Where has the momentum gone?

[dropcap]G[/dropcap]oing into the new season I questioned whether unpredictability in the final third would be our biggest weapon.

It was a phenomenon provoked by the sale of Robin van Persie and purchase of three very different kinds of attacking players; the nimble, technical Santi Cazorla, the direct, explosive Lukas Podolski and the powerful, hard-working Olivier Giroud. But more than that: it was the idea that if we — and by we I mean Arsene Wenger and his squad — didn’t know how they would all fit together, then how on earth would our opponents?

Wenger’s puzzle has been in a state of flux, as has the impact of his variety of combinations. After two goalless draws to begin the season and the inevitable ‘missing Robin van Persie’ conclusions, the positive impacts of our unpredictability began to reap benefits as the goals flew in.

Gervinho’s role as the focal point of our attack took many by surprise, particularly because pre-season questions focused on whether it would be Podolski or Giroud to play centrally. He is a hit and miss player, not a natural finisher by any stretch, but three league goals and two in Europe suggested opposition defenders were unsure of how to handle a player who did not play, in any sense of the word, a central role last season.

Cazorla’s free role

Likewise, Santi Cazorla’s deployment so close to the central striker — be it Gervinho or, more recently, Giroud — was not foreseen by many. The Spaniard has been given a free role from Day One at Arsenal, a role afforded to him by Mikel Arteta’s shift to a more defensive position, and the results were initially spectactular. Arteta was a statistician’s dream, Cazorla wreaked havoc throughout the final third and Podolski, Gervinho and Giroud have all benefited as a result of the Spanish duo’s creativity.

The success of our attacking football was characterised by excellent transitions, shifting the ball expertly from defence to attack through slick passing football and willing runs into the box from our wingers. Our central defenders as well as Arteta and Cazorla, have been vital to this style of football and for the first two months, even in defeat to Chelsea at the Emirates, our counter-attacking football was terrific.

But since the excellent comeback victory over West Ham, a game which showcased everything good about our attacking football — as well, unfortunately, as everything flakey about our defending — things have changed. The transitions have been slower, the creativity in the final third has been lacking and we’ve looked as poor an attacking force since the Andrey Arshavin was forced to play as a central striker.

Norwich was an embarrassing day out, Schalke a real shock to the system and the fact that the 1-0 victory over QPR was achieved so late on, after another stressful, disjointed 90 minutes of attacking football, took much of the shine off a valuable victory that momentarily moved the club into the top four.

Excuses could be made that the international break has knocked us out of our stride but I feel it is more a matter of our unpredictability in attack. We had it, we’ve now lost it and the results have been difficult to accept. Cazorla has looked tired, Podolski has struggled to explode and Giroud plods on as if still searching for his first goal for the club. Other individuals could be similarly criticised but the truth is it is more a matter of team ethic.

So what now? How do we get our momentum back?

Imposing our style

In my humble opinion the key to overcoming our lack of unpredictability — a situation caused by the novelty of our new forward structure wearing off and teams now beginning understanding how to stop us — is to show more character and impose our new playing style more confidently.

Yes, we are a team that likes to keep possession. Under Arsene Wenger we always will be. But equally important is our new-found value in counter-attacking effectively.

As mentioned earlier, Cazorla is deployed so high up the pitch to exploit opposition defenders as soon as possible. That means speedy transitions are a must and the moment a player like Mertesacker or André Santos wins a tackle in defence, he must be looking to move the ball forward quickly for Arteta or Cazorla to make the most of.

Often such players are too ponderous or to be more frank, mentally lazy, to do so. It is a habit that tends to lead to a lot of possession but very few attempts on goal. Against Norwich and Schalke, for example, we recorded just two shots on target. Simply not good enough, considering we bossed possession in both games. This needs to change.

Better without the ball?

There is a growing feeling that this Arsenal side are perhaps more effective when they have less possession. Having less of the ball naturally forces a team to be more efficient and precious with resources at their disposal, and such an effect was in evidence early on against Liverpool and also against Chelsea, where only poor set-piece defending prevented us from a more positive result.

Less possession provides a more organic sort of football match, once that encourages the opposing team to attack more freely and often opening up spaces for us to exploit at the back. But to rely on other sides to attack us is naive: we must be better than that.

What is central to solving our current lack of momentum is that we work through these growing pains and force out the style that Wenger wants our team to play. Every good side has periods during a season when the football does not flow and we are currently in the middle of one of those. There is hope though: the win at QPR, as well as the returns of Bacary Sagna and Jack Wilshere, were cause for optimism. Szczesny’s inevitable return will be provide another boon.

Confidence and momentum are things that can be attained or lost quickly and there is no better way to snap us out of our current funk with a big performance against Manchester United at Old Trafford. An intriguing weekend awaits.

Perhaps a win on the Shoot or Soccer Safari slot games from Ladbrokes, which are available to play here, could give Arsenal the boost in confidence they need before heading to Old Trafford?



  1. very thought provoking Post.

    The bad news for this weekend (Can’t confirm if it ‘s true)
    REF: Mike Dean

    Another Manchester United Player/ref

    So our form is crap, and now a shit ref

    ME thinks we’re screwed!!!!!

  2. oops!! I almost forgot i got this from a next website.

    Shame on you mike Dean!!!

    And if you do this to us this weekend i will vodoo you!!!!

  3. Interesting article Andy. I have come to the conclusion that the so called momentum was an illusion. We have played so far in the league against 2 very good teams ,we tied against Man city and lost to Chelski.
    You have raised an important point regarding our lack of scoring Chances and shots on target. It is has been an issue for the last 2 or 3 years, IMO it is due to the fact that we have players playing possession football, but most of them are not technically good enough… Carzola is a top class player , the rest of the players are not even close to his level.

    Last year we also had many mediocre games , but RVP saved us on many occasions. He did not have real wingers to provide him with service.
    To this day , I don’t how we agreed to sell him to united ?!
    I hate to say it but if RVP stays healthy this this year , he will score a lot more goals this season because of the quality of players surrounding him.

  4. Arteta and Cazorla are not the CM players Arsenal need- neither in attack or defence. They would be better employed in the front three with Walcott/ Giroud. Ramsey. Jack and the Coq would be a better midfield 3. They have better movement before and after passes and can get forward and rotate better to put defences under pressure. The Ox could replace Jack after 45. The usual suspects however will make sure Arsenal get nothing at ManU whatever they do. We have seen enough ‘bad decisions’ at Southampton, Liverpool, Wigan and Chelsea to realise where the title is going this year.

  5. It’s been far too depressing to comment recently! The performances against Norwich and Schalke were about as poor as I have ever seen from an offensive point of view. It’s hard to pin your finger on how a team that was looking pretty darn good before the interlull as the Arseblog would have it, could come back looking so pathetically abject. FOr me though, the absence of Diaby has made a tangible difference. His ability to transform defence into attack has been missed. But it can’t just be that I know. How can the players all of a sudden look so jaded, lethargic and low in confidence. I can’t work that one out. I know some people will simply say it’s down to Wenger, but it has to be something more than that surely. But it is his responsibility.

    I must admit that I am dreading the OT game. I just can’t see us getting more than one goal the way we are playing right now and I have little faith that we won’t concede and you can bet your life that van P will score.

    Nice article Andy btw. Quite honest. It’s tough being a Gooner these days.

    And what has happened to Podolski? he seems to be very quiet lately.

  6. A very good thought article Andy.Sorry for the long post

    Lets see where we lost our momentum. Our current team looks imbalanced spurred by the loss of Gibbs. Also Cazorla playing wide and lack of organisation from Arteta and Vermaelen.

    Before we lost our momentum , we had different forms of attack

    1) On left side during first half Gibbs attack , Podolski defend and Cazorla moves in the middle with gervinho . Jenkinson ,Ramsey supporting on the right.Arteta is rock solid in the middle directing play both left and right and any shift in play allows Jenkinson ,Gervinho to club with Ramsey moving middle.

    2) On the second half Gibbs stay down and Podolski is unleashed giving cazorla move in the middle and operate with freedom with ease.

    3) When Ramsey is substituted with Ox we had a clear direct attack in the right side ,which is less creative but very effective, while we had more creative on the left.

    4) When walcott,giroud and gervinho plays with Ramsey. Arteta and ramsey stays down with Arteta clubbing with Cazorla ,Gervinho stretching on the wings,Ramsey shooting and picking Giroud and Walcott on the counter with Cazorla dangerous in the middle.

    So what we lack now.

    With santos instinct is to attack ,Podolski is calm and quiet staying down.Also Cazorla is moving wide as Podolski cannot and is impacting our attack as he is a guy who should run from the middle and be our direct attack .Ramsey too has moved a lot wide rather than taking daring runs and balls in the middle. Gervinho mentality has changed and is more ineffective on the wing these days and likes to play in the centre.

    Apart from this Arteta is compromising his defensive position and moving forward to attack for the void left by Cazorla and Ramsey.The Other unexpected one is vermealen making forward runs to join attack or fill the void of arteta, he should be staying down to cover santos atleast.

    Also opponent teams have learnt to close down on Arteta and Cazorla too quick to break our fulcrum of the attack .

    Wilshere showed us what we lacked in QPR.Straight runs into the box which Cazorla and Ramsey should be doing.Wilshere is class .

    Our momentum is more about every player playing in position organised and performing their role.Cazorla and Ramsey playing extremely wide is not going to help our team or add to our dynamic attack.

    The easiest way is to get Gibbs back or try Sagna on left which Arsene used to do or instruct Santos to defend alone.

  7. Please don’t consider my earlier post as an attack towards Santos. It is just the imbalance i want to point and not a player. I am confident that Arsene will be quick to find out the imbalance and tune the team accordingly to gain back the momentum.

  8. I could come up with any number of reasons things are going wrong, but in general too many square balls. I think it was Shambo who said they play 25 square balls until Ramsey gives it away, which was pretty accurate. Although his final ball hasn’t been good enough Ramsey at least does attempt the odd insicive pass.

    What really frustrates me is when we get free kicks, we invariably play a short pass and 30 seconds and 25 passes later the ball is with Mertesacker on the edge of our box. Pleaser lump one in the box now and again. Giroud at least. Can cause problems in the box.

    Hope Theo gets a start at the weekend, Gervinho drives me nuts. Something has to be done about Santos, if he doesn’t play to orders at old Trafford we Weill be ripped to shreds AGAIN

  9. We are trying with a style of play which requires a few basic elements to be effective: movement, pace , vision and above average technical ability on the ball or immaculate first touch. We are in general mediocre to average in all these areas.
    Our passing game was most effective when we had players such as Henry, Pires , Viera, cole, Clichy, Fabregas , Eboue
    These are all players who had pace, superior skill on the ball and who created nightmares for opponents because of their movement in the final third where it counts.
    Making 25 passes in our end or in the mid field is useless , can you put the opposition defense under constants pressure is the key!

  10. I believe there is a quick solution if someone can cover arteta and have both offensive and defensive qualities, which i feel Coquelin possess and should partner Arteta in middle , with either Ramsey/Wilshere partnering cazorla.

  11. Hey guys. Finding it really tough to get regular posts out with life and work getting in the way. A little bit worried that the AFCB may be a permanently fading force… Regardless, happy to get something of substance out today.

    To answer some questions and opinions posted:

    @ Gunfest — We sold RVP because we had to. Reports are that City offered him 300,000 pounds a week! And Manchester United somewhere between 200,000-250,000 pounds. We just can’t match that. He was apparently impossible regarding negotiations and we simply couldn’t keep him. Nothing more to it.

    @ Twivil — I think we’d be in big trouble if we took Arteta out from where he is playing. He is doing superbly well and there is no need to adjust his position. Once Jack finds more form and stamina it will be a versatile, energetic middle three that will dominate most teams. Cazorla is not really a midfielder though, is he? He’s a classic support striker and he can play here because he is getting good support from the wingers in a defensive sense.

    @ Terry — Thanks for the compliment. I’m struggling, as I said, to get quality posts out. There’s just not THAT much to talk about, unfortunately. And I’m struggling to come up with interesting angles.

    @ voley_gun — I think Santos is having a negative impact on the team. He’s not really attacking with any great purpose but, like you say, his tendency to push forward is probably unsettling those around him. Regarding Podolski, he will ALWAYS be a player who seems quiet when he doesn’t score goals. He’s an impact player who will be measured on his final contributions and even in the early stages, when he was scoring and assisting, he provided an uneven contribution over each match. That’s what makes him special and valuable to us and I have no doubt he’ll find the mark again.

    @ Retsub — A Walcott start can’t be too far away. The Brain is frustrating like no other, like you say, and he’s likely out for a little while too. We’ll have to wait and see.

    Thanks for all the comments.

  12. The last 2 defeats really took out the optimism in us! What makes it tough is that we knew that this team was on to something when we handed it to liverpool. Then we realized that they will be relegated this year with the luck not being on their side! Anyway.

    Besides what @Gunfest talked about the team lacking vision, pace and movement. I really think that we were lacking width and losing Gibbs who overlapped as much as he could did upset the balance that we had. I feel like Santos was trying to occupy Podolski’s space as an inside let forward.

    Teams tend to sit deep and flood the center field against us to force us out wide and without overlapping runs from the fullbacks (Jenkinson is a good defender but often stops 3/4 down the field and pass the ball in), we tend to pass the ball around the box and not really trying to penetrate through the middle. Lots of possession but frustratingly, it does not bear any fruits!

    We saw the effect last game what an overlapping RB can do and what Wilshere in his speed of thought and one-twos in tight areas can do against teams that defend really tight in the middle. Through more intelligent runs (we have seen that giroud, podolski and gervinho are capable of doing this)and people like Ramsey, Cazorla, Arteta and Wilshere picking out this runners, we can create more chances! And really hoping that the team can put them away!

  13. Andrew,

    Just a bit a bit of encouragement for you…

    This is a quality blog and I hope you find the wherewithal to keep it going on a sustained and regular basis. Shutting it down would be a real loss.

    Between posting infrequently and irregularly, I’d take the former over the latter as I’m sure most people would. The fact you’ve kept it going as long as you have and with this nice redesign is a feather in your cap.

    This club right now is a continuing conundrum. Nothing seems to have really sort itself out yet in terms of consistency which has been the big frustration of recent years.

    When Chelsea tied at 2-2 at the big match on Sunday, I just KNEW Manchester United would win. By hook or by crook, through refereeing bias or luck or skill, I would have bet my mortgage on it. No such confidence with us.

    The silver lining behind that feeling however, is that every victory is treat, even the ones as ugly as QPR. Before the weekend we were closer to the bottom of the table than the top. We should enjoy that at least for few days.



  14. Andy,
    Just to echo 1Nils point above, I think we all appreciate the time it takes you on a weekly basis to keep the blog ticking over and there are probably a hundred other things you could be doing with your time but a I can assure this blog wont fade….there are dozens of loyal posters here and even more who like to read your articles who dont post, its testament to you and how far youve taken it the last few years.
    If you find yourself missing a week dont sweat…we will all find a topic to discuss/ argue over!!
    Off topic was gutted when I read back today that youd been to Dublin the night of the Schalke game….I could have met you for a beer, maybe next time though!
    Retsub/ Gunfest,
    Am feelin you bro but do you not think its the off the ball movement were missing and even breaking the line with dribbling? I cant get the flashback of Henry burning Jamie Carragher on the wing when Carragher was the best def in the league a few years back out of my head…or Freddie/ Pires ghosting past the last man….nobody in our side does it, Walcott needs the ball laid on for him and to be coming on to it as he cant dribble, Gervinhos no vision or foresight as to what it is he is actually attempting and Giroud/ Chamakh are too slow…but generally with EVERY single Arsenal player they all want the easy option to feet which destroys and flowing move before its even started.
    Will Eisfield start tonight? I hope Frimpong plays his way into Saturdays game vs Utd so he can Frimpong the shizzle out of van Pursestrings!

  15. Couldn’t agree more. How about a strong presence at captain. Vermaelen is a good player, but is he a leader of men. Is he Tony Adams or Patrick Viera? I think it would go a long way to solving the confidence problem if we had a leader who was uncompromising. All the great teams have one.

  16. @Luke 1:30 am,
    Good post. Your insight regarding those four goals is quite startling and clarifies the effect of van Persie’s loss.

    Selling him to Manchester United really does seem like shooting ourselves in the foot right now. He’s good for at least 9-12 points, three of which may come at our expense this coming weekend.

    At the very least, we cannot leave any money on the table after this monumental sale and must convert that cash into to something positive. Was buying Cazorla, Podolski and Giroud enough. Sure doesn’t seem so, given our position in the table.

    We still have the top possession percentage in the league at %59.6, but the consistency of our finishing in the final third seems to have disappeared in the last few matches. I thought Podolksi was on track to be that guy, but beating a dead horse here, the consistency is gone and we’ve lost form yet again.

    We need to believe. We need to forget about who’s staying and who’s going and who’s coming in. Without that focus, it’ll be another desperate struggle for a top 4 finish.

  17. Wow,
    Reading just opened us up like a tin O’Tuna.
    Hate to be cliche but we NEED a response.
    Come on you Gunners!

  18. 2-0 down. no shots after 20 mins.
    Great to see Chamakh and Arshavin back in the side and hungry to perform.

  19. ..my god.
    Martinez will get the blame but check out Chamakhs part in it.
    Why do I still look forward all day to watching this?

  20. Shambo my words exactly. After 20 minutes I thought Good grief I’ve been looking forward to this all day.
    Any hope for a fightback?

  21. Not if Chamakh and Arshavin stay on the field lefty. Walcott also going through the motions and hell soon fade completely out of it cos its not his fault were 3 down.
    Djourou getting destroyed by the useless Roberts and fullbacks are at nothing.
    Wenger will take off Gnabry first though wait and see.

  22. I just put my #16 Giovanni Van Bronckhorst 3rd strip jersey on.
    This one is guaranteed for a goal. watch.

  23. We should never have sold Song. Ramsey should be playing actively here, not starting league games for Arsenal FC. Giroud should be the central striker and not Chamakh, we have no need for such a player….

  24. Come on lefty..we havnt had a shot yet. 35 mins in.
    This isnt football.
    5 Senior internationals in the side.
    No gameplan sure its only Reading.

  25. I didn’t mean for them.
    You’re right Shambo this isn’t football. But I don’t blame the players the have come and go. The manager does not properly prepare them.

  26. Arsenal fans leaving the stadium after 40mins.
    They should all leave.
    And so should Wenger.
    No shot yet either, unsurprisingly.
    Maybe Chamakh will still come good. Hes worth 60,000 a week and was bought to replace Adebayour afterall.

  27. Iv seen it all now.
    Eisfield has come on a lit the game up running FORWARDS at pace and making them chase…he found himself in a bit of space and took what turned out to be a poor shot.
    Camera shifts to Wenger who shouts ‘ Thomas!!!Waste of time!!’…..yes Wenger its a waste of time shooting he should have passed it backways or gave it to Chamakh.
    No wonder we are where we are because this man has them afraid to take reponsibility and impose themselves on the game…instead ths literally pass pass pass the buck to the next guy.
    Absolute joke you are Wenger.

  28. The ghost of Van Bronkhorst rules!
    Gracias a Dios Escapo!
    On to OT Come on You Gunners!!!

  29. Leftie really hope so, I meant to say yeah right but predictive typing took over. How’s the weather out their?

    Bet thos supporters who left early are kicking themselves

  30. 16c. Mostly cloudy with scottered showers.
    Just perfect for keeping the day tourist in San Jose 😉

  31. Have to say. Theo Walcott, I eat my words. You dragged us up and changed that game almost single handedley…central role must be on the cards as he caused as much harm running left as right.
    Eisfield, you are a gem and are ready. Hats off Giroud aswel.
    Chamakh should have conceded a pen and put us 5-1 down and goes on to score twice, Arshavin pisses away 95% of his possesion and ends up on the winning side and a manager who cant motivate or apply varied tactics coaches a team to a 7-5 win.
    Majority of gunners will shout and scream in delight bit Im sorry to say to me, shipping 5 goals vs Reading means we are more likely to have lived to lose another day and this is a victory for those players but no credit goes to the manager.
    Just my opinion.

  32. Andrew you were saying about having nothing to write about,,,, all yours

    How the hell do you write a match report on that

    Keeper dodgy
    Kos should have been sent off awful, passionate, great
    Arshavin awful, crap, brilliant, awful, mediocre
    Theohopefuly we wil keep him
    Giroud looked good again
    Eisfeld impressive
    Chamakh hmmmmm


  33. WtF was that? In all my years of watching and playing sport in general, this match will be right up there with the most improbable, exciting, ridiculous and ultimately redemptive games anyone has ever witnessed.

    One of our most famous wins ever…not to belittle the most serious of circumstances, but I have to say it…a Hurricane Sandy of a football match!!!

  34. NEED HELP……..I want to watch the Arsenal vs Reading Capitol One Cup……FREE…..Does anybody know of any website, I’m desprite Heard the game was amazing, please help

  35. Well i don’t know what to make of the scoreline BUT what a crazy game.
    Yes Arsenal won and they move on BUT reading are a terrible side have not won a game in the league, YET they smash 5 past us, with a whole host of PREM boys in our lineup, this is getting from BAD to worst.

    I hope we didn’t score all the goals in this match and not leave some for Saturday…

  36. I know we shipped in 5 goals but I would take this game over any 3-0 victories. Except for this weekend of course, I would like that as well! Looks unlikely but its not a crime to wish!

    Well done to the lads who came back fighting in the second half and for the away supporters who kept singing after being 4 nil down. Real supporters they are. I feel bad for the people that left early and missed the amazing comeback!

    I think Chamakh will see

  37. I know we shipped in 5 goals but I would take this game over any 3-0 victories. Except for this weekend of course, I would like that as well! Looks unlikely but its not a crime to wish!

    Well done to the lads who came back fighting in the second half and for the away supporters who kept singing after being 4 nil down. Real supporters they are. I feel bad for the people that left early and missed the amazing comeback!

  38. @Brisvegas,
    Agreed, @4-0 down the fans were still singing for the team, but if you were listening they were also singing ‘ we want our Arsenal back!’ repeatedly so it shows whilst there is serious backing and support for the players there is a growing bewilderment with the managers continous lack of motivation and attention to detail. There was no homework done on a Reading side we completely took for granted we seem to be forgetting after 90 mins it was a draw, only a point in the league away to reading

  39. I did hear that too! @shambo and they did get their Arsenal back after that. But the fact that they did not leave shows belief that maybe we could pull it off or at that point (4-1) make it look like a close game.

    I do believe to some extent that they probably did not do their homework against Reading but it has always been about the team executing the play and not what the opposing team gives us. We have always played possession football so its about breaking down the opposition through possession and making that incisive play that give us chances. We have the possession most of the game so its only really the set pieces that cause us the most problems.

    Except for this game of course. The early goals took the life out of the team and it kept getting worst through unfortunate events (koscielny’s OG) and some mistakes from our youngsters(I thought Frimpong could have done better closing down and we know what Martinez did).

    I believe that its better for the team to worry about executing their own performance than worrying about the other team who probably wont get as much possession as we do.

  40. Just witnessed the highlights of the game. Two confident goals from Chamakh, looked very impressive. But Arshavin not in arsene plans and walcott not willing to be part of the plan is a cause of worry given these two were instrumental in such a great come back.

  41. @All Walcott haters, you must now have been proved wrong and crowned me a gem in watching talent. Have all along said Walcott is one of the last remaining star players at arsenal after Song left. He has exceptional ability and far superior to Ox at his real strengths.He was the second leading goal scorer behind persie last season. He has about 4 or 5 goals this season two goals better than Giroud or Gervinho or Carzola who have started many games this season. How can we hesitate with such a player on a contract who just wants to play as a center forward. If Defoe has played there for Spurs and been a sucess ,how can you doubter Walcott who is 100 times faster than Defoe. Walcott must stay at all costs as he is the last star player we have on the cards and yet so young. To me he is better than Ronney i guess if given the chance, It is just a shame that Wenger had to think twice about it. I know he may not thrive on teams that pack the bus but who any way of arsenal strikers can thrive basing on the recent results.The tactics at Old trafford are simple.Pack the bus leave Wacott as a C.F with Giroud as a second striker /they can interchange and just attack breathtaking speed on counter attacks and am sure we shall come out with a good result. Otherwise am not so anxious about O/T as Chelsea taught me the hard way.Good luck

  42. Delano,
    Was enjoying reading your post until you said Walcott was better than Rooney.
    Walcott was outstanding the other night but he still hasnt progressed as Wenger had expected and so many areas of his game still leave alot to be desired.
    I have a strong dislike for Wayne Rooney but even at that I just cant understand how you could think Theo is better!
    Theo cant cross a ball, he can square a ball along the ground but 99/100 hes not going to cross onto a CFs head, actually I cant even remember him assisting a headed goal from play. Rooney can put it on a sixpence, see both van pursestrings goals vs Cluj.
    Rooney can score aerial goals, headed or overhead because his agility is far superior to Walcotts.
    He can play a through ball, Walcott cannot.
    He can hold up the ball Walcott cannot.
    He can tackle, Walcott cannot.
    He will track back and deploy a defensive formation, Walcott cannot or does not, he trots back behind the ball but never puts himself near enough to the opponent to mount a ligitimate challenge, fact.
    He cant dribble, hes just iincapable of sorting his feet out.
    Rooneys first touch is better than Theos.
    Rooney has more awareness and vision than Theo will ever have.
    The only thing that that I can see Walcott being better than Rooney at is his finishing running onto the ball. Like his first goal Tues night, it was sublime.
    But the fact is Rooney will employ all the above attributes dozens of times in a game whereas how often will a strong defensive side allow Walcott in behind facing a one v one?
    When we get him in those positions hes impecable, but how often will that happen and how often will he be called upon to the those other tasks that he is so poor at?
    Jurys still well out and Ox will certainly go on the be a better all round footballer.

  43. @Shambo you are missinthe point.Its not a comparison about Walcott or Ronney. If you read carefully you must be able to seive that i said if Walcott is played to his real ability that is center forward.He could be a beast of a striker and on that i meant he could have a better conversion rate than Ronney. In the alternative i rated him in a class of Defoe,chicarito to be fair. In essence he is a must have for our team at all costs simply because we have no better striker than him at the moment. Defoe is a respected premiership striker and i never see him run back to make a tackel or cross a ball neither does Chicarito do that .Besides that why must Walcott spend time doing the donkey work if the midfield is good enough to thread balls in spaces for him to run. All we need is him to produce the goals and not to distribute or defend.If you have Casorla and Wilshere then his role is run at the the through balls.

  44. Delano,
    Quite right, but I dont know if were set up that we can play to his strengths..a 4-4-2 with him and Giroud would be interesting with podi and santi on the wings, Jack and Arteta in the middle…but that wont happen.

  45. Interesting article Kel but I wonder how much of it is true. I guess we will never know.

    Looking forward to the OT game. It’s an 11.45pm kick off here which means a late night for this little gooner! I have little expectation of winning going into this game, am just hoping our lads put a decent shift in and are competitive and don’t get screwed over by a refereeing decision. Am worried about our left flank and Santos getting exposed by the pace of Valencia and Rooney. I am sure they will be targeting that area.

    Still fingers crossed. COYG!

  46. Saturday’s scorline: Man U.0-2 Arsenal

    You heard it here first.
    16:35 pdst

  47. Did we see thelook from Cazorla when he scored? He is angry……same for probably all out top players. Ramsey has no business starting any league game

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