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Arsenal identities


FOR a moment it appeared the whole way we define our Arsenal selves appeared under threat. Alexis Sanchez had entered the field to mostly cheers but some boos also.

Suddenly it was no longer enough to simply be either pro or anti-Wenger. Were those who were booing, pro-Wenger anti-Sanchez or anti-Wenger anti Sanchez. And what of those who cheered the Chilean? Were they pro-Wenger pro Sanchez or anti Wenger pro Sanchez? Could you tick “none of the above”?

Thankfully, there was no lasting booing. Any lingering expression of sentiment is likely to be in more overt applause for the rest of our forwards.

I’m not sure how much there is to say about the game. We played some decent stuff and deserved to win. It won’t alter the course of history but then Bournemouth in early September rarely does. The league table looks a little less offensive, which should be no great surprise.

23 Responses to “Arsenal identities”

  1. slc gunner says:

    I was surprised at how bad Bournemouth were. They are at the bottom for a reason – I hope they recover as it’s good to have a few cinderella stories in the league. For Arsenal, the game proves nothing. The game at the weekend will be an opportunity to show what we’re made of. It’s been a long time since we’ve played well away from home against a top side. I think we beat City a couple of years ago – that’s the last one I can remember.
    As for the boos, it’s certainly not black and white. I hope he plays his best this season – we need him. It’s likely that he’ll walk on a free at the end of it. If his mind is right, he should play in all the matches.

  2. MDP says:

    For me, it’s more complicated than that Playa. I think Sanchez should have gone earlier in the summer for a sizeable fee. I think Arsene should have walked last summer and he’s growing increasingly frustrating as the seasons go by. I still have deep respect for both of these people. I’d never boo them. Arsene feels like an infuriating family member who you hate to see suffering at times and you would love to see succeed even though you think that time has passed. You’re allowed to moan about family yet you have this deep connection with them at the same time. That’s Arsene.

    Some of the things we learned on Saturday…. the two new boys have to start against Chelsea. Kolasniac is my first choice left back whether Monreal plays in the back 3 or is on the bench. Loved the Lacazette finish…. Our midfield still scares the shit out of me. They’ll have to show more discipline against better opposition…. Loved seeing Welbeck come back at the critics with a great performance…

    Hoping to build some momentum against Cologne before Chelsea.

  3. PD says:

    Well. that was a bit better. Determination & organisation – it’s not really too much to ask to have that more often is it Arsene ?
    Really nice run of games now before November to move up the table a bit…..but you know this is Arsenal so who knows if we will take advantage !!

  4. MDP says:

    Pleasantly surprised is all I can really say.

    I’ve only seen the highlights and heard the reports but it’s what we’ve been waiting for – a bit of charachter, fight, organisation and discipline. Can that be replicated week in and week out? Surely it can even if it doesn’t always come off. Hope we can apply it to the next run of games in the short term.

  5. PD says:

    Did anyone else notice that Ethan Ampadu became one of Chelsea’s youngest ever debutants last night & be a bit concerned by it ?

    For those who don’t know him Kwame Ampadu is an Irish lad who was at Arsenal as a kid, didn’t make it to the first team but went on to have a decent career in the lower leagues. He then went into coaching & after impressing at Exeter moved back to Arsenal where he now coaches our under-18s.
    How on earth does his son end up at Chelsea ? Chelsea having bought him from …….Exeter of all places !
    I am baffled. If this kid goes on to have a big career….

  6. Elvis says:

    Didn’t notice that, PD. Life being too short and all that…

  7. MDP says:

    I have to say that one escaped me PD, but it is more evidence of how badly things have been run behind the scenes from owner through to management, scouting, buying and selling of players to coaching – in essence the whole set up. From things I heard over this summer coupled with the infamous Dick Law on his way out of the club, I get the impression that there is some impetus for change from some board members. However, with Wenger’s stubbornness to reject support staff such as a director of football (a successful ideology that is generally accepted in all other top clubs), it’s hard to see real change anytime soon.

    The only thing that really caught my eye this week other than another (unflattering) win against Doncaster was a full 90mins from Jack Wilshere. I’d love to see him stay fit this season. I think it’s generally accepted that our first choice midfield pairing (in the absence of a defensive midfielder) is Ramsey and Xhaka especially with their show of discipline and awareness against Chelsea. However, I don’t see why Jack can’t challenge that. I see a leader in Jack and I also see a fighter who could potentially take on a more disciplined, ‘team’ roll better than any of our midfielders. I’ve got a lot of time for both Ramsey and Xhaka but I hope Jack pushes them all the way and takes his chances this season.

  8. PD says:

    hahaha…very true Elvis….to be honest I’m not that much of a geek, it’s just I played against Kwame Ampadu growing up in Dublin so I have always followed his career since I heard he was joining Arsenal when we were about 15. There’s no way I would have noticed this if it was any other coach in our set up. The whole thing is just weird to me : how does the son of our u-18s coach end up at one of our rivals ? It’s not as if we (or any big club) have so many 17 year olds who are good enough to get a first team game at that age.

    Jack ? Lovely to see. I’ve always been a big fan. I’ve seen a lot of people say he’s a threat to Xhaka/Ramsey but could you honestly see him playing with either of those two ? I think to get Jack in the team you would have to leave out both & play him with Coquelin….or else play him at no. 10…..

  9. MDP says:

    I take your point. I’m thinking back to when Jack played a deeper role for England and didn’t look that out of place. I never really would have put Xhaka and Ramsey together either but it seems to be the best we have if they are prepared to be disciplined. I just wonder if Jack could be a curve ball alternative. That said, further forward is what suits him best and now you say it he could also push Ozil with Jack potentially a more disciplined less luxury type player at No.10, more comfortable with tracking back and getting stuck in.

  10. MDP says:

    Well, we got the 3 points and I weirdly enjoyed the game quite a lot in the end. There were a number of positives…

    I love the way Lacazette looks so unfazed by anything. He might be too quiet to be a leader but the way he cooly dispatched that penalty and stealthily was in the right place at the right time for the first goal was fantastic!

    There were 3 players who worked there socks off. Monreal who was frankly man of the match. Ramsey just didn’t stop working even if end product and understanding with some of the players around him wasn’t quite there – I sense a real determination and maturity from Ramsey this season. Finally, Elneny has his limitations but he was incredibly busy and effective even if there were a couple of small errors in there. I should also mention Bellerin, Kos, Kolasinac and Cech who all had solid games.

    The two negatives to me were Mustafi and Xhaka. I loved Mustafi this time last year just for his attitude and enthusiasm, I felt there was a leader in there and his performances had been really encouraging. Now he looks a bit quiet and this business of going to ground all the time is going to cost us points if he doesn’t sort it out. I’m finding Xhaka hard to work out. We’ve all seen his strengths, his long range passing can be delightful but there was no doubt in my mind that Elneny was the one taking hold of midfield and trying to make things happen. I’d love to see Mustafi and Xhaka succeed this season but we have players that can push these two.

    I feel like my attitude towards Arsenal is adjusting at this point of the season. I remain disappointed deep down that our club lack the ambition to compete at the very top but feel some kind of acceptance that we are more of a top 4, 5 or 6 side if we’re being honest. I feel I’m redefining my expectations knowing that realistically we can first challenge the likes of Liverpool and Spurs for fourth (our own little mini league if you like) and if that goes well then we can see where it leads. It’s reverting back to how I felt in the late 80′s when challenging Liverpool seemed a tall order. As always I live in hope that this squad can throw up a few surprises and the talk from Ramsey after the game about consistency, organisation and defensive duties rings true for the rest of the season (It’s actually quite comforting to finally hear that they are really trying to address these things internally in training). For now, I look forward to the Europa League in my new state of mind, a chance to blood some of the fringe players in the squad in a competition that is well within expectations.

  11. PD says:

    Good the ship has steadied a bit but nothing has changed really. We’ve no chance of winning the league but have a decent chance of getting back into the top 4….(though I wouldn’t be overly confident)

    I have to be honest MDP, I’m amazed you find any comfort in what Rambo said….we’ve heard it so many times before. There’s no point getting upset over it though either : we are where we are : we’re not going to challenge for the title this season or next with Arsene in charge : let’s just hope for the best & enjoy any wins/good performances that do come…nothing else we can do really.

  12. MDP says:

    I’ve been questioning for a long time how they motivate the team, how they talk internally about some of the defensive issues and try to address them on the training ground. I’ve always found Wenger’s management style a bit reserved and unclear how much emphasis is put into this side of the game. I’m not certain we have heard players talk with such clarity about this issue. There was a massive hole in midfield at Liverpool, it appeared to have been addresed against Chelsea and Ramsey explained how, I just found that refreshing.

    I do however agree that Arsenal rarely seem to find any consistency these days or truly learn from their mistakes. I remain sceptical but you can only hope that they will continue in a similar vein to that displayed against Chelsea.

  13. PD says:

    My first live game of the season yesterday so I’m going to bore you with my thoughts !
    A routine enough win to be fair but there are still some obvious flaws. The midfield is just not good enough. Xhaka & Ramsey just don’t inspire me as a pair but I don’t see that Coq or Elneny would make us any better to be honest. Is it time to gamble a bit on Jack to provide some spark ??
    The defence worries me too : considering how little possession Brighton had & how limited their attacking options were they stretched us too much in the first half. Without Kos, I think we’re limited there. After all the gossip over the summer, I paid close attention to Mustafi…..& he scared me to be honest. He seems to be a decent organiser & talker but as a defender he’s pretty poor at the basics……quite a lot of the time !! A lot of improving to do or else he’s yet more money Arsene will have wasted.
    Delighted to see Monreal get a goal. What a great pro he is. Such a shame that Gibbs spent so long competing with this guy & never developed the same desire to compete for every minute that Monreal has.
    Alexis can be very frustrating but without his willingness to take people on & try to make things happen, I think we would be a pretty dull side – I don’t see much inspiration elsewhere. Delighted to see Iwobi’s goal — I really hope that finish was as a result of someone having a go at him at half time. We all love a beautifully placed finish but sometimes the best finish is to simply put your foot through the ball – it’s a flaw throughout our squad (Alexis aside) but Iwobi is one of the most guilty – his two attempts in the first half were shockingly poor. He needs to score more goals or else he’s never going to be a big player. Hopefully this is a start.

    Two away games now. Both winnable but our away results have got to improve asap if we’re to have any chance of getting back in the top 4.

  14. slc gunner says:

    MDP, your point re Jack is interesting. I think our problem with the midfield is defending more than attacking. Xhaka and Ramsey can both be creative. But neither one is great when defending. I don’t think Jack can improve that. In this system, Jack is really competing with Ramsey or Ozil/Sanchez/Iwobi/Welbeck. He is not the deep-lying player that will perform more of the defensive duties. Right now, I think he still has to prove a bit before he comes into either role. You’re right that this area is a weakness though.
    I agree re Mustafi. He doesn’t inspire confidence right now. Decent player, but lacks pace and goes to ground far too easily. With Koscielny getting up there in age and having persistent Achilles issues, we really need a better option.

  15. MDP says:

    Yeah, I agree that our problems are more defensive and that Jack’s strengths are more attack minded as he showed against Bate. My comments were born more out of frustration in the lack of balls in our midfield. I think of Jack at his best and I see a player that has a bit of bite, fight and agression, qualities I think we’re missing in midfield. We all have favourites that we back more than others and Ramsey is a player I’ve always liked and believed in. Xhaka came with this tag of being this aggresive leader type and a potential captain and it’s yet to be seen. In the absence of a proper defensive midfielder I want to see these two (more so Xhaka) show more balls in the centre and take control of games. I just hope Jack stays fit and gets more chances. With Ozil looking towards the exit, I think Jack has the qualities to make that position his own as does Arron. I want to see a bit of healthy competition for midfield places in the coming months, that’s all really.

  16. PD says:

    Anyone see Ospina for Colombia ? Christ we are fucked if Cech gets injured.

  17. PD says:

    Anyone bothered to repeat a while load of stuff we’ve debated a million times before.

  18. slc gunner says:

    A couple of years ago, i would have been livid and screaming at the television. Now, it’s just more of the same bleh.

  19. Elvis says:

    Oh yes, Arsenal. That football club I used to care about.

    In the interests of enjoying the rest of your life, here are my tips on moving on from being consumed by the sense of impotence, irritation and boredom that comes from being an Arsenal fan post-2005.

    1. Start following Rugby Union. Top sport. No backchat to referees, even incompetent ones.
    2. Take up walks in the country with the person you love the most. Fresh air is invigorating.
    3. Take an interest in Formula 1. A rare sport where an English competitor is the best in the world.
    4. Sign up to the Alpha course; it’s surprisingly good and with any luck, it might run on Thursday nights so you’ll miss the Europa League.
    5. Read Tolstoy’s War and Peace. That’ll fill three months; ideal for the end of season run-in.
    6. Learn a musical instrument; perfect for drowning out the sound of Arsene Wenger’s “overall” post-match interviews.

  20. MDP says:

    Yep, it’s all pretty much been said. The only current thing worth mentioning is how disruptive the Sanchez and Ozil situations are proving to be. I said that would be the case in the summer, should have got rid and started the re-build.

    All good points Elvis. I found quality time with my kids followed by wine, pie and trifle a far better use of my time than tuning into the game.

  21. PD says:

    There’s so much to admire about rugby Elvis….just a shame it’s such a criminally dull sport !!

  22. Elvis says:

    Can’t agree, PD. If you aren’t awed by this recent All Blacks display against South Africa, you possibly aren’t breathing!

  23. MDP says:

    More great stuff from Jack. He’s got to get some PL time now…

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