Date: 3rd October 2011 at 10:36am
Written by:

I`ve been thinking of writing this for the last few weeks, but now definitely is the time.

We need to wake up, and we need to do it fast.

You can switch on a football program any day of the week and find some former Gooner talking about how we don`t do enough without the ball. Not working nor pressing hard enough.

Each time over the previous years we`ve been whooped by Barcelona (and even the time we beat them) one of the most impressive things about their team was not their passing game that was even superior to ours when we were in our pomp, but just how hard they work in pressing us when we had the ball. The tackled and harried us into making mistakes time after time.

You don`t need to be a great footballer to do that, just be very fit and have a little tactical nous. Anyone can accomplish it, so why don`t we try more?

But I digress.

Whilst I agree with the people saying we need to work harder with out the ball, I think what we need to work equally hard on is work hard when the ball isn`t even in play.

I`m not sure what we`re taught in training, but it appears as though our players use the periods when it`s a dead ball situation to have a breather, to relax and generally mill around a bit, but one of the most important things in football is to be switched on when the ball goes out of play.

Too many times yesterday (and about a million times against Olympiacos) our players turned their backs on the ball the second it went off the pitch and completely forgot about it.

It was exactly that kind of situation yesterday that led to Tottenham`s second goal. Aaron Ramsey failed to track the Spurs man (despite Arteta yelling at him to do so) and it all went down hill from there.

Corners, throw-ins, free kicks, we just switch off, and it`s unacceptable ? or at least it should be.

All the great players over the years are switched on 100% of the time, Henry, Bergkamp, Zola, Giggs, Scholes, Cantona, Wright ?. They were always looking for that quick advantage to catch the other team unawares, but it seems as though it`s a dying art in N5.

We don`t practise being quick on the ball from set pieces and throw-in, and we certainly don`t bother when we`re looking to defend them.

Our current squad is lacking something, that`s not their fault, they are paid to do a job by the club, and whether they are good enough or not they can only try their best, but switching on and playing smart doesn`t have anything to do with footballing talent, it`s just plain common sense, a common sense we appear to be lacking.

If we don`t switch on soon we`re going to be in deep trouble.