117 Comments

Is Sanchez The Answer To Arsenal’s Woes ?

The way I feel right now, this could be my last article. I’ve lost faith in people to think or behave reasonably. The negativity is stomach turning. Still, this is not another rallying call, or a dig at the fans, goodness knows we all have reasons to be unhappy.

Before I go on, let me first admit that what you are about to read is ill researched, and based on my thoughts, which as far as tactics go, are about as valuable as a handful of beans.

Lets first look at what we know.

A) Arsenal are worse than last year.

B) Arsenal are  just not playing like Arsenal.

C) Something has gone badly wrong.

D) Something has happened to make A B and C come about.

When we were at our best last year, we had Arteta and Ramsey in the deeper positions shielding the back 4. That system basically won Szczesny the golden glove. In most games both players had passing % in the mid 90’s and sometimes upward of 100 touches each on the ball.

In front of them we had Mesut, a player you can give the ball to and he will cherish it, if he cant make a telling pass, he simple recycles it and control is kept, the ball is kept. Control is keep. Calm is keep.

Giroud could be given the ball, he would hold it up and lay it of to the MF, we know how effective Aaron was arriving from deep. We looked good, top of the league and going well . The system worked. The league standings for two thirds of the campaign proved it.

However, there was a problem. Without Theo (or anyone else with pace) teams could come out and pressure the MF sure in the knowledge that Giroud, or anyone else, would not run in behind them. Without pace there was a way of stopping us.

When we bought Sanchez my thoughts were that he would give the pace and goals that Theo gives in that system. he seemed the perfect answer.  He could play wide right until Theo was fit, he could play wide left for Santi, and if needs be he could play at CF if a shake up was required. In other words we could rotate and have cover for injuries in all the areas where pace is vital.

Of course fate took a hand and we lost Giroud, Ozil, and for much of the time Arteta.

So rather than coming in to a settled team and improving us, Sanchez has come into a totally disrupted team and changed us.

For all his heroics he struggles to make 70% pass completion. That, from mainly the centre of the field, is shocking. For all his effort and endeavour his ball retention is pathetic. And yes , I know he he is a marvelous player and scores goals right left and centre, but he is like a rower in a boat that’s stronger than the other guys but because hes rowing out of sync the boat is going slower.

It gets worse when other players think  it a good idea to play like that and go chasing the ball or turning it over for no obvious reason. It worried me when the Ox, said  “we should follow the example of Alexis” . Thats fine if the example followed is chasing down the ball in the final third and scoring goals. However, if its giving the ball away time after time in the middle of the park and not managing to pass the simplest of balls to a teammate, not so much.

For a long time I’ve though our tactics have been to start fast and if we didn’t get a goal early control possession and run the legs off the opposition. Then go again in the last 20 minutes when they were tired and Arsene’s famous late substitutions were made. Now though its us who have no legs in the last 20 and have our legs run off chasing the ball.

We will just have to wait and see how it all works when we have the players back. But its not working right now.

Should we have bought a 4th choice CB ? Well yes, on the face of it

Should we have bought a player that can cover or replace Mikel ? Well yes, on the face of it.

But would that have altered any of the things I’ve mentioned ?

Ramsey is simply not the player he was last year ! Or does he just suffer from the loss of shape that saw him playing to his strengths ?

The greatest strength of our team has been weaving patterns of play that confuse the opponents and open up opportunities. There is zero chance of that happening with a 70% pass completion .

Of course if would be better if Koscielny and Debuchy were fit, but they would just be better defenders playing behind the same chaos.

Arsene cant be exempt from criticism. No matter what the circumstances its his job to find the answers. But I for one am willing to wait until we at least see something resembling our best 11 and he is given the chance to bring in the players of world class level I believe he is searching for, in the positions we all know are weaknesses.

I understand the frustrations of fans, indeed I share them, but I am not about to suggest throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

So thats it , my tuppence worth. Like it or lump it. I accept that it could be complete bollocks.

Now as far as this site goes, I’m going to see how the comments go and decide if the blog has a future or purpose. To be quite honest it feels like I’m pissing into the wind at the moment.

 

 

 

117 comments on “Is Sanchez The Answer To Arsenal’s Woes ?

  1. hi george, is this a threat? well dont you dare!

    you can as well say that messi or suarez will as well distrupt our play. if that is the case, then rather than blaming it on sanchez for playing the way he naturally plays, i’ll blame wenger who bought a player whose playing style though very exciting, is capable of distruping the style he loves his team to play. if you watch barca ragularly you will be alarmed at the rate messi and neymar lose possession. but that’s the price of having such players in you team. and their willingness and courage to take risk is what made them special players. if you must have them in your team, you must prepare players who sit behind to mop up when and if they lose the ball. barca are suffering now because they dont have such players anymore to mop up. dont blame sanchez but wenger if you must blame george. you can see we miss arteta much more because he is the only one in the team who understands this fact. another truth is that players like sanchez dont need the help of ramsey anywhere in the opposition box like giroud would, where he needs him most is to watch his back when he is dispossessed. what we need to do is to tinker with out formation. sanchez is our best player and he is having a great influence on ox as well. we’ll need ramsey more than ever to stay put in the middle just like mikel. sanchez wont pass the ball to him anyway, so why bother going into the box.

    in the summer we were in for two strikers, sanchez and balloteli. maybe we should have bought balloteli instead so that we can keep our possession game. then alexis would have gone to liverpool to distrupt the free flowing football they play now. we can still correct that in january anyway by simply swapping.
    what is the pass completion rating of giroud? if it any better. that sanchez plays mainly in the midfield and still scored 80% of our goal if fantastic!

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  2. Fins: really interesting. I had never quite thought of Oxlade like that. I shall watch even more closely now.

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  3. Lakysite. Well done for totally failing to understand the post. That is quite an achievement.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well well,

    I’ll have you know – this is my 1st visit to anywhere and anything written since Sunday eve. I’ve not even read the preceding post yet. I particularly haven’t been to Untold, cos they allow various gits to spew their negativity.

    In other words – I’ve hidden. How brave of me?

    At this stage I just wanna say, PG, that “pissing in the wind” – is what you get from Twatterring. I can’t imagine how it is that anyone can keep their head straight when dealing with vitriolic bollocks – constantly, though I acknowledge – it could be time consuming batting away those who try that in this blog’s replies.

    I love the reference to ZimPaul, even though my cynical mind sees it as emotional blackmail. For the moment, and with so much to do over the next few days, I’m unable to really study what happened on Sunday, and catch up with other articles but I will do eventually. It’s true, I’m upset about our loss, hence, hiding, but I can’t imagine you’ll give up, George.

    Don’t!

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  5. A little roll back but Eddy and I had a conversation about Szcz’s positioning for the Sigurdson free kick on Sunday which I said I would have another look at. I came across a snap on social media from 7am kick off.

    No idea if it will link but have a try:

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  6. Not to say the shot was unstoppable because it was not top corner however I thought Szcz had his position about right

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  7. FH
    I can remember the groaning, from the Groaners, at Chambo’s signing.
    Another “Wenger project” haha!

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  8. andy

    This should stop the debate, chezzers was well positioned and the ball went into the top of the net, he got close but the free kick was perfect

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  9. you would have to be a good keeper to get a paw on that NB !

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  10. Some have gone out of their way to find Chesney at fault for that goal; speaks volumes about their real agendas.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. First time poster on this site.

    I think we need to acknowledge how challenging it’s become managing both european and domestic football. Everton, Spurs, Liverpool and Man City have all struggled to maintain any consistency in the Premier League this season after mid-week european fixtures, especially when playing domestic matches away from home.

    And the evidence suggests this challenge lay further afield than just the English league. Many of the Spanish, French, Italian, German and Portuguese european representatives have also struggled to address this problem.

    Here’s a select list of the most recent results from some of those countries detailing Champions league teams when faced with a domestic away fixture after;

    R Sociedad 2-1 Atl Madrid. Valencia 0-0 Ath Bilbao. Freiburg 2-0 Schalke.
    Estoril 2-2 FC Porto. St-Etienne 1-1 Monaco.

    These teams represent some of the best clubs from each european league and this particular pattern is there to be witnessed over a much larger timescale than above.

    For the record I’m not saying it’s a simple equation either, ie; European fixture followed by away domestic fixture equals defeat. I’m saying it has and does make winning that domestic match much harder and I believe the majority are still failing to fully acknowledge the demands this places on both team performance and results.

    Whilst I certainly do not believe this to be the sole reason for Arsenal’s defeat at Swansea, I do believe it’s one fairly major factor we need to consider more attentively in our analysis .

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  12. Speaks volumes for their football knowledge.

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  13. Great post Tasos, do come again

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I can’t even pretend to know if he was in the right or wrong position. And even if he was in the right position, a wrong step at the wrong moment and then he’s off balance, not forgetting that there may have been a little swerve on the shot too.

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  15. What I do know is that we are lucky to have such positive and proactive Arsenal fans out there like our pal Limestonegunner who helped put the petition together which resulted in Adrian Clarke appearing upon our screens.

    Now, I could be biased, but watching his summery of Sunday’s game I think it’s fair to say that he’s the best British football plundit out there at the moment. And he ‘smashes it’ yet again in that review.

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  16. Very true Tasos

    There have been some strange results, erratic form and in England fans of Citeh, Spuds, Everton Liverpool not to mention us are all struggling to understand just why we are not matching the sort of form, and results, that seemed easy last season.

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  17. you are right george, i manage to misunderstand the post. i went back to read again i still dont understand. maybe bacause english is not my first language. but what i can see is chaos, 70% pass completion, patetic ball retention ability, distruption of playing style. i dont see these qualities as a complement to alexis or positive attribute of a guy i think is doing his best to help the team. i still dont know how that explain the performance of chambers in the past three games. he struggles against the pace of very fast winger which i think can best be mitigated by bringing on bellerin to help him especially when we were leading. sorry to disagree with you, but i’m sure you dont expect everyone to agree with you. my advice is that we wait till all our players are back to see if alexis is distruptive world class player or the guy that can help us get the goals that will help us chalenge for the title. maybe not this season but next.

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  18. good to see Fins on fire as always at UA today.Long may he roast the Groaners!

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  19. Mills I wasn’t there *shush*. But if that results in Tasos and yourself and others paying us a visit every now and then I suppose it’s ok.

    Also true to say that teams who had players go late into the WC have been affected this year, with the two exceptions being the obvious candidates of Real Madrid and Munchen.

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  20. A question that I don’t know the answer to. When the kick is from as far out as Sigurdsson’s was, does it help or hinder the keeper to have a wall?

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  21. Fins,Im over at UA all the time,just under another name ( you know me well) Im here only marginally less, more reader, and highly enjoyable it is to read comments by the posters at PA without trolls and other people from the undergrowth scrabbling around with AAAA breath and spittle at the corner of their mouths going on etc.
    My own theory with Per(re the WC) is that hes lost a bit of ambition after the WC, in that was nine years of extremely tense effort by the state/media and team( at all echelons) to win,and there isnt much of an afterglow but more things are a bit empty. Could be wrong of course, but it seems more psychological than physical, and hes an important figure.At the moment its probably possible to go trough everyone and pick fault somewhere.Its certainly been a strange season so far, in that it hasn’t really got going yet, or at least that’s the way it feels.Perhaps the polemical negativity thats in full force might push the team to come together and turn things around. A win against Manure would go a long way to raise the confidence of the team.And AW too.
    OK enough of left field speculative theories.

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  22. It seems some gobshites are trying to organize a protest against Wenger at one of the upcoming home games. What sort of morons are they, for me they are trying to get their ego’s stroked, the idiots who follow them on twitter have given them a false sense of their importance. I really hope they get their comeuppance from the real supporters

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  23. Fins @ 1:34 pm – Went over to Untold to verify your latest contribution and It took me a while to identify your handle (I hope). After 8 years on the same blogs, I should know your writing style. No need to go public.

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  24. This is one of few blogs I read. I think it’s important to have a community for the more sane and rational supporters. So please keep it up.

    As to the game on sunday, I really thought at 1-0 we had them. The problem was losing the ball in midfield several times – what can you say? – everyone knows what happened. Anyway, I for once managed to enjoy the game, without thinking of the “implications”, which is all to common. What about just, looking forward to the next game, and enjoy 90min as an end in itself and accept the emotions that come with supporting a team?

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  25. Shotta, nothing to hide I’m writing there under ‘finsbury’? Just fed up with the weirdos and their constant lame cyclical rubbish so I just felt like calling them out.

    Mills are you Kenneth over there? Re: Per – my worry is it’s a combo of everything. He hasn’t had much rest in the last eighteen months, and I honestly felt that the rookie could out him under good pressure this season for his starting spot before the Debuchy injury. I can believe the Hummels story because there’s an argument or understanding that this could be Per’s last season as a starter at the top top level in the hurly burly of the PL? Then again that could be rubbish, he does have a style of play that is easier on the body then the all action gut busting Koscielny *cue uncountable tears*. As you all know I was groaning,hehe, over the tendon injury over the summer – there may be a need to plan for two not just one new CB. I won’t tell the Groaners if you won’t!
    But who knows? Not me. Definitely happy with Chambo Mk II and Hayden in there as their reserves, it’s the starters that must have been a concern, hence a desire for players of Hummels’ quality (no idea if rumours are true not sure I care!).

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  26. Layksite . He does struggle to make 70% of his passes. and not killer passes ,simple 3 or 4 year passes. The “chaos” was referring to everyone playing in front of the defence. If you think 70% or less, is how a possession side keeps the ball , please tell me your thinking. I’m intrigued?

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  27. FH
    There are some similarities to facing a bouncer there. At least that’s the best way I can understand it. And I was never very good at padding up to balls that nearly broke my nose, on occasion did break my glasses.

    I just think he hit the shot with enough pace to beat the keeper on this occasion. But I can understand Eddy thinking that the keeper might feel he could have done fractionally better. If he didn’t think that he wouldn’t make a very good keeper/athlete!

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  28. FH
    maybe when there is a free kick at such distance we should have a wall of just two or three players so that the keeper can have a clear view of the direction of the ball. because except the taker is not good at what he does, there is really nothing much the wall can do to stop the ball from going over their heads. it only hinders the goalkeeper from seeing the ball until very late. sigursson hit the ball so well that szcz had no chance of saving it.

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  29. Fins, are you Sherlock Holmes?Well spotted! Youre probably right about Per.I think the situ with Poldi has had a big affect too, that guy was the soul of things for a while and he seems a bit out on a limb, even with that deadly left foot. Its a great team just a case of gelling.Thats why I though this article was also interesting(cheers PG).We`ve seen that the team can rip others to shreds v.quickly and Im sure theres a new defensive system being put together.

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  30. Mills no definitely no detective. Save for digging out horrible trolls and exposing their xenophobia and worse elsewhere. I think you mentioned your handle there previously, or someone else did. A reference to some kind of fictional character? My name finsbury was made in order to avoid having to waste time discussing footy online with the kind of bitter jingoistic xenophobic bigoted ginormous football brains who will attack former players like Davis whilst defending Merson. Yes I understand the current irony there!

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  31. What’s reassuring with this current squad is that they do have the ability to really have devastating spells in a game. As with that 5-1 against West Ham which gave me hope in that squad led by Arteta that went onto win the cup, I’ve seen plenty to keep me interested. Not least Chamberlain’s progress now that he’s recovered.

    But I think there’ll be a little bit of inconsistency for a little while now. Losing Giroud, Debuchy and Özil not forgetting Kozzamundo from the current set up, it was an inevitability I guess.
    That defensive triangle between Per, Koscielny and Areta has been unsettled and Rambo has also struggled with his form and fitness.

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  32. his best attribute george is not in passing the ball. he is no ozil or zidane. he takes risk, anyone who does that will not be concious of pass completion. and at 70% i think its good enough for a player of sanchez’s style. i’ll be worried if such stats is for a midfielder. but wenger knew this before he bought him. maybe he also knows his allround game more than compensate for the lapse. i’ll like to know the pass completion of other strikers of his style like naymer, suarez, tevez, messi, etc. i also like to know if the stat is his average this season or just against swans. does giroud have a better pass completion? i could remember some games last season when giroud had poorer stats. this guy has scored 12 goals for us this season. i think what we need to do is to find a way to cover him at the back like masherano does for messi in argentina. players like that will always lose possession but there should be a method put in place to mitigate the effect. i will never be angry with arteta for not scoring enough goals but if he loses possession like alexis does, i will be very angry. that is the exact thing i am saying about ramsey. people are saying he is not the ramsey of last season. i do not agree with that. he is the same ramsey but playing in a different team as last season. there is no giroud who holds up the ball for him or do the flicks for wilshere to score. now we dont need him as much in the box. we need him more in the middle to mop up.

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  33. He is around the 70& mark in all games, only Anderlecht has he reached 80% This is ok if its in the box or playing through ball like Arshavin did. But not when playing as the No 10. Its the rank poor passing in MF that worries me. he can lose it as often as he likes going for goal.
    It could also explain why barca where happy to sell him. But he is a great player,its just because of injuries he has not been in the right positions . Saying that, Arsene basically said he left him out twice for the very reasons I’ve stated.
    Giroud is in the mid 70’s playing as a lone striker and doing one touch lay offs. Alexis should be much better at keeping the ball and involving his team mates. It was that step that elevated Suarez to the highest level.

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  34. what i want wenger to do urgently is to find solution to chambers on the right back. he is a young player and if fast players continue to have joy exploiting his lack of pace, it may affect his confidence. i’ll like to see a player like bellerin stationed in front of him or to relocate him to the center. he is fast losing his confidence.

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  35. Interesting comments regarding Sanchez.
    I find it strange that Rosicky has had so few chances this year as well as podolski. I can understand that Campbell and Sanogo are ones for the future though, and planning ahead it makes sense to use them. I’ve also found myself thinking “what is Cazorla doing?”, but when you watch the game closely one can see that he is often involved in the assist before THE assist, as well as stringing things together. He also seldom seems to lose the ball.

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  36. I love watching you take on the Groaners.Im useless with dialectics, and tend to lose my temper after a while and cant type as quickly as you. Its odd how certain Groaners turn up and start to become articulate and sensitive to criticism, then crawl back over to Le Swamp and play Tarzan- swamp beast again with their non discussive way.

    Meanwhile the team need support and positivity and backing and (as Eduardo pointed out) they now want to make a demo.Great, Perhaps versus the Manure is the wrong time?
    One day they will miss Wenger, said mystic Kenneth.

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  37. barca sold fabregas too.
    he is playing no. 10 at the moment. but not the way a midfielder would. he is a striker and we are trying to play 442. like i said his best attribute isnt pass completion. it will never be.
    the goals we conceded mostly this season hasnt been from alexis been dispossessed of the ball but the midfielder losing possession. i can remember three from flamini. the first we conceded against swans was from ramsey trying to do alexis. it cost us a goal as well as a yellow for gibbs.

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  38. george you are doing a good job. i dont just apreciate you but adore you. i just dont agree sanchez needs to change his style. though its new to the way we play. but we’ll get it right soon.
    i’m off now. back later.

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  39. My goodness, Bergkamp himself couldn’t have brought that ball to Aaron under control .it was horrible.
    And Cesc ? If he has a pass completion of 70% he will never take the field again.

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  40. I’ll keep this brief. Broadly we are in agreement. I like reading your posts I don’t agree with everything you say/write. E.g I’m not to struck on the Sanchez thoughts above but will ponder them. It is something to think about. We both come at this from an angle of positive support. I’m fed up of the moaning that has been going on for years now and has created extreme friction between Arsenal supporters. You take a lot stick some of which you stick your chin out for but most is undeserved. If you keep writing I’ll read it.

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  41. MV

    We had this conversation with Mean Lean from ArsenalVision last season, who like most if not all here is a big fan of the Arsenal no.7 – it seems that because he is vulnerable to strains etc. that he is held back in reserve till the crunch, towards the end of the season. This appears to be the pattern in recent years with him, and given the injuries he had, his importance during those runs, it kind of makes sense. At least, that’s my best guess.

    This season there is the additional impulse or desire to get Ramsey and Wilshere working together?

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  42. Winterburn: “They (Arsenal) have been caught out because Debuchy has been out injured for a long time and, at the moment, Koscielny is out.”

    i bet nutty would give a nice response if asked his views on merson’s attack on Wenger

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  43. When you look at the players we have it is tempting to think that sooner rather than later it would be possible for Wilshere and Ramsey to play as the two men in front of the Back 4, and that they would be good enough and disciplined enough to rotate their roles at will during the course of a game. The fact that either through availability, ability or inclination this hasn’t been possible has probably made us look much weaker defensively than anyone might have hoped for during the summer.
    Well done Mills: impeccable nom de plume from the finest English post-war novel.

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  44. I remember us beating United at the Ems , with Jack and Aaron in MF I think they were 18 &19 at the time.

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  45. Arsene Wenger will prove his genius yet again when he finds a way to play Özil and Alexis both together, with Theo and Giroud.
    No doubt that has been his long term plan.

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  46. Foreverheady, it is a great work,and Widmerpool is a strange character but fascinating too.Quite ruthless.The tv production was a bit lame, but SR Beale was not bad, he held it together really.I thought about coming on here as Pamela Flitton, but realised that would be more appropriate for LG!
    Once a guy came on UA as X Trapnel,I wrote and said that I wanted revenge after his affair with Pam, but the bloke didn’t take the joke any further.Probably was too busy slagging off Wenger.
    I wrote on UA today that Poldi has said he wants to leave in January, it was all over the German media.I’ll be sad to see him go as hes been a vital force- team spirit wise.Deadly when he wants too.
    With Arteta in and out I would like to see several players taking more control/guidance on the pitch.
    Im hoping the Swansea game was a bit like the Villa game last season, that it jolts everyone into waking up a bit. It will be a big game for Manure too and they will rise to the occasion.
    Its interesting to see how much we miss Kos, and what a good player he is.
    Its great that PA is troll free.

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  47. Thanks for the appreciation, Fins. I do think it was a major contribution to Goonerdom–millions of supporters have genuinely benefited!– to get that raspy corrosive cretin off of Arsenal Player and am proud of my part in that.

    George, this was an interesting take on the situation. I wonder what Arshavin’s pass completion rate was. As I said previously, it is a risk reward situation. Of course, it requires making some adjustments to the team to make it work because it can leave us exposed. What was AW saying about Ramsey and team goals? He needs AR to be more disciplined, especially with Arteta out and paired with Flamini. I read that Ozil v. Sanchez post again and perhaps you’ll accuse me of missing your point this time too. I don’t think I have. We should have the ability to adjust our approach as a team to some extent. Given the injuries, that is called for at the moment, I think.

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  48. Pedantic George, Ive just been reading your tweets today, and for the first time in a long while I was laughing out loud, brilliant tweets,your wit is much appreciated.Some of them should be pasted on certain blog spots.

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  49. some rumors that Arteta has signed a contract extension to summer 2016

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  50. FINS

    Yes, that could be. I guess AW never was a fan of rotation to a winning team. I remember the game against tottenham last year where Ramsey+Wilsh+Rosicky played in midfield – and then flam came on just before half-time for his comeback. I thought the three mentioned had a good game, showing that we don’t neccesaraliy need flam/arteta/cazorla/ozil in the middle of the park.

    Does anyone else think there could be problem with Giroud coming back as regards to Welbeck? Both of them is gonna want game time.

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