Panic buys, Flamini, Sanogo, Giroud, Champions League and Spurs; a week of madness for Arsenal

Welcome to this week’s bumper edition
blog, I’ve so much to discuss and so little time. It’s been quite a positive
few days for us after seeing a positive response to our defeat to Aston Villa
and the ship has been steadied somewhat following a comprehensive victory at a
drenched Fulham.

Defeat
wasn’t really an option and we should be looking to forge some form of unbeaten
run, as I’m not contemplating defeat until mid-November in the league. That
would certainly give us a platform to work from and not have us playing catch
up for the third season in a row. So without any further ado, let’s get
started.

Injuries 

The one negative to our on field displays in the last few days has been the
injuries/knocks. Lukas Podolski will miss the North London derby and a whole
lot more after given the news that it could take between 8-10 weeks to overcome
his torn hammy and there were doubts over Aaron Ramsey and a concern about Jack
Wilshere but they seemed to have been allayed somewhat. The Podolski injury is
particularly frustrating, as we don’t have a readymade replacement, instead we
could see Santi Cazorla revert back to left wing. This frustrates me because you’ll
have all see the damage he has caused in our last two games. Yes, Tomas Rosicky
can play in the centre but there is a drop in class, I’m not sure anyone can
deny that. The other side to the injuries is our ever apparent lack of depth.
This was our bench against Fenerbahce on Tuesday:
 
Lukasz Fabianski
Laurent Koscielny
Kieran Gibbs
Emmanuel Frimpong
Tomas Rosicky
Ryo Miyaichi
Yaya Sanogo
 
Now two of those are starters (Koscielny and Gibbs), so you can really replace
those names with Carl Jenkinson and Nacho Monreal. Then factor in that at least
Podolski is out injured so that frees up another space for someone like Serge Gnabry
or Chuba Akpom. Just let that sentence sink in for a moment. The first XI has
done magnificently well in two legs over Fenerbahce and Fulham because if our
bench is lacking one thing it is goals and at some point it’s going to be
needed to rescue us. There is a ludicrous suggestion on Twitter that we may
sign players to reinforce our squad ahead of Sunday. Yes, SIGN players. In
fairness we have time on our side in fact a full 2 1/2 days to get players
registered ahead of the NLD and at the time of writing we have added the money
grabbing leach that is Mathieu Flamini. What we don’t want is for us
to lose to them on Sunday because we will replicate the panic buying of
two years ago. In fact it’ll probably be worse, given the fact we knew we’d
lose at Old Trafford (admittedly, not to that score line) but I’m not really
contemplating defeat on Sunday.

Signings

Will there be any? We all hope so but nobody can say for certain. Given our
clubs stance on the lessons learned from two years ago here is who we had
bought this time two years ago. 
 
Carl Jenkinson 08.06.11
Gervinho 11.07.11
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 08.08.11
 
So that’s three players to our solitary two free transfer this time
around. So in terms of comparisons we are two signings behind where we were at.
That said we did sell Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas so maybe that evens things
out a little. Our real ‘panic buying’ saw four signings on the 30th and 31st
but that is when the deals were officially confirmed. As tends to be the case
nowadays, you find out about these deals a few days in advance. So
realistically we could actually be doing far worse than the panic stricken
signings of two years ago. Quite a scary thought. This summer is going to trump
all of the windows to date and we are going to be in disarray due to a lack of
numbers. Gervinho may be rubbish but he played in 26 games last season, a bit
of cover upfront and on the wing and now that appears to have morphed into
Gibbs will play left wing and Sanogo up top. I despair.

The Champions League

Well
it started out positively enough, we were the first name out of the bowl and
after Billy McNeill needed a little (I mean a lot) of assistance opening a
plastic bowl it revealed our name and we were allocated Group F. So far,
so good. Then Marseille joined us, brilliant but then our group nose dived
somewhat with the likes of Dortmund and Napoli (the strongest sides in
their pots) accompanied us. Initially you think that’s tough and it is but
ultimately all other three sides will be saying the same. We can beat all
three at home and finishing in the top two is very much within our group, we
could even win our group. However, we need more signings without them we could
be feeling Capital One Cup-like sides. The Borussia Dortmund away
game is sandwiched in between Liverpool and Manchester United and as
things stand we don’t have the depth of squad to meet that
requirement. All things considered I’m quite looking forward to the
challenge and genuinely excited by it, as should you.

Player Focus

This
blog is a bit of a mash up but I feel compelled to write about the
next two players due to paying particular attention to their efforts so far
this season.

Yaya
Sanogo

I got the chance at Fulham to watch his every move. I was genuinely taken aback
by how raw he seemed. He was bullied in his nine minutes (plus stoppage time)
on the pitch. It was like the new kid at school getting pushed around and too
afraid to fight back. Well in this league, you need to man up and give a bit
back, except at Anfield, where you’d obviously get ejected for such a
derogatory term. Having played centre forward for most of my life, you must use
your body as a weapon. We played balls into Yaya’s feet, having not really
adapted to the substitution of Olivier Giroud and Podolski but he failed to
make himself big, in fact he made himself as small as possible, in a perfectly
vertical position with his arms by his side.

He
needs to make himself an obstacle, the first part, get your elbows out, don’t
let them get around you. Then get your backside into play, not only does this
make you more of an obstacle, it also puts the defender on the back foot. If
you give a defender space they will lap it up. Then finally, grab their shirt.
The ref is rarely in front of play, so get your hand behind your back, grab
their shirt and as you spin, you let go. The assistant never gives this
decision either, so you’re pretty safe on that front.

Now
I don’t claim to be a coach or in any way shape or form a pro but these are
basic elements of playing centre forward. Once he wins the physical battle,
your football can then do the talking. I’m yet to see what his strength but I
also know Wenger wouldn’t play a player he didn’t believe had strong attributes
but if he allows himself to be bullied, he won’t ever flourish.

I
can only see a loan move for the young Frenchman because if Giroud did get
injured last night (he didn’t, I know) would Arsene Wenger start Yaya? Of
course he wouldn’t. Sometimes whilst it is good to train alongside the likes of
Per Mertesacker and Koscielny, playing games is much more important and I can’t
see Wenger giving him more than three or four starts outside of the Capital One
Cup. I don’t want this to come across as a negative section of Sanogo, as he
hasn’t played many minutes but maybe this will give you something you can look
at the next time he plays. 

Oliver
Giroud

So we’ve discussed the apprentice in our forward ranks, now some love for our
in-form Frenchman. I’m a fan of his and his started the season in great form
but yet he receives little in the way of credit. He has certainly been more
alert to all of the play so far this season. His touch has improved and the
team finally understands how he operates (maybe that’s an aspect the team need
to take on board with Yaya). Whilst Ramsey gets the plaudits for his efforts so
far, you can’t deny Ollie hasn’t been positive so far. His goal at Fulham was a
quality finish and if you see a better take down than that the one in our third
goal, then I think you are a fantasist. It was majestic. He’s also a massive
threat in the air, something our players failed to capitalise on. He won 7/11
aerial duals on Saturday but our supporting attacking quartet of Theo Walcott,
Podolski, Cazorla and Rosicky failed to pick up the pieces. It is often a
positive for a side that when a striker challenges for the ball in the air and
you know more often than not he’ll win the battle, that the side will then
start to swamp numbers around him. Wenger picked up a couple of years ago that
aiming for Bacary Sagna from goal kicks would see him win battles, the same can
therefore be said of our number 12. Giroud is another player that will suffer
as a result of Podolski’s absence. If there is one criticism to be had of our
side towards Giroud, it’s that he gets too isolated at times, much like he did
in Turkey, particularly in the first half. Podolski offers him support at the
back of the box, our crossing is far from perfect but Podolski is always there
to back him up, unlike when Giroud is winning balls around the half way line.

Also
another little stat is that every shot Giroud has had on target in the Premier
League it has resulted in a goal. Giroud looks much more relaxed compared
to last season, he had a lot of expectation on his shoulders and he still does
but he seems to handle that much better. He knows he belongs at Arsenal, when
at times he did look like he’d won a competition but he hasn’t been cut much
slack considering he was replacing a superior player but when I see a front
line of Podolski-Giroud-Walcott it genuinely excites me, as they work well as a
forward unit, sadly Wenger doesn’t like using it that often but it brings you
goals. Can he be a 20+ goal striker? Yes, I think he can. Do I think we’ll get
another striker in to help him? No.

North
London Derby 

I can’t quite believe it has taken me this long to get to this game but we got
there in the end (that could be the clubs motto come the end of the transfer
window). What are your thoughts? I’m quite confident if I’m honest. They will
come to our ground full of confidence from wins against Bayern Munich (Crystal
Palace) and Real Madrid (Swansea City). They struggle massively at our ground,
mainly because they are complete and utter bottle jobs. At our time at The
Emirates (in the Premier League) we have managed two goals minimum against
them. Admittedly I’d happily win 1-0 but history gives you a good indication,
they rarely get it right. Maybe they will this time but if we apply
ourselves correctly, we’ll win. They couldn’t cope with Jack and
Santi in tandem last season and they’ve never dealt well with Theo’s inside
forward play. I rarely contemplate defeat outside of Manchester City, United
and Chelsea, which is probably why I was so angry after losing to Villa but
they don’t scare me in the slightest. They may say the same about us because we
aren’t as good as we were many years ago but the truth is we’ve given them
bigger hidings than they received from Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and co
and they are the ones that have supposedly improved.

Wenger
will have selection issue (as mentioned earlier), so I hope Santi operates
behind Giroud and we make do with Monreal/Gibbs or Rosicky on the left. The
former did well late on at Fulham and interchanged positions quite well and we
should have our strongest back four on show again. I haven’t paid any attention
to Sp*rs league form to date, all I know is they have six points and haven’t
scored from open play so far this season. A run I hope will continue beyond
Sunday.

There’s
also another aspect that I haven’t yet factored in – The crowd. I saw a few
comments on a blog which decided to stick the knife into our support last
weekend, despite all of the positives from Fulham. However, our crowd at home
to Sp*rs has, is and always will be extremely supportive even when we are 2-0
down. We really feel the benefit of the having 56,000 fans in the ground and I
really think it benefits the side, sadly due to child commitments I won’t be
one of them *cries* but I look forward to hearing us sticking it to them. 

So
I hoped you enjoyed this week’s blog and despite my lack of attendance on
Sunday I will still be getting my Arsenal fix on Saturday. Arsenal’s academy
are playing Sunderland at 2pm at the originally named Academy of Light. So I’m
off the brush up on my lack of knowledge on who actually plays for the u19’s.
Any pointers would be appreciated.

Michael Jeffares


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4 Responses to Panic buys, Flamini, Sanogo, Giroud, Champions League and Spurs; a week of madness for Arsenal

  1. martyn1672 August 30, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    [They will come to our ground full of confidence from wins against Bayern Munich (Crystal Palace) and Real Madrid (Aston Villa). ] ???

    Spurs havent played Villa yet this season – fucking DOPE!

  2. tonygooner@hotmail.com August 30, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    No objective analysis – what a waste of time.

    There is a reason to explain the trophy cabinet being empty and the bank balance being full – the fans are being over charged and the team lacks quality and leadership.

    Both Fulham and Fenerbahce were poor to suggest things are rosy and Spurs will be a walk path in path is so misguided – head in the sand me thinks

  3. tonygooner@hotmail.com August 30, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

    No objective analysis – what a waste of time.

    There is a reason to explain the trophy cabinet being empty and the bank balance being full – the fans are being over charged and the team lacks quality and leadership.

    Both Fulham and Fenerbahce were poor to suggest things are rosy and Spurs will be a walk path is misguided – change blog to head in the sand.

    • Michael Jeffares August 31, 2013 at 7:48 am #

      Thanks for your constructive feedback Tony, sadly it bears no really objective analysis.
      Can’t you praise sides for their attitude and determination? Whilst both Fulham and Fenerbahce were poor didn’t we apply ourselves well? Are you one of those fans that would prefer us to lose in order for action to be taken?

      Also, if you looked at my previous blogs you’d see I’m not happy with events and I’m pretty sure I demonstrated above why this season is worse than that of two years ago but obviously you’ve chosen to ignore that part.

      Anyway, thanks for reading, even if it was a waste of your time.

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