Thursday, March 14, 2013


I have not watch a game with less emotion than watching Arsenal played Bayern today. There were waves of praises for their so called brave performance, and come back that nearly succeeded. But what I saw was a mediocre performance against an even worse team of the night.

Sure they did manage to score 2 goals. But throughout the night, there have been missed passes after missed passes. A mere 65% completion rate at the end. This is suppose to be a passing team. I saw a lot of attempt to do one touch passing, but that's one touch to the opponent. There were so many incorrect passes to Walcott until he decided he was not going to run forward. Carzola did that. Rosicky did that. Arteta did not show up as the captain. And Ramsey reminds me about myself. A guy who is clueless when the ball reach my feet. I believe his pass completion rate is zero.

At the conclusion, maybe the only thing to cheer about is the return of Fabianski. Ya, I have written about him. He made some big saves. But the more important thing is, he was probably the only one who yelled at his teammate to wake them up. He should have been the captain of the night.

Arsenal as it is is dead. A team that used to play so well regardless  of the players. Just looked at all those times when we played the young and unknown players in the League Cup. We were able to play passing football against any team, and beat them. The magic of Wenger is gone. He no longer shape the players. The Arsenal Style Thierry Henry so proudly praised when he moved to Barcelona does not exist anymore. Barcelona does not play like Arsenal. Barcelona is simply way beyond, on a different league.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What's could Arsenal do?

After watching the 2nd leg come back by Barcelona, I wonder if there is any chance Arsenal could pull out something similar. They need 3 goals or more tomorrow. I can't remember when Arsenal won convincingly, let alone scoring three huge goals.

Perhaps asking for the same experience two days in a role within a week is too much. Maybe I should be happy with a small win.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Two loses in a weekend is unbearable. First there was Barcelona which did not seem to want to win the game. Then came Arsenal who played no different, except loosing to an opponent they have dominated for years. I must say the most entertaining part is watching Piers Morgan during the pregame and half time show.

For the first time, I wish the take over of Arsenal by the Middle Eastern group would become true. After moving to the Emirates, Arsenal has played for 2-3 years within so called young players. Though have not been as dominant as they were during the invincible season, they managed to produce some good results.

Back in 2008, we were on our way to fight till the end for the title. But Eduardo's incident happened and suddenly everybody lost focus and we lost many games we should have won, including the game against Birmingham City. In Carling Cups, we were able to play beautiful and winning football using young players like Wilshire and Chamberlain. We still have many of those players today.

However, things have changed. With or without good players, we don't play the same type of football Henry was proud of playing. Maybe I have been comparing Arsenal to Barcelona. But, Arsenal was never this bad. Once a while, we see some pockets of brilliant. The most memorable game was the one between Arsenal and Barcelona in 2011 when we won 2-1. Yes, we still have Fabregas and Van Persie, but we played the best Arsenal had every played since winning the EPL in 2004. I think Arsene has lost confident in the style of play. The short passing game has changed to long inaccurate passes. We no longer hold possession for a long period of time. In current EPL standard, we could easily beat anyone if we just work on those short passes, and have players move intelligently towards the person with the ball.

Back to Barcelona. If they could come back from the 2-0 lost to AC Milan next week, it will be the greatest game of this season. We have not seen Barcelona do this for a long time because they are usually the leading team. And they have been beaten way too many times in the Champions' League. Someone need to step up and lead the team.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

When Vilanova took over FC Barcelona this season, and went on a record breaking stretch in La Liga, many people probably credit that to the team more then the manager. He has "inherited" the greatest football team in the recent history which is often said. But after the lost to AC Milan, and then Real Madrid and the upset against Real Sociedad, it is slowly felt how important this man is to the team. The team great performance during the first half of the season was no accident. He has made changes but his changes won't be as obvious as those made by Guardiola. His task is ever greater because everybody is studying how to beat this team. Some may succeed once in a while, but still no body can beat them playing their own games, including the one this past Wednesday.

Let's hope he regain his health completely and rejoin the team in the near future. Let's see how FC Barca come back against Real Madrid this coming Sunday. Vilanova will unlikely be staying with this team next season for health reason. But I wish his legacy will be recognized, through trophies and many many great moments we see during the season.

Two years later, Arsene's still there, doing the same thing, trying very hard to get his team into the top four of the EPL.

Just watched this interview by Carzola a moment ago. Is there a big disconnect of big number of fans

and the player themselves? While watching him, I can't stop thinking what was actually going through in his mind while trying to give some good answers in front of the camera. Has he joined a wrong club which only consolation in February is the chance to get into the Champions League again the next season? Or perhaps he is still motivated at this point because some other EPL club like Man City might actually offer him a higher salary and a bigger chance of winning something next year. Regardless, I don't doubt a bit that most players are motivated to do their jobs as good as they can. Otherwise, the players from 18 of the 20 clubs would probably be trying to kill time since they no long have any hope of winning the league.

Without any trophy to aim for, this actually make watching an Arsenal game an enjoyable one. The coming derby match on Sunday against the Spurs is an exciting one, not just because they are the neighbor, but they are actually one spot on top, sitting in that 4th seats.

Well, let's enjoy the game!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Arsenal - Done, Arsene - Done too?

Until very recently, Arsene Wenger has been someone I admire very much. Despite the lack of trophy in the recent years, I still think he has run the foot ball team very well, and produced exciting football.

This year, followed the defeat to Sunderland in Carling Cup final, I finally have to admit, there is one thing Arsene Wenger does not know how to do well, which is to win a game.

This Arsenal team, even without some of the crucial defenders and a solid goal keeper, is a talented team. They demonstrated how well they can play when they beat Barcelona at Emirates this year. With one goal down, they believed in themselves and went on to played their best football in a long time.

However, after that, they lost their shape and Arsene didn't seems to know what to do to help the players. He doesn't seems to know how to discipline his players when needed, nor to reward players when they perform well. All he does is to follow his senseless rotation, and to try to follow his seniority list.

When Diaby cause the team the full three points, who was leading 4 goals at half time, he defended him. He should have been sidelined for the rest of the season, for making such as idiotic action during a game. When they were 1-0 up against Liverpool with 2 minutes to go, they screwed it up. When they were 3-1 up against Spurs, they gave it back to the opponent.

And during the last match against Bolton, we can see the frustration of Arsene Wenger on the side line, but he never once give any direction to what should be done. He has nothing to tell except "keep fighting...". His substitution is predictable. Sometimes they work, but most of the time they are too late and don't work.

Earlier in the season, he thought he has too many striker and loaned out Carlos Vela. Vela has scored the most incredible goals in the past seasons. There is simple no reason he cannot start in any of these games, when other players are not scoring.

Perhaps Arsene should retreat into the reserve team and be a reserve team coach, and maybe the Carling Cup coach. The first team definitely need someone else who has better idea of what players to choose, and tactic for a match. Not someone who place players as if he is playing a computer game, and hope for the best.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


A few posts ago, I talked about how Arsene was giving chances after chances to Bendtner despite his poor performance, and how he was going to capitalize on Bendtner improve in form and sell it when his value rises. Well, I was wrong. Bendtner is still with the team 2 years later, and it seems Arsene is really sincere about bringing him into the starting line up as often as he can.

But this season, something wonderful happens. This is bigger then EPL, bigger than soccer. So many times I have come across situations like this, with people and the story of Fabianski always pop up in my mine.

During the 09/10 season, Fabianksi has been used quite a number of times toward the end of the season, when Almunia wasn't healthy. He pretty much screwed up multiple times during the couple of Champions League game he took part in, and during the trashing defeat by Man U in the FA cup game. I assume everyone in the league, including Man U players would mock at Fabianski and you would think the Arsene would offload him the first thing during the Summer transfer season.

The summer came and gone, and we didn't get a new goal keeper. And shortly after the season got started, Almunia injured his hand and has to be replaced. And the faithful Arsene did not turn to anyone else but Fabianski again. All gooners much have kept on their toes everytime Fabianski is seen on the starting lineup. Two weeks, three weeks gone by and we did not see Almunia coming back. Not that Almunia would give any assurance at the goal, but at least he hasn't displayed the type of blunders as Fabianski.

The story starts to become interesting when Fabianski started to display qualities of a decent goal keeper. And after half a season, as soon as the winter transfer market opened, we started to hear news about Almunia going away. What a big change in just a short few months. I don't agree all the time what Arsene does to win title. The fact is he hasn't won anything for more than five years and what he has been doing was obviously not working. However, I salute him as a couch, a manager and a person seeing how he treated this Fabianski matter.

I think this is one of the most beautiful story that has come out of English Premier League and soccer as a whole. I get entertained a lot from watching soccer week in week out, but with a couch like Arsene Wenger, I certainly learn a lot of life lesson too.