Why We’ll Score More Without Robin – Looking Forward & Looking Back

By Daniel Cowan
In Arsenal
Aug 17th, 2012

The new season is upon us and to celebrate I want to have a look forward and a look back at the same time. Many of you regulars follow me on twitter and those that do know that I am getting married in a few weeks (mid-September) so blogging time is scarce at the moment and I’ll probably be hosting a number of guest posts over the new few weeks so keep an eye out for them and get in touch if you want to write something yourself.

First things first I believe that we are ideally situated to win something this season. I know we say that every year but this year is different as I said in this post last week.

I don’t want to get caught up on Van Persie as I’ve already expressed my feelings on this but I want to say this and I want to make it clear that I have tried my best to not allow bias to dictate my views. I believe that despite United going close last year that their squad is completely underwhelming and that only addition of RvP elevates them (as their midfield is poor IMO) so I think we should be focusing on challenging Man City who haven’t improved much at all.

He was supposed to destroy the dark side not join them

We’ve obviously had a fantastic summer player acquisitions wise but I think that we have improved across a number of areas. I wrote a piece on player wages and “dead wood” about how we have a large wage bill but maybe it was disproportionately dispersed. I believe we have changed this with our new signings and have made efforts to move on high earners who for one reason or another were not contributing much to the first team.

It seems as though team spirit is top of Wenger’s priorities this year and when I wrote a piece on team spirit I believed I was seeing the beginning of something special developing. With the moving on of players who don’t want to be at the club and replacing them with quality players who feel privileged to be at the club like Podolski, Giroud, Cazorla and even Arteta from last summer then I think that spirit is only going to improve.

Having a captain like Vermaelen who also feels privileged to be at the club and who isn’t in the last year of his contract and who doesn’t criticise his colleagues in the press can only help strengthen that team spirit. The title winning sides of 2002 and 2004 were built on team spirit. Sure we have quality players but they only became the players they were because of the quality of the team they played in and its spirit.

Arsenal’s new captain

I believe that we will be defensively stronger this year as I mentioned before for a couple of reasons. Firstly our players are a little more settled and will hopefully remain fit and secondly I believe that we finally have a defensive specialist in the first team coaching set-up.

I must admit that I had my reservations over Bould’s ability to transform our defence considering his u18s weren’t exactly water tight but then I realised I was being unfair and that kids that young are still learning their positions and aren’t going to be the finished article. Lots of midfielders and strikers break into first teams around the world aged 16, 17 and 18 but very few defenders do so I guess that says something about being a young defender.

Pat Rice and Boro Primorac were both defenders in their playing days but I’m not so sure they worked that closely with our defence. Steve will and if he can teach our defence to hold a line like he used to do then we could well see a number of our defensive “frailties” ironed out quite quickly. Man for man I don’t think our defence is any worse that United’s so I assume that it’s a coaching issue and if anyone can get the defence working as a unit and our centre-backs curbing their attacking intentions then it’ll be one of the famous back four. I’m sure we’ll see the effect of Bould within the first 10 games and maybe a few more goals from set-pieces.

We certainly score enough to win the league now we just need to work on conceding less.

And that takes me nicely onto my next point. I’ve talked about being a team a number of times and needing to share the goal load and I believe that we can share the RvP goal load and actually improve upon it so don’t worry about us scoring now he’s gone!

Two parts of a four man goal fest?

I think with RvP out of the picture both Gervinho and Theo will bag more goals. With new strikers in the team they may well feel more inclined to have a shot at goal and especially with RvP gone they won’t always be looking for him when they are in perfect positions to test the ‘keeper. As Theo showed in the Euro’s and with his many Henry-esque goals over the years he has the ability to put the ball in the net and I think he’ll easily get 10 this year and I think if Gervinho has been working hard on target practice that he too could get 10 goals.

Cazorla has been impressive recently both against Köln and for Spain and I can easily see him racking up 15 assists this year and maybe even hitting double figures himself and Arteta has already set himself a target of double figures however that’ll be across all competitions. Cazorla has excellent movement and although I initially thought Wenger would play him on the wings (not that I thought he couldn’t play CAM) I think the effect Rosicky had on the team last year will probably see Santi in Cesc’s role. I don’t think Santi is like Cesc in fact I think he is more like Rosicky with his movement, pace, trickery, ball control and vision and all of those things combined I think will suit Podolski and Giroud very well.

Podolski has the ability to start and finish movements and I’ve already put a bet on him getting 15+ premier league goals. Giroud looked good in Germany and I think he’ll be a real asset however I have a sneaky feeling that he’ll start slowly like Henry did before really coming into his own. An anti-Chamakh if you will. I think the first few games will be tough for him but then I think he’ll find his Montpellier feet and finish with over 20 goals. I’m not one for predictions (certainly not public ones) but I think we are going to see at least 45 goals from our front three and possibly 30 more from our midfield and rotation players. So that’ll be 75 premier league goals in the bag and that’s before we even consider the defence weighing in with a few goals (I have a feeling that Per will get 4 or 5 this year and between him, Dave and Vermaelen they’ll total at least 12).

YES!! I’m an Arsenal player. Fist bump me.

Regardless of if Song stays or goes and however replaces him I think it is vitally important for the balance of the team for at least one player to purely sit and protect the defence the way Song used to do before he starting going attack crazy.

I believe that with someone playing that “holding” role we can focus on the fluidity of our game more and allow our attackers to move and play at pace. I’ve always hated the Barca-lite tag that we’ve been given because I don’t think we play like Barca at all. Sure we keep possession well but Barcelona play an extremely slow game whereas we have always been (under Wenger) a team with devastating speed. Not pace, speed. We used to ping the ball around like it was nobodies business and could have the ball from our six yard box and in the other net in less than 14 seconds and under 6 passes. I saw glimpses of this against Köln and hope that it continues because the speed of our game is what used to blow other teams away.

So in summary, we have a better team with better harmony, an ever improving team spirit, the ability to play at speed, a defence full of quality individuals that will learn to play as a unit and will be almost impenetrable for it and most importantly a group of players that can share the goal threat.

The only thing that I’m not sure has changed or not and it’s something that Wenger and the club can’t do themselves and that is fan mentality. Our support means so much to the team and can make a real difference. We saw in the Olympics what home support can do for the team in helping carry them that extra inch and making it difficult for others to compete. I blogged on fan support in this piece and I really hope that this season will see an end to boos and jeers from the home support. If we can crack that then we have a real chance of breaking our trophy duck this season.

Home support can help

Before I go I want to congratulate Jack on getting the #10 shirt and without wanting to jinx anything I think he can become the second legend in my lifetime to wear the famous #10 for Arsenal.

I’m really pumped for our game tomorrow and looking forward to us chalking up our first 3 points of the season (I will also be an Everton fan on Monday night between 8pm and 10pm BST).

And my last blogging action before 2012/13 official gets underway I want to share with you once again some of my favourite blogs that I have written and read over the past season. Enjoy.



There were so many more great pieces that I enjoyed reading but I can’t list them all so sorry if I missed any out but these were the ones that stuck with me for one reason or another.

Thanks for reading! Please comment on this post, subscribe by email, share with friends and follow me on twitter (@thedanielcowan).

Advertise your business here! Click here for details .

About "" - 509 Posts

I am a South London born Gooner now living in Leigh-On-Sea, Essex. I'm a husband, daddy, podcaster, trainer enthusiast and aspiring author. My work is my passion and for that I will always be grateful. Here is where I write my thoughts and views on Arsenal Football Club, the greatest team the world has ever seen.

15 Responses to “Why We’ll Score More Without Robin – Looking Forward & Looking Back”

  1. Congrats on your getting married. So where’s the stag night at? lol. Wish you all the best.

    Everyone knows Manchester United has a pretty shaky midfield, however, they’ve kept on winning the title except for last season which was missed just on goal difference. Man-U not having a strong MD doesn’t make them less of a threat or less title contenders IMO. We need to be alert on all fronts, with the big guns, middle guns and small guns. In fact, I’d say we should be wary of small guns like Swansea and QPR. Liverpool, Chelsea, Newcastle…no one should be treated with kid gloves.

    Oh! BTW, I really hope the rumour about the swapping of Bendtner for Philipe Mexes is true. Mexes is a really good defender.

    I like your post, overall it keeps Gunners in a positive frame of mind; something we really need right now.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      Thanks mate. I hope you’re joking about Mexes… he’d be awful for us. He would just be another Squillaci, good on the continent but not suited to English football.

  2. ukpunisher says:

    top post….logical….opinions backed up… and positive…
    so much crap on blogs these days and i know everyone has the right to their opinion, but im just more inclined to listen if its backed up with some reasonable argument or stats …

  3. createstrain says:

    great read thanx

  4. cupsui loves kozzer says:

    Dan dan dan…what can i say…brilliant. You said exactly my thoughts. I think you might remember me writing a post that you like talking about the style of players wenger seems to be signing right now, Comitted determined type that aren’t 100% ego crazed, ambitious, players that struggle when the chips are down. We now have a team, a team of players who are determined and play for each other and who are not about themselves…its a team game

    and i mentioned on your last post this is the first REAL captain , REAL leader we have had since viera…

    I also think we will see big things from gervinho this season…

    and i simply love your optimism on talking up our forward line!! WOOT!
    can’t wait for the games to begin

    well said again Dan!

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      Thanks mate.

      I think you might remember me writing a post that you like talking about the style of players wenger seems to be signing right now, Comitted determined type that aren’t 100% ego crazed, ambitious, players that struggle when the chips are down.

      A comment you left on a blog I wrote or an actual blog from you?

  5. Darshit Shah says:

    Many many congratulations and I hope your better half is an Arsenal fan! 😛

    Sir, you are an optimist, and really glad to see a blogger being positive about our great club.

    Every new season has mean to Wenger, someone says he doesn’t spend, some say he doesn’t replace etc, but I don’t know how many bloggers go around and back him up each been. It’s very simple, a bloggers view are very important for fans coz most of them workin don’t follow each and every move our club makes. I don’t think most of the fans even see our financial numbers in detail. Here the bloggers comein!

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      Thanks Darshit, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I’m generally positive about the club but even more so this summer. If you’re interested in financials and reading some of my earlier stuff then please do check out the posts I’ve linked to in this piece.

  6. Rob says:

    Haha really this post is sugar coated to the max .. Challenging man city what world are you living in arsenal will be competing at top 4 at the very best we have sold are star and song to key player’s also strengthensan utd , pre seasons games. An not be taken into consideration they mean fuck all ! Poldolski is. Very overrated viroid. Could well be another chamack carzola is a good player however and will improve the team . The defense is so leaky and has not been strengthend, arsenal Chelsea and spurs will be in a league over 34 not the title live in the real world mate ?!

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      I have no response to someone who could say “Podolski is overrated”. Deary me, we’ll see who was right come May.

  7. amanya leo says:

    Guys thanks for the talk but letting songo go will be like having a computer with out ant virus, that guy can keep attacking mid fielders at bay. please don,t make another damage to the team

  8. Dan says:

    Rob shut up you absolute tit!

  9. Red Islington says:

    Great post mate . I still think we could use more quality in defence and another striker . Both right back and left back are not good enough for me , sorry to say that , but with sagna injured and at left back not even an impressive enough first choice . As for centre back subs , Djurou will never be good enough for this level so the others must stay fit all season . And yes another target striker . Team spirit is the way forward , no question about it . But in order to actually win something there has to be a top squad and that includes every position . Sad to admit it but I think once again the best we can hope for is third place , quarter finals of champions league , and maybe some carling cup final .

  10. Mohammed Bhayat says:

    Well the first game is over and I think I know what will be in the papers tomorrow. Althought liverpool lost 3-0 and spuds lost 2-1 its going to be Arsenal that will be all over the back pages because we would have won todays game if we had RIP in the team. Don’t say I didnt warn you, look forward to reading some of the most predictable and lazy journalism we will see until Arsenal next game

Leave a Reply to Red Islington Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

facebook comments: