A Very Arsenal Round Up (& a little WC)

Morning All…

Before I get on to the whole load of Arsenal related news I plan to talk about, I’m just going to touch on the world cup and specifically the tense set of games yesterday. First of all, England’s group of the US, Algeria and Slovenia is a group that England should have topped without doubt and the fact we’ve come second is virtually a joke of a performance over the three games. Yes, we have qualified, but we certainly haven’t done so in style and aren’t really setting the world alight. The next round sees us play Germany in what will be a very stern test of our credentials. Post that, the run in is Argentina, Spain and then Brazil. Ouch, ouch and ouch. If we are going to win this tournament, we need to beat four of the best nations on the earth, as well as finding our form. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’s a big task now – but you know what they say – one game at a time.

Okay, onto Arsenal news… and Pedro is the latest Barcelona player to tap up our mercurial captain, saying all those standard lines like “I’d love to see him here” and “he belongs here”… as the World Cup progresses, my curiosity of Arsene and Cesc “greatest” conversation increases and increases, but I’ll be patient until the end of the tournament. However, I really think Cesc will stay at Arsenal next season – I don’t see him leaving – he’s the type of player you need to plan for if he leaves and I think Arsene will be signing a few more players to add to the squad to challenge next season.

Maroune Chamakh was the first signing and we don’t look like we’re letting go of any of Van Persie, Bendtner, Eduardo or Vela. In fact, Niklas Bendtner has been highly impressive in the World Cup and Vela as well (before his injury) with Mexico. We know what Van Persie is capable of, and that’s some strike force. We have to hope that Maroune Chamakh is / becomes a decent player. The next signing is Laurent Koscielny – all but agreed with club and player and he will be the replacement to William Gallas, who it looks like is off to Juventus. I’ve always said the Italian league is suited for older defenders as it’s not as fast paced as La Liga or the Premiership and it will most likely suit Gallas well. The former Arsenal captain’s agent said:

“I can confirm that Juventus are interested in the defender. I will meet the Bianconeri directors to find an agreement over his wages after having been in touch with them a few days ago. Juventus want Gallas and he would be happy to wear the Bianconeri shirt.”

You can almost read between the lines of the public quote re wages – Gallas intends to land a big contract and Juventus will pay big – they’re not in the Champions League, and I’ll need some confirmation from someone to determine whether they’re even in the UEFA cup after finishing 7th in the Italian league.

As we’ve mentioned before Francois Coquelin has been loaned to Lorient as part of the deal that will see Koscielny come to Arsenal and the club intend to play him in a more central and more midfield role – the role which attracted our attention in the first place. Lorient coach, Christian Gourcuff said:

“He’s a central midfielder. At Arsenal he has played as a right back but I don’t think it’s his best position. He’s a center midfielder, but he can play some games right midfielder.”

Which is good news, as I think he’ll get some game time and it’ll be an exciting role for him to take on knowing that there is a place in our midfield waiting for him on his return – well, unless Denilson or Diaby can step up a gear! Okay, maybe I’m being premature, but I do like Coquelin – I think he needs experience and that’s exactly what he should get at Lorient.

Finally, touching on a mix of World Cup and Arsenal – it’s funny as people deliberate who can unlock defences – and call for a player like Joe Cole to be included more often – as apparently Aaron Lennon and Shaun Wright Philips have not played well and were dropped for today’s game. The question remains, why on earth did Fabio Capello overlook Theo Walcott. He is so much better than those other two – it’s funny because non-Arsenal fans having seen Lennon and SWP falter at the big stage, now ask me why Walcott wasn’t included – the same people that said he shouldn’t be. Well, I’m not going to say “I told you so”, but let’s just put one thing in perspective – Walcott is a BIG GAME player – he’s best performances have come against Liverpool, Chelsea and Barcelona – surely that means he’ll be good at the World Cup… Anyway, not need to harp on about it…

Over and out for today…. I’m off to Spain later today, so your next instalment may be by the lovely JAT or lovely Debs. Adios amigos.

  • ny

    Mark Schwarzer will soon be a gunner.

    So thats Wengers’s plan.Either To train Almunia by Schwarzer or Schwarzer will continue for some 3 yrs and Sczezeny will be ready by that time.

  • andrew

    Thanks for the update.

    Congrats to England for making it through even though the expectations were much higher.

    We Yanks are finally excited about “soccer” for the first time in a long time. We advance as first in our group for the first time since 1930.

    Germany v. England will be must see!

  • vj

    schwazer joe cole, koscielny, all to come in, maybe jagielka

  • vj

    hopefully campbell will stay

  • Yemi

    @ andrew:
    U.S.A Ghana won’t be an easy one either. Take a cue from the Algeria match coupled with the fact that Ghana are not defensive minded like Algeria

  • Nick

    It’s all gonna come down to finishing for the US. They had so many opportunities yesterday vs Algeria. The score should’ve been 6-0 easily but they always fail to capitalize. I hope we (USA) can beat Ghana. Every win from here is better and more important for US soccer.

    Altidore is on the threshold of really breaking out. Feilhaber is true quality and someone big needs to snap him up. Michael Bradley is growing a lot and his mind is getting where it needs to be. He’s a very solid defensive midfielder and has a cannon for a strike. Donovan needs a spot in the EPL. Everton need to buy him. Dempsey is getting much better every year at Fulham.

  • Sam

    I just heard a good joke: Italy!
    Now both last WC finalists are OUT. What jokes France & Italy have been in this year’s WC.
    England could have been as much a joke if it weren’t for becoming 2nd in an easy group containing Algeria!

  • Nick

    I’ve got a better joke… France and Italy playing each other just for the LULZ.

    Both teams suffered from a severe lack of coaching and player chemistry.

    Come on Netherlands! RVP needs a few goals.

  • Sam

    RVP on target. Go Arsenal, Go! More in 2nd half, I hope.

    B52 not having such a great game. Japan scored two of the best free kicks in the WC so far.

  • andrew

    @ Yemi,

    You are right. I think the American’s defense is pretty weak and the speed of Ghana may hurt us. I’m nervous but we have to get revenge for last world cup when we went out after playing Ghana.

  • Vazy

    having just woken up, im still so gutted Italy are out, the last 40 mins of that game was pronominal and intense, shame we didn’t use that mentality earlier in the game or the group

    absolutely gutted!

  • Vazy

    *yawn* completely fell asleep during the Brazil v Portugal game.. turns out i missed less than nothing

  • yemi

    its on! ger. vs eng. rooney to score. eng to win 2.1

  • yemi

    upson made up for his mistake! i was just abt to say that england were looking so ordinary and suddenly the heat was turned up! and lamps goal was disallowed.

  • Sam

    England is so full of mistakes! 4-1!!!
    This is the same team that didn’t even make it to Euro 2008.
    As always, England over promise & under deliver.

  • Sam

    Every single English player has been weak. The wrongly disallowed goal should be no excuse.

  • Mehedi

    Lets sell fabregas and buy muller ehh. what do you guys say?

  • Mehedi

    And I am serious.

  • Vazy

    even more gutted… so poor.. nothing else to say

  • yemi

    i expected a great match with a more experienced english side overcoming the younger germans. how wrong! nigeria would have faired better. the only time the matched looked like a classic was the 2nd part of the 1st half. why take out milner? when gerrard was nowhere in the match? i’d never play lamps and gerrard in the same match, like for like. upson and terry looked like they partied all night. can y’all notice what adam johnson and theo walcott would have brought to that team. berkenbaur said england were a one way team, i agree! totally predictable. i am so so disappointed, disgusted and embarassed! how many england players would have their values increasing after this WC?

  • parsi

    This has been the definitive tournament of a Golden Generation. England’s entire tournament, and a lot of the problems with our national team were summed up tonight. Overreliance on Rooney, defensive ineptitude, lack of a proven strikeforce since Shearer and Sheringham, and a mish-mash midfield with no real flair or quality. I have never been so deflated and still so unsurprised. This result is no surprise for anybody, we have been a nation of overrated players at international level, who tooted their own horns before a quality German outfit. I will honestly be glad to see the backs of this Generation, out with Terry, Rio, Lampard, Gerrard, Beckham, Heskey, Ashley Cole, David James… all of them. Get rid of those overpaid poseurs who have flattered to deceive every single international tournament, and who have raised and brutally crushed the dreams of all England supporters under the reigns of Sven, Capello and McClaren. This is the end of the Golden generation, and I say it’s high time they took the long walk off into the sunset and never look back….

  • Kodjo

    What do you guys think?

    What puzzles me is this… are England’s players that bad? or they are simple incapable of the dexterity of thought or flexibility required at the international stage. Did they believe their own hype? Is it the fault of the coaches? Erikson, McLaren and now Capello?

    Do foreign players in the premiership make Englans players look good? I ask myself how many England players can walk into other teams like Holland, Brazil, Argentina, Spain etc. One would argue that Rooney, Ashley Cole, Gerard, Lampard and Terry could walk into any national team. If that is the case then England has a big problem. Bcos it is not the case of lack of materials…then what is it?

    Surely it is not the fault of coaches…then again i hear folks blaming Capello for being inflexible and questionable team selection. Yet Capello has played the same players more or less in the qualifiers and in other games. No one compplained when England swept other teams before them.

    Folks what is the missing link? Is it the lack of intelligence at the international stage bcos the players collectively and individually were outmanoeverd …..even the usually reliable A. Cole was run rugged.

    Is it a case of lack of intelligent players with panache and flair? Cos they are kicked off the park by thugs like Shawcross….and that in the premiership such players are not allowed to develop.

    Clearly the 4-4-2 formation at the international level is archaic….it is and would always be countered by the 4-3-3 or 3-5-1 and its mutant 4-2-3-1 or 3-4-2-1.

    Clearly english players have been brought up on the 4-4-2 system and now the very flat 3-5-1 system. It appears as though players coming up have to be more tactically flexible and aware. Bcos no matter the coach hired by the FA if the players cannot adapt to other systems…they eventually revert to old habits on the pitch…4-4-2 or the flat 3-5-1..therein lies the football suicide.

    Dev & Yemi i really want to know what you think.

  • yemi

    @ Kodjo:
    I am as confused as you are !!!

But in my little way, i think the folowing may have contributed to englands failrue. 

Problem 1.
Team selection.
I think the whole englan problem started from selection. 
1. What was Hesky doing in SA ? When there are more potent and younger players littered all around !!
2. I still don’t understand why Adam johnson was not in SA.
3. WHy take injury prone players(CB- King, Ferdinand, ) to the WC ? 
4. Where are players like dawson ?
5. When in the world did stevie become a winger ?
6. Why would i want to play lamps and gerrard (same of same) in the same team ?
7. Why would i continue to start rooney even if he doesnt perform ?


Problem 2
Media Hype
”are England’s players that bad?” NO, but they are not as good as they are rated
”Do foreign players in the premiership make Englans players look good?”
YES and NO. A cesc, or a modric, or a snieder, or xaxi, could have made that team look so much different.
There has been so much hype around the team that the now feel like “We have arrived” The golden era !!!

Problem 3
Lack of focus.
The players where busy worrying about the wrong things when other teams were getting their tactics right. WAGS and booze.

Problem 4

Lack of fitness
Many of the players were looking so unfit. Barry, Glen johnson, j cole, upson, 

Problem 5
Tactical indiscipline
A DM was lacking in the english squad, There was no plan B, an come to think of it. Who could come of the bench and make an impact for england ?

Problem 6
Youth missing.
The ghanian team had a sizeable number of players that came in from the U-21, germany had a good number too, and many other teams have young players. There is no ,mix in the english team. Looking back home, Apart from the two jacks(rodwell and wilshire) and walcott, are there young players that can make that first team ? If there are, would they be given the opportunity like ghana ? like germany ?

Problem 7
Technical mistakes
In the last game, i expected milner to be left in that game cos he was still getting the ball in and very good balls too. I would have easily subbed Gerrard for SWP on the left wing.

Problem 8
Lack of creativity
There is streght in the english team no doubt, but when you need a little guile or a little trickery to unlock defences, England is found wanting.

Problem 9
Lack of options

England are used to one route football. Kick and run, or kick and follow as we call it here. Get the ball upfront as quick as possible, one big striker, one small. Hope to get free kicks in vital arears,

problem 10
Internal differences.
There are Tin Gods in the team, there is distrust, back biting, and all stuff going on in that team. I also believe that there are some other things we don’t know about that are happening behind closed door. i was shocked at the display

  • yemi

    sorry about my post being so muddled up. i tried posting on the web without success so i had to use my mobile phone hence the lack of proper formatting

  • Kodjo

    No problem Yemi. I got the gist of it and you highlighted some issues that i overlooked. If this squad of players are Englands best….then England really have a massive problem.

    Capello is pointing out that the players were tired…is that a legitimate excuse?…why not mix it up with fresh, young and hungry players? Adam Johnson springs to, Walcott with all his limitations,Dawson. Move a few players around…

    Then again Capello is inexperienced in the sense that he not been at a tournament before…unlike playing league or cup games….therein might lie his archilles or maybe not.