Tactics, mistakes, luck it all plays a part

By Walter Broeckx

Last week was a bit of a hectic week. Our defeat at Chelsea was the chance for the moaners to come out in full force again. So let us try to do a little analysing of this first. We know the simple analyzing that is usually done by the non-existing part of our trophy hunting fans: Wenger out.

He doesn’t do tactics, he lost the players, he blah blah blah blah. Tactics. What have tactics to do with players losing the ball in dangerous areas? Or did Wenger order them before the match to do this on purpose? Can you imagine him saying to Oxlade-Chamberlain and Cazorla: now listen very carefully I will say this only once but make sure that in the first 5 minutes or so you deliberately lose the ball in dangerous positions so they score a few early goals.

That defeat was born by our players making individual mistakes. Now making mistakes is something that happens on the field. But not even in his wildest dreams Mourinho would have dreamed that the first two shots from Chelsea would result in goals. It somehow came together for Chelsea in that match. Two errors from Arsenal and two well taken goals. If Eto’o would have been to his usual standard the ball would have ended up between the Arsenal supporters. And the ball could have hit the leg of Koscielny and could have ended up anywhere. But now it flew between his legs and Szczesny was beaten again.

How many times do Chelsea score from their first two shots on goal on average? I think they only did it against Arsenal. And certainly not against Crystal Palace. That is just the way things go sometimes. You get all the luck at your side in one match and then the next…you cannot score at all. That is football. And in the match against Chelsea we should have been 1-0 up at the moment they scored their first goal. If Cech hadn’t stopped the goal bound shot from Giroud seconds before the match might have been completely different.

Did you also noticed how Mourinho laid the blame with his players after the Crystal Palace defeat?  A bit cheap I would say. For those singing the praise of master tactician Mourinho I wonder if they now will say that Pulis must be the best manager and tactician of them all after Crystal Palace beat them. Of course not. But this is just the way it goes. Against Arsenal, Chelsea was lucky with the two early goals and now it didn’t work and they struggled.

Against Swansea Arsenal was still suffering from the hangover of the Chelsea defeat. And so it wasn’t the best match. But we managed to get over it and even managed to turn it around after being 0-1 down early in that match. Two quick goals seemed to keep the points at the Emirates. Until that terrible last minute.

Have you ever seen an own goal where it was 3 players of the defending team that in quick succession touch the ball to score? I really cannot imagine having seen anything like that. And in fact you cannot fault any player for this. Mertesacker with a great sliding tackle kicking the ball away. Szczesny was already going down for that ball and as a result wanted to sweep it away with his foot and hitting Flamini who was tracking back.  How unlucky can you get?

But this double blow could have resulted in a complete meltdown against City and certainly when they went 0-1 up after again Arsenal losing the ball and being caught on a counter attack. And at the start of the match against City you still could see some nerves hanging round the team resulting in not the best of starts.

But the way the team fought back from yet another setback was warming for my Arsenal loving heart.  The team did what was needed when it was needed. They defended when they had to defend with the whole team. And then they took over the match and were the better team for large spells of the second half.

I know the media in England reports that Arsenal was lucky to get a point and that City was the better team. I must say that in my country and they do like some Kompany ***-licking up there they thought that Arsenal deserved at least one point and that they had the best chances to win the match in the second half.

And then you can see again how much luck has to do with it sometimes. The goal bound shot from Podolski somehow hitting the heel of Hart and 9 times out of 10 it still might have ended up in the net. It probably would have at the other end. But this time Hart made a sublime stop without really knowing how he did it.

Of course tactics play a part but I think making or not making mistakes plays a much bigger part. Coupled with luck.

About not changing tactics I think we could look at other managers. Does Mourinho change his tactics that much? No he usually tries to hit the other teams starting from a defensive position. Hitting them with a fast counter. Certainly in top matches.

Another top manager and in my eyes one of the best managers of the last 10 years is Guardiola. Does he change tactics a lot?  No, in fact he never changes his tactics. He used them at Barcelona and there was no talk of plan B. He only plays plan A. And now he does again at Bayern Munich. Just playing to your own strength. Wenger also usually wants to start from his own strengths. I think that is the mark of top managers.

But once out on the field it is down the players not to make mistakes. That is what the players did against Chelsea. They made mistakes making it impossible for us to come back. I will not mention the fact that the ref also made a mistake by reducing us to 10 man and making it completely impossible to do something.

I think football matches are won for 1/3 by tactics, by 1/3 by luck and the final 1/3 is about making or not making mistakes. When you get the perfect mix you will win. Otherwise you might struggle.

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106 Replies to “Tactics, mistakes, luck it all plays a part”

  1. Not sure i would agree. Tactics play a huge part in the game. Arsene’s biggest problem is he plays the best players regardless of the opponent.

    The astute managers play the players best suited to your opponent.Rodgers changes his team based on who he’s playing, If he thinks pace can exploit them, he plays sterling. if he wants to control the midfield he plays Coutinho.

    We need to follow this idea. Arteta is a great player but against the faster teams it makes sence to drop him for Flamini and play someone else (wilshere, Rocky, Ox) for pace and directness.

  2. Shaz,
    and why did Arteta had to track back? Because of the mistakes that shouldn’t have been made.
    Had The Ox and Santi not lost the ball in those positions there would have been no need to track back. Or to concede.
    I am not throwing the stone at them by the way. This is just what happened on the pitch when we lost the ball. I’m sure they didn’t intend to lose the ball but it happened.
    The Ox tried to make a pass that he would make 99 out of 100 times with no problem. But this time he misplaced it with a goal as a result. Making that bad pass is a mistake and has nothing to do with tactics.
    Tactics is about telling your players what to do or what not to do. Like I said Wenger will not have said to The Ox: misplace a simple pass early on please. In fact I can imagine Wenger having said: avoid making mistakes. That would have been part of the tactical plan. And when a player then makes a mistake sh*t (can) happens.

  3. Sorry, I don’t believe in luck. If we were 3-1 ahead in the Swansea game, conceding a late goal would have not had such a negative impact. It would have been just an incident… It becomes bad luck when you haven’t done enough, but of course, easier said than done.
    Nevertheless, this season has been a good improvement over the previous seasons specially if we lift the FA Cup.

  4. Rather than tactics the players look nervous against big teams. Now this can be overcome only when players win some trophies. Hence FA cup wud be a massive boost. It will give the players the confidence.

  5. “What have tactics to do with players losing the ball in dangerous areas?”

    It was the ~(opposition’s) tactic of pressing high up the pitch, both collectively and in bursts that forced a high number of individual errors in both the Chelski and Pool games. A counter to this tactic would of been to be more direct in play- looking for an early pass over the high defensive line. But, in both games he had an absence of pace on the pitch making it harder to nullify.

    In addition, he compounded (the tactical error) by giving the full-back’s license to roam (or, he rather didn’t give them any special instructions or they simply disobeyed them). Futhermore, frequently it was the furthermost man back in midfield that they were pressing, meaning a turnover is instantly opening the back-4 to direct attack. This is compounded when you only have 1 disciplined player in midfield, and 1 who is not particularly mobile at that (Arteta).

    Contrast that with the Citeh game where both Flamini and Arteta played and the fullbacks were much deeper with their starting positions and less keen to press forward (in the first half). Citeh outplayed us in the first half, but we did well to stay fairly solid during this time. As they tired in the 2nd, we had more individual space in midfield (on which this team thrives) and had the better of the 2nd half. A deserved point I thought.

    Luck plays a part in football (and by luck, I’d include a number of incidentals- weather, referees, home & away advantage, etc). But not more so than the relative skill of the players (most important) or the tactics employed (secondary), otherwise you would see much greater divergence in ‘big’ teams losing against ‘small’. imho

  6. Totally agree with you Walter.
    I think luck has a lot to do with in our trophiless years. Got the feeling that once we’ll grab our 1st trophy, they all come in quick succession.

  7. @shaz
    I am sure Wenger would do as you suggest if there were not so many injured players, especially in midfield. I seem to remember earlier in the season people saying how were we going to give all those midfielders a game, now it is who have we got available who is not injured. You quote Rodgers but his options would be somewhat limited if say Coutinho, Gerrard, Henderson and Sterling were injured? That’s the equivalent of Wilshere, Ozil, Ramsey and Walcott, all unavailable, wouldn’t you agree? If you include Koscielny that is half our (probable) first pick outfield players not available so under those circumstances I think you could say that Wenger hasn’t got a lot of room for manoeuvre and rotation, tactics to consider or not.

  8. Interestingly Walter- we have a couple of games coming up that you will be able to test my comments against (I could look like a fool). Liverpool play very directly with pace and diagonal balls over the defence into the channels. Chelsea played a high defensive line and pressing game against us. Tactical analysis would dictate that using the same tactics would open them up hugely to counters. Unlike the game against us, I would expect Mourinho to be more than happy defending the penalty area- he;ll park the bus looking to hit Liverpool on the break quickly (using Eto- if fit, Harard and Oscar).

    The Citeh game will be different again. Pelligrini is usally far more open and prepared to take risks early on than Mourinho (though, to be fair, it was notable how deep Toure was positioned compared with usual). I would expect there to be a higher number of chances in that game (in comparison to Chelski).

    Furthermore, Rogers has tweaked his sides tactics more than any other coach this season. I’m interested to see how he sets his team up in both matches- given the relative strength of the opposition (something that, by his own admission, AW doesn’t do. Though actually he can do- see 2005 FA Cup final- just not often enough for my liking).

  9. @Sammy The Snake
    Sorry but to say you do not believe in luck is just plain silly. Supposing we had gone 3-1 up to satisfy your argument and then conceded two flukey own goals, I guess you would say its our own fault for not scoring 4 and so on and so on.

  10. Tactics do play a big part of any game. When you loose the ball either by a bad pass or the other team winning it in a tackle, How your team is set up can counter that. In the Chelsea and Liverpool games we had a very high defensive line and got caught a number of Times but in the City game our defence dropped deeper and left very little room for City to get in behind us.
    Luck Does play a major part in any game and sometimes you it goes in your favour and other Times against you.
    Big result needed sunday, draw Will suffice but a win would be Great.

  11. Final point- one key factor is that luck and individual mistakes are distinct. Id classify luck as a ricochet falling in the right place (Citeh’s first goal). But, as Arnold Palmer said, ‘The more I practice, the luckier I get’; the players would of been coached to make the run (it was not ‘lucky’ he was there- see the goal against ManU only 4 days earlier for an almost carbon-copy).

    Individual mistakes may be down to the players- but also as a consequence of asking individual players to do things outside of their ability (like asking Mertesaker to dribble through the midfield every time he gets it- or asking Arshavin to track the MR up and down the pitch). If they fail to do it, yes its an individual mistake- but one born out of poor tactics (square pegs, round holes).

  12. What rubbish surf(whatever)…

    We loose the ball because we are in possession of the ball. And when in possession of the ball you don’t press. Instead you make runs to make the next move possible. So much for you knowledge of tactics…..

  13. Guardiola does change tactics, and according to Phillip Lahm it is on an almost game-by-game basis. A good example was the deployment of Javi Martinez up front against Dortmund in the Bundesliga last November, called a “false 10” by some in the media but essentially a second target man to enable Bayern to bypass Dortmund’s renowned midfield press.

  14. Watching the first half of last Saturday’s game, City were able ,despite a tight defensive formation from Arsenal, to pass past our defenders and into spaces where they actually easily entered the penalty area and crossed the ball to their attackers. They scored from this approach BUT their attackers were,like ours,profligate and inefficient,otherwise we’d have been 3-0 down by the first half.
    Wenger adapted his defensive approach and managed to get the players to boost their tracking back efforts for the most part, in the second half. AFC then began to do to City what they had done to us in the first half and we were breaking behind their defense and crossing liberally into the area with relative ease. Our goal was a direct result of that approach and absolutely disproves anyone’s claims that Wenger doesn’t know tactics. we were definitely the better side in the 2nd half and were it not for Hart and our wild shooting, would have won the game.

  15. ARSENAL 13
    April 1, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    “We loose the ball because we are in possession of the ball. And when in possession of the ball you don’t press.”

    We loose the ball because the man receiving possession has less time on the ball because the OPPOSITION are pressing. In a passage of play, doing that in bursts against multiple players can force individual errors (being caight in possession, a misplaced pass, turning the ball over into touch) because the person receiving the ball has decreasing outlets (especially given the lack of a direct option) and less time to make the decision.

    I’m genuinely surprised that why teams press isn’t universally acknowledged on a footie blog. Why else do some teams press the ball high up the pitch (in the opponents half) whereas others sit back on the edge of their penalty area? Or do you think they all play the same?

  16. @walter
    What I should also say is nice post Walter: it has created some decent discussion about the team (which, as you know, was my criticism; the vast majority of output and comment tended to be focused on the incidental excuses rather than performance itself).

  17. Yes I agree with your analysis to some extent. I believe we must look into why the same thing repeated itself against City, 6-3, Liverpool, 5-1, then Chelsea 6-0. Luck!? I think total lack of confidence against main rivals. Now conceding a last minute coal against Swansea, my take on this is that a strong title chasing team, at that point in time should not have allowed Swansea to come to such a dangerous position. Having said that, we must also concede that our defenders and goalkeeper often panic is such situations. Panic leads to costly mistakes. Talking of tactics, I think coaches are in far better position to analyse tactics. The only problem I personally have with Wenger as the manager of Arsenal is his stubbornness and chronic reluctance to strengthen the squad as needed. What does he want to prove when he believes he can outperform opponents with bigger and more superior squads. Nature has no room for that kind of arrogance and nativity.

  18. Christ if our most successful manager of all time, the man who created the greatest team of the premier league era, doesn’t know tactics then what the hell do any of our previous managers know, let alone the 100+ managers who have come and gone in the league since Wenger arrived,the vast majority of which never finished above him.

    At the end of this season Arsenal will be the only side in the league who will have finished in the top 4 every season since he took over.

  19. Apologies to to Arsenal 13 too.. my comments are now in moderation, I am replying but they may obviously take a while getting back to you. I can only assume its to protect me from the volume of insults and abuse that seem to head my way on this site. But really, don’t bother: I’m a big boy I can handle it.

  20. The Board are happy with the status quo that sees cash piling in year on year while the fans want success in the form of making a decent fist of challenging for honours at the very least rather than the usual predictable nearly-men. Of course, being able to claim a top four place every year is the stuff of dreams to most football clubs and we are constantly being berated and vilified as not being true Arsenal supporters if we expect more – a very handy line of spin that justifies the club’s annual tailing off at this time of year…..’what, fourth place in the most competitive league in the world and in with a chance of winning the FA Cup and you’re still moaning?’. Sadly we all know that it would not take too much tweaking in the form of player additions, tactical know-how and management style to take us further up the ladder and still be in with a shout as April comes to a close. Indeed, this season a couple more wins from games we have drawn or lost would have put us right up there still dreaming of glory – Villa and ManU at home spring readily to mind, and a more pragmatic approach to the away games at Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea would have helped add to our points total and reduce our rivals’ – which shows just how close we could be with a little more conviction from the Board and a little more pro-activity in the transfer market by the manager. Wenger makes a big play of constantly reminding us we are close to the quality of the top teams and to a certain extent you can’t argue with what he says, but deep down we all know things need to move on if we are to mount a truly sustainable challenge on all fronts. – 

  21. @Lishman

    “Christ if our most successful manager.. doesn’t know tactics then what the hell do any of our previous managers know”

    Are you not making the mistake of thinking that all competitive advantage is down to tactics then? You are almost putting the opposite argument to walters: that to be successful you don’t need any other strengths other than tactics.

    Tactics were never a core AW strength. His early teams were born out of a football philosophy of power, pace and fitness. The competitive advantage he had was born out of his player recruitment and scouting knowledge/network, his coaching techniques (relative to the era), diet, etc etc. If anything, it is tactics that have (in part) allowed other managers to undermine this philosophy- to find away to undermine its strengths (whether that be by playing deep and on the break whilst disrupting our possession c.2004), pressing (2008-to date) or by looking to counter against a tactically open midfield and defence.

    Contrast that with someone like G Graham- a brilliant tactician. He knew how to nullify a team’s strengths in one-off games. Unfortunately, other teams learnt that too and learnt the one-dimensionality of it (in the later years).

    Put another way, its like saying that England produce the best players in the world because we won the World Cup in 66. What may of been true once does necessarily stay that way forever. Things change, the world moves on, football continually evolves. Has AW?

  22. Football is complex, with many variables deciding the outcome.

    Confidence, tactics, fatigue, weather, refereeing decisions, injuries, momentum, fear and so on…

    Luck? I’m not a great believer in luck per se.

    Also never really understood the big emphasis on having a “plan B”. Most of the best teams I’ve witnessed down the years believe in the system they play and stick to it.

    It is the weak teams that lose hope/belief and then change tact. Always strikes Me as more a sign of desperation than some magical “plan B”.

  23. Our players goes missing in big games, that has nothing to do with tactics or anything.! Remember 2006- 2009 we use to fight real hard against big teams and we use to outplay them.. Can any one tell me what real happened..?!

  24. @Tasos
    “Also never really understood the big emphasis on having a “plan B”. Most of the best teams I’ve witnessed down the years believe in the system they play and stick to it.

    It is the weak teams that lose hope/belief and then change tact. Always strikes Me as more a sign of desperation than some magical “plan B”.”

    I think this is a really good point. I read an interview with Brendan Rogers at the start of the season where people were criticising him for not having a Plan B. His retort was that when most people say that, they are inferring you should lump the ball long to a big man up front. He said he would never do that, but he regularly tweaks individual instuctions and positions of the team throughout the match. So, it could be asking sterling and Sturridge to drop back very deep and wide to make a more formal 4-5-1, or getting them to play narrow and close to Suarez and asking him to drop deep- a 4-3-2-1. They may both look like a 4-3-3, but they are hugely different with / without possession.

    Part of AW struggle this year has been a basic lack of options from his 4-3-3. He lacks options to change tack; he is lacking in midfielders that can close out a game (part of the reason Pololski is the 1st casualty when he is trying to close the game), or the pace up front to hit people on the counter (without Walcott). But I dont think that is in his makeup regardless; he is true to his underlying philosophy whatever the circumstance. That much I admire in him; but equally, there are times when it is his undoing.

  25. You make your own luck, I agree 100% with @surferX, When you’re up against players like Hazard, Eto’o, Suarez, Sturridege you need discipline. You can’t have a 30 year old running up the pitch when

    1) He doesnt have the legs to get back in time
    2) our CB’s dont have the pace to track back and
    3) our holding midfielder doesn’t have the legs to track the runner.

    i agree our injuries forced us to play a depleted team but we should have set up differently. I remember us playing agsinst Dortmund and we sat back and defended fantastically, we then hit them on the counter.

    We played like that because we knew that was the best way to win the game. Mourinho looks at big games and looks for 4 points. A draw away and a win at home. That is his expectation, you can see that in the way he lines up and the way the teams play.

    That is being tactically aware. Unless you’re one of the top 2 teams in the world you have to tactically adapt to both the opponent and the game.

    That is our achilles heel.

  26. Mourinho lives in the limelight. In My eyes he covets praise and approval.

    Yes Mourinho does tactics and when his team wins some people are quick to praise him rather than the players who actually achieved the victory.

    But Mourinho’s tactics are not absolute, he has failed, on a regular basis this season, to beat the lesser teams who sit deep (park the bus).

    Why has this super tactician failed to unlock these teams? And why are some people so willing to overlook this repetitive failure?

  27. Tasos
    April 1, 2014 at 4:12 pm
    “Mourinho lives in the limelight. In My eyes he covets praise and approval.”

    Agree 100%. Can’t stand him.

    “Why has this super tactician failed to unlock these teams? And why are some people so willing to overlook this repetitive failure?”

    I don’t think they do (well, I don’t). Nobody is perfect. Mourinho’s Chelski Mark 1 had this problem a lot towards the end of his reign- and the football was dull as hell to watch too (jesus, I wouldn’t pay thats for sure). The difference is (I think) is he has had control of this team for less than a season. Will they be having the same underlying flaw in 5 season’s time? Time will tell, but I don’t think so. Then again, I think the chances of him being there in 5 seasons are slight- he eventually sours the place wherever he goes.

  28. @shaz
    If Wenger had ditched Arteta and played Flamini in his position against Man City he (Flamini) wouldn’t have been in a position to score the equaliser would he.

    Your first post implied Wenger doesn’t vary his tactics and then your last post states…
    ‘I remember us playing agsinst Dortmund and we sat back and defended fantastically, we then hit them on the counter.’
    So you are conceding Wenger does vary his tactics then. Make your mind up.
    What should our tactics be against Everton then. You tell us and then we will see how astute you are after the game.

  29. @Tasos you can’t take a small sample and expect it to tell the entire story. His tactics have followed him everywhere he’s managed.- Against Barcelona when a man down his inter team won the game. Against Arsenal and Man City twice he altered his starting line up and the way they played.

    Whenever we play and whenever we have played Wenger plays the players who thinks are best, not the players who he thinks will hurt the opponents best.

    Even Red nose done the same, by dropping Rooney for Welbeck against Real last year he gave up a great player for one that can hit quickly on the wings.

    A small exanmple would be to use the pace of Gnabry and Ox to stretch their backlines and allow players like santi, Ozil, Jack to have time to make killer passes and thread inbetween the lines.

    Tactics like this dont have to work everygame, they only have to work in enough of the big games. Our record against the top 4 is appaling, surely based on history something needs to change?

  30. The Groaning troll(s) is still embarrasing itself here? Have they no shame? No self-respect?

    “Our record against the top 4 is appaling”. Unbeaten at home.

    Why are they attempting to praise the manager who played Pepe in midifield against Barcelona, who sold Mata and wonders why Chelsea can’t beat Palace after selling their player of the season for the last two seeasons, the best and most experienced playmaker in their squad? Who kept Czech over Coutais, who kept Torres over Lukaku, the manager who cost Chelsea their chance of winning a title with a squad that cost over half a billion pounds? (i.e. No excuse)

    The level of stupidity and disingenuity required to engage in such attempted trolling is quite funny.

  31. Taylor > Pearce > Mourinhio

    You can see that these were the great visionaries of the modern game that everyone else has been copying:

    Great midfielders of our time:

    Palmer > Mancienne (Against Spain FFS. Over anyone else like, at random, Lansbury!) > Pepe

  32. @Mick

    “You tell us and then we will see how astute you are after the game.”

    Play not to lose first and foremost- they need to win more than we do. So once you say that, tactically you plan accordingly. The back 4 pick themselves, though Gibbs and Sagna should never be level or ahead of the opposing team’s midfield without cover. The midfield must be a base of Arteta and Flamini, and I would prefer to see Rosicky and Ox out wide, with Carzola floating behind the lines.

    Crucially, Giroud has to maintain a high workrate (pressing from the centre-circle) and effectively hold the ball up- I would rather see him only play 60 minutes at a high-level of effort and then bring on Sanogo/Podolski early depending on match situation (rather as we have seen in recent games- a reduced workrate, but flogging him for 80/90 minutes). The whole team needs to play with a high defensive tempo from minute 1, pressing anything in our half.

    The longer its 0-0, the greater the liklehood of us winning (imho)- we just must ensure away from home we are not chasing the game from early in the 2nd half. Do that, and I dont think we’ll lose; go a goal down early, and we’ll struggle to pull things back.

  33. ‘We’ all know how to win and what tactics to employ (usually after the game). The citeh game was my first ‘live’ this year & in spite of PGMOL we drew. I would have taken that as soon as I saw Dean. Luck is only part of our downfall- the strange appointments of people in positions to impact our success. In spite of all the unusuals, Wenger has displayed an amazing air of dignity.

    It is not easy to manage a homes finances yet so many can ‘spend’ millions that they have little or no chance of accumulating. Wenger is an amazing man & I pray God will reward him with the FA cup this season for his humility & honesty.

  34. The Troll(s) keeps attempting to say that Arsenal have no plan B or C or Z, only play one way, never tweak or make variations etc. etc. etc.

    It can bee seen in every single game that this is disingenious misinformation. Even the ‘not focusing on the opponents’ meme can be exposed as gibberish using evidence of quotes from various players, most recently Parlour and Winterburn on the Talksport interview they did two weeks ago.

    Disingenious misinformation.
    (Just one example of) Tactical variations (The Experts tell us the Arsenal cannot or will not cross…?):


  35. @Shaz

    “you can’t take a small sample and expect it to tell the entire story”

    Agreed. Although isn’t that exactly what Arsenal’s results against Chelsea, Pool and City is also doing. 3 games, a small sample size as you put it.

  36. Just 2 points from the last 9 available for us with two of the games at home says it all really. It was a case of Chesnay getting away with a major cock-up this time otherwise we would have lost 2-1 . It looked to me like City bottled it after we scored,well done Flammy albeit he was responsible for the City goal, this lack of bottle away though must cast doubts on City’s title challenge credibility . In some ways there are similar parallels between all of the current top 4 sies ,they are all homers who lack a ruthless away mentality . With City and Chelsea both having to go to Anfield perhaps this swings the pendulum in Suarez and co’s favor.

  37. @finsbury my point here isn’t to troll or to belittle Arsene. I’m a huge supporter both in terms of what he’s done for Arsenal and for the modern game.

    My point is to show how we lack a more tactical approach against certain opponents. Yes we are unbeaten from home, but we should not be in the situation where we go away from home against the other top teams and concede double figures.

    Against 17/20 teams in the league we can go and play our way without hugely adjusting our tactics. To become the best in the league and hopefully Europe we need to be more tactically aware.

    When we have a fully fit team it will allow greater flexibility and hopefully bringing in some reinforements will also aid the team.

    @Tasos my point is that we have to be tactically aware, there is only one league winner. How we perform against our direct competition can greatly influence the outcome of the season. I picked out those games because those are the three where our tactics suffered the most, there are many more just less apparent, i.e swansea

  38. Tactics……who was it who once said that football is a simple game complicated by fools?
    My main tactic for next year would be to either reduce the injuries, and if this is not possible, make sure we have a hell of a lot of cover

  39. Would also be slightly more cautious away to the big boys , try and kill the game a bit for half an hour or so….

  40. @shaz
    As Arsene Wenger said a couple of years ago….
    ‘I’m like somebody who flies a plane for 30 yrs & I have to accept someone can come into the cockpit & think he can fly it better.’

  41. Surfer X,
    you said: “It was the ~(opposition’s) tactic of pressing high up the pitch, both collectively and in bursts that forced a high number of individual errors in both the Chelski and Pool games”

    Look at the images. The first Chelsea goal The ox lost the ball halfway the Chelsea half. The whole Chelsea team was defending in their own half. Only one striker up front: Eto’o. HIGH UP THE PITCH YOU SAID???

    Cazorla lost the ball on the half way line. Only 2 chelsea players in front of the ball: Eto’o and Shurle who scored. The rest of the team in their own half.

    Look at the images. Who was the one that wanted me to talk about tactics yesterday??

  42. @ Mick- You’re absolutely right. I dont want to sound like Paul Scholes- It’s easy for someone who has never managed to give advise to the greatest manager in our history- Opinions are like A$$holes, everybody has one.

    If we can reduce injuries and provide competition for Giroud next season, i’ll be a happy chappy.

    @Walterbroeckx Ox has been giving the ball away quite alot recently. Hopefully its him just getting back to fitness. COYG

  43. @Shaz

    For the record I agree that Arsenal’s defeats against those three teams are not acceptable. The City game I think less so.

    But IMO tactics are overrated, in general terms. Yes they play a part but a majority of the time its the players who have the biggest impact on the outcome.

    I do understand the argument. If only Arsene Wenger would adopt Jose’s more tactical approach from time to time Arsenal may benefit.

    The point I was trying to make was that you could reverse the theory and Chelsea, with a less rigid approach, may have beaten more of those teams who have frustratingly parked the bus against them.

    Therefore I think it’s folly to jump to definite conclusions based on tactics alone.

  44. Walter, I shall refer the suitably corrected SurferX in addition to shaz to the above quote re piloting the plane then.

  45. It’s a bit off-topic, but, speaking about luck, had Mike **** Dean given the penalty for Zabaleta’s trip on Rosicky, we might have not been one-nil down, as they scored from the next ensuing counter, after they lost the ball and we lost the ball. But we know that with this ref it’s never down to luck 😐

  46. WalterBroeckx
    April 1, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    “Look at the images.”

    What images? I will gladly, but I can’t see them. Where are they?

    “Who was the one that wanted me to talk about tactics yesterday??

    I’ve commended you for this post actually (@3.16pm). You can’t see it yet though because Im being moderated.

  47. Florian, replays suggest it wasn’t a foul. Certainly not clear enough for the officials to be 100% which they have to be to give it. There was enough doubt not to book Tomas though, but it would have been very very soft if we’d got it.

  48. Well tactics are obviously important, but I am unsure as to what exactly qualifies as tactics. In the most general terms I think people tend to see drastic stuff like switching formations or dropping players as tactics. But what of NOT switching players or formation? Even that is a tactic. For me, Wenger does switch tactics, just not drastically so. This is because his strategy is to get the team playing a certain way so they are confident in their roles, and to which system then new players can be added.

    For Mourinho or Rodgers switching tactics. Yes it works. But I believe the reason Chelsea have results like Crystal Palace, or Liverpool’s early inconsistencies is because players don’t always know their roles in a new tactic. So both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately though, any tactical input from the manager requires his players to perform. Without that, it makes virtually no difference.

    The players quite clearly didn’t perform against Chelsea. The argument of poor tactics stems from the fact that our players couldn’t play around the pressure. If they did that and got in space in front of the Chelsea back four, maybe we’d have had a different result.

    Our players are good enough to play around a press. We know their technical strengths. And yet, at least twice, if not more, they have failed to do so. You can either blame Wenger for not addressing this, or you can understand that he continues to believe in his players and their abilities.

    The choice is yours. As such there’s no one correct answer to that question. But Wenger always has believed in his players, and to get to the ultimate ideal of football as art, he accepts that sometimes things will go wrong. Without the belief he has shown in players we wouldn’t have had the football of the invincibles, and we wouldn’t have had players like Cesc and RVP in later years. So like everything, his approach has pros and cons.

    The fact is we are just about approaching the point of prime evolution of this team. We’re not there yet. So these things to me are teething problems. Next season, I expect to see some more variation in tactics as well (and effectively executed) because the players will know their roles even better and have the confidence that the manager believes in them to execute them. When was the last time we had a team grow together for 2 or more years? 2007-08, when we challenged for the title (deserved to win.) and 2011 when we challenged on 4 fronts. This is the first time in the Emirates period that we can look forward to having a team together for the third season. I would like to see what effect that has.

  49. In all sports, I have always felt that luck (good or bad)contributes greatly towards the final result.
    In golf, a few missed putts early on will seriously affect the confidence of the player and he will probably curse his lack of luck after a poor round.
    In professional football, IMO, luck plays an enormous part in every game whether players will admit it or not.
    Shots at goal which hit the bar or posts, deflections with the goalkeeper beaten, and unavoidable own
    Once the team takes to the field, the coach has limited control on how it will perform. Like golf, a bit of bad luck will affect the confidence of some players more than others. A momentary lack of concentration by a player who perhaps has domestic problems, will result in conceding a silly goal and an atmosphere of poor luck can soon spread throughout the team.
    Over the past 80 years or so, from memory, Arsenal Football Club has been blessed and cursed with good and bad luck in equal measure. Games we were tipped to win were lost in the most bizarre circumstances and vice versa. Those with short memories will recall the unlucky defensive mix-up in the League Cup final against Birmingham City not so long ago. And Matthieu Flamini’s recent own goal against Swansea is another example.
    Many fans keep recalling our last piece of silverware was the 2005 FA Cup win against Man United via a penalty shoot-out. What I recall about that game was that we were totally outplayed throughout and we were fortunate indeed to reach the penalties stage unbeaten. We then used all our good luck that day to take the Cup.
    For the rest of this season therefore, we must expect luck to play an important part in our Cup and League results. Whether good or bad we will need to accept the effect as we have always done. There is no other way.

  50. andy,

    YAAAP – Yet another anti Arsenal post.

    The only thing Rosicky can be accused of is not doing his best to stay on his feet after Zabaleta cam on a collision course with both his foot and his leg. I remember a comment on a previous post describing the situation in detail, and the conclusion was basically that there was no way Rosicky could have continued his running after that kind of contact. He might have been able to keep possession of the ball even off-balance, but there was contact, the offender didn’t play the ball, and impeached the player in possession from playing the ball. Now tell me that is not a foul.

  51. Surfer X,
    the images can be seen on arsenal.com.
    click on player and if you are a digital member(for free) you can view different videos of each match.
    I suggest you take the highlights and then check the first 2 goals. Deep defending is what I would call it. High pressing is something that needs to be done by the whole team. One player pressing for he ball is not high pressing.
    Not that I pretend to know much about tactics but one player pressing is the worst pressing tactic usually

  52. @Florian
    You took the words out of my mouth re andy1886 as usual taking the pro opponent line rather than seeing the Arsenal side of things. A most peculia type of supporter, if indeed he is one.

  53. Shaz
    I would suggest the performance of eleven arsenal players on the pitch just a few weeks ago is strong evidence that this squad can be as you say “more tactically aware.” But football is also about emotion, and as you note, fitness too! And we mustn’t forget that in many games these other things can be more important then any understandings we may or may not have about any tactics.

    “When we have a fully fit team it will allow greater flexibility and hopefully bringing in some reinforements will also aid the team.”
    You will have to travel far and wide to find any who disagree with that 🙂
    It is fairly normal to hear football fans discussing all aspects of a game after a match. Whether they liked or agreed with the tactics, the mood or attitude, the form of a player, etc.

    It is only from the AAA trolls that I have seen the entirely disingenuous and simply sociopathic conviction that a certain manager does not “do tactics” or “does not like to spend the Wonga”, almost as weird or strange as their assertion that those who support the manager (or any manager? So it would seem from such demented logic) are incapable of any critique.
    Embarrassing, for them, boring for any who don’t know to skim past their posts.

  54. Some great examples there Nicky. Good tactics can certainly reduce the chance of luck playing a part, for example the CWC triumph in Copenhagen against Parma. This was a truly workmanlike side shorn of it’s top scorer and focal point for the attack, one Mr. I. Wright. Arsenal out thought and out fought a side with players that were technically superior and hot favorites for the title. We controlled the game with few if any scares and were worthy winners. By contrast the ’95 cup winners could have lost the game 4-0 and it wouldn’t have been an unfair result. Luck certainly played a part I’m glad to say.

    The bottom line is that the purpose of tactics is to maximise your strengths, minimise your weaknesses while mitigation the strengths of the opposition and exploiting their weaknesses. When you consider that luck is always a factor our record v the traditional top three (City, United and Chelsea) really is difficult to explain without suggesting that we are tactically lacking lacking in some respect. If Pulis can beat Maureen with an pretty average Palace side, why on earth can’t we after 11 attempts?

  55. Andy1886
    “Certainly not clear enough for the officials to be 100% which they have to be to give it. There was enough doubt not to book Tomas though, but it would have been very very soft if we’d got it.”

    Well that must explain why Old Deano called the second half ‘foul’ from Gibbs on Navas on the left hand side of the Arsenal area without any hesitation. 🙂
    When City were struggling to get out of their own half without the aid of these fouls (three or four in succession to help them out) that they were winning. Clearly there was no difference in how the ref called it for either team. I’m glad we have cleared that up then. 😉

  56. @Florian

    I do like the term you have introduced – YAAAP! If you don’t mind I might adopt it for future use on appropriate occasions, although I would prefer not to have to – lets hope we don’t have any more yaaapping AAAs or rats who yaaap!

    You are correct in identifying some strange supporters – it is also strange that several have come out of the woodwork at the same time.

  57. Florian, I’ve seen the video, slow mo’s on Sky and the BBC, all of which show no discernable contact. How about being objective? How do we expect to improve if we blame everyone else but not look at our own performances? Let’s say that we should have got that decision (I don’t agree, but there you go), what about the ref blowing up with Swansea clear through on goal last week? If that had happened to us you’d be going ballistic and claiming all sorts of conspiracy theories. In both cases a draw was a fair result, and you have to accept that there are some you win and some you lose.

  58. Sorry, yet another typo above @6.53
    > I would suggest the performance of eleven arsenal players on the pitch just a few weeks ago against Bayern Munich is strong evidence…

    Looking forward to the game tonight 🙂

  59. Here’s maybe one we can agree on.

    While I’m not a big fan of the dodgy ref theories I do believe that there has been something fishy going on with CL draws across the years (hot balls and all that). ManU and to a certain extent Chelsea always seem to get the most favourable draws while we usually get a very difficult one. I’m sure if we calculated the odds of us drawing the favorite every season, be it Barca or Munich, they would be pretty long. I don’t think that there is any doubt that Platini hates AW, or that he despises Arsenal for ‘looting’ the French market. Given the governing bodies of football’s association with corruption I wouldn’t be surprised at all if something comes out of the woodwork somewhere down the line.

  60. Well written, Walter.

    In warfare, a surprise attack is the essence of the battle to be won.

    Football is a simple game. BUT, to score a goal with 10 bodies determined to stop a scoring opportunity – it is not so simple!

    In football, a misplaced pass or loss of possession, can cause havoc in the defensive wall.

    The team that has possession, should control the match. The team that has control of the ball, dictates the terms.

    Mr Wenger, has so many false friends, he does not need to look for enemies. The committee that manages the AST, is first among the false friends!


  61. I can confirm the above picture is not a photoshop jobbie where someone has put in some cheeky shadows to make it look as though Zabalata has, as described in the ESPN caption and title, has “tripped” or caught Rosicky.

    I can confirm this because I was sat five meters from the incident!

  62. @andy1886

    Are you suggesting a conspiracy theory to explain the CL draw – surely not – shame on you! 🙂

  63. Florian – how can you see contact from that angle? Absurd. Any actual contact would take place on the other side of Tomas’ leg you cannot see it from that view unless you have x-ray vision. The TV channels showed many angles, and the consensus was no pen.

  64. andy,

    Will you stop believing everything the media says, and trust your own eyes? Oh wait, I forgot you don’t have any.

  65. Oh Florian, can’t we be adults and agree to disagree? I try to teach my children that insults and name calling really isn’t the grown up way to behave, luckily they have the ability to take on board such wacky concepts and grow as individuals.

  66. @andy1886

    I have watched the penalty incident from many angles, sorry mate, there was contact.

    I’m pleased to note that you are not against the theory of a conspiracy theory! I hope you have some evidence to support the one you have chosen to adopt. 🙂

  67. andy,

    We can agree to disagree, but then what kind of outcome is that? We brought plenty of evidence here to support our stance, so much that ignoring it goes beyond common sense. No wonder you attracted so much nickname calling for yourself. Now, in light of the aforementioned evidence (thanks finsbury btw), will you, like a rational person that you claim to be, give up fighting this argument and concede that it was a penalty?

  68. bjt – fair enough I can see how you’d feel that was the case.

    No firm evidence yet, I have a cunning plan to dress as an aluring young frenchwoman and seduce Platini. That’s how far I would go to expose this travesty! 😉

  69. @andy1886

    Re your cunning plan – rather you than me – there must an easier way to collect evidence. But if you persist in that endeavour I’m sure Brickfields would have some useful advice for you!

  70. The mind boggles bjt – does he have a store of rohypnol stashed somewhere? I think I would be the one that needed it…

  71. Florian
    Happy to admit that my view may have been a little bit biased 🙂
    Safe to say the first instinct of many behind the goal was ‘penalty’, safe to say we’ve seen them given.

  72. Tactics are difficult to assess when you watch Arsenal because they always have the same formation and play the same way. They use their full backs as wingers so if you lose the ball up field then there is a large open space behind this is where Chelsea Liverpool and champion league teams exploited to score break away goals. I agree with you no manager tells their players to make these kind of errors player once they cross the line play the way they think is best. Manager can influence the game with substitutions if they work he is a genius if not he is a naïve. The tactic has to start before the game starts with team selection and formation if you get this right it give your team a chance as for luck I do not believe in it good teams create their own against Swansea they did not play good enough to beat them they relied on individual’s to score the goals rather than an all round team performance.

  73. finsbury,

    We can go both ways – either a penalty not given, and then there only the most savage foul in the box would result in a penalty being given to either side, or that was indeed a dive, and then one could wonder how the other teams get away with more blatant attempts. In my view, there is no excuse for what happened. And, even if the crowds can be, and usually are, liable emotionally, that doesn’t really bear that much significance since 5 meters away from the incident you had your attention focused on is as good a distance as a ref’s. Had I been in that position, I could have probably seen the same.

    It’s still worth noting that even the refs use that kind of excuse. If you have ever watched “Kill the referee” with our dear Howard Webb in the main role, you will understand why the refs are invoking that argument – and why I’m arguing that the refereeing is still in the Stone Ages compared to the rest of the game.

  74. OT: Earthquake (8.2 northern Chile)

    I hope there are no UntoldArsenal people on the north coast of Chile, south coast of Peru, …. Original magnitude was 8.0, upgraded to 8.2. Local tsunami’s of 2m height. Tsunami watch apparently still in effect for further north up the coast, I haven’t seen alerts for trans-Pacific.

  75. Winning or losing a football match depends on more than tactics, mistakes and luck. Also involves physical, mental and psychological elements. A top manager will always believe in his players, stick to plan A and go for it. How the team attack and defend is actually up to the players. In contrast of what Shaz said, I think Liverpool is reaping its reward of playing the same way all season. They were truly awful in the beginning, the league standing early on will testify that. Now the all the players are fit and healthy because no Euro games and they fully understand Rodgers instructions. I dare to say that they are playing exactly like Sacchi’s Milan. I know this all so well. The distance between the defense and attack is short and widen the playing fields. Thats why they can contain their opponents very well. As for Arsenal, their game elements is suffering because of injuries thus fatigues. Opponents contain Arsenal with zonal markings. Things will different with Ozil, Ramsey and Walcott on the field. That unique quality. As for the moment, Arsenal have rely on the players they have and hope for the best.

  76. Sometimes the margin between success and failure is very fine . A missed pass at the wrong time ; an untimely slip ;a foul not given ; a foul given but the advantage is lost; missing the goal by inches ; inadvertent goal bound blocks are among the commonest .And I’m not even mentioning ‘mistakes ‘ by the officials!
    In the end ,in an even contest ,the one who is best prepared , takes advantage of his opponent’s flaws of faults and makes the least mistakes will surely triumph .With a bit of luck of course !

    Then again , shit happens !

    “For the want of a nail the shoe was lost,
    For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,
    For the want of a horse the rider was lost,
    For the want of a rider the battle was lost,
    For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost,
    And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.”

    ― Benjamin Franklin

    But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
    In proving foresight may be vain;
    The best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men
    Gang aft agley,
    An’lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
    For promis’d joy!


  77. @ bjtgooner – Sorry , just saw your post .Top of my head , I would advice a generous plying of wine , a very dark setting , a good lube ( an enema is also recomended !) and andy 1886 to ‘guide’ the wee maestro ! Oh ,and never turn around !
    Here’s some crossdressers humour –

    Good: Your husband’s exercising and dieting.
    Bad: So he’ll fit in your clothes.
    Worse: He knows how to coordinate better.

    Good: Your husband understands fashion.
    Bad: He’s a crossdresser.
    Worse: He looks better than you.

    A straight man, a trans-sexual, and a crossdresser were drinking coffee together in a trendy cafe and watching the passing crowd. A very busty, well-dressed, and attractive woman walked into view. “Look at those **** !”, exclaimed the straight man getting up from his seat for a better view. “Doesn’t she move beautifully”, sighed the trans-sexual enviously.
    The crossdresser drank some coffee and observed, “Her lipstick is all wrong for that dress.”

    Why did the crossdresser cross the road ? To see how the other side felt.

  78. And the no,nos ? Here’s a few ……


    – You wear a dress that’s strapless and a bra that ain’t.
    – You wear combat boots with a minidress.
    – You wear jeans with a belt buckle that’s bigger than your fist.
    – You have a Ford F150 pick-up truck, with a gun rack, a Dale Earnhardt license plate frame, and a Confederate flag on the tailgate, next to the bumper sticker that says “I sell Avon Skin-So-Soft.” (

    – You try to wax your legs with Turtle Wax.
    – You braid the hair that sticks through your fishnet stockings.

    – You use glitter to highlight your mustache.
    – You wear tube tops with your mini, because it shows off your Harley-Davidson tattoo.
    – Your favorite band ring came off a cigar.
    – You keep spare ammo in your bra.
    – You get a run in your stockings while changing a tire on your motorhome.
    – Your purse is a toolbox.
    – You pluck your eyebrows with a pair of needle nosed pliers.
    – You store your lipsticks in a socket-wrench box.
    – You use duct tape to keep your “tuck” in place.
    – You use a pocketknife to sharpen your lip and eye liners.
    – Your favorite leather skirt was made from the moose you shot last Fall.
    – Your new sandals are made from truck tire re-treads your found on the road.
    – You keep a spare lipstick in your toolbox.
    – You wear a pair of C-clamps as screw-on earrings.
    – Your best silver necklace is made from beer can pull-tabs.
    -. You use paint thinner to remove your makeup.
    – You remove your leg hair with duct tape.

  79. Surfex, you dont have to apologize to me as therz nothing personal in your comments.

    All the tactics stuff we talk about, are nothing but shit compared to whats being deployed. All we can do is speculate. So it is best to leave the tactics to people who do it best. And enjoy the game, than cry over things we dont understand.

  80. @walter.

    OK watched the match highlights back (thanks for that.. was trying to forget the game altogether!)

    1st Goal: Individual Mistake (Ox)
    Ox loses the ball in opp half, with cut-out pass to Gibbs
    Arteta makes mistake of being drawn to the ball instead of retreating to protect defence (tactical postioning)
    Gibbs & Sagna both too high up the pitch (in advance of midfield)
    Poor tactical positioning (Arteta, Gibbs & Sagna) compounds mistake, leaving a 2v2 from which Eto scores

    2nd Goal: Pressing
    Arsenal are pressed into a mistake (Carzola) from pressing on Gibbs and then Carzola
    Gibbs and Sagna both in advance of midfield again, leaving a 3v3
    Arteta is posiionally better, and correctly retreats with the play
    Scherla allowed to advance (too far) to egde of area by Kos and scores

    3rd Goal: Penalty
    The build up play from this is insightful. Arteta advances ahead of the AFC midfield whilst in possession- no cover
    Carzola tangles with Ox and loses the ball to Hazard
    Gibbs and Sagna both in advance of midfield again, leaving a 3v3
    Ox handballs, penalty

    I stopped there because form that moment on we are a man down (incorrectly), and its unfair to appraise AW on tactics relevant to this discussion (as the sides are not evenly matched, and we were already chasing a lost cause).

    Watching it back reminded me how badly OX played that day. However, all 3 of those goals have the similiarities;

    1) Tactical positioning
    All 3 offered 2v2 or 3v3 situations against our defence. Away from home against a top team, this is unforgivable individual mistake or otherwise. Our full backs were all too far advanced without midfield cover.

    2) DMC
    Personally I dont like the term DMC as it implies a type of player that is not in the game any longer (ie a static player that just ‘sits’). Typically, the DMC no is more two-dimensional and typically play as a pair (in a 433), rotating cover and pressing. It was notable how impotent Arteta was in all 3 goals, he simply lacks the pace to perform this role effectively. Compounded by OX stinking up the place. In the 1st, Arteta is drawn to the ball instead of retreating. In the 2nd, he retreats (as he should), Kos lets the run advance too near to the area. In the 3rd, he advances ahead of the play leaving no cover.

    The simple fact is we were away from home, we were playing tactically and positionally very gung-ho and had no discipline in our play. All 3 goals could of been prevented if the full backs were positionally further back (as they were against City), and also if we had an additional midfielder that sat alongside Arteta (though in truth, I think Arteta does not have the attributes to play this position- the deepest sitting midfielder- square peg, round hole). Why he didn’t start Flamini in this one only AW knows.

  81. ARSENAL 13
    April 2, 2014 at 6:22 am

    All the tactics stuff we talk about, are nothing but shit compared to whats being deployed.

    I made a related point, though perhaps in more detail?

    “Luck plays a part in football (and by luck, I’d include a number of incidentals- weather, referees, home & away advantage, etc). But not more so than the relative skill of the players (most important) or the tactics employed (secondary), otherwise you would see much greater divergence in ‘big’ teams losing against ‘small’.”

    Unless you have the players with the right attributes to do the job you ask them to do, no amount of tactics will save you. Its why Im questioning why wasn’t Flamini picked in the first place (to mitigate Arteta’s general lack of pace and mobility).

    After a striker, this type of defensively-minded midfielder is our most pressing need (and has been since Song left- who himself was scarily tactically ill-disciplined). Whatever you think of Flamini is the wrong side of 30; if he is injured or suspended we have no-one. We might be able to get away with at home against a lesser team: away from home against a leading club and its a big risk to carry.

  82. Surfer X,
    seconds before they scored their first goal:

    Gibbs runs up field and advances to midfield, pass to Rosicky, pass to Giroud who had a shot on goal and should have scored.
    So with a bit of “LUCK” our tactical plan would have given us a goal advantage. The difference? They scored from their first chance, we didn’t.

    Now of course we could become like West Ham. Maybe hire Fat Sam to sort this thing out. Yeah. Or Pulis. So we could go back to the days of boring Arsenal.

    I once heard Johan Cruyff say on the Dutch TV: the best tactical plan can be turned useless if the players make stupid mistakes.

    I’m not proclaiming to know more about football and tactics than the Dutch master. 😉 So I will not doubt his wisdom.

  83. I’d say that the fact that OG missed was less luck and more to do with the quality of the strike (which was poor). In mitigation he has been played to death so the ideal solution would be that we had other striking options that may have had a better chance of putting that opportunity away (whilst also allowing OG the opportunity to rest and recover his form). January would have been a good time to address this but I think we’ve done that to death already….

  84. Giroud not scoring was a big setback. You could argue had that gone in AW would of been less gung-ho. Maybe your right. Maybe that was the big tactical plan- throw the kitchen sink at them and score 1st: then defend, defend, defend. If so, it didn’t work- so what was the plan if they scored early: keep doing the same?

    I have no problem with our full-backs playing like wing-backs; provided you have adequate cover in midfield: which we didn’t on any of their goals.

    Johan Cruff is absolutely correct- I agree with his comments. But that is not a comment on the need to have the correct tactical plan in the 1st place; neither is a comment on asking players to perform roles that they are not equipped to perform. It has no relevance to the point that the correct tactical plan and players could of prevented all 3 goals.

  85. As people will remember that it was Marriner/Taylor team that was responsible for the Gibbs/Ox debacle and how are they punished? Given Fa cup semi final ofcourse. And people wonder why the referee standards are at their lowest? with embarrassing mistakes being rewarded with a cup semi final where will accountability come from?

  86. @walter

    “Now of course we could become like West Ham. Maybe hire Fat Sam to sort this thing out. Yeah. Or Pulis. So we could go back to the days of boring Arsenal.”

    This thinking- the extremities of fear- is so frequently used as a reason for maintaining the status quo. We can’t change manager because in doing so we will revert to a long-ball game. We can’t change manager because they will overspend and bankrupt the club like Leeds. We can’t change manager because all our players will leave. We can’t change manager because we will slump like Man Utd. Its all fear, fear fear.

    We, the non-believers, are so often cast as the pessimists; yet the extremity of failure seems to be the bedrock of backing AW these days. How is this not fundamentally defeatist and pessimistic? What would happen if we were to secure a top manager? What would happen if we were to secure an AW (c.1996; one at the cutting-edge of modern management and thought; one with modern ideas and philosophies?). The truth is you don’t know better than I on how the future would pan out (and vica versa). But fear of failure is not a valid reason for maintaining the status-quo either way.

    There are commentators that have posted in the short-time I have been here on here that have said, give him time he is on the verge of getting it right. Give him time, he has the money and will soon use it. Give him time, he has ordered an inquest into the injuries, he finally admits that all is not right. I find those arguments easier to consume than the continual fear of extremity.

  87. It’s late and I’m going to bed, but this last YAAAP is worth a comment:

    There is a difference between fear of failure and risk management. I have no idea which field you work in, but I can cite from my personal experience: risk management is that part of project management that deals with factors that are outside team’s control, and if done right it helps projects succeed, in which cases it is essentially based on sensible and educated decisions. Luck plays a negligible part. Now I have no idea where at Arsenal have you seen fear of failure, but everything they do, at least under Wenger, fits perfectly the description of risk management.

  88. If Arsenal would have won 3-0 that day against Chelsea, then everyone is gonna fault Mourinho for fielding too defensively for home game. Too negative, too cautious, blah blah blah. Gibbs and Sagna did the right thing by pushing up, to pin down the influence of Hazard and Schurle. Otherwise, they would have ran rampart. All the goals came because they were much superior in the middle. If only Ramsey, Ozil and Walcott were playing, we would have ran over them with movement, techique and speed in that order. Probably their fullbacks would have chasing shadows. Giroud would have done better with just one defender marking him. Diaby would have done countless ‘oles’ on Luiz if he was playing. And out of frustation, Chelsea players would have resort to kicking and got their asses sent off. These players make the difference. If players dont make the difference, then why are the idiots crucifying Wenger for not buying superstars? And I know why Arsene rested Flamini. If you noticed the running stats of Flamini lately, you will know that he is really tired. Players like Ozil, Wilshere, Flamini, Sanogo and Rosicky didnt have a proper pre-season training with Arsenal, so Arsene gotta be careful with players in his disposal. I believe Arsene played his best team despite these injuries that day and took a gamble. I can understand because the only weapon he had against cunt Mourinho was the element of surprise. At least, he took the responsibilities thus the abuse because he is such a righteous man. Not like the other guy who keep blaming his players for losses. Pick a side, stick to it and die with honour.

  89. surfex, It is not the extremities of fear. The names being bandied for replacements are such that therz only one argument that suits.

    I dont understand whats wrong with the “status quo”. During our financial difficulties, this very satus quo helped us bear the burden. Mr Wenger, during the status quo, has laid the foundation for the success from which future managers will reap benefits. Mr Wengers work has been such that a change in managers/playing staff will not affect the teams overall performance. Therz only one way for ARSENAL and its the way up and for that we should be indebted to this great man.

    Therz always a level of optimism at the ARSENAL camp, and thats all thanks to Mr Wenger. This man deserves respect. He deserves to go out on a high. He deserves to manage the new financially powerful ARSENAL. This will be the final step in transformation of ARSENAL. And he deserves to lead ARSENAL on that path…..

  90. Florian
    Boos for Dean at HT for that specific call, and straight after a loud chant of “you don’t know why you’re doing” by the allegedly quiet Arsenal crowd means that we can safely say most people were reasonably sure it was a pen. And if we look at the photo on the website of the broadcaster ESPN (as in on the telly: for our friend above we should explain that ESPN is known around the world for sports broadcasting. They may not be based in the UK but they are still allowed to broadcast) that is titled “trip” because it clearly shows a trip!

    Or wr could simply ignore everyone and ask: when was the last time Rosicky dived in a game? He’s thirty three, there must be an example…?

    Given that Dean was making foul calls the other way for City players for such similar incidents, in the same game, given that we have seen him give penalties against Arsenal when there has been less contact or obstruction, anyone watching would expect a pelanty call in that incident. Until they remember that it’s been 35 straight games since he called a pen for arsenal (not sure of the exact number) the team that has the most touches inside an opponents pelanty area in the entire PL.

    Given the use of aids for the officials in rugby and hockey, and every other sport under the sun, given the poor record of football authorities in other areas (even our bungtastic PM was talking about the bungs for the World Cup. That takes some doing!), given the advice from the police to athletes in the uk on fixers etc. it takes a special kind of sports fan or football fan who would argue against better or improved standards for or from the officials.

  91. @Brickfields

    I really enjoyed those comments, fortunately breakfast was well digested before reading them!!

  92. And SurferX,

    I think your arguments does not compute at all. Nobody who support Arsene fears of his departure. Instead, we believe he is the only one who can save us from this current predicaments. Maybe those who wishes him to be sacked speculate on this when faced stern Wengerians. An true face after being cornered. After all the blogs, articles, reviews and comments, you still sound like Arsene Wenger meant intentionally to do all this. Have you been missing in action lately? For me, the only person righteous enough to sack him is himself. He has more concern about the club and principles than most of us here who just want to spend all and win all. Lets read your comments after Arsene operate at best possible conditions very soon. The longer it takes to build an empire, the longer it stays there.

  93. http://www.football365.com/f365-says/9244765/F365-Says

    Who remembers those halcyon days when the self-declared Experts in finance and tactics, who attempt to troll Untold from their Groaning and perhaps less popular bastion, were prescribing the DooM of Fellaini at DM for Arsenal. At an easy £30M, which works out at about 20% of the alleged and oft quoted “reserve” in the bank – we’ll just ignore the meaning of the word reserve, being experts an’ all. That’s right. 20% of that alleged and speculative figure can be blown just like that! On crap! At least, as long as you sign the right player from the right agent. Like Liverpool and Carroll, Utd and Fellaini, Tottenham and every signing they ever made – take your pick from Lamela or Soldado whilst remembering that the Experts and plundits declared that Levy was the One to follow, a “good businessman” (I bet Baldini agrees!), whilst someone who has actually owned and run a PL football, Lordy Sugar from The Apprentice has repetitively declared this season that “Wenger knows the market”. Looking around the league there is plenty of evidence to support this Expert’s opinion.

  94. The new CEO

    At British Steel, feeling it was time for a shakeup, hired a new CEO.
    The new boss was determined to rid the company of all slackers. On a tour of the facilities, the CEO noticed a guy leaning against a wall.
    The factory was full of workers and he wanted to let them know that he meant business.
    He asked the guy, “How much money do you make a week?”
    A little surprised, the young man looked at him and said…… “I make about £400 a week. Why?”
    The CEO said, “Wait right here.” He walked back to his office, came back in two minutes, and handed the guy £1,600 in cash and said, “Here’s four weeks’ pay. Now GET OUT and don’t come back.”
    Feeling pretty good about himself, the CEO looked around and asked… “Does anyone want to tell me what that slacker did here?”

    Amongst the workers a voice said, “Pizza delivery guy from Domino’s.”

  95. Just sharing an e-mail I received today.

    Real Life Stories

    The following stories have wonderful shades of emotions. These are based on true incidences both wonderful and inspirational.

    These stories will remove some wrong misconceptions that we have about the people and life in general.

    1. Today, when I slipped on the wet tile floor a boy in a wheelchair caught me before I slammed my head on the ground. He said, “Believe it or not, that’s almost exactly how I injured my back 3 years ago.

    2. Today, my father told me, “Just go for it and give it a try! You don’t have to be a professional to build a successful product. Amateurs started Google and Apple. Professionals built the Titanic.

    3. Today, I asked my mentor – a very successful business man in his 70’s – what his top 3 tips are for success. He smiled and said, “Read something no one else is reading, think something no one else is thinking, and do something no one else is doing.

    4. Today, I interviewed my grandmother for part of a research paper I’m working on for my Psychology class. When I asked her to define success in her own words, she said, “Success is when you look back at your life and the memories make you smile.”

    5. I am blind by birth. When I was 8 years old, I wanted to play baseball. I asked my father- “Dad, can I play baseball?” He said “You’ll never know until you try.” When I was a teenager, I asked him, – “Dad Can I become a surgeon?” He replied “Son, you’ll never know until you try.” Today I am a surgeon, just because I tried!

    6. Today, after a 72 hour shift at the fire station, a woman ran up to me at the grocery store and gave me a hug. When I tensed up, she realized I didn’t recognize her. She let go with tears of joy in her eyes and the most sincere smile and said, “On 9-11-2001, you carried me out of the World Trade Centre.”

    7. Today, after I watched my dog get run over by a car, I sat on the side of the road holding him and crying. And just before he died, he licked the tears off my face.

    8. Today at 7AM, I woke up feeling ill, but decided I needed the money, so I went into work. At 3PM I got laid off. On my drive home I got a flat tire. When I went into the trunk for the spare, it was flat too. A man in a BMW pulled over, gave me a ride, we chatted, and then he offered me a job. I start tomorrow.

    9. Today, as my father, three brothers, and two sisters stood around my mother’s hospital bed, my mother uttered her last coherent words before she died. She simply said, “I feel so loved right now. We should have gotten together like this more often.”

    10. Today, I kissed my dad on the forehead as he passed away in a small hospital bed. About 5 seconds after he passed, I realized it was the first time I had given him a kiss since I was a little boy.

    11. Today, in the cutest voice, my 8-year-old daughter asked me to start recycling. I chuckled and asked, “Why?” She replied, “So you can help me save the planet.” I chuckled again and asked, “And why do you want to save the planet?” “Because that’s where I keep all my stuff,” she said.

    12. Today, when I witnessed a 27-year-old breast cancer patient laughing hysterically at her 2-year-old daughter’s antics, I suddenly realized that I need to stop complaining about my life and start celebrating it again.

    13. Today, a boy in a wheelchair saw me desperately struggling on crutches with my broken leg and offered to carry my backpack and books for me. He helped me all the way across campus to my class and as he was leaving he said, “I hope you feel better soon.”.

    14. Today, I was traveling in Kenya and I met a refugee from Zimbabwe. He said he hadn’t eaten anything in over 3 days and looked extremely skinny and unhealthy. Then my friend offered him the rest of the sandwich he was eating. The first thing the man said was, “We can share it.

    Best sermons are lived; not preached


    Two Christians were lost in the Sahara desert. One is David, the other is Michael. They were dying of hunger and thirst when they suddenly came upon an oasis, with what looked like an emirate of a mosque in the middle.
    David said to Michael: ” Look, let’s pretend we are Muslims, otherwise we’ll not get any food or drink. I am going to call myself Mohammed.”
    Michael refused to change his name, he said: “My name is Michael and I will not pretend to be other than but what I am….. Michael.”
    The Imam of the mosque received both well and asked about their names.
    David said: “My name is Mohammed.”
    Michael said: ” My name is Michael.”
    The Imam turned to the helpers of the mosque and said:” Please bring some food and water for Michael only.”
    Then he turned to the other and said: ” Well Mohammed, I hope you are aware that we are still in the holy month of Ramadan !”

    Moral of the story: Always tell the truth and remain faithful to your religion.

  97. Conversation with God

    Man: God?
    God: Yes?
    Man: Can I ask you something?
    God: Of course!
    Man: What’s a million years for you?
    God: A second.
    Man: And a million dollars?
    God: A penny.
    Man: God, Could I have a penny?
    God: Wait for a second.

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