How Has Arsene Turned It All Around?

Well I’ll be damned.

If my figures are correct then Arsenal are now 16 games unbeaten in the Premier League.

And I’m not sure what I’m surprised about the most. Because the first few months of this season were shambolic. Seriously, it was agonising to watch. There was no desire, no effort and we were losing to teams like Hull City, Fulham and Stoke.

Amazingly now we’re in the Quarter Finals of the Champions League, the Semi-Finals of the FA Cup and in 4th place in the Premier League, 3 points ahead of Aston Villa (albeit they have a game in hand).

And we are actually 10 points behind Manchester United, who many people have been calling ‘untouchable’ throughout this Premier League campaign. Now I’m not saying we’ve got a chance of winning the league, but if you consider the amount of stupid points we’ve dropped (with sloppy defeats and unnecessary draws) then we’d be right in the race.

The gap between us and the other top 3 teams has seemed mammoth at times this season but are we really that far behind?

It’s an old cliché but football really is a funny old game.

Because only a few weeks ago things looked so bleak for Arsenal, where we were minutes away from being 8 points adrift of Aston Villa.

So why have things suddenly started to look up?

The first reason is the arrival of a certain Andrei Arshavin. Seriously, this guy is quality.

He is truly a world-class player and I love him. He’s intelligent, energetic, full of skill and already has a handful of assists to his name. He’s also got an eye for goal (unlike previous midfielders who now warm benches in Barcelona) and adds a new dimension to this young Arsenal side. His arrival at Arsenal was a much needed injection of hope for the club and it’s no co-incidence that his arrival would coincide with our best form of the season.

The only downside is that we can’t use him in Europe, because he has the ability to make the difference in these kind of games.

But we also can’t ignore the recent form of Aston Villa.

While Arsenal have been solid in defence (although you wouldn’t think it if you saw some of the goals we concede), Aston Villa have been leaking goals and have literally been in free-fall. They haven’t actually won a game (in all competitions) since February 7th, when they beat Blackburn Rovers in the league.

Since then they have been knocked out of the FA Cup by Everton, threw away the UEFA Cup against CSKA Moscow and drawn 1 game and lost 3 in their previous 4 Premier League matches.

And this weekend they have to face Liverpool (who are as of writing trailing 3-0).

Then there is the faith Arsene has put in his players.

Bendtner, Song, Denilson, Diaby and Eboue have been the main focus of debate among Arsenal fans and I guess that even now most people are still undecided about these particular players.

Eboue has to be one of the most infuriating players Arsene has ever had during his time at Arsenal. We know he explosive pace and has the ability to take on players but his form has been too inconsistent. He is certainly the player with the most highs and lows this season and you just don’t know what you’re going to get. His form of late has been good though so that would have kept most fans onside, for now.

And I’ve always liked Nicklas Bendtner.

I can’t fault his workrate and he is far more intelligent than Adebayor. He is more of a team player and while his touch can be poor it’s still better than the Ade’s. And the key for me is this kid is improving all the time and is hungry. On the other hand it seems like Adebayor just can’t be bothered anymore. His body language and behaviour haven’t been the best and since his pay-rise it would appear that he has lost his desire.

But hopefully he’ll prove me wrong when he returns and goes on to help Arsenal finish the season strongly.

How about Song, Denilson and Diaby?

Personally, I’m not a fan of Song. As a squad player I think he’s adequate to fill in now and then but he’s just not good enough for Arsenal. When you talk about players like Cesc and Arshavin then Song isn’t really fit enough to clean their boots.

Denilson is a tough one, but overall this season I’ve been impressed with him. Whenever I’ve watched him play he’s been solid and done a job for the team. Not very glamorous but keeps the side ticking over with simple passes and protecting the back four. It’s not his job to make things happen so to an extent some of the criticism he’s had is unfair. He’s still very young and you can see that Denilson is a player who will improve with more experience.

And then we have Diaby. I’ve liked him when he’s played out wide or in the hole because he’s not afraid to shoot and he has the ability to pick out a dangerous pass. I think he’s a good player but you wonder where his place in the team is if Cesc, Rosicky, Nasri and Arshavin are all fit.

The final thing to say is thank you Arsene for setting up a potentially exciting end to the season.

Because during the first half of the campaign I (like many others) doubted the ability and desire of this current squad.


26 thoughts on “How Has Arsene Turned It All Around?

  1. Hysteria is what derailed Arsenal’s season. We actually started the season well. But we had a couple of bad results, and everyone went crazy.

    The team had to swim against very tough negative currents for most of the season, as well as getting hard-hit by injuries.

    What was always missing was faith and maturity from too many fans.

  2. if you listen to wenger he tells you why it has turned around – he himself says that the biggest difference is psychological. yesterday he said “like many of our games this year we have spent time preparing mentally for this one”. What Wenger has done is to focus on psychology and back his players during difficutl times. and I agree that arshavin makes a big difference

  3. I would not start counting any chickens yet. We have been up and down, stop start and round the bend this season. The wheels could so easily fall off (again). Lets have this sort of post at the end of the season when all has been said and done!

  4. The fact is Arsenal haven’t won anything yet.

    Patience is the key with this current Arsenal side and the problem was that after a simply fantastic season last year (which ended poorly in the end) gave Arsenal fans hope for the future.

    Wenger has been building a new side since The Invincibles and maybe people were disillusioned when two of our most influential players, Hleb and Flamini, left without being replaced. And to an extent our inconsistent form during the early part of the season can be attributed to that.

    If Arsenal once again falter as the season comes to a close then fans will be disillusioned yet again. Football fans have become more impatient than ever and a 4th consecutive season without silverware will once again bring out the doubters.

  5. I was taking all this in, until you started to comment about Alex Song. You haven’t been watching recently, I guess. Song has been playing very well and does a great job in the defensive midfield area. Watching Liverpool paste Villa today and thinking about how important it is to keep a check on Gerrard, I remembered just how effectively Song kept him quiet at The Emirates a few months ago. Song has a little way to go to reach Mascherano’s level but he is young and is improving very fast. He is definitely a player who can fit in at Arsenal. It is dumb to compare him with Fabregas and Arshavin, who play a much more eye-catching role but just take note of how effective he is in the less glamorous, defensive role.

  6. ok lets get one thing right everything was correct till u started loosing the plot about adebayor because he hasnt been on point this season ur doubting him because of his wages that is just terrible as for song he still is young and OBVIOUSLY you cant compare him to cesc, nasri, rosicky, arshavin but then again you cant a fullly attacking midfield so he will be replaced by 1 of the four during a game and 2nd he is a different player he is a defensive midfielder/center back as for denilson i think and believe that he will be a truly worldclass player in the seasons up and coming eboue i really like alot very fast, tricky, committed and beliefs more than the fans and as for as ARSENE WENGER nothing to say other than “STAY FOR LIFE”….and really and truly I fell in love with club because of him really when he came into the game he had the biggest impact straight away he is uncomparable to any other manger and GENTLEMAN and have just read a comment from the chief executive officer Ivan Gazidiz who has said that Arsene is welcome to stay at the club forever and how he hopes to keep him at Arsenal for a very very longer time as he has built a team and younger team up coming and i personally want to see him admiring success and joy with this club and players like there is no tomorrow and i really LOVE THE GUY…..
    …………………ARSENAL + ARSENE WENGER FOR LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. in my opinion, arsenal slump mainly because of injury and certain lazy striker name adebayor. its not coincidence that our best form of the season came when he out injured. that give chance to bendtner to play more and while he missed a lot of chances, he keep on getting into goal scoring position which is the 1st thing to do to score goals, so eventually the goal will come as we seen in past 2 weeks. second because our key creative players out injured leaving nasri all alone to do the job. the way we play, its never enough with only 1 creative player, we need 2 or more and that’s where the signing of arshavin came at the right time. i have to say, with his quality, he can carry any decent team to win trophy, just like he did with zenit.

  8. I have to agree with Adebayor, that guy is a liability and thinks he’s bloody Thierry Henry for fucks sake. Do you think it’s a coincidence that our best run this season hasn’t included Adebayor? Anyone defending him just doesn’t understand football at all.

  9. I’m a bit undecided about Adebayor, as he carried us last season (yes, remember?). But, this season he has been poor. He is much more of a threat to defences than Bendtner (just ask Terry & Ferdinand who named him as the player they least like to play against). Guess we’ll just have to wait & see. If he plays in the Champions League, I think he could make the difference.
    As for Arshavin, well I went to the Blackburn game, and bought my number 23 shirt, and to my absolute delight the little guy played a blinder. He will be awesome alongside Fabregas, Walcott, Eduardo, and Rosicky (yes, I think he will make it back, and will potentially be dynamite).
    Song & Denilson just get better, and we don’t piss money away like certain other teams in London, we just nurture our exisiting talent. It’s admirable, no other way to say it.

  10. Ade is better than Bentner, Song is MUCH better than Densilson. Diaby attempts to play like Messi, this guy is a time bomb as he would give away possession cheaply in the dangerous area. Watching him play always worry me.

  11. The problem is still the defence.I don’t think any team in the epl or cl can live with Liverpool currently.They are like like a tsunami.I doubt they can keep up this tempo week in week out for the remainder of the season.
    Last season the gunners were hit by similar performances in the carling and fa cups.
    Question is if the gunners are confronted by a high tempo team what can they do.The gunners need time and space and these vital ingrdients will not be available when liverpool and similar teams play Arsenal.

  12. Bullsh*t. Can’t lay off your anti-Ade mania can you? We started the season well with Ade knocking them in regularly including a hat-trick against B/burn. How quick you forget. Despite two prolonged outages due to injuries, he is currently or 2nd top goal-scorer, with 12 goals in all competition. Guys like you are hung-up because Ade seriously considered a better-paying offer than he currently has at Arsenal. Even though he decided to stay, you guys refuse to accept that people who are paid to make these kind of decisions, think Ade is worth more than you armchair pundits concede. Grow-up, sonny, Ade will be back in the 1st XI because Arsene knows that he brings more to the table than mere goal-scoring.

  13. Mate you got Song all wrong. He has been a huge improvement in the last few months and your analysis on him is harsh to say the least. He has been great in the FA cup and has bossed the midfield at times.

    I agree with you on Bendtner though, i have always liked him and i think that he will become most consistent with age. You can see that he has finishing ability, but he needs a few goals at home so that he can really become confident in front of the fans.

    P.S Arshavin has been one of the reasons for the form of late too!! Go on ya little russian genius !!!

    Gooner 4 Life!!

  14. Imagine when fully fit Cesc, Eduardo, Walcoot, Ade, and Rosciky back. What Arsene need to do is keep this team for next season, don’t sell any player next season. I think next season it’s time for us to enjoy the fruits from the seed we planted.

  15. Hear hear Vicky Crescit. Alex Song is putting in some monster performances lately and has bossed the midfield. Next season I feel he will flourish in the DM role. The author is a fool to compare to Fabregas and Arshavin his role is different yet he too can have a pop on goal and has provided some lovely backheels and assists. He’s only 21 ffs! In 2-3 years he will be best holding midfielder around and a very capable centre back when paired alongside a taller compatriot such as Djourou.

    Fabregas has not played well since Flamini and Hleb left. Flamini was a fluke, a guy playing out of his skin when his future looked bleak to secure employment elsewhere. He will never replicate last years form. As a result of Madman Flamini’s antics (and recklessness, remember how many needless free kicks he gave away?), Fabregas was allowed plenty of time and space to play his pass. I believe teams have slowly cottoned onto the fact if you close down Fabregas and ill afford him time and space then you can stop Arsenal functioning because our focus was always through him. We were luckly we had Hleb last season (people just don’t appreciate his creativity and ball retention, he really should’ve been played centrally to flourish) as he often brunt the burden of the creative work where Fabregas failed.

    And this is my point. The premiership is a fast and hard game of football. I don’t think Fabregas has enough pace, goal scoring ability and ability to play under extreme pressure. He will never be a best player in the world just like Iniesta or Xavi never will who I both regard as better. When I look at Denilson, Diaby, Nasri and Ramsey I see CREATIVE midfielders but with defensive solidity. We can afford to offload Fabregas because I believe these players will be better than him next season. It’s no coincidence that our best form is as a result of him being injured.

    Eboue is a very good player. What spoilt him for so long was his theatrics. I think the booing has finally made him realise what made the fans so angry. Anways, he seems to have turned a new leaf and risen his game as a result. He’s put in some very good performances lately and I like the versatility his brings to the squad. Also when he and Sagna combine on the right flank our right is rock solid.

    Adebayor is a waste of space and a joke of a centra forward. He will never score 30 goals in his life ever again. Bedntner will. Bedntner must be kept at all costs. Tall, skillfull, powerfull centre forwards are a rare breed indeed and Bedntner will soon be regarded as one of the best in the world. Once those nervous missed chances turn into goals we will all be waxing lyrical praises about him.

    Sell Adebayor in summer. No need to buy any strikers. Make Bedntner first choice and promote Jay Simpson (who I also have faith in – he seems to be of the rooney type of centre forward with pace, power and determination but with more discipline hopefully!).

    I believe we can afford to sell Adebayor and Fabregas and not replace because we now have the personal to adequately cover for a whole campaign.

    I do hope Gallas doesn’t leave at the end of the season because I’m beginning to like him as both a player and a person, particularly because of the maturity and professionalism he has shown since his sacking as captain. I feel he is still a guiding influence and one of the leaders in this squad. For his sake, I hope we win the FA Cup and Champions League.

    Silvestre should be put into retirment. What a waste of time he was. It’s about time Wenger spent some big money on a big, strong and young defender. Like Rio Ferdinand sort of money. I would personally love to see someone like Christian Zapatta.

    We have Traore to look forward to next year.

    Still not convinced by Almunia. He’s always making mistakes, hoofing the ball up in the air or into touch with no aim or purpose when keeping possesion would seem a better option. He never seems to come out to deal with crosses or corners almost always relying on our centre backs to head the ball clear. Even when he does come out, why has he developed this annoying habit of punching clear and making everything seem so dramatic. Surely it’s far easier to just claim the ball and play it to a teammate rather than punch it clear and not know where it’s going to end up (more often that not it seems to end up playing to the oppositions advantage. I could go forever about the faults I see with him But realistically I doubt Wenger will ever buy another keeper to replace him. Secretly I’m hoping that Fabianski can usurpe Almunia from the No.1 goalkeeper spot. Either that or Almunia breaks both his arms.

    I would like to see a teamsheet of:


    Van Persie

  16. ‘Ole gunner’ and ‘Jack’ you guys got it spot on, others might think saying this is crazy, but i bet you that 30% of the setback we had was of the negative comments thrown at our players from their own supporters which had the psychological effect… i am not even living in the UK, and support arsenal more than the so called ” true gunners”…..

    i have not seen as many supporters or fans of any other club hit their players with as much critisism as the arsenal fans have done this year…. the sad part is when most of them hear this rather than react positively and admit they have been wrong and about time they react positively, they go on about bla bla bla bla for the sake of it ‘ being part of their nature i guess’….. come end may, whether we Miraculously turn this around and win the tripple (FA, league, CL) or we end up with zero titles, i will be standing infront of my TV clapping for the lads, cause i know there is more to come if not today….. then tomorrow……..

  17. Re Song……

    Yeah sure he’s been playing well of late, but let’s face it it’s about time, for too long Song has been guilty of poor lethergic displays in the middle of the park with little or no tackling coupled with no pace whatsoever, a great example of this would be the FA Cup game against Cardiff 4 Tackles 2 Free Kicks conceded nearly culminating in a Cardiff Goal. But as I say to be fair the guy has certainly upped the Ante of late!

  18. the key reason for our improvement has been due to the increase in experience of our young players. most of these have been playing in key positions. that is central midfield – Song, Den and Diaby have all come on a long way, and also up front – Nik B has really improved. other players have also improved. thats all there is to it really.

  19. You’re all dillusional, if it wasnt for Arshavin we’d have been in big trouble. A midfield of Song, Denilson, Diaby and Eboue wouldnt win the under 16 FA cup trophy (if such an award exists).

    Denilson will be quality in a few years and Eboue seems better as an impact sub. Diaby is great when motivated although he hasnt fulfilled his promise as a Viera lookalike. Song for me is a tricky one because he has shown his potential in a few games this year. Nonethless as a midfield combonation they are not up to scratch and for me cant turn a game. None of them would make the starting line up of any of the other big 4 teams. Its really as simple as that.

  20. I also think its is due to the returning of Injured players, aswell as Arshavin’s arrival.

    eg: Eduardo against Cardiff and Burnley, Walcott against Blackburn.

  21. hey!! Song has really improved in the last few games and i think he has come of age. No matter how much you criticize Ade, the results show for it – 30 goals in a season. u think thats easy? how many players did that last year? Ade has had fitness problems this season especially due to injury. but even at that, he has scored 12 goals. Last season, Ade scored in most of our big games. we must be objective and give it to him.
    As for you Jav, there is no playmaker like Fabregas in the EPL.


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