A Good Point But Poor Performance

Manchester United 1 – 1 Arsenal

At 4.30pm, it looked like we’d got away with it. And to some extent, no matter the result at the Riverside this afternoon, we did on many levels.

On the face of it, a point at Old Trafford isn’t a bad result. With the psychological factors at play – Wenger v Mourinho, poor record – a draw is one of the better visits to that part of Manchester. They are sixth as well, although we did Spurs more of a favour with the result as they snatched their win and opened up a six-point gap to United.

And I have no issue with the point. Disappointing, given that it is another poor United team who have denied us victory and following on from the draw against Spurs, we may yet rue some of the four dropped points.

Where I have a problem was a genuinely poor team performance. There was no zip, a lack of zest and a team which looked like it needed a week of zzzzzzz.

In spite of a collection of very good players – with the odd world-class one thrown in for good measure – we were distinctly average and utterly uninspired. In a performance where you looked for someone to take the team but the scruff of the neck and shake some life it, the players were all dragged down to the lowest level.

Defensively, we got away with it on occasions, which is entirely in keeping with the performance. Cech did well on the whole with some timely saves. An understandably nervous Carl Jenkinson wasn’t Hector Bellerin but did little wrong whilst I thought Mustafi and Koscielny dealt with the United attack in a manner we expect. Nacho was subdued again, struggling to hit his form and culpable, along with Theo Walcott, for Mata’s goal. The left side is something of an issue at the moment in an almost inexplicable way.

It’s not hard to understand why Arsène picked the midfield that he did but positionally, playing Aaron Ramsey on the left highlighted the folly of shooing square pegs into round holes. If Ramsey is to play on a flank, it has to be the right; he’s a central midfielder by trade and although can fit in on the right, on the left it is a failed experiment. And Old Trafford isn’t the place to experiment.

There is a fair amount of flak flying against the Welshman once again. A deeper examination really needs to look at Arsène’s decisions where to play him. He isn’t as dynamic for club as he is for country simply because for the latter, he plays in his favoured role. Wenger uses him on the flanks not in the centre, almost as if trying to not leave him out so that he doesn’t get fed up and leave the club.

Or highlight the gap between his performances for the two, Ramsey for Wales is picked for the Euro 2016 Team of the Tournament. Ramsey for Arsenal is in no danger of being picked any team of the year. Whilst you expect some adaptability from players, putting Ramsey on the left wing was only ever going to draw criticism of the player, far more than if he played on the right.

With Elneny and Coquelin together, there was a calming influence alongside the Frenchman, not one – Xhaka – who could fray tempers. I understand that but neither of the pair which started is dynamic; they win the ball, retain possession well but lack the driving force which, without a quick player on the left, we needed because the attacks such as they were, tended toward the right or centre. Easy for United to snuff out and predictable.

The attacking trio were to some extent, deprived of meaningful possession. Who knows, perhaps the zip would have been injected into the performance had Alexis not missed a sitter early in the game when he headed wide, which was harder to achieve than scoring from his position of six yards out of the goal.

United’s goal when it came was a catalogue of errors on our part and well-finished by Mata. His performance highlighted how much we miss Santi Cazorla; the two Spaniards offer the energy both sides need and we certainly played poorly yesterday.

With Mesut Özil neutralised by our performance as much as the United midfield which left Theo running a lone furrow on the right, outnumbered and Alexis dropping deeper and deeper to get the ball with only Walcott making runs ahead of him.

The equaliser when it came, was directly as a result of substitutions made. Oxlade-Chamberlain’s surging run was met with Giroud’s towering header. Everything that we needed in less than a minute. Would the result have been different if they had played from the start? Who knows, probably not.

But we’re in the results business and still fourth, a maximum of three points off the top at the end of this weekend. Arsène praised his side’s resilience as you would expect, without any (public) sense of self-criticism emerging. His view of a physical battle in midfield underpinned his team selection but if that was genuinely the case, he neutered his own team by leaving the combative Xhaka out of the starting line-up.

The result begs a number of questions about the psychology of this fixture. A decade without a win in the Premier League is more of a hurdle for the manager to overcome than the players; he is the only constant in all of that time. His problem in overcoming a Mourinho side is down to the predictability of Arsenal’s play.

The players have to do their part, obviously, with performance levels and that was as much of a problem as the tactics yesterday but Arsène does need to plan differently for Mourinho. The Portuguese seems to have got into his head, drawing conservatism out of Wenger rather than invention. The media loves the rivalry but thrives on the hex. Arsène needs to nail that one to stop the rot trotted out.

Eyes turn toward Europe and PSG on Tuesday. A quick turnaround for the players and a certain change to the starting line-up in midfield and attack. The Premier League is on the back-burner

’til Tomorrow.

70 thoughts on “A Good Point But Poor Performance

  1. Dukey says:

    Anyone else disappointed with Elneny yesterday. For all the abuse Ramsey is getting I thought Elneny was just as poor playing in Ramseys position. Very slow.

  2. meaner says:

    we started to drop points since ramsey came back. If people complain that he plays on the wing, then drop him. He doesnt deserve to play in the midfield too.

    most overrated player.

  3. Adam Singh says:

    Watched the highlights again this morning. Agree a very dissapointing performance. With Santi out I can’t understand why he isn’t playing Ramsey along side le coq. I know many on this forum don’t rate Ramsey but his performances for Wales and the season he had a few years back, tells me he still has the potential to be a great player. But not on the left wing. tactically Mr W got it wrong in a number of areas, Giroud and Ox should have been brought on sooner, someone on this post yesterday quite rightly said his decisions are too reactive. Couldn’t agree more. As for the PSG game, for me Southampton at home in the priority so I’d like to see Sanchez rested, Ox and Iwobi on the flanks and Ramsey and Xhaka centrally.

  4. Dukey says:

    Also its another goal after the half time break. That’s 8 of our 12 goals conceded this season that have come in the opening 25 minutes of the second half. Does anyone have any theories for why we keep conceded at the same time.

    My theory is substitutes. It was clear we were going to concede yet Wenger did nothing. Maybe Wenger needs to start doing half time subs or after 10 minutes as something is definitely awry.

  5. Orson Kaert says:

    I believe that Wenger stands condemned by his own words post-match, “In the second half we came out in the first twenty minutes we didn’t play and deservedly United led one nil”. Only Wenger can be blamed for that. Doesn’t he talk to his players at half-time? Shouldn’t he be exhorting them to go out and take the game by the scruff of the neck? The sight of Alexis wandering out onto the pitch, after the break, adjusting the strapping on his right thigh says an awful lot to all and sundry. “Look at me, I’m not fit”.

    Wenger should have subbed him and Ramsey at half-time, both were becoming increasingly ineffective.

    In the past Wenger has decried his team’s slow start to matches, it seems now that malaise has spread to the second half as well.

    I suspect the dressing room is a little too cosy.

  6. Joel says:

    Why spend £35m on Xhaka if he doesn’t start games like this.Elneny might have been a calming influence but he was off the pace from the very start and his passing abilities remind me of Denilson.Xhake needs to be given a consistent run in the team to allow him to bed down and get used to the Premier League.If Wenger had reservations then surely the transfer fee would have been better utilised on Kante.Meanwhile Monreal’s vast improvement of last season seems to have been long forgotten.Given his age and Gibbs’ inability to know how to actually defend a new left-back should be a priority.Meanwhile Ramsey might have been unfairly criticised despite being shoe-horned into left midfield but it seems that the only position which suits him is playing just behind the centre forward…as he did for Wales…at the Euros.This is never going to happen unless Wenger drops Ozil.When he played in the central midfield tole last Season he was frankly mediocre…So please tell me what is the point of Ramsey?
    Yesterday’s performance was tepid and lacked any drive.The side currently hold on to 5th place and frankly whilst Wenger continues in his role unable to motivate and coach these players to a level that they are capable; then mediocrity with the occasional dreadful and similarly occasional wonderful performance will be the Arsenal way…

  7. Adam Singh says:

    Orson Kaert,

    Listening to players like Keown and Parlour he’s never been one to say much at half time; it’s down to the players to sort it out. Which is fine when you have natural leaders like Keown, Adams, Vieria (I could go on!). I’m not sure out of the current crop who’s voice is being raised in the dressing room. Kos? Leads by example but not vocal, Sanchez and Ozil? Can’t see it personally.

  8. Ras says:

    Good Afternoon YW. I think the Manager has to take some flack for the continued experimentation of playing Ramsey in all but his favourite position.

    Furthermore YW I think you are also spot on that Ramsey is given game time to dampen any possible transfer thoughts to pastures anew.

    Continuing along that vein of thought I personally speaking I’d let him ( Ramsey)go. We are well stocked with central right footed players. Should Ozil stay Ramsey is never going to usurp him in that role.

  9. Dukey says:

    I’d sell Elneny and play Ramsey in the center.

  10. Ras says:

    Joel,

    Joel Agree with you 100% re Ramsey. I have just posted words to the same effect.

    It is ridiculous ( yes I know Klopp has Milner playing as a left back ) to expect Ramsey to do a job on the left. Its cutting your nose to spite your face. What is frustrating is, if We can see it then surely the Manager can????.

  11. Bill says:

    Great review Yogi

    Overall I thought our defense was average. We all knew that scoring was going to be difficult and we needed to keep a clean sheet so it was a bit disappointing that we conceded.

    Playing Ramsey on the left is a mistake. However, I think he gets a lot more criticism then he deserves. For all of his great play in Euro2016, we all know by now that he is not a difference maker or a match winning player for Arsenal. That is who he is and its not his fault. The problem is that no one on the team not named Sanchez actually is a difference maker on the left wing. Iwobe started reasonably well but he is a square peg at wide forward also and we all knew he would lose effectiveness at some point. Ox is very much hit or miss and he has been more miss then hit then hit in the couple seasons. If Walcott does not score then he adds nothing. Ramsey did not hurt us which is about as much as we can ask for given the options we had. IMO.

  12. -DFS says:

    The team selection and tactics were both wanting – we were never prepped to take the game to them in the first place.

    We knew Ibra was out and they would have to play a young pacey forward line so our flanks might be exposed. Therefore…Ramsey? Ramsey’s ‘average position’ yesterday as a left wing? I kid you not, just left of the centre spot (curtesy Arsenal.com).

    I would have played Monreal and Gibbs forward as the winger, not Ramsey.

    I would have played Coquelin and Xhaka in midfield for bite and intimidation.

    That said, I think Coquelin and Elneny felt pressure and dropped deeper as both flanks were weak – Walcott, Ramsey and Jenkinson do not inspire confidence. But, I can’t imagine Cazorla playing yesterday would have been a game changer.

    As Cazorla is still out, for this game I would have ordered Ozil to player a slighter deeper No.10 role to collect the ball and spring attacks (no interchanging role between Ozil and Sanchez)
    I would have told Sanchez to park himself at the edge of their penalty area and to spend his energy making intelligent runs and finding space.

    I would have ordered Gibbs and Walcott to stay wide (Ras – yup, not even a notion of width yesterday) and drive down their flanks then either cross or attempt to turn into their penalty area.

    Frustrating as all hell.

    Finally – it needs underlining, though Giroud’s barren patches are maddening, when he subs on (or reappears after an absence) his desire to make something happen is palpable. That was a stunning, invaluable goal.

    It is so bugging we never seem to know how to extract the most from players, such a Giroud. There is no intuitive sense of when to play, rotate or rest them.

  13. Wailesy says:

    Wenger’s not one for drying players hair at half time. It’s all softly softly in the sheds. Ramsey’s good for the squad as back up for Ozil and nothing else sorry. He lost the ball so many times I was embarrassed for him. AW watched Ramsey the entire 1st half play out of position and never said boo to him.
    When Sanchez comes so deep to get the ball we become pedestrian and predictable.
    Wenger gets it wrong all to often. It must be time to put pen to paper for another 3 tears.

  14. Bill says:

    I would have started Xhaka instead of Elneny. I am not a big fan of Mo because other then his lovely hair, he does remind me of Denilson. However, to me that was also not a huge factor.

    The only really big mistake was not starting Giroud. We all were excited about the way the team was playing earlier this season but IMO the reason were we so successful was both Theo and Alexis hit a patch of good form at the same time. Both have slowed down in the last month and our form has slowed down with them. We were all surprised by Theo’s great run of form earlier in the season but history is clear that he runs very hot and very cold and there was no way he was going to help carry us thru the whole season and Alexis can’t do it by himself. I have criticized Giroud as much or more then anyone for the last 4 seasons but like him or not I think it was prospectively predictable that Giroud was the most likely player on the squad to score yesterday. Winning games is always more important then your style of play or how fast your players can run. Tactical considerations mean nothing if there is no one on the pitch who is likely to score. Leaving the player who was the most likely to score on the bench is poor judgement irregardless of how you feel about that player. Giroud is incredibly frustrating because of his inconsistency but when he is in form he is clearly a difference making player and there is no doubt we should be using him when his tail is up.

  15. Wailesy says:

    For what’s it worth both Sanchez and Ozil had some beautiful moments on the ball yesterday. They really are class. It’s a shame nothing came of it.
    Yogi saying the Sanchez chance was a sitter is harsh mate. He was never really there for it, I don’t think anyway.

  16. Bill says:

    I think Elneny’s influence on the attacking end is comparable to Denilson but Elneny certainly has more energy and a better engine and defends better so overall the comparison is harsh on elneny. I think Elneny would work very well in a role similar to Arteta but just like arteta, I am not a fan of Mo playing any further forward then the deepest midfielder position.

  17. Pistol Fish says:

    Every time I watch this team I can’t help but wonder how it would shape up under a different manager.
    I believe I mentioned a few weeks back that as soon as Ramsey is fit he’s first name on the team sheet.

  18. Bill says:

    The run of goals from Theo papered over the cracks for a while but I still think our biggest issue on the attacking end is a lack of firepower. We are back to counting on scoring from Giroud if we want results and that works when he is on his annual hot streak but we all know where that ends up. We should have bought another forward or 2 last summer.

  19. C says:

    Elneny wasn’t up to his usual standard passing but strictly sideways and backwards, nope harsh on him. Remember, it was he who played the lovely ball to Ozil for that goal against Ludogorets and that was one of many he has played. Again, he was good but not up to his standard.

    The other thing that was missing yesterday, was that dynamism of Bellerin. Jenks did okay, but he whips in crosses for headers, while Bellerin plays to feet but also adds that explosive pace on the overlap with Theo and its not just to whip in crosses, but also to drive into the box.

    I still don’t understand how or why Xhaka isn’t one of the first names on the team sheet. When he plays he oozes class.

  20. Bill says:

    More and more It looks like Cazorla is the most important and irreplaceable player in our midfield. What in the world are we waiting for with regard to his contract?

  21. Orson Kaert says:

    Bill,

    To see if he actually recovers from his present injury perhaps?

  22. daniel says:

    Bill,

    Hmmmmm…..most comments say d coq is limited technically…..i agree but I can name more players in dz Arsenal team that are more limited technical than him e.g walcoat,ramsey,jekinson and the G-man….now to my point a large reason of y we’re playing badly can also b attributed 2 sanchez’s decision making n the countless times he loosens possession,now ozil is not a messsi or maradona kind of player,he thrives on combination play,players that can play in tite spaces that’s y we played better when sanchez join ozil,eneny n coq in the middle…..we tend to play poorly once we av a large portion of our less technical players in the field…..if we start Watching matches without our Love 4 certain players we will really c there limitations….I. Remember us struggle wit a certain flamini n Ramsey both very limited players technically…….n I remember a certain iwobi n Eneny standing tall when we played barca in the champion league in a match that’s only those wit high technic Survives n Ramsey struggled in that match also……thanks

  23. Bill says:

    C

    Denilson did not look like a sideways passer when he first came to the club either he morphed into that because that was his nature. Denilson and elneny are both “ball possession players”. You have to have that in your DM because you don’t want him taking risks and losing the ball deep in midfield. However I don’t think it’s best to be playing ball possession players as 2/3 of your central midfield.

  24. knobby says:

    Yesterday when I saw the team line up I was disappointed that Ramsey was shoehorned in, but thought we have the players to play good possession football in Ozil, Elneny, Ramsey, Sanchez and Le coq.
    It was soon clear that they wanted it more than us no more so than Valencia who was mismatched against our slowest player.
    Perhaps Chamberlain , Gibbs could have man marked him or Le Coq should have helped Ramsey defending or even Theo swapping sides to keep pace with Valencia.
    Ozil was rested for the international break by Germany yet he looked fatigued. Sanchez who flew halfway around the world and played with an injury for 85 mins for Chile looked like our only player with any energy.
    Theos mind could be on him being a dad again and Chamberlain or Iwobi should replace him.
    I think Giroud has been on the naughty step long enough and shoud be starting against PSG on Wednesday .
    Overall a good result, we have outplayed teams for years and only succumbed to a late equaliser, but that was because of our “weak”
    And Arsene being “naïve” tactically. Well according to Shearer.
    Just a bit worried by the performance.

  25. C says:

    Bill,

    First, I agree about Santi, its not that he is irreplaceable, but as Big Al said yesterday, it’s what he brings to the team. That positional sense and quick passing from that deep -lying CM position, that allows us to not only play quickly, but allows for our front 4 to not have to drop deep. Xhaka is that same type of player and it baffles you just like me and many others that he doesn’t start and isn’t one of the first names on the team sheet.

    Elneny is a ball possession player, but its not just ball possession for the sake of keeping possession, often times its moving the team forward, looking for that forward pass even if its just to Ozil, Sanchez Theo or whoever is on the left 5-10 yards away because they have space infront of them to do their thing. The thing I want to see and think is best is to have Xhaka next to one of Elneny or Santi, different types of players but both able to keep possession but also play that pressing style that suited us brilliantly. The thing is though, there has to be a commitment to that style and there doesn’t seem to be, its has been evident not just with Arsenal, but look at Liverpool, Citeh; they have a commitment to that style from your manager and players alike.

  26. austinpaul says:

    Tanx YW for ur precise dissection of d team, I can’t agree less.one glaring tin is dat we hve started to struggle in matches again as its bin in past seasons around dis time of d year! If Santi is unavailable does it mean no one in d 25 man team can step up into his role? Am amazed! To me its like d whole team has hit a patch of off form;am nt used to critizing AW but in my opinion he takes some flack dis time around bcos a lot depends on his judgement in dis matter especially as d general performance of d team was below par nd only him has d answer to dis by d decisions he makes or fail to make;hopefully, against PSG on wednesday we shall kno if he reads or learns a tin or two frm our comments. Shalom!!!

  27. -DFS says:

    Pistol Fish –

    “Every time I watch this team I can’t help but wonder how it would shape up under a different manager”.

    Precisely. Half the posters here can break down our play and have valid points to make concerning improving weaknesses. Yesterday Gary Neville within minutes was pointing out faults with the team and underlining who was out of position. It did not appear however there were any adjustments or instructions to correct play coming from the bench.

    There was a point late in the game where Neville talked akin to a fan (I believe many are fans of Arsenal as a ‘second’team). In a sad tone, he noted Arsenal made him so angry, that he could understand fans frustrations because there was no explanation as to why we could play do well one day, and then turn as we did yesterday – at that point I believe we had yet to have a shot on goal in the 2nd half.

    If we had secured a manager such as Klopp or Guardiola a few years ago, we would have been champions last year. Even under a ‘second’ tier manager such as Pochettino or Koeman we would also be transformed and likely champions.

    I tried to have faith this year in Wenger again because so much rides on this season (mostly for him). But with all the expenditure the clutch of new players it is hard to yet discern any genuine advance in the style of play or application on the pitch.

    So unfortunately I revert back to what I have suspected for years. With Wenger there is no longer any there, there.

  28. Orson Kaert says:

    Wenger is always knocking on about mental strength and the never give up attitude which brought us an undeserved equaliser yesterday.

    Despite his satisfaction with what he perceives as mental strength there is an inherent weakness in either not starting games until we are a goal down, or falling away when we are leading.

    It has become boringly all to familiar that our players are just not “up” for games.

  29. Aaron says:

    Going a different route.
    Watched the game again, and when Arsenal get into a pinging contest with physically strong sides, the team loses it’s flow.
    Meaning when it becomes a battle of headers all over the place and not keeping the ball on the ground and out wide Arsenal look disjointed and unable to impose their will on the game. Need to stress that Arsenal are a technically gifted side but not all of our players and play like the Brazilians and just move the ball up the fiels without ever letting it hit the ground. Watch for yourselves and you will see what I an talking about.
    Ozil never stood a chance without having the lineup with Iwobi in it and wihout Aaron to get control of the midfield and boss the game.
    Like someone said above also need longer than 5 and 10 yard passes, Xhaka splits the channels as good as anyone around in the EPL. Get him back in their asap.
    Arsene needs to get Sanchez out and Giroud in and get Sanchez some rest. Maybe put OX and Theo on either side and open up the games again.

  30. C says:

    Middleborough can certainly get something from this match.

  31. C says:

    the other thing that was noticeable too was just how many times Valencia would pick the ball up from outside his own 18 yard box and make that run seemingly unchallenged from box to box.

  32. C says:

    For all those that say La Masa isn’t producing players, think about this, Traore already looks like he is going to be quite a fucking player and yes he is blessed with EXPLOSIVE pace and power, but technically he is superb with his close control and decision making.

  33. C says:

    What a save from Valdes. Chambers has done well so far, minus that terrible header.

  34. C says:

    Costa scores, a Costa style gritty poachers goal.

  35. buckagh says:

    C,

    Would we score a goal like that, highly unlikely our corners are practically a disadvantage to us

  36. Orson Kaert says:

    C,

    Perhaps because whoever was playing in front of Monreal wasn’t doing his job. Now who was that I wonder? Oh! That’s right Ramsey.

  37. C says:

    buckagh,

    So true, are corners are very hit or miss, which is strange given how delicious a ball Ozil and Santi put in from free kicks.

  38. C says:

    Orson Kaert,

    I’m not going to name names because some think I have this hatred for Ramsey and think he is shit.

  39. Bhavesh says:

    Dukey,

    You said our win opened a 6 point gap between Spurs and Utd. Its actually 5.

  40. dukey says:

    Orson,

    we get it, you dislike Ramsey, stop banging on about it.

    Again The Ramsey hatred is uncalled for. Elneny was worse yesterday. even playing in his best position.

  41. dukey says:

    If Ramsey was so poor how the hell was he our Player of the season a few seasons back. short bloody memories. Cant ever seeing someone like Elneny ever even being in the running for a player of the year award.

  42. CorpFinG says:

    I wanted us to shut the manc cunts as much as the next guy by beating them, but ultimately a point is a great result.
    Don’t care about the performance – its all about points.
    I’ll take a draw away and nice comprehensive victory at home against the portugeezer.

  43. Wavey says:

    Nicky,

    A bit late in the day, but the answer to your question is exactly the same as it’s always been. For me Giroud was bought as a number 2 striker and appeared to inherit the number 1 spot by default. I had hoped that at some point Wenger would go out and buy the number 1 striker we have needed since Van Penis left, by we have persevered with Giroud instead. I don’t want us to get rid of Giroud, just properly demote him by buying the 20 League goal a season striker we have needed for some time. Alexis will get us goals, but he is not an out and out CF for me and in games like yesterday’s he plays deeper so we need a true CF in he middle. Giroud could have done that job yesterday because he is hungry at the moment, but we need a striker who can do that job every week.
    Our alternatives in the squad are Perez who is a winger hoping to be a striker (we already had one of those), Welbeck who bounces from injury to injury just as he starts to build up a head of steam and Akpom who is so wet behind the ears it’s ridiculous. And if we didn’t intend to play Xhaka we should surely have saved the money and spent £50m on a striker rather than £17m.

  44. captain senderos says:

    chambers looked at ease as a center half… he is not as bad as people made him to be.. am actually impressed

  45. C says:

    dukey,

    Funny you talk about Orson and Ramsey, you are the same with Elneny.

    I think the thing with Ramsey, at least for me is that he is in the line-up on the flanks which would be fine if he did his job but he doesn’t, not that he is a bad player because obviously he is a good player.

    The other thing, is like Jack, we can’t simply talk about what he has done for Arsenal 2 seasons back because this Arsenal side is muvh different from that side both in quality of player and quality of depth.

  46. Sam says:

    This team managed by Conté would be interesting! (Ramsey for one wouldn’t get away with wandering all over the place).
    Wenger’s passivity after Mourinho’s 62nd min subs was annoying – can’t say astonishing as it happens too often. I honestly think he came for the point and feels job well done. And if he wants a wide left player who can cross and beat his man, we aren’t blessed with anyone that great but Gibbs is a better bet than Ramsey. Monreal is exposed as he’s not got a lot of help in front of him on the lhs.

    I expect Giroud to play against PSG. Ox probably too, especially if Theo’s on dad duty. PSG seem to be playing better right now than when we faced them in Paris. Cavani is scoring regularly again.

  47. C says:

    captain senderos,

    Tend to agree about Chambers. He started well for us but had that miserable spell at RB. He might not end up good enough for Arsenal but he certainly could make it at Everton or another midtable side. I think as he plays more he will continue to develop.

  48. Ras says:

    Pistol Fish,
    Pistol Fish Agree totally that under a different Manager it would more than likely be different. You Imagine Conte? You think he’d having a A Ramsey ” Play Where You like”.

    As I’ve stated previously I’ve nothing against Ramsey. He’s a decent player when played in his correct position. I

    Can’t recall whom it was but somebody earlier posted that we’d have been served better on the left with Gibbs and Monreal. I agree. Its a real sad that other than the injured Perez we have no natural left footed midfield – attacker.

  49. Orson Kaert says:

    dukey,

    I do dislike Ramsey, I don’t think he’s worth a place on the bench, let alone a place in the team. Elneny was below par yesterday, but for him that is unusual.

    I can’t say Ramsey was below par, his par being pretty low when playing for Arsenal.

  50. Orson Kaert says:

    dukey,

    Okay, we get it you don’t like Elneny, stop banging on about it.

  51. Colts says:

    “He lost the ball so many times, I was embarrassed for him” wailesy@12.27pm.

    This is why for me it doesn’t matter whether he plays left or right, and why 5mil el Nino gets in the center before him.
    Aaron and Mikel worked, granite i was hoping would be similar enough to Mikel to form another great partnership. I’ll put it down to age for now but granite has some way to go before he’s the next arteta.
    Also we appear to have adjusted the dynamic of the centre pair with Francis pressing higher up. I certainly don’t want to see Aaron holding the fort (if he can be disciplined enough to stay there) or passing to the opposition in such a dangerous position. Can’t fault his talent, we’ve seen it, But mentally he’s dodgy as fuck.

    Totally agree Gibbs should be starting left wing, how this hasn’t happened yet only strengthens my desire to see Wenger leave.

    Aaron:

    Not left footed, doesn’t play the wing well, doesn’t like playing on the wing, usually the right wing, doesn’t like to defend etc etc…
    Against

    Gibbs:

    Natural winger, natural left foot, spent most of his life defending, takes players on, doesn’t grumble in the media about not playing or possibly being sold (though that interest in Rodriguez is starting to look like nacho’ replacement), has more speed, and a sweet volley.

    It bamboozles me, it really does.

    That said we ain’t crumbled yet, and its a question of how quickly Wenger can get this team clicking again. He’s got the personnel, show and prove time.

  52. YW says:

    C

    Tend to agree about Chambers. He started well for us but had that miserable spell at RB. He might not end up good enough for Arsenal but he certainly could make it at Everton or another midtable side. I think as he plays more he will continue to develop.

    Isn’t that why he’s out on loan?

  53. C says:

    YW,

    So true, but I have seen some in the Goonerverse say he isn’t having a good year on loan and I beg to differ. Yea he has his moment in games were he has a mistake in him but what CB in the world doesn’t?!?! The thing is, he looks so much more comfortable not only playing CB, but playing regularly. The biggest question will be whether he continues to develop and focus because he is very much the modern CB: good in possession, solid defender, enough pace to deal with most CB’s, physical and actually pretty good in the air(we saw that plenty of times for Arsenal).

    The thing that might not see him back at Arsenal though is the fact that Mustafi is ONLY 24 years old, Kos is in his prime, Gabriel is actually a good option as a CB3 and Holding has looked really comfortable at CB when called upon.

    Dare I say it, our current CB situation is in good hands?!?!?!

  54. C says:

    Futbol is a funny game, Suso was cast off by Liverpool as not good enough but given the opportunity to play regularly, he has become quite a player in Serie A for Milan

  55. C says:

    Watching Inter v Milan………

    There are a couple of players I would gladly have at Arsenal: Kondogbia, Brozovic and Icardi from Inter. Romagnoli and Niang (as a winger) from Milan.

  56. Colts says:

    C,

    Indeed, loving our centerback situation. With the boss being thirty, his main asset (pace) Will start to decrease. I see Gabby as next in line if he can get his bat together with chambers challenging and holding as the insurance. Not to mention Kristian or that many of these ‘centrebacks’ are quite versatile positionally.

    I’d be pretty happy to swap out Oliver for Mario and Aaron for Jeff next Summ…….January.?

  57. -DFS says:

    Regarding Ramsey-

    What I truly dislike is the role, the indulgence given to him by Wenger. The ‘false winger’ idea is a Shallow Hal concept. On the right (or yesterday) he immediately deserts the position leaving us exposed (see C’s comment re Valencia – a classic example). He then stresses him teammates for cover, be it the full back or midfield who anticipate he will be AWOL. My guess is other players dislike the role, which also saps morale.

    If he was ‘producing’ with the freedom afforded, there would be a valid argument for his role, but he isn’t. It becomes a Wenger whim which to me embodies the flaws in Wengers management – a silly, silly idea obstinately clung to.

    I admit I ‘dislike’ Ramsey on a personal level because he is simply too stupid to see this for himself (in particular because he knows he has been criticized for years). I want players to mature and develop, to be self aware – I do not get the impression Ramsey is self-aware to any degree.

    Gibbs –

    Yes, against a pacey problematic attack, playing Monreal with Gibbs ahead is obviously a fantastic option. Most games we would not need it, but yesterdays game was a prime contender. Even if Valencia had skinned him a few times Gibbs would have dulled their ability to exploit that flank.

    And, to revert back to the Ramsey on the wing debacle – any time he is played as a winger, the opposition predominently drive their attacks down that wing (stats not opinion) for obvious reasons.

  58. Damon says:

    I’d have played Xhaka from the start. I would every game

    If Ramsey starts, he should play in the 10 position and Ozil comes wide left. It’s still shoe horning, but Mesut has better form there than Aaron does

  59. Dukey says:

    C,

    Elneny has done nowt yet for us though where as Ramsey has performed at a top level for us. Anyway we shouldn’t take our anger out on our players. It’s Wenger that should get the blame for playing players woefully out of position for way toulon.

  60. Orson Kaert says:

    Dukey,

    Well that explains in a few simple words my dislike of Ramsey, he performs at his top level! Saturday being an example?

  61. Wavey says:

    Dukey,

    I agree, it’s about who the manager tries to shoe horn into the positions. Ramsey on the left was nothing more than an indulgence and allowed United to attack us down the left at will. Given the need to keep their FB pinned back it would have made sense to have a wide player in the LW role. Alexis on the left, Iwobi or Gibbs would have worked. I accept that Iwobi isn’t naturally a winger, but he keeps his position much better than Ramsey does.
    That’s not a slur on Ramsey, he will always roam around the pitch and Wenger seems happy to let him do that. If he plays in anything other than a central role we will be exposed at the position he vacates. At the moment he probably doesn’t merit a central role, so he should be on the bench rather than being played in completely the wrong position. Teams know to attack us on the flank when Ramsey is playing as a winger as they know he won’t stay in position. Wenger seems happy to let the opponent’s winger have a free run at our full back.

  62. Wailesy says:

    If Ramsey starts it has to be either for Cazorla next to Xhaka or as Damon said in the 10 role if Ozil is rested.
    Iwobi has done well on the left even though he has been a little flat recently. I’d persist with him on the left and as others have suggested use Gibbs on the flank.
    It is such as obvious solution. How Wenger does not see it is beyond me.

    Some here are banging on about Ramsey being player of the year “a few years back” How that has any relevance to where and how Ramsey fits into the team now I’m not really sure?

  63. Damon says:

    I put Monreals form almost entirely down to the fact that Alexis isn’t playing left any more

  64. Arsetralian says:

    Damon,

    I agree

    Exactly that

    I also thought a sound post YW

    To be fair AW has consistently played Gibbs ahead of Nacho as a substitute without him getting all these plaudits for what suddenly sounds like here as the best left side option in the modern era.

    Not convinced it would have worked quite so well from the start but we will probably never know.

    It was conservative picking El N and backfired unless Xhaka did get sent off which as someone says before about Vieira that is just how it goes for combative players.

    Ramsey must come off bench to replace Ozil only and then he has to prove he is good enough in that position. That is what Jack is trying to do now.

    It was disappointing but I expected a bad game really. If you said a draw before I would have taken it.

    Ox – what a cross! Maybe he has been practising at last. Maybe he should play on the left midweek as he has done before?

  65. Orson Kaert says:

    Arsetralian,

    Yes a wonderful cross, but no matter how good his crosses are they will never reach Giroud if he’s on the bench.

  66. Arsetralian says:

    Orson Kaert,

    Ha!

    Surely we will decided unanimously on this very post that his role of plan b bench man was indeed decided

    No?

    A starter again after all our failed attempts to win something as our CF??

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