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Avoiding Those Big Embarrassing (Away) Losses

Avoiding Those Big Embarrassing (Away) Losses

By Bootoomee

 

Arsenal’s losses in the premier league for 2013/14 season:

  • Arsenal 1 – 3 Aston Villa
  • Manchster City 6 – 3 Arsenal
  • Liverpool 5 – 1 Arsenal
  • Chelsea 6 – 0 Arsenal
  • Everton 3 – 0 Arsenal
  • Manchester United 1 – 0 Arsenal
  • Stoke City 1 – 0 Arsenal

The relevance of each of the aforementioned defeats to our failure to win the league last season has been discussed exhaustively here on Untold and elsewhere in the Goonershpere so I won’t go there. Our first loss of the season is also not going to be discussed as it isn’t a heavy loss to a rival and the circumstances that led to it are very clear to us all.

The infamous trio of losses were against our direct title rivals but I am adding the Everton loss to make it 4 as the margin is exactly the same as Man City’s and Everton finished 5th.

Why did we lose those matches by big margins? Were these teams that better than us? How come none of the other top teams lost these many away games by big margins? How come few (if any) of the smaller teams lost these fixtures by those kind of margins? As the popular saying goes, you cannot find answers to a problem that you have not been able to diagnose. So, why did we lose 4 out of 4 away matches against the other teams in the top 5 by big margins? Knowing the cause(s) might help us to find solutions to avoid repetition.

We were flying high before the Man City game. We had just got a valuable and absolutely key victory on our trip to Dortmund. We were cruising in the league sitting comfortably on top. We were buzzing and our spirits were high. The talk was about beating Man City rather than getting a draw. But the team was not well rested from their travel. After playing till 10pm on Wednesday they had the 12.45pm kick-off Saturday. I think that when we look at the circumstances surrounding the game, including the referee’s ineptitude, we can let the 6-3 loss slide. It is the one of the 4 big losses that we suffered that is least troubling, the margin notwithstanding.

If the Man City loss can be understood, the Liverpool one is the most troubling. The 1st half is one of the worst that I have ever seen of 2 teams in the same league. I have seen lower league teams avail themselves better against top premiership oppositions in the cup competitions. It looked like Liverpool were going to score every time they attacked us. They even missed 2 to 3 good chances in those horrible 30 minutes.

We suffered a similar fate at Stamford Bridge but even though the margin was higher, the performance was not as scary as that at Anfield considering the circumstances. Our 3-0 loss to Everton was in the same pack.

No one can seriously say that our defence was poor last season. No way! We conceded 18 goals in 33 games and then conceded 20 in 4! What the hell is going on?

I have a theory and it goes thus: Disrespect of our opponents. It sounds harsh; I know but please hear me out. (No monster defensive midfielder nonsense though).

Apart from the result that got us the FA cup in May, my most satisfying result of the 2013/14 season was our 1-0 victory at Dormund. It was a game that I was praying for a draw in based on how the Germans played us at the Emirates a couple of weeks earlier. We went into that game with respect for our opponents. We kept things tight at the back. We let them have the ball but we were resolute at the back. Because we weren’t venturing forward too much, we had enough men to help at the back. We were basically playing for a draw but we nicked it with a few minutes to go and the table turned with us nearly getting a second goal.

A similar template has been used twice against Bayern Munich, making Arsenal undefeated at the Allianz Arena in 2 visits. We treated our German opponents with respect and played cautiously, no going gung-ho looking for a win. In the end we got 2 wins and 1 draw in 3 visits to 2 of the most difficult away grounds in Europe.

Despicable as he is, Jose Mourhino gets this. I was discussing with my Gooner cousin after last season and he mentioned that had it been Chelsea who only needed a DRAW at home against Liverpool that Mourhino would have set up a wall at the back and get his draw. I couldn’t agree more and I hate to give that cretin any credit. Much as we love to hate what he stands for in football and humanity, we must admit that Mourhino is a pragmatist.

The key to Arsenal avoiding heavy away losses is pragmatism. Heavy is emphasised as I don’t believe that there is anything we can do about losing away to our rivals. I worry more about our inability to beat our rivals at the Emirates than about losing to them in their own stadium. Man City got only 1 point out of 9 away to their title rivals. Second placed Liverpool got 0 point in 9 just like Arsenal did. No one is talking about these 2 teams’ away performances the way they do about Arsenal because they both lost respectably.

Mourhino went to Old Trafford and didn’t bother to field any striker. He left with a point.  Although I think that he must be kicking himself later when teams like West Brom and Newcastle started winning there but the key point here is that he got what he wanted.

We won 11 of our 19 away games last season, more than any other team in the league. Against lower oppositions away, our expansive style of play works as they must come out and play us. Their firepower is beneath ours so we don’t get punished for going forward and we get rewarded for our audacity. No team got more away points (35) than Arsenal last season. Our away form was outstanding!

Our audacity away from home is also the reason why, instead of losing 0-1 or 1-2 or 2-3 away to our rivals (as they all did against each other), we lost by at least 3 goal margins. The solution to avoiding big away losses is pragmatism and respect for our rivals at their home grounds. I hate bus parking as a football strategy but in those 4 away matches to our top 5 rivals, it is what we need to do. Contrast our 1st half at Anfield with Chelsea’s and weep. They kept it tight and didn’t give an inch whereas we left huge spaces for Liverpool to attack us from as we rushed forward in search of goals. Yeah, the football played by Chelsea at Anfield was ugly but they left with 3 points and +2 goals while we left with 0 point and -4 while giving BT Sport the material for the worst pre-season promo by any sport broadcaster that I have ever seen.

I am not advocating that Arsenal start playing negative football but as our results from Germany show, when you are playing at the home of a good opponent, show them respect and keep things tight at your end. We have 33 or 34 games to play our beautiful expansive game so I think we can be easily forgiven for going negative against 4 or 5 opponents out of necessity. I am certain though, that we’ll be praised to high heavens if we pull off wins no matter how dire the football might be.

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58 comments to Avoiding Those Big Embarrassing (Away) Losses

  • Lekan gunner

    Very good analysis of what we need to do against chelsea, manu and city .
    I fully support pack d bus against those 3 teams. That will open them up and we strike on the counter. Theo and the ox should be the wingers for those games.
    Pack d bus for these 3games and we can have a draw each instead of losses

  • Will

    From what I remember, we were cheated in the Man City game almost as badly as in the Villa game.

  • fiachra

    The ability to have taken draws instead of the hammerings we did get would have yielded four points, and a second place position by one point.
    I think the Man City game was actually a very good example of Arsenal’s problems.
    After a tough away match in Dortmund, any fool would know there would not be much in the tank, but did we play it tight? No way, even when getting back to 1-1. At that point we should have retreated and picked off the passes, the occasional counter and home with a point.
    Then you have the effect on morale those bashings had. After Liverpool we were toothless and a 0-0 at home to Man Utd should have been a routine 3pts considering how awful they were last season. That would have been sufficient to be champions.
    All contenders are expected to win at home and when they do not, doubts creep in. Look what happened to Man City after being beaten by Chelsea.
    You are right, treat the top EPL teams as we do top European teams and success follows.

  • Demz

    A brilliant read..

    I always told my arsenal mates, why dont we just sit back and let teams play, when we know on our day we play the best football.

    i hope this weekend against everton, we give them respect but as doing so we demolish them on the attack.

    Lets hope we change our mind frames for big games.

  • Super Singh

    As much as I hate tactics such as the “The long ball game” and “parking the bus”, they are precisely that? On a good day Arsenal can play and beat any team in front of them, but the problem is you can’t play in sixth gear all the time.

    Teams sit back, absorb the pressure then counter and by the time we’ve regrouped we find ourselves two to three goals down?
    Plus fighting bad referee’s and incompetetant linesmen.

  • Franck

    We were exhausted during the second half of the city game,we played well though,the ref didnt help our cause….yaya toure’s tackle on Giroud was a blatant red,not given,two chances clear on goal wrongfully called for offside and point blank penalty waved off.we lost cos the ref made sure we did.they did outplay us…they had only 7 shots to oue goal they took them when the ref denied us our chances.two goals chalked off and company was in an offside position when they got their corner that led to their first goal…ref did it,same as the villa game.the liverpool game was a disaster though.

  • You, my man, are an absolute genius! Well, it bothers me a lot why Wenger doesn’t seem to analyse and learn. It remains to be seen if he will be proactive and use our humiliating defeats of the past to reinvent the team tactics. Every team changes every season interms of playing personel etc, but my point is why not approach every game with a strategy based solely on past antecedents, without taking your eys away from present realities. I think it we are too predictable when we file out against our rivals and we usually play right into their hands by being employing the same style time and again. There is a touch of arrogance in our approach or is it naevity? We should use caution and audacity in equal measure when playing the big sides. Hope Wenger is listening. Good analysis my good man.

  • jayramfootball

    Really good article – thanks. I must say though that we would not be praised if WE parked the bus in those away games. Wjilst Chelsea are, if we did it the media would be very quick with the ‘boring boring Arsenal’ back page headlines (maybe even the front page).

  • slugboy

    Good analysis, but i think that small squad and lack of rotation also contributed, especially on weekends after away european nights. The guys looked knackered sometimes and without Ramsey’s energy, whilst he was injured, we had no potency.

  • Chapman's Ghost

    We were outplayed in the City game and very likely tiredness played a part.

    @Bootoome, kudos for writing this piece. I think if Linz had written it he’d have been metaphorically lynched because you could be mistaken for suggesting Wenger didn’t know what he was doing in those games. I have to agree with you though that we should have played a less expansive game. I’m sure Wenger would have had a game plan and it seems treating Chelsea, City and Pool with the same respect as we afforded Dortmund would have been the best approach. Sometimes you do have to adopt the pragmatic way. Of course we might still have lost but perhaps not so painfully!

    It will be fascinating to see how we approach these games this season.

  • Mike T

    Bit of a strange article in the context of the supposed aims or past history of this blog supporting the manager.

    I you are saying that in the games you lost by a margin was because the team weren’t pragmatic surely then that’s about how the team approached the game, team selection ,tactics state of mind then surely then that’s down to the manager.

    When I look at your squad it seems to me that, particularly in midfield your player recruitment is fundamental to the tempo, style and speed that fits your mangers basic football philosophy. You don’t recruit big players in terms of height weight etc. Its a contributory factor I respect of the levels you suffer.

    Before anyone jumps down my throat there was a interesting article that looked at the height of players that played in matches during the opening weekend
    http://www.squawka.com/news/chelsea-tallest-team-in-premier-league-arsenal-smallest/161705

    Playing against Arsenal is predictable. Your plan a is usually far too good for teams that end the season in the lower third of the league but when the top managers set up against you they more often than not disrupt or expose the flaws in that plan.

  • Mick

    Good piece Bootoomee.
    I think your analysis is largely correct and gives lie to those who say that if we had had the stereotypical ‘big powerful defensive midfielder’ these losses could have been prevented. As you say it was more to do with collective team defensive failures brought about by over ambitious game plans.

  • Edge

    Disrespect? Are you serious? We ain’t that good! We got hammered by the top teams because we do not have the players to match their class on the field. When you bring up the Bayern example, don’t forget Bayern had the fixture well and truly sealed at Emirates, so they were just going through the motions in the second leg. Giroud is our main man up front, the guy who is supposed to deliver us titles. Truth is he is ordinary. Our defense is weak and was exposed by the top teams and other attacking teams like Everton and Swansea. Holding clean sheets against teams like Stoke, West Brom, Norwich etc doesn’t count for much considering they barely attack!

  • Peaz

    I think the boys(Arsenal players) have no problem asdeliver they sometimes deliver.Wenger is the problem.His tactics have been studied and known.He can’t plan for aspecific game. Even Tony Pulis is a better planner,coz he gets the results that he wants. On Tuesday,He failed completely. The chemistry of Wilshere,Ramsey and Arteta can’t work. Either Ramsey out or wilshere.but to performance,Ramseyis in.And remember Wenger is playing Carzola out of position which makes to be aflop.Same to Podoski. But look at Giroud,even if he doesn’tdeliver in 10 games,he will still play him. Wenger is the Arsenal problem.

  • nicky

    From time immemorial, Arsenal have received and administered the most surprising defeats and victories. It’s as though the result, whatever it might be, will rarely be straightforward.
    Last season’s failures began with a particularly incompetent and biased display by a referee. Pragmatically, our 3 heavy away defeats by Citeh, Liverpool and
    Chelski only cost us 9 points, regardless of the damage to our goal difference, players’ morale and supporters’ blood pressure.
    The causes for our poor performances? Could be anything. Tiredness, dressing room row, domestic problems, upset love affairs. Like successful racehorses, professional footballers can have the same twinges, mental and physical, cropping up without warning, which will materially affect performance. (You even see examples of this at football grounds during pre-match warm-up!)

  • Chapman's Ghost

    @Mike T. interesting point about our midfield players. They are a little lightweight and do find it difficult sometimes against powerful midfielders. Wenger favours skill over power but I can’t see why the two should be mutually exclusive. Didn’t we used to have powerful midfielders years back? Worked quite well then I recall. That notwithstanding we do have an extremely talented midfield.

  • Gfromgirton

    Great read

  • Mike T

    @ Chapmans Ghost

    My comments aren’t a meant a negative they are just an observation.

    You are 100% right your midfielders are indeed skilful but looking that the article I linked the weight difference between Chelsea and Arsenals teams on day one was about an average of a stone more.

  • Pat

    There is no chance of Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal team adopting a bus parking strategy and I for one am very pleased about that.

    I agree with nicky’s approach.

    I’m also confident that Arsene and the team will be doing everything in their power to win every game this season. With the strength of the team last season and the great additions over the summer, we should be in an even better position to do that. Our defence was one of the best in the premiership last year and we’ve added Chambers who is proving to be a revelation.

    Sorry about Gibbs’s injury. Hope he can fully recover.

    I’m especially looking forward to seeing us playing once our Germans are back.

  • Tim Theuri

    I think its down to mentality and approach in this games.If you look at our recent game with C.Palace sometime s when we are desperate to win the team get frustrated and gets Jaded.I wish there can be players who can uplift the team at this me moment,a leader in the field.Wilshere n Ramsey or Flamini can do the Job.Approach!we don’t have to use left n right back in the attack like fake wingers let them be confined to defensive duties.Now that we have two fast wingers let use them to our advantage. Ox or Gnabry can stand in for Theo.Use clinical finisher like Poldi n Campbell and not French guys who r more tactical.n keeper rest sznr.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Yes, there are times and places when the bus must be parked, I hope this is one of the main learning points from last season, those results are unacceptable, and cause damage. I would add ….the first Liverpool goal was offside, the second Sagna was pushed, but we will not get favours from refs there, so pragmatism should apply

  • Oluwatoba

    Fantastic piece Bootoomee

    ‘I believe the target of anything in live should be to do it so well that it becomes an art’ – Arsene Wenger

    If you by any means hold to the above school of thought then to behave otherwise is a betrayal of hypocrisy of the highest degree.

    Treating opponent with respect should not be confused with tactics. That a lion will cross a crocodile infested river knowing its possible consequence is more of nature than attitude.

    It must be said that every coach has a responsibility to decide what principle underlies whatever pattern his team will choose to play. It has proven overtime that failure to do this is to deliberately confine to history every success of the present no matter how valiant or villainous. Arsenal has chosen a path under Wenger and I for one will be totally disappointed to see an antithesis of our style even if it is just for the first half of a match.

    Factors that contributed to heavy defeated last season are different from each other and I believe the Manager recognises them and has addressed those within his capacity to address.

  • Carim

    Still top of the Injury League. Ospina,Gibbs,Arteta,Sanogo,Diaby and Walcott.Kos was not 100% fit in Turkey. You can bet your bottom dollar Flamini will see red fairly soon ,even two yellows and he misses one match leaves us terribly short. By the way our net spend this Summer so far is 25.5 million which may surprise some. SPENT: Sanchez 30 million,Debuchy 12 Million, Chambers 12 million +add ons which could make his total cost 16 million, Ospina 3 million. RECEIVED: 13.5 million for Cesc which included 3 miilion on the sale to Chelsea,3 million owing on Song, 15 million for Vermaelen. There are caveats in the Puma deal for non qualification for the CL proper so we just have to win the return leg and IMO AW will buy one or two players the fee depending on how the second leg turns out.Win or lose he will buy but no one wants Thursday night football.

  • Franck,

    I already cut the team some slack for the Man City game. Look at the 4th paragraph again. I agree that we were dealt a poor hand prior to and during that game.

  • menace

    Mike T-
    What is missed out is that Wenger is taller than the idjut Mourinho. So in the psychological world it can be construed that the little prick wants to appear big by buying taller players. 😉

    He has kept his mouth shut after Wengers FA cup win. Perhaps he will resign/get sacked for the second time if he fails to buy a trophy this season.

  • Chapman’s Ghost,

    Cut out the hyperbole dude. Linz is the sort of Arsenal fan that gives us all a bad name. Untolders criticise the team and the manager all the time. we just do it in a constructive, reasoned and non-abusive manner. If your friend, Linz, can do the same, he will be accommodated around here.

  • Mike T,

    You might be right but when you consider the fact that Arsenal got 72 points from the lower 16 teams while Chelsea got only 64 does that not imply (as you have tried to do to Arsenal here) that your club does not have the type of players needed to win more of those games?

    You can call it whatever you want and dress it in good sounding adjectives but your team’s primary strategy is bus-parking. Maybe Chelsea should be more worried about their strategy because if you are getting scoreless home draws against the likes of Norwich City and West Ham while losing to Sunderland, you might have a bigger problem than Arsenal. There are only 3-4 teams that Arsenal struggle with. There are more of the type of teams that Chelsea struggle against and that’s why despite getting 9 points more than Man City in the top 4 fixtures, Chelsea lost the league by 4 points. That is a 13 points swing.

    Your team has got a bigger problem my friend so spare us your lectures. Remove the log in your own eye before talking down to others.

  • Pat & Oluwatoba,

    Being pragmatic when occasion and indeed history demand it is not a betrayal of one’s principle. We reinforced our defence away to Dortmund and got an ugly 1-0 victory. We were hailed as outstanding and I cannot recall anyone, friend or foe, criticising our victory. The truth is that if you succeed you get away with a lot more than if you fail even in the most glorious fashion.

    As I made clear in the article, I don’t advocate negative football but we will continue to lose scandalously if we keep playing strong opponents on their home turf like we play smaller teams at the Emirates. Parking the bus, if we need to, in about 10% of our games doesn’t change or betray the philosophy of the club.

  • Will

    I see Ballotelli is going to Liverpool, that will be the English sports media saying we have lost out on another signing even though there is no evidence at all we were in for him.

  • Wengerson

    @ Bootoomee

    Good analysis, although I feel we’re just scratching the surface. There is another perspective that could be explored and that is the effect of “parking the bus” or negative football. I would like to think that, under normal circumstances, Arsenal can match/beat any side in the world. Remember how we outplayed barca during that 2-1 at the emirates? During a period when they were unbeatable? You mentioned our games against dortmund and bayern. You see, “top” teams never park the bus.(this is why I don’t rate morinho!) They come out and play, or press you high up the pitch, like Dortmund (also the 1-1 against Everton at home?). Even the 6-3 at man city was an open game. Or the bayern game up until the red card.

    The only teams “big” teams that come to park the bus, or try to catch us on a counter, are chelsea and man u. And anyone can do this (crystal palace on Saturday?). I dont think this is due to RESPECT, its straight up cowerdice! 

    You also mention our AUDACITY. Now this is what caused the 5-1 at anfield (and the infamous 8-2). After conceding those (very) early goals from set pieces, what do we do? Wenger has told us many times that he’d rather go for it! And I admire that, because whatever the score, it’s still 3 points.

    I think the main problem is conceding EARLY during these games. 

  • finsbury

    Thanks Boo.

    Some further thoughts:

    What do we understand the tikkatactics(™ Biggus Sammus) at AFC to be, as far as we can understand?

    This article is a great reference, I hope you don’t mind the link:
    http://www.gunnerstown.com/arsenal/2014/08/20/arsene-wenger-considering-a-change-in-formation-to-accommodate-new-arsenal-signings/

    But we can also use our own football brain cells, all two of them in my case, to work out that there has been a template that gets tweaked from game to game, season to season, with the biggest influence as always being the eleven on the pitch. I heard a phrase once: ‘it’s the players stupid!’ 🙂

    ’08 forwards vs. ’14 ‘forwards

    Tall lumpy striker:
    Ade vs. Giroud

    Lethal predator who in the defensive phase of the game will take up the LF/LW area:
    Eduardo vs. Plodders

    Super duper forward often slagged off (lots of evidence) by the All knowing AAA but basically one of the best around:
    The Dutch Skunk vs. Electric Sanchez (I’m logging the AAA groans in advance)

    Walcott and Campbell might have something to add this season too, not forgetting the reserve Lump (Yaya instead of the Danish Lump) and any others that I’d like to see play *coughs* Akpom *coughs*

    Another factor at every level of sport ignoring fitness and conditioning (Man City Away) is of course confidence. In the cup final review I wrote for Positively Arsenal I collected some of the post final quotes from the players on the pressure they’d been under:
    Pressure from the media, from the AAA and perhaps most importantly from having to complete the huge task that others who I guess didn’t have the character of Arteta and Per had previously abandoned. Completing the baptism of the new Arsenal stadium with a worthy bauble
    Per and Arteta changed the dressing on arrival, the two captains for ages now, but Tommy was also good when fit for me, (last season he played himself back into some form.).

    The evidence I submit for the above on confidence are the starts against Wigan, and ignoring Probert’s fits of blindness and his partisan whistle, against Hull in the final too.

    Incredible to see the jip the AAA have been giving the new captain, when it’s clear for all to see (see that trophy?) that he’s been the most important player in the dressing room since he walked in the door. Of course he’s not getting any younger, but he’s been a great signing for the club. Not bad for a panic buy!

  • finsbury

    I also think Arsenal out parked the specialist in parking buses in the Home game last season. But that doesn’t fit many peoples narratives.

    Only Deano’s desperate bungling (the passage of play over four seconds including the not given red and not given penalty which were obvious to all inside the ground says it all) saved Gazprom-upon-Fulham from being barged off the road by l’autobus that day.

  • Mike T

    @Bootoomee

    Must have missed the bit where you get more points from teams below or above you in the league- Silly me there was me thinking it was the same and that 82 points trumped 79

    Yep you are right Chelsea had a terrible home record last season compared to Arsenal we know the stats will prove that don’t we?

    So when Chelsea scored 43 (7 more than Arsenal) drop 9 points, 2 fewer that Arsenal that clearly proves your point doesn’t it-not!!

    The irony in you first paragraph in your12.06pm post is that is exactly the situation.We didn’t have the players to address that weakness and based on what I have seen and everything I have read in the press suggests that was a key factor when bringing in players for season 2014/15.As for implying our squad wasn’t able to deal with. No implication I readily acknowledge that fact.

    As for log in front of eye( strange one that) I give in because that huge chip on your shoulder will trump anything I may have.

  • finsbury

    The possession stats from the Palace game are some kind of record? 76% or something crazy like that for the home team.

    It will definitely be hard to flip from playing teams that have no intention of touching the football to more interesting teams that have the strange desire to play football, as Gazprom and Mourinhio discovered last year, Biggus Sammus’ greatest moment for a while which we all enjoyed- unfortunately for the genius troll the other day when it attempted to defend the indefensible, a football team doesn’t have to be a Big ‘Un – we can include the likes of the football teams from the football clubs of Swansea and Southampton as well. I’m sure their fans have been enjoying watching Football too.

    I’m looking forward to the season ahead.

  • finsbury

    Very revealing, this consistent concern that the friends of Untold have with the “supposed aims” of the blog.

  • Damilare

    Nice read Bootoomee, well researched and well written.

    Stan The Man 8:38 am, AW analyses more than you could ever know.

    I think individual mistakes (loosing ball at dangerous positions, incompetence referring etc.) are responsible for those big defeats. Fatigue is also responsible but that should not be an excuse (expect many from B Rogers of Liverpool this season because of CL matches).

    I wouldn’t subscribe to packing the bus so if our approach to Bayern and Dortmund last season is improved upon, we will be just fine. I’m surprised that some people can come on here to fault the way AW sets up his team. No coach gets it right 100%. Do you remember that AW took responsibility for those defeat even though he pointed out reasons that weren’t his direct faults?

    He’s spoken about those ‘big’ defeats already, so I’m waiting to see what he would do about them. We have played Mancity already in CS. Forget the score line and it being pre-season, my question is: 1. Was our midfield outplayed? 2. Did we play with ‘monster’ DM that everybody is asking for (Yaya Toure played for mancity)? 3. Shouldn’t that match tell us of what to come?

  • wengerson,

    As you might have noticed from my comments on the issue, I am not one of those setting their hairs on fire over our big away losses. In this article, I tried to come up with why lost by big margins but not about why we lost. Call it cowardice or deafitism but I frankly expect top teams to win their home games against all oppositions. Yes, they might draw or lose the occasional games to rivals but they mostly win.

    If you are playing such a game and you go one down, I think it is better to keep things tight at the back while cautiously venturing forward. It will be difference between losing 1-0, 2-1, 3-2 or losing 5-1 or 6-0. I am not advocating negative football, I am saying that when occasion demands it, we should cut our losses and if being negative is what it takes, so be it.

    How would you describe how we played Dortmund away?

  • Mike T,

    You are a hypocrite. When it fits your condescending narrative, you arrogantly talked down Arsenal players in games against top teams. When I pointed out those players did far better than yours in the games against the lower 16, you started using the grand total. If your team players are so much better why didn’t they win the league or anything for that matter? At least those same players that you so flippantly dismissed won a trophy. What did Chelsea win with your ‘genius’ of a manager?

    Boohoo about your lack of “the sort of players to help you in those games”. Your excuse is utterly ridiculous. Your manager had the pre-season to sort out his team like everyone else. He fucked up, blame him and stop whining.

    True I have a chip on my shoulder but I am not the one on a Chelsea forum giving lectures about the inadequacy of your team while acting butt hurt when shown that mine are not all that either.

  • Damilare,

    Beating Man City with Yaya Toure 3-0 doesn’t count. You see, the team we beat cost only £240m compared to our £110m. Until we beat a Man City team costing half a billion, our victory counts for nothing.

  • Damilare

    I get it Boo, and if we don’t reply 6 goals against chel$ky, $hitty, loserpoo, and manure dis season- Wenger out!

  • Mike T

    @ Bootoome

    You really need to actually read my original comment rather than just attacking.

    I can only guess that you have chosen to read as me putting down Arsenal players but that wasn’t my intention.

    The following was an observation

    “When I look at your squad it seems to me that, particularly in midfield your player recruitment is fundamental to the tempo, style and speed that fits your mangers basic football philosophy. You don’t recruit big players in terms of height weight etc.”

    Tell me where that’s wrong?

    The league table doesn’t lie and the best team home and away wins the league. Every supporter can be selective, just as you are doing by wanting to look at teams that finished 5-20 and seek solace comparing against others but it wont alter the end result.

    If you had taken the time to think about my later comments you will have grasped the fact that I agreed we weren’t good enough, we need improvement it was obvious our squad at the start of season 2013/14 wasn’t balanced. I find it amazing we finished 3rd & got to the semis of the CL.

    You seem to show a lack of understanding how football works and indeed how a manager and indeed the club needs time and planning to make significant changes in personnel. To even think a manager appointed on 3 June would be able to have real impact in terms of rebuilding a squad at the level of the PL within what a maximum of 8-12 weeks is un realistic.

    Football isn’t a computer game.

  • Timothy BOSON

    I totally agree with your comments. Regarding Everton, I must say I’m deeply worried. Kos doesn’t seem to be at his best at the moment. Jack continues to be sluggish. Alexis (Sanchez) keeps fooling around, exhausting himself with pointless dribbles when he could easily pass the ball to better placed partners. His vision of the game seems to be very limited. All in all, he’s fast but wasty of his efforts. As to Ollie, he’s been a disaster so far. As a result, we have no penetration and we struggle to win the ball back. There’s a lot of gelling still to manifest. As I’ve said, I’m worried. (But still hoping)

  • Mike T,

    I read your original post and I understand it very well. I respect you for posting here as a rival fan. I seldom agree with you but I respect your speaking your mind and mingling with us Gooners.

    Having said that, my response to your earlier comment about Arsenal players is one that I disagree with. Your club and manager might prefer big players, that is your prerogative. The fact that it works for you in the big away games (where I think Chelsea won by strategy rather than player heights) does not mean that another team with a different set of players (by this other club’s strategic prerogative) is inferior or that their type of players is responsible for their big away losses as you suggested.

    If you can make this assertion in a debate forum, you must be ready to take comments pointing out the failings of your own exalted set of players. This is my point. I apologise for coming across as aggressive (I can’t help myself sometimes) but the core of my point remains.

    My article on how Arsenal can prevent the sort of big away losses we suffered to our rivals last season is inspired A LOT by the way Chelsea played away which I think is the right way to approach those sort of games. Chelsea’s success in all (5 wins 1 draw) says it all. But the difference is strategic in my opinion and not based on the type of players that clubs have, especially 2 teams that finished with a mere 3 points between them.

    I don’t think we are ever going to agree on this but we can both take rebuttals in good faith and move on.

  • Mike T

    @ Bootoome

    Great response.

    Never apologise for defending your team nor disagreeing with me or indeed anyone that has an opinion that is contrary to yours. Thank god we can say what we feel.

    I think I know what you are trying to get over in relation to approaching the games against what will be the title contenders but I just cant see your manager changing much in terms of approach

    Quite probably you will get better outcomes just the same as against some of the teams that finished below you last season you might not do as well. That’s football.

    The reason I post on here is that bar a couple of stupid posters who hurl foul abuse, the vast vast majority on here seem to have strong views in support of their team, just like me with mine. Of course we wont agree on most matters re our respective teams be a bit strange if we did.

    We are all experts yet in truth we know very little.

    Have a good evening. Its my birthday so I am going out to have a nice meal & a good bottle of wine (not that I know good from bad)

  • Mike T,

    Happy birthday and have a wonderful day!

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Thanks for another great article Bootomee!
    COYG! Aha and Amen!

  • Sammy The Snake

    Great point made Bootomee.
    The tragedy last year was gaining only 1 point home & away from a ManU that lost left, right and centre to almost all teams.

  • Notoverthehill

    Bootoomee and Mike T, well argued and ended with respect on both sides.

    Chelsea Football Club Limited is a daughter company of Chelsea FC plc, which is turn is a daughter company of Fordstam Limited.

    £744,958,000 is a shocking amount of debt to be owed to Chelsea FC plc and then I suspect, Fordstam plc?

    Still digging!

  • AL

    Interesting views Bootoomee. And if we had drawn two of these who knows….
    Of course the refs played huge parts in two of these losses, at city and the chavs.

    Off topic, but just been on the BBC website, interesting to note no negative stuff about Mario now that he’s joining Liverpool. There’s lots of pictures with Mario doing the right thing; meeting the Pope,selfies with fans, etc. Predictable.

  • Jambug

    Bootoomee

    Great article Boo, absolutely 100% spot on.

  • bjtgooner

    Bootoomee.

    A well thought out article. I agree we need to respect the capabilities of other top four sides – even if some of them disrespect us every chance they get – both on and off the pitch.

  • mk

    I don’t think we should necessarily ‘park the bus’, but it may be a good idea to tell the fullbacks not to push quite as high as normal at the start of the game against certain teams away.

    A bit more height and strength in the midfield against teams like Stoke and Chelsea would also help as the referees are incapable of doing their jobs correctly.

  • para

    What Peaz says looks true due to the evidence we have, but i also used to think AW has no tactical ability, but either he has learned/is learning or there is someone who advises him now.

    Everton is going to be a tough game, funny out of all the other
    teams, i respect Everton now, mainly because of their current
    manager, who i think is going to be big. Would like him at Arsenal if AW decides to go after this stint(don’t think AW is going anywhere, barring sickness or Arsenal bombing).

    AW and the lads will be up for Everton this time, they now know what to expect from Everton, what they can do, and the team has not changed.
    Even though away, we have to win the game, should be a good game.

    Arsenal i think had a style of football that upset other teams, then they all analysed it and countered.
    Arsenal now has many opportunities to vary their play depending on opponents, and this advantage must be used else teams, especially the ones with some top players will take advantage.

    Liverpool last season did exactly what Arsenal has been doing 3-5 seasons ago, attack, attack and attack again, kill the game by scoring early, then control it.

    Arsenal has learned to “park the bus” when necessary as well as having a pretty good defence too(which is being tweaked now), and i find nothing wrong with that. We want to win, simple.

    For some reason i get the impression that Arsenal likes to treat opponents fairly, thinking they will get treated fairly also.

    A little naive really, but we either have to become so good that we can do that, or we have to know our enemy and what they are capable of, preferably both.

    I think we are on the way to being that good.
    Watch how we improve more as the games come.

  • Nelson Wong

    100% agree.

    Its about strategy. When to attack, when to defend. When to look for results and when to sit back and save energy…

    The think is. I thought Wenger should be very good at that.

  • finsbury

    Notoverthehill
    at 6:47 pm

    Always interesting to read your thoughts. I’m no accountant, heh, but it might help if you dig under the name “Gazprom-upon-Fulham” 🙂

  • para,

    “but i also used to think AW has no tactical ability, but either he has learned/is learning or there is someone who advises him now”

    I cannot believe that you actually wrote that. Seriously?

  • Mike T

    @Finsbury & Notoverthehill

    Chelsea’s ownership model like most football clubs is complex.

    My understanding is that RA injected capital into Fordstam Ltd.

    Frodsham in term have made loans (in the hundreds of millions ) to a subsidiary company of Fordstam namely Chelsea FC PLC. It is this company that owes RA.

    In term Chelsea FC PLC initially lent Chelsea FC Ltd (the football club) money but these club losses, have been now turned into equity.

    What that means is the football club itself is debt free.

    What that does is creates a position where in the future should Chelsea FC PLC sale its shares in Chelsea FC Ltd(in other words RA sales up) the proceeds would flow back to Frodstam in settlement of the loans whereas had the debt been written off any monies paid over the original purchase price would in effect be profit and as such there would no doubt be a tax to pay on that profit

    It really isn’t unusual for football clubs to operate with complex ownership models.It offers all sorts of opportunities and indeed protection.

    For instance Arsenal Holdings PLC itself owns 12 companies.

    One of which is Arsenal FC PLC, which is the football club. Another is Arsenal Emirates Stadium Ltd who own and operate the stadium and another is Arsenal Overseas Ltd which is the retail operation at Arsenal.

  • para

    @ Bootoomee
    Yes seriously. I used to wonder at AW’s technical ability, but last season i saw glimpses of how he operates, AND i actually think he has now delegated some parts of training and listens much more than before. Arsenal is a club and he knows NO one comes before the club.

    It is hard to analyse someone’s decisions without really knowing them(its hard even when you do), but these are my conclusions at the moment, until i can read his bio.