If you want to understand why many fans think Arsene Wenger makes major tactical mistakes watch
this game again.
Eight changes to the starting line-up from the win against Chelsea showed incredible squad depth
but it also showed Wenger's tactical weakness. There were just too many players who had either been
out for a long time, or were out of form, or haven't really gotten games this season despite being
fit thus showing their place in the pecking order.
Ideally, I'd have preferred a week's break after the Chelsea win just to soak it in. That would
have been a nice way to celebrate the festive season. I can't quite take my mind off that game.
Hopefully, the players will not be in the same state.
I guess the best way to move on from a big win is to win the next game.
Arsenal can go up. Arsenal can go flat. Arsenal can go down. It's that time of the season and
the League table is set up nicely. Come April and May we won't have five teams so close to each
other at the top. One or two of the top teams are now going to push on, some will carry on with a
stop-start season, and one or two will lag behind.
Rafa Benitez is a very good manager. He's won the Champions League, UEFA Cup, La Liga, FA Cup,
and probably a number of other less significant titles. If my memory serves me right the Spaniard
also had the upper hand in his battles with the Dark Lord of Anti-Football when the Portuguese was
In India, particularly in the north, there is a saying, "sher kabhi ghaas nahin khaata hai". A
loose literal translation would be, a lion (no matter how starved he might be) doesn't eat grass.
For a football hungry person like me a weekend disrupted by weather spells disaster when the
Arsenal game is postponed.
While the postponement of the Stoke fixture has led to a rather boring week for fans, I feel it
could just turn out to be the lucky break Arsenal needed.
In terms of personnel, Arsenal will probably have the best team available for the big one
against Chelsea. I've not checked the details but it could be the first time in a long while that a
full strength Gunners side will meet one of the rivals.
A few days back, during the course of some random web surfing, I came across a quote by former
US president John F. Kennedy. It took a few moments to sink in but since then I haven't stopped
admiring the wisdom captured in just a few words. Moreover, it's extremely relevant in the context
of Arsenal FC.
Arsenal must break this habit of losing two in a row. I realize that it doesn't happen all the
time but we've seen successive losses far too often for any fan's liking. This time however, I do
feel we should be able to bust the trend on Saturday.
Stoke. What can one say about the Potters? I fell asleep thinking about their game and then woke
up with a start due to a nightmare in which another Arsenal player had been Shawcrossed or perhaps
more generally, Stoked/Pulised; couldn't see the details as it was a hazy vision and thank God for
I don't think anyone will argue against the fact that Arsenal are defensively weak down their
left flank. And as far as mindless criticism goes, it's hardly surprising that Clichy has taken
over from the goalkeepers.
Having watched the game again and after looking at the facts there is no doubt the game against
United was quite close and could have gone either way.
I often find Player interviews on ATVO offer something interesting. An insight into a player's
psyche, thoughts on the spirit within the dressing room, opinions on various issues, or even some
personal tidbits; there is something in these that we don't get from regular media coverage. And
after listening to his last few interviews, Wojciech Szczesny is fast becoming one of my favourite
I haven't had the chance to look at the United game again or to even study the chalkboards and
there is plenty of chat on the internet about that, most of which is just zero-value noise, so I
thought it's best to leave that game aside for a day or two. I do want to discuss how Manchester
United have a much better organized collective defensive system (best in the League if not the best
in the world) but it'll take some work.
Manchester United came with a functional defensive approach. Not a surprise there at all, it's
something that's worked for them in the past and did so again. So one might safely say their's was
an intelligent result oriented approach.
Arsenal clearly made some tactical changes but didn't get the balance right.
I'm finding it a bit difficult to make up my mind for this game. I can see Arsenal scoring three
goals and I can also imagine us conceding three or four. Goes without saying that anything in
between also seems quite possible. We could get a tight win, an exciting draw, or another in the
string of bad losses against United.
All of last season and even at the end of the summer transfer window I was one of the few who
maintained that Arsenal didn't need a new Keeper. Almost halfway through the season many fans have
come to accept this while some still go on about a Keeper signing with complete disregard to facts
and what actually happens on the pitch.
When I was growing up we used to joke that the Indian Cricket team always provided the audience
with value for money in terms of thrills and chills. In those days the Indian cricketers had the
ability to turn the easiest of wins into nail-biting encounters. Seems to me, Wenger has been
inspired by that lot.
What should have been a practice game is now a real fight thanks to the lacklustre performances
by the second string in the previous two Champions League away games. But I'm confident we should
get through to the next phase.
Interestingly though, I'm wondering if getting knocked out of the Champions League would be that
I was hoping, based on his excellent first attempt, that Stuart Robson will provide interesting
insights into the Fulham game in his tactical analysis on ATVO. This time it seems to me that the
former Arsenal man got his observations right but his analysis wasn't at the expected level. Still
I'd say the show is a fantastic addition to the ATVO subscription service and adds a bit more value
for the money.
I used to like Fulham till last year. They were a decent side and played better than many other
teams around them in the table. Hodgson was a good manager and tactically he knew how to trouble
Now it's impossible for me like them. And that is down to one man â€“ Mark Hughes, who in my
book falls in the same category as Pulis, Brown, et al.
Ever since Chamakh signed for Arsenal there has been a question, how will the Moroccan play with
Van Persie in the same team. Arsene has in the past mentioned that he will look at various options
including a change in formation, something that many fans have been demanding.
Intriguingly enough, we saw Van Persie in a deeper role against Wigan in the Carling Cup.
Arsene Wenger has come out and unequivocally stated that he doesn't see any room for January
signings. I'm sure many fans are unhappy with this proclamation by Le Boss. If we make a sum total
of the players Arsenal need to sign, based on various opinions on the internet, we need a GK, CB,
LB, RB, DM, AM (to replace Fabregas because he is surely going!