Tag Archives: Alan Hansen

Ignore the Pundits – Arsenal deserve to be top

Once more on BBC’s Match of the Day, the question came from Gary Lineker to his guests – Danny Murphy & Les Ferdinand. “Can Arsenal win the League?” And as if he was the son of Alan Hansen, Murphy answered no, giving the same reason as many pundits before him.

“That Arsenal can not win the league as they have not yet played anyone of note.”

We are now 13 games in to the 2013/14 season and it does not take me to tell you that Arsenal are 4 points clear. They have already played Liverpool, Manchester United & Tottenham, 3 of the 4 ‘Top 6’ as the press seem to have relabeled them (although can sides who have not won the league in 20+ years be considered a big side?)

The reasoning is starting to get predictable and boring. Especially when it is becoming evidently clear that this years Premier League title will go to the side who loses the least points against those ‘smaller’ sides, then those who gets the most points against those members of the ‘Top 6’.

Take Cardiff as an example. This season they have beaten Manchester City and drawn with Manchester United. Yet Arsenal beat them 3-0. That means that Arsenal could effectively lose to Manchester City and Manchester United, and only 1 point will separate the 3 based on the mini league. It does not matter how many points you gain when playing a title contender if you continue to drop points at those lower in the league. Arsenal’s lead is due to how few points we have dropped against those sides who are not a member of the Top 6. Just 5;

Arsenal – 5
Chelsea – 7
Man U – 7
Spurs – 8
Liverpool – 12
Man City – 11

If the theory go’s that ‘Arsenal have not played anyone yet’ then surely by proxy, our opponents have played against each other more. And therefore, they have had less opportunity to lose points against those outside of the Top 6.

Arsenal are top of the league, not because of their ability to beat those around them (although 2 wins from 3 against Top 6 rivals is good), but due to their ability to not drop points against those who are mid table and below.

As Liverpool showed this weekend, it is important to beat those teams outside of the Top 6. Liverpool could have got to within 4 points of Arsenal had they beaten Hull. They did not, and now sit 7 points behind. Their title challenge is over.

If Arsenal continue to beat those smaller sides, it does not really matter what happens in the match’s against the bigger sides. There are more points available against the smaller sides than the Top 6, so if they continue to win, and others continue to drop points, Arsenal’s gap at the top of the league table will only grow.

Keenos

Wojciech Szczesny, Olivier Giroud, Substitutions, Alan Hansen, Drums and Spurs New Stadium

Wojciech Szczesny

Another brilliant game for the big Pole. Two world class saves kept us in the game. The debate is now over. We do not need a better goalkeeper. For me he is now the third best goalkeeper in the Premier League, behind Peter Cech and Hugo Lloris. As long as he does not allow his focus to slip in training like he did at one point last year, here will become one of the best keepers in the world

Olivier Giroud

Oliver Giroud is fit. I am not talking in the looks and body sense (although he is certainly a 10), but the pure physical sense. He had a tough game, with 6ft 3in Damien Delaney not giving him a minutes silence, able to compete with the Frenchman in terms of power and strength. However, with 5 minutes to go, Delaney was sick on the pitch, showing just how hard he was working to keep up with Giroud. 2 minutes later, Giroud got clear of him to score. It highlights how physically fit he is that he could keep going to the 90th minute, whilst his marker struggled past 80. A reminder to those criticising him during the game that a match last 90 minutes, and often a goal late on is due to the good work of a player throughout the game.

Substitutions

Many had a go at Wenger for firstly taking of Gnabry and secondly Cacorla. However, there was method behind his perceived madness. Gnabry for Wilshere was an obvious substitution. Whilst he might have been a good pacey outlet on the right, we needed to shore up the middle by bringing on Wilshere. Between Ozil, Cazorla & Gnabry, there is only one choice, and that is to take off Gnabry. Going down to 10 men is all about keeping the ball. Why take off one of your two best ball retainers? With a midfield of Ozil Ramsey Wilshere Cazorla it meant play would not be breaking down needlessly.

As for the 2nd substitution, taking of Gnabry did lose us the width and with Ozil to wrecking up the right, it was smart to bring Monreal on the left, and we ended up getting a lot of success, with Monreal ghosting in to nearly score, before a Ramsey cross from the left hand side set up Giroud’s goal. I like bringing Monreal on as neither him or Gibbs are shy getting forward, so it enables us to lock down one side of the pitch whilst still maintaining an attacking outlook

Alan Hansen

Whilst the outrage last night and this morning against Alan Hansen for bringing up 3 year old footage of a goal is justified, what he had to say actually made sense. I mentioned to a pal before the Arteta red card happened that leaving Arteta as the last man worries me, due to his lack of pace. If he gets turned, he has no chance of catching up. And the Match of the Day analysis highlighed just how high our two players sit. We should be playing with Gibbs on the halfway line, and Arteta just infront of him. Hopefully Wenger adjusts the way we defend when we attack corners, otherwise I can see opponents exposing us again.

Drums

Please no more drums at stadiums. They are fucking annoying.

Spurs New Stadium

In today’s papers, it was announced Spurs were thinking of building 65,000 seater stadium. The mooted 55,000 was already going to be too big for them. All 65,000 will do is mean more empty seats. They struggle to fill their stadium currently:

Tottenham v Tromoso – 29,000
Tottenham v NK Maribor – 27,089
Tottenham v Lazio – 25,030

Yes, these might be for the Europa League, but you would think if they had 30,000 fans currently not able to go to games, they would jump at a chance to watch Spurs, no matter the competition. Arsenal’s worst attendance at The Emirates was 46,539 for the League Cup tie against Shrewsbury. Spurs – Why do you need a bigger stadium when you do not sell out every game in the current one?

Keenos