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Archive for February, 2010

After two crushing defeats against title rivals Man United and Chelsea, we somehow managed to remain in contention for the title after two straight wins over Liverpool and Sunderland, although our performances weren’t that good. With Everton beating Man United over the weekend, we are now six points behind Chelsea and just two points behind Man United. And the rest of our fixtures are much easier compared to those two teams. So, it’s still early to write us off and who knows we may surprise all our critics?

Its nice to see Bendtner back but thus far he has reminded us that he is never the lethal striker that some of us Arsenal fans imagined him to be during his absence. Sol is a pleasant surprise and a very good addition to our thin defence. And Eboue has really done very well recently in right-back position. Attacking-wise he is miles ahead of Sagna.

Let’s hope the lads will perservere and showed the world their hunger for trophies!

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Another disappointing result, another defeat against a title rival. We lost to Man United and Chelsea both home and away, and that somehow reinforces many people’s perception that we are not a title contender. We will have an easier fixture after the Liverpool’s game, but can we bounce back from all these crushing defeats? We will have to wait and see how the lads react at the next game.

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We suffered yet another crushing defeat at home to our title rivals, this time the opponent being Man United. Our records against Man United and Chelsea had been very bad in recent years, to the extent of embarassing. I was hoping that our lads could respond to last season Evra’s claim of “boys against man”, but was yet again disappointed.

So what exactly is wrong with us?

1. Lack of defensive organization and discipline

We have two excellent centre backs (Gallas and Vermaelen), and a very solid right-back in Sagna. Our left-back Clichy may be susceptible to occasional lapse of concentration, but overall he is rarely beaten in one-on-one situation. We do have a very average keeper Almunia who doesn’t command his area and inspire any confidence in his defenders, but that’s just one part of the equation. One problem with our defenders is that, they often bomb forward at any chance, even the centre backs! Someone should tell our defenders that their jobs first and foremost is to defend! The lack of discipline to stay in position makes us susceptible to fast counter-attacks. And if our fullbacks (Sagna and Clichy) do not add significant impact to our offensive moves, I think its better for them not to move forward so often.

If our defenders are more defensive-minded and stay in their position, together with our defensive midfielder, we would be able to deny opponents of the space they currently have.

2. Lack of ball winner

We used to play with two ultra defensive central midfielders in our unbeaten season. Patrick Vieira was an excellent ball winner, while Gilberto’s positioning and reading of game often denies opponents of space and options. Their backups, Palour and Edu, were all capable of winnning back possessions. Our current team is lacking ball winners, especially in midfield. The closest we have is Song. And that’s all we have. Cesc is trying hard but he isn’t strong enough. Denilson is average in everything he does. Diaby is not known for his defensive skills, while Ramsey and Eastmond are still very raw.   

3. Lost of fast counter-attacking ability

We used to be famous for our fast counter-attacking abilities. But we no longer possess that ability now. The ability to launch fast counter attacks will put your opponents on back padels, causing them to think twice before over-commiting on attacking us. It is both a defensive and offensive weapon.

To execute fast counter attack, you need either one of the following:

A. Long ball tactics plus a tall and strong target man

B. Fast wingers with great dribbling skills

C.  Telepathic combination among the front men

We do not have any of the above. We don’t play long ball and we do not have tall and strong target man (except Bendtner who was injured for most of the season). We do not have fast wingers, what we have is a bunch of attacking midfielders and playmakers. The closest we have is an off-form Walcott who have lost his abilities to beat his markers. We also do not have telepathic combination among our front men like we used to have in Henry and Pires, as they still don’t look like they are one attacking unit.

4. Too many similar players

How many playmakers do we have? Fabregas, Nasri, Rosicky, Arshavin, and even Denilson and Ramsey. Wenger accommodates them by playing some on the wings and as a result limiting their strengths. We also have too many supporting strikers and too few main strikers. Bendtner, RVP, Arshavin all likes to play supporting strikers. Vela and Eduardo can be main strikers, but both are not physically strong enough.

This coming weekend we will be facing Chelsea at Stanford Bridge. I can’t really see us winning this one, but hopefully we can put up a fight and nick a draw.

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