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Arsenal: Not all that
I may be the only person (besides Stewie Griffin, of course) who wasn’t all that impressed with Arsenal last night.
*Manchester City were incredibly poor. The usual frailties in defense, and no cohesion, no drive, no nothing in attack.
*Even so, Arsenal still allowed them two breakaways, and correct decision-making could easily have given them two goals.
*Arsenal’s passing and finishing in the second half were woeful. With even the slightest bit of quality, they would have won going away.
*For all the talk about Aaron Ramsey in central midfield, he’s just not up to the task at top level. Time and again he gets into good positions, time and again his execution lets him down.
The Arsenal injury crisis is in full swing, and presumably there are more to come. If Ozil goes down, this team is done. I like Arsenal, and it would be great if they won the title, but for the first time this season, I’m beginning to think Leicester or Tottenham might pull it off.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA
Ramsey: Not all that
Time to stop this nonsense of him being the best in the division. When all are fit, he isn’t even in Arsenals 1st eleven (Sanchez, Ozil, Theo, Cazorla, Coquelin), if Wilshere is on form he’s often behind him too.
He’s better than he was, but definitely not as good as he was 2 years ago.
That one on one with Hart that was crying out for a low shot (He dinked him with his dead foot), and running into dead ends when his head is down…too often.
A good player, but how you can be the best in the division when you don’t score, create or defend regularly is beyond me.
Thom (Welsh), Newport.
Campbell > The Ox
Obviously Walcott, Giroud and especially Ozil will draw most the plaudits for the game last night, but I think Joel Campbell was also pretty exceptional and I may be in a minority here when I say I prefer him over the Ox. Don’t get me wrong I think the Ox has amazing potential, but I also think he’s too much of a ball-hogger and goes for Roy of the Rovers style performances rather than playing as part of the team. Campbell on the other hand seems reliable, hard-working and plays a simple game that accommodates the likes of Ozil and Ramsey better. Don’t get me wrong the Ox may track back but usually after he’s lost the ball trying to go on a solo run he has about 5 passing options open. His performance against Monaco in the first-leg last year was a perfect representation of what’s good and bad about him as a player. He scores a wander goal, then gets too pumped up, loses possession in a dangerous area, doesn’t track back well enough and we concede again.
As I say I think he (The Ox) has the potential to be an amazing player, maybe the best at the club, but he needs to adapt his game and take notice of what Campbell is doing and why he’s in the team ahead of him. Campbell has been a breath of fresh air since he came into the team because as I say he goes for the simple yet vital pass and doesn’t mind if he doesn’t get the glory of a goal or assist. He reminds me a bit of Hleb during his best season for the club where he got criticism for not having many assists but it’s because he was making the key pass before the assist. It’s like Campbell is happy being in an Iniesta role whereas the Ox wants to be Messi. The Ox wastes energy on pointless endeavours trying to look good for the camera e.g chasing the ball down when it was passed back to Hart, despite the fact we were 2 up, thus leaving himself massively out of position. He’ll also often go for a Hollywood pass, I think there was a point last night where he could have played a simple ball off to the wing but instead tried an audacious 50 yard pass and we lost possession.
If the Ox is going to fulfil his obviously massive potential I think the way to go about that is by being more of a team player and just adapting to a more simple passing game. I understand he’s got to do something to prove himself given the 500 or so talented attacking midfielders/wingers at the club but he’s not going to do this by being a show boating ball hog. If he wants to win his place back in the team he needs to start playing a bit more like our Iniesta before he ends up being our Joe Cole.
Reaction to Nelson’s column
I know you only put in Nelson for Manchester’s mail to provoke a reaction so I shouldn’t take the bait…but for all their possession how many saves did Cech actually have to make last night? One? Two? Wenger has a game plan against City…it works. The ONLY stat that truly matters is the score line.
If Joel Campbell or Aaron Ramsey had had their shooting boots on it would have been six-nil before City got their consolation.
As for slating the referee…wasn’t the 60,000 crowd not booing Mariner for failing to punish the professional fouls committed time and time again in the first half whenever Arsenal implemented their counter attack game plan?
As for Manchester City having to stump up half of the ticket price just to make their fans turn up…an utter disgrace. Mind you I’m still trying to recover from Martin Tyler advising the world that the linesman had been in trouble historically for offering Manchester City players advice!
Why on earth would Pep want to go to City? Or Chelsea Mark 2 as they are known (middle sized club that won the lottery)!
Chris (nice to see that money can’t buy everything…roar on Leicester) Charteris, Brighton
Lovely to see Nelson in Manchester answer himself in relation to the way Arsenal played last night.
I quote: And please people, don’t bore me with talk of being adaptable and employing different styles. Unless you’ve got a crippling injury list or need to tighten things up a little to defend a lead, there’s no excuse for such tedium.
He does know he was talking about Arsenal right? The team who are currently 4th in the injured players league table. The one missing their best forward in Sanchez, their best defensive midfielder in the Coq, their deep lying midfielder in Cazorla? He also knows that City’s bench cost £115 million pounds, and had a defender who cost 10 million less than Ozil in Mangala, whereas Arsenal’s first team on the pitch cost £108 million or there abouts. The only team that should be ashamed of their performance was the ridiculously expensively assembled City squad, who between Aguero, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bony, Silva et al, managed the square root of f*** all.
I still think City will snatch the league, all those players will come good in the end, but for now, I’m a happy Arsenal fan.
John Matrix AFC
FAO Nelson, Manchester. I can’t believe I’m defending Arsenal but:
- A) They do have a crippling injury list.
- B) They won.
When is an assist actually an assist?
I’m absolutely loving every minute of watching Ozil at the moment. He is a truly majestic player and it’s an honour to have a player at the peak of his powers in the Premier League. However, is it not time to revisit the definition of what an ‘assist’ actually is?
Take yesterday for example, his pass to Walcott required Theo to cut the ball back from the defenders, create space for the shot and curl a beauty into the side of the goal from about 20 metres, beating a fully stretched Hart in the process. I mean, it is Christmas and all, so we’re all in the mood for being generous, but is this really an assist? Using this logic, every member of the crowd who shouted “shoot!” at Theo should also be credited with an assist.
If we take this a step further, were assists credited to the players who passed the ball to Beckham and Adam before they scored from more than 50 metres? Guess it does. Great job to them.
I’m not sure how this counts in the same way as when a player (most likely Ozil) waltzes through a defence before cutting the ball across goal for a 5 yard tap in into an empty net. Maybe I’m just being pedantic but I’d say an assist should only be given to a player when the scorer strikes the ball with only one touch following the pass / cross from the assister. There’s obviously still a grey area with this (i.e. if the scorer shoots first time from a simple pass 50+ metres from goal (as per my whinge above)) but surely it would make it much fairer?
Is it just me that gets annoyed by this?
Andrew (Merry Christmas everyone!) (if you have a great Christmas then I get the assist for wishing it upon you), London
Never change, Arsenal fans
Fair play to Arsenal last night did a job on a below par City but Jesus wept Arsenal fans are quite a bunch, Ramsay could be the best midfielder in World Football? Theo the big game player, Wenger out Wenger in Wenger shaking it all about, never has a team had so many keyboard warriors across the World, do Arsenal have courses on how to utilise social media? If they don’t win the league this year with United, Chelsea, City looking broken and only Leicester looking like a proper football team then Wenger needs putting out to pasture. The League this year is bloody fantastic and even though I am a United fan and LvG is channelling his inner Sexton I really want Leicester to win the League, please make it happen just to see Gary Lineker explode on TV spraying Walkers crisps everywhere.
As to my team United I was never one for Jose taking over but on reflection a Jose with a point to prove at a team he wants to manage might just prove to be a match made in heaven, soon we could have Pep at City, Ancelotti at Chelsea and Jose at United the premier manager league has begun, lets hope the Tinkerman has the last laugh though. All the best to all for Xmas and the New Year, even Liverpool fans.
Paul Murphy, Manchester (Still want Eric though)
Time for Stewie
Only just getting over my hangover after our Calendar Year trophy party last night! So Arsenal beat Citeh, an impressive feat matched only by Stoke. Oh and Spurs. And Liverpool!
Great win yes. Of course, Wenger has never been in this position before: close to the top of the league, Xmas schedule round the corner, opportunity in the transfer window and a spate of injuries. It’s like goldfish that refuse to learn. I’m also sure none of you noticed that Wenger is deluded enough to play his strongest team against Barca, in the hilarious hope he can beat them over 2 legs. More chance of Scarlett Johansson making me a fry-up in the morning.
In between the Barca legs of course, away at Spurs and then away to Mourinho’s ManYoo. I see no more than 1 point. Then the usual confidence-sapping cricket score at the Camp Nou…Injuries? Mike Dean? Let’s see what the excuses are in May
Stewie Griffin (Sanchez had a “little setback” I see. So it begins. Yawn.)
A few points, Chris
I know the mailbox is a forum for people’s opinions and no opinion is incorrect but I can’t leave Chris MUFC’s mail go without commenting. Please forgive my lack of research on the below figures, years or facts but they are closer to the truth than Chris’ assertions.
United developed Ronaldo and Rooney. Was this Ronaldo who cost 17 m in 2002 for a 17 year old and Rooney who was the most expensive teenager in the world for a long time, record currently held by another United player.
Overmars , Kluijvert, Iniesta, Xavi and Mueller are not game breaking players? One player scored a winner in champion’s league final, one in a world cup final and the other 3 have turned loads of games on their heads.
I would ask that before sending in any more emails Chris actually reads them first and deletes the nonsense
Yaya, Yaya Yaya, Yaya Yaya
I don’t think there’s a player out there (other than the whole Manchester United squad) that irritates me as much as Yaya. Reason being? He’s so bloody good. Like, he’s a really nice footballer. His ability to absolute boss a game, run past players, outstrength players, rifle a shot in the top corner without even moving his leg…. the list goes on. We all know this.
But here’s my question: Why does he wait until the 70th minute to start being this guy? So he’s 32, he probably can’t do it the whole game anymore. But seriously man, your team is struggling and looking around for a Yaya shaped figure to take over and get them back into the game before it’s too last. Last night, unfortunately, was too late.
Joe Brooks, MUFC/LOFC, (Not Biased), London.
Your article on Watford’s 4-4-2 and the snobbery against it was great as usual. I’d just like to point out that the hipsters’ favourite from the world cup this summer (Japan) played a strike partnership, with Yuki Ogimi and Shinobu Ohno taking turns to drop deep and connect with the midfield. Both teams also played central players (Miyama, Jurado) out wide to maintain compactness. I’ve not even mentioned Arrigo Sacchi’s great Milan side yet.
Although I’m not sure it counts as annus mirablis, I think we should highlight the fantastic work of Corinne Diacre at Clermont Foot, who are 3rd in Ligue 2 at the moment. There is so much misogyny in life that a woman bossing it in a male arena is a genuine feel good story and should be acknowledged – an article would be great, like ;).
Keep up the good work!
MN Aditya < watch them get relegated now > London
The Prem’s rubbish, guys
Can we please abandon the idea that there is anything positive about the current state of the PL? It’s like watching a prolonged FA Cup third round upset: miserable.
As an exercise in pure entertainment, perhaps the current league is more entertaining than the mid and late 00s when Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool comfortably finished in the top 4 (although I’m not convinced the PL has ever been more entertaining than when Utd won it by 18 points. It was glorious). Isn’t it wonderful that, thanks to the PL’s unmeritocratic distribution of television revenues, the likes of Leicester and Stoke can spend money they only have because they piggyback on the commercial success and profile of Utd and others? Well no, it isn’t.
Never mind that clubs are spending money they shouldn’t have and haven’t earnt. From a simple sporting perspective, the competitiveness of the PL is a disaster. The relentlessness and physicality of the competition guarantees that year after year, tournament after tournament, English clubs and players are exhausted come spring, and therefore unable to compete with the better rested squads of Barca, Madrid, Bayern etc.
The combination of this exclusion from major continental honours, and a league in which competition is physical and protection still limited, therefore dissuades elite players from coming to or staying in England. Forgive me if, after Cantona, Veron, Stam, Ronaldo, Tevez et al., I’m just not that impressed by the success of Ighalo, Jamie Vardy, Jason Puncheon or Riyadh Mahrez.
The standard to which English clubs should aspire is consistent excellence in European competition (like three CL finals in four years). Not to be competing with Leicester, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace, and celebrating a league for its lack of quality is frankly obtuse.
Justice for Bournemouth
So Top 10 teams of 2015 has no AFC Bournemouth?
Are you kidding me?
Im sure you will respond by throwing some kind of stat ‘showing’ they have less points then Watford or somekind of nonsense…but the fact is they have been a revelation since the turn of the year. Revelation.
Sort yourselves out.
You had no Leicester players in the Top 10 players of the year in the last Top 10 but yet they are the No.1 team…? (MC – That’s the exact point…)
Do you actually have an editor for articles or is it a free for all over there?
A word on booing footballers: it’s not the end of the world, get over it. Watching football is panto, not a f***ing court case.
See also: players not celebrating goals. If they don’t want to, that’s fine with me. If it makes you angry, go and walk the dog or something.
Neil (have asked Santa for 45pts this xmas) Raines, AVFC