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Ten things that Wenger should consider: a personal opinion

Arsenal History on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

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Akhil Nair

I am a gooner from India.  I really like your posts and thought of sharing my personal views to you and to our readers.

In our country it is said that cricket is religion and every single person has his or her own views.  I don’t like cricket much,but then sometime back on a news channel I saw a report on how Indian cricket can improve.  I just remembered that programme after I was shattered by our defeat to Newcastle.  I believe some of its concepts can be applied to our team Arsenal as well.

As i live in India, I don’t really know how our teams goes about its preparation for a match so if any mistake by me should be pardoned.So here are the few things…

1.We last won the league the league in 2003-2004 season.  I believe our whole current squad should have a deep conversation with some of the players who have won the league for us like Bergkamp, Seaman etc. These people can tell our players what sort of a mentality was in the team before each of their matches, what they used to talk when they were one down at halftime, different techniques, different experiences which I feel with due respect to lord Wenger, only a player can tell another.So this might help our team to get motivated and play with ease.

2. The second thing they said in that report was…We should play a fixed team again and again to increase team chemistry. Most of us will agree that we already have a fixed team but when our players get injured that when the real question comes.I think for this we should have a solution. Our team should be divided in pairs, like in case Fabregas is injured, Nasri takes his role. Denilson for Wilshere, Bendtner for Chamakh, Vela for Arshavin or Van persie. Let these pairs train together, share their ideas, thoughts etc.

When Vermaelen is injured, Djourou or Squillaci takes his place. If we have a group of Koscielny, Vermaelen, Squillaci and Djourou training in all possible pairs then that can increase team chemistry. I am sure this point is already taken care by our coaches but this was in that report.

3.Necessity of a PLAN B and also PLAN C. This is what I think Arsenal lack. When nothing is working in a match, Wenger substitutes Arshavin or Nasri by Walcott or Vela for example but does that really change our tactics? No I don’t think so, what it changes is only the personnel and brings some fresh legs so speed and activeness come into account. What we really need is a tactical change.

I am no one to challenge Wenger’s tactics but I’ll give my view.  In a match Arshavin starts from the left and Nasri from right and they cut inside,what they should do is they should not have a fixed position.  They should keep on interchanging like even Chamakh or Van Persie to the left, Nasri through the middle, Arshavin taking Fab’s role and Fab on right.

What this will do is that it can give a hard time to defenders who mark out their players before the game…like they know Arshavin on the left is expected, but what will happen if they get Chamakh and Fabregas instead?

Also this will unleash the playmaking powers of both Nasri and Arshavin who are now in the shadows of Fabregas.  Also Fab can get width find space and give that killer pass.  Also we can use Walcott through the middle which Wenger is trying out these days.

When we are desperate for goal why not change tactics, like letting Clichy and Sagna play as wingers with Song and Diaby or Wilshere dropping back. Fabregas and Nasri playing as play makers.  So that makes an attack of 6 players, when we lose the ball theres no need for Arshavin to track back coz there is Clichy just behind him and Wilshere behind that. So that makes our central part quite empty, but either one of Fab or Nasri can get back quickly chasing the player while Sagna or Clichy tackle them in midfield so we get the ball and we still have 4 players ahead and we launch an attack ahead.  This is just a view of mine, I may be wrong.

4.  Resting players is crucial. Chamakh for example as been playing in almost our every league match, give him a day or two off  as Redknapp gave to Bale.   This can do wonders. Or simply rotate him with Bendtner for a match against say the lesser competitive sides.  Give every player a chance to shine.  Give Vela a start, if thing are not going well you can always replace him at half time but giving him a start now and then can do wonders to his confidence.

5.  Getting new players.  I really do feel we have a really good deep squad but some people complain about our GK or a need of one more defensive midfielder.  I think Fabianski was playing really well until Carroll highlighted his lack of decision making.  He is a good shot stopper but is that only enough?  What if we have a goalkeeper who has good height and collects crosses well… it will make our defence more confident that they atleast have to mark and stop their opponent from getting to the ball and the ball will safely be collected by our keeper.  A keeper who launches attacks, who shouts at team mates and show their mistakes.   I thinks that’s what Arsenal lack but that doesn’t mean that Fabianski should be dropped immediately, maybe Newcastle was a small blurr   Maybe he’ll improve.  Give him a run until January, if he keeps clean sheets then well and good if not then straight away go for some other commanding keeper.

5.  Cold wars within the team. I don’t know if this is present in our team, maybe nobody knows.  It may be or may not but its a serious issue. A solution to this is after every match holding a session where every player gets to tell his view about what went wrong or right. This way one could finish their complaints in front of Wenger and he’ll solve it.

6. Playing like Champions. This thing is really missing in our current team. We have all the fire power but what is lacking is that killer instinct. Look at our past teams who won the cup, or look at Barcelona although now I hate them, but the fact is that they start to play their game from the first whistle till the final whistle. We sometime take time to settle into our rhythm and at least take 25-30 mins for creating a spectacular chance or scoring a goal. I really don’t remember the last time when we scored inside 10 mins in consecutive matches!  Also defending from the first minute like you have a goal to protect in injury time in second half.  Be brutal, give those scary glances, show some attitude.   Cheering our team mates in between…these are the small things that turn a squad into a single minded unit and champions are made of these.

7.  Complacency.  I think this a big factor that differentiates Champions from Wannabe’s…and I feel our current team has it.  Playing against Newcastle and West Brom thinking that even if they are playing defensively solid,we will get a goal or two.  I think that’s what cost us 6 valuable points. If we had shown urgency and the flow of our passing from the start, I am sure their defence would have leaked a goal or two.

8. Nobody is special in the team. This point should be taken seriously by Wenger.  Against Newcastle Fab had a bad game..even after half time he was poor. I didn’t understand why Wenger didn’t replace him with Rosicky. Okay Fab can create something out of nothing, but an odd off day should be sensed by half time.  Also Arshavin has many off days, he should immediately be replaced. It’s the time the substitutes get that matters. Expecting Vela or Walcott to show miracles every time in just 5-15 minutes is not done. Substitute a player between 55-65th min, give him some time, some chances.

9. A captain’s role. In football there’s not much role to a captain as in cricket but a captain is the captain.He should dominate players in a good manner. Make them calm down while they silly tackles make.  Shouting at them for a mistake as well as appreciating them for a good pass etc. This will create a respect for the captain amongst the team.

10. Composure. Keeping their heads cool is one of the most important thing. When we concede a goal,suddenly our morale goes low,we create more confusion and tension and urgency in our play which in turn helps the opponent to defend more effectively. Here the captain steps in, tells everyone to calm down and motivate them as if nothing happened and start playing our game again.

>Okay I end my article here.  I am just 20 years old and as I said before I have limited sources in India to know about the proceedings in London.So plz excuse me if there is any mistake.

My warm regards to all,
Akhil Nair

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17 comments to Ten things that Wenger should consider: a personal opinion

  • Ayubkenya

    Akhil that is one fantastic piece I wish Arsene Wenger will read this. thumbs up man and still I cant believe u r 20 years old bravo man that is the spirit of a true fanatic.

  • gulp

    errr? this is like reading The Sun but written in a more polite way. But hey many a brit thinks the sun is a good paper…

  • Champ

    chamakh headers against wolves was 36 scnd into the game

  • offside isutsa

    A good article indeed.I agree with you 100%.If your views are considered by Prof Wenger, we can see some improvement though I hope he knows that.

  • skwam

    I dont believe this article was written by a 20 year old boy in India…AT ALL. It was written by someone who doesnt wish to publicly state his/her views on what he/she believes is not done well at Arsenal on purely the footballing side and therefore has adopted the name Akhil Nair…..the only trouble is that I cant imagine who that Wenger loyalist turned critique could be….oh. and the contents, VERY VERY VALID and what I often think myself…if your regular first teamers arnt good enuff, how are the second stream subs goin to improve things as subs playing the same way, if Fab is having a bad day, he is having a bad day, sub him, no Plan B, WE ARE THE MOST PREDICTABLE SIDE….shoud be, with the most intelligent manager and cleverest players…issues of complacency etc… ALL TRUE….this writer has had a few things really brewing, innit…hope to hear more from Akhil along the same lines

  • SomeRandomGunner

    Akhil
    You contradict yourselves , you want a fixed side and you want players to be rested and rotated.

    > 1.We last won the league the league in 2003-2004 season. I believe our whole current squad should have a deep conversation with some of the players who have won the league for us like Bergkamp, Seaman etc. These people can tell our players what sort of a mentality was in the team before each of their matches, what they used to talk when they were one down at halftime, different techniques, different experiences which I feel with due respect to lord Wenger, only a player can tell another.So this might help our team to get motivated and play with ease.

    Personally i do not agree with this point. Everybody has a different way of working and i do not think getting input about mentality will do any good or copying the mentality might make much of difference. Probably the players can actually justify what the coach says through experience this might give more belief to the method they are employing. I think as fans we also have a problem of expecting a team similar to invincibles rather than some other different types of champions.

    > Playing like Champions. This thing is really missing in our > current team. We have all the fire power but what is lacking is that killer instinct. Look at our past teams who won the cup, or look at Barcelona although now I hate them, but the fact is that they start to play their game from the first whistle till the final whistle.

    I completely disagree about this point, all this talk of playing like champions has almost no substance . Did World champions Spain score goals in the first 10-15 mins or even in the first half ?

    >> Getting new players. I really do feel we have a really good deep squad but some people complain about our GK or a need of one more defensive midfielder. I think Fabianski was playing really well until Carroll highlighted his lack of decision making. He is a good shot stopper but is that only enough? What if we have a goalkeeper who has good height and collects crosses well… it will make our defence more confident that they atleast have to mark and stop their opponent from getting to the ball and the ball will safely be collected by our keeper. A keeper who launches attacks, who shouts at team mates and show their mistakes. I thinks that’s what Arsenal lack but that doesn’t mean that Fabianski should be dropped immediately, maybe Newcastle was a small blurr Maybe he’ll improve. Give him a run until January, if he keeps clean sheets then well and good if not then straight away go for some other commanding keeper.

    It is true that Fabianski could have done better with catching that ball. All other things you tell are in abundance with Fabianski, Fabianski is the best keeper to launch an attack . He has very very good and throw we did score quite a few goals from his “attack starting”. He does shout at his mates when a shot is wrong fully allowed by them , he does organize his defense i am remembering his shirt pulling of Cesc 🙂 .

    I do agree on your part about earlier subs, Complacency and panic. We do have a Plan B , Plan C, use Walcott’s pace Bendtner’s height and Rosicky’s crossing prowess. In general i accept there is no drastic change , for that matter i have not seen any teams make such drastic change and succeed in EPL atleast.

    I want to add one point to your list, when we defend a lead of one or two goal lead in the last 10 mins stop kicking the ball long and keep the ball , this is the most infuriating thing about Arenal for me.

  • John L

    hmm…im not sure i disagree with you mate, but:

    2. fixed team, wenger has said and shown that he does this. the invincibles was a generally fixed squad (and i reckon we had less depth then) injuries never forced the issue. the past few seasons for us have, and i believe wenger has done a good job with finding replacements and having them gell (what other coach comes close?)

    3. necessity of a plan b and c, you start by saying this is important but later (6.) you say that barcelona ‘they start to play their game from the first whistle till the final whistle.’ this is what arsenal does already (sometimes it works, other times it doesnt). then you go into changes that to me seem to be the current changes the happen, switching of players for freshness, or simply a change of personnel, rather than a change of tactic. (you then go into movement and att v def players but we already do this kind of thing) an example of a plan B would be to put chamakh and bendtner up front as an aggressive front two, with wide men playing as ‘crossing midfielders’ with one of the central midfielders providing late runs into the box to latch onto the ‘second ball’. sorry mate but what exactly is your point here?

    4. i agree i would like to see vela have a start. but, chamakh has done very well this season whose to say that hasnt helped him. also whose to say what vela is doing off the field that might be causing him to miss out on the first 11, such as his party that saw him suspended from the mexican national team recently. my point is, with all of our injuries in the past couple years we havent seen what wenger plans in terms of rotation of this squad. my guess is that wenger has a fixed (didnt you say that was what we should be doing earlier?) fully fit squad in mind, after that we will have plenty of experienced ‘fresh legs’ to join in…

    5. keeper, keeper, keeper. fabianski is a great shot stopper like you say, and needs to improve to become a more well rounded keeper. agreed. but where do you find a ‘commmanding’ goalkeeper theses days. club, player, price etc agreed. look towards song if you need any reassurance in regards to our club knowing when we have a great player even though the world sees different. i have some problems with almunia but i think we have three young keepers that deserve a shout before we spend 20 million on a player that might not turn out to be as ‘commanding’ as we might have thought. (reina?)

    6 & 7. playing like champions and complacency are very difficult issues to talk about. its easy to say ‘we should have passed with more urgency and been less compliant’ and if we had managed a win wouldnt we be playing like champions? those topics (while great to say and talk about) are far to relative for real analysis.

    8 & 9. no one is special but the captian is? again not sure what exactly your point is here. cesc is a good captian, professional, humble, cool headed, influential with the ref, a leader by personal play, and as we saw in the game v wolves (maybe it was everton, sorry 🙂 ) right before the half hes having a little yell so we see that he is goading his team mates in the important moments. do you take this player off, as a coach, not really. and wouldnt it be so easy to say ‘the manager took the captian off’. certain players are special, every team needs them….
    i do agree that wenger could be more decisive with his subs, 50 or 60 mins in rather than at 75. and sometimes not even using all three subs. the last few seconds of a game can be great for a players development, it give them a taste of the fans and can slowly initiate them towards comfort-ability in the first team in front of a big crowd. (but then what do i know since ive never developed a youth player into a star, and he has more years than ive been alive!!!!)

    10. composure, sigh, doesnt our track record with late goals and results over the past few years speak for itself. we are up there with man u in the regard, believe it or not. we are very good at turning results around, and getting late points. it doesnt always feel that way to me either, because i get so bloody stressed, but the facts dont lie.

    i think your hearts in the right place akhil, but mate, im really unsure about your points in this article. not that i completely disagree, but you need to think it out a little more.

  • John L

    tony, can i please hear your thoughts on my comment cuz really this article isnt up to snuff. your website is usually tip top, this seemed very poor to me, ive taken a couple minutes and im still thinking of ways to poke holes in it…

  • T2T

    Our plan B should be to have van Persie, Chamakh and Bendtner playing together. Both Chamakh and Bendter work a lot and it would create havoc to play them against any team that parks the bus at the Emirates.
    Fabianski
    Sagna, Vermaelen, Squillaci, Clichy
    Song, Wilshere
    Fabregas
    Bendtner, van Persie, Chamakh

  • Archimedes

    ZZZZZ Editor please! Heard about bullet points? Please keep The Word count down!

  • Everyone have right on opinion, and there is nothing bad in disagreeing with someones opinion. Especially in football as I once sow comment which say, that there is no space on planet, which have at last one meadow 109×55 yards in which every every second adult male don’t believe he could do better than current managers.
    So no one is immune.
    Personally I agree that we lack “plan b and c” especially in home games where we really lack a bit sharpens in recent games.

  • gulp

    WELL as you all point out. typical tabloid article. with plenty of contradictions. a dig here and there. and a bit of i hate our keeper(if we had a different that did the same mistakes BUT that had a great name ala Reina i would support him, always.)

    but hey, the sun is easy to understand everything is written so simple and clear. So i dont mind if its contradictions in the arguments aslong as you can understand them right?

  • gulp

    oh and may i add we shold have plan D and E and F too! incase a b and c does not work. We should also have bit more high profiled names, especially in goal. Also we should have young high profiled names. and a plan D E and F.

    If i was manager, and read this id deffo adapt to all the points.
    I mean after all a 20 year old indian that has not ever been to our training ground, has never spoken to the plaeyrs, does not know what kind of person RVP or CHamak is.( best source on their personality is THE SUN, and when you read a paper like that is almost as you know the player). After all a person like that does know more than the washingladys at Emirates. he knows more than the chef at emirates and his opoinion is more valid than that of any of the staff infact.

    Also it is very very very important to share this kid of opinions. Not that we have read exactly the same for the last 2 years. I mean this is so new and revolutionary. my god this kid is so BRIGHT! i mean did he think up all this himself? :p
    Cut and paste is a great invention

  • John L: I personally don’t agree with much in the article, but when I considered it, it seemed to me that unlike the anti-Wenger rants that we see on other sites, this was a coherently argued piece.

    Everyone knows this is a totally pro-Wenger site, and I have kept that on the masthead from day one. But I have always been willing to consider more critical articles if they construct their points. The ones I don’t publish are the ones that say, “Clichy is useless, and if you can’t see that you are an idiot”.

    I am uneasy at editing out articles just because I don’t agree with every point in them. And I take the view that as with a newspaper, you don’t have to read every piece put up. Most days Untold publishes three articles, so why not include some that I personally don’t think are quite right?

    Of course I do edit to a degree, and there are some pieces I turn down, but I try to be liberal and open, and about as far away from the “agree with us or we’ll change your comments” approach of other web sites as possible.

    In relation to your comments, I think these are well-founded, and if you would like to write a piece for Untold, I’d love to have the chance of seeing it and publishing it. Just email tony.attwood@aisa.org – ideally with the article as a word file.

  • manas

    Dear Akhil

    I am fifty years old and fell in love with Arsenal since late nineties. I am football fanatic since chilshood as you know Kolkata is football crazy city. Your article is wonderful, i must say. My mind says this year Arsenal will win a lot. Keep it up.

  • Paul C.

    I can’t agree with ANY of this article.

    1. Talking with former players – this won’t do anything except give other peoples opinions on how to do things. This team has to learn by themselves. AW has all the experience needed. He is the only one whose opinion matters.

    2. Fixed team and chemistry – this is what AW does and always has done. AW isnt one to rotate for rotations sake. He believes in a settled team. I dont know where this one came from.

    3. No Plan B or C – to me this is the biggest myth around. Why do you need multiple plans? To bring in all kinds of different plans means you dont believe Plan A is good enough. Work out the style of play that fits your players and then play that way. Why change tactics? Wont that confuse players? When should Plan A or Plan B or Plan C be used? No, we have a style of play and we should stick that style because it is A style built to suit our players. We will never be a long-ball team because we dont have players to play that way.

    4. Resting Players – so you want a settled and fixed team and yet you want players rested as well. Which one is it?

    5. Getting new players – you do know that there are squad limits dont you? And you say about tall ‘keepers “it will make our defence more confident that they at least have to mark and stop their opponent from getting to the ball and the ball will safely be collected by our keeper” but that was the problem with Carrolls goal against us, NO ONE MARKED OR STOPPED HIM!!!!!!! Did you watch that game?

    5. (you have 2 number 5’s) Cold wars within team – where does this come from?

    6. Playing like Champions – yeah, yeah, yeah. You have to learn to play like Champions. It isnt just a bloody switch you can turn on and off. Honestly.

    7. Complacency – every time we lose this one gets dragged out. So were Chelsea complacent against Liverpool, City and Sunderland? Have Utd been complacent in their 7 draws? Sometimes you just play badly and lose. It happens. It isnt always because of complacency. Honestly again.

    8. Nobody is special in the team – yes they are. Some players are match winners. They can do nothing for 80 minutes and then score. Why on earth would you want to pull such players off the pitch for inferior players? Talk about cutting off your face to spite your nose. If Cesc is fit he plays 90 minutes. Period. He can score at any time. You dont pull such players off the pitch simply because they may be having an off-day.

    9. A captains role – dont understand this one. What are you saying? That Cesc isnt a good captain? It takes all kinds to be a good captain. Some talk, some dont. Cesc leads the team and it is obvious every single player looks up to him. This is a strange comment.

    10. Composure – when has this team lost their heads? What is this all about?

    Strange piece.

  • Byo

    I read this piece a few times today because I did not want to react impulsively.
    It is obvious that it was written by a very young gunner who is still learning about football and The Arsenal, hence I will be positive.
    Paul C addressed a lot of the issues cogently. Again, I believe the piece was written by a novice about AW, the team, etc.
    Akil, keep learning. But I understand there might be limited resources in India.
    Cheers.