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Yes Arteta and Flamini are the “problem”….

By Walter Broeckx

Strong words for Untold one might say. A call for the mythical beast also known as defensive midfielder? Let us try to bring in some facts.

A quick reminder of the results so far this season.

CS a 3-0 win over Manchester City. Arteta starts and around the hour mark we bring in Flamini and we don’t concede a goal. And win a trophy.

First match in the PL 2-1 win against Crystal Palace. Arteta plays 90 minutes and we only concede from a corner. Flamini is not on the bench.

Second match in the PL a 2-2 draw at Everton. Arteta is injured and Flamini starts. We concede 2 goals one from an offside but as Arteta is not there we concede two goals.

Third match in the PL a 1-1 draw at Leicester. Arteta is still out but Flamini plays. We cannot hold on to a lead.

4th match in the PL a 2-2 draw against Man City. Flamini starts but Arteta is back on the bench after his injury. We concede a goal, fight back to be in front and then cannot hold on to the lead. Artetea comes on in injury time and we keep the point.

5th match in the PL a 0-3 win at Aston Villa. Arteta is back on the starting lineup. Flamini is not on the bench. We don’t concede a goal and are not really troubled in the match.

6th match a 1-1 draw against Tottenham. Arteta starts we look solid but then has to go off after half an hour and Flamini comes on. We concede a goal but can score back to get a point.

7th match A 2-0 loss at Chelsea. Arteta is injured and Flamini plays. We concede 2 goals.

8th match the 2-2 draw against Hull. Arteta is still injured. We go in front but cannot hold the lead because of a foul on Flamini not seen by the officials. We concede 2 goals with Flamini on the pitch but can get a point in the end.

9th match a 0-2 win at Sunderland. Both Arteta and Flamini start and Sunderland never came close to scoring a goal during that match.

10th match a 3-0 win over Burnley. Again Arteta and Flamini starting and again Burnley never came close to scoring only in the last 10 minutes or so when we took our foot of the gas. Two matches in a row with both Arteta and Flamini starting and no goals and hardly a chance for the other team.

11th match a 2-1 defeat at Swansea. Arteta is injured and Flamini starts. We concede two goals.

So what does this tell us? Clearly Arteta and Flamini are the problem.

At the start of the season and in the seasons before Arteta was under fire by those who moan about Arsenal. Arteta is not the “beast defensive midfielder” they crave for. He is the intelligent defensive midfielder.Flamini is more the kick and shove when you need to defensive midfielder and comes closer to the mythical “beast defensive midfielder” than Arteta.

But if we look at the stats we see that whenever Flamini plays on his own we concede goals and mostly two goals. This happened on 4 occasions. And in the other matches with only Flamini we always conceded a goal.

When Arteta played on his own we conceded a maximum of 1 goal in each match when he started.
This shows that the brain that Arteta uses when he is playing is far better suited for our defence than the more brute force from Flamini.

So do I shout: away with Flamini? No, not at all. Because the solution lies in the two matches that we started with both of them on the field.

Because when we started with both of them we not only didn’t concede a goal. We also managed to keep the opposition from even having a shot at goal or having a goal chance.

We started them together at Sunderland and against Burnley. And we completely nullified their danger for most of the match.
So it is clear that the best solution is not only use the brains but also the temperament at the same time and thus playing Arteta and Flamini together. That will give us a more solid defence. And that way our full backs can go up the field more and join the attack.

Of course it might hold us back a bit more offensively. Playing with two defensive orientated players or at least players who also think defensive in midfield will have as a result that you have less players joining in the attack. But it also means that when you have a lead you are more suited to defending it. As we could see against Sunderland in particular.

So I think it will be important to make sure that Arteta is fit. Maybe we should think of resting him more and pick out the matches that we really should keep the clean sheet. And make sure that the can play together when we really need to keep the other team away from our goal.

Playing only one means that we should play Arteta and not Flamini as with the latter we concede more goals than with the first one.

And this also sheds a bit of a different light on the “beast of a defensive midfielder” we need. Because if there is one out there who can do the job from Flamini (kicking around a bit) with the brains of Arteta then we should try to buy him. But the question is: does that defensive midfielder exists and will he qualify enough as a “beast” for those who want a beast?  If it is only for one part it might be cheaper to play them both. And maybe play a bit less attractive in some matches but at least we will be more secured at the back with both on the field.

Of course it might help having Kos and Debuchy back to help our defending a bit. And having a player in midfield who can keep the ball moving and keep the ball away from giving it to the opposition too easily as we have done a few times this season when we exposed ourselves.

So the most important task for Arsenal till the January transfer window is to do all they can to keep Arteta fit so he can start as many matches as possible and it would be ideal if he could start those matches with Flamini next to him. As that has been the best option when we look at the results so far.

44 comments to Yes Arteta and Flamini are the “problem”….

  • GunnerPete`

    Good but obvious article again. Your point is a very old one as many Gunners like me and you have been calling for a defensive coach to be appointed to over rule Arsene in some purchases and some matches. Yes it would cause discontent but mailnly with AW…not the fans. Arsene’s most successful period as we all know was when he installed two beast DFM in Viera and Petit….either could have also slotted into CB if required….but never had to because AW inherited the greatest defence ever known in football. Some of the crap that he alone is responsible for bringing in ( Cygan, Squilacci, etc.) have shamed this great club. Many years ago I wrote to AW and asked him to consider changing his scouting team to include great defenders like Big Tony and Bouldie to find potential stars in Uk from all areas of any league. Of course I got the standard letter of reply sent by some secretary telling how AFC appreciate my concerns etc. But I feel that I had at least, had a go. The only way this shockingly embarrassing mess called ARSENAL defensive structure will be taken off AW is for the fans to do what we did many years ago against Leeds and vote with our feet. It needs to be done for the right reasons and they are to convince Arsene that he is and has been wrong for many years and to change or go!

  • dave

    when Sanchez scored the commentators mention his speed, Ramsey started behind him and was closer to the goal line when he scored. That was one of our problems on Sunday .. Ramsey was not our dfm but our ofm.. If we are top play these fast fun passing in the opposition half we need to ensure that someone is back home.. only 1 fb should be forward at a time, and a dfm needs to be on the halfway line to win back the ball that Alexis or Alex are prone to lose. Alex should have supported Chambers more..
    We blame Wenger but it was missed passes that gave Swansea the chance to attack. If we were slightly more restrained in the risky passes in the final third we would be better off.

  • apo Armani

    Very interesting and accurate analysis of these two players Walter.

    My take on these two guys every time I watch them is contrasting. On the one hand we have Arteta (NOT THE BEAST) but he certainly has excellent positioning and reads the game from where he plays – he has to as he is not the fastest any longer – when he has the ball, his distribution up field through excellent passing makes him key to our transitional play.
    On the other hand we have Flamini (NOT THE BEAST) but thinks he is a beast and can get booked more than he needs to with mistimed tackles – what he does bring to our side – is urgency and fights for the ball to break up as much as possible opposition attacks – if he cleans up this part of his play without getting booked (many times incorrectly) he may be able to do what he is meant to do for the distance of a game rather then step back because he has been booked – leaving us exposed as a result.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I think part of the problem in the last two matches was that when in front and not having Arteta (or losing him) we didn’t have that man in the middle who brings calm to the game when needed. Also Arteta is the man of the little foul when needed. Just a push or a shove on an attacking player when he thinks we might be in trouble because undermanned in defence. The useful foul as we call it over here.
    Arteta is also always available for receiving the ball and usually knows how to keep it moving and keep it out of reach of the opponents.

    To think that he ‘had to be sold’ this summer as the ones who claim to know said was beyond me. He is very important for our composure. Very important. I think Arteta will be a future manager. And I wouldn’t be surprised if he became a successful one.

  • andy1886

    For me the model is as Pete suggests the Petit/Vieira CM partnership. Not only did they do their defensive work well, they also had a fierce competitive desire to win the ball back for our more gifted players as well as offering an attacking threat.

    At the Burnley game, at which btw I would suggest that they offered even less attacking threat than Walter describes, the issue wasn’t a defensive one, the problem was that there was a huge gap between Arteta and Flamini in the middle and our two forwards in Sanchez and Welbeck. Especially in the first half there was very little support in an attacking sense from the central midfield area. As we all remember, both Petit and Vieira had great engines and could surge back and forth through the middle all day and all night. Arteta and Flamin cannot do this.

    Now you might say if our CM’s were more attack minded we would be exposed. Not against Burnley perhaps, during most of the game they had one player in our half marked by two CD’s and Arteta. My preference is to reign in the full backs, let the wide midfielders/wingers operate in the opposition wide areas and with a more solid defensive shape the CM’s have more scope to support the attack.

    So, no ‘beast’ DM required, just two dynamic powerful B2B midfielders and a more solid defensive structure. Just like it was in the early days of AW’s tenure.

  • karis

    Arteta, flamini, carzola, mert, should be replaced in january!!!! wilshere, chambers, ramsey, scez should be our supersubs. that leaves alex,walc, alex,gibbs, oz,and kos….meaning we need 4 world class players to challenge for any title.(and this should be done in jan)

  • Nicky

    I’m beginning to wonder whether in fact Mertesacker isn’t the weak link at the moment.
    Much has been said lately about the absence of his partner, Koscielny, being the cause of poor performances in defence.
    While Mertesacker is still only 30 and a good reader of a game, his very size means he is not a quick mover.
    Whether the effort of winning the World Cup in the Summer has affected his performance, the fact remains that he has not yet reached the standard of last season.
    One aspect of his game needs to be addressed. On receiving the ball, regardless of any clear space ahead of him, he will release it immediately to the nearest colleague, instead of advancing himself a little, to prompt an attack.
    Whether I am alone in this view will be determined by subsequent comments…

  • 4evered

    Dear oh Dear Walter it’s embarrassing the way you keep Lording the charity shield as a legit trophy come on man have some dignity next you’ll be waxing lyrical about up our Runners up spot in the Emirates Cup ! LOL
    As for Arteta and Flamini you have kind of proved the point your self for one decent DM player like Wanyama, Matic erc as you say both Famini and Arteta have qualities but neither on their own can cut it and the former in particular has been a great servant to the club but I fear now that in the top games v the best he wont be able to match the power,speed and energy of these younger guys – its no shame its just that time catches up with sports men .
    Flamini too has his uses as a good squad player but would not currently start in any other top side and again as you point out having to play both in the side blunts our forward options and in reality has only worked against the second string sides .

  • Mandy Dodd

    keeping Arteta fit…..and therein lies the problem!

  • ARSENAL 13

    Oh no Walter, it all Ramseys fault..

    Confidence is one hell of a@#$&%@#$. Having a stable defensive partnership can do wonders, but not having one sucks.

  • andy1886

    Morning Nicky!

    In Mert’s defence (no pun intended) he has been played an awful lot. Almost every game last season, the WC in the summer, and now every game this season. In fact he’s probably made more appearances than anyone in the last eighteen months (possibly bar Szcz). Fatigue certainly could be a problem.

  • allan

    hi great article as always, agree mostly until xmas need hector rb as he’s the fastest player at the club,chambers cd or rotate with the ox for dm until both arteta and flamini are both available arsene will put theo on the right wing so a temp space is needed for the ox as he has become one of our best players after sanchez of course.

  • babasola tokoya

    good analysis and i agree with the submissions totally and absolutely when the two of them played together last season we defeated liverpool by two goals and also beat borrousia dortmound by a lone goal ARTETA and FLAMINI perfectly compliment each other just like KOSCHIENY and MERTESECKER thus providing team balancing and defensive solidity

  • Nicky

    @Andy 1886,
    Morning Sir!
    You may well be right but something must be done.
    At 30 I gave up footer and concentrated on my golf.
    One of the best decisions of my life. Perhaps Merte should do the same. 😉

  • andy1886

    That may be Nicky, but I think that you should be the one to tell him! At a slightly later age I gave up playing and took up the whistle. I soon discovered that I had made an error of judgement when I realised that you had to have that part of your brain marked ‘common sense’ removed if you wanted to rise through the ranks. So now I just watch the game and irritate people on blogs such as these.

  • bob mac

    Anyone with any brains at all can see that both Arteta and Flamini are excellent players.

    The balance of when to use them and how is up to the manager and his coaching team, who know more about it than you and me.

  • WalterBroeckx

    4evered,
    you know all too well that if we would have lost the CS you would have used it to slate Wenger for not winning a trophy.
    Of course it is the least of the trophies that you can win but it is a trophy. FACT 😉

  • Im sorry your point saying that because flamini is more similar to the DM most crave isnt true at all. We need a hybrid. Most fans know that a DM has to be smart like arteta, but they need to be smart in the rough side. Flamini has neither. He is rash in the tackle , gets caught out of position.

    Also its all very well saying the solution is to play them together, yeah but we know we cant keep players fit. We simply cant rely one one player being fit at a given time let alone two..

    We need a player who Fits both bills like Matic, or Carvalho, there are plenty out there..

  • WalterBroeckx

    Madetolovemagic,
    How many matches have you seen Carvalho play?

  • WalterBroeckx

    And how about the DM from City?

  • andy1886

    MTLM – My preference is Morgan Schneiderlin. Proven in the EPL, having a good season again at Southampton, the right age (25) and already has international team mates at our club. Not so keen on Wanyama who I think will get found out against better teams (and yes I know he had one good game for Celtic against Barca).

  • proudkev

    Made to Love Magic. I too am not a huge fan of Flamini for the points you make. However, the mention of Carvalho always makes me smile, as a players name gets mentioned and then everybody jumps on the band wagon. It is assumed that he is good enough, what we need and is easy for us to sign. However, the lad is pretty raw making 40 odd first class appearances for Sporting and plays in the Portugese league. I always say the same thing. Just because a player becomes a ‘fad’ there becomes an ‘assumption’ that he is what we need and available and the bus drivers, plumbers, construction workers and office workers start going mental because we haven’t signed them. As soon as he has a few poor games, the very same fans will be on his back.

    Also, you said ‘we can’t keep players fit’. This is another assumption that has been greeted as a fact and tends to include ‘every’ player that suffers an injury. I heard someone the other day claiming Debouchys injury was Wengers fault. They then listed every injury including the one Giroud sustained. Complete BS. It gets a bit pathetic listening to some people stating that every Arsenal injury is the club or Wengers fault. That’s just a load of nonsense repeated and recycled by a certain type to create ‘fake evidence’ for the prosecution Injuries are a hazard of a physically demanding game. The way the club had Ramsey and Eduardo back playing after those horrific injuries, doesn’t suggest to me that the fans know best.

  • . Walter…Ive seen Carvalho play only a hand full of times, but every time i have he has impressed me. Though i am mainly basing my opinion on the fact that he is touted as one of the best in europe in that position by many many sources.. I know that you cant believe everything but from what ive seen and rread about the player he seems a great great talent in a position that isnt dominated by great players world wide.. Matic too is fast powerful and his heart is in defending. Thats what he does for the team. Ive watched matic only a few times but you cant argue he from what he has shown us so far is the type of player we need….

    im sorry but really its irrelevent in any case. We know that neither arteta or flamini are what we need. Arteta (one of my fav players in the last 3 years btw) has lost something physically, flamini we could all see last season was wreckless. He helped us defensively when he came back but that is only because we had no one fullfuliing that role and we lacked a physical bite. Flamini certainly has that, but he is frivolous withj his tackles and lacks awareness and his passion is misdirected…

    Its fine you arguing that ive only seen these players i suggested a couple of times, but guess what ive seen flame and arteta hundreds of times and guess what , it aint working..

    The wheels are coming off wengers chariot, there is descent in the ranks and even in the staff, its so obvious. Wenger is losing his grip on power, why, because real genius knows when it needs help. Wenger cant or wont except anything than his own thinking. Myopic in the extreme.

    It saddens me greatly to see him dissolving away his legacy like a drunk peeing on bourbon

  • Quincy

    GunnerPete, you do know that Steve Bould is our assistant manager, right? And that Wenger himself was a defender? And how do you know we don’t already have defenders as scouts? Or even that great players make great scouts? After all, it isn’t necessarily true of great players making great managers, just look at Maradonna for example.

    When I look at the league, I struggle to see the mythical ‘beast’ DM that people talk about. Ok, there’s Matic (a dirty player, wouldn’t want him anyway). Yaya Toure is a box-to-box midfielder, like Ramsey, but he’s not that good defensively. City were so disappointed with Fernandinho’s defensive work that they bought Fernando, who’s done quite well. Then there’s Schneiderlin, and then…? Who else? Tiote? Henderson? In the Premier League there’s basically only Matic, Fernando and Schneiderlin (who Southampton won’t sell).

    The biggest problem with Arteta, as far as I’m concerned, is his age, and nothing else.

  • Quncy

    Arteta was a fantastic player and would sit along side a “mythical beast” quite nicely in my opinion in the games that walter is talking about when we need Flamini and arteta. Flamini has shown that he cant defend well enough to be our DM.

    Any your concern of Artetas age is a valid one. The brain can be very willing but the body not. Just ask my girlfriend…….

  • OB

    I have been calling for this for a long time now, at home against most I don’t believe it is overly important but picking and choosing which games to play both and training for those specific matches could see a dramatic improvement in matches against our tougher opponents, it is not a massive xhange to out set up so should be easier enough to implement as and when we choose, I also don’t believe for a second that this is all lost on Mr Wenger but due to injuries the option to do this has been limited until now.

  • proudkev

    Gunner Pete: “many Gunners like me and you have been calling for a defensive coach to be appointed to over rule Arsene in some purchases and some matches”

    Over-rule Arsene in ‘some’ matches? Over rule the Manager of the club? Are you nuts, how on earth does that work? Two managers doing tactics and who decides who over rules who? This isn’t some computer game, this is top flight professional football and yet we get fans who have never worked in the game coming out with this nonsense to condemn one of the greatest managers of all time. This is madness.

    Yes we need to improve and injuries have exposed us. But how bad are we defensively?

    Top 4 on goals conceded:
    1.Southampton 5
    2. Swansea 11
    2. Chelsea 11
    3. Man City 12
    4. Arsenal 13

    Others:
    Man Utd 14
    Liverpool 15
    Spurs 16
    Everton 18

    Does that look that bad? I don’t read in the media how any of those other teams are poor defensively? Complete over reaction. And those with an axe to grind about Wenger are creating a tornado over very little.

    Anyone watch Maribor v Chelsea. Maribor scored one but should have scored more, certainly missed one two yard sitter. Yet this is the beloved Mourinho, this defensive manager and tactical genius who has managed to concede just two goals less than the ‘inept’ Wenger in the PL and were opened up by little old Maribor. And Mourinho doesnt have his first choice centre half missing, his first choice right back missing and his DM missing!!

    Where is the balance and where is the perspective?

    Pure ignorance.

    despite being an attacking team. In fact, we have only conceded two goals less than Chelsea! In addition, Chelsea played those giants Maribor and condeded one but really should have conceded at let two with better finishing.

    It is like some weird world where Arsenal get judged and crucified while other teams are either ignored or allowed excuses.

  • OB

    Well said proudkev and is the reason why I come to this sure that one word sums it up perfectly “perspective” it is not allowed in the media as a well thought out balanced article, with reason and perspective just doesn’t sell to the masses, and maybe just takes a little too much effort for today’s journalists, and heaven forbid maybe just a little too honest…

  • Mandy Dodd

    Carvalho may have an issue. Owners, note the plural.

  • para

    Arteta and Flamini are what we have, and they do a job, but as stated above, they are human and make mistakes too.

    On Carvahllo, i like him because he seems(to me) to take command of the ball and almost tries to build a forcefield around it until he passes it.

    All in all a very BAD week for the club but also for me.

    Tuesday at 3-0 up i went into hospital during the game, and nearly had another heart attack when i found out the end score on the next day.

    Then i paid £10 to watch the game against Swansea on Sun on the hospital TV only to see us lose again.

    All in all, things can only get better now, at least that is what i tell myself.

    Still trying to keep the faith trotz(in spite of) everything.

  • Para,

    can i introduce you to Wiziwig.com

    YOu’ll never pay for a game again! 🙂

    Hope your health is improving,, id like to see some stats on the correlation between Coronary problems and being an arsenal fan….. Quite high id suggest

  • para

    @MadeToLoveMagic

    I do use wiziwig among others when at home, but i really do not use internet on my phone. So i thought , 1 week saving gas and electric i would “splash” and watch in comfort, they have these bedside multi machines where you can buy TV time.

    No no no, the heart attack was not because of Arsenal, we were 3 -0 up when it happened.

    Thanks, Yes, i am out today and now need to take things easy for a while, and STOP smoking those death sticks, (i had actually stopped 1 week before).
    Premonition? Anyway if it was, it was too late, unless this was my second warning.

    Thank all for any (coming) kind words in the comments, but i am going to relax now and may not see them for a while.

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Gute Besserung Para!

  • Yassin

    @Para,
    sad to hear, get well soon!

  • porter

    Just take it easy Para do what they tell you and it will be fine . I had to have stents put in after the Eboue show in the 97th minute against Liverpool and whilst I was in we drew 3 -3 with Spurs all in all a traumatic time to have a heart attack. Take the offer of the physio it’s well worth it.

  • Gouresh

    i think that we are being a bit too harsh on Flamini. Both, Arteta and Falmini are differnt sort of players and Falmini has his onwn strengths. Now i will not comments on the earlier games as i do not recollect the way we conceded. i remember the CL game and Sundays game. we all know that we should have defended as a team. we all know that Flamini is the only player [i have seen] who will not hesitate to scream at players who don’t track back. Ozil’s and Flaminis interaction is well known. as for the CL and sunday goals, we all know that we should have defended as a team. too many players commiting themselfs on the oposition half rather than being compact. against Swansea, we had 5-6 players, on top of their box, we lost it and Gibbs had to foul their player. their free kick was world class. their second goal came form the cross from the left, so its not right to point the finger at Flamini.
    since i am not that lucky to see the game in the stadium, i cannot comment if Arteta speaks to his midfield to get them in shape. we have seen Flamini scream though. how can we forget the last year before Flamini left, when he marshalled the midfield and allowed Cecs to work his magic. we win as a team and loose as a team. at the moment, we are not playing at a team.

  • Micheal Ram

    Gouresh,

    You are right. Flamini had an unforgettable season with Fabregas. But he then had forgettable period of time in Milan’s injury table. At that kind of age, physically you are finished. Flamini is not a brainless beast like most morons say or think. He had better pass completion rate than Fabregas that season and plenty of assists as well. The balance of the team is just not right at the moment because of constant injuries and new additions. Even Sanchez lost possession in dangerous areas a number of times. The amount of kicks Santi had to endured in Swansea game was staggering, so officials fail to play their roles properly. And of course, we attack and defend as a team. Given time, the flood gates will eventually open.

  • Para

    Hope you feel better soon, yeah smoking is a savage waste of health, really trying to quit myself!

  • WalterBroeckx

    Para,
    Hope you get better soon!

  • Barney B

    Walter,
    Good analysis. Arsenal were also 3-1 up in the second Anderlecht match, when Arteta had to come off, to be replaced by Flamini. I was at the game, & haven’t seen a replay, but perhaps his injury may also have contributed to Anderlecht’s first (offside!) goal.

    On the other hand, the two clean sheets were achieved against two of the weaker sides in the Premier League…

    I often feel that the attacking nature of our full-backs means that our back four should really be viewed as comprising the two centre-backs plus two CDMs. Hence, when playing with Wilshere or Ramsey alongside Arteta or Flamini, we’re effectively playing with a back three.

    Which is why I’d be quite happy to see Flamini operating as a full-back in the current side – on the right, with Chambers central.

    Remember how effective he was in that Champions League run? Just how was a back four of Eboue, Senderos, Campbell & Flamini able to keep so many clean(ish) sheets against top European opposition?

  • Andy Mack

    Flamini is really a Box to Box player but has been asked to play the DM role regularly throughout his career. Unfortunately he forgets his aging legs and tried to play box to box sometimes, which is when the problems arise. Arteta seems to be able to cover and/or remind him of his defensive role better than the others.
    Petit and Viera were not DMs! They were very skilful box to box MFs that were also good tacklers and good defensively and would play to the managers orders (like roy keen)whether that be DMF or Box2Box or AMF. If a player of that quality became available at a sensible price then I’m sure AW would make a serious effort to get them but they’re in the ‘hens teeth’ bracket availability-wise.

  • Andy Mack

    quincy, I do like Matic but like all the other names you mention, he would be a red card collector if the refs saw him in an arsenal shirt in a shopping mall, let alone actually playing for us. We cannot have a ‘destroyer’ as we’d play far too many games with 10 men

  • khitb77

    “CS a 3-0 win over Manchester City. Arteta starts and around the hour mark we bring in Flamini and we don’t concede a goal. And win a trophy.”

    Pre-season game which proved nothing, because when we played them in a league game we couldn’t beat them at home. This incidentally was a repeat from last season when we again comfortably beat City in a pre-season game only to get our backsides kicked at the Etihad.

    I could easily pick massive holes in the logic that has been applied to the other games but I’ll skip to:

    “9th match a 0-2 win at Sunderland. Both Arteta and Flamini start and Sunderland never came close to scoring a goal during that match.”

    Sunderland who had previously lost 8-0 to Southampton, hardly a fair example of a team that’s going to provide an attacking threat!

    “10th match a 3-0 win over Burnley. Again Arteta and Flamini starting and again Burnley never came close to scoring only in the last 10 minutes or so when we took our foot of the gas. Two matches in a row with both Arteta and Flamini starting and no goals and hardly a chance for the other team.”

    Burnley, the only side in the Premier League (at the time) without a win. More interested in preserving the 0-0 than trying to win.

    It’s also not just about how many goals we concede, it’s also about how many chances we gift teams with our style of play.

    We might gift a team 1 chance through poor defending and lose the game 1-0, alternatively we might gift a team 10 chances and they might score 0, it’s also to do with their finishing, which when we play the top sides tends to be more clinical.

    I firmly believe that if we modified our style of play and did away with the Kamikaze attacking approach in games then we’d actually be able to use the likes of Flamini, Arteta, Wilshere, Rosicky or Ramsey in a more deep lying role.

    But I have zero confidence in Wenger’s tactics to believe that we will ever change. His arrogance or stubbornness (whichever one you prefer) means we will continue to get it wrong in 50% of games just so when we win he can say “hey, look we beat Burnley and Sunderland without conceding by playing exactly how I wanted”.

  • hunter13

    if i may … i believe a lot in player stature./reputation and psychology / dominance of character on the pitch

    when arteta and flam will eventually come up against schweinsteiger and alonso…we have a problem. schweisteiger and alonso have won world cups , champions leagues, euro titles , la ligas , bundesligas, cups gallore…. we can not expect flamini and arteta to have the stature or psychology to beat these guys. therefreo we either need somethign similar or new blood who are ruthless/arrogant/youth enthusiasm and dont give a shit about alonso or schweisteiger…the naivity of youth….the search for the next anelka..the 17, 18 ,19 20 21 year old who will surprise and deliver free from the psychological restrictions that will exist say in flam’s or mikel’s heads when facing opposition that have achieved more than them.

    maybe im talkign shit..i have had a double glenfidich and two pints ..but i do believe in stature. stature of henry is what sent fear down epl defenders for example. other times our opposition would just crap it by watching vieira walk out…can arteta and flam create such feelings of panic to the opposition ?

    why not bring alexis mate arturo? last game i saw of him he had ran 14km by minute 60……. unreal.