December 28, 2014
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James McNicholas is a London-based freelance football writer and the man behind Arsenal blog Gunnerblog.com. He started the blog in 2004 and has since written widely on the subject of soccer for the likes of the BBC, The Observer newspaper, FourFourTwo magazine & ESPN.
Away from football, James is a successful comedy writer and performer.
Hello Mr McNicholas, if it's not to much trouble I got a question for you. I just watched Arsenal's game vs Anderlecht and was a really poor performance by Arsenal today. Defense was poor in the first goal and there was three more chances for Anderlecht to put the game away, especially that mishit to the bar that every defender just stood to watch. Chambers was the highest on defense and Gibbs scored but Arsenal defense didn't look good. The goalkepeer did pretty well tought in his debut, no fault in the goal and showed good reflexes to keep the one goal difference. Midfield was awful today: they didn't create anything, at times they were simply overrun by Anderlecht's midfield and the worst part was that they didn't even help to bring the ball up the field. Sanchez at some points was playing center-midfield just to touch the ball and if I'm being honest it gave me a lot more confidence that he was the one bringing the ball up field than Cazorla, Ramsey, Wilshere or Flamini. Wilshere was especially poor but Ramsey and Cazorla didn't do more good either. With Flamini, you get what you paid for. Welbeck and Sanchez were left isolated up front, especially notorious in Welbeck's case because Sanchez comes down to help in the build-up. Sanchez was the most dangerous player and the only one that brought anything different to the game. I'm not trying to be pessimistic but the more objective I can be: it was an awful game against a very weak opponent (no disrespect to Anderlecht, who have a very talented but very young and inexperienced squad). One has to wonder what Dortmund, Real, Barca or Bayern would have done if they had played Anderlecht today. And more important to Arsenal fans, if they had played Arsenal.
So my question is: is it the lack of deep in the squad? is it the great list of injured players? is it the quality of some players? or is it the DT tactics?.
I asked because when someone tries to solve a problem first he must identfies the source but in Arsenal case I just see a big mess.
It'll be interesting to know your opinion.
Sorry for the long post and for grammar mistakes (English is not my first language).
Hi James. Thanks for your acknowledgement of the USA fans at the World Cup. I have to mention that "ex-patriot Mexicans", while it goes happily through the spellchecker, means "Mexicans who were once patriots and no longer." I think the word you were looking for is "expatriate Mexicans." While I don't usually quibble with misspellings, and I doubt that anyone would take this as anything other than such, it might not go over too well with any Mexican who takes it literally. Mexicans, after all, are rather fiercely patriotic people.
Do you think if Giroud was to be left out the team frequently, would Ramey's performances drop? A lot of Ramsey's goals have had Giroud playing a crucial part in them. His header against Dortmund, his second goal against Sunderland and his goal against Norwich(away) are a few examples. Or do you think any other good striker can fashion out these chances for Rambo?
Oh yeah, another thing. I was on who wants to be a millionaire last week and there was this Chris bloke facing me, seemed pretty knowledgeable about the gunners. Couldn't have been you, could it?
Who in your opinion is better? Daniel Crowley or Gedion Zelalem? Both play in the same position, have the same build and are almost the same age! And their talent is undeniable. I've seen a lot of them both, but who do you think has more potential? Or do you think it's too early to judge them?
Arsenal have been linked to high profile players with high profile price tags. Why cant Arsenal make a move for one of the three PSV Eindhoven's strikers Jürgen Locadia or Memphis Dephay or Zakaria Bakkali ? I think they are pretty good . Your view ?
James, bro! I was playing in the arsenal section of quizup against some lad called James Nichols last night? A giraffe was his profile pic.Could it have been you? I won, just in case you give a toss.
How does one become a writer for this website?
Honestly, I think Podolski is best as an impact sub, unless that's what you meant right now. He knows how to finish, which is important off the bench.
Hey there James. I'm a Tottenham fan, but I enjoy your articles. I read your article about Podolski's return negating the need of a striker. I disagree. I don't think Podolski is a true #9, as he doesn't have the same line leading qualities as Giroud. You mentioned his finishing abilities make him a deadly striker, but Giroud is doing well, because he can create, link up, and finish as well.