Monday, 18 March 2013

Mertesacker reveals secret training ground meeting -Wilshere's example shines out to teammates

Morning Gooners.

Well it's all come out in the wash. As I eluded to in yesterday's post, a sit down meeting a London Colney between the players has gone someway to making our defence a bit more sturdy.

Per Mertesacker has revealed the players studied the DVD of their woeful defending at White Hart Lane and made a decision something had to change.

Of course two clean sheets doesn't suggest that all our problems are now solved after the manager dropped Thomas Vermaelen and Wojciech Szczesny to the bench. They are still two fine players who have a lot to benefit this team. However at the moment they've been removed from the firing line for their own safety.

Lukasz Fabianski had been impressing Arsene Wenger in the weeks leading up to his recall to the first team, while Szczesny's form hasn't been what is expected of an Arsenal number one. However even the manager doesn't know who will start in goal for the club next season. It's strange to think that our two Polish goalkeepers might not be at the club after the summer.

I believe that Szczesny will still be wearing an Arsenal shirt come August, but this summer might see the signing of someone who will provide him with stiffer competition than he's ever faced before. For Fabianski, the next nine games are the chance to cerement in Wenger's eyes that he should keep him on for another season.

To me Thomas Vermaelen hasn't been the same player since he was given the captain's armband following the greedy badger's sale. His form has been terrible this season and it's a surprise it's taken as long as it has for Wenger to bench the Belgium international.

Quite where his future lies is unclear. But you can bet your last pound that his agent Kees Vos will have spoken to the best clubs in Europe about his client. Much in the same way Vos hawked the greedy badger last season.

Mertesacker told the media:
"Sometimes as a player you have a different view and you can’t believe what we did as a defensive unit. Sometimes you need to learn from games and that was very important for us. 
"There was a lot of room for improvement after the Tottenham game – we saw a lot of things on television. Sometimes we didn’t choose the right direction and we just lacked a bit of defensive work as a unit. 
"There were a lot of situations where there was no pressure on the ball and the back four was not prepared for any balls between us. To cover each other, that was the most important thing we learned."
While it's encouraging to see the team defend as a collective, I think there has been too many false dawns before. We often start playing the pressing game for a few games only for some of the players to give up on it because they aren't fit enough to keep it up for 90 minutes every game.

I've often believed that the first line of defence is your attack. If they are pressing and closing the ball down then you are some way to winning the match. When Jack Wilshere plays behind the striker his behaviour in  closing the ball down becomes infectious to the other players. Probably because they don't want a telling off from Jack.

Once the attitude spreads throughout the team, no one can stop doing their job. If they do they know they can be easily targeted by their team mates or dropped by the manager. I think it was telling what Theo Walcott said yesterday about the team's communication with one another... the gloves are definitely off.

We were given a boost from a result in yesterday's game at White Hart Lane. While we have won back to back games against Bayern Munich and Swansea, our neighours have suffered back to back defeats. Should we win our game in had against Everton we'll be within a point of them. Things are starting to get very interesting in the Champions League places.

That;s it for today. Back with more tomorrow.

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