Arsenal Debate – Lessons learned and improvements needed

The alarm bells should be ringing despite victory against Palace by KM

Hi folks, please bear with the long post. I’m traveling off to the United States and before that I think that there are a lot of interesting things to look at Arsenal after our first two games.

Round 2 is gone for Arsenal and we have snatched a win against Crystal Palace away. Alan Pardew has turned Selhurst Park into a hard place to go and usually I would be pretty happy with a win there and the importance of the three points there was massive.

After another flying pre-season and another community shield victory, the stage was set for this to be our year, but as it usually turns out, everyone thinks this will be their year and results don’t come easy. Even before the start of the season I have been crying out for some reinforcements to help our cause and after 2 rounds I stand my ground firm that we need new additions.

The false mist created by the victory over Chelsea was quickly diminished by the clear light that revealed an unbalanced landscape. On the surface it looks good and flashy, but scratch that and the problems are easy to spot. Taking example of the games so far, we really do need another holding midfielder.

Coquelin took us all by surprise and his introduction balanced our squad and helped us immensely on our way to the top four, but in his second season the expectations come bigger than they were before. He was lucky to escape a red card and we were lucky when Palace hit the post otherwise it might have gone terribly wrong.

The balance between defense and attack is still somewhat missing. We put players like Cazorla and Ramsey in positions that don’t suit them too much. Ramsey cannot repeat his marvelous season of two years back because he plays on the wing.

Same thing to notice with Ozil who was fantastic when he returned to the middle where he’s actually good. He was the best player on the pitch in my opinion and if we don’t make him go on the left or run him down to the ground, we have a terrific player in our squad. The problem is we have too many players waiting for his position and we don’t have enough troops in other areas.

Apart from Alexis (who I am not sure where is best up front, because he seems good everywhere) and the Ox we are lacking wide players. Experiments like Ramsey and Cazorla on the left and right have worked once maybe and failed miserably numerous times. We scored two goals from crosses coming from wide positions. Maybe it’s because people know we always try to pass it into the net and don’t expect us to go wide? I might be wrong but a true wide player would be a nice addition.

Up front, we opted with Giroud when I was expecting Walcott to start after the first game, but I get the idea. Giroud is one of the very few players who is tall and brings great physical presence. Our holding midfielders are all not very tall and when we play away against teams not afraid to lift the ball we struggle.

Despite the great goal scored we still need a striker. We wasted a few good chances at 0:0 and that could have cost us. At the end it didn’t and it might prompt Wenger to think that West Ham was just a blimp, when the truth is we still have areas to improve. Douglas Costa at Bayern looks like a proper player. Jackson Martinez would’ve been interesting to say the least. Benteke was available, Mandzukic as well.

Our strike force is good in numbers, but would you pick any of our strikers over Aguero? Taking a sniff at the previous two champions battle, it was nice to see Mourinho get beaten hard. It’s his third season which usually means, he gets sacked and I won’t be surprised to see him gone by March.

When your tactics for success are based on making enemies rather than friends, you are likely to lose. It’s fine when you go into mind games with other managers and you beat them once, but when you go into war with your staff, it’s bad. What would you think if you are a Chelsea player? You’re playing for a lunatic. Mourinho intentionally makes scandals to put the talking point away from the fact his squad is not that good.

This makes it all the more worrying that we still finished more than ten points behind this Chelsea team. City looked good on Sunday. They’ve hit the ground running and they simply have the best squad in this league. When Yaya Toure goes into form, it starts to click for them. Boy how we need a player like him. Diaby had the potential to be like him, but injuries and bad management ruined him.

Of course we cannot just pass by our only summer signing – Cech. I think the expectations are sky high for him and he’s a person after all. Besides he joined Arsenal who have always been famous with dodgy keepers. He made some mistakes but I cannot blame him alone. We have a solid back four with question marks over Mertesacker, but there is more to it than just the names.

Bellerin is the discovery of the year. He has taken the right back position by storm and produces good performances on a constant basis. Monreal has shunted Gibbs to the bench and until he actually learns to defend, he won’t get off. Koscielny is a marvelous player who was wanted by Bayern and Real. Cech is a super goalie so it’s not just about the names. Our playing style ofter favors attack more than defense and we need to balance it out.

Finally we have Liverpool next. They spent a lot of money and they bought players that performed well in smaller teams. Gerrard ruined their top 4 chances last season, but they started with a win against Stoke at the Britannia which is an awful place to go. United started with 2 wins and when confidence grows it may take you far.

If we really want to be title contenders we have work hard, on and off the pitch and definitely some in the transfer market. Alexis Sanchez and Ozil brought immense quality to our side which was highlighted in the Palace game again. But lessons are hard to learn with Arsene. It’s been like this for ten years and it will be for a few more.

Have a sublime week ahead of you.


Tags Coquelin Giroud Ozil


  1. We certainly need a match winning striker of quality who’ll make Giroud be a sub,Krychowiak from Sevilla will be perfect for DM he’s a warrior ans can play CB if needed like he did against Barcelona

  2. I don’t have any problem with Le Coq though am afraid fans have been slating him a lot after yesterday’s perfomance which to me he wasn’t that bad.Yes we need a back up Dm and a Striker.

    Am sure after 3 to 4 games we will start to see a fast free flowing football.

  3. I don’t have a problem with Coquelin either and he will play a great role this season. Unfortunately he needs to help us dictate the tempo of the game and he is not quite ready for this. His commitment and defensive skills are to be praised though. I think getting a player with more experience in this position will allow Coquelin to mature and become a much more complete player himself.

    Up front we need someone of top calibre…did you see Aguerro yesterday? He only bagged one goal but man did he try hard to make it happen, against a lower opponent he would have scored a bagload. This is the type of player we must sign.

    1. Aye, Aguero missed chances yes, but on a plus note he created himself few of them.

      Off topic but if you guys are as interested as I am about how our youngsters fare on loan, follow this guy on YouTube (no, it’s not me lol but to his credit he puts a lot of effort making these Arsenal videos)

      1. Aye, Aguero missed chances yes, but on a plus note he created himself few of them.

        Off topic but if you guys are as interested as I am about how our youngsters fare on loan, follow this guy on YouTube (no, it’s not me lol but to his credit he puts a lot of effort making these Arsenal videos)


    2. Obviously you have a misunderstanding of what a Defensive Midfielder job is, Coquelin main function is to be defensively sound, break up attacks and act as cover for our back four, therefore in my eyes he is doing his job.

      If you need people to control the tempo of the game speak about Ramsay, Ozil and Cazorla.

      My concern with Coquelin is i which he was bigger, its obvious we need another Defensive Midfielder and i do hope we get a forward,.

      1. Absolutely not, the role of the DM does not stop with defensive duties, distribution is an important part too, even for a destroyer type player (you referred to the regista I believe).

        1. Coquelin main function is the defensive work in front our back four, his MAIN function is not to act as the distributor, it has always been required that all the arsenal players have good technical skills, which passing the ball long or short are qualified as technical skills.

          I guess you would rather he becomes Alex song type of player who forgot about his defensive duties and wanted to be known as “The Assistor”. Distributing the ball short or long is already part of Coquelin’s game and as i said before Ozil, Cazorla and Ramsay are our main distributors and the people who dictate the tempo of our team.

          For the fans who question the yellow cards which Coquelin received look carefully at all the players that play in the same position on different teams, they tend to get more yellows than any other players, its just part of the job. that is one of the main reason we need quality players to share the load, while Arteta might have been growing in the position earlier last year, i fear his legs will not stand up to the high pressuring teams

          1. @ ruelando

            Thank you man very well said glad more people know what a DM is supposed to do and that coq is one with world class potential

  4. Bacary Sagna.
    Remember him?
    We spent 28 mill net
    on Chambers and Debuchy
    Sagna started in both City’s wins.

    1. Chambers is more suited centrally and I prefer Bellerin to Sagna.

      I have to admit he played well yesterday though…

    2. Sagna as always been a good player and you can see he has become more adapted with playing with the Mancity team. I wish him all the best’

      I do think however think we have two able replacement, which can only get better, in case of sagna i think he has already reached his peak, so him seeking a move to one of our adversaries does not change the respect i have for him

  5. Assuming we got Lewandowski up front, how many assists for ozil?? Wenger said he was afraid to sub le coq off despite warning, why?? Coz no cover!! Do something arsene do something

    1. It’s heartbreaking to see so many of Ozil’s beautiful passes not converted into goals

      Ozil, Cazorla, Alexis would all look even better with someone like Lewandowski, Benzema, Reus, Greizmann, Ibrahimovic

      1. Giroud had ONE decent pass and he scored a stunner. Tell me, how many passes did he had yesterday? Alexis, Cazorla and Ramsey wasted MUCH better passes from Ozil. Giroud had another pass from Monreal but the pass was behind him yet he still sent it forward. Yesterday it was not Giroud wasting chances. Giroud’s problem is that he can’t create chances for himself, this is why we need a different type of striker.

    1. I assume you were replying to me! Anyways search user named ‘TerryAFC’, you will find his channel.

      His videos feature highlights of all our players, including the ones currently on loan (Szczesny, Akpom, Martinez, Maitland-Niles, Crowley, Toral..)

  6. Still dont know what fans’ criticism of le coq is. If he allows opponents pass him easily, then he gets scolded. He does his job by marking them out which results to fouls, he still gets blamed. Maybe the critics here can name dm that does his work without a foul noting that the palace players and fans were actually trying to get him sent off.

  7. We can’t win all games but what will carry Arsenal through this season is ‘consistency’. winning 12 games in a row is something that we can achieve (remember 2nd half of last season). Then we also need to be clinical in front of goal.

    I believe Paulista will be introduced in the team gradually. Mertsacker is not a bad player. His understand with Kos is crucial but Paulista is not far off from been in the starting line up. Its a gradual process…Chambers got potentials too as CB. Love Debuchy, Bellerin, Gibbs and Monreal. I remember how most fans called Monreal useless few seasons ago. We always worry when Gibbs was out with injury but see as Monreal has made LB his own. I guess playing CB few times last season really helped his game.

    Off Topic: Some of us were crying last season seeing Fabregas play so well with assist and wish we got him back. Now, we are happy he is having a rough patch in chelsea……Fabregas is one player I appreciate esp. During his time with us. We didn’t get Him back but that’s it and its important to move on. We have ozil, santi, ramsey and the likes. Some of us still cry that we sold sagna, nasri and so on. C’mon guys, let’s move on already and appreciate the players we have and also look ahead. I love fabregas but I won’t wish His new team well as we also want success and win the league and major cup too.

    In Arsenal I Trust!

  8. In my honest opinion, we could have beaten Palace by a wider margin but felt we were lucky in the end to come out with all 3 points! We hopefully will see the true Arsenal on Saturday when we take on the ‘pool, after which we can make a more precise assessment of our strengths and weaknesses this season. However as it stands now, we need another solid CB, a DMF to compete or even play alongside Coquelin depending on the type of game & a far more superior striker than we currently have in Giroud!

  9. So Ramsey gets into my nerves when i see him neglete his poz, which makes us vurnerable on the wings and very uneffectice, now i understand from an interview i read from Ramsey, that its Wenger himselfs who permits it, and tell him to do so.

    Gee, What in the hell is Wenger thinking.

    1. Did you actually really think he chooses to neglect his wing role?
      smh. some fans.
      when are y’all going to learn, that its merely a tactic.

  10. I hope Coq can stay injury free because we need his aggressiveness on the pitch. I like Arteta but I don’t see the need from him to take away balls like Coq does. If someone comes in as a DM I really wouldn’t mind playing them together and dropping one of our CM’s against sides like City, and CL sides like Madrid.

  11. From the past seasons Arsenal have been grinding results a lot. You hear the term, we won ugly today quit a lot. We need to improve and win our games with ability and football power, rather then score a goal a ahead and chicken out bec of it, and put defenders in to protect the lead.

  12. I don’t think we have major issues as a team, just a few areas that could do with tweaking and strengthening. I’ll wait to see what this transfer window brings as its well documented that we need a few players to have a credible shot at the title.

  13. You can make your case for new players but when people make references to a single game or a few incidents in a game and then it becomes bases for all sorts of conclusion is laughable. For one to argue that Coquelin is not ready because he could have been sent off is just ridiculous. How many times did Vidic, Keane, Vieira get sent off in games? Did that make them any less wonderful players. Once you play in defensive positions you are a “walking yellow card” and once you receive a yellow car you are a ” walking red card” especially against an opposition that is ready to fight.

    1. Nicely put TH14-TW14, i agree the DF is a “walking yellow card”…the Guy that normally ends up committing the foul that breaks up play even if it means taking a yellow card for the team..
      The sad part is we dont have decent cover for Le Coq, so as to have the luxury of subbing him in games were he will get a bit hot headed..

  14. Think I might actually write an article later discussing some of the points highlighted in this post and from the past season. People would usually refer to me as an AKB, I’m definitely not an AOB but I am starting to get frustrated that the same tactical naivety is shown week in week out without attempts to improve. In seasons past I’ve been happy to put this down to our lack of funds and trying to use the players with highest ability despite the tactical disadvantages imposed BUT I’m starting to feel a little disillusioned when we have the money and tactical issues continue despite the oppurtunity to correct them. I’m not referring to quality of players (like CF or DM) but other issues we have across the park caused by poor managerial decisions that can no longer be blamed on tight purse strings.

    In response to your article itself – I like the fact you’ve remained fairly balanced on Cech and for highlighting the positives currently in our squad. While I understand you want new signings, however, the general structure of the article doesn’t really lead to any conclusion except “we must buy” and one of those is a DM. It also trails off to a rather moot point about finishing 10 points behind Chelsea last season and that because they are currently playing badly we must be worse. I fear the logic there is slightly skewed and people still fail to realise the importance of growth in players and as MANY of our squad are just hitting their prime, it really is a case that we can improve without signings. That said, I do agree on the signings point – my main argument is that if you believe we need them then an explanation of why and how this would change the squad would be more enjoyable to read than a simple statement of facts and then an opinion without analysis.

  15. My main issues with this team are:

    Need to play players in the position where they can excel. For me this means Walcott or Ox on right wing, Sanchez on left wing. Giroud at striker ( until he gets a better one), Coq paired with Carzola. Ramsey as a sub for Carzola, (until JW comes back) Some flexibility at back four. As far as signings, i believe that two are needed for sure, A striker, who can create on his own, and a DM with strength and pace. But until, we get additional players, the ones we have need to play better, and this means ALL.

  16. This article epitomizes what is wrong with some of the fans today. Instead of watching a match to enjoy yourself (sports is primarily for entertainment experience) some fans watch matches to identify faults with the team they support in a bid to sound wise and insightful post facto. The writer of the article picked on a number of unconnected issues leading to some illogical conclusions. Take for instance his cry for another centre forward supposedly on the basis that we wasted a number of chances. Those chances did not fall to the centre forward who was on the pitch at the time, therefore assuming we had Aguero as our centre forward we would still have wasted those chances, unless the writer wants us to play with centre forwards all over the pitch.

    Aguero had five clear cut chances but only converted one. If you look close to the three unconverted chances you will note that it was down to him not being clinical enough. The first chance he tried to force the ball between the keeper’s legs, while on the other two chances he went for power rather than try to place the ball beyond the reach of the keeper. In contrast the one he scored was down to him placing the ball beyond the keeper without going for power. When all that is said the fact remains that he only converted one out of five clear cut chances he had. Compare with Olivier, he only got one chance which was very difficult but he did his best to convert that chance. Instead of being happy with that performance, we have people hear saying yes he scored a terrific goal but he is not good enough, we want Aguero. Yet if Aguero had missed those chances while wearing an Arsenal shirt it would have been, he is not good enough; the same way some fans have started to say about Cech.

    Both Arsenal and CP fans went to watch the match for entertainment purposes, and the teams did not disappoint on that front. It was end to end stuff as any match should be, and that is the more reason why we should be happy about the result rather than indulge in Konstantinsim (the new word for negativity towards that which you claim to support).

    No one knows how any new player will improve the squad, more so a common fan like you and me. We should therefore not pretend that we know better than Wenger. This has been put into perspective by Chelsea’s performances. Everyone was saying they remain the best team in the EPL until last night, with acres of space now devoted to telling all and sundry how weak and inadequate the current Chelsea team has become. Incidentally the same press has now picked Man City as favorites for the title, because of their two results despite the fact that the only addition to the first 11 is Sterling. Why the same team was cocky last season and has suddenly become super favorites to lift the title this time we are not told. Arsenal is not being given any chance because that is the most convenient line to tow than anything else. Should Arsenal lift the trophy come May 2016, the same press will start telling us how Arsenal were superb all season, and no doubt Ozil’s performance against CP and Olivier’s goal will form some of the highlights of our potency. So why wait to appreciate yesterday’s performance at the end of the season than now?

    The bottom line is that as a fan watch the game for the entertainment experience it gives you. Do not bother yourself about things you have no control over, and never push yourself into the delusional world by thinking you are an expert in things you are not. If you think you have what it takes to be an expert in an area demonstrate by taking responsibilities relating to that area (in this case a coaching job), for everyone believes he/she can advise Microsoft CEO on how to run that company despite having failed to run a small tuck-shop.

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