Someone once told me that trying to create a different result using the same methods is an act of insanity. For instance, if you are football manager and you previously noticed that, say, a certain player (let’s call him Aaron) can’t play on the right wing because he doesn’t have qualities needed for that spot or that another certain player (let’s call him Andre) can’t play in the starting 11 because every opponent knows he is the weakest link and bases attacking strategy on using that fact. So when you still put both Aaron on the right wing and Andre in the starting 11, something is wrong with you.
Sorry, monsieur Wenger, but it is time to either a) change your philosophy or b) pack your bags and leave Arsenal. I’m just kidding – you won’t resign as long as you’re receiving a very decent paycheck at Arsenal and you won’t be fired as long as the Arsenal board consider Arsenal as “the company that makes money and plays football in the process” and not vice versa.
Math is a precise thing. From the final result and scoresheet you can see that FAnchester United won today because of two reasons: 1) Wenger sold Verrader and 2) Ferguson was the one that bought him. Yes, there was certain things in between like, Mike Dean saved Cleverley from receiving a second yellow card and didn’t keep the same criteria when Wilshere committed a second bookable foul but it would be too easy for Wenger to blame the referee for the weekend’s defeat and, above all, an awful performance.
We lost this match even before it started when Wenger decided to make the same mistakes over and over again. The trick with Ramsey on the right wing did produce some result against Manchester City but in every other occasion it was fiasco. It simply doesn’t work because Ramsey isn’t a winger, monsieur Wenger, just like Djourou wasn’t a full-back but you still played him there last season in some matches!
First of all, we should all put things in the right perspective, starting with our ambitions. We can’t compete with neither Manchester clubs nor Chelsea for the title. Yes, there are still 84 points to play for but I seriously doubt we can win 10 points more than any of those teams. Our realistic goal is 4th spot, progressing into the First Knockout Stage of the Champions’ League and winning the League Cup. In order to accomplish that we need to make certain changes:
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1) Make a huge “STOP” sign for Andre Santos – he can’t play in the starting 11 of a serious club. I know that we did a lot of things in previous years to prove otherwise like selling our best player and captain to a rival club, and our best players to other clubs that we want to be at least equal with, but we are still one of the greatest European clubs, one of those that enter the Champions’ League from Pot 1. Santos can’t play in defense and he was horrible in previous matches. He screwed up a couple of promising attacks yesterday because his offensive runs are more or less like his driving – he just goes forward without noticing anyone that is signaling what he should do next. Because of that kind of behaviour, he was banned from driving for 12 months and now I hope he will get the same ban from playing for Arsenal. Taking Verrader’s shirt was just disgraceful and I hope that Santos is the next Arsenal player that will play for Manchester United. We would Silvestre them big time!
2) Start scoring goals in the first 15 minutes – last season, we scored a bunch of goals in the opening minutes (Norwich, WBA, Sunderland, Everton) but this season we scored only one goal in the first 30 minutes in Premiership. It was an own goal by Hooiveld against Southampton. It’s like we start playing after half an hour which is the manager’s fault. Players are obviously not prepared for our opponents and need time to settle on the field. We need early goals in order to play freely and relieve the stress.
3) Do something about captaincy – I like Thomas Vermaelen and I consider him to be our greatest defensive asset, the one that can score goals too. However, ever since he had that flu issue that made him miss the Manchester City game he has played awful. His concentration isn’t good (he created two chances for Verrader yesterday, he did that kind of mistake against Olympiacos as well), he gives away fouls in dangerous areas (Chelsea) and, most importantly, he doesn’t act as a captain. As captain, he must encourage his team, even if that means being a mean bastard towards some of them during matches or during half-time. He obviously doesn’t do that. Arteta or Wilshere could be better captains than Vermaelen currently is.
4) We need to forget that we had Verrader as our center-forward and adjust our attacking game to Giroud’s qualities – we can’t expect Giroud to be good at dribbling and make fine shots outside the box like Verrader did. More useful crosses from the right and the left would make Giroud’s aerial domination more efficient. Which leads us to next thing…
5) Ramsey can’t play on the wing. He can’t cross and he doesn’t have the pace a winger needs. Wenger obviously doesn’t realize that by putting Ramsey on the right wing he loses three players – Sagna/Jenkinson on the right full-back, Ramsey himself and Giroud.
6) Walcott’s case must be settled ASAP and he must get playing time – we need his pace, his dribbling, his crossing, his finishing and ability to break defenses. I know that he wants to play in more central role which leads us to next thing…
7) Does this formation 4-1-2-2-1 suit Arsenal at all? We should adjust the formation to our players’ quality and not vice versa. 4-4-2, with Cazorla, Arteta, Wilshere and Podolski in midfield while Giroud and Walcott would start in attack.
8) Podolski must use his powerful left foot more often. Sometimes you can break opponents’ defense by doing that.
9) We must do something about set-pieces and not just defensive ones. It seems we don’t know who is in charge of taking free-kicks.
10) We must win in both home fixtures we have – Fulham is a tough side and we will be without Wilshere against them while Spuds are a special match for us.
11) We should sign Fellaini in January – yes, it sounds like science-fiction but Fellaini is one of the best midfielders in the league and can be powerful asset in attack. He is also one of the best players of Everton and they will be very tough competition for 4th spot.