How Marouane Chamakh can slot into the Arsenal system: Tactical Analysis 2010 – 11

Marouane Chamakh could essentially pose Arsene Wenger a selection problem this season if Arsenal stick to their current tactical set up, but ultimately he provides excellent cover for a team which has been stretched far too often over the previous few years.

In 2009 – 10 Arsenal played with what was widely regarded as a 4-3-3, but in effect was a fluid 4-2-3-1 formation. This consisted of two central midfielders holding the centre of the park, whilst Fabregas played between the lines. Two wide players, usually Arshavin and Nasri, looked to cut in from the flanks, whilst a single striker played as a ‘false nine’, dropping deep.

Chamakh At Bordeaux

Chamakh actually has the attributes to play in 4-2-3-1, as he played the stiker’s role in this formation at Bordeaux. The team played two slightly deeper central midfielders, with attacking support from three forward midfielders. Their line-up against Bayern Munich in last season’s Champions League is a good example of  Bordeaux’s system in action.
Continue reading “How Marouane Chamakh can slot into the Arsenal system: Tactical Analysis 2010 – 11”

The Economic Vindication of Arsène Wenger

Arsène Wenger has had a tough time in front of the media over the last few years. Arsenal are still playing the high class, crisp passing game everyone loves (or loves to hate), but silverware has not been forthcoming. Recently the economic figures have been released, revealing that Arsenal’s turnover is exceeding Premier League records, and this in itself can be seen as a step forward.

A graphic from the Guardian

However, the harshest critics are those who completely lack perspective. The easiest way to visualise the project that Arsène Wenger and the back-room staff at Arsenal have been working on is to split it into three stages. The first stage was the moulding of the club in Arsene’s image, and the transformation of Arsenal from a good team into a successful, world class team. This was completed, with many years of silverware, and high achievements.

Continue reading “The Economic Vindication of Arsène Wenger”

Video: Arsène Wenger at AS Nancy in the 1980s – looking very old school!

Arsène Wenger is looking rather retro in the clip below, which I believe is from his early days at AS Nancy-Lorraine. From my basic French he seems to be age 35. That would date the video to 1984, his first season as a manager.

A French Arsespeak reader has kindly translated the interview, transcript below.

Continue reading “Video: Arsène Wenger at AS Nancy in the 1980s – looking very old school!”

What are Arsène Wenger’s best quotes as Arsenal boss?

What are Arsene Wenger’s best quotes as Arsenal boss?
To my mind, Arsene Wenger has brought a huge amount to the Premier
League. He introduced strict training regimes, promoted the importance
of a club’s youth policy, nurtured some of the world’s best players
and entertained us with Arsenal’s passing football.
Amongst all this though, he has provided the media with some fantastic
quotations over the years. Whether he is being deadly serious,
humorous, having a rant or commenting on the England national team, it
is always of interest.
Here are some of my personal favourites, but please comment with some
of yours as well. There are plenty out there!
“Is the title over or not? I don’t believe so. If everyone is right
about the championship, then let’s stop, give them the trophy and then
start again.”
“At a young age winning is not the most important thing… the
important thing is to develop creative and skilled players with good
confidence.”
“We didn’t think he (Reyes) would play on Sunday because he was
suspended – that makes me think he has all the qualities to join
Arsenal!”
“I’m ready to take the blame for all the problems of English football
if that is what he (Ferguson) wants.”
“We do not buy superstars. We make them.”
There you go then, a few to get you going. What are your favourite
Wenger quotes? Do you think he should speak his mind as much as he
does? Leave a comment to let me know what you think.
Excellent win last night by the way. It was a really professional
display where Arsenal had to be patient, but eventually got the goals
that their performance deserved. To have Arshavin playing in the
Champions League is such a bonus and he is turning into one of
Wenger’s most influential players.
Should be another victory against Blackburn at home this weekend, but
in the mean time – let me hear your favourite Wenger quotes!To my mind, Arsene Wenger has brought a huge amount to the Premier

To my mind, Arsène Wenger has brought a huge amount to the Premier League. He introduced strict training regimes, promoted the importance of a club’s youth policy, nurtured some of the world’s best players, and entertained us with Arsenal’s passing football.

Amongst all this though, he has provided the media with some fantastic quotations over the years. Whether he is being deadly serious, humorous, having a rant or commenting on the England national team, it is always of interest.

Here are some of my personal favourites, but please comment with some of yours as well. There are plenty out there!

“Is the title over or not? I don’t believe so. If everyone is right about the championship, then let’s stop, give them the trophy and then start again.”

“At a young age winning is not the most important thing…the important thing is to develop creative and skilled players with good confidence.”

“We didn’t think he (Reyes) would play on Sunday because he was suspended – that makes me think he has all the qualities to join Arsenal!”

“I’m ready to take the blame for all the problems of English football if that is what he (Ferguson) wants.”

“We do not buy superstars. We make them.”

There you go then, a few to get you going. What are your favourite Wenger quotes? Do you think he should speak his mind as much as he does?

Excellent win last night by the way. It was a really professional display where Arsenal had to be patient, but eventually got the goals that their performance deserved. To have Arshavin playing in the Champions League is such a bonus and he is turning into one of Wenger’s most influential players.

If you’re interested in Wenger before Arsenal, read about Arsene at Monaco and watch a fascinating Wenger video interview from 1984.

The Eduardo Affair: Botched and inconsistent

The Eduardo Affair has been grabbing all the headlines recently, and now that the striker has been charged with a two game ban it looks like Arsenal are going to appeal against what the club calls an ‘arbitrary decision’. This is the best course of action in a totally unjust situation.

UEFA have set a precedent in doing this, that is that they will now have to take retrospective action on all such incidents, and punish them in a similar way. If this does not happen, then it will mean that Eduardo has been singled out for special treatment, in a totally unfair way.

So I would like Ryan Babel prosecuted for his dive in the 2008 Champions League QF at Anfield, which knocked us out of the competition, and Rooney prosecuted for that dive with at Old Trafford in 2005. Last year Ronaldo dived to get the freekick at Emirates in the Champions League Semi, which he then scored to put the game beyond hope of a come back.

At Old Trafford on Saturday we saw the sort of problems this decision causes, when Arshavin was denied one of the most blatant penalties I’ve seen in years.

In the second half Wayne Rooney was looking to go down over Almunia as the ball headed out of play. In principle there is no difference between what Rooney and Eduardo did, they were both looking to go down over the keeper. Rooney ran towards Alumnia and was already down on one knee before he touched Almunia.

UEFA have overturned a referee’s decision, and now they must be prepared to do that for every game. The referee didn’t see it as a dive, he saw a foul, and gave a penalty. He then stood by his decision after the game. UEFA looked at video evidence (which they refuse to use during games) and retrospectively said that he dived, and decieved the referee.

For deciving the ref Eduardo has been given a 2 match suspension, an offence which would have earned him only a yellow in the game. This doesn’t make sense and I hope that Arsenal pursue all options and take a stand over this.

UEFA refuse video evidence during games, there’s the whole 5 ref crap on trial in the Europa League this season instead, but they are happy to use it after the match to prosecute someone. Eduardo isn’t even a serial offender, I’ve never seen him dive before, unlike C.Ronaldo or Drogba.

Le Grove have started up ‘dive watch’ keeping track of all the dives which UEFA should be prosecuting players for over the next few months, have a look and add to the list, because it only helps our argument.

Tony Attwood also discusses the possibility making UEFA look stupid with their overreaction to the situation, in a nicely written piece.

What do you think about Eduardo’s treatment, are UEFA right to take a stand, or complete imbeciles?

REDaction March of Solidarity for Arsene Wenger

Redaction are organising a march of solidarity for Arsene Wenger starting from the The Rocket on Holloway Road at 3:15pm before Sunday’s last match of the season against Stoke. The march will reach the roundabout in front of the Armoury at the Emirates (The Bear roundabout) at 3:30pm to sing songs in support of Mr. Wenger. If you are coming to the match tomorrow please join in. Arsespeak will be there and we will send a few real time photos to our Twitter feed.

Arsenal troubles: Retain Wenger and strengthen the squad

This season has been Wenger’s most difficult one at Arsenal, he’s had to cope with an inexperienced squad, injuries, impatient fans, player strops, and at the end of it he has still managed to ensure that we squeezed into the big time yet again next season, as well as taking us to the last 4 in Europe and an FA Cup semi-final.

Now he has to put up with harsh questioning from fans at the Shareholders meeting, and endless speculation that he will leave to go to Real Madrid.

Personally I think it would be awful for Wenger to go. His work isn’t finished at Arsenal and there is more to come. A barren patch is just that – a patch – and we are going to come out of this.

The main thing we need is to learn the lessons of the past two seasons – both fell apart due to a lack of depth in the squad.

We need to sign quality players with experience as Arshavin is asking for:

“We must buy in the summer. Not more potential, but players who are ready to do it now, players like me.

“We need two or three. If Arsenal want to win, they have to do it. We are tired of waiting.

“I believe that out of the top four English teams, when it comes to football, Arsenal are the best.

“They have the best style and the best coach. At the moment, young players come to Arsenal because they see it as a very big team, but if we carry on like this without winning trophies, young players will not want to come.

“Everyone likes the appeal of Arsenal, the football of Arsenal, the young players of Arsenal, but if there is no result they will stop.”

Action has to be taken – sell Adebayor to Milan if that is what it takes, and bring in several new players. Ade has potential, but he doesn’t seem happy at the club – as shown by his interview on the BBC. Best thing we can do is get a large sum of money for him.

He is the only player I could tolerate leaving, if any more go then we are looking at another season of disappointment – and disillusionment among the team.

Stick with Wenger though, stability is the key – what is the rush anyway – surely a team built over years which develops to its full potential and is successful over the long term is more preferable to a quick fix?

Are Wenger’s comments a sign that he is nearing the end?

Arsene Wenger has been a busy boy in the last couple of days. In the lead up to tomorrow’s game against Manchester United, the Arsenal boss has made a number of uncharacteristic comments that suggest he might just be cracking under the pressure.

As has been mentioned in pretty much every Arsenal related article over the last week or so, the Gunners have not won a trophy since 2005. For this to come to an end next season, you would have thought that Wenger would want to keep hold of his best players, invest in some new ones and continue to get the backing of the supporters.

Well, if you think this is the case, you may be wrong because Wenger has put all three of these notions in doubt. He has done so in such a manner that I’m not convinced all is ok in the world of the Frenchman.
Anyway, let’s get on to what he said.

Speaking about Emmanuel Adebayor’s future, Wenger said that ‘all of the big clubs will want him this summer’ and that he wouldn’t hesitate in selling the striker to another member of the top four.

Carlos Ancleotti – who tried to sign Adebayor for AC Milan last summer – is favourite to take over at Chelsea and it is thought that he will try to get his man once again. Considering Wenger said you should ‘never say never’ because Arsenal have already sold a player to Chelsea – Ashley  ole – this shouldn’t be ruled out.

Next up on Wenger’s agenda was to speak about how much money Arsenal would spend this summer. Many have called for the Gunners to buy more players like Andrei Arshavin to assist in the quest for silverware.

However, the Arsenal boss has said that he will ‘manage within his own resources’ as he only believes only ‘one or two players’ need to be added in order for his team to be competitive in all competitions.

This is fair enough as he doesn’t want to put the club’s finances at risk. However, he was being very defensive with these comments about his transfer policy and will probably refuse to budge on it. No matter how long the team goes without a trophy.

The final subject on Wenger’s hit list was the Arsenal fans themselves. He said that the home crowd have been too quick to jump on the backs of players this season and created a ‘negative environment’ inside the Emirates.

The Frenchman praised the ‘fantastic’ away fans, but said that sections of the home crowd have created ‘negative vibes’ which have had an adverse affect on the confidence of some players.
Wenger finished by saying that this Arsenal team needs genuine ‘fans of the club’ to come to matches because this season, the coaching staff has had to work too hard on maintaining confidence and energy levels ‘against the odds’.

So, there you have it. Wenger has had his say on many things. A lot of these opinions could upset Arsenal fans, but it seems these comments were made with this in mind. That’s why I raise questions about Wenger’s way of thinking right now.

Will there be a relationship problem between Wenger and the fans if Manchester United run out comfortable winners on Saturday? This may not be the case with Wenger and Arsenal, but the moment a manager publically criticises the fans, it is normally the beginning of the end.

By Thomas Rooney

Time to review Carling Cup strategy following FA Cup defeat

This is a guest post by Vertino of Gunners Today

It might sound strange to mention this now but it is high time we considered this. Last weekend we lost to Chelsea again in a big cup match. Of course most of the blame was shared between the curious case of Wenger’s team selection and Fabianski’s moments of utter madness but that is not up for debate this time round.

Image courtesy of wjarrettc

From next season I believe Arsene should scrap the policy of fielding an entirely youthful side in the Carling Cup. My excitement on discovering the Arsenal youngsters is tinged with disappointment; a realisation that most of these players for many reasons won’t make it at the Emirates. Cesc is the only player in recent years who has made the transition successfully. In that time we have seen the likes of Quincy, Lupoli, Larsson exit the red half of North London.

Does that mean youngsters shouldn’t get the opportunities? Of course not! For me the only youngsters I want to be seeing are those with outstanding talent and/or with the right mental attributes such as determination and composure. Gibbs is a perfect example of the latter specified criteria.

I am looking at it in terms of percentages, and my suggestion would be to field a lower number of youngsters. Perhaps Arsene could involve only 5-7 youngsters in the entire match squad. Or he could filter the numbers as the stakes increase, so start with 7 youngsters in the 4th round, 6 in the next round etc etc.

If you play the best of the best youth it means the rest of the team is fairly experienced. This playing environment fosters a quicker growth for youngsters. This is exactly why Cesc has gone on to become such a pivotal player for the Gunners because he was able to play and learn with the likes of Vieira and Gilberto. Just imagine how much Wilshere and Ramsey can learn if they play with experienced players all the time.

Remember the best players i.e. Gerrard, Scholes, Carrick, etc had a lot of experience surrounding them when they were young. This is a privilege Denilson, Diaby and Song no longer have. It forces them to learn by themselves, slowing their development a great deal and sometimes exposes them in big matches against more experienced players.

I seriously hope Wenger considers this for next season as his current strategy has yet to pay off in terms of competitions won. In Arsene we trust, but we can question his decisions sometimes, can’t we?

By Vertino

Arsene tells the truth about this season

Arsene Wenger gave a very honest interview to L’Equipe (translated by News of the World) before the Wigan game where he really goes into detail about Arsenal’s inconsistencies early this season and how he feels about it.

“I did make a mistake in perhaps underestimating the harmful effects of last season, especially the loss of the title. I asked myself a lot of questions during the close season about the influence losing the title in the last two months might cause.”

I really felt that the way we lost the title last season was very hard on the players – to think that even after our awful run we were still only 4 points off the top shows how close we were to glory. The fact that players like Hleb and Flamini left also didn’t help in the short term.

Wenger went through his hardest time as Arsenal manager at Christmas, and there were some people calling for his dismissal. A lot of players got slated as well as his transfer policy. He admits that the present is a different story:

“The barometer is confidence and when that seizes up . . . now we are unbeaten for 18 Premier League matches and that leaves with me with a lot of regrets.”

“And I remained faithful to my policy when everyone told me I was heading straight for a brick wall. People reproach me for not having bought Gareth Barry or Xavi Alonso.

“But I am a prisoner of my own policy. Buying Barry or Alonso is killing Alexandre Song, Abou Diaby and Denilson.”

“You can’t do a public job in a big club, not win matches and say they are all imbeciles.”

“The fact that we are remarkably consistent shows we have quality. That is no coincidence.”

This is all very true – but I think he learnt a little more about Arsenal through the hardship. The sigining of Arshavin has made a huge difference, as well as the return from injury of players such as Walcott, Fabregas, Adebayor. Denilson and Song have come on leaps and bounds this season – Song’s performance and goal against Wigan yesterday underlines this fact.

The team is playing as a unit and has been through a lot over the last two years – the experience will only make them stronger and if Wenger keeps them together this youthful team will be one of the best he has produced.