Arsenal of Feeling 2

Arsenal. One word that brings so much out of me if I even catch a whiff of it blowing in cold winter air or that rainy spring funk right before summer. I want to continue on from my post last Wednesday. Thierry Henry left and Fabregas took up the mantle of being that exciting player we all wanted to see on the lineup each and every game. It was a lot to put on the shoulders of a teenager, but the incisive passes he produced are memories that reaffirm why younger me fell in live with this team. It was part part passing and part idealism of playing with youth. Who doesn’t believe in the concept of utilizing your own youth academy with young prospects to bolster the team? No sugar daddy came to our rescue. It was a youthful idealism matched by my own youthful reassurance that I knew what was best for the world.

Arsenal. You and I played on throughout the years. I was there for you through some humiliating losses and you were there for me every weekend morning. We completed each other in a very dependent day that was borderline vice if not for how healthy you were to end the week with. That’s why it tickles my wrong bone to admit that sometimes I’m just not excited by you anymore. We have fallen into a rut. The foreplay needs work and the same moves just don’t cut it anymore. It’s not because the moves are bad, it’s just the context around those moves has changed. Early on this season, the game against Swansea was a reminder of the Arsenal I had first fallen in love with followed by a taste of who she had become. The passing and movement in that game hit me with the nostalgic wand so hard my seat wasn’t enough to contain me, but then the defense conceded again and again. It was the same issue against Bayern. Oh captain, when you’re gone the boat gets torpedoed to shreds.

Arsenal. I have no doubt you will defeat Chelsea and bring back another FA Cup. I will be watching. The past few dates have been a mix of duds, effort and a different mentality to the bedroom. It might not be a well, but the faucet is back on. We have our issues but leaving is never an option. I will be there, eyes glued to screen, hand on the badge of my jersey, as the final flows on.

Chelsea 3 – Middlesbrough 0

Venue: Stanford Bridge

Why?: Boro getting relegated, Chelsea keeping lead over Spurs

Player Analysis

  1. Fabio – was always pushing up the field to help Boro on the attack,but he got caught marking the back of Alonso for Chelsea’s second goal in the 34th minute. According to StatsZone, 9/46 passes were in the attacking third. 7/9 of those attacking third passes were successful or 78%. He also created one chance and had 2/3 successful take ons. What’s interesting is that he only attempted one long pass and two crosses,without success. In a position based system, where his defensive shortcomings could be covered, he would be important in maintaining position for a team that plays in their opponents half. The reason being that 45/46 passes were short. This shows he keeps the ball moving while penetrating forward within the attacking third. His back should have been to his own goal as he attempted to mark Alonso as opposed to his back facing the Chelsea attack. Was he joining the Chelsea attack? I also noticed him get caught of position during the second half which forced him to rush back to his defense. 
  2. Alonso – was also pushing up the field to give Chelsea not only an extra man in attack, but his penetrating runs to the left post have them another passing land. Those runs made possible his four attempts in goal. 2/4 attempts or 50% were on target and one was blocked which shows his proficiency in front of the goal today. StatZone also has 3/4 of those shots inside the penalty area which reinforces how close those diagonal runs were to the left post. Another interesting stat is that all four of his shots were with his left foot, and to me, it seemed like Chelsea was more dominant on the left side of the field. The stats also show he received the ball 33 times. Just like Fabio he had 2/3 successful take ons and 12/43 passes were in the attacking third. A 28% conversion over Fabio’s 20% gives him the edge. The only attacking blip is that he failed to put in any crosses. Even with this last stat, it’s hard to nitpicky because he was a threat all match. Put this man up front!

Match Summary

It was a match Chelsea dominated by employing a high line that passed its way into the Boro goal by playing on their side. This game clearly showed that these Chelsea players can not only interchange positions, but that they also move up the pitch to spread defenses into opening up space. Fabregas was the architect who dictated what direction the attack would build and was their to receive the ball when it needed to be circulated once again to continue the attack. It’s fascinating how mechanical this team is and the FA Cup final against a newly employed Arsenal back three will be something to see.
Extra

Legs open, legs closed? That was the question of the match as Brad Guzan ate up there goals, with two going between his legs.

Clap, clap, clap your hands was the topic on hand as the Chelsea owner went from a 1st half yawn to happily clapping during the dying minutes of this match. Conte was also in a clapping mode towards the end of the second half.

John Terry made an appearance!

Press Release #1

Gael Oliver Arn-Talavera Becomes New Manager of Hibernian F.C.

In a bold move, the Leith based club appoints a newcomer to the job

 

By Gary Boathouse

May 13, 2013

 

Edinburgh, Scotland – Hibernian F.C. has a new man at the helm after a surprising move for the American born Gael Oliver Arn-Talavera. A self described passionate football fan, Gael is another manager who hasn’t played professional soccer. He was an editor and Content Marketeer before making the jump to professional football management.

 

Responding to the already mounting criticisms, Chairman Brown responded with “The club is looking for a fresh direction to move the club forward and Gael complimented our vision. Stability is needed if we are to challenge Celtic.” Gael continued, “My first priority is to keep the club in the highest level of Scottish football. It’s a new country and club, but we have a forward vision.”

 

Preseason is under way with the game against Dumbarton being on June 29, 2013. It is one of three games in preparation for the August 4 season opener against Motherwell.

Interview for Those Relegated Souls

Hello Readers,

It’s no secret that I play Football Manager. I find it to be a very rewarding game that will eat away countless hours of your life. With that in mind I can’t seem to pry myself away from progressing with the teams I play with. In this post I am assuming my current season with a second division team will end with us getting relegated to a lower division. That is the exact opposite of my goal for the season. Read along:

I: Tell me about yourself.

D: I’m a failed manager whose team got relegated to the 3rd division…

I: Last Place?

D: No. We were so close to staying where we were, but a bad run of form in the middle of the season and patchy form throughout the end condemned our relegation.

I:It’s all about form. Would you like to stay on as manager?

D: I would very much like to stay on as manager and bring the team back up to the second division. It feels like a take one step back and then take one step forward to end up where we started. It depends on the owner if I stay.

I: Seeing managers get more time to deliver results is something that should come back…

D: That’s the nature of the game today. It’s always been a results driven business, but that is inflated because of money. Money is plentiful to some in the game today.

I: You want to edit these results?

D: I can’t edit what has already happened. This isn’t a videogame where I can keep several saves and just go back to a previous one when results don’t go my way. The results of this season will stay in history, but I can achieve positive results that will push the current ones away.

I: Editing is part of my day. I will edit this interview and the show it’s on. It’s interesting how we have different ideas of editing. How will you spend your off-season?

D: I’ll take a short vacation before starting preparations for next season. I’m not saying a vacation is a reward. It’s a way to get rid of stress and come back with fresh eyes.

I: And the players?

D: I want them to enjoy the time they have to themselves. It helps to step away from a negative situation. There’s a lot of work to be done in both the physical and psychological sense.

I: You prepare the mind?

D: My staff, the medical department, and I put a lot of emphasis on mental management. I am not of the opinion that players shouldn’t expressed their emotions. Get angry! Celebrate in your style when scoring a goal! What we do is help players channel those emotions into the game. Emotions can become fuel if managed correctly.

I: I assume a lot of sad faces in the locker room after the last game.

D: Yes. I told my players it was okay to cry and make noise. I already had plans for preseason in that locker room. They need to know I’m looking ahead.

More of this fake interview will be available in the coming months. I hope you enjoyed reading the mindset of a defeated soccer manager. If you’ve read my blog from time to time you know that I view failures as opportunities to learn. I don’t think a person can have an 100% success rate all the time.

Fake.

A Loss is A WIn

Hello People of Earth,

Does anyone else play Football Manager? I played a game before bed last night and it was one of the most enjoyable losses I have ever suffered. How can you enjoy losing you say? The simple answer is that you don’t, but I do enjoy the insights that come from a defeat. My forwards have the shooting prowess of a drunken night out blindfolded knowing you’re in your neighborhood without knowing which door leads into your home. They were shit! So many near misses that would have tied us the game…

I now have to assign my coaches to work on their shooting or risk being Manchester United this season. During that game I took a chance on a highly rated youth player I had in my academy. We’re talking four star player. He had a FINE game playing against our opponent that the best player award went to him. It shows character when you recover from an early mistake to become the best player on the pitch for that game. The spot is his to lose from now on.

On to the next game! Our next opponent is considered the favorites, but my mission is to spoil that label. A string of W’s is preferred to boost my simulation gaming ego and to give the players motivation to play for a nobody manager who decided to start a new save. I’ll go back to playing later once my responsibilities are done.

Win.

Diving Into El Clasico

I know El Clasico between Real Madrid and Barcelona happened more than a few days ago, but thoughts about that game still linger in my brain. I think Gareth Bale is being unfairly targeted, and dare I even say, made into a scapegoat for the reason why Real Madrid lost that day. His team started of the game keeping a defensive where all of the defense and most of the midfield stayed behind of near the halfway line to absorb the Barcelona offense. Was this a cautious approach? I think a more pragmatic tactic like this 4-4-2 that was mostly employed needs to be done if you want to halt the runs of Neymar and Messi as they dribble their way into your six yard box. Then you have Luis Saurez hovering over the final third itching to latch onto a pass and do what he does best, score.

Holding back allows you to cut the spaces your opponent has to pass the ball by rushing their decision making. It allows them to keep the ball moving, which is unfavorable when facing Barcelona because passing side to side is a way to open up spaces between players forming two lines of four and staying deep; However, Real Madrid kept their positioning and gave the center midfielders a tough time through the middle. Going back on Bale, he was deployed on the wing in a more leashed sort of way to deal with Barcelona’s attackers on the right. If Carvajal had overlapped him more on occasions or had driven up the wing more, Bale would have had an outlet to pass the ball and get help in his zone. Marcelo kept himself in his half as well, but we eventually saw him move up when the opportunity arose.

I have come to welcome the Clasicos not only for the techical quality that the worlds best players can give us when put together on the pitch, but for the drama that usually unfolds. I think these games under the Mourinho era were some of the most entertaining matches I have witness and some of the most mentally taxing. The stomping, diving, eye poking, and dirty tactics brough a late night HBO like quality to the soap opera that is the sport. The diving and dirty play is something that sometimes annoys me to the point where I question why these elements are still present in the game. More can be done to discourage players from diving in the form of longer bans or even imposing sanctions on the teams they represent. Clubs will shape up their players if they are not exempt from direct consequences like tournament participation or suspended players for important games. Some of the problem is rooted in people like me who enjoy the drama going hand in hand with the technical aspect.

If Mascherano had not dived into a pool full of lube, he was rolling and flailing like someone covered in something slippery, I would not be writing this. Yes, their was contact between him and Ronaldo when they got entangled on that one play that lead to the viewers watching going why Mascherano why? With all the writhing and rolling you would think he got knocked over by very effective +10 flair from the stands. Images like that bring up the soccer is for sissies rhetoric that drives me up the wall in annoyance. This game is easy to pick up. This game also requires many hours of practice to even pass a ball and even then your passes go of orbit. Both genders play this game, and just because you don’t have the Incredible Hulk blocking your way, doesn’t mean that physicality is not involved. Have you ever gotten hit by a free kick? Have you ever been on the receiving end of a challenge that leaves bruises on your leg and you limping the rest of the day? If Mascherano was looking to gain some sort of advantage for his team I don’t think he was wrong in trying. I’m just saying that the sport as a whole didn’t get any advantages from that image of him being on the ground a little too easily. Readers we should be the bricks that are building a wall of prevention so that the sick enjoyment of Clasico like drama that people like me get doesn’t grow any bigger.

Poor and Forward, possibly both?

The team that scores the most goals comes out the winner in a game of football on every corner of the planet. This fact doesn’t deviate even if it is being bounced around to places like the Samoa Islands or Uzbekistan. Once the ball rips through the back of the net you know that something special has occurred. From a Demba Ba tap in to a Hulk like shot stunning the goalkeepers palms, that feeling of scoring has to be experienced to truly grasp what this action conveys. So what drives a forward to score goals?

Arsene Wenger said a few weeks ago that the best forwards in the game today were from South America and I have to agree with him. Luis Saurez, Lionel Messi, Alexis Sanchez, Edison Cavani, and Falcao (before surgery) are just some of the names that jump out of my head when thinking about answers to justify this opinion. I have heard that growing up in poverty helps develop that hustling instinct needed to take advantage of any opportunities that come your way. A striker for all his passing and of the ball movement is ultimately judged by the amount of goals he scores. Taking advantage of a gap between two centerbacks or running into an intended pass because of the space allotted are opportunities to bombard the six yard box with shots. I don’t want to say that a correlation relates between your socioeconomic upbringing and how many goals you score, but both share certain traits that can better be developed when put under pressure from the less than positive attacks of life.

Traits Shared

  • Hard work
  • Eye for opportunity
  • Make a lot out of a little
  • Experience with pressure
  • Hustle
  • Ruthless when it comes to move up a rank