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My Vision

Written by Mean Lean on Monday, 12 November 2012 13:14


Time has run away from me this weekend so my start of the Fulham match review did not get finished. It is still floating around in limbo. I am usually the OCD type so even if my words will not be written then I will still have to finish writing something just so everything is in place on this website, organised and historical. Not this time, I am breaking free from it today and shall leave those unfinished words to float around in limbo. Why? well partly because some of it no longer relevant.

For me, I admit it was pretty scathing. I was pretty damn frustrated after the Fulham game. My finger was out pointing all over the place. Defensive failure, squad rotation, individual errors, the whole caboodle.

Today I have slowly put my finger back in my pocket and instead I have been thinking about how we are going to tidy up this mess that has been left by a number of people at various times. A mess that isn't as straight forward as we like to think it is.

As supporters we tend to look at our own failures or greatness in every game but I want to credit Fulham for a spirited and talented display at what is or at least currently used to be a difficult venue.

Bryan Ruiz and Dimitar Berbatov were the stand out creative players on the day and that says a lot about our current form when Fulham have the artistry in a game against us at home.

But I want to delve a little closer at what we are seeing on the pitch from our own group of players. I have spent the last few weeks frowning and scratching my head, the performances on the pitch at times have been shocking but nobody is going to  easily convince me that we do not have quality players and that is minus the players we have out through injury.

I had my eyes wide open against Liverpool and Manchester City, I know what they can do. I know what Cazorla is capable of, I know that Lukas Podolski can score goals. I know that Mikel Arteta does not give the ball away easily and I remember that Mertesacker surprised me at just how good he was at the Eastlands.

I've already spoken enough about the frustration of Wengerball at how painful it can be to watch an Arsene Wenger team that is turned off. So this is not a let us not worry, everything is fine article. Perhaps this is more of a 'Ahh maybe this is why everything is not so fine' article. At least this is how I see it today. It could change tomorrow, because well, this is what we do isn't it?

I have looked back at our season so far and I have noticed something that I haven't seen in a long time if not ever in my Arsenal supporting life. We are in the middle of November and this current Arsenal team has yet to hit a good run of form. This to me is strange and very unusual. Even last season when we were all over the place in terms of players going and coming we hit a run of form. A run of winning games where the team clicked.

This season we started the season clicking in new pieces into Wengerball that were adapting. Santi Cazorla whizzed from the very beginning. Lukas Podolski was also purring, Oliver Giroud needed to get the screwdriver out and tweak his game. Whoever was playing on the right of our attack kept breaking and part fixing themselves until now.

Many people have said that new players need time to gel, need time to adapt and I think this is still whisked away, often ignored. Hell, I have done the same at times. But I think Oliver Giroud is currently writing that on a big piece of paper and sticking it up in our faces.

We haven't had a collection of players on form at the same time. Cazorla was the best thing to set foot in English football whilst Oliver Giroud was the new (well old new) Chamakh. Today Cazorla is overrated and Giroud is not only a hunk of a man but super goal scoring genius.

In truth we have a group of players who are all trying to get to the same place. The place that Giroud is at currently and not where Thomas Vermaelen is.

I will sprinkle some lightly fried onions, tap some golden BBQ sauce on my virtual hat and munch it once time if this team does not click and go through a winning run at some point. A winning run that we are yet to see from this group yet. I will also eat the sponge version of that virtual hat for pudding if opinions of this squad are not changed again at some point during what is often forgotten as a long season.

While not a good enough reason to blame, I just wonder where this Arsenal team would have been in terms of confidence and results had we not had that international disruption. We were close to clicking, had strung a few results together and played well at West Ham. The disruption of an international week is where I point the finger at the manager, we need to do better from those situations. We cannot expect to play fluently all the time and we need to find ways of winning games when our fluency has gone.

It looks to me that the team currently think they are a bit sheeeet and after performances at Norwich, Shalke at home and the Fulham defensive shambles they would be correct to think that. A team playing with no confidence is a rubbish team no matter how good they are individually. A team playing with a high level of confidence can go to Manchester City and outplay the champions on their own pitch.

While I can understand the finger pointing and collective chuckling at Arsene Wenger suggesting that his group can still win the league, he knows more than most of us that his players need to play for something, need to think they are good enough. He needs to restore belief into his players otherwise it will be a longer season than it has proved so far.

I feel like I need to add this next part because if I don't eggs and tomatoes will be thrown my way.

Disclaimer: This is not to say that Arsene isn't at fault for anything, he is as culpable as anyone. This isn't to say that we have problems that need addressing we do and this is not to defend anybody in particular.

So you can continue waving those sticks ready to beat someone. I know how we love a good old stick beating and I wouldn't want to stop you from doing that, I am only trying to understand this random Arsenal side which turn up with a different face each week.

I had many emotions during the Fulham game like we all did. It is easy to write down the full time emotion rather than any high you may have felt during any part of the game. Maybe it makes people feel a little silly when the end result or performance finished so negatively. Well here is one of my emotions before we scored our second goal of the game I think.

'We looked much sharper on the ball and are pressing off the ball. The movement of the players is good and we look hungry, Where has this Arsenal been over the last few weeks'

Or words to that effect. I would rather than type of display than the awful showing at Norwich.

There were positives from the Fulham game that are difficult to find now. The negatives were head scratchingly bad though. Why the team decided to stop fighting to win the ball back when they needed it most is beyond me. Why Ruiz was allowed so much bloody space to use the ball and why our defensive shape was all over the shop were just a few of many bang your fist on the table moments so put those eggs back in their boxes please.

But if you'll allow me to point out something that pleased me for just a second, if I may. I have bemoaned the broken Wengerball and cast envious glances at those teams who can play badly yet score from percentage football mixed in with passing football. Well did Oliver Giroud give us a glimpse of that on Saturday or what?

His timed run off his man and his powerful header saw us score from yet another corner kick? W to the F! Theo Walcott is all doing a David Beckham on us from corner kicks and Giroud is a modern day Alan Smith. In fact I read a comment comparing Giroud to a van Persie, Drogba mix and I like that. If he continues to improve and fulfil his potential then that could be a good thing for the evolution of Wengerball. His second half run and shot as well as his attempted lob at Stoke show that he is not just a big lumpy guy who can win headers but a good footballer also.

Lukas Podolski at long bloody last found himself in a goal scoring situation and guess what? He scored. Theo Walcott is finally putting his game together just like Flamini, Adebayor and van Persie before him... oh!

And this is where it gets all messy again. But hey, I will let you do that bit, I am trying to remain positive now. Carl Jenkinson has shown that the unthinkable is possible. You know that very tricky task of playing a league season and agreeing a contract at the same time.

Carl, I love you mate. 5 year contract, good lad. *big hugs*

Before I go, I would just like to wrap this whole load of waffle up. A summary of sorts. We are currently rubbish, but we have rubbish players who are in fact good/very good players who haven't been good together yet. We will have a run where everyone thinks we are the best thing since slice bread. Theo will finally be world class then leave and we will bring in a player who needs time to adjust. who will be deemed as crap until he gets good....... *echo and fade*

Back tomorrow.

Comments (19)

  • Nico  - mental
    You are desperate and mentally ill, your pathetic attempts at placing a plaster over a gapibng hole of managerial disaster is quite sad to read. Get Help now !!! Wenger = the new Brian Clough. :shock:
  • MeanLean
    Nico, perhaps just perhaps you are the one who needs to find help. I was talking about the team I wasn't talking about the manager. Seeing as I am an Arsenal supporter, I like to talk about the players on the pitch.

    You have not addressed any of my points whatsoever. Perhaps you have issues with reading. Not sure I can help you with that. Sorry.
  • Duke  - Bullshit
    Nico too the words out of my mouth. I want to add one more thing anyway. YOu
  • MeanLean
  • Anonymous
    Its quiten obviouse for me, the players are not good enough, yea they will get the odd result and even look like the bizz on occasion, many teams do, even qpr and the others at the bottom will indeed put in performances, their players leading one to believe to they are quality, but the truth is now here for everyone to see, from the AKB to the other extremes, this current arsenal team are low in quality, they have to be to manage the way we run the club, im not going to go through all the players below par, firstly its not their fault and secondly i havnt the time. The truth is now out there. Wenger is not that good , thats what the facts says, hes ok to good but not that good, theres a difference. Players are as good as they are, wenger picks them, and hes been picking poor quality for some time now while selling the best we have, you cannot argue so please dont try, this isnt personal this is the state of this once exciting football team. We need a new owner and a new manager, he has done all he can and there were times when he was the bizz but not any more, so goodbye arsen and thanks for all the fish
  • CB  - Well done.
    You are doing a great job occupying people that would probably be dangerous to others.

    That is, if their aggression, lack of reading and writing ability is anything to go by.

    It would be nice at some point to get someone prepared to argue with you on the points that you have raised. In the meantime, remmber you are keeping the streets safer.
  • Adams Number 6  - Optimism
    Personally I can't help feeling that the root-cause of our rubbish'ness is Vermaelen's captaincy, which is doubly annoying as I along with many others thought he was the natural choice. He's been pretty awful this season, yet because of the armband and also the fact that Santos has been horrific, he's become almost undroppable and his poor games are directly affecting results and indirectly affecting the team.
    Don't get me wrong, he's a quality footballer and will get back to his best. The only problem is that until he does Arsenal may not either !
  • richie
    @ML This article you wrote is strangely disjointed, whether you did it on purpose in which case genius might be attributed or it was a subconscious act is actually irrelevant, it’s exactly as our team has been playing. This article mirrors us perfectly. I’ve been watch Arsene’s football since before he arrived at Highbury, and I’m fast approaching 50 years of watching the Arse, but like you I can’t quite put my finger on what’s going wrong.

    At times when we are playing it looks like we are just on the verge, it’s all about to click and I’m hungry for the next game, but when it comes it’s not the same team that shows up. That there is something not quite right goes without saying but analysing what it is, is proving difficult. It’s been said it’s Stevie B’s influence, in that he’s been reminding players of their defensive duties and that’s got them playing with one eye on defending, thus playing without their usual freedom (playing with the breaks on). Which I would be prepared to accept if our defence was tight and we weren’t conceding school boy error type goals.

    Some people without much forethought IMHO are staying it’s because Arsene insists on playing players out of position. Sighting the Pod saying he wants to have a more central role, but I think that’s just lazy journo chat. Besides I think Arsene nailed that one firmly to the mast last press conference, when he said that the Pod has 101 caps for Germany and of that 101 caps, 101 times he’s played left! Before Cazorla arrived everyone thought we weren’t creative enough, but I think our crossroads arrived when Diaby got injured (can that really be possible)? Because with Abu and Arteta playing the holding role we looked strong apart from our new look forwards not having had sufficient prem adaptation time.

    Last game wasn’t actually something new, we concede from a set piece which has consistently been our problem. Followed by another concession from an uncontested cross and a free header. I wonder could it possibly be the zonal marking? (wherever have we heard that before)? The thing is we all thought Baldie Bouldie had tightened up our defence and many jumped the wagon and praised his input, obviously we were premature. Wouldn’t we all just love things to click into place this weekend! A victory and the heart of north London would be buzzing again.
  • MeanLean

    A disjointed article from myself isn't anything new mate. It certainly doesn't help that our performances are all over the shop right now. Since the international break we have been a side not creating chances but making silly mistakes now we are making even more mistakes but are finding our route to goal easier.

    I think the reasons for our inconsistency is based on a number of factors, not an easy fix. The club's continued transitional season doesn't help one bit and this for me is the main cause. All the rest of what is not right stems from that.

    How we are supposed to remain consistent when players are consistently changing is anybody's guess.

    I do think we will see much more from this team though, not as much as perhaps I was hoping for at the start perhaps but they have enough quality to go on a winning run once we sort ourselves out. But it needs to happen quickly otherwise the damage may be too much to repair.

    I think I have watched enough football to know how quickly things change. We were told that we would finish midtable at roughly this stage last season and in my opinion we have a better overall squad than last season. Replacing van Persie is the toughest task but if Giroud can continue doing what he did against Fulham then I have every confidence that we can stabilise. But stabilising isn't the issue is it? It is improving and building on what we have and that continues to be the biggest problem.
  • Dobromir
    Good article, thanks!
    You are right, the team still needs to develop their game together.
    Perhaps it will work perhaps not, but it's too early to tell.
    In the mean time they have my support.
    P.S. Please do not appologise for expressing your opinion and the disclaimer is not needed. For those of us that can use our brains,it's quite obvious what you are saying and you are more than entitled to it. For dumb sh*ts like Nico, Duke and few others like them trolling the Arsenal blogosphere all i can say is, f*ck right off c*nts! No one needs your miserable little minds stinking up the place.
  • Dax  - Wengerball
    Where Wenger can be criticized is in failing to replace Song. We all were hopeful Diaby would come good, but with his injury record Wenger should have been better prepared. The team has not played well since Diaby's departure. Playing Arteta out of position has affected everybody's confidence and it shows in the way we are playing.
    It seems that a common theme with recent Arsenal teams, lack of depth, has once again bitten us.
    The difference between recent Arsenal teams and those of other top contenders is the huge drop off in quality between our Starting Eleven and their Backups.
    Either Wenger has poor judgement relative to the probability of player injuries or he doesn't want to spend the money to upgrade his bench to a level to contend for trophies. Or, the team is meeting his objectives so why change anything.
  • AFC2002
    If Arsene goes we will be worse off because the replacement will not be on his "4th place is trophy" level. The problem lies with midfield. Without going back to our glory days and just a few years back we had fabregas, nasri, wilshere all creating chances. Now we have Cazorla. Wilshere is still recovering and the attacking instinct has been erased from Arteta's arsenal. No pun intended. We need 3 PROPER wingers. Wingers who can at least cross and provide width. Podolski is not one and Walcott will be leaving soon. Having width will relieve the pressure off Cazorla in the middle to do his thing. 3 proper wingers is the key to succes. THREE, not one nor two but THREE
  • richie
    @ML I'm with you on that one! Our biggest problem is time, like you, I see us coming good, but the question is when? How much time do we have to prepare the soup? Nearly all the ingredients are in the pot but it still needs to come to the boil quickly so that the last bits of seasoning can be added before it's served, to our hungry waiting customers. By the way I also think the lack of a proper preseason in Austria hasn't helped, for the 2nd year all that money spinning in South East Asia helps the books but not the players.
  • Ramez  - Why?
    Am still finding it hard to believe that they are not playing well because they haven't been together for a long time, the sunderland and stoke city games were that, we couldn't score because the communication between the forwards and their providers was poor, the defense was the best in the EPL, Not until the introduction of Koscielny and Santos! Then things started getting better, we scored two good goals at Anfield against a good team that had previously held the champions to a draw at the same venue! Southampton came home and we teared them apart despite previously forcing the Manchester teams to come from behind to get three points. At westham we were still good.......
    Then we went to Man city, and I don't know what happened, in my point of View, that's where trouble became our friend again! I know some will say we managed a point, yes a point but our winning mentality and good defending, our fighting spirit and sense of urgency to get goals was left there!!! I really don't know what's wrong but the reason that they haven't been together for a long time is not one of them! We saw that they clicked at Liverpool, against Westham, Southampton? Chelsea is just like us, hosting many new players who have barely played together and they went 9 games unbeaten, SOMETHING IS SERIOUSLY WRONG AT ARSENAL.
  • paspartu
    lol chelsea has ramirez mata hazard oscar of them are a class above anything we got..all of them cost double or triple what our players how can you expect same or similar results as them mate?
  • paspartu
    no richie our biggest problem are the fans who have been throwing their toys out the pram ever since 07-08-09 complaining to 21 year olds for finishing trophyless and then allowing the media and rivals to mess with their brains and turn them against their own club, manager and players.....

    them lot who thought building stadiums and competing with abramovic would be easy.....

    they should have lowered their expectations long time ago and support the club, the players, the philosophy, the manager... but no theyd rather listen to anti-arsenal rants in the radios tv and other media
  • MeanLean
    What a fantastic article

    So much so that I am going to paste the whole thing.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------- --------

    It’s time for Arsenal to get a better billionaire

    I’ve said my fill about Roman Abramovich over the years: about the hyperinflation his money has burdened the Premier League with and how no club will ever win the League without spending huge sums of money; about the corrupting influence that horrible amounts of money have on the fans, the players, and the managers, turning them into the type of soulless moral zombies that would cheer a racist because he’s wearing their captain’s armband; about how he would use his money to circumnavigate any rules such as Financial Fair Play that would seek to level the playing field; and about how he doesn’t just want to play Fantasy Football Manager, he wants to play Fantasy Football Manager against the computer, on easy. But I take it all back, because now that there are two billionaires who are willing to spend huge sums of money I’ve finally come around to the cold fact that what the League needs, what sports in England needs, what the world needs, is for Arsenal to also have a better billionaire.

    By better, I mean a billionaire who cares, about Arsenal. Someone who really knows what it means to be a Gooner and the privileged position that entitles us to. As a Gooner, I am entitled to see the very best that football has to offer, in the very best stadium, every week. And most importantly, I’m entitled to have Arsenal “actually challenge for trophies” and not just have Arsenal be a club which celebrates a fourth place finish in a hyper-inflated transfer market set against them in a possibly corrupt field of players.

    Weirdly, my revelation that I deserve trophies has gotten me to come round to understanding Robin van Persie’s position. Just like I am entitled to trophies, so too is he! It doesn’t matter how many years we stood by him as he struggled to gain fitness after countless injuries stroking his ego for the Netherlands. This is about what he deserves, and what we deserve, trophies. That’s the kind of understanding that a better billionaire brings: it’s all about trophies.

    Speaking of Robin’s injuries. There is no room in the better billionaire’s list of just deserts for players who don’t give 110% or for guys whose career was cut down by the Dan Smith’s of the world. If I had my leg broken by a careless co-worker, the last thing I would expect is for the owners to take any pity on me. If I can’t do the job, it’s time to cut me loose. Wasters need not apply.

    That’s why Arsenal should never have given van Persie the opportunity that they gave him. The mistake wasn’t the last contract, the mistake was the contract four years ago when he was in the midst of a series of nightmare seasons but there was a glimmer of hope. You don’t sign a guy to a new contract when he gives you one good year of service out of three. And it’s a mistake that Arsenal keep making, taking a risk on talented players who have a history of injury, paying them handsomely while they get healthy/get really good, turning them good, and then foolishly expecting loyalty. There is no loyalty among thieves: a lesson that Arsenal should have learned after Adebayor, Hleb, Flamini, and Nasri all left but didn’t. It’s a lesson that a more shrewd billionaire would certainly instill.

    Chelsea doesn’t build up world class players, because they don’t feel like it’s their job to give hand-outs to poor people. Think about all the poor people Abramovich could have fed with the billion Pounds he’s spent at Chelsea. He could have started a program that revolutionized food production in Africa! But he didn’t, instead he bought Michael Essien for £30m from another rich guy and then payed Essien £100m in salary to play football.

    And Essien deserved that £100m, his former owner deserved the £30m that Abramovich paid him, and Chelsea deserved the trophies that they got from all the money that Abramovich spent. All that matters is what each of us feels like we deserve. And us Gooners deserve better than challenging for a top four place every year and Champions League football for 16 consecutive seasons. We deserve more than televised football broadcast world-wide every weekend. We deserve someone who is willing to spend a billion of his own Pounds Sterling to wipe the slate clean and start over. Starting with the manager and this squad of wasters he has put together.

    I know that last bit about the manager will raise some hackles but let’s face facts: the type of owner that we deserve, who doesn’t pussy-foot around with things like “loyalty”, certainly isn’t going to stand by and watch as Arsenal get dragged down out of the top four without seeing a few heads roll. How many different managers have Chelsea had since Abramovich took over? That’s the kind of “do something” ownership that Arsenal deserve.

    All of the above is why I support the Black Scarfers who marched around the Emirates last year carrying the “Kick Greed out of Football” banner while they chanted “spend some fucking money” along with any other protest movement that wants to have a go at Arsenal. They had it exactly right: it’s time that every thinking fan protest Arsenal and what they are doing in North London. Get the fans from Everton, Fulham, Stoke, Middlesbrough, Liverpool, and Charlton to join hands against the greed (without trophies) at Arsenal. I hear that Arsenal have something like £70m in the bank. Charlton would never let that kind of situation happen. All fans should be solidly against this sort of greed.

    Don’t protest the League that allows these billionaires to buy all the talent in the world and stockpile them at their training grounds or loan them out to competitors for cheap in order to disrupt the competition, protest the Arsenal. Don’t protest Chelsea and Man City for their distortion of the salaries that all clubs have to pay for players forcing Arsenal to raise ticket prices or follow the lead of clubs like Bolton and instead stockpile dangerous amounts of debt, protest Arsenal. I hear they have £70m in the bank.

    Protest Arsenal and tell them that it’s time to kick greed out of football by kicking a billionaire into the board-room of Arsenal. Someone who will buy Arsenal the players they need — Cavani, Falcao, Berbatov, Fellaini, Baines, and Jagielka — in order to give humanity what the Arsenal fans deserve, a trophy.

    The only way for that to happen is for Arsenal to get a better billionaire. Bust out the black scarves and bin bags.

  • Perry groves long throw  - Hmmmm
    Meanlean, that cut and paste article s excruciating. Nobody is "entitled" to anything on this planet, let alone football clubs and millionaires. There is no wisdom in that article, just "rich guys come first",... And like a sheep you graze on this nonsense and too state that "arsenal needs a billionaire". Arenal needs a billionaire as much as you need lessons in idiocy. Repugnant article.
  • MeanLean
    You've missed the point I'm afraid. It was mocking that very thought. Read it again.
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