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Snooping around the footballing backwaters: No93 – Stamford Bridge

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Snooping Around: Chelsea Blogs

By Sammy the Snake

Disclaimer: My best friend, a genuinely nice guy, is a Chelsea supporter. He calls me and congratulates me every time the Gunners win. When Chelsea drop points, I call him and rub it in his face. What can I say, I’m not that nice!

I have wondered for a really long while about why anybody would support Chelsea. I can’t see any rational reason unless they lived in the 200m vicinity of Stanford Bridge, and are paid in free tickets by the Russian mafia. A Chelsea fan can’t be much of a glory-hunter as they have only been successful for the past few years (although I don’t know any long term Chelsea fans). I can’t understand supporting a team called Chelsea but located in Fulham. A team owned and operated as a rich man’s play thing.

My initial search took me to TheChelseaBlog.org, and I must admit I was mildly surprised by the professional look of the site. It’s a tidy little blog with frequent posts (about 3 per day). Most articles are news related, so there’s little opinion expressed here. This is how the site introduces itself:

“TheChelseaBlog.org is an honest insight to the World of Chelsea FC. Not always pretty, sometimes rather cynical, but always realistic.”

But there’s no substance to this blog. The best they could do was a “Wenger vs. Ancelotti” article, a lot like “Monster vs. Aliens”, quite short in words and ideas:

“…the very personal nature of Wenger’s project at the Gunners shows his own frustration at recent defeats…Contrast this to Ancelotti, a man who is undoubtedly well aware that he has no role to play at the club other than to ensure that the team is playing the best football it can and you can see why one is relaxed and the other feels such a personal pressure. It is perhaps this overarching desperation to succeed that has taken hold of Wenger and transferred on to his team, in the process making them continually susceptible to caving into psychological pressure and subsequently failing…”

So after collecting a total grand sum of 4 points from the past 15, Mr. Lotti is relaxed! The guy had to come out publicly and deny resigning from his position, his assistant was kicked out without his knowledge, and he’s singing in the rain? Is he under pain killing medication? Has he heard of Ranieri, Mourinho, Grant, Scolari? Are you telling me he has no clue why they were fired? He just had to deny that Guardiola is to replace him, and he’s taking it easy?! Is Darling Carlo as thick as he looks? Maybe he’s had a bit too much Vodka and has lost his senses! Is he on brain laxative? Perhaps he’s dead?!

Here, though, is the major shocker: Each article has received a maximum of 2 or 3, responses from the reading public! No discussion, no argument, no interaction! As if the articles aren’t worth reading. Perhaps the Russian mafia prefers a silent audience, or may be there aren’t that many Chelsea fans to begin with!

Partly discouraged, partly bored, I moved on for more blogs, looking for some hot stuff. Chelsea.theoffside.com offers me very little. A MoTM article (maximum 150 words) after each game is the best you can find around here. There’s a link for “Rant Box: New Castle v. Chelsea”, but there’s no article. Just 24 comments (8 from the same person), mostly showing their mild disgust at the way things are going for their team. Many hate mails for Ashley Cole, one calling for Ancelloti to get the boot. Most comments are one-liners like “I’m extremely disappointed”. Oh Wow, how perceptive! It’s like a bunch of “Dark Prices” (Yes! Just like our very own). The entire Chelsea universe is made up of sad and lonely people!

Moving on to bridgeviews.co.uk, and I quote, this is “the thinking fan’s Chelsea blog”. Oh I didn’t realize thinking is a rarity among Chelsea fans! There’s a grain of truth in this blog, they have an article called “Ancelloti gossip: there’s no smoke without fire at Chelsea”. So at least they’re smarter than the Italian version of Dumb & Dumber. I also like another article called “No excuses for Chelsea’s insipid Sunderland battering”. The articles go on and on without making a point. The most amazing point however is that there are only a couple of comments per article. Helloooo! Anybody there?

You may be surprised but that’s it! The world of Chelsea is quiet and boring. There is basically one rule in this weird world created by Mr. Abro, “If you deny it, it’s doesn’t exist”. And the sad little fans of Chelsea keep quiet because they know they have no say whatsoever.

The life of a Chelsea fan is truly blue these days.

Nice win on Villa the other day, anyway, eh…

Sammy The Snake

What the stats really show us about Arsenal

The Christmas present for the Arsenal fan with everything

Latest bits from the Arsenal History site

There’s told told’s, told untold’s, untold told’s and untold untold’s.

Want to argue against Wenger and his philosophy? Then you must read this first, or your comment may not be published

80 comments to Snooping around the footballing backwaters: No93 – Stamford Bridge

  • critic

    well i truly believe arsenal’s blogosphere is far better than any other. We have both quality and quantity.
    moving on, i just want a response from bexxy on a good discussion,(sorry for posting again tony, and it’s offtopic).

    @bexxy(from previous articles)
    how many central defenders charity have??? terry, alex and for ivanovic we can say he is half central defender which usually plays in right back position. So all in all they have two and a half central defenders.
    how many utd have?? vidic,ferdinand, brown(who?),evans, smalling(youngster). that makes it 4 as brown usually defend utd at the bench and used only when there’s a brawl on the pitch.
    from above i think u can assume(in ur world) that terry, alex, ivanovic are some what world class. Ferdinand(old as old trafford), vidic(truly) are proven and can be assumed world class.
    Arsenal have 1(in ur world) and that too is injured. Rest, as u say, don’t make u orgasm or r not good enough. But still we r just 2(two) points behind leaders and r in 3rd, level on pts with champions(ur wordings, i call them charity). we have conceded 17 with utd conceding 16.
    If u want numbers we had numbers last season, we had 5 central defenders : verma, gallas, fishhead(sorry can’t remember his name),sanderos, JD. But clearly we didn’t have depth. This season we have but injuries have taken away our proven defender. We have done remarkably well without him plus given the fact kozzer have missed few games due to red cards. If u don’t consider it deeper enuff then i suggest u to play fifa on ur playstation/Xbox and buy as many defender as u want and guess what they won’t get injured easily.

  • swikrath

    Wow Sammy, truly entertaining. I’m really looking forward to read more articles from you.

  • critic

    well i truly believe arsenal’s blogosphere is far better than any other. We have both quality and quantity.
    moving on, i just want a response from bexxy on a good discussion,

    hey “bexxy” u didn’t replied to my comment. We were having a good discussion.

  • Dark Prince

    “It is perhaps this overarching desperation to succeed that has taken hold of Wenger and transferred on to his team, in the process making them continually susceptible to caving into psychological pressure and subsequently failing…”

    I find some underlying truth to this statement. Clearly the players were not psychologically ready to challenge United or Chelsea for the titles.

  • well well well……………..hope u guys are doing good….

    well hey sammy….i usually read your articles…every time come to surf the internet and want to check whats upp…..i don think i leave without atleast checking your article title….and imagine …i ve never commented…..

    i was kinda hurry everytime and couldn’t go down to comment..but i appreciate u….

    any way….today’s article is so funny….and you talked about exactly what chavs fans are about…….

    hahahaha…..gonna share this in ma facebook wall………i gat couple of chelsea fans……and its really true they are boring………..they really kno they ve nothin to say…….u kno wheneva we talk i just startin praisin our talent …..and they just don ve wat to say…..hahahahaha……see yaaaaa palzzzzzz

  • Richardr

    One site you may want to look at next time re Chelsea is
    :

    http://www.weaintgotnohistory.com/

    In some ways it is the closest to this site.

  • First, I’d like to say how glad I was to receive this and have the chance to publish it. A really interesting set of insights into the world as seen through the eyes of others.

    On the issue of the number of comments, there’s a couple of points to remember. Some sites get huge numbers of comments which are one liners (like the “Am I first” thing that appears on some sites). Numbers are an interesting indicator but not every comment is of interest.

    The other is that there are far more blogs on Arsenal than any other club. I am not quite sure why this is, but it has been true for years and that’s why the Wikio charts are dominated by Arsenal blogs – there are so many more than have a chance of getting going.

  • One Nil To Us

    Great article – the state of the Arsenal blogosphere is incredible!

    Most of the debate for other clubs seem to go on through forums rather than blogs, and as a result the discussion is somewhat stymied. I was, for example, looking for Stoke blogs the other day as a lot of my friends are that way inclined (for their sins) and drew a complete blank. Even some of the big aggregator football sites only had blog posts over a year old.

    I asked why this was to my closest bud, and he said it was because of the strength of the fanzine forum (The Oatcake) that they didn’t need them. Strange again though, that a club that prides itself on having ‘great fans’ can’t muster any with the passion to write a couple of hundred words in support or agony for their side.

    One reason that flashed through my head is perhaps it’s because of the divide in Arsenal fans (AAA / AKB) with both trying to outdo the other. Another reason may just be that there is so many Arsenal fans that don’t get to interact by going down the Emirates week in week out, so engage with other fans online. For a club like Stoke this isn’t an issue – all the debate will happen at the ground. Quite why it doesn’t occur with other teams with big followings (Chelsea, ManUre in particular) is weird.

    What is so good about the Arsenal explosion in blog form is just how good some of the writing is, how vivid the opinions are, and how enjoyable it all is to read. Keep ’em coming.

    I’m looking forward to resurrecting my own Gooner blog as soon as I have the time.

  • If you go to http://www.goonernews.com then down the right side is a list of “Other football sites” – these are all accumulator sites for the individual clubs, as Gooner news does for Arsenal. You can see what sort of news they are running each day.

  • kitatange

    Hey, 1 – 0 to us.

    I want to try and add a thing from you analysis/response to the article. Could The Arsenal supporters all over the world be regarded of a certain level of education or social stratum?

    Not being rude!

    Nice reading.

  • Shard

    @dark prince

    There is a bit of truth to almost any scatter brained theory out there as well. In this case what matters is how you look at it. Isn’t having a desperation to win a good thing? In fact, thats what Wenger is often accused of lacking.

    As you say the players weren’t psychologically ready. Perhaps, but even if that’s true they have had to put up with more than most. Sheer no. of injuries, everyone saying they aren’t good enough, or too soft. Having witnessed three leg breaks with the perpetrator being treated as the victim because they are good ol english lads. And I haven’t even mentioned the bias that referees have against us. We were cheated out of the title in 2008. That is an opinion i will always defend as the truth. Apart from that year though I will readily admit we weren’t good enough to win for whatever reason(s).

  • Shard

    Why would someone be a Chelsea fan?? Well apart from the usual freeloaders who clamber onto the bandwagon of the marquee signings, the only other reason I can find is an example of a very good friend of mine. He started supporting Chelsea simply because he was a fan of Bryan Adams, who in his album ’18 til I die’ had dedicated a song called ‘we’re gonna win’ to Chelsea FC 🙂

  • Bootoomee

    Sir Tony,

    For team that “has not any trophy in 5/6 years” are you not proud of the support that Arsenal has? Don’t bother to answer sir, it is rhetorical. No trophies in 5/6 years and we still have more support than all the other team combined (at least online). while there are a few AAAs, I am pretty confident that most of us online gooners are passionately suporting our beloved team. Form is temporary, class is permanent!

  • One Nil To Us

    @kitatange – Of course, but I just didn’t want to say that, trying to keep it balanced 😉

    I think everyone knows Arsenal fans are a cultured bunch 🙂

  • Not only that Bootoomee we sold 59,000 tickets (no season tickets for that game) last night. Amazing.

  • FinnGooner

    Great article.
    One reason why someone might support Chelsea could be like one I had when I supported Liverpool before I knew about Arsenal (or even cared about football) and that was Sami Hyypiä was captain and team also had Jari Litmanen. So that was 2 Finnish players so I should support them. I saw only 1 match from TV (against Finnish team in CL-qualifications I think). So it had nothing to do with team or how they played but players.
    I love everything about Arsenal and I think I fall in love deeper and deeper with the club every year (oh I have been really watching football and Arsenal since 2006).

  • Paul C.

    Excellent.

    It is odd how active the Arsenal blogosphere is. Partly I think that has to do with the extreme differences between the pessimists and optimists within the Arsenal community. There is a huge amount of room in between those extremes for all kinds of active debate.

  • Bootoomee

    FinnishGooner,

    Thanks for mentioning Jari Litmanen – one of the most under-appreciated player in the history of the game. It is incredible how much a player’s country of origin affects how much recognition he gets. Litmanen was one of the most potent strikers in Europe from 93/94 through 96/97. He wore No.10 for Ajax and was for me the best striker in tight spaces. I will always remember his equaliser against Juventus in the ’96 CL final in Rome; talk about control and poise in tight spaces! By the time he got to Liverpool, he was already past his prime.

    Talking about nationality and recognition, I think the Nigerian, Obinna was the clear man-of-the-match in the ManUre drubbing last night but all we’ve heard about is how great Spector (the American) and Cole are. Hellooooo…Obinna contributed to all the goals and was a constant threat to the united defence and midfield.

    Back on topic, a chav suppoting cousin of mine once told me that the that he supports the Russian mafia because they always win unlike Arsenal. I have to be honest, I have made his life hell these last few weeks. And no, I’m not a bad person, he thoroughly deserves it. He is a glory-hunter who knows very little about football. The only reason why he is not a Farca fan right now is because of the bitterness he has developed (like many other chavs) towards the spanish side in the ECL.

  • Dark Prince

    @Shard- You are right, its how we look at it. I’m really happy that we have many players which have come up in our team since a young age. I love the idea of having a team which is young and getting better by the age. But we have to accept the frailties associated with it, like for eg, gettin injured at a young age, lacking leadership, getting tired easily, arrogance, microscopic media view, and most importantly, getting mentally strong. I think our players have faced all the above mentioned problems. At present i feel, that being mentally more strong, as in wenger’s words, more ‘mature’, is the most important issue. Sure enough we have injury problems, but our attacking options are pretty good now, (though cant say the same for defence), so even if as of today, Van Persie gets injured, we have Chamakh, Bendtner, Vela all up there. But its the psychological problem which we have to address. The players seem to be in need for someone to lead the attack when Cesc is out. Its been a long time since we have come from behind to win a game. thats bcoz our players become quite effected by the prospect of losing. And this in turn makes them weak mentally. They become too scared to lose a game which makes them more error prone when the opposition applies pressure, something which we see almost in every match. I believe there’s lots of room for improvement but i dont believe the players are ready yet.

  • Shard

    @Dark Prince

    No one can deny the frailties involved in taking the direction that we did. But there wasn’t any other (sensible) option, so we in a way simply had to go through that period. Again a league title in 2008 would have made it easier to take, since in reality this period of 5 years hasn’t actually been a plateau. There have been ups and downs. Have the players matured yet? Its still an ongoing process I guess. But maybe, just maybe we have crossed a certain threshold, and I actually believe we are good enough to win the league this year. Our squad is most definitely stronger than our rivals. Of course talent has to translate into performances and results. Nobody is going to simply give us the title. But this year I think we really can.

    Which probably, sadly, only will lead to even more grumbling and recriminations if we don’t.

  • Dark Prince

    @shard- i agree with you completly but except one statement – “Our squad is most definately stronger than our rivals”??

    I believe that we have a good depth in our attacking options but i doubt the defence is good enough to repel the attacks of a team like United or Chelsea.

    If we are to win the epl we have to beat United and Chelsea atleast once. I think this month is going to show where we actually stand. If we manage to beat atleast one of United or Chelsea then i think we hav a chance to win. Even if we come out with a draw in both games, i’ll be satisfied. But if we lose both of them, then i dont think we have it to win it this year. Probably again wait next year till they become more mature and surpass the threshold that United and Chelsea occupy.

  • Shard

    Dark Prince

    I guess that’s just a matter of opinion. But lets look at defense for now. (too) much is being made of John Terry’s absence from the Chelsea defense. It’s not doing too well at the moment is it? Ivanovic is good. But Paulo Ferreira? No thanks.
    ManU have Vidic who is class and maybe Ferdinand. But Evans, Smalling, Wes Brown?? I think personnel-wise we are in a stronger position despite the mystery injury to Vermaelen. Our defensive organisation leaves a lot to be desired though.

    In fact, the only area where Chelsea may be stronger is strangely enough midfield. Specifically defensive midfielder. we have just Song (only one Song?) But I don’t think Wenger will sign anyone because we can get by with Wilshere and Denilson playing there. Maybe Ramsey coming back. And then there are Frimpong and Coquelin as well as Eastmond there for the future.

  • Paul C.

    Shard and DP – If I can join in this debate I everyone is having defensive issues at the moment. Goals are flying in everywhere in the League and nobody seems to know how to defend. We are by no means alone in that area. When everyone is fit obviously Chelsea are the cream but can they keep Terry fit?

    I also found it really interesting that we played 4-4-2 (or 4-4-1-1 if you like) last night. With only Denilson and Wilshire in midfield we looked very lightweight on paper but those two did a superb job in my opinion. Denilson had a few sloppy moments but overall they were solid and controlled the midfield. It makes you wonder about all those “we have nobody to cover for Song” statements. Perhaps we do.

    December will indeed tell us a lot. But none of the top sides are looking particularly amazing right now so it is anyones season at the moment.

  • Shard

    @ Paul C

    I agree. Our failures always seem more to us, but we actually have the 4th best defensive record in the league. This despite (or because of, depending on how you choose to look a it) our poor home form, conceding stupid goals to Spurs(dammit) and WBA (though they deserved it). We have to improve defensively.

    I’m not sure Chelsea are the cream as you put it. Maybe if you say that they are all fit and not fatigued (is that just semantics?) What I mean is that their first 11 may be the best but they are quite an old side and are bound to play with some injuries or fatigue. Their squad is actually quite tiny. Plus, Terry is not half as good without a partner to cover for him, a la Carvalho. Even if he does stay fit, if Drogba doesn’t they won’t win.

    Regarding the league, I think someone, or two will pull a little clear. I actually fear United more at this point than Chelsea. Don’t get me wrong. Chelsea will probably bulldoze someone in the next few weeks, but United will be more consistent. It’s up to us to match that.

  • Paul C.

    Shard – I dont mean Chelsea’s whole squad, just their defense, and only when fit. When they can put out Cech, Ivanovich, Terry, Alex and Cole that is a pretty solid defense. certainly the best in England right now.

  • Shard

    @ Paul C

    Also regarding Denilson as a replacement for Song. I’m not for one second saying Denilson isn’t good enough or anything of the sort. He can most definitely play in that position and do a very good job. What i meant is he’s a different type of player to Song. Denilson will play the simple passes, shoot from distance offensively and make good interceptions defensively. But Song seems to be able to win tackles for which he isn’t favourite and to get himself out of tight situations through his strength and control. Don’t know if I explained that well but do you see what I mean? Oh Song’s also better in the air, which is always a help from set pieces. We need that.

  • Dark Prince

    @shard- well, in my opinion, the defence starts with the goalkeeper. We now have a probably decent gk in fabianski but is he comparable to Van Der Sar or Cech?? Not by a long shot.

    Then comes the 4 defenders, so i’ll compare position wise. I’ll admit that Arsenal as probably the best right back in epl. Not even United or Chelsea can match Sagna’s consistency. But thats where all the good points end. Our left back Clichy is not as good as Cole or Evra. Neither defensively nor attackingly. Then comes the centre backs, assuming that Vermaelen might not be back for a month atleast, our best centre back partnership is Squillaci and Koscielny. Is this partnership as good as Rio and Vidic or Terry and Alex/Ivanovich partnership?? I dont think so…

    Squillaci is an average defender. He’s consistent and he is good at his job but not good enough when we are facing United or Chelsea. Koscielny has been outstanding in some matches but in some matches has been poor. He has yet to show consistency. Only Vermaelen has shown that he fits the bill to be a top class legendary defender. But unfortunately we wont have him for more 60% of this season. Thats why i think we are defensively weak.

  • Paul C.

    Shard – totally agree with regards Song and Denilson. No doubt that Song is number one in that position. I just meant that Denilson and Wilshire are both showing they are more than capable of handling themselves in that area and once we get Diaby and Ramsey back we should be absolutely fine in midfield without having to go out and buy another defensive midfielder as many fans are screaming for us to do. Unless we can find someone first choice who is actually better than Song that is, and I just dont see anyone out there at that level.

  • Shard

    But see that’s the thing. I don’t think it’s really a matter of personnel. Chelsea have by far the best defensive record in the league. But it’s about how the defense set up. Chelsea hold a very deep line and very often its last ditch blocks (which they are very good at) or Cech saves that well.. saves them. Actually, it’s probably Essien who is the real reason for their solidity.
    I don’t think that’s a model for us to even try and replicate though. We hold a very high line indeed, which has left us vulnerable to the counter attack. How best to deal with that is for Wenger to decide. But the high line will remain, of that we can almost be certain. Apart from that, we too have our main defensive stalwart out and our defenders are still adjusting to each other. It should get better.

  • Paul C.

    DP – I think you are over-rating both Cech and VDS. VDS is nowhere near the level as a keeper that he was a few seasons back. He has made as many errors this season as anyone. Cech has never been the same ‘keeper after his head injury. He is still one of the best but at one time he was clearly the best in the country. Now he is just a good ‘keeper. I dont think Fabianski, based on his performances over the past couple of months, is far behind either one of those guys.

  • Shard

    @ Dark Prince

    Our defenders are still building a partnership as I said in the last post. we’re still not that bad. Regarding Squillacci I agree, but apparently what he brings to the side is organisation. He’s supposedly constantly organising the defense around him and as such, for the moment must count as a plus. I actually think Djourou should start ahead of koscielny, though the latter’s tackling is superb.

    @Paul C
    I’m not screaming or even asking for a DM to be bought. Just noting that Chelsea have better DMs. I actually think Frimpong and Coquelin will both turn out to be brilliant. The youth coming through is really exciting actually.

  • Shard

    Paul C

    VDS yes. Cech no. Cech is quite simply awesome. He had lost something after his injury, but last year he got his mojo back. Fabianski isn’t doing too badly though. He finally seems to have some presence (crosses fingers, touches wood, throws salt over shoulder..open to more suggestions)

  • Dark Prince

    Paul C and Shard- regarding our defensive midfielder, the best we got right now are Song, Denilson and Wilshere. And i really dont know where does Wilshere fit exactly, he seems like gerrard, but i think by the end of this season we’ll know what type of mf he actually is bcoz currently he’s an allrounder. I think our proper defensive mf i.e Song and Denilson should be used according to the type of opposition. Song should be used when we are going against a physical side and Denilson when we play a more technical opponent. I remember how Denilson was superb against barca but Song, in the same match, played way too poorly.

  • Shard

    @ Dark Prince

    Broadly agree with rotation between Song and Denilson. But I guess that can only mean Denilson in europe. Everyone in England plays a physical game, mainly because of the refereeing standard. Of course, these days we are playing 2 DMs so maybe its a moot point.
    Wilshere, despite making some mistakes, has been bloody fantastic. Not just the output but the effort and mentality.

  • Dark Prince

    Paul C – yea ur right that Van Der Sar isn’t as good now but still he’s better than Fabianski at the moment. And their defence still has confidence in VDS, unlike in Arsenal’s case. But purely looking at the whole defence + gk, i believe Chelsea and United are way better than Arsenal now.

  • Paul C.

    Shard – I know you are not screaming for a DM, but many are. I agree about Coquelin though. He now seems to be playing every game for L’Orient and getting rave reviews. He may well come back into the squad ahead of Frimpong and Eastmond next year.

    I think all of us have to admit our defense needs to do some growing up, and that means our whole team, not just our back four. But that is the thing, they will grow up. Ferdinand and Terry are both in their 30’s. Vidic, Alex, Cole etc are all hugely experienced. TV and Kos are 25, Djourou is 23. They are still learning to play together. I can remember Tony Adams at 22 getting turned inside out every week and rightfully being called a donkey. Vidic when he came to England had a horrible time at first, so did Evra. People were saying they were horrible buys by Fergie.

    We probably wont ever lead the league in fewest goals conceded the way this team is set up. We need to get better definately, but we dont need to be Dixon-Bould-Adams-Winterburn good to win with the attacking players we have. We need to get smarter and realise that sometimes the ball just needs to be cleared. We need to be more organized at set pieces. We need to realise at 2-0 up you should NEVER be caught on a counter-attack, EVER (as happened against Spurs)!!!!

  • Shard

    oh and regarding Clichy. Its a tough one. He does everything right for the most part. He has improved his crossing marginally also. It’s just the momentary lapses that almost invariably lead to goals that have become a regular fixture. His attitude is right up there and he does give it his all. He was with the Invincibles after all. But now may be the time to bench him for a bit with Gibbs ready and raring to go.

  • Dark Prince

    Shard- completly agree that Squillaci brings a lot of experience and organisation to the defence but he and the rest of the defence still suffers from Arsenal’s set-piece problems. Set-pieces are just killing arsenal’s defence. Dont know why it happens but everytime we concede a corner or free kick, its nerve wreckin, and most of our goals are goin in thru set pieces.

  • Dark Prince

    I’ll agree with Shard about Clichy. I’ve said it so myself many times. Its time for Gibbs to be our 1st choice left back. He’s giving consistently impressive performances. But i’m really concerned for the right-back position. Sagna is awesome no doubt but there’s no one to replace him if he gets injured. Eboue is clearly out of form and among the youngsters, there has been no1 who has stepped up. Any ideas for future right-backs?

  • Shard

    Dark Prince
    Honestly, that doesn’t happen to me anymore. I think we have improved on set pieces. I don’t panic everytime we concede a corner now.
    Bringing Djourou in might help with it too. He is good in the air.

  • Shard

    I think third choice right back at the moment is Nordtveit. A future CB though, i should think. Along with Kyle Bartley, and Ignasi Miquel.

  • Dark Prince

    Paul C – Vermaelen surely is one gem of a kind. Koscielny has the potential but sometimes i’ve seen that he becomes too overaggressive with his tackles and fouls. But i wont mind that unless he gets himself a red card. Djourou still has a few more years to come to his best. He’s improving but he needs to be consistent in his performances. Squillaci has jus a couple of years left in him. I wont mind him being a defensive coach bcoz he reads the game well.

  • Dark Prince

    Shard- then i guess Kyle Bartley is the future then. Its strange that he hasn’t come up quick in the ranks like Gibbs or Traore has. Also if Nordtviet is a CB then i’d rather prefer him being a CB than being out of position. Is it me or do we have a lot of defensive midfielders in arsenal?

    Honestly, i dont think its good to have 2 defensive midfielders in the starting 11. And b4 the season started, looking at our squad, i had actually commented that we need to come back to our 4-4-2 combination with no room for a defensive midfielder. Surely we have enough attacking talent. And today we have Walcott, Van persie, Bendtner sitting so benches. I’d still prefer to use the 4-4-2 combination.

  • Shard

    Kyle Bartley is a CB too. He’s on loan at Sheffield United i think and playing regularly. Ignasi Miquel is captain of the reserves and is also a CB though he can play LB also.

    Sorry, but don’t really know anyone to get excited about in the RB position 🙂

  • Paul C.

    As a future rightback how about Eastmond? He played rightback throughout his youth career to a high level and AW has a history of playing guys in midfield before moving them to rightback (Lauren). I always think that a good midfielder should have no problem playing fullback, and Flamini at leftback during our CL Final run is another example.

    DP – I actually have been really pleased with Djourou this season. I think he has looked better and better with every game and in my opinion is now ahead of Squillaci and pressing Kos hard to be 1st choice with TV. Squillaci isnt amazing, but as a 4th central defender he would be just fine.

    Shard mentioned Miguel and Bartley as well (along with Nordtveit). Miguel just turned 18 and is captain of the reserves. Bartley is playing every week at Sheff Utd and his coach absolutely loves him.

    It is so frustrating at times to constantly be talking about youth and inexperience. But once you start down that path you have to keep going.

  • Shard

    Eastmond is an option. Coquelin has played there too.

  • Paul C.

    And DP – agree with you about 4-4-2. RvP is much better suited to 4-4-2 and he and Chamakh would probably be outstanding together but we have so many central midfielders that picking 2 to play together would mean one of Wilshire, Ramsey, Song, Denilson and Diaby playing (assuming Cesc is fit and first choice) and the rest sitting!!!!!!

    WE HAVE TOO MANY PLAYERS!!!!! Isnt it strange to be moaning about having too big a squad after the past few years!?!?!?!?!

  • Shard

    DP

    442 won’t happen now. The 2 midfielders, unless they are very tactically astute will always be overrun in a systen with 3 central mids. Also, If you have just one up top, then the oppositions 4 defenders become largely redundant and this means you have an advantage elsewhere on the pitch. Clubs are increasingly moving away from the 442. It simply wont happen now.

  • Dark Prince

    So basically we dont have a specialist Right-back other than Sagna?? I really dont like the idea of midfielders playing as defence.

  • Dark Prince

    Paul C- in attackin terms, yes we have a bundle of players to choose from. Though i wished we had a bundle of defence to choose from too.

  • Shard

    DP
    But what makes them Midfielders. wenger almost always likes his players to be versatile. There isn’t that much difference in playing as a defensive Midfielder and a full back, provided you can build an understanding with the defense, and have the stamina for it. Stamina manly was why Flamini could play there. In some ways its easier cos you only have to worry about your side of the field.

    Eboue can do a fair job for the moment though. He also did a decent job on the left recently. I forget which game it was where he had to come on as a substitute.

  • Shard

    haha.. manly stamina it certainly was 🙂

  • Shard

    ever heard of Manly Utd of Australia? 🙂

  • Dark Prince

    Shard and Paul C – i can understand with the 3 midfielder rule…. but having 2 defensive midfielders?? Thats something i’m not able to digest. How about a 4-1-3-2 formation having one defensive midfielder and 3 central midfielders and 2 strikers?? Wouldn’t that be more attacking and dominating. Like Paul said, Chamakh and Van Persie will be unstoppable together.and having Cesc, Nasri and Rosicky behind would be probably the best attack in epl.

  • Paul C.

    DP – Lauren did fine didnt he? I actually would rather midfielders since midfielders just tend to be better players. I always think a good midfielder could move back easily (as everyone used to say about Keane or Vieira being a great central defender) if they wanted to. I dont think a good defender would make a good midfielder in the same way.

  • Paul C.

    DP – I like the players in your 4-1-3-2 suggestion but I would worry that we would become too narrow and depend too much on fullbacks for width. In terms of creativity and midfielders coming through from deep positions it would be awesome however!

  • Paul C.

    Good debate guys. I am off for the evening. Have a good one and UP THE ARSENAL!!!!

  • Shard

    DP

    That formation that you’re suggesting is essentially a diamond 442 which really is an in between. neither here nor there. You’d be better off with a 442.
    We played with one defensive midfielder last year and got caught out quite often. Hence the shift to 2 DMs. But as Song gallivanting forward, and Wilshere’s runs with the one-twos show, that is nominal. It just means that the players alternate going forward and the defensive burden isn’t entirely on one person. I think its an improvement really.

  • Dark Prince

    Shard and Paul C- i agree that at times some of those midfielders can play in the defence but surely not for the whole season??!! I mean, we definately should have one specialist for each position, and if they get injured then some defensive midfielder can replace him for some time.

    But still we do need to hav a young specialist right back so that they can continue after Sagna retires.

  • Shard

    Dp.. There are plenty RBs at the club. Just none that seem special. That however, is often no bad thing for a defender and maybe Wenger is convinced enough by the youngsters. Lets see, who plays RB in the reserves and the U18s?? Paul C, do you know.

    I know James edge plays both DM and RB in the U18.Ben Glasgow (U18) Nico Yennaris?? Ya I think he’s our reserve RB. Don’t take my word for it though. This is from a not very vivid memory 🙂

  • Dark Prince

    Shard- how u noticed that we started the season with a 4-3-3 combo and literally demolished blackpool and bolton. But later we changed to havin 2 defensive midfielders and have have been scoring less goals and sometimes losing?

  • Shard

    We still had 2 Dms then. I remember thinking at the time how its different from last year. Maybe we dominated so much that the DMs didn’t spend much time defending. But the formation has been the same from the start of the season. Blackpool, and even Liverpool right at the beginning were also against 10 men, so maybe that had something to do with allowing a DM to move forward as well.

  • Shard

    DP,you can’t say that our defense is weak and then not want or like the fact that they get extra protection from the midfield.

  • Shard

    Just caught a glimpse of Reyes. He could have been great with us and for us…(sigh)

  • Shard

    and now they show Fran Merida warming up.. what are they trying to do to me?? 🙂

  • Dark Prince

    To be honest, i’m very depressed that we lost Fran Merida. He played like Cesc and had great visionary ability. His passes too were as good as Cesc.

  • Dark Prince

    Shard – If we are facing the likes of United, Chelsea, Barca, Madrid or even Bayern then yes, our defence is weak. No doubt about that. Plus the 2 extra defensive midfielders just makes us less potent in the attacking department.

  • Shard

    DP

    I don’t think it does. 6 players defensively and 4 players offensively is the general consensus these days. Of course it varies and even in our case Song and Wilshere do not hesitate to go forward. They just are more aware of their defensive responsibilities. Which is how we need it to be, at least at the moment. Scoring goals isn’t a problem for us right now. @nd from top in terms of scoring goals, only 3 behind ManU because Fat Sam rolls over (heh) for them.

  • Shard

    * 2nd from top

  • prick

    quote: Most comments are one-liners like “I’m extremely disappointed”. Oh Wow, how perceptive! It’s like a bunch of “Dark Prices” (Yes! Just like our very own).

    hey I like our Dark Prince!

    On to the article: At the very least I think the Chelsea team and the CFC blog have something in common; they both lack substance. Why anyone would love and support something so dry and bland is beyond me.

  • Shard

    @ prick

    “hey, i like our Dark Prince!”

    But you’re a prick. 🙂

    Sorry, sorry sorry,, just had to get that in.Couldn’t resist.. As you can see with my discussion with him, I have no problem with Dark Prince either. And none with you hopefully..

  • Dark Prince

    Lol!! I dont remember giving one liners as my comments!!

    I think what the Chelsea blogs should have is some real ‘Dark Prince’!! Atleast then they can have some lengthy healthy discussions about football!!

  • Dark Prince

    Shard- Anyways back to our football, i think having only 4 attacking players is not good enough to break a United defence or a Chelsea or Barca defence. 5 attacking players is a minimum. And honestly, Song or Wilshere isn’t as effective as Rosicky in attacking terms. Infact i’d actually remove Song from the starting line up and put Wilshere, Rosicky, Cesc n Nasri in there. Wilshere and Cesc too act as a defensive midfielders in between.

  • Paul C.

    DP – It is always a balance isnt it? On the one hand we want enough attackers to penetrate a top defense and on the other you want cover for your back-4. I think 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 or whatever system all depend on the players. Good players can execute any system. And although you say that Rosicky is better than Song in attacking terms, it is Song who has been scoring goals whereas Rosicky looks like he couldnt hit the side of an airport hanger from 6 feet away.

    I like Alex Song. Always have. I’d have him in my first 11 every time, even if he does occasionally give away cheap fouls (and sometimes gets punished for clean tackles due to his reputation, as against Spurs).

    My one question right now is how and where to play RvP and Chamakh to maximize our attacking strength?

  • Dark Prince

    Yea it should be of a good balance, but havin 6 defensive players and 4 pure attackin players is not a good balance…5 attackin and 5 defensive is the right balance. And i like song too, but i wud really like him to play purely as a defensive midfielder and comin in attacks only 4-5 times every match, unlike how he does now, where he comes ahead in every attackin move. Bcoz everytime he comes forward, he leaves the defence exposed. Also as a defensive midfielder i’d want Song to cover for Sagna or Clichy when they go ahead bcoz most of the counter attacks comes from the flanks.

  • Paul C.

    I actually hate the whole defensive/attacking midfielder thing. I like midfielders. Complete midfielders. Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane would have been insulted had they been referred to as attacking or defensive midfielders. I think communication between midfielders is what matters and I was delighted to see the way Denilson and Wilshire moved around midweek against Wigan, sharing the responsibilities. Wilshire was generally ahead of Denilson, but they communicated and balanced each other.

    I see Song as that type of midfielder. Box to box. I dont care if it is Wilshire or Cesc or Song covering, but someone has to. It is about communication. I can’t stand players like Maschereno who make their name as defensive midfielders and have no attacking thoughts. I am delighted that he cant get a game at Barca because of that.

    Give me a complete midfielder anyday.

  • Shard

    DP and Paul C

    Glad to see the debate’s still on 🙂

    I really think the 2 DM formation is actually good for us. You can argue about what personnel to have in there, and yes, complete midfielders are always welcome. But DP, so far our attack hasn’t really been hampered is it. You can argue we’ve been too narrow at times, but I don’t think any lack of creativity can be attributed to us having the 2 DMs. They venture forward enough and Wilshere can find good passes from deep as well.

    I actually would probably like to see Song and Cesc in the role and Van Persie playing in what we have started calling the Fabregas role. ie behind Chamakh

    With Denilson, Diaby, Wilshere, Ramsey, Rosicky, in reserve then. that’s a strong midfield.

  • Shard

    *Song and Cesc in the deep lying role

  • Dark Prince

    I’d still go with the 4-1-3-2 combination… Song in the defensive midfield and Cesc, Nasri and Rosicky in the midfield with chamakh and van persie as strikers.

    I think having only one target man is putting too much responsibility on one striker. But having 2 strikers who are both good in air and ground should be too good for any defence. And having Nasri and Cesc and Rosicky behind them will ensure adequate passes and crosses. And Cesc himself can sometimes go in a deep holding role as we have seen him do many times.

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