Friday, May 24, 2024

Arsenal need to be more stabby

At the very second the alarm went off my hand reached and in one smooth movement hit the button for snooze. Another 9 minutes of blissful dozing.

“Wow”, said Jack Wilshere from the other side of the room, “that was impressive”.

“Jack Wilshere! What are you doing in my bedroom?”, I asked.

“I’m not doing anything you twat. You’re dreaming and this is about the 5th time you’ve hit snooze”.

I got up then and let an elderly basset out for his morning ablutions. He looked about as impressed as I did, although somewhat more hairy and decidedly more tailish.

Lots of talk this morning about Arsenal’s mentality in the wake of Monday night’s defeat to United. Lee Dixon talking on his Twitter for example:

Once again we fell short against one of the the big teams. It’s a team mentality I feel, not just the defence. We have too many players who are not happy without the ball.

Samir Nasri bullfighter
The introduction of the snood into bullfighting was considered a disgrace by many traditionalists

Which is an interesting point but on Monday we had some players who weren’t happy with the ball either. And Samir Nasri has summed it up beautifully:

We sometimes have to put the bullfighter’s outfit in the cupboard. We have to get down to working hard for the good of the team. I do not see any problems with us not playing in flamboyant style, as long at the team wins.

The implication being that if flamboyance doesn’t work sometimes you need to stab the opposition in the back and the neck with lots of swords. It’s cruel and barbaric but sadly for the bull it’s very effective. We have to treat the other teams as if they were bulls and stab them in the neck. I make it clear I’m no fan of bullfighting. To be honest I’d much rather be the bull who sticks his horns right up the matador’s hole but unfortunately that doesn’t happen very often.

However, I see where Nasri’s coming from here. A little more sword action is necessary and if you want to be title winners sometimes you have to skewer an innocent animal to death. That’s just the nature of football. If you get me. It also helps if you imagine the bull to represent the worst of the opponent. For example, this weekend it will be Ryan Shawcross, a great hulking beast, with a horrendous odour and grotesque pink tongue, acting on instinct – and that instinct is to hurt as many people wearing red shirts as possible.

The following game it will be John Terry bull who you know is only trying to kill you so he can stick his horn into your missus. Then it’s N’Zbogibull with his dreaded left hoof of doom and after that it’s Bullybayor. And so on. It can work right the way through until the end of the season. What’s clear is that much more fight is required. We didn’t play well on Monday, neither did United really, but the team that worked hardest won and that’s a lesson we need to learn. Less cape, more sword.

Meanwhile, Wojscez©® is quite pleased with his debut despite the defeat and the confidence we know this lad has is apparent when he talks about Rooney’s penalty miss:

Maybe my presence put him off and made him miss it. It’s obviously a mental battle between the goalkeeper and the striker, a psychological battle, so I tried him and stand off my line for as long as possible, until the referee put me on the line. Then I made myself big and he missed.

I don’t know what it is exactly that he’s got that none of the other keepers do but he’s got something. I’m not suggesting he become number 1 based on one league performance, I think Fabianski has done well and will probably come back into the side when he’s fully fit, but there’s just something about Wojscez©®. He’s physically very imposing and looks to have a bit of the Jens mentalness about him which I think is missing in the others.

And I liked this from his Twitter:

Tomorrow I will try to learn how to kick the ball past the half way line… 🙂

He knows he’s got a lot to do yet but he also seems to know that he can do it once given the chance. He played down the Anderson save suggesting it wasn’t great because the United player hit it straight at him. Perhaps he’s just being modest but when a 6’5 keeper comes out, arms and legs outstretched like a gigantic angry starfish, there really isn’t anywhere else for the attacker to put it. I thought it was a fantastic save and it’ll be really, really interesting to see how things go between him and Fabianski. I don’t see any immediate change but there’s definitely a battle on which can only be good for us.

Unless things get comically weird and they start poisoning each other and stuff but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

Nottingham Forest are looking to extend Aaron Ramsey’s loan. The weather has played havoc with the move. Forest’s last two games have been called off so the playing time we wanted him to get under his belt hasn’t happened just yet. Hopefully that will change and he can get himself up to speed before returning to us. I’d like to see him back in an Arsenal shirt and I think it’s important for the squad and the competition in it that he does come back. Maybe another week or two at Forest wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world but not any longer than that.

Andrei Arshavin post-United:

There is no time to be melancholy or sad, we need to forget this defeat and start thinking about the next match

I wonder if he’s going to be involved against Stoke from the start. I’d be surprised, I have to say. I think with the size of Stoke we’ll make changes. It wouldn’t shock me at all if Bendtner was to get a start, van Persie too, and the Russian’s poor displays against Fulham and United will see him drop back to the bench. We can speculate more on that closer to the time.

Not much else going on but finally for today I’ll point you in the direction of this post from East Lower – the scans from the programme are very interesting, especially the interview with an up and coming Paul Merson.

And that’s about that. Have yourselves a good Wednesday.

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