Tag Archives: Euro 2016

10 things I do not want to hear this season…

1. A drum at the Emirates Stadium. We do not need it. Manufactured crap. Leave stuff like that to small clubs like Spurs.

2. “Don’t take me home” – The song of England’s (failed) Euro 2016 campaign. You had to be there as “drink all your beer” changes to “sniff all your gear” but are we going to have hear it sung at every Euro away game?We voted out after all.

3. “Will Grigg’s on fire” with the Northern Ireland strikers name being replaced with every Premier League sides average striker. “Yaya Sanogo’s on fire”. No. He did not even get a minutes game time at the Euro’s. Lets leave the song in Wigan, like anything from Wigan should be left.

4. Leicester’s clappers. OK, you won the league. Well done. We all patted you on the back. But stop using them clappers to make up for any lack of atmosphere and songs.

5. The Icelandic War Chant. Already to be heard at the darts (can darts fans do nothing original?). And just heard at the cricket. It just reminds me of mid 1990s TV show Gladiators. It will be even worse when Leicester fans replicate with with their crappy clappers.

6. Arsenal fans singing about Arsene Wenger to die. It is not clever. It is not classy. It is not Arsenal. Grow up you attention seeking wankers.

7. Attention seeking “pop” videos. We all laughed at Spurs’ One Club. Some bird then topped it with a Spurs version of Rehab. Then some attention seekers embarassed every Arsenal fan by releasing this monstrosity. All in the name of hits/

8. Crystal Palace Ultras. Let’s be honest. You’re a bunch of middle aged men from Croydon who wave some flags in the corner of the stadium. There is about 20 of you.

9. Fans TV Channels. Arsenal Fan TV was one of the first. And was quality at the beginning. Random fans ranting after a game. Now it is choreographed, planned and everyone on it just wants to become famous. And it is not just Arsenal. Chelsea, Man U, Spurs, every club now has them. Waiting after the game to be interview? No thanks. Go to the pub you losers. No longer is it full of randoms like this:

10. Excuses. If we lose, we lose. Admit we were not good enough and move on. Give the fans some respect. Stop with the excuses.

Can you think I of anything I have missed? Add your comments below…



Europe’s Search for a Great Striker

132The 2016 Eurovision Championships group stage are coming to an end. Finally. If you have made it this far in and are still interested, fair play to you. Myself, I finally gave up yesterday and watched the cricket. Liam Plunkett hit a last ball 6 to tie the game against Sri Lanka in case you were wondering.

It has been a snooze-fest. With 3 times going through, we have seen ultra defensive football and sides pretty much guaranteed of qualification after the first game.

Anyhow, what lives in my memory so far of this tournament are the strikers on show. Or the lack of.hqdefault

There is clearly a crisis in Europe. A crisis of decent strikers. Just look at the list of top scorers so far:

Alvaro Morata – 3 goals
Gareth Bale – 3 goals
Dimitri Payet – 2 goals
Ivan Perisic – 2 goals
Romelu Lukaku – 2 goals

In the top 5 goal scorers, there are 3 midfielders.

Then look at the squads of the major nations, the dearth of strikers can be seen even more

France – France have two main central strikers in their squad. Olivier Giroud and André-Pierre Gignac. The first we all know and love, the second, Gignac, plays for a mid table side in Mexico. Like many sides, they have resorted to playing converted wingers such as Antoine Griezzman upfront.

England – It looks like England have a lot of strikers. Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Daniel Sturridge & Marcus Rashford are all in the squad. They have mustered 2 goals between them.

Wales – Leading the goal scoring charts is Gareth Bale. A midfielder. Hal Robson-Kanu of Reading tends to lead the line for them.

Germany – The fact there were calls for 38 year old Miroslav Klose to be recalled to the Germany squad shows just how few strikers there are in Deutschland. Germany resisted and instead went for Turkish based due Mario Gomez and Lukas Podolski. Two players clearly past their best. Thomas Muller, the Germany Frank Lampard, leads the line for them, but has struggled playing upfront on his own rather than coming from deep or wide.

Poland – In Arkadiusz Milik and Robert Lewandowski, Poland actually have two half decent strikers. One potentially world class. Lewandowski has struggled and is yet to get off the mark.

Spain – If I were to ask you the name of Spain’s 3 strikers, you would not get them right. They are Alvaro Morata, Aritz Aduriz & Nolito. There is a lot of hype around the first. Morata is probably the most overrated striker in Europe, despite his 3 goals so far. Aduriz is 35 years old with 8 caps. Nolito 29 with just 12.

Croatia – Mario Mandžukić & Nikola Kalinić. The former is a solid, Giroud style (and quality) centre forward. The Latter spent 2 years at Blackburn.

Belgium – On paper, Belgium have a lot of options upfront. Household names such as Romelu Lukaku, Cristian Benteke, Michy Batshuayi & Divock Origi. Bar Lukaku, are any of the others actually any good?

Italy – When you have Graziano Pellè leading the line, you know you do not have many options.

Sweden – Zlatan.

Portugal – Cristano Ronaldo.

Going through the squads, there are a few big names with big reputations who are clearly on the decline, but other than that there does not seem to be very much. No world class talents with plenty still left in the tank. No young talents about to make a break through.

The well is dry.

And to bring this round to Arsenal, it is a worry. We need a striker. But when our striker is currently the main man for the tournament favourites, you can kind of understand when Arsene Wenger says “there is nobody better” as the reality is, there is not.



Arsenal to learn from England

132Over recent weeks, there has been plenty of chatter as to what formation Arsenal should play next season. From 433 to 4-diamond-2 (4D2) to a return to 4141.

England are currently having an internal battle as to what formation to go for with both 433 and 4D2 as the preferred systems of Roy Hodgson. Based on last nights diabolical performance against England, which Arsene Wenger was at Wembley to watch, a lot can be learned.

If you play the diamond, you are playing narrow. You need 2 full backs who will bomb forward and act as both wingers and full backs. They provide the width.

A beautiful sparkling diamond on a light reflective surface. 3d image. Isolated white background.

For England, in Danny Rose and Kyle Walker, they have full backs who’s attacking ability is better than their defensive. This need to attack could be why Arsenal are looking at Ricardo Rodriguez.

Nacho Monreal is brilliant defensively, but he does not have the blistering pace to get back when bombing forward, unlike Hector Bellerin on the right.

Also with the diamond, the full back’s get through a lot of work. They will need to be rotated and rested, a bit like Spurs have done this season. You can easily therefore accommodate 4 full backs who are all good enough to start.

The midfield is where Arsenal and Arsene would have learnt the most yesterday.

If you play the diamond, space in the middle of the park will be minimal. You therefore need players who can find space, and pass, in tight positions.

Last night England failed at this. Eric Dier, Dele Alli, James Milner and Wayne Rooney was the midfield 4. Non are technically gifted footballers.

Eric Dier is a centre back playing central midfield. He does a brilliant job for Spurs sitting between the two centre backs when they drop wide to cover for the full backs. But he is not a ball player. He will not get involved in the build up. In the diamond, you are looking at possession football, and that is not Dier’s game.

Moving forward to Dele Alli. He is a terrifically instinctive player. His touch and flick on the side line yesterday was one of the few highlights of the game last night. But it also sums it up. Brilliant skill followed by a poor pass that was easily cut out.

Dele Alli is simply not the type of player who is getting pick up the ball in the middle of the park, get his head up, and play defence splitting pass. Or on the other side, get the double under pressure, and lay it off 5 yards. It is not his game. His 75% pass completion rate in the Premier League shows he gives the ball away too much.

Compare him to Aaron Ramsey, who’s pass completion last year was 86% and we moan he gives the ball away too much!

The other side of the diamond was James Milner. Mr Average. Does not have any real weaknesses. But does not have any real strengths. Will put in a shift for 90 minutes. But that is about it. He is not suited for the diamond.

And then we have Wayne Rooney. He will go down as an all time England great. No matter what some say. But he is not a number 10.

Those who have watched him will always point out his weakness is his first touch. And in the Number 10 role, you need that to be exceptional.

He will put in the shift, like the other 3, but when it comes down to finesse, he does not have it. He is like a bull dozer.

So Arsenal would have learnt a lot in what personnel to play.

Luckily for Arsenal, there are plenty of footballers already in the middle of the park. Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil are all comfortable on the ball and combined would slice through most defences.

Even the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Mohamed Elneny are better passers than anything England played last night. And Granit Xhaka at the base of the diamond would be comfortable starting the attacks.

Also in the diamond, the midfield will rotate, so you need all 4 to be comfortable on the ball as the lad at the bottom of the diamond could soon find himself at the top. Xhaka would do that.

It is only Francis Coquelin who would struggle in this system.

You need your players to also be attack minded and postitionally aware. Too often last night James Milner was too deep. Barely getting out of his half.

Dele Alli spent to too much time operating too wide.

England needed someone like Jack Wilshere to keep the quick play going through the middle, and the side came into life when he came on. A middle finger up to those who claim Danny Drinkwater should be playing instead.

The diamond midfield is an option for Arsenal next year, but we need to watch England and learn from their mistakes in personnel and positioning.