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Post by Chris Chan on Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:46 am

i thought i'd do this in the midst of a good run rather than when everyone is depressed as hopefully we can all be a bit more objective.

we are undoubtedly weaker than last year as losing one of the world's premier centre midfielders will do that. However we have some of the most exciting talent in the world as well in wilshere, the ox, rambo, szczesny etc. take out the machester sides and around us you have the scum and the toon having the season of their lives, the chavs in alarming decline and pool in a fairly stagnant state of mediocrity.

Personally I think we are a side trying to find it's identity. We built a side around cesc and he is now the past, we have changed our game without any real idea of where we are heading. Hugely inconsistent due to injuries/over reliance on youth and lacking some real quality which would propel us into the highest echelon of Europe again. We have the best striker in Europe, but he needs support from somewhere. IF we can keep the right elements of the squad together, sign the quality to back up RVP and ditch some more of the salary drains, we could be on the cusp of something special.

The problem is that we have heard it all before with Arsenal, we lose RVP in the summer and it all changes. Just interested on other's views

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Post by Joey Schwab on Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:19 am

I really think we're only a few players away from having a very, very good squad. Our spine is great when fit (Sczc, TV, Kos, Sagna, Jack, RVP) and we have some other players who, well not world class, are more than adequate. In that group I would put Gervinho, Song, Gibbs, Mert, Ramsey, Arteta, and Theo (sometimes).

I haven't included our young talent in that, which we clearly have a plethora of, but I think he likes of Chambo, Miyachi, Coquelin, all have the potential to be big players for us in the next couple years and can only get better. Add to that players like Yennaris, Miquel, Bartley, etc. and we have a lot of options coming up that I think will play a role in the first team.

For me we need to upgrade our striking options and our midfield, and that's really it from a personnel perspective. I do like Arteta but I think he needs to be more of a squad player than a starter. A player like Hazard or Goetze is what we need to be looking at to complement Jack and Song in midfield.

I think our biggest issue is not personnel or ability, but organization. If we bring in a Keown or Adams to help sort out the defense (not just in the back 5, but the way we defend as a team, all over the park) we will be in very good shape.
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Post by Vanig Bostanian on Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:18 am

At the back we have good players, we just need to work on organization and more solidity. Our wingers need to score more and our midfield has to create more. Song no matter how sexy his assists are, is not a creative midfielder and I'd rather have him having 0 assists all season given he protects our back four. I'd like someone in the Cesc mould there in midfield.
I really like the look of our youngsters. Surprisingly, out of the bunch, Coquelin has impressed me the most, The Ox was the only positive thing in the squad in January but he hasn't been all that great since the first Sunderland game (which might be a blessing in disguise to reduce the hype around him), Frimpong, Miquel, Yennaris all have lots of potential and Ryo is doing well at Botlon. Let's not forget that our senior players: Ramsey, Jack, Theo, and Wojciech are all 22 or younger as well. We have good players, good youngsters, we just need a quality creative midfielder and a backup to our awesome captain and we'll be fine.
I must say that we have been shit at times, but we certainly are a lot better than Liverpool and Chelsea. Oh my, what a shit game Chelsea's game was today. I would have rather watched some Lebanese game that I haven't watched in 15 years (enjoyed the score though). The thing is, for all the money they spent in the last 18 months or so, they are much worse than us. Hopefully Tottenham bottle it and despite what has been not such a great season, we end the season third. If we finish fourth I won't complain though. And we MUST keep van Persie. He is irreplaceable. For all the skills in the world, Suarez is much much much much less of a player than van Persie.

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Post by Zaid Derweesh on Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:43 am

I want to make one comment right now about consistency. This year we are both consistent and inconsistent. The inconsistency has been talked about; but if you look at the season so far, there has been four phases:
- Our awful, awful start
- The excellent run we went on until the New Year. The play wasn't exactly pretty, but we were grinding out results.
- The poor run we went on in January and the Cups in Feb
- The most recent good run of form which includes excellent home wins against B'burn and Spurs, and grinding out wins in tough away venues like Anfield and Sunderland.

Apart from those 2 runs of poor form, we've been remarkably consistent in getting results amidst injury problems, a lack of technical excellence, and a media shitstorm. And, if injuries aren't too bad, the morale in the squad and players returning suggests we can continue this current run.

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Post by Chris Chan on Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:08 am

Zaid Derweesh wrote:I want to make one comment right now about consistency. This year we are both consistent and inconsistent. The inconsistency has been talked about; but if you look at the season so far, there has been four phases:
- Our awful, awful start
- The excellent run we went on until the New Year. The play wasn't exactly pretty, but we were grinding out results.
- The poor run we went on in January and the Cups in Feb
- The most recent good run of form which includes excellent home wins against B'burn and Spurs, and grinding out wins in tough away venues like Anfield and Sunderland.

Apart from those 2 runs of poor form, we've been remarkably consistent in getting results amidst injury problems, a lack of technical excellence, and a media shitstorm. And, if injuries aren't too bad, the morale in the squad and players returning suggests we can continue this current run.

you do realise you have just defined inconsistency Razz

it is easy to compare ourselves to teams in decline to make us look better, but it will not help us progress. we need to look at city, utd and to an extent the spuds and aspire to get to that level. A few quality signing and keeping captain van tastic and we arent that far away

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Post by Zaid Derweesh on Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:12 am

Chris Chan wrote:
Zaid Derweesh wrote:I want to make one comment right now about consistency. This year we are both consistent and inconsistent. The inconsistency has been talked about; but if you look at the season so far, there has been four phases:
- Our awful, awful start
- The excellent run we went on until the New Year. The play wasn't exactly pretty, but we were grinding out results.
- The poor run we went on in January and the Cups in Feb
- The most recent good run of form which includes excellent home wins against B'burn and Spurs, and grinding out wins in tough away venues like Anfield and Sunderland.

Apart from those 2 runs of poor form, we've been remarkably consistent in getting results amidst injury problems, a lack of technical excellence, and a media shitstorm. And, if injuries aren't too bad, the morale in the squad and players returning suggests we can continue this current run.

you do realise you have just defined inconsistency Razz

it is easy to compare ourselves to teams in decline to make us look better, but it will not help us progress. we need to look at city, utd and to an extent the spuds and aspire to get to that level. A few quality signing and keeping captain van tastic and we arent that far away

No actually, I believe I have defined a level of consistency - in patches - that has often been missing from our game. You can call it inconsistency if you take the season as a whole, but in the past it has often been the case that we follow up a big win with a terrible loss. There's been less of that this season, which is my point: we've had runs of results rather than individual results.

I agree with your second sentence though.

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Post by Chris Chan on Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:28 am

lmao consistency in patches = inconsistency but i know where you are coming from in that you wouldnt have the faith in this team to win away at anfield and then get a result against newcastle at home. At the moment though I think the entire league is pretty inconsistent

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Post by Jonathan Prendergast on Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:38 pm

Good point Zaid, and I agree, we have had consistent more so than previous seasons, in that way we have been able to achieve excellent results 2, 3 or 4 games in a row, sometimes in adversity.

I think this comes from the squad being more balanced (except for Van Persie).
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Post by Christopher Flanagan on Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:36 pm

I think we have a very good squad and I think we will be there or thereabouts for the title next year IF we keep can Persie. I don't think we actually will win the league next year, but I really believe we will be not for from the top, maybe 5-8 points, assuming we keep the core of our current squad together.

We are still missing some important components. We all know what they are so I won't labour upon them. But what we do have is an excellent mix of youth, experience, talent and graft in the squad. The best striker in the world, the best young keeper, and two or three of the most talented British youngsters I've ever seen. These are all Very Good Things.

I have my suspicions about whether our current leadership will actually address the areas we need to improve (defensive organisation, a big signing) but I live in hope.

I'll say something, though, and that is that a poor squad would not have been able to cope with the losses of Nasri, Fabregas and effectively Wilshere and Diaby all at once and still be in and around the CL places. We need to build on the superlative talents we actually do have now. But how long have we been saying that?
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Post by ralph avedikian on Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:12 am

Steve Bould as assistant should fix our defensive organization. Add to that Podolski, Hazard/Goetze and sell the likes of Squillaci, Almunia, Arshavin, Chamakh, Fabianski etc.. and replace them by our youth players such as Ryo, Bartley, Afobe and we're good.

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Post by Mario on Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:20 am

Wenger and Pat Rice were defenders in their careers (Rice a very good one) and we still have problems at the back, so I think we may be expecting too much for Steve Bould to come in and suddenly fix organise our defence.

And I know it's a different kind of world in the Youth League where Bould currently works but our under 18's have conceded 8 in their last 2 games! It will take hard work from everyone and ultimately it will come from Wenger. He has the final say about anything on the training ground.

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Post by John Foxall on Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:40 am

Mario Leontiou wrote:Wenger and Pat Rice were defenders in their careers (Rice a very good one) and we still have problems at the back, so I think we may be expecting too much for Steve Bould to come in and suddenly fix organise our defence.

And I know it's a different kind of world in the Youth League where Bould currently works but our under 18's have conceded 8 in their last 2 games! It will take hard work from everyone and ultimately it will come from Wenger. He has the final say about anything on the training ground.

I think we need to focus on our work without the ball. Same thing for several years. I get the impression that this 4-3-3 also gives our opponents ideal opportunities to counter-attack when we lose the ball. We see the occasional match where we really purposefully try to get the ball back but then we also have limp games where people question the players' drive etc. I don't doubt their motivation, for me it's individually but as a collective that we could improve. The fact that Wenger and Rice were defenders is irrelevent imo, it doesn't convince me for a second that we are doing all we can to improve this aspect of the game.

We need more adaptability generally. One size fits all tactics is a bad idea. That first half yesterday was shocking at Anfield, just like when Arshavin hit the winner in 09/10. There is nothing wrong with playing a little more compactly at one of the hardest away grounds in the league. That kind of first-half performance would have seen us go in 3-0 down at Old Trafford. I understand that 4-3-3 and a high defensive line is our default but starting games differently isn't a bad idea, not just making changes in the second half. I know the received wisdom is that 4-4-2 is no longer a viable option but Europe aside, we don't see enough of it in the league to judge any more.

Overall, I think our squad is fine. Competing for the league next year is only a possibility is we keep all the players we want to keep and build upon that core. While we offer stupidly high wages for dross squad players we will replace dross with dross. That policy is so daft it's just not true.

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Post by Hisham El Mawan on Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:47 am

We have a good team. The problem is, there aren't many winners on the team. And by winners, I mean players with that "I want to win all the time" mentality. We only have a handful: van Persie, Sagna, Szczesny, and perhaps Oxlade-Chamberlain (As he gets older, this will hopefully become more visible). Wenger has to change this if we are to win a trophy, either by making these players winners or by simply buying winners. Knowing Wenger, he'll probably go with the latter option most of the time. As it stands, I believe we're one or two world class players short of lifting a trophy. Which leads to my shopping list of Podolski, Hazard, and Martin. We also need to get rid of a few players: Arshavin, Chamakh, Denilson, Bendtner, Squillaci, and Almunia. If we do all that this summer, I believe we'll be as good as Manchester City.

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Post by Evan Mullins on Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:07 am

I don't think you can expect us to have as good a team as Man City. Its just unrealistic. We can however have a starting 11 as good as City. And I think were just a world class playmaker away from that.
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Post by Justin Chew on Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:16 am

Evan Mullins wrote:I don't think you can expect us to have as good a team as Man City. Its just unrealistic. We can however have a starting 11 as good as City. And I think were just a world class playmaker away from that.
Buy a world class DM and groom Song to be our playmaker. He seems to like going forward bar shooting has contributed to our attacks a lot this season.

I jest of course

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Post by Will.sheng on Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:53 am

We have a very very good team. If Arsene had sense and bought those players and sold the others well before the season started, we'd be well in the title race. A lot of people here don't really rate Song, but I put him right up there of importance alongside rvp and szcesney. I also dont agree that song should stay back and in his DM position, if he sees a chance to get forward like he has successfully many times this season, i see nothing wrong with that, especially when our proper attackers like Walcott or Ramsey have one of their many braindead days.

Our attacking midfield has been a force for many years, but that has been our weakest department this season. If we can sort that out, plus build up our squad a bit more, we will be proper going for it next season.

I also agree that that arent enough 'winners' in the team, but instead have players who just want to prove their worth rather than fight for the team.

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Post by Nick Evans on Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:55 am

In my opinion we should not have been playing 4-3-3 this season. This is a formation that was centered around Cesc which was fair enough, and I can see it eventually being built around Jack in the same way but this season we have been outclassed and overran at times, particularly when our morale has gone or our sickening injury list (which certainly doesn't help!) has destroyed the little experience we do have.

I don't like the idea of sticking with the 4-3-3 through sheer bloody-mindedness and plugging generic gaps as opposed to taking the player more into consideration. Well, that is what it appears like anyway. For example Bendtner last year was wasted on the right wing in a 4-3-3 and I don't blame him for wanting to go elsewhere (not that I'm saying he's good enough for Arsenal though but he'd have scored more goals playing as a CF alongside RVP in my opinion).

I appreciate that maybe 4-4-2 is a little outdated to be playing on a regular basis (and I actually quite like 4-3-3, I just don't think its right for us) but there shouldn't be any reason to not change formation prior to or during a game.

Squadwise I believe we have a great nucleaus of players from which to build upon but the constant question of retaining them will always remain. Its obvious who needs to move on but stupid wages will always be a factor in player's reluctance to leave (Almunia!) and the board/manager's reluctance to spend.

Also I am terribly concerned about our injury list every season and whether theres anything that can be done to rectify this because our squad gets decimated on a constant basis. It's terribly frustrating to see Wenger make enforced changes as opposed to tactical ones because theres just no consistency on which to build on at times.

I love the idea of Bould (or even Adams!?) prowling the touchline putting the fear of god into our players at the back but I'm not 100% it would be effective. It would be awesome though, and they would be someone to really look up to. I have all the respect in the world for Pat Rice but I feel maybe he doesn't quite have the influence he had in the past.

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Post by Christopher Flanagan on Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:05 pm

How is 433 not suited to us? It puts all our best players in their best positions.

" I also dont agree that song should stay back and in his DM position, if he sees a chance to get forward like he has successfully many times this season, i see nothing wrong with that, especially when our proper attackers like Walcott or Ramsey have one of their many braindead days. "

What's wrong with that is that we have been terrible defensively at times this year because no-one is protecting the back 4. That's Song's fault.

He'll get credit for his assists this season because they capture the headlines but he's had a poor year. He needs to work much harder on many facets of his game.
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Post by Christopher Flanagan on Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:06 pm

Also, the idea that changing formation for this season, what with all the other changes we've had to deal with, would have made us better is just crazy bananas.
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Post by Jonathan Prendergast on Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:38 pm

Christopher Flanagan wrote:How is 433 not suited to us? It puts all our best players in their best positions.

" I also dont agree that song should stay back and in his DM position, if he sees a chance to get forward like he has successfully many times this season, i see nothing wrong with that, especially when our proper attackers like Walcott or Ramsey have one of their many braindead days. "

What's wrong with that is that we have been terrible defensively at times this year because no-one is protecting the back 4. That's Song's fault.

He'll get credit for his assists this season because they capture the headlines but he's had a poor year. He needs to work much harder on many facets of his game.

I disagree regarding Song, and I bet most of the players do too. I think he has been our second or third best player this season.

For 90% of goals, he is back there defending, from what I have seen. Suggesting, that he is back for an even higher percentage of attacks. Do you remember when Santos first started playing, and looked out of sorts defensively, and Song had to hold his hand? Or last season, being dominated by Barcelona, where Song was everywhere (defensively)? He defends when the team needs it.

When he brings the ball forward and passes, it is most commonly because the opposition have parked the bus, and covered all his other options.

When we get hit on the counter, it is more likely the fullbacks have been caught forward rather than Song.

Just because this season, he has provided quite a few key passes, is not enough information to conclude he is not covering the defence as he should.
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Post by Justin Chew on Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:46 pm

Wish song would shoot more tho, when he is in a nice position instead of looking for a pass.

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Post by Sami Rockfeller on Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:38 pm

Here are some of Song's stats in comparison to Cesc's this season. Surprisingly both of them have very similar numbers.
http://news.arseblog.com/2012/03/liverpool-1-2-arsenal-by-the-numbers/cesc-song/

And about Song's defensive performances this season, I feel he could do better. He is often seen losing possession within our own half and often leaves a gap in our midfield when he wanders forward. Not that I don't want him to make offensive runs but if he feels the need to go for it so often, we should move him into a slightly higher position and have someone else play DM.
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Post by Mike York on Tue Mar 06, 2012 12:31 am

Sami Rockfeller wrote:Not that I don't want him to make offensive runs but if he feels the need to go for it so often, we should move him into a slightly higher position and have someone else play DM.

I was just thinking earlier today of how solid a midfield with Song and Wilshere would be with M'Vila as a DM behind them.
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Post by Jason Morrison on Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:44 am

Mike York wrote:
Sami Rockfeller wrote:Not that I don't want him to make offensive runs but if he feels the need to go for it so often, we should move him into a slightly higher position and have someone else play DM.

I was just thinking earlier today of how solid a midfield with Song and Wilshere would be with M'Vila as a DM behind them.

Was thinking the exact same thing few days ago. Song would make a better CM between Defensive Mid and Attacking Mid since he can defend well and seems to be pretty good with through balls from deep for assists...
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Post by Will.sheng on Tue Mar 06, 2012 6:39 am

Sami Rockfeller wrote:Here are some of Song's stats in comparison to Cesc's this season. Surprisingly both of them have very similar numbers.
http://news.arseblog.com/2012/03/liverpool-1-2-arsenal-by-the-numbers/cesc-song/

And about Song's defensive performances this season, I feel he could do better. He is often seen losing possession within our own half and often leaves a gap in our midfield when he wanders forward. Not that I don't want him to make offensive runs but if he feels the need to go for it so often, we should move him into a slightly higher position and have someone else play DM.

Thats also the problem tho...who else can play DM as effectively as Song? he has made so much progress in such a short space time and owns that position. I wouldnt want him to be moved forward coz he is so effective at breaking up play and linking the attacks. If he attacks, shouldnt someone just ahead of him, ala Ramsey fall back a bit? I dont know, but i am all for the way Song plays. There are always gonna be gaps at the back, so there should also be players around to cover.

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