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Written by Mean Lean on Tuesday, 03 April 2012 13:50


Happy Tuesday to you, well it would be a happy Tuesday if we had done the business over the weekend. Unfortunately for us we didn't and to make matters worse, the tail spinning lot down the lane picked themselves up and got back to winning ways with a 3-1 victory at home to Swansea. There I was pre match handing us three points and banking on the Swans nicking a 1-1 at Tottenham to increase the gap, planning ahead sucks big time.

It was only recently that Robin van Persie said how the team need to do what they are doing over almost a full season and then we trip over carelessly left untied laces.

Arsene pretty much admitted to a hint of complacency creeping into our game and I did say that I thought it was more to do with how we moved the ball rather than the effort we put into the game but perhaps the complacency issue is also about our passing of the ball rather than the fight in our stomachs.

Given that we do not have midweek matches for the most part and the squad know what has been demanded of them to win games, it is quite frustrating to have to look back at the game and see the team fail to increase the gears when it was needed.

I do wonder at how much the pitch has to play in our game. We saw it at Milan and then Sunderland, both pitches were awful and our performances were equally as bad then when we got to the lush Emirates turf against Tottenham, AC Milan etc then we all witness a far greater team performance.

The pitch at Loftus road was not very good and our players were slipping here, there and everywhere. It reminded me of the Barcelona players slipping all over the place at Milan. Is this extra watering of the pitch a tactical ploy from teams to stop passing teams?

So how do you counter this issue? I listened to a few comments on last nights fans forum and read a few comments about how we should play Chamakh and go more direct to avoid the pitch but isn't that just playing the oppositions game?

Would Barcelona expect to start pumping balls into the box if they were playing on a poor surface? I am sure they wouldn't because that is not how they play the game. It is different for Barcelona because Spanish teams in general are passing football teams. Even the relegation threatened teams are more Swansea than Stoke City and in the Premier League this is an issue for Arsene and the players to have to overcome.

I cannot imagine Stoke City saying 'we are at Arsenal and they have a pitch that we are not used to so lets adjust our game and match their passing game' it doesn't really work the other way round.

We have to find ways of scoring goals when our passing game has been slowed down because at present, if you put the breaks on this Arsenal team then our danger is almost halved.

Like I said in the post QPR article, the inclusion of players like Abou Diaby and Jack Wilshere would make a big difference on poor pitches because they do not rely on solely their passing range, Players who can pick the ball up and beat two players with a dribble can be the difference between scoring 1 and scoring three goals which is another reason why Barcelona can overcome poorer pitches because Messi is the best dribbler in world football, perhaps even ever.

This pitch issue will not be a problem on Sunday afternoon when Manchester City come to town and for once they have to come and have a go. Snatching a dull 0-0 will not be of any use to Mancini and that could suit us, although I still see them attempting to try and contain us for the first part of the game.

It should be a very good game of football and a great chance to wipe away the pain of Loftus road and give us a much needed kick start for the remaining games of the season.

In other news, Rennes midfielder Yann M'Vila has joined in the Eden Hazard style of self promotion, well ok not as bad but he has publicly been flickering his eyes in the direction of Europe's top clubs, yep he has no interest in joining Tottenham.

He has said that he wants to go where the fun is. According to respected French journalist Julien Laurens the players priority is Arsenal. I must say, I am not sure about this one. Not the player as such, because I know next to nothing about him. I am not sure that we need another body in that area of the pitch.

I would go into detail but this new blog pretty much sums it all up as far as I see it. M’Vila in and at least 2 out – Be careful what you wish for!

Basically I have a man crush on Francis Coquelin and no man, woman or child should stop Franny Coq from doing his midfield thing. Some may disagree with me and this is fine, we all have our opinions but I should let you know that I am right. *ahem*

Then there was the tale of the two strikers. Robin van Persie has spoken about his change of role since the departure of Emmanuel Adebayor. I remember the cries of van Persie being played out of position because he is never a central striker. When the Dutchman failed to score in his first few games in his new role, there were cries of Arsene not know what he is doing. But as long as we forget it then it just did not happen. Hindsight management is a bloody doddle.

Our other striker Marouane Chamakh was pictured in West London holding a Shisha pipe and it has meant that the words 'outraged', 'shocker' and 'furious' can be thrown around especially from those who are not to keen on having him at that club.

To be honest, I give as much of a sh*t as the contents in the following brackets [] thanks to @Bossielny for the line that did make me chuckle. Given the fact that he doesn't get much in the way of minutes, smoke in his lungs cannot really affect his performance right now. I am sure the club will act in the appropriate way but like I said, I don't really care.

There are apparent rumours that Chamakh has vowed to stay on and fight for his place in the squad. I don't know how accurate those quotes are and when they were taken but I would be surprised if he was to be a part of the squad next season especially with the likely signing of one Lukas Podolski.

A player at his age and experience needs regular games and hopefully that will never happen for Arsenal, not because I do not rate Chamakh but because I want Robin van Persie fit and at the club for the foreseeable future.

Stick Chamakh in a decent team, give him decent service, preferably from wide and you'll get a 1 in 2.5/3/4 striker who will chase defenders all day, hold the ball up, score headers and fall over a little easily and give you free kicks. A little like the Chamakh who produced what he did when he first joined the club in what was (surprise surprise) his only run in the Arsenal team. But if you say 'Hey Marouane! here is the deal, I know you haven't played for 4 and a half weeks but I am going to throw you on with five minutes to go at the end of the Manchester United game and I want a quick two goals. Ok?'

No wonder the poor chap cannot wait to smoke a Shisha pipe. Hell, I would.

Right-t-o, that is about that for now.

Back tomorrow.

Comments (9)

  • Chandler  - Nice read and quick ?
    Do you think it is possible we have a Bendy issue come summer?
  • MeanLean
    The thing with Mr Bendtner is that although he is doing well now, he would be coming back to the same reason why he left in the first place.

    1) A man who scores when he wants
    2) A system that allows for only one player who scores when he likes
    3) A Position out wide which he does not want and one that will hopefully be filled with a Podolski sized man
    4) Erm.. He likes smashing north western cars which we do not have in London.

    I expect Sir Niklas of Bendtner to find a new club come the summer months and good luck to him (as long it is not the Spuds)
  • Zama
    I always had a bad feeling about the QPR game, with c*nts like Hughes & Barton around, I was very apprehensive. It was a disjointed performance with some sloppy play. Anyhoo moving on.. we got a big one coming up. Before the start of the 7 match run I'd said to myself I dont care where Sp*rs finish as long as we finish in the CL places & it still holds true.

    As far as Chamakh & his hookah smoking ways are concerned, he's just freshened up memories of my youth where inhaling smoke from homemade water filtration devices with less than kosher "stuff" burning in the pot was something you looked forward to at parties & such. Ahh... Peace bro
  • Anonymous
    A very analytical analysis,the team need to really come back and let us know they are still very serious abt finishing in the CL spot,if we the pitch was poor at QPR,thank Gos they have the opportunity of playing in our luxury pitch.and abt the Morocco smoking i think he his just trying to keep him self busy since his not thing i keep wondering is that can't we ever put that bastard(baton) of a guy to shame, he keep wining oner us.PLS my beloved Gunners try and put a tittle amile to our faces on sunday
    We can't blame the pitch for our shortcomings
    These are professional football players, and ours are some of the most technically gifted in the league so theres no excuses not being able to control a ball on any surface that cloggers like Joey Barton can.

    It's a lack of desire in the 'small easy win games' that costs us,
    Our fans got cocky after 7 unbeaten, the players get cocky and the rest is history.

    Do we never learn!
  • heyjude  - It's All About The Coq
    Totally agree about Coquelin......except for the man crush bit! He is an immensely talented player with both speed & stamina, capable of playing well in a variety of positions. Given our propensity for injuries, to have a player of his calibre gives our squad much needed strength in depth. Having watched him ever since his impressive debut against Barnet a few seasons ago I believe he has that elusive quality best described as the Cesc or Jack factor. He has football-intelligence & an overwhelming desire to WIN. (As in "I can not bear to lose" as opposed to "I would like to win"). He is still young & has a lot to learn, but he has vision & determination, I am excited by his potential...
  • MeanLean
    Hey heyjude (get it? get it?...oh!)

    Firstly nice to see you around these parts. Secondly I agree with your every word. I also sat up in my seat a little higher when I first saw him snapping into tackles at Barnet all those years ago. He is a winner and a winner who looks very sure of himself without any arrogance.

    I cannot help but feel that Francis Coquelin will be big if given the chance to learn his trade.
  • IndiGunner  - Mvila
    ML indeed we have so many good Holding midfielders i doubt if Wenger would spend reported 17Mil on this player unless he is planning to offload a few which i doubt or this player is Super Talent.
    It may be possible that we might replace Diaby for him as he was available for sale last summer..
    However i would still like us to go for Jan Vetroghen as he looks more versatile and cheaper.
    I also see us getting more Versatile Wingers or AMF than holding ones...
    My EPL 25 team would be

    Ryo/Geri JW/MA8/TR7/AR16 Aoc/Wallcot
    Song Coq
    Gibbo/Santos TV/Kons/Per/Vetro/JD Sagna/Carl


    I would like to see Joel/Eisfeld/Fringpong/Chuks/Afobe/Miguel/Ozyakup being loaned to a EPL side...
    I don’t think Bartley/Lansbury would make a cut and will be sold as well! I am sure this is a last year for JD with us!
  • 'desi'gner gooner  - First eleven and the rest.....
    Great Stuff ML but that Man Crush thing sounded a bit iffy.......!!
    I am absolutely in the - trust Le Coq boat. I completely agree that we have someone special on our hands here and even though M'Villa might be good I would not go for that signing if it is detrimental to our youngsters like Coquelin and Ramsey.

    Also I believe next season - hoping that our midfield players are fit for a longer duration of time - we should be able to see more voluntary rotation rather than by default due to injury. During the initial stages of this season - we saw Arsene regularly play the same eleven for as many games as possible and rightly so because of the tumultuous start to the season and the injuries to Wilshere and Diaby. Also the youngsters in AOC and Ryo could not be utilized right away without acclimatizing to the league. But next season we should have (injury Gods...I hope you are smiling on us then) most of them available and therefore have better rotation - enabling us to keep players fresh for marquee games as well as have players in the squad who get more game time and thereby are more content about their position in the squad. We have seen a burn out factor with players like Ramsey who played a lot of games in the begining of the season when Rosicky had not yet found his mojo back.....It would also give us more flexibility in terms of tactics - for ex. we could throw in someone who can dribble and run past players like Diaby when teams are hell bent on sitting back against us on pitches that have been immaculately dug up and watered with a zillion gallons just prior to kick off....or throw in a Frimpong when we are leading teams 3-0 with 20 minutes to go....
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