Monday, 30 July 2012

What do Arsenal need?

I've got voices in my head. They're telling me it's been a week and a half since I last wrote a blog article on here and that I should 'put my arse on that chair and write another one'. So here I am, writing another one.

This article is about what sort of players I think Arsenal need to mount a serious title challenge this season. Obviously I could speculate for hours on what we need if player X leaves or if player Y does, so I'm just going to say who I think we need 'as it stands'. So that means I'll be saying who I think we need, based on the fact that Van Persie, Walcott and Song are all still at Arsenal.

OK, shut up and get on with it you say? OK, the first sort of player I think we need is another centre half. Defence has been Arsenal's problem for a fair few years now, however I do think we've got a top class centre hald pairing in Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen. But the issue is, what about if one or both of those players gets injured? Our back up defenders ain't great. Mertesacker's decent, so he's fine back up, but Djourou and Squillaci are about as useful as Mario Balotelli working for the 'Football bib Association' as a demonstrator of putting on bibs.

And a good player for this is John Heitinga. His contract is up in a year and he plays for a club that hasn't qualified for Europe, therefore we'd be an attractive proposition for him. He could apparently be available for about £5.5 million, which would be quite a steal. The only problem is convincing him to come as 'back up' but we could encourage him to work his way into the team. Plus, he can play defensive midfield so we can offer him a fair amount of games if he works hard in training and in games to prove himself as a worthy starter so he can play in the Champions League again and compete for trophies.

It's hard finding a player that's OK with being back up, but players like him are worth going for. Another position I think we need to improve is attacking midfield.By this I mean an offensive midfield player either out wide or in centre midfield. I think we're pretty well equipped in centre midfield, but we do have a few sicknotes in there. I just think we could do with an extra bit of class, perhaps someone playing left wing who has experience and class and that extra bit of quality that I think we often lack in the final third. A world class player for other teams to fear. When we had Fabregas, Nasri, Arshavin on top form and the likes of Wilshere and Van Persie also playing, we had top quality threats from all angles and we created more chances and didn't fade in games, like we occasionally did last season. So just that extra bit of class, it's a lot easier said than done of course, but a Cazorla or a Reus type player. Or Arshavin could find his motivation again and become the player he was a couple of years ago... but that's unlikely.

A player like Santi Cazorla would be great, because he's experienced, Spanish, can play left, right and central and is a creative, Arsenal- like player. He'd also bring much needed excitement to the club, lifting the spirits of the players and fans so we start the season with as good a feel around the club as possible.

Elsewhere, I don't think there's a particular position where we 'need' a player for now. With club not being a club that has a limitless pit of money, I think it'd be wise to stop the spending there and save money for future transfer windows. If we bought these players and kept the ones we have now, the squad would be this (if we sold the deadwood that we should as well):

GK's: Szczesny, Fabianski, Martinez

Defenders: Sagna, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Mertesacker, Heitinga, Gibbs, Santos, Bartley

Midfielders: Song, Wilshere, Arteta, Rosicky, Ramsey, Diaby, Coquelin, Frimpong

Wingers: Cazorla, Gervinho, Walcott, Chamberlain, Arshavin

Strikers: Van Persie, Giroud, Podolski

That's a squad of 28 players and I wouldn't be aversed to us signing M'Vila if the money is available to make that transaction. He'd be the midfield general and powerhouse that we've been missing since to glory days of Patrick Vieira.

Therefore I'd get shut of Bendtner, Chamakh, Park, Miquel, Djourou, Squillaci and get rid of Diaby later on this season if he can't regain his fitness and only keep him now because Wilshere's going to be out for at least another 3 months.

So there you have it, my Arsenal squad for 2012/13 season, ideally and realistically. But of course a lot depends on whether Van Persie stays or goes... and unfortunately it looks like he's going to go. But if the club can show the ambition they should be and went for these players, I'm sure Van Persie would at least consider staying.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Driving up Church Lane with Daniel Levy

I had my first driving lesson today. And yes, no- one got injured or died. I met my driving instructor, Chris, at 9:15am, a time that has become unfamiliar to my body clock in recent times, and we exchanged introductions before he told me the game plan for the lesson.

He's a lovely bloke, which was my first thought about him. My second thought was 'wow, doesn't this guy look A LOT like Daniel Levy?' (Tottenham Hotspur's chaiman for those of you who don't know who Levy is.) He is the spitten image of him, only less Jewish looking.

We drove to Church Lane and he took me through all the basics of driving, what each pedal is for, what you're supposed to do when you set off, how you're supposed to drive if you've got a phone in one hand and a Mars Bar in the other, that sort of thing.

After a while, he let me drive. 'Oh no' I thought, this was the moment I'd been dreading. I know that sounds silly, considering the reason I was there was to 'learn how to drive', but I was nervous about it. But I've now felt the small thrill of being behind a wheel and driving one of the best human inventions around by myself. I felt liberated, I felt grown up, I felt like a man... boy.

Whenever I hear people talk about their first driving experience they always seem to say 'I felt like a man' or 'I felt manly' etc. Why? I felt like a junior. There I was hesitantly and very unexpertly slowly driving up a road while an older man next to me told me how to do it and who is an expert at driving. What else does that make you feel other than inferior?

Not that I'm complaining though, as I found it was a blast and I can't wait to get behind the wheel again. I did feel great, I just didn't feel 'manly'. Plus, just as many women drive as men, so why would you feel 'manly' anyway?

I had fun anyway, the only nervous moment for him I think was when he told me to brake when I was parking and it didn't register in my mind, so as I approached a green car to park behind it, he said 'brake' again and again I didn't respond. Then he said it again and finally it registered. I don't know why, but I just didn't register him telling me to brake before, but I did it just in time before I almost crashed into this green car. Phew!

The only bad thing is I've got to wait another week and a day for my next driving lesson. But then I've got 2 in 3 days.

Overall, today will be remembered for the day I got unleashed into the the wild world of driving, fortunately with Daniel Levy next to me to help guide me the way.

Friday, 6 July 2012

RVP- What are the options?

In light of the Robin Van Persie saga, I've decided to write a rather more professional, calmer article than yesterday. Like all Gooners, I'm gutted at the news that he won't be extending his contract and is prepared to turn his back on the club that made him the player he is now and that has always supported him and showed great faith in him.

But what are the options Arsenal have with the wantaway Dutchman?

One option is to sell him now. But how much could we get for an imminently 29 year old who only has a year left on his contract? We saw last year that Man Utd wouldn't pay the money Arsenal wanted for Nasri when he only had a year left on his contract, and he was 24. I think the only teams that would pay that money are Man City and Paris St. Germain. I can't see him wanting to go to PSG and the French League in a hurry, so that would leave just Man City.

I would only sell him for £30 odd million or more to an English rival but I would let foreign clubs like Juventus, Real Madrid and even Barcelona have him for about £20- £25 million. I would much rather us sell him abroad than to a league rival, especially baring in mind it would be to a team I hate as well.

So I think the only club that would pay that sort of money for Van Persie are Man City. Chelsea at a push, but with Torres' form looking resurgent and them having already bought Hazard for a lot of money, I don't think they'd spend more than £20 million or so on him.

The big disadvantage with selling him to another English club would that it would significantly strengthen one of rivals, whilst significantly weakening us, therefore it wouldn't be a good move. So I'd only accept 'silly money' from an English club.

The other option is keeping him until the end of the season, thus risking losing him on a free to any team at the end of the season. The advantage of keeping him for another season is obviously that we get another season out of him, but the problem is what sort of season will he have? We could turn down a £20 million bid from someone, then he gets injured for 4 or 5 months and plays half- heartedly for the rest of the season.

So the judgement on that has got to come from the senior people at the club. They have to say 'right, if we keep Robin, will he give 100%?' And if the answers 'no', then we should sell him. If the answer is 'yes' then we should keep him unless a foreign club comes in with big money for him (i.e. £25 million or above).

So, to sell him or not to sell him, that is the question. I personally would keep him until a good enough offer from a foreign club comes in... and then I'd get shut of the ungrateful crock. There are many problems with selling him; we lose our best player and captain, we lose his goals and link up play and we will find it a lot harder to attract very good players, hence struggle even more for proper success.

The answer for me is to let Usmanov take over, give the manager some money to spend, do all we can to get Van Persie to sign a new contract (us fans are already at it on Twitter, laying the guilt trip on him) and if Wenger doesn't spend the money and show enough ambition, get shut of him and replace him with an ambitious manager who buys better players and wants success enough that he will adapt his game plans, transfer policies and tactics at times in order to achieve it. Plus, the other advantage of getting a new manager would be that maybe he'd show the ambition that would make Van Persie want to stay and sign a new contract.

Simples... right?

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Disaster Strikes: Who is the biggest bell end?

It has been announced from the horses mouth that Robin Van Persie will not be extending his Arsenal contract. Now, there are at least 3 people who want seriously looking at here and deserve to be showered with criticism.

One of those is Van Persie himself. The man has just finished his first injury- free season at the club and he's already setting his heart on buggering off. He's ditching the club that has shown him such patience, loyalty and faith by sticking with him through his ill- disciplined younger days and his persistent injury problems year after frigging year.

What happened to loyalty? Van Persie should be shwoing loyalty to the manager, the club and, most importantly, the people who always seem to get undeservedly ingorned by these over- payed, over- privileged bastards that couldn't give two hoots about them because they're too busy in their bubbles, the fans.

Us fans have been supporting him for years, singing his name for years and worshipping him. He's on silly money at Arsenal, he's playing in the Champions League and possibly challenging for trophies this season. He also has 60,000 home fans and a cult following of away fans cheering him on, supporting him loyally and singing his name every week. And how does he repay that faith and loyalty? He refuses to sign a new contract and will probably leave, therefore leaving the club and the people that suffer from it the most- the fans, in the crapper. It's typical Dutch egotistical arrogance and disrespect to much more loyal, hard working people than himself. And then he's got the cheek to say he 'loves the club'. If you really loved it dick mouth, you'd stay and want to achieve success with it, rather than walking out on it. Footballers really thing we'll believe anything don't they? Stupid cunts.

A man that deserves even more criticism is Arsene bloody Wenger. A 'has been' that is still living on past glories and, for some reason, still has the adoration of a lot of Arsenal fans he's brainwashed and deluded. Mr '4th place's a trophy' needs to go in my opinion. I've been saying it for a while now. He is showing a sheer lack of ambition yet again and is just taking us further away from success year by year.

You can tell by Van Persie's statement that the reason is going is because Wenger is saying he won't spend big and buy the players that have the capability to help us to glory, instead he will buy unknown French teenagers that will be good in 3 years before they fuck off to Man City in 3 and half years. Van Persie says 'it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward.' This to me implies that Wenger and Gazidis aren't going to be showing serious ambition in the transfer market and Van Persie is thinking 'well, I'll go somewhere where the club cares about trophies and shows ambition'.

It's the same every year with this clown. He doesn't correct his flaws, he persists with his stubborn, out of date transfer and 'tactics' policies, whilst the club don't even come close to winning anything, leading to us fans being ridiculed every year by rival fans such as Chelsea's and Man Utd's, to whom we're a laughing stock now. The way things are going, Tottenham, Liverpool and maybe even Everton and Newcastle could overtake us and we become a Europa League club at best, with that apparently unsackable 'can do no wrong' Frenchman leading further into the sewage soaked abyss that is mediocrity and failure.

Oh yeah and where's Ivan Gazidis during all of this? On fucking holiday! Thanks Ivan, you're really helping out there. Perhaps next month you could shag Jack Wilshere's girlfriend so he gets pissed off and moves to Man Utd or something.He's another one that'll e more worried about the club's bank balance rather than it's success, which is what football's all about at the end of the day (and during it too). He'll be showing Van Persie how little ambition or drive he's got for success at Arsenal. What does he do anyway? Is he actually of any use, or does he just organise charity events? God knows.

As you can probably tell, I'm really pissed off and disillusioned with what's going on at Arsenal, whilst also very worried about the future of the club. The overall problems are: a lack of loyalty from Van Persie, a lack of ambition AGAIN from Wenger and the club in general, and a lack of... well, anything useful from Ivan Gazidis.

Monday, 2 July 2012

The Spain Blueprint Is Perfect For Arsenal

I've just finished watching Spain win the European Championships. That's 3 major international tournaments in a row. Not bad is it? I must say that they've disappointed me greatly this tournament, playing terribly dull football.

However, tonight they played excellent football. I hate to say it as I hate most of Spain's players, but they did outclass Italy and they won easily by playing beautiful football and keep ball, whilst harassing Italy when on the ball, thus retaining possession quickly and tiring out the opposition by making them ball chase for most of the game.

What Spain were tonight was a perfect blueprint for Arsenal. Let's think about it, what do Arsenal like doing, what is their style? Pass and move, playing football beautifully. But Arsenal's problem compared to Spain is that we're not as good tactically. We don't always harass the opposition when we're on the ball, we do sometimes to the top teams, but not always to who ever we're playing. As well as that, we don't play 'keep ball' enough, we always keep attacking rather than looking to just keep the ball, pass it around and play safe, thus tiring the opposition out and starving them of the ball, as well as controlling the game and the tempo of the game, like Spain do.

Therefore, Arsenal should look to be more tactical like Spain. Everything about there game plan just equals 'win'. Everything about Arsenal's game plan equals 'entertain', which isn't always a good thing. Pass and harass should be Arsenal's main motto, they could even have those three words stuck up on the dressing room wall!

Now a simple argument to this could be 'well, we haven't got the players for it' or 'well, we aren't as good as Spain', but it matches our style and we have got the style of players for it- Wilshere, Arteta, Song, Rosicky, Ramsey, Van Persie etc. Additionally, we also have the quality, players like Arteta, Wilshere and Song are built for the Spain style of pass, move, keep the ball and harass the opposition. They have the technical ability, the energy, the maturity, the passing ability and, perhaps most importantly, the desire to play football this way.

So I think we have the qualities to do it and the style to do it, but have we got the manager? Wenger isn't a particularly tactical manager and he will have to adapt to pull off this new style. The team will have to be more disciplined and I'm not saying we're as good as Spain, but we're not too far off. I don't think we'll be as good as they are straight away, but with time, we could be. The potential of players like Wilshere, Ramsey and Chamberlain is frightening and they could, along with the rest of the team, have a lot of success in English and Europena football with this style and challenge for trophies on all fronts.

It's also the style England should start adopting, rather than playing for luck and going defensive like some non- league minnows in the FA Cup 3rd round. England's style is quite embarassing, but that's a topi for another day. I just can't believe more teams don't play like Spain and use the same methods and philosophies of closing down, passing and tiring out the opposition. I was at junior football training the other day and saw a bloke throwing the ball up in the air for the kids to battle for it in the air, and if this is how youngsters are being coahced to play football, then the future's not looking bright for English football is it?

The overall point of my article is that Arsenal should adopt Spain's style of playing. It's quite similar to the one we use anyway, it just needs tweaking to be more tactical. It suits our style and our players, therefore we should start playing the 'pass and harass' game plan that the Spaniards use. It might be dull at times and less entertaining than what we're used to seeing at Arsenal, but it should be a lot more effective and give us a better chance of finally achieveing success again.