Monday, 10 August 2015

Fundemental flaws or a bad day at the office?

Morning all,

Due to the inconceivable amount of vitriol being spouted from the mouths (or keyboards) of many "fans" yesterday, I felt the need to post, what I hope to be a slightly more rational response to yesterday. I completely get, that as fans, we have the right to make our opinions heard but some of the insanity that has been uttered in the last day is perplexing, even in this new world of over reaction.

As I mentioned yesterday, there was a sense of hope that hasn't been quite so prevalent in years gone by; perhaps that is why the reaction was quite so passionate (trying to put a favourable spin on things). But does yesterday's performance indicate fundamental flaws that need to be addressed immediately or was yesterday just a bad performance, which every team is capable of from time to time?

I would tend to go with the latter but the argument of fundamental flaws must be addressed if we are to avoid bad days, for I strongly believe insufficiencies within our game make us susceptible to this kind of performance. In short, regardless of personnel, there are flaws we need to iron out to ensure that this kind of result/performance does not happen so frequently.

This is something that keeps returning to the debating table so must certainly be addressed; defending set-pieces. Yes the decision made by Petr Cech was poor (to be fair if it was Szczesny or Ospina that made that call, the pitchforks, carving knifes and whatever other medium of torture immediately available would be well and truly out and brandished) but surely the fault was in the high defensive line as opposed to a poor decision to somehow save the situation. It looked bad and was certainly not the start he wanted. If he had stayed put, they would have still had a open header, one which they would most likely score. Would we then chastise Cech for not trying to come out or would we instead vent out anger towards the defence? It was a mistake, but certainly not just from him. Wenger perhaps summed it up best:

It was a collective one. I think there are many things to say about that. I knew that if the delivery was good, we would be in trouble before the free-kick was taken. The concentration and the organisation was not perfect. Positionally we were too far from our goal and gave them too much distance to run into. We killed ourselves.
Similarly with the second goal we can bemoan a Coquelin slip, the failure of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who otherwise had a fairly decent game, to clear ball effectively and chose to dribble it out basically assisting the West Ham player. Yes in the end, you would hope Cech may have done better, but there were, in both cases, a catalogue of errors in the build up.

Whilst I understand dismay at some of the decision making by Cech, to suggest he is a mole sent by Mourinho is pretty absurd even by some of the standards set by modern day twitter users. Though some of these comments are meant to be witty and some did mean it as a joke, others didn't, and they are completely moronic. That is all.

The wink was probably ill advised, but some of the responses to this are beyond comprehension.

Work needs to be done on the training ground to avoid these mistakes. They just shouldn't happen. There are no excuses. We were apparently well prepared. Confidence was high  by all accounts. This was the year we were ready to challenge. No World Cup hangovers. No more excuses. Every player needs to stand up and be counted. This is our time. I still believe this group of players can achieve. They have shown enough in the past to confirm that. But they have also showed enough in the past to suggest these shambolic performances are within the core of their being and can surface from time to time.

Onwards and upwards.


Sunday, 9 August 2015

New season: Arsenal vs West Ham Preview & Team News

Afternoon all,

A new season is upon us. Whilst the appetite is whetted slightly after yesterday, the real excitement starts today.

There is something special about the first game of the season that is difficult to quantify. A sense of hope, for all fans, no matter the club that they choose to align themselves with. The butterflies in that begin to take flight beneath the belly are shared by all fans, young and old.

Today though, I feel a sense of hope and nervousness perhaps unsurpassed in terms of intensity. I genuinely believe we are on the brink of something special. Although I am ever the optimist, I sense this feeling if far more prevalent in fans then it has been in recent years.

We have a squad which, barring one area (anyone hazard a guess?!), is full of options, all being of the highest caliber. We have some of the most exciting and pacey players in the league and like many others feel this is the year that the supremely talented Oxlade-Chamberlain is really going to push on. It seems Wenger shares this belief:

We have to develop our collective game. I think we have to depend less on one guy who comes in and then scores all the goals, and continue to develop our players and the collective aspect.
I don’t see why a guy like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain should not aim to score 10 or more goals. Alexis can score goals and Ozil has to fix himself a target of at least 10. Five for a guy who plays behind a striker, you want more goals from him. We can share that a bit.

So whilst rumblings of a potential Benzema deal continue to permeate all forms of social media, the Boss expects that we have enough within the squad to challenge as it is.

I believe we need a fast start, one which this group of players is capable of. We cannot take anything for granted and I expect Coquelin to be vital as will most of the team. The addition of Cech adds both quality but huge experience and mental strength as well. The young players have an additional years experience and improvement.

We should be optimistic.

Team news:

Sanchez remains a doubt given his recent return from holidays following Chile's Copa America victory. But even this isn't certain. Sanchez is a unique beast, one that defies the laws of physics and as such may make the bench as he returned in phenomenal condition. Wilshere has had another unfortunate injury and will be sidelined for a number of weeks.The team to start will be:

Full team: Cech, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Cazorla, Giroud
Subs: Ospina, Gibbs, Gabriel, Chambers, Arteta, Walcott, Alexis

Come on Arsenal!