Arsenal: The Epitome Of Predictability.

While following the Arsenal v Hull game on Saturday, I read something very interesting; “It’s not ‘Boring Boring Arsenal’ any more, but it’s ‘Predictable Predictable Arsenal’ playing the same way home and away whatever the opposition.” The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. It was something, as a devout Arsenal fan, I have failed to notice since the beginning of last season.

Now, don’t get me wrong; I love the way Arsenal play football. It is my humble opinion that they play the very best football in the world when they are on form. However, there is a time and place for that kind of football and when your playing badly against a determined side, working incredibly hard  for each other and in desperate need of 3 points, you should put the fancy football to the side for the time being and dig out the result by any means possible.

Manchester United, Chelsea and on occasion Liverpool are able to grind out results no matter how badly they are playing and it’s this quality that has been the base for United’s and Chelsea’s title challenges over the past few seasons. Winning ugly, despite it’s title, is one of the most beaufiful and satisfying things in football. Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat in the dying moments of a game is something every football fan can appreciate and unforunately, the ability to ‘win ugly’ is something that Arsenal do not posses.

As an Arsenal fan, you would expect me to be feeling very confident ahead of a home game against a newly promoted side, who were one of the favourites to finish bottom of the table. I wasn’t, however. Perhaps it was just a once off thing or maybe it was something more. Over the past couple of seasons I’ve seen Arsenal slip up time and time again against sides that were deemed to be inferior and that certainly has shaken the confidence I have in my team and the manager.

Teams who have beaten Arsenal in the past have used the very tactic that Arsene Wenger and his young charges hate: physicality. Sam Allardyce used this tactic continuously at Bolton because he knew it would work. He knew Arsenal would continue to play the same way no matter what and as long as his side didn’t concede, they would not only be able to bully Arsenal out of the game but also thwart Wengers tactics. Good managers are able to copy Allardyces’ tactic succesfully because Arsenal still continue to play the same way no matter what may happen.

This predictability and alarming lack of leadership is what is holding Arsenal back from winning any silverware. When the chips are down in the game and the going gets tough, Chelsea have Terry, Cech, Drogba, Ballack among others to call upon, United have Ferdinand, Scholes, Giggs and Rooney, Liverpool have Gerrard, Carragher and Torres and whom do Arsenal have? William Gallas? A man whos ego is the size France and whos personality is that of a 5 year olds.

Piss Poor Punditry & Journalism

If it isn’t one it’s the other.

There is only one thing I hate more than anti-Arsenal punditry and that’s frustratingly bad and terribly researched articles written by so called journalists. Being an Arsenal fan myself I have to, more often that not, put up with a blend of negative punditry and infuriating articles.

Equally annoying are gullible and fickle football fans who believe everything they read and base all their opinions of other teams on 2 minutes of highlights from Match of the Day and Alan Hansens ‘analysis’. I’m tired of people coming up to me and telling me Manuel Almunia is rubbish after they saw his mistake on Saturday but what they fail to take into consideration when making their comment, however, are all the good things he has done not only over the past couple of weeks but over the past season and a bit. And this is merely one example.

What people must also realize is that the club does pay good wages and that we can hold on to our ‘star’ players. Contrary to popular belief, Arsenal pay considerably better wages than Liverpool, pay the same as Manchester United and pay considerably less than Chelsea. After reading that, you tell me now that Arsenal don’t pay substantial wages.

Another buzz phrase that has been thrown around by pundits for the past couple of seasons is how young Arsenals team is. There isn’t a more lazy thing you could say about Arsenal. A quick look over the starting XI tells you everything you need to know: Almunia: 31, Clichy: 23, Sagna: 25, Toure: 27, Gallas: 31, Nasri: 21, Walcott: 19, Fabregas: 21, Denilson: 19, van Persie: 25, Adebayor: 24, Average Age: 24. Perhaps it isn’t as old as it could be but the backbone of the team is still one of the most experienced in the Premier League, with Adebayor being the only one who hasn’t played in a Champions League final.

And lately, it has occured to me that journalists and pundits will slate Arsenal for absolutely any reason what so ever; they will even ignore the obvious facts just so they can do their best to have a go at the team. From our apparent lack of ability to play on rough surfaces to how the cold weather can effect our performances, people will say absolutely anything to put the players down.

We play the most beautiful football in the world and instead of applauding us, we find ourselves on the end of harsh criticsm from pundits and football ‘experts’. The world needs more clubs like Arsenal.

Goodbye Senderos. Goodbye Title.

Senderos has taken with him another piece of our title challenge to AC Milan and despite what some people may think, Philippe’s departure leaves us much worse off. His aerial ability, enthusiasm and ability to adapt and bring out the best in his centre half partners  will be sorely missed and as Arseblogger said, the fact that he’s moved to Milan, a team who plays in league that prides itself on outstanding defending and gave us the likes of Paolo Maldini, proves that Senderos is a quality defender.

The majority of Arsenal and football fans alike could never appreciate how good Senderos really was because they could never see past his mistakes (which were a lot less frequent then people may them out to be). A quick look at the statistics tells you everything you need to know: during the run in to the Champions League final Senderos forged a brilliant partnership with Toure and as a result Arsenal kept 10 clean sheets against the likes of Real Madrid, Juventus and Villareal.

And even when Toure was taking part in the African Cup of Nations last season Senderos was still able to come in and partner Gallas succesfully for quite a long period of time. Senderos, in my opinion, had an uncanny ability of being able to bring out the best in the man he was playing alongside.

When Arsene sold Hoyte and bought Silvestre I thought ‘okay, this is a decent move’ but if I had known that Senderos would be leaving (as I do now) as a result my disgust at Wenger would be damn near impossible to put into words. We’re now left with Toure, an imcometent fool of a captain, a crocked defender who may or may not add something to the team and Djourou.

The very game(s) which now appear to have sealed Senderos’s move to Milan was when we knocked them out of the Champions League. He, along with Flamini, had the likes of Kaka, Pato and Inzaghi all in his pocket. I can only wish Senderos the very best of luck at Milan and I’ve no doubt that with the defensive coaches they have there he will finally get to achieve his full potential.

For further reading, I suggest you check out Gunnerblog’s fantastic article which make some very interesting and hard hitting points.

Mikael Silvestre? Arsene Your A Genius.

Yesterday evening Arsenal announced that they had signed 31 year old defender, Mikael Silvestre for a fee believed to be in the region of £750,000. The 31 year old French international, when fit, brings quite a bit to the team: his experience, height and versitality will all be welcomed in the Arsenal defence and not only that but he can offer cover for Clichy and push Kolo Toure and William Gallas for places. Furthermore, one could say that we’ve replaced Justin Hoyte with Silvestre, a man who has won four Premier League titles.

The signing of Silvestre not only brings his individual capabilities to the Arsenal defence but it will also leave Wenger with more options. It will allow him to push the likes Alexandre Song, who has been very impressive for Cameroon, into midfield and he may even opt to try Johan Djourou in the centre of the park aswell. I’ve seen talk of Toure being pushed into midfield and although his energy and strength are second to none, he, as third-gen said, does not have the brain for it.

Now, what I’m about to say next will probably leave me subject to some harsh criticsm and people using very colourful adjectives to describe me but I must make the point. No doubt you all know that Silvestre played for our title rivals, Manchester United, for a total of 9 years! The fact that Wenger would make such a signing will probably annoy quite a number of fans but personally I think it’s a stroke of genius from Wenger.

As I’ve previously mentioned, not only is Silvestre a good defender on his day but a man of his kind will surely motivate the Arsenal players. Silvestre probably spent most of his 9 years at United joking and laughing at Arsenal but now that he’s actually playing for us the players will be eager to to make a good first impression and he will be pushing hard to get off on the right foot with players and fans alike.

If the players are motivated by his arrival and Silvestre is willing to make a good first impression than I can only see it being a win win situation. Of course there is the chance that he will pick up a series of injuries and struggle tp string two games together for us but at £750,000, I think he’s definitely worth a punt.

Many fans and neutrals have failed to see any logic in the move and some are complaining about the fact that we seem to be just picking up the scraps from United but for Wenger to sign a 31 year old injury prone player he obviously sees something in him that most us don’t.

I hope this isn’t Wenger’s last signing but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was. The coming weeks and months will be very intriguing.

Important Daily Arse News

From now on, I will be using a different posting format on The Daily Arse. Instead of posting daily with a round up of the days news I will instead post when I feel the urge to. The reason behind this change is that there are too many Arsenal blogs out there all trying to do the same thing. I’m not saying they’re not well written or anything but it’s getting damn near impossible to find readers.

Quality, not quantity is the angle I’m tilting towards. Hopefully you will find some decent articles here in the future. In the meantime, grab the RSS feed.

Squad Announced + More Injuries

The squad was announced for the game against FC Twente tomorrow night and with it came the news that Kolo Toure and Cesc Fabregas are injured. According to Wenger, Toure has a hip muscle problem and Fabregas has a hamstring problem. The young Spaniard also looks likely to miss the game against West Brom on Saturday too. This is frustrating news to say the last. This leaves us with one ‘experienced’ central midfielder in Denilson and although we should still have enough quality to beat Twente, I’ve a funny feeling the game might have got a bit more difficult.

Robin van Persie has been speaking about how it’s important for a club like Arsenal to play in the Champions League and he’s labelled Twente the Dutch equivelant of Sp*rs.

19 year old midfielder, Vincent van den Berg has joined side Dutch side FC Zwolle on loan.

In transfer news, we’ve been linked with Ghana midfielder, Anthony Annan.

More tomorrow.

Slowly, Slowly for Rosicky

Tomas Rosicky, who will miss the start of the season due to the fact he’s still recovering from the surgery he had in May, has said that he will not be rushing back to first team action and will only begin to play again when he feels he is ready. Rosicky is one of my favorite players at Arsenal and although I would like to see him back playing sooner rather than later rushing his recovery would be a huge mistake.

Abou Diaby is likely to be out for about a month after picking up a thigh injury. This means that Denilson, who had an impressive preseason will more than likely partner Fabregas in the centre of the park for the beginning of the season and I wouldn’t be that surprised if he remained Cesc’s partner for the rest of the season. Samir Nasri also picked up a light knock but it’s not thought to be serious.

Looking ahead to the Champions League qualifier against FC Twente on Wednesday night and Cesc Fabregas may play but seeing as he’s only participated in 84 minutes of preseason football it’s unlikely that he will be at his very best.

And that’s pretty much all that’s been happening today. Things should get a little more exciting tomorrow.

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