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Mourinho is the master of ruthless efficiency, Alex Ferguson often cut marquee players loose long before seemingly merited. Both managers bonded by the grandest of successes on a consistent level. If there was ever a recipe for achievement in a sport notoriously fickle, the age old tagline of ‘what’s best of business’ should be the modus operandi. Jose famously disposed of two time player of the year, awards established amidst multi European trophy winning campaigns, Juan Mata and the greatest heist that Paris has laid witness to - £50 million in exchange for David Luiz, although in fairness the sideshow (bob) that follows him is surely tantamount to PR platinum. Alex Ferguson famously ejected star after star just when each approached, (note: approached) their waning. Jaap Stam, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Paul Ince, Mark Hughes and, of course, David Beckham

It’s hard not to like someone who knows their limits, or put another way, it’s difficult to like someone who is unaware of their limitations. That mate who has one too many and offends every person in the bar or that guy who tries to talk to every 8/10 that he sees. Alex Song springs to mind, a player who was tasked with patrolling the Arsenal midfield, protecting our often maligned back four and acting as our safety net when our attacks broke down. He did none of these things. In fact looking at his statistics this season, he wins a measly 0.8 aerial duels a game compared to Coquelin’s 3.1. In fact, despite his affection for joining in on the attack, his pass completion rate stands at a shocking 76% behind Coquelin’s 83%; whilst a fair amount of that is down to long ball tactics, it is also Song attempting through passes that not even Ozil would dare try. No, it is Coquelin’s limitations that make him so valuable to this Arsenal squad. He rarely joins the attacks, preferring to either sit back between

Whereas leadership is regularly bandied around as the core vacant ingredient, perhaps the generalisation of such a theory is unfair. A positional assessment, however, tells another story. At the back, Per and Laurent Le Rock continue to lead an increasingly miserly defence. Nacho has added to this stewardship and it’s fair to suggest, Debuchy shall do likewise. It’s between the sticks where questions bubble most. Whereas David Ospina is enjoying a current purple patch, there’s little concrete evidence to suggest this could elevate him to the pantheon currently housed with multiple Chelsea recruits, the red half of Manchester’s player of the season and the recently

Szczesny wins that honour. I had concerns against West Ham when he started flapping in the second half and hoped it was buried in a win but today he showed incredible naivety and lack of focus and this isn’t a new feature to his play. He never seems to learn from these mistakes and he seemed to be like a kid in a park. When these mistakes happen in the same game, well that really does infuriate you further. I might as well throw the rest of the defence in there as well. Mertesacker has mentioned the wind helped Mane’s cross. Well what might have helped is our defence busting a gut to spot the obvious. As soon as Szczesny is in no-mans land

Herbert had one wise eye on the future with national skipper Nelsen’s impending retirement, but the impressive Reid quickly won a starting berth at right back and soared to power home an equalising header in stoppage time against scary Martin Skertel’s Slovakia in their opening game of the cup, securing a 1-1 draw. He also did well in the startling 1-1 draw with Italy and 0-0 stalemate with Paraguay, and while New Zealand failed to advance they ended up being the only unbeaten team at the cup, after eventual winners Spain lost their first game to Switzerland. Remember that if compiling a pub quiz.

In a way, it’s strange that ‘flat track bully’ is seen as such a derogatory term in football. After all, games that a ‘flat-track bullying’ Arsenal would win account for 96 points in the league! A key reason for Arsenal’s season by season increase in total league points over the last few seasons has been our newfound ability to knock down the lesser teams, home and away. And central to that has been Olivier Giroud. With Giroud on the pitch, suddenly the opposition couldn’t rely on two deep-lying banks of 4 to keep Arsenal out of danger areas. Nor could their centre backs out-muscle and bully our man in the box. And no longer did we need to rely solely on pretty passing patterns. Arsenal had a ‘plan B’, a direct route to goal when facing packed defences or pushing for last minute goals. Furthermore, our ‘plan A’ was provided with an impressively solid fulcrum around which our smaller, technical players could weave those pretty patterns. He was also, a lot like Drogba at Chelsea, a

 

  • 15 Sep 2015
    So let me stop reminiscing of days gone by and let me focus on our Welsh wonder. Let me start off by saying that I think it is quite obvious that Aaron Ramsey is better in central midfield. His partnership with Mesut Özil, his running from deep and his underrated ball winning ability makes him a ...Read more