second favorite team in the tournament. I hope they can pull off a big upset against Germany.

  6. The Griezmann penalty is the perfect example of why football referees will never be consistent. The rules leave so much subjectivity with regard to what is or isn’t a penalty or what is or isn’t a foul. There is controversy about a penalty when we have the advantage of watching it with multiangle ultraslow motion replays. How can any ref possibly be consistent and how can we ever hope for consistency between refs when they have to make split second decisions in real time.

  7. In American football most rules are easily interpreted and enforced, however, pass interference calls can be game changing but there are subjective and often controversial and the way they are called can be and often are inconsistent. In European football just about every call that is made is analagous to pass interference in American football.

  8. I haven’t been following it closely but I guess there has been some divided opinions about Ozil among more then just Arsenal fans.

    I don’t like Mexico when they are playing against the USA but I have to support them with USA not in Russia.

  9. Mexico certainly going toe to toe with the Germans so far and they have arguably been more dangerous. Trouble is they look a little disorganized at the back and they are not managing the space in their penalty box very well.

  10. Mexicans look dangerous on the counter attack but the Mexicans haven’t had the quality to find take advantage and German defense is very good at breaking up the attacks in the final 1/3.

  11. I think a counter attacking team is more entertaining to watch as opposed to technical ball possession team like Germany.

  12. Awesome and very entertaining first half. I love the way Mexico played, they only had about 40% of the ball possession but they were clearly the better team and if they had made some better decisions on the counter attack they could have scored more.

    At least least so far Ozil has been as playing the way we saw most of this season with Arsenal. His attempt to defend on the goal that Mexico was underwhelming

  13. Bil,

    While I hated it when the Germans hammered us at home last WC, I have ’em down as my 2nd favorite to lift the trophy. Don’t count them out yet. They have a vastly experienced tournament winning squad and coach.

  14. I suspect Germany will dominate possession in the second half. I doubt that Mexico will keep a clean sheet and hopefully they can get a second goal on the counter attack.

  15. Mexico should have scored again on the counter attack. They just don’t have the quality of the best sides in the tournament.

  16. Bill,

    To be fair mate, whem you running at full speed to get back and a player cuts back in the box in thr opposite direction, what exactly do you want him to do, foul the player?

  17. The Germans are slowly starting to get into gear.

    Lets not act as though Mexico don’t have quality player. Vela is quality, Chicharito has scored plenty of goals in Europe, Lizano is a player quite a lot of clubs are following because he is a brilliant little winger.

    Problem for Germany is that Hummels is getting picked on by Chicharito on the counter for pace.

  18. The Mexicans have some good players but realistically they don’t have the quality to compete for the World Cup title. They should have scored at least a couple more goals

  19. Bill,

    Very true and Germany have had their chances and just have been clinical enough.

    I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see Reus start for Draxler next match.

  20. Dukey,

    No but, It was odds on you’d come up with that,

    Deserved win for Mexico I wonder if your mate Trumpy was watching.

    By the way what are you Duke of.

  21. C

    The Mexicans and the English are my favorite teams in the tournament and both are underdogs and niether anywhere close to the individual talent of the Germans but I think either or both can go deep in the tournament if they defend well. Mexico certainly deserved their win but they were also not clinical and the chances they created were better then the chances the Germans created and Mexico should have scored at least 2-3 more goals. Germany is going to be in big trouble if they don’t tighten up against the counter attack.

  22. Bill,

    Agree about Mexico, I think they have the players to prove quite troublesome and could proved a dark horse for the semi’s. I think the Germans will make some changes and be fine, most notably Reus for Draxler and potentially Gomez for Timo at CF. I think also, they will get it together and figure it out, they as always are built for tournaments so we could see them get better next match and once they get started, look out but this match showed they have to actually play and not just ‘show up and win’.

  23. Brasil!!!!! Its weird though cause I still want Xhaka and Lichtsteiner to play well but Brasil is who I grew up on

  24. German players were slow and Khedira particularly the slowest and made our Per, the fastest athlete! The team need changes-in the formation and players need replacing. Foolish to have left out Sane. They will improve in the nest matches,but I cannot see them winning. Ozil looked very ordinary, his usual disappearance act!

  25. Guys don’t begrudge me for wishing our guys Litchseiner and Xhaka a poor game. Juntos come a Selecao Brasilia. Vamooooooooooooooooooo

  26. You don’t have to be trumponian to dislike ze Germans. Deary me. Generalisastion .this isn’t political ffs…you’ll get Jonny turning up.this is an old school football hatred… And war..

  27. Thethreewisemen,

    It wasn’t foolish if you have seen Sane play for Germany, he has been average and its quite telling that there was more outrage outside of Germany than inside.

  28. Interesting to note that Xhaka plays the Ramsey role for Switzerland. Behrami appears to be their holding midfielder.

    Food for thought.

  29. That was a brilliant goal by Coutinho. I think Brazil certainly has good chance to win the tournament.

    Willian is really an eye catching player and when you watch him play you think he should be the ideal wide forward/winger. However, despite what appears to be prodigious talent he has never developed much end product in the final 1/3. Scoring goals and producing end product can’t be taught and a lot of players who look to be really talented never develop end product. Ox was the perfect example for Arsenal.

  30. Dukey,
    Just kidding.
    Conflating (think that’s the word) you know Mexicans, Trump, Germans, Walls etc,
    Come on you Mexicans

  31. On the Arsenal front, reports from Uruguay, Italy and some English and Russian outlets…Torriera is set for a medical on Wednesday.

  32. Borges

    Our central midfield is going to be an important part of a pressing ball winning strategy. Xhaka is not built to play high up the pitch in a side which is trying to press. I can’t imagine we will have chance to be an effective pressing team that will win the ball back in dangerous areas with Ozil and Xhaka as 2 most advanced central midfielders.

  33. Bill,

    In Emery’s system, Xhaka isn’t going to play high up the pitch, he is going to sit and run things between the defense and attack. Go back and watch some tape of Emery’s side at PSG and Sevilla specially and you will see 2 pivots literally just sitting and running the game exactly how I envision Xhaka and Torriera will do.

  34. It has to be a war thing with Germany. Coz Brazil could win the WC every time and we’d still all like em!

  35. Ederson is GK2 for Brasil, so if I judge the comments based on Torriera, then Ederson is our level aince he is backup….

  36. @C But those German players who were on the pitch today were much worse than average. That makes Sane performance you mention much much better. If Mexico, were more clinical , they would have got easily 3/4 goals. Any other average player on the German side, would have fared very well.

  37. I think Nzonzi is more athletic and a better defensive player. In Gladbach Xkaka played with Harvard Nordveit as his midfield partner who was a converted center back. I have not watched Torreira but I doubt he will play like a converted CB and I don’t think we want to play with that sort of setup they had in Gladbach.

    I dont think xhaka is so good that we should be compromising our line up to cover up his defensive liabilities. I also think its very unlikely that a central midfield with Xhaka and Ozil is going effective at pressing and winning the ball back no matter who they play with.

  38. C, honestly I don’t know who I’d like to win the WC the least , ze Germans or the Argentines… Its truly like choosing between spurs and utd!! Brazil every time for me. Everyone loves Brazil. (In the UK)

  39. C

    I doubt he is having a medical on Wednesday. Uruguay play Saudi Arabia at 4pm. No way is any transfer going to take place during the World Cup.

  40. Bill,

    Technically Xhaka is the pivot in their midfield. I see no reason why he couldn’t be as effective for Arsenal as he is for Switzerland and previous club. Chances are Ozil could be shunted to left by Emery, with Mikhi or Ramsey (possibly even a newbie) in AM position.

  41. Xhaka does not look like the sort of player who is best suited to play in a high energy high paced pressing system. He certainly does not strike me as someone who would be good at playing high energy pressure defense. On the attacking side I think he set some sort of historical record this season for the number of pass completed. His strength is ball possession player. He does not move very well and he can’t dribble. His strong suit is sitting in the midfield and maintaining ball possession and using his left foot to move the ball back on forth around the pitch and out to the wings.

  42. Borges

    I have been watching the same game as you and I don’t remember Xhaka doing anything of other a few short passes when the Swiss had the ball. His MO on defense is to remain relatively stationary and cover an area of space in the middle of the pitch. I don’t think its is going to be a struggle if Emery asks him to press and try to win the ball back.

    I like what I have seen from Lichtsteiner. He has more then held his own against Marcelo

  43. Thethreewisemen,

    True, but the problem with Germany today is that they startd slow and didn’t seem to turn it on until it was too late plus they were linical when the chances came.

  44. Dukey,

    I would LOVE for Brasil to win the WC if that was to happen you lot would have to forgive any misspelling, grammer and any other mistakes I made cause the white lighting would be flowing.

  45. YW,

    I agree so we could see if Tuesday. I actually think ALL of the signings will be announced togethe at the end of the World Cup no matter if they are in training or not by that time.

    It feels like they want to announce them couple with those leaving, but you would know bettet than I would.

  46. Watched the Swiss Brazil game with interest today. I thought Lichtsteiner looked like a really solid RB and quite mobile for a 35 year old. Should be good competition for Hector. Xhaka has a decent game too

  47. C, as much as I know Brazil is Brasil. I’ve grown up with Brazil so I still can’t spell Brazil Brasil!

  48. Dukey,

    Let’s not forget that the Netherlands has yet to play. They’re a pretty young squad of talented players comparable to England’s.

    Theres a likelihood a couple of major footballing nations won’t reach the 2nd round. Uruguay was poor against Egypt. Argentina played with the ‘handbrake on’, as did Les Bleus.

    Belgique has question marks – mainly over their head coach’s inexperience of tournament football. Though he did okayish with Wigan.

  49. C,

    In a similar sort of way Ozil, Cazorla and Sanchez used to interchange positions when we were on the front foot against weaker opponents.

  50. Dukey,

    c,

    That’s a bit like spelling Spain, as Espana and Espanha. Egypt as Egito and Egipto. All valid spellings to polyglots.

  51. Interesting start to the World Cup. 5 of the worlds top 6 teams in the FIFA rankings have played and none of them has won.

  52. C,

    When I saw Vella running away from Kroos, with the ball at his feet, I thought: Lowe has committed the cardinal sin of a successful coach – he hasn’t turned is team over at the top of the cycle.

  53. Freddo

    Its hard to turn over a team that has been so successful. The tendency of any manager is to stick with the player you know for 1 year too long rather then dropping them 1-2 years sooner then needed and taking the risk that their replacement might not work as well as you hope.

  54. Bill – very true. I think that was Fergie’s great talent: he fearlessly created new teams at the top of the cycle. May not be so easy, of course, in a national set-up if you don’t have the players to replace them. I think I heard Fergie once say that if a manager doesn’t turn over his team every four years, the team will turn him over.

  55. I have always been a big fan of teams that build their strategy around fast tempo counter attacking style. I loved what Mexico did in the first half of todays game. To me that is the most exciting style of football. Its also more effective and helps to equalize when you are playing an opponent who has a clear cut talent advantage.

    Fair or not I have a predetermined bias regarding players like Elneny, Xhaka or even Ozil because they are players who are better suited for a slower tempo ball possession style of play which I find less appealing. I don’t think you can be as successful with that technical skill/ball possession style unless you have an overwhelming talent advantage and Arsenal is probably never going to build a team with a real talent advantage over the other top 6 teams in the PL or the top 20 teams in Europe.

  56. Freddo

    I agree.

    Its much harder in international football because you have to take what you are given. Fergie could go out and buy a replacement when he needed to freshen the squad but you can’t go out and buy a replacement for players who are past their prime like Ozil, Mueller, Kkaderia, Gomez etc etc. Germany has been lucky to have such a wealth of talent in this group but these guys are slowing down and the next group is talented but not at the same level. May be they will surprise me but I don’t think Draxler, Werner and Brandt are at the same level as players like Mueller and Klose were in their prime.

  57. Bill – I don’t know much about the German team, but the Mexicans have just declared open season on the German midfield. Other teams will follow. Low has to do something about them because he can’t push his fullbacks high, because they are also too slow. I suspect that the Germans looked a bit slow and conservative in possession because they knew that, if they lost the ball, the Mexicans would be off to the races.

  58. The Germans may still win this tournament just like Fergies ManU team won the PL because they know how to win however you are right. However, you are right about there midfield. Ozil is a defensive liability when he plays in central midfield and Sami Khedira looked really off today and its not a surprise that you will struggle to control a counter attack when 2/3 of your central midfield is not very good. I agree with you and unless Germany can figure out a way to clean that up they could be in trouble.

  59. The Mexicans were cutting them apart consistently on the counter attack and they could have easily have scored 3 or 4 if they had been more clinical.

  60. The first sentence of the comment at 1:05AM was supposed to say. The Germans might still win the tournament because they know how to win just like Fergies last PL title team the year he retired.

    Does anyone know how Fergie is doing after his brain hemorrhage?

  61. FREDDO,

    I wouldn’t say he hasn’t turned it over, I would say he hasn’t used the proper pieces. He has turned the squad over when consider the likes of Sule, Goreztka, Brandt, Timo and Rudy are in the squad. I think he needs to use them but I actually understood Khederia and Kroos starting because both have come off top seasons for Juve and Madrid but got exposed. Personally, I would make a couple of changes: Goretzka for Khederia, Reus for Draxler and Gomez for Timo.

  62. I thought Vela played in the most advanced central midfield position for Mexico today and he really helped create a fast tempo. I don’t expect our #10 to attack like that but in theory he should be the one who controls the tempo and gets us moving when we become stagnant

  63. During the last 5-6 years our best form came when Cazorla was in the midfield. He could move forward at pace with the ball at his feet and get the team to pick up the tempo. Jack Wilshere made his reputation in the early years moving forward with the ball at his feet and just like Vela today that type of player can have a positive influence. I don’t understand why ozil could not do that but he either can’t do or he just doesn’t want to drop deeper to start counterattack’s. I have never watched Torreira but I know we are not going to play at a faster tempo if xhaka or Elneny or Maitland-Niles are controlling the distribution team of the ball and playing in the pivot role

  64. Bill:
    I have always been a big fan of teams that build their strategy around fast tempo counter attacking style. I loved what Mexico did in the first half of todays game. To me that is the most exciting style of football.Its also more effective and helps to equalize when you are playing an opponent who has a clear cut talent advantage.

    Fair or not I have a predetermined bias regarding players like Elneny, Xhaka or even Ozil because they are players who are better suited for a slower tempo ball possession style of play which I find less appealing.I don’t think you can be as successful with that technical skill/ball possession style unless you have an overwhelming talent advantage and Arsenal is probably never going to build a team with a real talent advantage over the other top 6 teams in the PL or the top 20 teams in Europe.

    I think you have some misconceptions.

    The players you mention are not “better suited to a slower tempo”!

    They play that way in Arsenal because that’s how Wenger wanted them to play and based on the limitations of those around them.

    Have you ever watched Ozil on a fast break?

    Do you perhaps recall that outrageous pass with the outside of his foot to Sanchez at a full sprint?

    When I hammer Ramsey for dawdling on the ball, THAT’s a player who is better suited to a “slow tempo” because he hasn’t got the speed of thought required to integrate on a fast break, so he stops and turns round in circles whilst players making runs either go offside or get marked.

    Adebeyor stopping during a breakaway and passing 50 yards backwards, THAT’s what kills fast attacks off.

    And to reference one of your other posts, breaking forward with the ball at your feet is the slowest path towards goal, a pass will always move faster than a player dribbling the ball.

  65. Very astute observation Mike-you are spot on.

    MikeSA: I think you have some misconceptions.

    The players you mention are not “better suited to a slower tempo”!

    They play that way in Arsenal because that’s how Wenger wanted them to play and based on the limitations of those around them.

    Have you ever watched Ozil on a fast break?

    Do you perhaps recall that outrageous pass with the outside of his foot to Sanchez at a full sprint?

    When I hammer Ramsey for dawdling on the ball, THAT’s a player who is better suited to a “slow tempo” because he hasn’t got the speed of thought required to integrate on afast break, so he stops and turns round in circles whilst players making runs either go offside or get marked.

    Adebeyor stopping during a breakaway and passing 50 yards backwards, THAT’s what kills fast attacks off.

    And to reference one of your other posts, breaking forward with the ball at your feet is the slowest path towards goal, a pass will always move faster than a player dribbling the ball.

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