Arsène Has A Big Task Of Changing The Team’s Mentality.

I can’t believe I am still talking of mentality in 2017. I can’t believe the team still start a game sluggishly, shoot themselves on the feet and fail to get even a single point from a match they are supposed to win with minimal ease inside the Emirates stadium. I can’t believe that in 2017, Aaron Ramsey would still be just a prospect within Arsenal fold, can’t be trusted to keep composure and concentration for 90 minutes without selling his team out, almost 10 years after the start of his Arsenal adventure.

Maybe it’s time to cut our losses and get him moved on. Maybe he needs a new surrounding. His development seems to have stalled, and he doesn’t have any motivation whatsoever. Looking at him last night lose the ball, from an otherwise low pressure circumstance; when his defenders were all coming out from the 18 area, and trudged back with nonchalance only reminicent of one Andrey Asharvin’s during the last months of his Arsenal career, I was lost for words to describe him; considering the enormous faith Arsenal and Arsène Wenger put in him. It’s just plain pity that he (Aaron Ramsey) thinks he’s doing enough to repay the club with such lackadaisical attitudes. Deflecting an otherwise harmless free-kick into his own net and strolling back after gifting the opponents the ball in a dangerous area directly resulting in a 2-0 deficit inside 15 minutes of the first half, then you go down with injury before 20th minute; leaving your team mates with a mountain to climb.👏👏

Even though the team had no power over the outcome of other title contenders’ results, they had absolute power to determine the outcome of their own match. Their fate was always in their own hands. What did they do? Throw it away to the wind. Chelsea dropped point, Tottenham dropped points to relegation strugglers Sunderland. What an opportunity to close the gap on the top and put a psychological hold on Chelsea ahead of our clash with them at Stamford bridge this weekend. At the end, we did what we know to do best; we bottled it.

“We didn’t start the way we wanted, in the second half it was all us, and we were unlucky to lose the game as well. We did not deserve to lose this game.”
 -Arsène Wenger

Any title chasing side must first be hard to score against, must have the technical skills, must be opportunists, must be psychologically and physically ready every week, must have the dugout tactical prowess to change things in little or no notice; must be able to improvise. Last night caught us wanting on several of these key areas. Arsène Wenger picked a wrong team. Inasmuch as the manager knows best, we football fans sometimes can determine the outcome of a game just by looking at the team sheet. We know them, we know their current form, so we can tell. As soon as I saw that line up yesterday, I was sure that something could go wrong. Whatever happened to the trio we saw at Southampton in midweek?  A team so dynamic that a very good Southampton side did not have any answer to the questions being thrown at them. Welbeck, Walcott, Perez.. You can argue that Welbeck need not to be rushed back, but the truth remains he is still fresh and would benefit from an extended run in the team. With the absence of Xhaka through suspension, why not Chamberlain-after his five star showing against the saints? Why start with Paulista against a saints side which does not boast of any outstanding wing backs, why keep Bellerin on the bench? Why start with Giroud who always have his best days coming in from the bench? Why sub Coquelin just when Arsenal were on the ascendency with Iwobi at the heart of everything good, moving the youngster down into the place vacated by the defensive midfielder? Since I didn’t want to risk Bellerin, why not sub Gabriel Paulista, who never found his touch going forward, bringing in whichever more offensive option you want while leaving Coquelin to man the middle and also snuff out any attempt of theirs down the right wing; thereby overloading Watford defence with goal scoring threats? These are calls which I think should be common knowledge to any good thinking football analyst or enthusiast, but our manager didn’t quite get them spot on; hence Arsenal paid the price. He took the blames head on though. 

Arsène will not always get the calls spot on all the time, but I expect him to instill in these hugely talented group of players a mentality that befits a title challenging team. I do not wish to compare Arsène with anyone, but in his days, Alex Ferguson would be smiling to the title with this set of players at Arsène’s disposal. It’s all a matter of mind set. Wars are first fought and won on the battlefield of the mind. These set of players are proving year after year that they are not up for it. Therefore, if Arsenal will be champions of England come May, nay, if the team has any dream of being in the top four come the end of the season, then Arsène has got a big task of changing his player’s mentality. Next up is a trip across London to Stamford bridge. Lets hope for the best. COYG!!

Here is the full match media conference by Arsène Wenger. Mind you, he’s always got his reasons.

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Déjà Vu? Bayern vs Arsenal.

We have lived through it more times in recent memory than I can count on my fingers, we all had that pre-draw-monition that we would get Bayern or Barça; we all saw it coming. When the draw was finally made, it was just to confirm our hope or fear, depending on what spectrum you are looking from. Fear for those fans who think that drawing a “strong” opponent in the last 16 means we are out of the contest. Hope for those who think that to be a champion, you must beat a champion. To be called the best, you must first humiliate the best.

Arsène summed it up with these interview on Arsenal.com;

“They said they made the world in seven days, this is the seventh day for us, so we have to get a special day!” the manager said.

“Many times [in the past] we were in a position where we played at home and we wanted to make the difference and after 10 minutes we conceded a goal and after you think already, ‘Oh no’. This time the advantage is that we play first away from home.

“If we can keep our strength away from home that can help us – let’s have a good first game then we can finish the job at home.

“We are all here to change history and to make history so we have to change what happened before. And make it better.

“I must tell you the best way to have momentum when we go in the Champions League is to have a good position in the league and [ensure] the belief is high. I am convinced that is absolutely vital because I have had experience of it.”


We did every thing right to get a favourable draw, and we did get a favourable draw. The day the Gunners got it was not yesterday, but last week Tuesday at Basel when Arsenal charges tore the Swiss champions apart (Basel 1:4 Arsenal) to top the group, albeit with a little help from Ludogorets who frustrated PSG in Paris(PSG 2:2 Ludogorets). Being top of the table in group stage does not guarantee an easy round of 16, however, it pits you at home for the very crucial second leg game of the last 16 tie which every team crave for.

I know we have faced Bayern 10 times since 2000/01 season. I know we have won just 3 times out of 10. I know we haven’t progressed from the group stage for the last 6 seasons, but this season is different. I say from the spectrum of hope that we can beat any foe we come across this time. The team is focused and they are starting to believe they are as good as any other top club in Europe. Ancelloti’s men on the other hand would not be opening a 20 point gap at the top of Bundesliga this term; which means they won’t be resting their best players for this tie. Again, the Bavarians look a shadow of their old selves, hence, this is the best time to play Bayern Munchen; it’s just a script written by the gods😉 This is our time to progress for good.

Here is the draw in full:

Man City v Monaco
R’Madrid v Napoli
Benfica v Dortmund
Bayern v Arsenal
Porto v Juventus
Leverkusen v Atletico
PSG v Barcelona
Sevilla v Leicester

Lastly, this is a match Day for us. We travel to Goodison Park to face the Toffees in the EPL. Time: 7:45 p.m. Let’s keep the momentum building,  cos like Arsène said, it will have a bearing on whether we progress in the champions league or not. COYG!!

-Fair Play Gooner

Arsenal Staked Their Claim Against Stoke City.

Good morning folks! So our match yesterday ended Arsenal 3-1 Stoke. Walcott, Özil and Iwobi on the score sheet. Charlie Adams scored one from the spot for Stoke before Arsenal’s three goal party started. The pundits were like Xhaka should have been sent off. Smh. Why send him off after a penalty is given for an innocuous accident in which Allen ran straight into him (Xhaka) without the ball? I must say that English referees are becoming more crappy by the day, but that will be a topic for another time. Let’s enjoy our win.

Err, you can read a detailed analysis of the performance of this ref (Lee Mason) who officiated our match yesterday HERE  

Theo walcott took advantage of the width which Bellerin’s introduction provided to float inside the central area of the box more. Alexis picked out the young Spaniard with a spectacular through ball, which he in turn controlled with aplomb, and picked out the hoovering Theo Walcott who scored from a tight angle with the outside of his right foot to ensure we finished the half on a strong foot. This goal took his tally to 10 for the season and his wife will have to get him that coffee machine.😉

Özil have scored nine goal in this campaign, more than he scored in the whole of last season. Whoever said Arsène is not a top manager? It was the Ox who lofted a pass, from about 10 yards inside the Stoke city half, onto the German midfielder who took advantage of the stranded Grant to guide the ball With his head into an empty net. It was a classy finish which oozed of confidence.

Our loss of Mustafi was made a bit less serious with the return of HECTOR BELLERIN. The German defender was replaced after 25 minutes when he picked up a muscular injury which might keep him out of the squad for 21 days. The Right back’s run gave Stoke defenders all manner of troubles. We have so missed you Bellerin.

Here is what the boss said about the German: 

It’s a bad one. He had nothing in midweek. I would not have played him today (if he had). I had Hector Bellerin on the bench. I could have played Holding or Gabriel. He wanted to play in Basel, because he said ‘no it’s nothing’, and it was completely clear. I checked three times and there was no problem for. I don’t know why it happened, but it looks a ‘good’ hamstring strain.

on the timeframe for Mustafi’s return

Look, the minimum when you go out like that is 21 days. After that, today is December 10, so you are 21 days, that means he’ll have a nice Christmas!    

  So let’s say a big welcome back to Hector and wish the German a speedy comeback. Finally we are having injuries at a controllable rate…unlike Before, and suddenly we look like a side that can last the distance. In beating Stoke city yesterday at the Emirates, we staked our claim that we can play our brand of football against any opposition and still come out on top. Arsenal are top of the table, even if its for only 24 hours! Next up is a trip to Everton in midweek. To another memorable week!! COYG!!

– Fair Play Gooner