Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Five thoughts on Arsenal 1 Wigan 2

The weight of expectation on Chamberlain is bewildering
Considering I often complain about the crowd getting on players' backs, this might seem perverse, but the cheering for Chamberlain is ridiculous and unhelpful to the other players.

While the game was still going on with Arsenal on the attack, Chamberlain went over to the bench to get ready to come on. As he took his jacket off, there was a massive cheer from one side of the stadium. Apart from probably putting the players on the pitch off, it's hardly the sort of thing which inspires the players who are already out there. By all means cheer him onto the pitch, but don't treat him like the messiah.

I remember something similar when Theo first started having an impact in the autumn of 2007. And whatever you think about Walcott now, it's impossible to argue that he progressed as quickly as people hoped. Let's learn from this.

Gervinho is a peculiar footballer
For a guy who's in his first season in England, Gervinho's done okay. Not amazingly, but enough to hint at things to come.

But what's very odd about him is that the more he touches the ball, the less he actually seems to do. In his first few games, when he would drive for the byline and cut the ball back he had a real impact. Now he seems to do lots of stepovers, dribble in circles but be very undecisive about his final ball. It's a strange one.

Referees need to do more about timewasting
Fair play to Wigan, they completely deserved their win. But why the referee did nothing about the timewasting till the third minute of stoppage time is beyond me. Booking the player in the 93rd minutes is more offensive than just completely ignoring it. It wastes even more time, and you're still not going to show them a second yellow card.

Ramsey's understanding with Walcott is poor
I think a lot of the criticism of Ramsey is a bit like the criticism of Arshavin - you need the players around you to understand how you play. There were three or four occasions last night when we lost the ball, because Walcott didn't understand where Ramsey would run or play the ball to.

It's a bit of an odd one. Theo clearly lacks a brilliant football brain but he has an amazing understanding with RVP. Perhaps it's because RVP has worked out how Walcott plays, but Walcott shouldn't expect that of his team-mates. At times last night, his play was appalling, and yet it's Ramsey who will take the blame. Which is ridiculously unfair.

Why the need for a scapegoat?
However well or badly we're doing, many of the fans seem to love to have a boo boy. It was Eboue, then Almunia, then Denilson, then Arshavin, then Walcott, then Arshavin again and now Ramsey. I know the support has been good lately, but there's no need to criticise the team when they're playing, and it really doesn't help.

And it's then even more embarrassing when our fans criticise other teams' support.


Davi said...

I disagree with your comment on Ramsey. I'm certainly not one of those who thinks he's done very badly, but he's simply off-form. It's not a question of him not understanding walcott or anyone else. He's just struggling to get into games, taking a bit more time than he has, and making needless errors. It's not that he can't get these things right, it's just that he's not at the moment, and the negativity of the Arsenal fans towards him probably makes it worse. I think Vela was similar at times a year or two ago at Arsenal, when he was moved out to the wing, and didn't look so comfortable. I think Wenger destroyed his confidence for a time by selcting arshavin over him as a CF, and that translated with a lot of needlessly giving the ball away, which was perpetuated by the negativity of Arsenal fans towards him. Both players are more than capable of being quality arsenal players imo, and I would urge people to stop putting such negative pressure on young players - it's surely worse than putting the expectation on Oxlade or Walcott, because that is/was at least largely positive in tone.
Arshavin was similar in that respect, but it went on FAR too long with him, and he seemed to lose his motivation, which is certainly not the case with Ramsey, and is just unnacceptable for such an experienced player, who should have been leading the side.
Your scapegoat point is pretty powerful and sums up one of the major problems at Arsenal imo. (I criticise Arshavin, but I'd never boo him or blame him for all the lack of success over the past few years).
Also - Oxlade is a completely different animal to walcott, particularly the young theo walcott. This guy knows how to play football, and can make things happen already. In the early days, theo was absolutely useless 99% of the time, but just occasionally did something special (I had no idea people would call for wenger to bring him on). I can understand people wanting Oxlade to be brought on, I think since that United game, he's shown that he's ready and people think he can make a difference in these games - and I agree with them. But yes, it's a bit off-putting to have fans chanting for a player to be brought on during games.

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