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How the defence has improved and the forwards have met the challenge

By Walter Broeckx

Last summer was a bad summer. Well that is kicking in an already open door as they say in my mother language. We lost our top scorer. And we lost our main assist provider.

And because of the European championship a few of our players couldn’t  join in pre-season from the start. And also the new players couldn’t join in pre-season from the start.

The result was that when we started the competition we started with almost half of the team having hardly played together before. It was a big problem and it took a while before the team started to know each other. We had games when it clicked and we played the opposition from the pitch. But then we also had games where it didn’t work at all. Where we struggled to find the right solution for the problems we faced.

One game we played superbly and the next game it was as if they never played together before. So lots of ups and downs. I usually remember the ups but there are other people who can’t get over the downs.

But the longer the season went on the more the group started to find each other. And it looks as if the team finally has found a good balance. It looks as if the teams has started to gel and seems to be playing as a unit. While at the start we seemed to play with 11 individuals most of the time.

I think we all know by now that we have four players who have scored more than 10 goals in the PL this season. And that is better than having one player who scores 40 goals on his own. Ok, if there is such a player available just get him I would say and add them to the four we have. But there are not many around who could do this that I know.

If we look at goals scored for Arsenal this season after 37 games we have scored exactly the same number of goals as we did last season after 37 games. 71 goals scored that is. In our last game we scored another 3 goals. I sure hope we add another 3 in this seasons last game if possible.

When we look at the goals conceded after 37 games we last season had 47 goals conceded and now we have only conceded 37 goals. So we conceded 10 goals fewer. We did let in two goals in our last game of last season and I really would like us to not do this again if possible.

I know that many said that Wenger didn’t allow Bould to train the defence. Well a former Arsenal employee started that rumour and it was picked up by the media and the well-known part of our fans that will take any opportunity to knock the manager down.

But let us suppose this is right and it isn’t Bould doing the defensive coaching. Is it then the work of Wenger himself? Or is the “dictator Wenger” line wrong and is Bould getting a chance of doing defensive work? Either way: we conceded 10 goals fewer compared to last season. That is the most important thing. And we have the second best defence in the league.

Another thing is that if we look at the last months of the league we see that the longer the league lasted the more points we have picked up. And if we look at the last 12 matches we see that this is the table :

Points won 12 last games
Arsenal

29

MU

27

Chelsea

26

MC

25

Tottenham

24

Everton

21

Wenger hinted at this in one of his press conferences. He said that it was important to build on this. And to continue this run and take it in to next season.

It also is rather amazing to see that if we could maintain this form even this team could have been fighting for the title. And it shows that if the team had started to find each other a bit sooner we could have been higher up the table.

And if we can add the odd player left, right or centre and bring in one or two more Cazorla-type of signings (what a player he has turned out to be) and have them in the group from the start of the season and make them gel with this group we have now…. I’m feeling rather confident that we might have seen the building of a new big team.

And indeed with the new players from this season having adapted more to the PL we can expect more of them next season.

But maybe more importantly: there is some kind of resilience and fighting spirit in this team. They seem prepared to work for each other when things don’t go as wanted. Even when there are moments in a game when we are on the back foot, the team keeps on working hard and doing a great defensive job. Only 8 goals against us in the last 12 games. A nice record and one to keep I would say.

If this summer we can avoid important players leaving, add a player where Wenger thinks it is needed and keep this group and the mentality as it is now alive…. I can’t wait for next season to be honest.

But first one more thing guys: go to Newcastle and take those 3 points.

 

64 comments to How the defence has improved and the forwards have met the challenge

  • avatar Lanre

    Walter, thanks for write-up.
    I for one am delighted as how things have turned out towards the end of the season. People have started seeing the true potentials of this team. (Hopefully, another invisible in the making).
    The defence has been our most improved. Koscelny ‘the boss’ has shown the true world class player Wenger sneaked into the league. Our BFG has also shown why he has racked up a million caps for germany. ‘No be small thing’- as we say down here in Nigeria. Nacho has been a wonderful signing too. You can’t bully that guy. I tell you.
    I am so very confident going into the next season. We don’t have vultures circling to take any of our players. Good thing. Let’s just add one or two wenger signings and we’re good to go.
    (Note I said ‘wenger signings’ not world class players. Because Wenger Knows Best)

  • avatar abulu ceejay

    Walter, i really like the fact that we are improving and i sincerely hope we make one or two new signings next season… GUNNERS 4 LIFE

  • avatar Paul Southcott

    Good blog, Thanks Walter

    did you see arenal.com picked it up in their Media Watch

    “Untold Arsenal looks at how the Gunners’ defence has improved over the course of the season – UNTOLD ARSENAL”

  • avatar Sam

    The core of the team has been formed…now we need certain reinforcements like
    a replacement for Diaby
    a replacement for Gervinho.
    a quality CB for the presumably outgoing Djourou.
    A top top striker!!!
    That should be enough!

  • avatar Matt Clarke

    A timely and well expressed article Walter – thank you.

    After that pre-season game against Cologne I said that the three new players were great additions (but especially Cazorla) and that it was looking as though Steve Bould was organising the defence well.

    (I say this, not to blow my own trumpet, but to point to how those things looked good from the start but have taken time to come to fruit).

    And it’s good to see you (a proper journalist) up on the AFC Media Watch – just a shame that they have put some hacks up there too !

  • avatar WalterBroeckx

    No, no I think they put those hacks up there to show how good we are ;) LOL

  • avatar chis umeh

    wenger surely need to bring in the new signings before preseason. SAM, have actually, analyzed correctly the area we need to strengthen.

  • avatar Granville

    We have a strong group of players that have suprised some anti – arsenal supporters and the media as well as the scums and money bags chelski and shitty.
    Reinforcments I prefer would unclude purchasing a solid defensive midfielder like Capoeue which we made a bid for and having Le Cog deputize for him. Then moving arteta upfield into the holding midfielder position with ramsey rotating with arteta. Cazorla and Wilshere rotating in the attacking midfielder position. Strikers should be Giroud and Higuan/ Joevtic and another recruit. Whilst the wingers should be Walcot / Gervinho/ Chamberlain/ and Jesus Navas and whoever to be promoted from the reserves. Next season wil be ours in defense I will only replace Sagna if he’s leaving no CB will be needed with Conscielny and Vermaelen/Mertesacker/ Migeal, Gibbs and Monreal. Just a gooner from south africas thoughts….

  • avatar odiri eboh

    I have always told me that Arsene Wenger knows right. It took us 8 years to build this team and i think this is another ‘invisible’s’ in the making. We have only conceded 3 goals in the last 8 which makes us virtually the team to beat. we have never had a team with a solid backline, an impressive and often time intimidating midfield and an emerging strike force. Gunners for life

  • avatar Chris Frenchy

    In reply to sam. Luckily weve been linked with these players at some point this season – Capoue/Gonalons, Isco, Williams and Jovetic, I just hope we are lucky enough to get them.

  • avatar ARSENAL 13

    @Walter, yeah right….media watch was the place where I first got to know or Untold. As they say “Once an Untolder always an Untolder”.

    This team sure looks solid. Are we seeing the making of the new Invincibles????….Time is just right 2013-14, 10 years after the original unbeaten run…COME ON GUNNERS, Lets give it a try.

  • avatar Brickfields Gunners

    Another nice article ,Walter .Do hope that Wenger gets the players he wants while keeping the core of this team intact .
    Hope we finish off in style at Newcastle to cement our CL place
    which should be an added attraction for the new incoming players.
    With the other 3 teams at the top all undergoing managerial
    change ,I am too ,like you, looking favourably to next season.

  • avatar bob

    Walter,
    How the Sans Song defensive midfield looking to you for tomorrow?
    That absence (which, in fairness, you did not endorse, but Mr. Attwell did excuse in advance in an interrupted exchange of postings with me) now comes down to a hamstrung Mikel and risking a pre-operative Jack. Any thoughts? Will Untold actually comment on this? It is the day before the day. One would think it would bear a comment somewhere on this blog…

  • avatar bob

    p.s. are we now post-DM? does any issue vanish? no concerns? is that presence now tactically overcome? no upgrade needed or thinkable, even in reserve? is Arteta not to be a year older next season? will Jack come back sound and special post-operation? It’s not all the silent cake walk that is somehow being assumed (UnCommented?)

  • avatar bob

    Mandy Dodd,
    You’ve appreciated Song. Any concerns about the DM position as we go into tomorrow? Was the Arteta-Wilshere absence not explicit at the very start of the season and now, alas, has come back to bite (hopefully not too hard) on the last day?

  • avatar WalterBroeckx

    Bob, an interesting question(s).
    In fact we have played the whole season without a defensive midfielder. Arteta was playing in a more conservative style one could say but he has never been a defensive midfielder. More a box to box player. Just as Ramsey is.
    What Arteta brings to the team is experience and intelligence. His know how in knowing when to go or when to stay is something that can only be gained with years of experience. Yes missing him is a big blow so we can only hope he gets fit.

    Jack plays with pain and is struggling (for a while now) and I don’t know if playing him from the start is the best option. Why not go for the solution that has been demanded in the last year? Maybe putting Vermaelen in front of Kos and Per could be a solution. And we all know that Vermaelen can score a goal when he can go forward a few times in a game.
    But what do I know…

  • avatar Kay

    Good write up. Wenger keep all your core team members.

  • avatar bob

    Walter,
    How about bringing back Song, now that he’s openly fought with Pique (one of his seducers last summer) on their very victory barge after they just won the Liga! That is amazing – Shard provided the link in the previous posting. I think Song wants to return (he’s hinted) and whilst AW advised him to stay on, perhaps it was not to appear to be tapping-back. But, emotions aside, would his talents as a rotational/sometimes quality reserve not be an answer – rather than to go without a DM function and Arteta (two injuries at the end of two successive seasons) is not getting any younger?

  • avatar Brickfields Gunners

    Just found this posted on my Facebook page .Enjoy !

    Don’t waste time looking back for what you’ve lost .
    MOVE ON .
    For life wasn’t meant to be traveled backwards .

  • avatar bob

    Brickfields,
    Song’s available now and going forward.
    I could read your posting in a Chinese fortune cookie.
    Perhaps a future career move?! :)

  • avatar Rufusstan

    We have finally got a central defensive partnership that clicks. Per and Kos seem to work well together, and you just don’t change that unless you have to. Build the team around it and rotate other players whenever you want, but the central defense should be the rock in the middle.

    I do think it helps that the midfield give them more protection — Per’s two number 6s comment About Arteta and Ramsey says a lot about how the team is set up.

    I have been saying all season that for the last two years we have had to integrate a new squad with all the departures. It has taken at least 20 league games to do that, and of course by that point we were out of contention. Both years, once we got our act together, our form was as good as anyone.

    Start the season in that shape…..

  • avatar bob

    “our form was as good as anyone”
    So no purchases necessary, eh?
    Blinkered.

  • avatar Rufusstan

    Song would be interesting. We really do seem to be going for a no DM system, just seemingly with defensive discipline from 1 or 2 in the middle.

    I loved the guy when he played for us, but the problem he had was the lack of discipline when he sad sole defensive responsibility. I just wonder how a Song-Arteta or Song-Ramsey pairing would work as we play now.

    Sunday? We work with what we have. No wishes for sold or injured players, just beat Newcastle with Jack if he is able to last 90 mins, or Coquelin, or Vermaelen.

  • avatar AL

    Good work Walter, and please do keep up the good work. Absolutely agree that a team that had that many players who hardly knew each other was always going to play like strangers. Stability is the key, and it looks like we are finally getting it. Excited about next season.

  • avatar marcus

    Won’t AW play Ramsey Coquelin and Cazorla in midfield? Where’s the problem Bob? Song was very good but so too JW, AR, MA, Cazorla.

    I noticed that Paddy Power have become fans of yours Walter with their latest advertising campaign. The market is speaking. Predictable refereeing patterns cannot help the betting companies either.

  • avatar marcus

    Perhaps you should send them a sample of your work Walter – there could be a nifty contract there for you and the team…

  • avatar Strus

    This season:
    In 9 league games without BFG Arsenal conceded 17 goals.
    In 28 league games with BFG Arsenal conceded 20 goals.

  • avatar Rufusstan

    Bob, please don’t read things that are not there. It seems beneath you to misinterpret me to make a cheap dig.

    Having said this repeatedly here and elsewhere I didn’t think I had to step through the whole argument again.

    The key hope for us is to keep this squad together so that we can start next season as we have finished this one. How that apparently translates to make no improvements is beyond me.

    Its is obvious to anyone that we have had a striker-shaped hole in the squad all season, so reinforcements there are a given. Beyond that? A keeper? A right Back? 4th centre-back? Song? Cesc? Depends on who leaves, who we can get rid of, and who we can get.

    My point was that for the last 2 years, the disruptions to our squad have meant we have lost the league before we got moving. When we have got settled, our results have proven that we have got a competitive core. Keep that core AND improve on it, and we are in the running to win stuff.

  • avatar Brickfields Gunners

    bob @ 1:37 – nice to see that the wisdom of ancient Asians being disseminated in a ‘palatable ‘ form for easy ‘digestion’ for the ‘consumption ‘ of the new world !
    My medical practice keeps me gainfully employed but maybe I’d
    try my hand at blogging as a panacea for the ailing masses .
    I ‘d always tell my patient to be positive and to move on and not dwell on the past too much. I do try to inject humour in all aspects of my life and follow the old adage ,”Laughter is the best medicine “.

  • avatar Brickfields Gunners

    And while we are talking about cookies ( Whats that ? We weren’t? Oh well , anyhows …!), what do you thing would have been the message in that pretzel that almost choked a former world leader ?

    1)Bite off more than you can chew, then chew it. Plan more than you can do, then do it. Anonymous.

    Mission accomplished ? Really ?

    2)Chew before you swallow.
    George W. Bush (1946 – ), On TV, about his passing out eating a pretzel.

    You just can’t make this up ! Do take this with a pinch of salt !Or a dash of humour !

  • avatar Mike T

    The flaws in all this is that a season isnt just about the last 12 games , 12 games where you really havent had the hardest of runs in addittion you have havent really had to rotate your squad due o your involvement in other competions.

    Irrespective another season without silverware , a season where Swansea & Wigan can point to managers who have won more in their 1 & 3 year tenures than AW has had in the last 8 years of his

  • avatar Steve

    If Arsenal can keep a settled squad only losing those out on loan and those bit part players (Arshavin, Squillaci etc) who hardly at then it will be a start. With new managers at the top 3 clubs it could be a time to take advantage, Arsenal have a strong defence if they can cut out the indervidual errors. The improvement of Ramsey and I hope a fully fit season from Wilshere can only be good for the midfield and a fully fit Podolski with Giroud and maybe another striker the striking opinions look good too.

    If Arsenal do buy a GK, another RB if Sagna goes a DM to help rotate with Arteta to add to players like Ox, Monreal and the rest of the squad I can not see why Wenger and the squad can not push for a higher place position in the PL and go for a good cup run

  • avatar Anca Gunner

    Hey Walter,

    am posting here as this is the most recent post –

    I am not able to view the following article from the main page links – “PGMOL is breaking its own rules by appointing Dean. Do we smell the stench of calciopoli?”

    Help?

  • avatar WalterBroeckx

    Anca will try to check it thanks for letting us now.

  • avatar WalterBroeckx

    Mike T,
    maybe the seasons before it was in those ‘easy” games we let ourselves down too much.
    Mind you I don’t think there are easy games in the PL.

  • Good work, add one or two signings and we are there.

  • avatar Anca Gunner

    Walter, when I click on the link it gives me the wordpress login page

  • avatar WalterBroeckx

    I think I have fixed it now, Anca Gunner.

  • avatar FunGunner

    Great article, Walter. The second biggest achievement of this season (we all know what the biggest one is) will be the creation of a solid foundation for next season. A proper team of players who want to be here and want to fight for each other and for the club. We have a delicious cake on which AW can put the icing this season. As Rufusstan says, for the first time in a while, we will be adding to what we have, rather than having to replace what we’ve lost.

    Song is a good player, but so are all our midfielders, it’s easily our strongest area of the pitch. And there’s no reason to think he wants to come back or that AW wants him back.
    I actually do think

  • avatar FunGunner

    “on which AW can put the icing this season.” should be “on which AW can put the icing this SUMMER”.

    Anyway let’s not get ahead of ourselves. One More Win.

  • avatar americangooner

    I have seen on quite a few blogs making a comparison to last year’s defensive and offensive records. we have conceded 12 goals less than last season while we are 3 goals short of equaling last years Goals For record. All three of our signings have double figures goals scored and if podolski gets one assist three players will have double double i.e. double figures in goals and assists. the good thing is that we will be adding players rather than kind of replacing so that will give us stability from the start.

  • avatar Sammy The Snake

    First, let’s get the 3 points tomorrow!

    BTW, have you noticed we have the best defense away from home, only 14 goals conceded. That’s 5 better than Manchester clubs who have 19 goals conceded each. Very impressive indeed.

  • avatar bob

    FunGunner,
    Now that you have resurfaced, I’ll be sending you some unfinished business in regard to RVP’s conditions of departure, which you disappeared on without bothering to refute. Hopefully you’ll answer it if/when you see it. I’ll try to call attention to it more than once, since it may finally put some closure to that argument.

    As for the Song song argument, not having him NOW – with Arteta injured and Wilshere at risk – is the predictable fruit of the reckless, shortsighted policy towards him that the club and now you’ve still continued to endorse. It’s obvious that he’s needed, and that this outcome was predicted from August, unfortunately. As for whether Song wants to return, you’ve obviously missed his agent’s hints that he’d fancy it.

  • avatar bob

    Rufusstan,
    I do take your point and willfully did read into it what I’d wanted to say. I’ll do better next time. Cheers. :)

  • avatar bob

    marcus,
    Imo, the problem is that under-used and under-experienced, your man Coquelin poses risk that we need not have had to run. I’d have Song any day than be forced to look to Coquelin with so much on the line. Where does you confidence about him stem from?

  • avatar FunGunner

    bob, don’t bother sending me anything. I saw it the first time and I have dealt with all of that definitively with Adam on another forum.

  • avatar weedonald

    Hey everyone….I just realized that Wenger could produce Another Invincibles team while not winning one game in a 38 game season! Basically if AFC tied every game they played next season, they would have remained undefeated, but also (based on this season’s league tables) end up in 16th or 17th place and just avoid relegation! Weird n’est ce pas?

  • avatar Sav from Australia

    Song is the past. He got too big for his boots. And what’s more, he was lazy tracking back. If Arsene forgives him and wants him back – fine – but otherwise, fuck him. Why harp on and on and on and on about it, fucks sake bob. Arsenal need more Ramsey and less Song.

  • avatar marcus

    @Bob

    Song was great player I agree. But Cazorla and Arteta are two of the best passers in the EPL, (according to the stats). Aaron Ramsey is potentially better than them all, if he gets his confidence, and learns to hit a barn door at 6 paces. Jack Wilshere is highly regarded in some circles also. Anyhow, Song was removed for disciplinary reasons apparently, and AW is punctilious about those matters. He is not coming back Bob. Mourn a bit and then move on old boy.

  • avatar Abhishek Kumar

    @bob….

    You cant just cite one game and say that selling Song was not needed.. I would not put him above Arteta and Ramsey.. So if he had been here all year long, we would have had another djourou in the making… And players like Coquelin are there for this purpose ony… You cant have a senior player like Song waiting all year long waiting for 5 matches in a season..

  • avatar Shard

    bob

    I think Song not getting a mention says something about why he was sold.

    Wenger said: “It’s a ­really wonderful feeling knowing everyone I want to stay will stay.

    “It’s important because for several summers it has been a difficult time.

    “It started with Cesc ­Fabregas, last year it was Robin van Persie – and we cannot forget Samir Nasri either.

    “We have started going to pre-season camps with a player being half in and half out. It’s not the best way to prepare.

    “We can talk about new signings and I hope we achieve that – but this stability is more important than ­any new player who comes in.

    http://www.dailystar.co.uk/football/view/315389/?

  • avatar Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    Happy Saint Totteringham day, everybody.

  • avatar bob

    Abhishek Kumar
    No, it’s not one game that I’ve focused on, unfortunately, thoughit seems that way to you (not having noticed, which is Ok). What I’m saying is that with Song, imo, we’d not have had the first half of the season’s defensive problems that were an integral part of our being out of top honors competition by January. My argument for him has had that in mind, since last August, and now I drop in. If AW forgives/brings him back, you’ll be on the queue to applauding that move. I don’t expect it and don’t hold my breath.

  • avatar bob

    Shard,
    As usual, we don’t/can’t know what the silence means. It could mean anything, including that maybe something is in the works. The silence is no more telling than are the words, as everything is in context, and AW, to his credit, is an accomplished poker player. We shall see. More important, imo, is what happens next in the transfer window so that we are in the running for top honors as of next January.

  • avatar bob

    marcus,
    Neither you nor I nor the lamp post know that Song was “removed for disciplinary reasons apparently.” It’s just the rumor that’s been spread with enough repetition that it now habitually automatically springs to mind and keyboard whenever the mystery of Song’s absence comes up. I can handle his not coming back. Then again, if he does, you’ll be queuing up to praise our flexibility in letting bygones be bygones on behalf of our self-interest. I’m not holding my breath for Song’s return; but I think the mystery of his departure remains a mystery, however inconvenient for many who like the purity of his being expelled (like a brat) for indiscipline. In the absence of knowledge, I think that’s borderline slanderous.

  • avatar bob

    Sav from Australia,
    Not harping no more, so calm ye, calm ye. I brought it up because of Arteta’s injury on the eve our must-win (which would be two years in a row that he’s been injured on the eve of the last decisive game, because – as I truly value him – he is not getting younger and cannot be played in every match and be expected to hold up, as proven twice in succession). So that’s it, if you’re interested in knowing my reasons, or not. And that’s pretty much it from me on this score. Unless, of course, AW forgives him as so many people think is the moral situation; in which case he’ll be greeted back with a lame excuse and open arms. But rest easy down under; I won’t tax your eyeballs with this tired saw any more.

  • avatar bob

    Adam,
    Perhaps you would link me to where FunGunner has so definitively dealt with the RVP/transfer saga issue with you? I’d greatly appreciate not having to dig through the catacombs to try and find the purported last word on the matter.

  • avatar bob

    FunGunner,
    Thanks for your definitive word. I’ve asked Adam to link me to it and, having missed it because of real life away from this virtual co-habitation here, I’d like to find the closure you seem to suggest, and I’m as tired of it as you express yourself toward me.

  • avatar Adam

    http://positivelyarsenal.com/2013/05/05/oh-stfu-will-you/#comments

    bob, don’t go chasing a war. I know you Yanks love a conflict but from now on, leave me out of it. love you.

  • avatar bob

    Adam,
    Ok, admission accomplished, mate. :)

  • avatar Nelson Wong

    I actually believe in this team and thought this team can go as far as 2nd + FA/ or whatever cup; this team should easily at 3rd so missing out of that to be at 4th is slightly under achieving.

    The reason is well described above. They needed time to settle but I think they took a bit too long. I do not blame the players; instead that’s the responsibility of the coaching team. At least the back four should have worked better in the first half of the season.

    So its very good that this team is staying intact. Many people say they lack the quality.

    May be. It is not like they are 60/100 (points for ability) players. The team is full of players at the level of 80/100 ( with some 90/100 and one or two 95+) so it is very hard to actually find improvement and you cannot replace the whole team with 90/100 or 95+/100 players.

    And when 80/100 players are motivated and work as a team, they can easily get to 90/100 level. That is why I think 2nd is achivable.

    There are goods and bads for the seasons.
    1) No more goals lost on last 10 minutes
    2) No more injury problems. There are injuries but the bench
    3) much better tactical flexibilty (due to good solid players with different styles)
    more than covers that

    There are bad things for the seaons other than taking too long to gel.
    1)individual errors
    2)a bit lack of leadership… but that seems to be improving
    3)the game flow a bit not as beautiful as before (some say winning it ugly) but that’s a price I am willing to pay for the moment.

    So it is very good that the team stays intact. Wenger needs to work out some special “tactic” with some 90 & 95+ players.

    One thing everyone should note is that since last year, the team has a very good spread of age groups. It has experienced and young players of various ages. Young players can gradually come in and the team looks secured for the next 5 or even 10 years, even if a few players decide to leave.

  • avatar bob

    Nelson Wong,
    Last season, the combination of the disarray and newcomers was further compounded by the side’s Emirates Summer Tour, which delayed the gelling time. This is a chronic tension between the business tour and the run-up to the season. I fervently wish that the business tour (slated for Vietnam, I think) could be scaled back this year because I suspect it serves the Airline far better than it serves the winning on the pitch that better enhances our prospects. Of course it goes with the business deal, but so does a winning performance which requires early gelling, especially with a CL qualifier on the horizon.

  • avatar Nelson Wong

    Someone mentioned BFG above and thats a really good point. Remember last year, things turn bad when he fell over and got injured?

    People do not believe in him because he made all those very visible mistakes (falling over, hurting himself and gifted a goal was one)but there is fact speaks for itself. Whatever the reason he just make the defense so much better.

    And when AW brought him in, people said he was no good at headers eventhough he was as talk as a lamp post. That seemed true for his early games, but then he actually imporved his skills on that and scored too!!!

    No one dare to bring that “header weakness” up anymore. Its very intereting that when people wanna write down or discard a player, they can say all kind of stuff.

    As for Song, no need to bring him back. If AW thinks there is use for him and he can develop into a player of more use or hihger resale value, he would keep Song.

    Apparently AW doesn’t think so and the Arsenal midfield, attacking-wise, is over crowded.(Carzola, Wilshere, Arteta, Ramsey, Diaby.. and even Arshavin!!!)

    The team might not need a DM but they need someone who can cover the back which Song failed. From the transfer saga, he seems to be difficult and ignorant to work with. That’s why he got sold.

    What made Song look good was his paring with THAT DUTCH and the DUCTH went away. That sealed his fate. The team, especially THAT DUTCH and Arteta who fell back when Song went forward was behind him emerging. Not that he is “so very good”.

    I still think a disciplined version of Song or a DM would be a good addition. May be an Arteta with even better defending ability?

    At last, I figured the reason we are disappointed in the middle of the season. That is that the team had a good start in the early games. The defense looked good and we expected things to be in better shape by November and Xmas.