The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the Goonersphere this week

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0. Arsenal vs Man City | Tactical & Opta Statistical Preview via

“One good thing to emerge from the QPR game is that it may have been a wake-up call at just the right time. Vermaelen will have to reign in his impetuousness against the likes of Aguero, Nasri and Silva because if Zamora and Taarabt were able to manipulate him that well he could be in for another bad game. Song and Arteta won’t be allowed to ball-watch anymore as Yaya Toure’s runs through the midfield will need to be tracked. Mancini may well turn to Pizarro and combining him with Toure could really give Arsenal a challenge. Song will also need to return to his positional covering, especially of the inexperienced Kieran Gibbs who will need to push up at just the right times.”

On the plus side. they have lots of nice things to say about Rosicky vs Silva

1. “M’Vila…Be careful what you wish for.” by @goonerdave66 stirred up another Shit Storm this week. So you think you want M’Vila…but who or what are you willing to give up?

“…but be careful what you wish for. At the very least it will mean no game for Ramsey, Frimpong and Coquelin, but it may mean they need to be sold or indeed they may look for transfers.”

On the other hand, M’Vila does look quite tasty as a DM, as these 2 videos show:

M’Vila vs Lille
M’Vila vs Germany

2. The Where’s Busquets Tweet via @Englishpaul

3. So you think you understood the 4-3-3, eh?! Barca and the Busquets Role:
Parachuting Into Defence: The Busquets role
via @BabakGolriz

4. Flair or Ware? by @thedanielcowan

“I want Arsenal to win trophies as much as the next man but like my fellow football lovers in Newcastle I want to be entertained first.”

“…and I’ll get some right stick for some comments I’m going to make in this article but probably none more so when I say that Barcelona bore me.”

Amen, brother. Amen! That team is one Genius north of being a ticky tacky practice circle.

Oh, but what a genius he is. And just in case you haven’t seen him recently. He’s gotten better. Much better:

5. Eric Cantona’s lunch: From The Times this week.

6. Bacary Sagna, 200 Not Out: A Tribute to the World’s Best Right-Back via @ratanpostwalla

“Unsung Hero: Defined by as “a person who makes a substantive yet unrecognized contribution; a person whose bravery is unknown or unacknowledged.”

Image via Arsenal Collective

“He is lion-hearted, quick-footed, mentally alert and a relentless thorn in the opposition’s side at both ends of the pitch.”

7. Reason to hate Piers Morgan #3,107. Reason to like Gary Neville #12.

8. Apparently, Footballers are not only, NOT THICK. They may be IN THE TOP 2% for Intelligence. (Or, why Arshavin was always seen with a copy of Crime and Punishment tucked under his arm.)

“Researchers at the Karolinska Institute In Stockholm analysed the cognitive performance of footballers in Sweden’s top flight as well as a lower league and concluded that the players who scored most highly in the test tended to score the most goals.

(Of course, there will be exceptions.)

In addition, top division footballers outperformed lower division ones and footballers as a whole were in the top two percentile for the population by this measure.

The measure the scientists used was broader than IQ, taking into account the players’ creativity, cognitive flexibility, working memory and processing speed.

One of the scientists involved in the study, Torbjõrn Vestberg, was not surprised by the findings.

“To be a footballer you must have physical ability and speed,” he said. “But that doesn’t help if you don’t have a brain that knows what to do.””

9. On the other side of the Cognitive Coin: Concussions in “Soccer”. A fascinating and effing scary account of the hidden injury prevalent throughout Football via ESPN:

“Each weekend, at least one Premier League player takes a hard shot to the head. Sometimes he is removed from the game; sometimes the team admits he was concussed – but never do neurological experts inspect a player who goes down after a head-to-head collision, an inadvertent elbow, or a meeting with a keeper’s fists. We now know that concussions cause lasting damage, have been strongly linked to depression, and have ruined countless lives and careers. For what?

A suggestion on how to end it: Any player removed after a head injury is not allowed to return to the game by a doctor, but can be replaced without charging the team a substitute.”

10. For those who say, Arsenal needed to be more focused during training, I give you:

via Stuart MacFarlane

11. Arsenal legend, Sol Campbell, urges Wenger to bring in outside voices. He thinks Wenger is too stubborn: Arsène Wenger needs to rejuvenate squad and backroom staff at Arsenal

An interesting, but highly flawed, opinion piece. I think I had an issue with almost every statement Sol makes. Still, I enjoyed the read and he is a legend.

12. But while we’re at it, here is a classic Wenger quote on Sol’s move to Portsmouth, Austria.

“It is a big surprise to me because he cancelled his contract to go abroad. Have you sold Portsmouth to a foreign country?”

Sol Campbell had intimated that he wished to move abroad on leaving Arsenal in 2006 before joining Portsmouth, a move that left Wenger perplexed.


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