Monday, 19 September 2011

Defensive training for the next five days -Keown to return?

Morning Gooners.

After the weekend we've just had as Arsenal supporters it's hard to know where exactly to start this morning's post. I've tried not to think about football too much in the last 24 hours but it's been difficult as my mind wanders back to what happened at Ewood Park on Saturday.

We've been defensively poor for some time. Perhaps Arsene Wenger was  lucky when he arrived at the club to find a group of defenders in Dixon, Bould, Adams, Winterburn and Keown who knew what protecting their goalkeeper meant. And moving forward he lucked out when Sol Campbell decided to come down the Seven Sisters Road to join us.

Keown was still there after Adams et al had retired and the team still had the right attitude. But it appears since the links to the famous George Graham back five were removed, we've not been the same team. These guys were drilled on the training pitch. They knew what was expected of them. Do Sanga, Koscielny, Mertesacker and Santos know what is expected from them? Do you think they had been spending Thursday and Friday practicing how they would deal with free kicks and corners?

I would very much doubt they were. From information I've been given in the past, very little - if any - defensive training takes place at London Colney. How can that be good for a set of players who have never played before?

The Graham era saw the back four drilled and drilled until they were sick to the back teeth of defending corners. Yes, the training may have been boring but it succeeded in getting results. It is something that isn't bothered with in preparing for games it seems these days.

Would Santos have been playing Yakubu on if he'd been drilled into stepping out at the right time? Who knows at this point in time and we all know mistakes happen. But I do wonder if the players actually care or fear what Wenger might say/do when they do make errors.

Did Alex Song get fined for his three match ban for standing on Joey Barton? Was Gervinho fined for being suspended for being sent off? Is there any punishment for players who let their team mates down? Would extra training be on the menu today for the first team squad because of what happened on Saturday?

I'm of the opinion that everything at Arsenal is too relaxed. Not enough people take responsibility for what goes on. Be that for losing your man at a corner or being booked for a stupid off the ball foul. And do the players fear Wenger? I doubt it. Will the players have been worried about going back into the dressing room on Saturday after that capitulation?  I doubt it.

I don't want Arsenal to be an unhappy place but I do want there to be some order. And I want the manager to be the one to hold the power.

After the game on Saturday the manager turned his ire on his players saying that the performance wasn't good enough. It is not often the manager picks on his players especially in public and without naming names they'll know that what happened out on the Ewood Park pitch isn't good enough at a club like Arsenal.

We need to move on quickly from what's happened. The team need to find some consistency and work hard for 90+ minutes. The result can't be changed but the mindset can. This defence needs to be worked hard this week because we know what's coming our way on Saturday. For all their nice football, Bolton know how to mix it up and we've got to be ready.

There is talk of Martin Keown being asked to return but I think that's wishful thinking at the moment.

In the meantime we'll have to get a group of players ready for tomorrow night's game with Shrewsbury. It will hopefully be chance for some of the younger players in the squad to show the manager what they can do.




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