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Let's take a leaf or two out of Barcelona's book, Arsène.

Arsenal; you are a cruel, cruel team to your loyal fans. You promise so much as the most celebrated entertainment side in the Premier League’s history.

Only now can I fully understand how exciting and symbolic the plans for Fabregas to stand alongside Van Persie and lift the Mickey Mouse cup really were. A mix up at the death of the Carling Cup Final saw Cesc drop his head and from the players bench as Martins prodded in the winner to Birmingham’s euphoria.

Commentators, bloggers and fans alike said words to the effect that “Oh well, there is still the triple…”, and so we all kept hope.

Barcelona once again delivered a painful reminder that Arsenal, whilst being the closest equivalent in European football to that of the Catalan entertainers, are short of matching their level over two legs.

Days later, Manchester United ground out a solid 2-0 win to dump the forlorn Gunners from the FA Cup. A combination of good tactics, poor Arsenal concentration in attack and defence, and the grit of Van Der Sar saw us dumped out of our third cup in two weeks.

This is indeed a familiar feeling at this stage of the season, and so I return to my original point: Arsenal are a cruel, cruel team to their loyal fans.

I have decided to consider to the changes needed to change Arsenal’s familiar pattern of disappointment into trophies. There is no question Arsene follow’s his own path and is his own frustrating yet brilliant man. However, the Barcelona template of high possession with wide attacking fullbacks has been followed for some time.

These are the changes Arsenal need to enforce to truly perfect the Catalan template:-

1. Arsenal need a front man with more pace to get in behind teams playing a higher line. Villa, Messi and Pedro all are extremely quick over 30 metres. Van Persie is a remarkable player and finisher but his lack of pace increases reliance on Nasri and Walcott.

2. They need fullbacks that offer a goal threat. Aside from very rare glimpses of the decisiveness in the penalty area Arsenal had under Ashley Cole, they offer no goal threat. With our skill players using intricate skill through the middle in the vein of Xavi, Iniesta a narrow pair of two banks of four is capable of frustrating Arsenal. Dani Alves will probably beat you if the creative players don’t at the Nou Camp.

3. Sign a Carlos Puyol, or a new Martin Keown. Sign a nasty, mean Vidic-like leader. I can see myself having a laugh with Djourou and Clichy in training. Abidal and Puyol? No I bet they’d be horrible. Roger Johnson may lack the passing flair of Koscielny, but he’s hard as granite and we’d have beaten Brum with him. I once read Puyol wasn’t born, he was quarried. I love that. Arsenal were infinitely more successful in the days of Bould, Adams, Keown. The sight of Abidal gripping van Persie round the throat in the Nou Camp made me ask, ‘Who is there to strangle Messi?’

4. Ensure the dominant squad nationality is English. Currently it is clearly French. Barcelona routinely play eight Spaniards in their team. Those eight often feature together in the national team. The continuity is one thing. The team spirit is another. The understanding they have of their club as an immense institution is another. Wilshere has been Arsenal’s most consistent player and emerging leader. He’s English and been at Arsenal since 9 years old.

5. Don’t reward mediocrity. Passengers at Barcelona who don’t cut it are not tolerated by Barcelona. Surely Diaby would be world class by now if he ever was going to be? Surely we can all see Rosicky has neither the physical fortitude nor ability to succeed as he threatened to when he arrived?

Come on Arsenal. Stop being cruel.

By ‘Red Detective’, follow me on Twitter @Detective82.

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Akash
Akash
9 years ago

Wenger need to look a himself and change must start from him. His stubborness has led us nowhere for 6 years now. What is so enetertaining about the football we play? A lot of the times we pass the ball sideways and our possession play has no penetration. When we play in the final 3rd we look short of ideas and it’s always one pass too many. Man Utd also play entertaining football but the play direct football. Effective football. Arsene never has a plan B. Arsene’s tactics are all too predictable. Fergie and Mourinho have him in their pocket.… Read more »

athlon29
athlon29
9 years ago

Yes, I agree. I think, there is a ogod basic, with Nasri, RVP, Wilshere, Vermaelen, Szczesny. The rest is not down to the nationality. I believe, there are players who believe that the Arsenal is only a step of their career, a kind of academy before a leap to Barcelona or Real Madrid, or Milan. That’s why Wilshere is our one of the greatest players now, and that’s why he was crying after our defeat in the Carling Cup final. Six years without any trophy, it’s hard to accept, but Arsenal want to choke their final but not unlimited source:… Read more »

matt
matt
9 years ago

Yes I agree entirely ….lets take a leaf out of Barcelona’s book…… They would not have tolerated 6 years of complete failure by their manager……. THEY WOULD HAVE SACKED AFTER ONE YEAR OF FAILURE!!!!!!!!! We should have done it at least 3 years ago! But the Arsenal Board are famous for having no guts and no love of spending money. WENGER MUST BE REPLACED immediately the season ends for us – by which I mean when we have no chance of winning the league which I fully expect to be when we have at least 3 match’s to play –… Read more »

Auld super
Auld super
9 years ago

Good points well made. I am a Barca fan and appreciate the fact that you managed to avoid all this bullshit about the ref and just admit the better side won. One thing I think you missed out on is the elephant in the room Wenger. He has to go for arsenal to succeed, if arsenal win nothing again this year I promise he will wheel out the old excuse of not spending big like the other clubs. This is bullshit, if the moneys there then spend it and stop hiding behind it. Time for gooners to admit the fact… Read more »

Steve
Steve
9 years ago

A fair summary. Both defence and attack are lacking pace. In defence, Gibbs had a nightmare against Man Utd, Clichy gives the opposition too much space and Sagna can’t find anybody with a cross. Often he can’t get the ball past the first defender, and if he does it’s unlikely that there will be anybody making a well timed run (or just one in the box against at least 3 defenders, and we don’t have Andy Carroll). As an ex-Centre-Half I can’t understand the way our players often dive in or run at a player and go sailing past allowing… Read more »

Stoney
Stoney
9 years ago

You lot are a joke. Ar5ena1 and their fans, the goonies, give it the biggun and deliver absolutely cock all again. It’s hilarious. All you ever do is blame officials and bad luck. Ever considered karma. Your years of cheating and diving catching up on you. Or perhaps it’s just that you’re spineless with an arrogant fool for a manager who just can’t admit when he’s wrong and that he’s taken your dead horse of a club as far as he can.

J man
J man
9 years ago

Its getting so disappointing now. year after year its the same. I still think we have a great chance to win the league but it will require injuries to disappear quickly and 110% determination, passion and grit otherwise im afraid my fellow gooners we could find ourselves finishing lower then 2nd. If we win the league is that a successfull season? of course it is because thats the trophey we all want the most but its gonna take a hell of a lot to claim it. we have 10 games to go so lets go an win those 10 games… Read more »

ole
ole
9 years ago

@Auld super: Oh shut up you dego loving f… Why are you on this page anyway, no one here is disgussing the barca game, the ref was at fault for that game. We are talking about six years of development. So shut it you fool…

Gunningooner
Gunningooner
9 years ago

i agree except for the “keep them mostly english” part. The spanish won the world cup, so its still fine to keep them as the majority – but the English just failed. Sure enough, the french did a bad job in the WC – but now laurent blanc has used the “passing game” in their playing style, so they are beating every1 (including england), but getting english players wont suit us at all – they are more of “long ball and chase” players, like john terry and wayne rooney. Theres a reason y they did crap together – because the… Read more »

dele
dele
9 years ago

i am not english i am a nigerian but this as always being on my mind. Wenger needs more english players on the squad. Atleast 70 percent english and not french as currently if the case.

Byo
Byo
9 years ago

You started by making some good points, then introduce xenophobia. Does a player have to be English to be good? And how many World and European Cups have the much vaunted English players(England) won? And how many so-called English players in the starting 11 does the top 4 teams have?

Keumars
Keumars
9 years ago

re: your point about our squad players who aren’t yet world class: Diaby, Denilson, etc… Remember Flamini? He was shite until the 07/08 season where he suddenly got to grips with his own potential and improved exponentially. I’ve seen Diaby play absolute blinders through the past 2 years but he’s been inconsistent. Blame laziness, blame injuries, blame whatever. He has the ability to make it, and I think he’s worth a shot. As for Denilson, I’m running out of patience… he’s alright, but too weak for the premier league. Which means he’s easily dispossessed and can’t challenge for the ball… Read more »

Mgooner
Mgooner
9 years ago

My patience for Wenger has already run out. There is no way a manager can remain at a top flight club for so long and yet win nothing. The most painful part about it is we are always nearly there. But its the manager’s incompetence that eventually cause everything to collapse at the most important time. Liverpool might not have won anything in 5 years, but their managers have been changed over the time. Man Utd have been winning things over the years so there is no reason to sack SAF. Chelsea have too been winning things recently and they… Read more »

The Rookie
The Rookie
9 years ago

The first point is a good one. Walcott has been a big big miss. His pace changes the way we can tactically attack teams and how we force them to defend us. I think loaning Vela was a mistake. Arshavin is DONE. It’s a shame. The guy has totally lost his legs. Brilliant player. But he did himself a dis-service two summers ago (after his first season in the premiership) when he came in 20 pounds over weight. At his age, it is very difficult to get back to top condition once out of it. He has never been able… Read more »

bc
bc
9 years ago

The problems firstly lie with the manager he buys motivates and selects the players. Then there is the fact that over the last 3 seasons the players that we consider to be our best are simply not starting enough matches fabtegas 57% rvp 43% vermaelen 42% walcott 36%. Thirdly there is the quality of the players that we are having to select due to all the injuries Almunia fabianski eboue squillaci denilson diaby rosicky bendtner arshavin are not good enough. add to that the likes of eastmond traore hoyte randall sunu watt Vela you have players who have gone on… Read more »

bc
bc
9 years ago

As for the British debate why not bartley cruise gibbs Lansbury ramsey wilshere walcott jet afobe aneke get them all in the squad more add some other English quality like cahill rodwell wickham chamberlain and some quality imports like hazard vertonghen reina gaimero mascherano melo van Der well

ole
ole
9 years ago

Many valid points here, and I will like to add the following points: Wenger has never been tactically blessed, even during the periode between 2001-2005 when we argubly had the best team in the world we didn`t win as much as we should. We won, but mainly because we had some super mega players, we don`t anymore. Wenger could never do what SAF is doing with utd this season with the limit that squad he has (very impressiv indeed). The fact that wenger is tactically weak rubs of on our squad, they don`t think tactically it seems, they have no… Read more »

amos01
amos01
9 years ago

the thing with arsenal supporters is the bitches you only support the team when the winning if the not winning you say some players are not goood enough arsene should be sacked but if arsenal go and win there remaining fixtures you going to start saying arsene is the best coach and that the players we have are goood enough the point of supporting a team is winning or losing your still backing the boys all the way is doesnt matter what happens u must all give them the support to go and finish the season succesfully and stop moaning… Read more »

Auld super
Auld super
9 years ago

arse0, lol

ole
ole
9 years ago

@amos01: Mate we all support the team and many of us for a long time. How long have you been supporting arsenal? Alan Smith played for arsenal, how many cards did he get and against whom did he get his last card, if you know this I will be pretty impressed? No arsenal fans a glory fans, if we were we wouldn`t support them now after six come seven years of drought, but it hurts and that is ok! At the game yesterday we sang our guts out, the players didn`t do their part, that sucks. We just feel wenger… Read more »

WhyMe
WhyMe
9 years ago

Lots of great points from everyone. The reality is that the available short-term solutions are very expensive. Apart from a serious leader type (although Vermaelen can be pretty Puyol-esque), that I think we could afford. Back up to Song, just get him in the dressing room. To compete with Citeh, Chelsea, and ManU we still need Wenger’s ability to over achieve on less money.

island gunner
island gunner
9 years ago

i,ve had it with this bunch of losers wenger change policy or fack off we need figthters not ball watches i hate it when these players let the opposition just waltz past them bloody hell barca showed what needs to be done cmon these guys just ain,t have a winning mentality ,this summer clear out pls including that prat wenger he must go enougn is enough too depressing to watch 3 down one left to go then what mr wenger still blamming some pitch or ref etc cmon wake up men only u seem to be in dreamland title with… Read more »

henry
henry
9 years ago

It’s time we stoped moaning about the Barca match and the ref. Song should have got sent off in the first match and messi should have had a penalty in the second. I dont remember Guardiola crying, moaning after the first leg about Song (he commited 5/6 fouls after the first yellow and should have got sent off). Guardiola accepted the defeat and said ‘we’ll do em’ in the second leg. Thats the mentality arsenal needs. For too long Wenger has found a scapegoat for his and the team deficiencies. and the thing that pisses me off the most about… Read more »

amos01
amos01
9 years ago

ole alan smith got only carded once in his career and i think we should bring jens lehmann back in he would be great experience for the lads his been the his done it and his experience would be great for whole squad a big boost it would be

PaulK
PaulK
9 years ago

There’s a very good chance we’ll win the PL and beat Man U at home in which case, unless a PL team wins the CL, we’ll have the most successful season of any PL team. So much doom & gloom is ridiculous. If the manager & players stink so much then 90% of the PL managers and players should be sacked as we’re better than all of them and roughly equivalent of Man U. Eventually all this negative blogging will have consequences, you’ll have your wish and Wenger will be fired in disgrace and you’ll all cheer. Then who are… Read more »

Barca_4ever
Barca_4ever
9 years ago

good points. its lot better to see another club at face value rather than using images that the media portray. im a Barca fanatic and 1 thing i can tell u is, all those “fans” who come here n bad mouth or brag about their club are probably not fans bcoz at least under the tutelage of Pep, Barca and its fans have learnt to respect their opponent; be it arsenal or levante. with that being said, i agree wit the article completely. when there’s money, spend it. wats the point in having a high profit from a football club… Read more »

nicky
nicky
9 years ago

It’s all very well to talk about the changes Arsenal need. The fact remains that there will be NO changes until the Summer. The need now is to stop this carping and paranoid nitpicking and give unqualified support to Arsene Wenger and the team. Think a bit over what the Club has achieved so far this term. The final of the CC, the last 16 of the CL, the last 8 of the FAC and we lie second in the EPL. We must be envied by 99.9% of the nation’s Clubs. AND we play the most attractive football in the… Read more »

WC
WC
9 years ago

@athlon29:

You’re extraordinarily wrong. Frank Rikjaard was in charge of Barca for a period of about 5 years where they won absolutely nothing. Since they won La Liga in 1999 they didn’t win anything again until the mid-2000s as the Galacticos era blew them out of the water for long periods of time. So your facts are inherently bollocks – do your research before you open your mouth. Barca kept Rijkaard on for all of his losing years and he eventually developed the backbone of the current Barca team.

WC
WC
9 years ago

@matt:

You’re extraordinarily wrong. Frank Rikjaard was in charge of Barca for a period of about 5 years where they won absolutely nothing. Since they won La Liga in 1999, they didn’t win anything again until the mid-2000s as the Galacticos era blew them out of the water for long periods of time. So your facts are inherently bollocks – do your research before you open your mouth. Barca kept Rijkaard on for all of his losing years and he eventually developed the backbone of the current Barca team.

Charlie
Charlie
9 years ago

Will you all just stop the whinging. Ridiculous post, let’s just copy the best team in the world and then we’ll be successful. No, having Lionel Messi would help and the fact is that their players are just that little bit better than ours but ours squad is young enough to get there. Also Barcelona has Mascerano to replace Busquets whereas Arsenal have nobody to replace Song. Brum won the CC, Barcelone will win the CL, Man U or Man C will win the FA Cup and Arsenal will win the league. Then i hope some of you whingers will… Read more »

Bob John
9 years ago

I am usually an optomist but with Djourou out for the season it leaves us with Squil & Kos. Can’t see Verm playing again this season (if ever). Think we will do well to stay in the top 4 now. All season people have been saying Arsene should play his best teams in the cups, when he does we end up with half of them injured!!! Then everyone moans!

french gooner
french gooner
9 years ago

PaulK I WOULDNT BOTHER TO REPLY TO THE IDIOTS ON HERE IF I WERE YOU!!!we lost ,were upset ,move on.no point in moaning about our players.people on here have forgotten what wenger has done for arsenal.he could have gone anywhere ,would have been given money to spend and would have had an easy life at real,milan or the french national team.arsenal are the future,why was wenger voted the best player in the last ten years?im sure if we win the premier league,every one on here will praise wenger!!! i wonder how much money other so called brilliant managers have spent… Read more »

french gooner
french gooner
9 years ago

sorry i meant manager lol (above)

Barca_4ever
Barca_4ever
9 years ago

@WC: Frank Rijkaard was the manager of Barcelona from 2003 when Laporta started his reign. the year before that, Barca finished 6th. Rijkaard had a rough start with a series of defeats but ended the season at 2nd place which was huge compared to the year before when there were 3 managers in a single year. Rijkaard won the la liga for the next 2 years; 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 and also the CL after almost 13 years. in 06-07 and in 07-08, the team slumped in form and was sacked at the end of the ’08 season. so @WC, you… Read more »

Charlie
Charlie
9 years ago

To those who want Wenger out it’d be like telling Michaelangelo 2 days before he finishes that chapel ceiling “sorry mate but Dave from the chippy is gonna come and finish it off for yer, no hard feelings eh, he’s a dab hand wiv da roller”. I know it’s hard being patient as a football fan but there has been a transformation in the club and how many clubs could build the best stadium in the country and stay at the top of the game while they independently financed it. It meant we had to look to the youth which… Read more »

IVERSEN
IVERSEN
9 years ago

@ole: well said. but i starting being an arsenal fan 6 years ago.. not because they won anything, but bcause i liked everything about them. i’m a new fan, but i dont feel i’m a glory fan just because i dont know your question mate

Sadgooner
Sadgooner
9 years ago

I miss Vermaelen 🙁 he’s the steel and leader that we need in the club. I was so dissappinted that when arsenal were getting dominated and our defence was failing everyone just looked around at eachother with nothing to say, no one was shouting at the team to get their act together as a Carragher would or I believe our Vermalen would. I really do miss him 🙁 Interestingly enough the last person I saw do that was Ignasi Miquel again Orient, I distinctly remember him encouraging the team and rooting them on…

stevie
stevie
9 years ago

Deflating to be a gooner. Tired of being Barcelona-lite. Tired of having a soft underbelly. Tired of having possession but no penetration. Talk about an innuendo of impotence! Arsenal’s not Spurs – and even them Spuds are having a laugh at our expense. Isn’t Arsenal a big club? If this goes on, there’ll be more empty seats at the Grove and a lot of disillusioned gooners who would rather not watch Arsenal choke at the vital step. Someone ought to give Wenger a kick. He must get rid of mediocre players and set higher standards – either that, or make… Read more »

ole
ole
9 years ago

@IVERSEN: Hey mate, He got only one yellow card and he got it in the 1993 fa cup final replay against Sheff wed. Andy Linnighan scored the winner in extra time. You are most deffinently not a glory fan;)

Leeromeno
Leeromeno
9 years ago

I have been Barca fan since 1992, when i saw my first ever CL final game, where the Dream Team won. There have been rough times ever since that, the humiliating defeat in 1994 final for example, the years without trophies. But in the end it will all turn around. I am sure the same thing will happen to Arsenal as well. Apart from Barca, i have always had a “favourite” from each other country as well. Juventus from Italy, Ajax from NL, Bayern from Germany and Arsenal from England. Unfortunately, at least it seems for me, the years without… Read more »

Joakim Löf
Joakim Löf
9 years ago

Ferguson once commented that Wenger only liked to buy strikers and quick offensive midfielders. I think it nicely sums up the problems of our team. Great offensive potential but then the lack of depth in other areas of the pitch just makes us subpar easily when we get injuries. I think the worst area now actually is defensive midfield. In most teams of our caliber Denilson and Diaby wouldn’t play big games and Song would be considered an OK player defensive-wise but a tad slow and in need of a quicker partner beside him. Wilshere would play but probably as… Read more »

GunnerMKD
GunnerMKD
9 years ago

we need a fast striker next to rvp, a strong DM(i`ve said it a lot of times, but i would love mascherano to come), gary cahill and someone like adriano from barca, who can play left and right full back. and can anyone guess what would have our season looked out, if we kept eduardo, gallas and with a fit vermaelen?

pastaface
pastaface
9 years ago

@Leeromeno My Barca colleagues and other fans I have met here don’t seem to be as honest as you. They say that RVP deserved the red card as he should’ve followed the rules.

Living in Barca, I like Pep alot but I find the club, players and fans to be rather arrogant and up themselves. But tides change from time to time and Barca won’t always be the force that they are now.

xx
xx
9 years ago

Right on the money on Cesc. Same applies to Robin Van Persie. He is slow and injury prone. We should replace Fabregas with Tiote, that monster of a player from Ivory Coast, paired with Song, with Wilshere in front of them. Anchor the defence with a tough defender like Birmingham’s Johnson. We should aslo replace Wenger with Frank Rjikard

xx
xx
9 years ago

Enough with the excuses. The stadium was built ages ago. What we need is a manager who can fill the stadium’s empty trophy cabinets. That manager’s name is not Arsene Wenger!

willie d gonner
9 years ago

center half was a dead cert in january window with these fools at the back now we will be very lucky indeed 2 win the prem but fingers crossed we can do it!!! people who want wenger out yer crazy wot he has done 4 this club i love so much is amazing keeping us in the top 4 all these seasons while building this stadium dont think any other manager could ever have done that glory days will be around the corner when he will eventually spend some cash he does know wot is going on remember he aint… Read more »

PaulK
PaulK
9 years ago

Willie, you’re dead on. All the other successful managers require huge spending we couldn’t support while we built the stadium. Now is the time to bet on Arsenal for next season…. Our moaning “supporters” are pathetic. We’ll win the premiership in spite of them not because of them. If we win they’ll still be moaning demanding for the coach to be fired. No other team has such supporters.

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