Sometimes, the fans are right
Positives, Needs and Hopes
Over the years I’ve wavered as to how I feel about how the impatient modern culture has infected football and fans in particular.
I find it true that most people talk in extremes. Arsenal were brilliant. Arsenal are awful.
Extreme views are much like sweeping statements, very rarely true of everything and everybody.
People in general have got suckered into being extreme because it’s what many want to hear.
At the same time as all this, fans are sometimes 100% right.
We don’t have the education that the professionals have but we often care more than they do. We think about it more than they do.
The interesting piece in all this is that as much as fans care and think about their club they often have it right.
As a coach myself, my most common critique of my own work is that I over think.
I often have so many solutions in my head and think that many of them are so clever that I miss the blindingly obvious one that those who perhaps have less insight can see clearly.
I’m sure if you took a poll of what Arsenal fans would do at home to a smaller club, they’d say…
1) Play 4-2-3-1 because it suits our players and puts us on the front foot
2) Play Pepe
3) Choose one of Laca or Auba at CF and play with balance.
Most would say Auba at CF and my feeling is most would say Martinelli deserves a chance to start at LF.
4) Play Torreira plus one more to shut the back door
5) Play Tierney because his final third product has been a very bright spot in a season of darkness
6) The defence isn’t working so let’s try Holding and Chambers
I feel like Freddie has either over thought this, much like his old boss, or he has been instructed (or feels like he has to) play Laca AND Auba AND Xhaka AND Ozil because the club isn’t spending in January and we can’t afford to have these unhappy players want to leave or not sign contracts.
Never forget that the fans are smarter than they are given credit for.
The fact that they are often so emotional and don’t overthink seems to free them from getting caught up in one of the deadly sins of a professional football coach.
* My disappointment doesn’t extend to Leno or Kolasinac who are both improving their personal game and playing close to their level.
Leno looks focused and sharp (I guess regular shot stopping will do that) and Kolasinac looks like he’s trimmed down and upped his game rather than sulked when Tierney showed up.
* Torreira is improving and starting to make a positive difference.
* In the midst of one of the worst halves of football that I’ve seen in my lifetime, Xhaka was much better than he has been. They smothered him but he provided the very few bright moments.
* The corners are more dangerous. Kudos to Freddie for this change.
* I always appreciate Lacazette’s physical effort and particularly his back tackling.
*Aubameyang was sharper but not used to his optimum. That leads me to this….
* It’s hard not to think that yesterday was not a sliding doors moment.
At 1-1 we looked more likely to be the victor, but alas.
The victory would’ve given Ljungberg a breath of support but instead fans are looking down the league and starting to notice a steep slide.
I can’t help but wonder if Freddie has already missed a golden chance.
It’s not really his fault if the fans have lost faith in him after 3 hours but I do think he hasn’t helped himself.
If he would’ve just picked the team (suggested above) that puts all of the players in their best positions then he would’ve given us the best chance of recovering our confidence.
If I lose confidence at work I’d hope my boss doesn’t ask me to change what I know I can do well as part of trying to recover myself.
When you play Ozil on the left wing and Auba on the right with the brand new dynamic of having Willock as an auxiliary CF then you’ve given Confusion FC yet more confusion.
Wouldn’t it have been so much more effective for a new coach to simply play players where they feel successful rather than be clever?
Surely, surely, surely this is the best route to recovering a muddled mind?!?!
* Bellerin looks physically weak defensively, especially in the air.
* Ozil doesn’t show up when you really need him to, but you knew that already.
Jack Grealish knows how to fight in adversity as he’s only ever played in adversity. Just saying.
* Yet again I say that Pepe makes his life so much more difficult than it has to be.
This was epitomized when Bellerin broke forward midway through the first half. It was 2 vs 1.
All Pepe had to do was run behind the full back but he stopped alongside Bellerin, received the ball to feet and cut inside into his usual crowd of groupies.
If he played on the left and went outside the full back this would at least temporarily recover his confidence as he doesn’t seem to have too much of an issue beating one man rather than four.
* I feel that Ljungberg’s starting line up was conceived as he wants to make us more compact so that we have bodies to press and so we don’t get easily bypassed on transition.
Solve one problem and create another at Arsenal though as we had zero width which completely shutdown our out ball in the first half.
* That West Ham are crapper than we are on Monday.
Arsenal over the past decade at least, has been the embodiment of bad decision making both on and off the field.
Arsenal needs someone to make obvious decisions.
Again, I say that they need to look to the fans.
The fans will tell you that we are in need of…..
1) A dominant leader of men both off and on the field.
2) An athletic, mobile dominant DM or two.
3) A dominant back four that the team trusts
4) A coach that can make us effective off the ball
This is getting real.
Maybe the ‘noise’ should be turned up, not turned off!