Posts Tagged ‘Cazorla’

There is a thought experiment in quantum mechanics called Schrödinger’s cat, born out of the need to explain the complex nature of theories in quantum mechanics and how they would play out (absurdly so)  in everyday life and how under the proposed theory of the day published in 1935, a quantum system such as an atom could exist in multiple states. These multiple states all corresponding to different outcomes, this was referred to as quantum superpositions. The theory of the day known as the Copenhagen interpretation, stated that a quantum system existed in this superposition until it was interacted with or observed by the outside world. At this point the superposition would fall into one of the definitive states possible.

Schrödinger developed his experiment to show how someone could create a superposition where a large-scale system was dependent on a quantum particle in said superposition. Hence the cat in the box. He wasn’t out to prove the Copenhagen interpretation right, he was out to show how ridiculous the current (in that time) view of quantum mechanics where when applied to everyday life.

There have been different interpretations of this thought experiment throughout the years, some more elaborate, some less, dependent on the audience, but in essence, here is the theory;

A cat is sealed inside of a box. The cat is not alone in this box mind you, it’s sealed along with a contraption built out of a Geiger counter connected via relay to a hammer and a tube of hydrocyanic acid. The last piece of the puzzle is a small piece of radioactive substance. Over the course of an hour, the radioactive substance could remain stable and the cat remains alive or the substance could decay. If the substance decays, it would cause the Geiger counter to go off, setting off the relay that would free the hammer to smash the tube that contains the acid that ultimately kills the cat. Under the Copenhagen interpretation and the view of quantum mechanics, the cat is both alive and dead until the box is opened.

Now, what does all of this have to do with Arsenal? Well, let me explain.

First we have the cat. The “cat” for me is achievements; wins, progression in competitions, cups, etc. Then we have the system, the “system” is everything at the club; players, manager, etc. Then finally we have the small substance in a superposition state, that’s Arsenal’s performances. The time allowed for the experiment is the time between matches, where anything and everything is possible, the time where Arsenal exists in multiple states. The opening of the box, the observation from the outside world to see what state Arsenal is in, would be the performance and/or results on match-day Follow me?

We as supporters all throw out different scenarios for any given match. The box is closed. The cat is very much alive or very much dead, we don’t know. We hope it’s alive, we wish above all else it remains alive, when it comes to match-day we cheer it to be alive still, but more often than not these days, we have no idea if we should get the cat food out of the cupboard or go online to shop for burial services, such is the inconsistency surrounding Arsenal.

The nature of the inconsistency is mind-boggling. Let’s take the Monaco match as an example. Arsenal have reinforced, not to the best their ability, but have done so nonetheless. Most of the key players are healthy, the majority of the team has the experience in the Champion’s League thanks to the year in and out of qualification. Finally, after a fair number of years with difficult ties to progress, a seemingly manageable tie was on the cards against an undermanned team, and yet – capitulation ensued. Leading up to the match, after a good run, with the only blip being the NLD loss, one would have thought this was a statement match, yet there was no urgency, no passion, from top to bottom.

Now, Arsenal face a crossroads. It isn’t a crisis as some may have you think. It’s a chase for identity. For so many years, especially for those teams led by Cesc and Co., they were chasing giants and legends of football. Now, this team, with the likes of Özil, Sanchez, Cazorla, Ramsey, they need to make their own way, their own legend, and they are somewhat struggling to come to grips with the label of being a “big team”. You see flashes of it, what Arsenal “could be”. Then you see flashes of what Arsenal were, in those years after the Invincibles, “also-rans”. This current team is dealing with one of the worst cases of multiple personality I can remember in sports. On their day, with the talent available, they can beat anyone, yes, anyone. But on a bad day, they can lose to anyone, yes, again, anyone. The box is closed.

What makes the difference in one match to the next? In a wonderful performance and meltdown? One would say opposition, but that’s not necessarily the case. AFC has beaten good teams and lost to mediocre teams as well. Sometimes week to week. That is not the trait of a settled team, that is not the earmark of a team pushing to be elite, or being pushed?

I hate to say it, but I must bring it up. For 10 years Arsenal were trophyless. There are many reasons, but the truth remains. There have been talented teams that underachieved and so-so teams that may have overachieved. The one constant has been Wenger. There is no denying he was a great manager. I don’t think you can find many that would dispute that. The real discussion is – is AW still one now? He was innovative in tactics, nutrition, etc. Is he still now? Has Arsenal stagnated by clinging on to the past or is this the period where the team is built for the next big run. Are we all fooling ourselves thinking as much? All hard questions. None of us have the answers. That damned box!

For my part, I believe that Arsenal will take that next step, further reinforce, become more consistent. Whether Wenger is a part of that or not remains to be seen. Taking that next step doesn’t guarantee any more success than now though, it just guarantees a better shot at it. Teams like City, Chelsea, Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern, PSG, etc. will all continue to spend money on the biggest names. Arsenal will have to become more consistent whilst they close that gap, it won’t be easy, but it can happen, will happen I dare say. For that to happen, there has to be some accountability. If that includes replacing the manager or certain players, so be it. As long as it’s good for the club.

In the meanwhile, there really is nothing to do but support who is on the pitch and who is guiding them from the sideline. There will be no additions and there won’t be a managerial change from now until the end of the season, so there is no point bringing negativity to the party. The first step to cleanse the atmosphere from the loss on Wednesday is Sunday versus Everton. A sign of a good team is being able to bounce back from adversity and Arsenal have managed that over the last few years, giving us all hope. Certainly if Wednesday was meant to be a statement match, after the result, one has to think Everton has now become one as well, more important even.

This is the chance for the players to take a step forward and show what they’re made of. This is a chance for the manager to make changes that signal mediocrity will not be tolerated. For a great many reasons, this match on Sunday could make or break the spirit of this team for the remainder of the season.

I for one back them to make that statement, what about you? Right now, Arsenal exists in multiple states, anything is possible. What will be the outcome? Will the cat be alive or dead? Sunday at 2:05pm we’ll open the box and find out.

Disclaimer

*It must be said that my understanding and knowledge of quantum mechanics and all the attached theories is very basic. I am explaining it to you as I have come to know it, which is to say, how a college professor taught me, a failed athlete that was half paying attention in class when this was taught. I also took the liberty to brush up with web searches, naturally! To those with extensive knowledge on the experiment or this field, my apologies if any mistakes were made.*

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First published on arsenalvision.co.uk

Don’t tell me AFC don’t need a DM/anchor man, just don’t.

Please look at the two goals today and how Arteta was just watching both occur without much input. The CB’s were left exposed (and bottled it) on the first and due to zonal marking and pure ball watching, Graham put it top of the net for the second. Neither directly his fault of course, our defending was in shambles, but he’s certainly part of the problem and in no way part of the solution.

I love Arteta as a passer and as a creator. As a defender he has many tackles, out of NEED, not out of physical play. He is often out-paced, out-muscled and don’t even get me started on his aerial deficiencies. He is a CM, a pivot player if you like; being played at a position that he is not physically gifted to play. His wonderful passing and creativity are being sacrificed to fill a void that was left by players of yesteryear…Vieira, Gilberto, Flamini… No not Song, he was never the answer at that position either.

Let’s see what buying 1 player, a DM or anchor/deep-lying, call it what you will, I call it MF steel. How this one position can change the dynamic of the team, the depth chart and cover in many positions and allows for more help to the often isolated CB’s:

DM/anchor: X player, Diaby, Coquelin

CM/pivot: Arteta, Jack, TR7, Diaby

AM: Jack, Santi, Ox, TR7

LW: Santi, Poldi, Gerv

RW: Theo, Ox, Santi

ST: Giroud, Theo, Poldi

This would be pretty close to the depth chart I would look for. The rotation at each position would be possible and allow for fresh legs and proper cover. Most of all Arsenal would have an efficient player, pace, stature, attitude and strength in midfield that AFC desperately lack when Diaby is not fit, so basically always.  I didn’t put Rambo in any of the positions as we no longer know where he fits do we? He’s a lost player that had such promise, now in many minds an after-thought.

The thing is the Gunners have many midfielders that can be played at a variety of positions, but a DM, anchor, etc. AFC don’t have a one that can truly embrace and excel in that role bar Diaby and his fitness is lacking in any case. Coquelin is a good little player but even he doesn’t have the physicality needed to excel in the way Arsenal need.

One position, one signing can change the direction of the team. It would speed up play, allows the MF to be connected to the FWD’s in a more meaningful way, and allow for the FB’s to join the attack knowing that the CB’s have adequate cover. So many things can change from 1 signing.

This is my contention; it has been for quite some time. Arsenal is much too slow in that key position. The Gunners need a player with power, pace and sense of position, then we can see what the good collection of attackers can do. They have scored more goals already this year than last, so scoring should not be a problem going forward, allowing the creators the club does have to create would certainly increase that output further, but having that true steel in the middle would help shore up a porous defense. It’s a win/win.

Look at the soft goals created through the middle of our defense with relative ease and then try to tell me we don’t need someone in that position…you honestly can’t.

Up the Gunners!

First Published on arsenalvision.co.uk:

Hello Gunners. I haven’t written in a while, as I’ve been taking in the news, transfer rumors, etc. I usually do a post match rating and analysis, which I have taken a pass on doing the last couple of weeks because I have seen, read and heard too much to digest and address properly without a bit of perspective.

So after all the Sahin talk, the misinformed comparisons to Mata, the various moves by other clubs, the  sales of RvP and Song, the possible departure of Theo, the two draws, no goals scored, etc.; where is Arsenal as a club?

Well, the view and points I am about to make come from a Gooner that supports the club, not the players. I am not an Arsene apologist either, but I do in fact give credit or criticism where it’s due. I support our philosophy, but understand that sometimes that must be broken to fix the problem. Sometimes going into some debt is ok. As a self-employed entrepreneur I can tell you, not all debt is bad debt, but we are nowhere close. So let’s begin.

Philosophy

Everyone knows Arsenal’s philosophy footballing wise. The team plays very attractive football and is always amongst the better teams technically. Since 2005 all that pretty play has led to many disappointments. Was it the philosophy or those implementing it?

Football wise you would have to say that Arsene brought in the right type of talent for the team to succeed, otherwise AFC players would not be coveted by the top teams in Europe. Man management wise you would have to say poor decisions were made as to the type of characters chosen.

A thriving youth set-up, top-notch facilities, amazing stadium, and all the rest of the package make Arsenal one of the top sports franchises in the world. While the #1 goal is to win trophies, we all agree there, how we get there can be just as important. Will the 7 year wait be worth it if when we win, we do it the Arsenal way? In my opinion, it absolutely will. Add all the things that were accomplished internally along the way and Arsenal are sitting pretty to commence the next phase which is to go back to winning trophies.

You only have to look at the top 10 franchises in the world to realize that we are not alone in recent trophy less years…New York Yankees (2000-2009), Dallas Cowboys (1995-Present), Washington Redskins (1991-Present), LA Dodgers (1988-Present), and NE Patriots (2004-Present). So value certainly doesn’t guarantee success, but looking at that top 10 it lets you see Arsenal are in some rarefied air and indeed an elite club. AFC has come a long way without winning trophies in the last 7 years, so that begs the question:

Where do we go from here?

Debt

Some say Arsenal need to spend whatever to get the players needed to get ahead and mount an all out assault for trophies. I sometimes land in that camp, but only for the right players.

Others have a view that getting into too much debt and changing Arsenal’s philosophy will lead to the club ending up like Malaga, which I also agree with.

It is not an easy issue to overcome and Gunners are split over it. Is Arsenal  a selling club, a buying club or as some suggest a trading club? I believe they are a trading club.

That doesn’t make AFC more ambitious, less ambitious, frugal or quick to make coin. That makes Arsenal a realistic buyer and seller in the current climate.

Now, all of that said, not all debt is bad debt. Paying 35m + X wages for a player of considerable talent can pay off in a team morale boost, talent and competitiveness. Add too many of those players and you can have too many cooks in the kitchen. The balance is ever so important and I trust Arsene to know what that balance is better than you or I; take a look at 03/04 as an example.

Will Arsenal dip into the deep coffers and overspend to get the players that are perceived as needed or will they continue on the road of buy cheap, sell expensive and constant turnover? The answers to those questions are going to be dictated by the results this year more than any other. When the answer comes, unless it comes with trophies, it won’t please 100% of the fan base, some will be happy and others upset, that’s the reality of the modern fan as well.

These questions then lead to the ever important personnel issue. Have the additions and departures to AFC this summer thus far been good for the team?

Sales/Purchases

Let’s make this simple;

Podolski: Experienced, technically proficient player. He is already making adjustments to his game to suit AFC play.

Giroud: Raw, talented and made for EPL play. Will take time adjust but likely to pay off huge.

Cazorla: Already plays like he was brought up in the system.

RvP: AFC waited patiently for 6 1/2 years for him to be a consistent player. The last 18 months he was made the center of the offensive attack, and whilst finally staying healthy he delivered. Does he repay this patience? Nope. He buggers off at the first opportunity. To me this was a good sale. Better to get 24m now than nothing later.

Song: Good player, never played his position as needed, helped a great deal going forward, hurt a great deal defending, a double-edged sword. Can’t say I am sorry to see him go as I have called for it or a defensive replacement to allow him to go forward for quite some time. He’s already keeping the bench warm at FCB already, amazing.

Sahin: The truth? Sahin wanted to stay at RMFC this year. Mou wanted him to get playing time. Sahin chose Arsenal after a Wenger call. AFC then decided to try to make the loan into a permanent deal based on the fees that were to be paid. What was an already agreed upon loan deal was turned sideways. Sahin and Real Madrid decided that going to LFC made more sense as both club and player wanted a reunion at the end of the year.  Nothing complicated or sinister, just bad timing and bad information passed on by many parties.

Lansbury: Bad deal for me. He never got a chance to show what he had at AFC. He gets no chance and Ramsey gets a million. Not what many of us expected.

Theo: One has to make a true evaluation; Theo is a work in progress that no one knows will pay off. Does AFC bail now after 5 years or continue the work? We shall see.

Departures: We are all waiting on NB52, Chamakh, Arshavin, Park, Squillaci to be sent packing, looking unlikely with each passing day.

Arrivals: Unless some of these departures happen, arrivals will be tough. But a DM and a DEF player are likely. A ST will come in IF Arsenal can move theirs.

So, AFC rid themselves of players that were unhappy, ungrateful or unwilling to look at the big picture and replaced them with players that WANT to be at AFC…not a bad deal in my view. The fact is the club replaced a squad full of champions and competitors with spoiled kids. The young replacements were not ready and given too much pay and responsibility for it to never end any other way other than how it has. That is Wenger’s fault, and it was a direct result of having to pay for the Emirates and changing the spending philosophy to maximize profit, the board’s new priority. Enough blame to go around. BUT…

As long as Arsenal continue to bring in a mix of youth and experience and the correct type of characters that want to accomplish something AT the club instead of using the club to transition, the Gunners will be just fine.

Season Results

Given the two results thus far this year and hearing how fans have reacted you would think Arsenal are set for relegation, again. I say again because this sounds so familiar. Remember last year after 7 matches when at 7 points most said AFC were destined for the bottom half of the table and possibly relegation. Oops, that didn’t work out for them did it?

Listen, last year at this time the club had departures, a horrible chemistry with attitude issues and a horrific back line. This year AFC dominated the two first matches, the defense has been great and only the lack of play time together has kept AFC from 6 points instead of the current 2. Things are looking bright for the club, a couple more additions and some consistency in the line-ups as we had only once last year (the run of matches where we beat Milan, 5PUR2, Citeh, etc) and our trophy drought is well on its way to being a thing of the past.

I blame the board, Wenger but most of all the players for where AFC are right now. There are no innocent parties in this. It is a team effort when AFC wins and it is a team effort to lose as well. We as fans can’t have it both ways. Arsene can’t be a genius at spotting talent, then be blameless when that talent goes rogue. We can’t love the players then blame Wenger when those players grow to prefer money over the club, no way for him to know that beforehand…as I said before plenty of blame to go around.

We have to go back to basics Gooners. Support and love the CLUB, cheer the players and realize that it is never as bad or as good as the media, AKB, WOB, etc. want you to think it is. The reality is we support an elite club with small club values, embrace it. If you can’t, there will be more disappointment coming. If you can embrace it and have done, you know Arsenal are leading a charge to go back top and most certainly not lagging behind.

Good days ahead, you have to believe that, or what’s the point of support?
COYG!