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All About Arsenal’s “F” . . . er “B” Team

Another cup match, another chance to watch a conglomeration of talent that looks like it doesn’t give a damn. Frankly that is my assesment of the performance the group of individuals assembled on the pitch against Leyton Orient this past Sunday

Another cup match, another chance to watch a conglomeration of talent that looks like it doesn’t give a damn. Frankly that is my assesment of the performance the group of individuals assembled on the pitch against Leyton Orient this past Sunday.

While the first team swerves and verves its way through gutsy wins against Barcelona, our “F” team barely seems to be able to play against the likes of Leeds United, Ipswich Town or Leyton Orient without some sort of assistance from one of our star players.

We’ve discussed ad nauseum the problems with this group of players. It is frustratingly irritating to get hyped up for a match only to watch this cluster “F” of players stroll through a match like they have better things to do.

Frankly, I’ve fail to understand why these players are like this. Maybe it’s Nicky B who actually believes his own hype and can’t be bothered to move out of third gear against a team that is 50 spots below them. Or maybe Denilson, who with all his documented issues, just seemed to sit in the middle of the pitch turning left, turning right without so much purpose.

This time it wasn't Squillaci's fault

Alex Song couldn’t do much with what was there and neither could Sagna as both tried to muster some first team similarties with this group of malcontents. And to me that is what it is. This is a group of players that all think they deserve first team action. When the slot in as individuals and play along side Cesc, Nasri, Van Persie, etc, they are fine because the overall ability level is higher. But when this group of prima donnas comes together as their own unit, they simply don’t look like they could be bothered.

There is enough talent on this “F” team that clubs across England and Europe would want them. There is no reason why Nicky Barndoor, Marouane Chamak, Tomas Rosicky and Andrei Arshavin shouldn’t have made Leyton Orient look like an assemblage of school kids. No, they simply made them look like a patient Man United side waiting for the right moment to side.

It is often said in sports that good teams often play to the level of their opponent. That SOMETIMES happens with our first team. But in most cases they actually pull their head out of their asses and pull it together. I am not sure this “F” team has that ability. They simply seem to wait for someone from the first team to make an appearance and viola it gets sorted out.

Oi Nicky Barndoor - 2nd gear please.

It’s worrying for Arsenal and it should be worrying to the players. 

I am of the opinon that there will be a mass exodus of dead weight this summer. And I think the repeated cup replays is the driving force. Arsene Wenger is looking to have back ups come in and play with some level of consistency but also when they are together carry the Arsenal standard forward. It’s not happening with this group. It is happening with a lot of our players on loan. Players we have sent to the four corners of England and beyond are tearing it up (some aren’t but most are). They are all contributing for their loan squads and they will be coming back this summer.

Wenger is going to have some very difficult decisions to make and I can see the departures of Eboue, Squillaci, Bendtner, Almunia, Rosicky, and quite possibly (my more controversial pick) Andrei Arshavin. I am giving Marouane Chamakh one more season to see if he shapes up but if he doesn’t he should go too.

When Carlos Vela comes off the bench and scores the equalizer for West Brom, or Henri Lansbury, who doesn’t seem to stop scoring, come back they are going to offer Wenger real solid choices as “B” team players. Throw in the likes Ryo Miyaichi who is not only playing first team for Feynoord is actually tearing up the pitch every time he steps on it – the possible additions outweigh the subtractions – at this moment. Things obviously can change but with the lense currently affixed on now, it is easy to see that there is likely to be a massive overhaul in our back ups this summer.

I’d like to address if I can for a moment Andrei Arshavin. I don’t think anyone who reads and participates in this blog doesn’t know my long held affinity for the player. I was the biggest cheerleader for Wenger in bringing him in and I was biggest screamer of “I told ya so” on that magical night in Anfield. But I am beginning to think it may be time for Andrei to depart. (that comment caught me a lot of criticism from Arsenal fans via twitter on Sunday). First let me say my position on Andrei has been in the making since the end of last season and the bulk of this season.

I want to see more of this from this guy.

If I were to look at only the last few games, I would say he should absolutely stay. But overall I am of the mind that the EPL is not where his heart lies. If it is not back in mother Russia, I really think he would prefer Spain or Italy. I think someone of his stature and ability would thrive there.

Additionally, I think Arshavin needs to benefit from playing in his natural position. Something he doesn’t get playing out on the wings for Arsenal. Sure, most of the players on Arsenal – with a few exceptions – don’t play their natural spot. Especially our attacking players. Our attack is so fluid that players are constantly interchanging spots. This still doesn’t seem to suit the player.

I’d really like to see the joy return to Arshavin’s play. His verve when he enjoys playing is infectious, it is hard not to like him. But I think, for whatever reason, that joy is not visible.

Now, I had Arsenal fans question my “Gooner” credentials because I was critical of Arshavin. I was told how can we get rid of someone who got us the winning the goal against Barca and was the best player on the pitch against Leyton Orient. Well, looking at Barca I would say, that Manuel Almunia single handedly kept us in the first tie last season against Barca, long enough for us to get our head out of our collective asses and play the game. Still, as Sunday proved, Manuel Almunia is worthless hack and I want him gone. And if he was the best player on the pitch – he should’ve been able to torch Leyton Orient.

Ooops hold on – NO, I DID NOT JUST EQUATE ARSHAVIN TO A WORTHLESS HACK. I am saying one game even a string of a few doesn’t alter the perception that he is not happy coming off the bench and isn’t happy playing right now. I would love to be proven wrong on this. I’d love to see him continue his run of improvement and make me eat my words. I am not sure though that it is going to happen.  If it doesn’t and he continues to be hit and miss, I would seriously consider any non-English overtures to take him. .  . and that hurts me to say but I do want see him enjoy playing again.

Looks Like We Beat Barca Again

An interesting bit of news coming out today is that it looks like Arsenal have spirited away another 16 year old kid from the Barcelona Academy. “Cadete A” side and Spain U-16 international midfielder Jon Miquel Toral is reported to have agreed to terms with Arsenal to join them this summer.

Barcelona are reportedly furious. Which isn’t a bad thing. Frankly, they deserve what they get. After spending a summer of quietly talking up the Cesc saga, we quietly walk in and sign one of their talented youth prospects – again.  

Now they cry outrage. But unlike the catalan club, we operate within the laws of the game. It just so happens we know how to do it to our benefit. Barcelona, conduct their business very vocally. Their game is to unsettle the player by publically stating they want a player. And what player doesn’t want to play for the mighty Barcelona. It goes on to unsettle the club as rumour and inneuendo fly around. Everyone is supposed to capitulate because they are Barcelona. Most times they do. Until last summer.

In the mean time, Arsenal identify a youth prospect they want. There is no word of it until it has happened. Personally, I like our model of doing business better.

By the way according to, Barcelona’s Cadete A side will take on Arsenal’s U-18 at the Dallas Cup this summer in Dallas. Might be worth it go check this out.

Crazy begets Crazy

Until Szczesny joined the side, I don’t think any of us would think there was a player more “nutty” (in a very good way) then Mad Jens Lehmann. Well it looks like the two may actually get to work together for a bit. Mad Jens has come back to the London club to work on his coaching badges.

Jens will be working with most of the youth side but you have to wonder if him and the very Arsenal polish keeper won’t have a session or two together.

Speaking of Sneezy, the man is building himself up to Arsenal legend status off the pitch as well as on it. I follow Szczesny on twitter. And the kid is full of humour, bravado and confidence. But it is clear to everyone that follows him that he is Arsenal through and through.

He was obviously watching the FA Cup tie between Everton and Chelsea when the PKs were happening when this tweet appeared –

Tweeps, what do you think Ashley was aiming for when he took his penalty?

That was then followed by this tweet:

Is it a plane? Is it an aeroplane? No, it’s just Ashley throwing Chelsea out of the FA Cup
While you want the kid to tone it down and not get slapped on the wrist by the FA’s anti-twitter patrol – you got to love that he has opinions about Cashley as do most Arsenal fans.
Well, that’s it folks for now.
We’ll see you tomorrow for the battle of Brains versus Brawn.

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