Zonal marking vs Man to Man!

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These are my thoughts on the Zonal versus Man to Man marking issue. Having been a Centre Half/ Sweeper in my day on Hackney Marshes I do have some experience. But my tactic was that if the opposition forward was going to beat me, I’d give him a right hander ha ha. Never ever got sent off!

There’s been a lot of debate about the Arsenal zonal system because we see it fail time and time again. Any form of marking system for set pieces has to be organised and disciplined for it to work effectively. Ours for whatever reason, seems a bit distant from effective.

Zonal marking has it’s benefits, it keeps defending players within a designated area and defenders don’t fall into the trap of following a player out of the defensive area. However, the downside is that it gives a lot of space to attacking players to get into scoring positions, as we saw demonstrated by Andy Carroll at Upton Park.

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Man to Man marking on the other hand, keeps defenders close to a designated opponent and space is restricted for attackers. The downside is that defenders can be drawn away from the defended area by an opponent.

Teams are aware of the systems used by opponents and can exploit the weaknesses of either system, therefore, the trick is to train to be disciplined in any particular system used. This has to be done in the training regime. However, all systems need a leader in defence to organise the defending. I watched the Leicester vs West Ham game and focused on Wes Morgan at set pieces, he was shouting at his players, organising and telling them what to do and consequently, they are very good at defending set pieces.

These are the two most important areas where the Arsenal are failing, organisation and a leader to keep the players disciplined.

I personally don’t see why both systems couldn’t be used at the same time. For instance, the four main defenders, FB’s and CB’s do the zonal marking, and a leader, let’s say BFG, organises the midfielders to man mark. With such a system, all areas would be covered. When Andy Carroll scored his first header against us…. no single player followed him to the back post and it was Bellerin who was left to jump with the big forward.

When I was playing on muddy fields at Hackney Marshes, we always had at least one FB on the goal line, sometimes two. Whilst myself and the other CB man marked the attackers and some of our midfielders man marked other players who’d come forward for the set piece.

I don’t think zonal marking existed in our day, but our man marking worked very well.

But we were disciplined and furthermore, my CB partner was captain and he was very verbal in organising the defending, shouting at players to mark this one, mark that one and that’s where it was successful. I’m not saying that we always prevented a goal being scored against us at set pieces, but I think we were probably more successful than not.

If I was the defence coach at the Arsenal, I would introduce the double system and train and train and train again until it was disciplined and organised. I would designate the captain to be the organiser of the system and be verbal with his commands. I would always have at least one FB on the goal line with the keeper and the four defenders would mark zonal, Coquelin, Elneny, Sanchez and Giroud  or Welbeck would mark man to man, with Giroud or Welbeck on the airial threat. Or even letting the BFG man mark the airial threat and someone else in the zonal area.

In my final analysis, we need a leader who can organise, we need to use both systems and it needs to start on the training ground.

What do you think? Who amongst you were defenders in your day? Who can think of a better way for our defenders to prevent set piece goals being scored against us?

We can al sit in our armchairs and criticise our defending at set pieces, but sometimes it is so obvious that perhaps we could be right.




The Spuds start to choke….

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The bastards up the road in the shadows of N17 started to choke last night and have practically handed the EPL title to Leicester (the GunnersoreArse second team).

What joy it was to read that Kane and Alli failed to make their mark against an average WBA side who we easily beat last week. However, Leicester have a tough game next weekend at Old Toilet so they are not yet champions, but the Spervs have the tougher game at Stamford Bridge, the Chavs don’t want to see the N17 dicks win the league so will probably go all out to win the game. So if the Spervs lose and Leicester get a point against the Red Mancs, the Foxes will be crowned champions on Monday evening.

We’re all saying that this should have been the Arsenal season for the EPL title but if the Spuds fail to win it, the same could be said of them, and even more so. They will probably end up similar to Liverpool where the scousers finished second in the 2013/14 season, just losing out on the title, and then returned to their normal mediocrity the following year.

The Spuds may well finish above us this season but what enormous fucking disappointment they will suffer from only finishing second. The despair will be far greater than the fact they’ve finished above us for the first time in 20 years.

So all Arsenal eyes will be on those two games this coming weekend, Leicester play on Sunday and the Spud dicks play on Monday.

When you think about it, Arsenal fans owe a massive THANK YOU to Leicester City, they’ve got in the way of the Spuds winning the EPL…. Come on you Foxes……..

King Arsènio and the Big Pot of Gold.

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…… there was a loyal and goodly King named Arsènio.

He ruled over the Empire of Arsenaldonia, in the Fiefdom of Highbury that was part of the Great Kingdom of Engeland. Arsènio had ruled since a time when poverty and strife had engulfed the hamlet, which is a very long time, but in his knightly endeavours he had brought prosperity and fame to the people of the region. He had led a mighty invincible army into battle against evil warlords such as Fergie the Red Nose and José the Favoured, son of Wanker the III. King Arsènio had also built a magnificent new Palace and improved the surrounding village. It was truly a wonderful Empire, a magnificent sight to behold.

And so it came about that Arsènio and his great Arsenaldonian army had conquered all before them, they were celebrated throughout the land and they brought joy and wonderment to the people of Arsenaldonia. He was worshiped by his people and became a legend.

The building of the Palace had come at a price however and King Arsenio found himself restricted by debt and was unable to continue to build his army with the best and bravest of knights.

As time passed during this period, some of the Kings most faithful and skilful knights became disillusioned and weary of his tactics and poor incentives, Sir Cescanus the Back Stabber, Sir Van Persious the treacherous, Sir Bacarus the Unworthy and Sir Clichymus the Disloyal were not content to stay and serve their King for little reward and so they searched the land for more adventurous warlords and Kings to serve under, they were bewitched by Overlords who would pay them handsomely for their services. Hence began an exodus of men who betrayed Arsènio for more gold and they were labelled as traitors to the Fiefdom of Highbury.

During the same period rich and evil Overlords entered the Great Kingdom of Engeland from far off lands and paid large sums of gold to some of the other fiefdoms of the land, enabling them to build bigger and better armies. These new armies, now with unlimited gold were then able to challenge the hold that Arsènio had over the Kingdom of Engeland and his weakened forces were soon over-run and defeated.

Fergie the Red Nose, José the Favoured and a new warlord named Manuel de Peligronius became the most powerful Warlords in the land, supported and funded by Rich Overlords, they won many battles and shared the gold proceeds between them and hence  leaving the goodly King Arsènio with nothing, his days of glory seemingly over.

Then a saviour arrived in the Fiefdom of Highbury, Stan the Wig of Usa, he was a rich and powerful Overlord from a far and distant land over the big sea to the West, he came with a very large pot of gold and the people of Arsenaldonia believed that their fortunes would take a turn for the better with his arrival.

This was not to be the case, instead it transpired that Stan the Wig was very evil and only interested in his own greed and far from using his gold to the benefit of the fiefdom of Highbury, he took the profit from the taxes for his own gain and advancement, increasing his wealth and  buying large feudal estates in his own far off land.

It wasn’t long before King Arsènios’ once faithful people started to turn against him and the rich greedy overlord Stan the Wig, there were rumours circulating that a large pot of Gold was being horded in the Palace and that Stan the Wig was manipulating King Arsenio. The populace were becoming more outspoken about the methods of the rulers and how they ruled, the taxes were being increased and they saw no benefit and the army of Arsenaldonia stayed weak and ineffectual, losing battle after battle, year after year.

There was the smell of revolution in the air. It permeated the Palace and the surrounding village, it turned brother against brother, it caused rifts in families and groups. The citizens started to refuse paying the taxes, they withheld their support of the army, gangs roamed the streets shouting obscene things about their rulers and the knights, even going as far as demanding the heads of good King Arsenio and devious Stan the Wig.

King Arsènio and his council of advisors were constantly telling the people that they had no large pot of gold in the Palace, that it was just a vicious rumour started by their enemies, gossip mongers and harbingers of doom. They told the citizens to be patient and in time things would get better, meanwhile, Stan the Wig stayed silent, hording his wealth and fleecing the local population with higher taxes and profiting from battles in Europe.

But the population of Arsenaldonia wanted glory and they started to talk about a possible uprising and so they turned to another rich Overlord, a man with even more gold than Stan the Wig, to lead them in a take over. His name was Usmanov the Ugly from Belarusia, a mysterious kingdom in the East. He had been an original supporter of King Arsènio and his army but had gradually become unhappy with the deterioration of the Fiefdom and the Army, he was a outspoken critic of evil Stan the Wig and was now ready to lead the people to revolution and a take over. He promised the population that he would change the way things were run, he would invest his gold to make the army powerful again and bring back the glory and wealth to the Empire of Arsenaldonia.

And so it came about, revolution ensued, it was vicious and bloody, it tore the region apart, and a few years passed before Usmanov the Ugly was finally victorious. King Arsènio was deposed and Stan the Wig returned to his homeland with all the gold he had accumulated.

A new King, Anonymous the Unknown, was crowned and a new army was rapidly formed. The region settled down and awaited the glory…………….. but nothing happened, the army had been hastily put together by the new King Anonymous using much of the horded gold and under the spell of Usmanov the Ugly who wanted it done his way, and thus they continued to lose battles and so even more gold was invested but to no avail, the army was a shambles, full of mercenaries who had been bought to fight in the army but they were only interested in being paid handsomely in gold, not the glory, so the taxes rose even higher and eventually the citizens of Arsenaldonia found out that Usmanov the Ugly was in fact an evil sorcerer, no different than Stan the Wig and he was sharing the profits and the taxes with the new King and the council of advisors.

The region decended into ruin and poverty, the magnificent Palace fell into disrepair, the streets were filthy and running with effluent, and pestilence spread throughout the Fiefdom of Highbury. A temporary King was appointed by the people, David of Moyes, but he was not of the knightly calibre of the goodly King Arsènio and it wasn’t long before the Arsenaldonian army were eventually condemned to a land where they became just ghosts of their former selves, battling against lesser armies from Fiefdoms such as Morecombe, Hartlepool and Wycombe.

Usminov the Ugly fled the Great Kingdom of Engeland in great haste with very large pots of Gold, never to return and the people of Arsenaldonia were left without the glory they had wished for, infact, they were even poorer than before the revolution and were left wondering whether they had made the right choice……………………. and then a great sage  visited the Fiefdom of Highbury, a wise and mystical man called Northbankious the Sixty -Niner, from Avignonium, in the Kingdom of Francophilia, and he travelled the length and breadth of the region and he preacheth  with great conviction to the people……………”my friends and fellow Arsenaldonians” he said,  “in the future, be careful what you wish for………..”

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NOTE from the Guv’nor: Starting today the GunnersoreArse blog will be a Leicester City blog until the end of the season, anyone who disagrees is truly not an Arsenal supporter of the right calibre so you can Piss Off. Come on you Fucking Foxes……







Sanchez vs Baggies… the stats!

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* Possession: Arsenal-Lots WBA-Not a Lot

* Shots: Arsenal-Loads WBA-Not Loads

* Player Ratings:

  • Cech: Stayed in the Goal twiddling his thumbs
  • Bellerin: Played and ran mucho mucho
  • BFG: Played and headed the ball quite a bit
  • Kos: Defended and went down the right wing once
  • Monreal: Played on the left
  • Elneny: Passed the ball very often
  • Ramsey: Tried too hard
  • Özil: Played, stood still quite a lot and should have scored
  • Iwobi: Played, played well but should have passed quicker
  • Giroud: Sat on his arse quite a bit looking at the ref, didn’t score
  • Sanchez: Had a FOR SALE sign printed on his shirt, scored two fantastic goals.

* Overall Performance: Above their average.

* Crowd: Mainly subdued, sang a bit but not enough.

* Atmosphere in the dugout: Stressed and worried.

* Wine consumed: 75cl Rosé de Provence… chilled.

* Trips to Toilet: 3

* Food consumed: Quarter piece of cold pizza.

* 69ers overall satisfaction: 85.0256%

* 69ers general physical and mental state at end of game:……… Happy and pissed.

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Arsenal…. do they have any fight left in them?

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As the Arsenal approach the end of the season questions are being asked about their ability to see a game through to the end, to fight until the final second. We’ve seen in the last two games a weakness in being unable to protect a lead, to be able to stay in control and to capitalise on possession and instead, allowing the opposition to get back into the game.

It now leaves us fighting for 3rd or 4th place over the last five games, one of which is tonight against West Bromwich Albion. A win this evening will leave us above Man City and in third place, a draw will keep us fourth but on equal points with the blue Mancs. Lose, and we will be struggling to hang on to fourth with the red Mancs just one point behind and gaining momentum.

The Birmingham outfit are safe from relegation so perhaps may not have any incentive to go for a win, but it is a Pulis side and he is not the type to sit back and let us cruise to an easy win. Expect them to perform similarly to Palace at the weekend, defend in numbers and hoping to score on the break.

On a positive note, the Baggies have won just a single game against us in their previous nine visits to the Emirates, but I don’t rely too much on stats like that, not with the Arsenal anyway. We have only won four of our last 13 PL games, just one more than the Baggies, so on recent form, we are on level terms going into the match.

As I thought prior to the Palace game, I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends in a draw, but my expectation is that the boys will find the incentive and the fight to win the game and continue similarly until the end of the season to secure the third spot. That is as much as we can now hope for this season.

On Sunday we travel to Sunderland, another park the bus merchant Fat Sam, and his team are fighting for Premier League survival. I’ll expect that to be tougher than tonight.

It’s Thursday night football tonight, perhaps it’s an omen and we need to prepare for it on a regular basis next season? Well that’s according to the Oracle named Kelsey!


Come on you fucking Gunners.




The Wizard, the Witch and the Shadow Dwellers.

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Once upon a time a charismatic Wizard called Ranieros came to middle Engeland, to a small sleepy village called Leicestershire, snuggled in-between green hills and an enchanted forest full of daisies, wonderful animals and buttercups.

In the village were eleven valiant gnomes led by a prince called Vardious, a simple man who worked with steel and iron and dreamed of being a hero. He was strong and skilful, the local villagers adored him and the gnomes worked hard and diligently for their Prince. The Wizard invited the gnomes to the village hall one evening and told them he had a quest, he outlined an adventure of such daring and danger that the little creatures sat there in disbelief, hardly able to envisage what the wizard was describing.

He wanted them to travel with him over the length and breadth of the whole kingdom searching for a Golden Chalice, a Chalice that would make them rulers of the Kingdom of Engeland, it would be a voyage where they would have to do battle against Orcs, Trolls, Ogres, evil witches, dark forces, rich wicked overlords with venomous armies and other despicable creatures. Evil beings that would use every evil spell and trick to destroy them and condemn them to the land of ghost dwellers, a land of long forgotten defeated Kings and Princes, a land full of armies that had once ruled the land but had been defeated by the evil ones, a land called the Championship.

Ranieros had to work hard with his team of merry men, the tiny gnomes gave their everything to find the Golden Chalice, against the horrors they had to face, the battles they fought, and no one worked harder than Vardious, he was an inspiration to his men, a prince of such valour that it inspired them to fight against all odds, to beat the warlords, the Orcs, the rich wicked overlords and the evil witches.

They battled against the most vile of creatures and they had been successful, they had fought valiantly and with honour, they had lost only one battle on their arduous journey, against a famous, long lived  warlord called Arsènolio, otherwise known as El Profo. He was a goodly King but a leader who had been stripped of his fortune by an evil foreign interloper named Stan the wig. Thus El Profo was left with a depleted army of good intentioned warriors but ultimately they were weak, and despite defeating Ranieros and his valiant gnomes, it didn’t stop the Middle Engelanders from surging forward with their quest for the Golden Chalice.

Finally, Ranieros, Vardious the hero Prince and the brave and valiant Gnomes were approaching the final few battles of their long and arduous quest. On the battle field called Upton, in the land of Tower Hamlets, ruled by Belic, an evil warlord from the mysterious East and his army of Hammer swingers, the Gnomes battled valiantly and with heroism, fighting against all the odds and an evil wicked witch called  Moss, known throughout Engeland as Moss the Inadequate. A little witch of insignificant authority, Moss the Inadequate used very dark magic and the power of FA, an evil, venomous entity that uses mysterious magic which can turn the balance of power in a battle with just the flick of a wand.

And so it came about that Moss the Inadequate was able to seriously injure Vardious the Valiant Prince during the battle of Upton, and consequently turn the balance of power to the benefit of the the Shadow Dwellers, the evil, wicked, knuckle dragging army of the Dark Northern Region of Londonium, called Tottenringham. Ruled by an evil Latino King named Maurichioni.They are the final evil barrier that the small group of heros have to face, win their final four battles and the Shadow Dwellers will lose and the Golden Chalice will go to Leicestershire, Ranieros the Wizard and his little band of Merry Gnomes will be victorious..

But Moss the Inadequate has inflicted a serious set back for the charismatic Wizard Ranieros and his little army of brave gnomes. They are now without their hero Prince, the odds have been changed by an evil wicked Witch, and the Shadow dwellers won the battle yesterday against the vicious Orcs of the badlands, on the battle field of Stoke, a vermin infested village of the most horrible people you could ever imagine, a vile and contemptible  people who use sorcery and every evil trick in the book to win, to injure and to kill.

And now it is up to the Valiant gnomes and the charismatic Wizard Ranerios to fight to the finish against the Shadow Dwellers and without their Prince Vardious. It will be a battle of epic proportions, one which will be remembered throughout living memory, a battle which will unite the Kingdom of Engeland against the evil Shadow Dwellers, a final, bloody battle for the Golden Chalice.

Will good win over evil? Will the valiant gnomes from Middle Engeland get the Golden Chalice? or will the wicked Shadow Dwellers from the evil darklands of Totteringham succeed?

To be continued……..




The Arsenal Post Mortem!

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I’m not really sure why I’m even writing this today! My anger and negativity towards my beloved Arsenal is fucking leaking all over the place.

Two games in a row where we were comfortably in the lead, in control of both games and yet we end up just about getting draws. The boys had so many goal scoring chances against Palace yesterday that it was criminal that they failed to score more than one. Add to that some atrocious defending and it was a recipe for disaster.

I said in my pre-match to expect a draw and that’s exactly what we got. Pardew came to defend and perhaps score on the break and we allowed them to do that, it sums up our season perfectly. It was so frustrating to watch and our tactics or lack of, just added to my disappointment.

I’m not going to analyse the game in depth, what’s the fucking point. We gave away two important points and now find ourselves in our usual fourth place….. but even that is at risk this season with United breathing down our neck.

Five games remaining and the team have to get maximum points now to avoid United overtaking us, they are just four points behind and just hitting a run of form. We entertain West Brom on Thursday, another manager in Pulis who knows how to park the bus and who could also come to the Emirates and leave with a point, although they did lose to Watford at the weekend.

We’ve had some poor seasons in the last 10 or 11 years but this season has frustrated me the most. It was a season when we truly could have won the EPL. With City, United and the Chavs all experiencing a bad season, we were possibly the team who could have taken advantage of their dip in form. OK, Leicester happened and they have got through the season so far with only three games lost, but we were the architects of two of those defeats.

But I’m going to leave it there, I said yesterday in the pre-match that we should leave the judgements about the season until it’s over and to keep behind the team till the end.

Now I know why I shouldn’t have started this post, my feelings are leaking like the fucking Titanic and it’s not good. Let’s just see if they can salvage something from the next five  games……………. let us keep some hope of a third place finish, because I think that’s what we’ll need to guarantee CL football next season.