FA Lose The Plot, Chelsea, Rosicky & More…

I just want to take a moment to savour another’s misfortune. Jose handled defeat with all the good grace he could muster – which was none – blaming luck, not his own team selection. If only he had picked his best players…

Bravo to the Bristol City players for bringing joy to the world. Has anyone checked on Duncan Castles?

We landed Chelsea in the semi-final which isn’t the fearsome draw it once was. Unless Arsène persists with the second string XI; then you have every right to be scareder than the scarediest cat in Scaresville. The first leg will end badly if he persists with that selection, ending the tie itself.

We face Chelsea three times in three weeks; all January needs is the FA Cup fourth round draw to throw both teams together. Playing the same opponent so frequently isn’t much fun unless you win the league match and semi-final. Not too much to ask for, is it?

The first leg comes after the FA Cup third round, so there’s no reason why we can’t see a strong line-up at Stamford Bridge. Arsène will field the second string at Forest, rotating the squad to minimise the risk of injuries. Olivier Giroud proved it’s a theory which does always work.

Arsène willingly warmed to that theme earlier this week,

“[Christmas] is very demanding, especially because we already have a tough schedule behind us. We have to sit down and analyse very well what we can do. What is very worrying in my job is when you start to lose players, like Giroud tonight. After, you cannot afford to lose another one. I have to look how I can manage the schedule.”

Only Chelsea have a gentler schedule over the festive period. We’ve got 12 days between the first and last of our festive games; others have eight.

I’m Tired

It doesn’t negate his point but looking at the line-ups fielded in the League Cup and Europa League, you can’t help but feel Arsène isn’t talking any sense. The first XI and the cup XI enjoy plenty of rest. Few, if any, players featured midweek and then on the following Saturday if they were different competitions so if injuries occur, it’s not down to tiredness or over-playing, it’s something else entirely.

We play on the 23rd, then 28th, 31st and 3rd but the point is that this is nothing new. We know it is coming but to be talking the way Arsène is rings of setting up the excuses before a bad performance. Giroud’s injury means some players such as Theo Walcott, will get an unexpected chance during the Christmas period.

Alexandre Lacazette will find himself hooked most games and also rested. With Giroud out, Alexis is the obvious replacement to lead the line although Danny Welbeck may do so as well. Walcott will come in for one of the attackers at some point.

We have the numbers, it’s whether or not the quality is there. Or whether Arsenal over-rule Wenger and sell Alexis. A City bid is deemed likely in January and the Arsenal board has never knowingly refused cash before.

You Stupid Bastidges

Not as rapaciously as the Football Association. Their decision to sue Wembley FC over trademark issues underlines why the FA are utterly unfit to run the English game. Had there been any wits about those in charge of the governing body, a simple solution was for the FA to PAY for a redesign of the club badge and kit. Would that have dented their P&L? No, and it would have shown leadership for the game, providing a solution.

The FA couldn’t do that; they had to take legal action and justify it on commercial grounds. The FA doesn’t have that luxury when it comes to dealing with clubs; there are no commercial grounds and in this instance, the FA should be held in contempt. It is an utter travesty and a dereliction of duty as the game’s guardians. Their responsibility is to the players, fans and officials in the clubs at all levels and no a white elephant stadium that isn’t worth the money they paid to badly design and construct.

As the Wembley chairman observed, football supporters can be thick but not even they are so thick that they think the national stadium is a couple of rickety terraces and a wooden stand.

It seems those running the game are thicker than the fans they like to treat like dirt.

Finally, a nod of respect to Tomas Rosicky. Announcing his retirement yesterday ended droughts around the globe with all the tears shed. A fine player, one we saw too little of and one whose abilities, like Santi Cazorla, remind us what we are missing right now. So long and thanks for all the goals against Tottenham.

’til Tomorrow.

 

 

44 thoughts on “FA Lose The Plot, Chelsea, Rosicky & More…

  1. andy1886 says:

    Of course he will continue to field the reserves in the LC – we got to the final against Chelsea in 2007 and he still sent out the kids when we had a chance to win a trophy. Leopards, spots and all that I’m afraid.

    As for Arsene getting his excuses in early (and them being illegitimate ones at that) it’s so predictable that he may as well tape them in advance and roll them out as and when it suits.

    Roll on Liverpool on Friday, after all Klopp is a crap manager so we’re told so surely the genius that is AW will be victorious? 😜

  2. DALM says:

    Noting the thread ref wemberlee – important to remember how gloriously poor the infrastructure and transport links are for handling any kind of event – comparing our olden days trips there for chumps league or midweek league cup final replays with what (for example) Cardiff offered when the cup final/semi finals were there – and so were we ! Proper rail link, easy park and walk and a proper city centre to get trollied in win or lose.

    FA should have gone green (or brown) field site with more to offer that that white elephant

    As for tomorrow, we owe them a thumping – and I expect the Ox to score a few own goals out of a sense of loyalty and fair play.

  3. Pete the Thirst says:

    andy1886,

    Wenger is a master of the strategic excuse. If he really knows what he is talking about?

    Klopp is very similar to Wenger in that he sticks to plan A. He doesn’t do tactics apart from fast direct counter-attacking football. If that doesn’t work he’s f@cked.

  4. Pete the Thirst says:

    DALM,

    Spot on Dalm. Cardiff is set up brilliantly for the big matches. Puts Wembley to shame. The best thing about Wembley is getting a tube away from there.

  5. Tom says:

    Andy
    I must say I never understood Wenger’s logic of fielding the second stringers in a final against the likes of Chelsea, just because it was mostly them that got Arsenal through the early stages and against mostly lesser teams.

    As for his constant excuse making, I can’t wait what he comes up with on Friday should we lose.
    On paper, it’s a match up made in heaven.
    Liverpool don’t park the bus. They don’t try to kick us off the pitch. They don’t have the petro-dollars and buy players we couldn’t buy. And we play at home where our record is rather good.

    But if we lose, my bet is on ” special circumstances” , which could be anything really. From a wrong off-side call , his bad team selection, Koscielny getting injured and leaving the pitch at half time, starting slow , nervousness , complacency , bad luck, Liverpool’s good luck … etc.

    “I selected the wrong team and we got outplayed ” is one sentence you’ll never hear from Arsene’s lips for sure.

  6. C says:

    Debuchy says he wants to leave in January:

    “I want to leave, to find a new challenge in January. The fact I’m playing well will give me opportunities,” Debuchy said.

  7. C says:

    So we get Chelsea, play the strongest team and try to win every piece of silverware we can since we are already out of the PL race would be my thinking but since I don’t have 1000000000000000000000000000000 matches under my belt like Arsene I probably am missing something.

    As far as Liverpool, I think its also interesting that Arsene said Maitland-NIles is ready for the challenge which means he is starting. Is Arsene doing this to give Sead his typical winter rest (since its his first season in the PL and he normally gets the winter off in Germany) or is there something legitimately wrong with Sead?

  8. HenryB says:

    I would like to join you in commiserating with another manager’s misfortune, and enable some of the credit for your excellent Post wash over me.

    Listening to Maureen’s lengthy explanation for why his team lost in the after game interview two thoughts sprang to mind.

    1st, did anyone miss “the team were a bunch of ******* and could not play their way out of a three wheeled car, yabba, yabba”? That was in complete contrast to his demeanour when YouNited win which goes something like “I beat … I won …. I am fricking wonderful.” Hmmm?

    2nd, did anyone notice how gracious he was in defeat ….. sorry ….. in the team’s defeat, because he never gets defeated …… when he said “BrightOne deserved to win, but they were lucky … we hit the post twice ….. but I do not wish to take away from their victory ……. by saying they were lucky ….. but they were lucky ….. and we should have easily won, but they were lucky, not that I am saying they won because they were lucky, but they were ……. yabba, yabba …. keep the camera on my left side … my best side …. you can kiss my ass too … because they were lucky …. but BrightOne deserved it, even if they were lucky …. ”

    Classy, that man is not!

  9. Bill says:

    Great post Yogi

    You are correct when you say that playing our B squad in the cup games and Europa League means we have the most well rested squad of any almost any team in the world. Despite being so well rested our results have not improved and we still play a slow paced low energy type football and we still have seen muscular and other injuries. In the past conventional wisdom on the blog suggested that Arsene was over playing our players and was not rotating enough and the players having tired legs was responsible for a lot of our problems. However the reality is that Arsene has always rotated as much or more then other big managers and this season certainly gives us strong evidence that the conventional wisdom was rubbish.

  10. Bill says:

    C

    Sead started really well and was making positive things happen on the attacking end. His influence on the has not been as noticeable for the last 1-2 months, however like you I am surprised that Arsene has dropped him down into the B squad. Sead certainly can’t be tired and if he needs a holiday break after the way he has been used this season then he probably does not have the stamina to be successful in English. I hope that is not the case

  11. Bill says:

    We talked about Rosicky yesterday and he was certsinly a very talented player and he seemed like a truly first class person to have on the squad. His injuries robbed us of an excellent player. The reality that the only season of his 10 in an Arsenal shirt in which TR7 was healthy enough to be a regular starter was 07/08 and its probably not complete coincidence that was by far our best season in the entire Emirates era.

  12. Ras says:

    C,

    Afternoon All. I called it C. AMN is a nailed on starter for tomorrow.

  13. C says:

    Bill,

    I think at one point Arsene said Sead was injured but continued to play him so that might have played a roll in him not being the maruading tank we remember from earlier in the season. Still, I think he is adapting to the PL especially as a FB/WB. You can’t say that just because he is struggling now and might need a holiday break he doesn’t have the stamina, we have seen this happen year after year to even the top players who come from other leagues, going from a league having a winter holiday to then playing the busy festive period is quite the difference for players. I think Sead is perfectly built for the PL but Arsene is strange and might be doing his typical, ‘new signing thing’ that he does with players. I mean FFS he takes off Lacazette and nobody knows why.

  14. C says:

    Ras,

    I know, its crazy though but that’s Arsene for you

  15. Bill says:

    C

    The way Arsene has used the squad so far this season there is no way Sead be tired already. If Sead was injured then why not just sit him out rather then use him on the B squad? I don’t think we can blame all the usual excuses for the fact that his influence has faded somewhat. Hopefully he can regain his earlier form but at least for now it looks like Arsene has dropped him down the pecking order.

  16. Bill says:

    For what its worth I think the biggest single reason we had such a great season in 07/08 was our team defense during the first 26 games was the best we have played for a prolonged period during the Emirates era. If I remember I think we had only conceded 17 goals in the first 26 games. We were on pace to concede only 24 goals that season before the meltdown during the last 12 games. A lot of people thought losing Eduardo was the reason we fell apart but the real problem was after the Birmingham game we started to concede a lot more goals. This year by contrast we are on pace to concede more then 40 goals. You would have thought that arsene would have learned something from 07/08 but instead he went he full bore attack at all costs and ignored team defense.

  17. C says:

    Bill,

    Sead was injured and Arsene said so in early November but continued to play him. Its not an excuse just an observation. I do find it strange that Arsene dropped him to the B squad but again, Arsene does weird things when it comes to new players into the squad whether its not playing/starting them early in the season or dropping them in the middle part of the season.

  18. C says:

    I just re-watched the clip of not only the winner but the Bristol City supporters storming the pitch and knowing that Mourinho, Manure and Manure supporters were crushed bought me nothing but pure joy.

  19. Bill says:

    We always get excited about every new player for the first few months. Sead is like a lot of new players and had a heavy dose of adrenaline and started out really well and then went thru a down period. You can’t thrive on adrenaline over the long run and hopefully Sead can figure out how be effective in the PL on a consistent basis.

  20. captain senderos says:

    there is report of Manchester City shelving their plan to buy Alexis Sanchez till the summer… in hindsight, wenger should have sold him when Manchester City brought 60 million… his performance has been terrible

  21. HenryB says:

    C,

    I just read this.

    — “Ajax have sacked manager Marcel Keizer and his backroom staff, including Dennis Bergkamp.

    The Amsterdam club sit second in the Eredivisie table but announced in a statement on Thursday afternoon that manager Keizer has been “removed from active duty”.

    Keizer took over in the summer from Peter Bosz, who moved to Borussia Dortmund but was sacked himself earlier this month.

    His assistants – Bergkamp and Hennie Spijkerman – have also been axed.

    Ajax chief executive Edwin van der Sar and director of football Marc Overmars, a former Arsenal teammate of Bergkamp’s, made the decision to change the management staff after extensive talks.

    “We had a bad summer and a messy start to the season,” said Van der Sar.

    “From a sporting point of view, European elimination (from the Champions League preliminaries) was the low point.

    “Marc Overmars and I have frequently spoken in the months afterwards about the permanent volatility of the first team. We are not confident that we will achieve the level that we are striving for with Ajax in this way.”

    Wadda ya make of dem potaters? 😀

  22. C says:

    Bergkamp and the Ajax manager have been sacked.

  23. C says:

    HenryB,

    Its such a crazy decision if I’m honest, because part of the reason they had a messy start to the summer was the switch in manager.

    The other thing is it really does put into perspective yet again just how lucky Arsene is because it sounds like he would have been sacked if Van der Sar and Overmars were runnin Arsenal.

    Funny thing is, I would take Bergkamp in a heartbeat because he would be coming as an assistant.

  24. Jonny says:

    Well, this is a first…

    “The Carabao Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Arsenal will involve the use of video assistant referees.

    The London rivals will meet in the semi-finals of the competition next month.

    Arsenal saw off West Ham on Tuesday night before a late Alvaro Morata strike ensured victory for Chelsea over Bournemouth.

    The EFL have confirmed VAR will be used for the first time in the competition when Arsenal travel to Stamford Bridge on January 10.

    The second-leg at the Emirates, and the Wembley final on February 25, will also involve video assistant referees”.

  25. HenryB says:

    Thanx, Jonny.

    VAR has additionally been used extensively in the Spanish, German and French leagues, and is due in the EPL next year. [Errors and omissions excepted — in other words …. I could be wrong!]

  26. HenryB says:

    C,

    Football management can be brutal — but AW deserves a bit of leeway — but he really should have gone 2 or 3 years ago, and become an Arsenal director.

    Denis B would be a great addition to our coaching staff, but with a management change around the corner, I cannot see that happening.

    Off topic : I have been watching a simply brilliant German TV series called Babylon Berlin with English sub-titles for those not familiar with the language. It is set in Berlin just before the rise of the Nazis, and is a mixture of Al Capone and political upheaval — in other words sex, drugs, corruption and gang warfare and is better than Game of Thrones.

    I think it is available on Netflix — do you get the series in the US? If you do — watch it!
    The female lead Liv Fries is ….. fantastic in it ….. but the whole cast are superb.

    [No … I do not have any connection with it — but ……. wow. And the music is fabulous — I’m going to buy the album. 😀

  27. Bill says:

    matt.

    Interesting post and thanks for your input. Former players certainly have more insight regarding the mindset of current players. Neither Sanchez or Ozil has been very productive this season and if they are both hoping for a move in January and if they stay they might both mentally shut down in the second half of the season. The last thing either would want is a significant injury in March or April. Its a significant concern and in retrospect Andy, Cbob and HenryB and a couple other regulars who campaigned for selling both players last summer were probably a lot smarter then I was in this case.

  28. HenryB says:

    For what it is worth — as a fan, and a despised accountant, by some, — I think the non-sale of Mesut and Alexis last summer is inexplicable — £100m down the drain.

    That, actually, is not a dig at Arsene, as the owners must take responsibility for all managers under their control, and that decision, not to sell, lacks financial and commercial credibility — which they will feel is only ‘balanced’ by cuts in the transfer budget, in the future. Oh, my!

    Me no like!

  29. Bill says:

    I didn’t expect much from Özil this season but there not really any rumors for potential buyers so I am not sure where we could have sold him. In retrospect we clearly should have sold Alexis but I have to admit I thought he would still be an impact player for us but I missed the mark on that one.

  30. C says:

    HenryB,

    Football management is a brutal business and because of that I underestand why some would give Arsene leeway but like you, I think he should have gone.

    Bergkamp would be a really good addition even with the managerial change around the corner simply because he understands the culture and the club.

    Unfortunately I don’t get it here in the US but I will find a way to check it out.

  31. HenryB says:

    Bill,

    Manure, Barca, PSG in for Mesut?

    At circa £15m – £20m he is a steal for some club.

  32. HenryB says:

    Hi, C,

    I too would be happy with DB, but new managers tend to want their own coaching staff, so it would not be a good time to appoint him.

    You can get a flavour of BB on YouTube — sorry if I sound like a gobsmacked fan — and believe me that is unusual, but it is so graphic, so ‘real’, altho the sex is a bit near the knuckle. 😀

  33. C says:

    Ozil has 3 goals and 5 assists in the PL this season in 15 appearances(13 starts 2 sub) which means he has accounted for 8 goals in 15 appearances.

    Sanchez has contributed 4 goals and 3 assists accounting for 7 goals total.

    Now, to say that Ozil hasn’t been effective means you haven’t been watching. We have had something silly like 60 shots on goal in the last 2-3 PL matches with many shots on target all from Ozil creating chances. The question is would he be viewed differently if the team had scored more goals in the last couple of matches and say he was at maybe 8 or 9 assists for the season?

  34. C says:

    HenryB,

    Yea, if you put it that way it makes sense. The other thing though is that I hope the new man embraces ex-players and supporters unlike we see currently.

    You do sound like a bit of a gobsmacked fan but having a read about it I could most certainly see why . I will hunt and find it

  35. Jonny says:

    I should have been clear, I meant it was a first for top-flight football here.

  36. Damon says:

    Bergkamp isn’t coming here. Not now anyway

    It’s a year too early with Arsene’s contract and I still think the flying thing is too much of a step for him. Especially if we’re in the Europa league regularly with some further afield games to handle. Trains/chauffeurs to Poland/Turkey/Russia/Ukraine with two days either side of a midweek fixture for league games just isn’t managable on a long term plan for him or the club. Warsaw is nearly 30 hours in a motor. The Ukraine is for ther And I think he knows that isn’t workable

  37. Damon says:

    Jonny:
    Well, this is a first…

    “The Carabao Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Arsenal will involve the use of video assistant referees.

    The London rivals will meet in the semi-finals of the competition next month.

    Arsenal saw off West Ham on Tuesday night before a late Alvaro Morata strike ensured victory for Chelsea over Bournemouth.

    The EFL have confirmed VAR will be used for the first time in the competition when Arsenal travel to Stamford Bridge on January 10.

    The second-leg at the Emirates, and the Wembley final on February 25, will also involve video assistant referees”.

    Can you elaborate or site the source please?

    No idea what this means to the in-game running of things?

    “The Carabao Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Arsenal will involve the use of video assistant referees.

  38. Ras says:

    C,

    I think the playing of AMN in this position for the last 3 PL matches is AW deploying a strategy to deal with Salah?

    We will see. On another note If I were in charge I’d sign Nzoni the 1st day of the ouverture of the transfer window. Ah las I dream.

  39. Bill says:

    C:
    Ozil has 3 goals and 5 assists in the PL this season in 15 appearances(13 starts 2 sub)which means he has accounted for 8 goals in 15 appearances.

    Sanchez has contributed 4 goals and 3 assists accounting for 7 goals total.

    Now, to say that Ozil hasn’t been effective means you haven’t been watching. We have had something silly like 60 shots on goal in the last 2-3 PL matches with many shots on target all from Ozil creating chances. The question is would he be viewed differently if the team had scored more goals in the last couple of matches and say he was at maybe 8 or 9 assists for the season?

    You have watched the same games that I and how many of the shots that we are creating have a realistic chance of being turned into a goal? Its not just me. With a few exceptions other then the ManU game most of us not named C have been struck by how slow we look and we don’t look like much of a threat to score. I suspect there are very few people who think Alexis or Ozil have played anywhere close to expectations.

  40. Bill says:

    C

    We need a lot more production then a goal or assist every other game from our top 2 players. If you are happy with that then you are setting the bar very low.

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