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Monthly Review with Sam

by on October 15, 2011

[I should say before you read this, this interview actually took place last weekend. Saying that, most of the points are still relevant]

Righto then, hello Sam! Welcome back.
Last time we spoke, you were writing as 15yearoldgooner, now you’re chroniclesofalmunia.
Does that mean that you no longer have an age?

I have Benjamin Button syndrome, I just didn’t want anyone to know. Shhhhhh.

In all seriousness, 2011 hasn’t been the kindest year for Arsenal fans and that carried over the last month. In the Champions League we drew 1-1 away to Dortmund and won 2-1 at home to Olympiakos. Credible results, just how important will our matches with Marseille be now if we want to top our group?

Yeah it’s been pretty horrible speaking relatively. Obviously some clubs would love to be where we are but it’s all relative to your expectations and we’re performing well below ours. In Europe we’ve done alright as you say, but Marseille definitely seem to be our main competition for first place and not Dortmund. I think all the teams will still take points off each other, and we should still have enough to come top, as long as we pull ourselves together.

We beat Shrewsbury at home 3-1 (eventually), while in the League we won at home to Swansea and Bolton, but lost away to Blackburn and… *ahem* this weekend. I can probably guess what the low point was for you, but what was the high point?

Bolton, easily. I was there (Swansea too) and it was such a relief to win so emphatically, despite our first half struggles. It was brilliant for Robin to get his 99th and 100th goals too, so that helped the mood. The quality of the performance was the main plus though, it seemed like we’d turned a corner. You-know-who kind of pushed us back around the corner we’d turned the next weekend but it still looked like great progress at the time.

I know yesterday on twitter you were talking about a few things, including the possibility of changing the squad or the formation. Would you like to expand on those thought?

But of course! Robin has seemed very isolated recently, and he really struggles to influence a game when that happens. It was notable (and was indeed noted) that his double against Bolton came when Aaron Ramsey got closer towards him, with his first coming from an assist from Aaron, so maybe if that happens more often we won’t have the same problem. However, I don’t think that will always be the solution. Ramsey’s been so inconsistent this season – you could hardly blame him with his injury – so that won’t always prevent our issues with RVP’s isolation.

Although it hasn’t been the start to the season that we all wanted, we’ve already played Manchester United, Spuds and Liverpool as well as Newcastle away, never an easy tie. Is this reason for optimism? Is there any reason for optimism?

I don’t think you can necessarily pin this on our start – we’ve had similarly difficult and more difficult starts in the past and not struggled this badly, talking the current generation/era of course – it would be incredibly ignorant to say we’ve never started this badly. Our struggles have been our own fault, because all of the games we played have been there for the taking, even United. They were incredibly open defensively and if had taken advantage of that, we might not STILL be hearing 8-2 jokes. Just shut up with them people. Not funny anymore. I think in terms of being optimistic you’d have to look at this being quite a new and unfamiliar squad, and seeing as they haven’t had much time to blend yet, that may be the reason behind our struggles post-transfer window. I hope so anyway. If not, we’re boned.

We’ve seen a few youngsters over the last month, what with injuries and obviously the Carling Cup as well. Who has impressed you? I don’t know about you, but I’m actually a bit disappointed we haven’t seen more of Chu-Young Park.

Obviously Mr Oxlade-Chamberlain has looked pretty classy on the whole, although nobody at the Grove was impressed with his defensive work against Olympiakos, particularly from corners. Coquelin has, on the whole, been very impressive also – solid performances against Shrewsbury, United and Spuds, despite the outcome of the latter two. I’m also disappointed that Park’s not played more; because the Shrewsbury match wasn’t available online I still haven’t properly seen him, and I’m eager to do so. I’m pretty confused by how little we’ve used him so far, but I’m sure there’s a reason. Perhaps Chamakh is blackmailing Arsene. That would explain a lot…

As always, there are a ton of Arsenal players out on loan. Who has impressed you the most over the last month? Excluding the obvious answer of Manuel Almunia of course.

At the risk of sounding uninformed I’ve not really noticed any impressive performances from our loanees. There doesn’t seem to be anyone signficant out on loan doing big things – Bartley and Vela haven’t exactly made headlines for a couple of reasons, and to be perfectly honest I can’t even remember who else is out on loan. Oh, Lansbury – I’ve heard good things about him at West Ham, so hopefully he’ll keep that up. Oh, and Joel Campbell – it’s all flooding back now. I think he’s got a couple of assists and a goal so again, hopefully that form will continue.

It’s just a few days ago that Stan Kroenke said that Arsene Wenger would decide when he goes. A few days is a long time in football, but is it time for the big man to go? IF he were to go, who would you see as a suitable replacement?

Not quite just yet, but I’m becoming less and less adamant he’s the right man for the job, and I’d be a lot less upset than a few years ago if he was to leave. Carlo Ancelotti has to be the main option, but I wouldn’t be adverse to a protege of Arsene’s, like Dragan Stojkovic. Sadly, he’s not a dragon.

January. In your opinion, will we buy?
Depends on our situation entirely for me. If we’re in trouble, certainly. If we’re doing fine, then probably not, but I wouldn’t rule it out completely.

Righto, that’s it for this month I think Sam, thanks as always. It’s been a pleasure.

Pleasure’s all mine sir.

For those of you wondering who want to, you can find Sam here on twitter.


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