Thursday, March 01, 2007

Arsenal do not have enough goalscorers.

Same old story with a different cast.

Arsenal, by far the better team in terms of passing, movement, verve and imagination, fail to do the one really, really, important, indeed quite fundamental thing, in football. Score. Maybe one day, football matches will have a panel of judges who give marks out of ten for artistic impression; until then Arsene needs to sort out the worrying lack of goals in this Arsenal squad.

Because beneath Henry, van Persie and Adebayor, who's going to score them? Rosicky and Gilberto have chipped in with a few but its not enough. Fabregas has not scored in the Premiership this season; Hleb's one shot last night went so far wide that it curled out for a throw in; Freddie is so far gone that you would think his leg was made out of wood if you watched the replay of the glorious opportunity he had.

Which is why I'm actually warming to Baptista. Granted, he had a howler in front of goal last night, heading over a golden opportunity, and squandering another ball which was floated into the box. But at least he's getting into those positions; at least he seems to realise that if a cross is put into the box, it might be an idea to stand there to receive it. He looks like he has goals in him, and if he could find some confidence and form I think he can become an asset for the team.

Others who played last night are ready to leave. Aliadiere, despite flashes of potential, won't make it. It's a shame because I like his attitude and he does perhaps the ability in him to make it for us, but he won't get enough goals, which is supposedly his main objective in the position he plays.

Freddie, despite the Bolton goal, was abysmal, squandering a golden opportunity he would have tucked home in his sleep during his pomp. A winger who hasn't the creativity or pace to beat players is a waste of space. An out and out left winger is desperately needed.

Of course, it could be argued that we lost yesterday due to some abysmal refereeing from Graham '3 cards' Poll. One definite penalty, and one probable penalty, was not given by this paragon of refereeing, who also allowed Blackburn to engage in their usual thuggery for most of the game. I counted around 6 or 7 vicious tackles by Tugay before he, reluctantly, was given a card. I advise you to check out today's Goodplaya to see the ludicrous double standards we're being subjected to at the moment.

But even if we'd been awarded a penalty, who would have taken it? If Arsenal had got to a penalty shoot-out last night, could five takers have been found? I'm not so sure anyone in the team last night would have filled me with confidence from the penalty spot.

The fact of the matter is that we don't have enough goalscorers in the team; we look too often like a team of midfielders. We're badly missing, as East Lower pointed out, the predatory instincts of RvP, because at least it feels with him as if goalscoring is his priority, which can't be said for too many other of our players.

Ultimately, we squandered our dominance and allowed Blackburn a chance, which, admittedly, was taken with considerable aplomb by McCarthy. A dire 1-0 it was, as I suggested yesterday.

This leaves us with only the Champions League and 3rd/4th to play for. And if we don't start scoring a few more goals, both will be a challenge.


Anonymous said...

From the day RVP got injured against ManU I knew we were in trouble. He is the only effective player in front of goal we have at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Neither of Ljungberg's claims were penalties. The first was outside the box, the second wasn't a foul.

Baptista is terrible. Poor touch, ponderous decision-making, bad misses. Two shots from outside the box don't change that.

Gallas was exceptional, the one bright spot on a gloomy evening.

Wenger lost the game by not moving Gallas to right back when Eboue went off. Senderos is left-footed and too slow to play where Wenger put him.

Anonymous said...

The reasons why we don't score goals are (1) because we are way too slow getting the ball forward (in the way we used to do with Vieira, Pires, Bergkamp)and spend too much time fannying around with it in small triangles and (2) because we no longer have anybody who can hit the ball into the back of the net. If McCarthy had benn playing for Arsenal, he would have scored 5 last night.

Goonerboy said...

Yes, I forgot to say that I have no idea why Senderos and not Gallas was moved to right-back last night, other than Gallas was, frankly, imperious at centre-back and Wenger didn't want to move him.

McCarthy made Senderos look like an idiot yesterday. I feel for poor Phil because I think he is a decent defender. It just seems as if he is the defender who is beaten/makes a mistake for a lot of our opponents' goals. It's hard to know what to make of him.

Anonymous said...

i thought exactly the same thing last night. i wondered if benni had played for us would we have missed so many chances?

baptista's heading was exceptionally poor, but he had a few good cracks that freidel saved well (a worse goalkeeper might have let them in - reading's one for instance)

we definately do miss too may chances and i'm not convinceed baptista is the solution, maybe but i just don't know. we definately need a goalminded midfieder like pires (or Christiano "fuckface" Ronaldo for that matter) though, hopefully rosicky can start chopping a few more in.

the difference between us and blackburn was mccarthy and between us an chelsea drogba (and cech of course!) urgh how grim that in three daus we're out of two comps and look to be going out of the only other one we could potentially win. grim.

Anonymous said...

Its easy saying we dont score- its an observation. But with the injuries we have, how can Arsene SOLVE the problem? Players and tactics score goals but we dont have the players at the moment to execute the tactics- a change in style, playing to Baptista's strengths could be implemented but that takes time which we dont have. We havent been a crosses/set piece team under Arsene which is a shame because a well rehearsed set piece can be the easiest way to goal.
For me, theres no point in saying Aliadiere isnt good enough, Baptistas shit etc. We need solutions to the problems not the reason.

Anonymous said...

How short your memories are and those of Myles Palmer. It was only two months ago that Baptista and Aliadiere scored five between them at Anfield. They both scored in the semi against Spurs too.

This is not oly about the strikers. Wenger has sold all his goal threats (Pires, Wiltord, Bergkamp) or they have had a remarkable dip in form (Ljungberg).

This is a problem borne out of two summers of indecision in the transfer market.

There are some great youngsters coming through, but there is nothing like experience when it comes to putting the ball in the net. Plus what other team would do better with their top three strikers missing? Wenger needs to add a couple of top class players - a striker and a goalkeeper. we have faced six shots on target in the last three games and conceded four. It has happened all season and it is not a co-incidence.

The difference with us and the top two is the keepers. Cech made several top saves on Sunday and has conceded one in his last seven domestic matches. Van der Sar saved United v Fulham and provided a platform for them to nick a winner.

Also Palmer is talking rubbish again. Arsenal are currently ranked joint-fifth in the UEFA ranking. This means that at least three teams would have to overtake them (and qualify for next season's Champions League) for them to be ranked oustside the top eight.

They are seven points ahead of Lyon, eight of Valencia, 12 of Man Utd, 13 in front of Chelsea. With two points per win and one point per round traversed, it is highly unlikely that all these teams would do enough - they would all need to reach at least the semis. Indeed, Chelsea and United would virtually need to win every game, meet in the final and then rely on Chelsea winning the final to make up the current gap for both teams.

Arsenal will also accrue extra points for any English teams winning, drawing or progressing. As you can see, it is feasible Arsenal could even overtake Real Madrid after getting knocked out.

Goonerboy said...

Please don't lump me together with Myles.

Anonymous said...

highlights are here btw

Anonymous said...

When Palmer says top eight in Europe he doesnt mean rankings wise. England are something like 6th in world rankings but I would place them between 10-14. It shows at tournaments. You get points for qualifying, so the whole Uefa ranking thing is rubbish. We reached the final last year but if we revert to type and get knocked out in the last 16 the run last year would, to critics, seem like a flash in the pan. Our record in the Champions League isnt good, certainly doesnt merit the 5th place.
Also, its all well and good battering 6 past the likes of Paletta, Peltier and Guthrie at Anfield but Baptista and Aliadiere have been found wanting when it really matters. They have to be moved on in the summer.

Anonymous said...

I have written this elsewhere a while ago. Arsenal do not have tactics or strategies they have 'styles of play.' Arsenal do not have strikers, they have attacking midfielders. Strikers in the sense of Drogba, Shearer or Owen. That is why for years Arsenal dominated midfield battles as they were in effect playing a 4-6 formation. I can't remember a fox in the box over the AW years. Most so-called strikers are attacking midfielders. So to bring in Ali, Abe, Baptista just throws a spanner in the works of the style of play and formation. Even with these players you will notice how far back RvP, TH14, Ade, and Baptista come back to get the ball. Arsenal built up play and sliced teams open with incisive passes and runs from attacking midfielders. Fox in the box stuff was usually cleaned up by another attacking midfielder; Pires. This approach allows AW to have potentially six scorers rather than two. I think if he were to buy between E'to, Robinho and Drogba and Crespo he would buy E'to and Robinho. They are two more attacking midfielders who can play the Arsenal style and open up more goal scoring opportunities and permutations than two out and out old-fashioned strikers. While there is a desire for more strikers but I feel AW wants more attacking midfielders who can construct plays, run off the ball, run into open spaces, thread balls, play one-twos, join in the moving triangles and slice teams in half right down the middle.

Anonymous said...

Of course Palmer means ranking-wise. He's talking about being one of the top eight seeds in the Champions League next year. That's the whole point he is making, so regardless of what a dolt like you thinks of rankings, that's what counts when it comes to getting seeded.

And, can anyone tell me if United or Chelsea's 4th and 5th choice strikers in their squad are any better. Kalou? do me a favour, Rossi?

It isn't just a striking problem either. We don't score from set pieces. How many goals have Hleb, Fabregas, Rosicky and the other attacking midfielders got?

You can't lay the blame totally at the feet of Baptista and Aliadiere.

Anonymous said...

If you have read Palmer for more than 2 years, it will be obvious that he doesnt mean the rankings. Top eight as in recognised by other European teams as top eight. Right now we are a team that no one particularly wants to face but most would be confident of progressing. A dangerous outsider, someone capable of knocking a big gun out but not to go all the way.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, because when everyone thinks of a number for the top teams they always think of eight. It IS eight because it is the top eight teams who are seeded in the Champions League (if they qualify).

That's also why he refers to 9-16th, because that is the second pot of seeds.

Goonerboy said...

You two are having a very silly argument, I must say.