Liverpool and Arsenal Roundtable: Questions About The Season So Far (Part Three)

Jamie WardSenior Analyst IMarch 14, 2009

Time for the final instalment in this three-part edition of the Bleacher Community Roundtable—two separate communities and their respective writers answering the same questions about their own and their opposition clubs.

The BCR team welcomes back Barney Corkhill, Mick Menace, Steven Ho, Maire Ofeire, Shyam Parthasarathi and A Gooner for the last set of questions.

The next instalment of BCR will be speaking to writers from the Manchester United and Chelsea communities here on Bleacher Report and gaining opinion from Liverpool supporters about the two clubs.


The Questions and Answers

9. What do you think Liverpool and Arsenal both need to win the Premier League?


A Gooner: Arsenal just need consistency and you get that through commitment. Too many Arsenal players this season can be blamed for lack of commitment, and it is for that reason they have been singularly, or collectively, along with Wenger, booed.

They were booed against Fulham, and I think the message will be clear: Keep that up, and we're not coming out to support you.

And why should they? When the team doesn't show up, why should the fans?

I think that message was loud and clear, was understood, and was driven home by Le Boss. We saw a complete turnaround after that, and I fully expect we will continue to see that.

This is the point of the season where Wenger is looking to see who has the gumption to fight, and to stay, and not be picked to leave in the summer.

I think Adebayor is already in the dock and others, like Gallas and Eboue, are not too far behind him. They have the rest of this season, and all the positives and possibilities that still remain.


Barney Corkhill: Arsenal need time, and to keep this squad together, as well as adding a bit more quality to certain areas.

If they get in another class midfielder and perhaps a better keeper, then I think they will be able to mount a serious title bid in a few years time.

Liverpool simply need one or two more match winners. We currently only have two, perhaps three at a stretch, while United have six or seven as well as a few more on the bench!

Most of all I think we need a goalscorer. Torres is great, but we need more than just him. We need someone in the Ruud van Nistelrooy mould, just a finisher who lurks around the box taking every opportunity that comes thier way.


Shyam Parthasarathi: With regards to Liverpool, they need a considerable injection of quality in the wide areas and depth in the attack because you cannot expect the likes of Babel and N'Gog to spearhead the attack if Torres goes missing.

Arsenal need a good holding midfielder and an imposing centre-back—but the former is more of a priority.


Maire Ofeire: Wenger has done it three times before and was close enough last season.

Arsenal need someone in there who will tell Wenger he is doing certain things wrong, Pat Rice isn't doing it and I wouldn't mind seeing Liam Brady as number two next season.


A new manager for Liverpool?

10. Are you happy with the progress of your team's manager? Do you believe the team is progressing?


A Gooner: I've seen a lot as an Arsenal supporter which means I also know that as soon as you lift any silverware, that the clocks, tables, rankings, etc all get set back to zero.

You're not only as good as your last game; you're as good as the next game you are going to play.

I have a lot of expectation and hope for Arsenal, because I truly think Wenger has a master plan for the club which is to dominate England and Europe by 2011.

He is trying something very difficult; trying to coach, manage and navigate the Club against the prevailing "wisdom" out there. He is learning how to adjust his strategy, as we saw with the Arshavin purchase.

He is going to temper his youthful skill base with maturity, and that maturity will either come about through the rest of this season, or be purchased in the summer.

He has already revolutionized the Youth system at Arsenal, and that will pay big dividends as I well and truly believe that UEFA will change the rules on the nationality of players after another English team wins the Champions League trophy—yet again.

UEFA are a European organization; they don't much care for England, Englishmen, or the money behind the English league.

They fear it, and so, they see other country's league suffering, when the problem in other countries is their own fault—corruption in Italy, for example.

Still, I think Arsene is a shrewd man, who can be ruthless when he has to be. I just hope the Gunners get that bit of ruthlessness in them, because then they will be very dangerous indeed.


Barney Corkhill: I must admit, I've had my doubts over Benitez recently, but yes, I am happy. He has been making progress every year and as long as that continues then I will be happy.

The problem with him is he makes quite a few suspect decisions, and sometimes appears to not know what he is talking about!

I think the whole boardroom saga has something to do with it but, for now, I'm totally behind Rafa!


Steven Ho: For Benitez, clearly there is progression. It's slow, but sure. Just look at their performances in the league for the last few seasons.

Liverpool have also always been dangerous challengers in the Champions League and that's very good from Benitez.

For Wenger, his team is obviously in transition but Wenger has proved that he can develop a great team, so I wouldn't doubt him based on this season only.


Maire Ofeire: Well Arsenal have gone backwards but I'll be very diplomatic and reserve judgment till seasons end and see if there is a trophy in our cabinet.


Mick Menace: No. Rafa's failings are many but the one that bugs me most is his reluctance to try and change a game that is going badly.

He waits until 60 minutes before trying a substitution and even then he'll only make one change.

I think he should make changes at halftime or more changes on 60 minutes if they're not winning comfortably.

He also needs to get more aggressive with the inferior teams. Changing things to take them out of the comfort zone as they're beginning to get tired.

11. What do you think are the reasons why Aston villa are where they are this season?

A Gooner: I think O'Neill has turned that club around, but I don't think they have the depth they need to secure fourth.

I think bowing out of the UEFA Cup, on purpose, was a stupid mistake. You win based on belief, more than skill.

Villa are skillful, but not that much and they have been winning on belief, punching above their weight, so to speak.

I think Arsenal have been woefully under-performing whilst Villa have been more consistent on the road than Arsenal.

But that will change, and so will their fortunes as a result.


Barney Corkhill: Three main reasons: Martin O'Neill, Gabby Agbonlahor, and Ashley Young. O'Neill has got the best out of both these players and has built a very good, young squad packed full of English talent.

Carew and, more recently, Heskey have played their part and created a formidable trio which works perfectly with Agbonlahor and Young playing out wide whipping balls into the box.

Another reason is Arsenal's injury woes, which has made them drop points which Villa have taken full advantage. 


Shyam Parthasarathi: Let's be honest, there was a time when Villa kept winning, and they did have a considerable amount of luck.

But they've done remarkably well with their small squad. Their position today is because of a combination of Arsenal's poor form in between and their own excellent performances.


Maire Ofeire: Arsenal have been rubbish and Villa have a manager who can set up a team to get a result and get the best out of players.

I still don't think it'll be enough for them to finish fourth or dare I say fifth because Everton are a good team with another good manager in David Moyes.


Mick Menace: They're new. This is really O'Neill's first season with his own team setup the way he likes. They're a bit like a promoted side.

The style of football is well suited to success in the Premier League but once they've established their status as a top side they'll start to see the massed defences that the top four sides get.

The Villa manager's style of football is not suited to breaking down teams looking for a draw.


Next season will see them go backwards without substantial investment.

12. If your team can't win the league; who is the other team you would prefer to win it?

A Gooner: Manchester United. The best beat the best.


Maire Ofeire: West Brom—Its going to be United though isn't it?!


Steven Ho: Looks like my team will win it, but if not then I'd just like the team who plays the best football from now till the end of the season to win.


Barney Corkhill: Out of anyone it would probably be Hull or Aston Villa. For Hull to win it would be a magnificent rags to riches story, while Villa would be good because of the amount of home grown players they have.

Out of the realistic two—If we're not allowed to include Liverpool—I would prefer Chelsea to win it as, although they are among my most hated clubs, I really don't want United to equal our tally of league titles!

We'll never hear the end of it!


Shyam Parthasarathi: If my team doesn't win the league, I will be concerned about my own team more than want any other team to win it honestly.

But Manchester United have been so good this season that it's unfair to say that I wouldn't want them to win.


Mick Menace: Chelsea. I hate them but at least their fans are honest because they accept that their club is where it is because of an owner who spent a huge wedge of money to put them there.

Otherwise they'd be lucky to be in the top division.

Man Utd fans don't like it when you say that about their club, despite it being obvious to any reasonable person.

They seem to think that they are where they are because God is a Utd fan and Ferguson walks on water—he doesn't because I've seen the splashes when he walks and God supports Lazio.

Watching Manchester United lose it now would be hilarious.


So there you have it folks; all of the questions have been asked and everyone has certainly provided some interesting answers for you to ponder over.

If you enjoyed this article then you can click here to read part one and click here to read part two.

The BCR team would like to offer a massive thank you to all of the contributors who gave up their valuable time to take part in the first edition of Bleacher Community Roundtable.

Of course, a big thanks goes to all of you who took time to read this article and hopefully you will keep an eye out for the next edition—which will talk to writers from the Manchester United and Chelsea communities. 


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