Archive for November, 2010

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In two minds.

November 25, 2010

Now, I think everyone will agree this was not the response from the team we have been looking for, eh?

I have deliberately refrained myself from writing the post last night, as I thought to myself that it would be counterproductive to act upon emotions and that I could say something I could regret later. Trust me, my big mouth got me into various degrees of trouble more than once in my life!

But guess what? I am still fuming after the naive and gutless display I had the displeasure of watching on Tuesday – once again, it just showed that this team still has no clue whatsoever and I don’t even want to go anywhere near the subject of dedication, pride and playing for the shirt: I have read about Frank McLintock bursting into the box at the E******s to give some Spud bookie a piece of his mind and probably a little bit on top of that for his overzealous celebrations on Saturday. No matter what you think of this kind of behaviour, this came straight from the heart of a true legend and perhaps the ‘best team’ Our Glorious Leader has ever assembled should take a leaf out of his book and at least show some hurt pride by giving the pretty average Braga a good tonking.

The first half was one of the most boring 45 minutes of football I have seen for a long time, I thought to myself ‘here we go again’. The fake Arsenal created more chances, without really troubling Fabianski, but their keeper might as well have gone home and they would still have won the game, as we have managed a precious one attempt on target throughout the 90+ minutes. That being said, I would take 0:0, as there are the days when you just can’t do zilch – this is when you admit it, shut the shop and play tidy game to get a draw, simple as that. This would see us qualify to the next round and we could rest players for the Partizan game. Now it is mathematically possible for us not to qualify to the next round, and if my memory serves me right (which it does), the last time we failed to go past the group stage was when we were drawn in an ‘easy’ group. Quite frankly, we need a high pressure game involving the first teamers just five days before playing ManYoo like a hole in the head – good job, Arsene, fielding an understrength team against Shakhtar does not seem like such a good idea now, does it?

You could excuse athletes for having difficulties learning from their mistakes, as most of them are pretty thick, but it is the manager’s job to find a way of drilling stuff into them and making tough decisions when there are no effects – it just seems to me that the players are lacking as far as the bread and butter stuff is concerned and failure has been tolerated for far too long for them to give a monkey’s. The mindset of the team is seems to be rotten to the core and the manager needs to act in the manner required to create impression that the heads will roll if it does not improve. I once wrote that it’s about time to replace the carrot with the stick and whack the shit out of the donkey, or it will just get fatter and won’t move an inch forward. As I said in my last post, if you get too much too soon, your attitude may leave a lot to be desired and the only way to eradicate that is to learn the hard way.

Anyway, we play another toughish game this weekend and AW faces Herculean task to lift the team – it’s almost as hard as it is  for quite a large section of the club’s fanbase to get to look forward to it. Being a loyal supporter, I will definitely try very hard: they are my team and I will try to lift myself to go all ‘Come on you rip roaring reds!’ on Saturday…

Thank you for reading!

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The North London Derby Mystery

November 21, 2010

Good morning, afternoon, evening, or whatever the time of the day is, wherever you are…

Long time no see, things have been hectic, but this is the Arsenal blog, so I will not be boring anyone with the details, tasty or not – the shocking defeat in the first game I was really looking forward to for quite some time inflicted by the inglorious neighbours brought me out of the blog coma, so here I am…

I don’t think anyone needs to be reminded of what happened yesterday in details, so I shall just skip the match report, leaving that to masochists and people driven by strong sense of duty. Instead, I will focus on the reaction from Our Glorious Leader.

Apparently, it is a mystery for Arsene why we ended up the game empty handed as we were the better side. Once again, someone has an egg on his face after bigging them up and calling them the best group of players he has ever worked with – don’t even get me started on what an insult for the likes of Henry, Pires and Vieira this was!

Well, if you look at the players technique and their technique alone, the above statement uttered by AW in the build up to yesterday’s game may not be necessarily that far from the truth, but this is football, not figure skating and there are no extra points for the number of passes, flicks and the like, the rules are simple, you have to score more than the other lot, and this sometimes involves hard graft and getting your hands dirty. Playing in arguably one of the biggest and best derby games on the planet must involve a lot of heart, desire and passion and feeling what it means for the fans.

Sure, after the first 45 or so minutes, we went to the dressing room 2 goals up and cruising, but we could have and should have been at least one more goal to the good by that time, but we have gone into the celebratory mode after scoring two great goals and once again we started weaving pretty patterns with no urgency whatsoever. The crowd started the ‘ole’ infested jolly and everyone headed for the halftime wee with the ‘mission accomplished’ mindset.  Whilst it may be more or less OK for the fans, the problem starts when it is the team and/or the manager who thinks alike…

First thing the manager should have done in this situation is remind the players that is not over by a long shot, bearing in mind the 4:4 draw/loss in this very fixture and other games when we managed to throw away the lead against arguably even lesser teams due to going into the cruise control mode. I somehow don’t think that the halftime talk went beyond ‘well done garçons, let’s keep this up’. I can only imagine what happened in the other dressing room – ‘Arry is not a quiet type and whatever anyone says about his alleged off the field antics, he is a bit of a motivator and it certainly showed in the second half.

The history of mankind teaches us one thing: the barbarians always win in the end. The empires fell for one and the same combined set of reasons time and time again: decadence and complacency leading to lack of discipline, which left them unable to resist the more determined invading hordes of primitive neighbours, whose villages used to be burnt and pillaged for a laugh by the frontier troops back in the days. I was always of the opinion that the very purpose of teaching history is for the later generations not to repeat the mistakes of the old and that it has even more uses if you are intelligent enough to draw parallels with other situations, as the human nature has not changed one bit since coming off the tree or the sixth day, whatever you choose to believe in. It’s foolish to underestimate the enemy and let them grow, as they soon start getting funny ideas and strength combined with motivation to put one over you is a dangerous mix…

Now, once again, make no mistake about this, this team is packed with great footballers, but it hardly forms a well composed and led unit – once they scored, I knew we were in trouble! As much as Cesc is a great player, he is not a leader type and he did not even cover himself in glory as far as leading by example is concerned, having conceded the most idiotic penalty we will see for a long time. The role of a captain is underestimated by Wenger, but haven’t we coincidentally stopped winning stuff when we got rid of the last real captain we had in Vieira? The first goal they scored came from the lack of discipline – everyone wanted a piece of Spurs and our defence was nowhere near where they should have been with two goals to the good, where was our skipper to tell them that before that happened, dare I ask? Where was the leadership required to prevent the team from falling to pieces afterwards? AW likes to say that it is a team full of leaders, I like to say this kind of approach breeds anarchy…

It has been said that if things come easily to you at young age and you are not taught to work hard, then your attitude may stink occasionally for a bit, until you will learn the hard way that it does not pay and start applying yourself. Real shame the learning process is taking longer than anybody could have expected…

I’ll leave you with that thought…