On Gallas And Attitudes

Whilst the defeat to Hull was disappointing and it is fair to say that few, if any, of the team deserve to escape criticism, there is an awful lot of oppobrium being pushed onto the shoulders of William Gallas, be it for his role in conceding the winner or for his captaincy or perceived lack of it.

Little doubt that he could, and should, have done better in marking Cousin yet there is a question of whether or not he was actually assigned to mark the Frenchman. The former Rangers striker covered a lot of ground to meet the ball and did so with maximum effect. Given the comments of Ian Ashbee that they had practised set-pieces all week, the question that should be asked is what were Arsenal doing at the same time? It would not have been hard to figure out where the most threat from Hull would likely to have been emerging. Even though that proved not to be the case – they were equally dangerous in open play – the fact is that when playing teams who are of lesser technical ability, it is not rocket science to know that you will have to counter them from corners and free-kicks. Quite how Arsene and his staff will assess Stoke City is open to question at the moment.

It has long been Wenger’s policy to pick his team and tactics to suit Arsenal, with only tinkering around the edges to adapt to his opponents. There are matches of course, where he has lined-up to counter specifics but only the whole, his attitude is ‘let them worry about us‘. That is fine but within that there has to be awareness of their strengths. Accordingly, defending corners ought to be something that is honed to a fine art yet consistently the threat, real or perceived, is greater than it ought to be.

The current central defensive pairing is part of that problem in that neither are consistently good in the air. It is not a new problem nor is it something that Arsene is unaware of. Earlier this season, he played Djourou in the absence of Toure and whilst the defence was not infallible, it did seem secure. That is not to say that Djourou is the solution nor Toure the problem. Equally, Gallas is not solely the problem but whom would Wenger drop and more importantly is that the correct solution?

It is not as simple as it might seem for that could be equally applied to several players on the basis of Saturday and before. Look at the forward line; van Persie and Adebayor, as a combination, have not hit top form this season. They have worked hard in other areas to compensate for the lack of goals. If those standards are applied to forwards then surely the same can be applied to the defence. They have snuffed out teams in open play and now need to resolve the issue of set-plays.

For Gallas though, I sense that it is not just the issue of poor marking. A lot of criticism is harking back to St. Andrews, seemingly creating a pattern whereby his captaincy is seriously questioned. Some of it is true but where are these questions when things are going well? There are none yet that is the time when they should be raised. As it is, Wenger is not going to change that in the immediate future unless there is a tremendous howler from Gallas.

The problem with a defeat such as the one suffered on Saturday is emotions. It has brought those which were suppressed through the squad reaching the top of the table to the fore. And the downer is massive, particularly as it was unexpected, the euphoria surrounding the performance of the Carling Cup squad disappeared instantly as a reality check was handed out. Gallas believes that the problem was complacency:

If we think like this we will not go anywhere. The players were ready to play a strong game. We were not lucky and we have to work more and try to stay in the fourth position. It’s very difficult to accept. We said all the time we wanted to win every game and we lost 2-1 to Hull City.

This is where the captain and manager accept the blame in equal share. There must have been signs before the game that the ‘attitude’ was awry; it should have been stamped upon in no uncertain terms. Maybe they did but if that was the case, the players did not listen. Reports this morning suggest that Arsene will wield the axe for tomorrow, an unlikely scenario. One or two changes perhaps but I would be surprised if the starting line-up contains less than nine of those who started on Saturday. Some diplomatic injuries could occur but seem unlikely.

Whatever the case, tomorrow’s game cannot come quickly enough. A win is vital to erase the memory of Hull yet it will not show definitively that attitudes have been corrected. That will be apparent by the end of October. Five wins by that stage and we will be looking back wondering what all the fuss was about.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on September 29, 2008, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 86 Comments.

  1. [moved by YW from previous post]

    What a miserable weekend, i didnt get to comment yesterday so i’d thought id say something now.

    After reading comments from various sites and watching the game of course, its obvious that we just didnt show up to the game… simple as. There is no question of lack of quality or firepower because we had all the ingredients on the pitch to smack another 6 goals in against Hull. The players just underestimated them and didnt give as good as they got. There are question marks at the back, but Geovanni’s shot was our only goal in open play conceded all season and it was a spectacular effort where no one was at fault. It came at a bad time and consequently changed the game.

    Changes and issues must be addressed as we cannot afford such a sloppy attitude to teams like Hull (no offense). Denilson didnt put a foot wrong in the game, but Djourou or Song have to come into the team and add a bit of steel. Being in defence or midfield.. that is what we are lacking on the pitch and it is most obvious on corners. Gallas is good defender from open play, rarely beaten.. but on set-pieces we are extremely suspect. Djourou needs to be given his chance now at the back for whoever it may be. Toure is most likely i have to say. Changing captain now isnt such a good idea no matter what mistake Gallas makes on a corner.

  2. “I believe that we have more a size problem than quality in our defending problem,” Wenger said. “Our centre backs are not very tall. I don’t know what we can do. It’s not only centre backs who defend. As a team we are a bit short.

    This really made me laugh. Here are some solutions to Arsene’s impossible problem

    1. Pick some taller players – Djourou and Song.
    2. Stop collecting midgets
    3. Read this blog as many of us said that this team was too short.
    4. Give Toure and Gallas some stilts.

    AW talks as if this has suddenly become a problem. People have been going on about this for ages but it doesn’t appear that much was done about it.

    It would have helped if AW had this Eureka moment in the summer. Oh wait, he did and then chose to keep the same centre-back pairing. Djourou must play.

  3. YW, I agree with everything in your post today.
    our lack of strength on corners is not some kind of surprise that crept up on us and showed it face against hull. we have been like this since sol campbell went AWOL. Djourou can solve a problem. of course that doesn’t mean we will never concede from a corner ever again because there are about 8 attackers who can score and one player can only mark one player. But just like sol added strength to our defence, so can Johan. You can practice set pieces all you like, if you haven’t got players who deal with corners as part of their natural game then you are virtually wasting your time. There was not a lot wrong with what the TEAM did for the second goal – it was down to individual deficiencies.

    I have long beleived that Ade cannot form partnerships with any striker. he is a superb lone striker who can hold the ball up if necessary and score headers and make great runs. but his inter-passing with any strike partner is poor. RVP also slows down play with his dependency on his left foot.

    Meanwhile Nik B is having a good season. he is not afraid to drop deep to make things happen and he can pass and move with a strike partner. He and vela make a genuinely deadly pair and on form should be first pick when we play 4-4-2. Ade I would use in a 4-5-1.

    You need your attack to be functioning perfectly if you are not going to use a proper DM (like Flamini). Den had a good game but he is not going to be winning the ball back within 10 seconds. No one closed Geovanni down for their first goal – why not? Would Song do that kind of thing? Its hard to say for sure but I think he’s worth a shot. he can go forwards with the ball too.

  4. Denilson has made a patchy start so Song may come in for the short term as it seems he has affected Cesc’s influence on the game. In the long term this may mean Diaby will be partner to Fabregas.
    I’m not sure if Arsene will drop either centre back for more than one game but if this continue’s Silvestre is probably gonna be Wenger’s preferred option.
    In the box to defend we had decent headerers but they were shorter than you’re average defender: Sagna, Gallas, Toure, Adebayor, Van Persie.

  5. Diaby will get in cesc’s way even more than Den. But I agree with the principle – Cesc really wants a proper defensive player next to him so he does not have to worry so much when he goes forward. In games where the opposition have not allowed us any time, we have struggled – both games had Denilson in the midfield, thoguh to be fair he actually had a better overall game then Cesc on saturday. we saw against Kiev how poor Arsenal looked with only 2 attacking midfielders on compared to how we looked with a proper defensive midfielder there as well.

  6. I still think Fabregas had a better game than any other Arsenal player, just that he has so high standards he gets scrutinised more.
    Regarding Diaby, I’ve only seen him play defensive midfielder once for Arsenal and that was against Bolton in the FA Cup. He partnered Denilson and he did a great job. Didn’t get forward as much and tackled strong.

  7. If Cesc plays bad, we play bad. Simple as that. Its not fair on him at all

  8. I have just seen the Geovanni goal again and them amount of time he had was just a joke. Theo was nearest but did nothing and Cesc and Denilson were nowhere to be seen. I cannot escape the feeling that had Flamini/Vieira/Gilberto/Diarra/Song been playing then someone would have closed the space.

    It was a fantastic goal though

  9. Firstly, Hull were great. In spirit, tactics, and defensive. They scored a cracker of a goal from out of the blue. And then just one of their set pieces came off. Our defence, I think, by and large, did alright with their attack.

    On the other hand, Fab was inconsistent, van Persie and Adebayour were well short and Eboue and Denilson did as well as they are able (neither one thing or the other players)

    Although their left back did very well against Walcott, Theo created the chance and worried them.

    But, it’s true, compared to the other title challengers our defence generally looks wobbly and flappable.

    Gallas has been great this season. He works tirelessly, goes up for corners, scores point saving and point winning goals. You can’t ask more from him. He is a lead by example Captain.
    But he is emotional when we need calm and he is not good at getting to the ball first.

    Toure is the most flappable, looks a tad overweight and despite his great and loyal commitment to the club is not as good as he once was.

    He is also too much like Gallas. In style and height.

    It’s going to be a great season of many highs and some lows but we’re not going to win the title anyway this year.

    Promote the taller Djourou, make him a third and equal partner and experiment with different partnerings until one of them clicks.

    May the best twosome win.

  10. Yes many within the team were at fault, if I were to particularly finger 2 it would be Walcott and Gallas.

    Walcott had a number of opportunities to get the Gunners on top but, against his reacent Arsenal & England performances, failed to even get a shot off.

    Gallas needs to be singled out not just for his lack of leadership, very much in question, but more pertinently because on so many occasions he has repeatedly been the player found wanting. As examples he went missing at Utd. in the FA cup last season / Liverpool in the Champion’s League / Birmingham in the Premiership and once again against Hull in Saturday’s clash.

    For god’s sake Arsene you are too intelligent to miss the weakness – drop Gallas before he makes even more of a hash. If he is as good as he believes then he will successfully fight to regain his place.

    Be willing to root out ALL of the weaknesses, not just the convinient ones.

  11. Just because he scores a wonder goal doesn’t mean it’s entirely the team’s fault. Sure he could have been closed down quicker, but Man U, Chelsea and Liverpool will all have wonder strikes scored against them this year, so I think its a bit harsh. I also dont think that an Alonso, Veloso, M’Bia, Inler or whoever else wiould have stopped that goals.Corners, however is another matter and can be prevented. Gallas’s headiong ability is abysmal and needs some serious work.

  12. Alex IC, excellent post at 12:43, amen! I just saw Arsene’s press conference and post-match interview on the official site, as well as his BBC interview, and he looks utterly bewildered. He made an interesting comment about how surprising it was to see the team so complacent (he didn’t use that word) given the lessons he thought the team had learned from last season.

    Well obviously they haven’t.

    As Alex pointed out, he keeps mentioning things like “lack of height” and problems with long balls but never addresses those problems, never took the opportunity in the summer to deal with them. The team desperartely needs a defensive coach yet he refuses to take one on. He persists in this inadequate CB pairing at the back when everyone can see it’s not working. Maybe too much of the criticism has been put on Gallas but it was he who–as always–was just watching the damned ball for the corner kick that resulted in the goal.

    You don’t have to be a le grove hysteric to see that for a long time now our defense is the weakest, most vulnerable of the top teams in England, maybe even among the top European sides.

    I never believed we’d win the league this season but I didn’t expect to see it confirmed so early in the season. Six games into the season and we’ve dropped 6 points in a league where 83 points is not only enuf to win the title, it’s not even enuf to finish 2nd. And they were points dropped against teams we’re expected to win.

    Not games like Chelsea or MU away, where we will certainly drop points. As I said weeks ago, it’s a matter of chasing a finish in the top 4 this season.

    I also want to know just how much more humiliation we can take in such a short space of time. In 7 months we’ve been humiliated at WHL, OT, threw away a 5 point lead, collaped in a manner regarded as utterly pathetic by our rivals, and now we lose to f—–g HULL CITY….at home!

    WE ARE ARSENAL. We don’t lose to HULL CITY….not at home.

    As for the players themselves, most of them looked like they couldn’t be bothered.

  13. CORRECTION: “…where 83 points is not only NOT enuf to win the title, it’s not even enuf to finish 2nd.”

  14. Things need to change for porto and AW does have some if not lots of options. Drop Kolo for Djourou? Does that really help? He might be taller but what we would gain in height we will lose equally in experience and in Kolo just being a better player (certainly when on form). He won’t drop teh captain for a CL game so Gallas will keep his place.

    Drop Eboue, bring in Song in CM and Denilson plays wide if Nasri isn’t fit looks like a decent option. I will be surprised if AW doesn’t do that as Eboue was awful on sauturday. If Nasri is fit we could always play him left and denilson right and drop Theo who could come on as a super sub if we are chasing the game.

    I would def drop RVP for Bendtner who is smarter, in much better form and plays for the team more. I would like to see Vela come in but not for Porto, we can’t afford to experiment with such an important game. Team for porto: Almunia, sagna, toure, gallas, clichy, theo, cesc, song, denilson (nasri to replace either den or theo if fit), ade, nik.

  15. NYMarcus

    Sorry I don’t see how anyone can say who will or will not win the league before the end of September. It is right to be concerned but it was one performance. We have lost twice in the League and can afford to lose about four games all season, provided the number of draws is kept very low.

    Right now, our season maximum points is 107 (if we win every remaining game) and I would suggest that they can drop between 10 – 13 points and still win the league. Writing off chances now is somewhat premature.

    YW

  16. I now suspect Arsene Wenger has no idea what his best team is, and becoming increasingly impatient for anyone to justify their place in the team. Perhaps some of that has to come from the pressure of not delivering any silverware, but he needs to motivate some of the players as well, like Adebayor who had a really complacent game. Gallas might be trying too hard to prove some wrong, that he is indeed suitable to be captain.

  17. Disappointed in the amount of flak vanP is getting compared to Ade. I thought van P improved hugely in H2 with some good footwork and got several shots away, a couple on his right foot which missed but at least he didnt miss the opportunity by trying to switch to left foot.

    I would drop Ade for Bendner and bring Vela in on left wing if Nasri not fit (noticable how Vela on the right wing kept cutting inside onto his left foot…)

    Big Johan must play at CB of course – should be in place of Gallas, but will be in place of Toure

  18. Yogi, a friend of mine argued half-jokingly/half-seriously over the weekend “look, we’re getting our bad performances out of the way now so we can leave our good performances for the end of the season, unlike last year.”

    If that turns out to the case, FANTASTIC.

    And our Spanish league counterparts Valencia kept their top place in La Liga over the weekend (I add that jokingly, I’m grabbing at straws here).

    I accept what you’re saying, lots of things can happen over a season, anything’s possible, etc. But a 6-point deficit in 6 games into the season against lower table teams leaves very little room for any hopes of grabbing the league come May.

  19. CORRECTION: “I never believed we’d win the league this season…”

    That should’ve read “Since the close of the transfer window, I haven’t believed we’d win the league this season….” because it was on that day I realized the team would not be strengthened so as to address the team’s weaknesses that AW himself discussed at the end of last season.

  20. A few observations from Saturday:

    The worst Arsenal performer by a country mile was Robin van Persie and once again I am wondering why on earth he is immune from criticism. He slowed every move down, failed to close down the opposition and shot from ridiculous angles.

    When we had Patrick Vieira defending the near post on corners, free kicks and throw-ins we very rarely conceded from set pieces. We miss a dominant presence at the near post.

    Almunia is not as commanding on set pieces as Lehman or Fabianski.

    And this stuff about Gallas – people say his teamtalk during the warm-up is rubbish, how do they know this apart from what Sky and Setanta tell them. I’d suggest that a few of the players started listening to Gallas gee-ing them up before a game. I also hear people saying he shouts at players and that that is wrong. I don’t remember Tony Adams getting criticised for dishing out a rollicking.

    I am not saying Gallas is immune from criticism but people complaining about his leadership know nothing other than what is fed to them by the media who had it in for Gallas ever since Maureen ranted about his supposed threat to score own goals.

  21. Good post,at last someone talking sense about Gallas no way was that goal his fault,i felt he was our best player on the day,which is not saying a lot really,Van Persie was terrible as was walcott & Adebayor,who has missed so many chances now….Kiev ,Bolton the list goes on,we need a finisher in there …Vela must play now,or we will continue to get sucker-punched

  22. NYM

    Where’s there a six point deficit? Last table I saw we were 2 behind Chelsea and Liverpool, 1 behind Villa.

    YW

  23. I meant we’ve dropped 6 points, bad wording on my part.

  24. RE: Arsenal Diaries: I agree with you.
    Wenger has tried out 4-1-3-2 against Bolton suggesting the Denilson – Fabregas partnership is not strong enough. I think secretly he is waiting for Silvestre and Diaby to get fit. Especially the latter as he said a lack of height is what got us, trying not to blame the defence. Diaby will come in for Denilson for the long term as he was meant to last season before he got injured and Flamini took over.

  25. At least AW hasnt done the usual spin BUT WHY CHANGE A WINNING COMBINATION THAT WE HAD AGAINST BOLTON? Is RVP being played so he signs a new deal. he definetly is not in form and should come off the bench not be a starter. an why not let Djouru start, give GALLAS A REST.

  26. Peter Storeys Budgie

    Yogi

    The point NY marcus is making is Wenger has learnt nothing from last season
    We still havent got a CH who is good in the air something anyone watching Arsenal for the last two seasons could see. So will continue to concede goals when balls are crossed into the box.Surely Wenger is not blind to this

    On the question of Gallas Wenger knew Gallas was a loose cannon after his antics at Birmingham last season yet he still kept him as captain.Utter madness.
    Wenger will not drop his captain so we are stuck with him.

    Welcome back Chris Goona i was worried about you after the Hull defeat

  27. YOGi we are the only one of top 4 who hasnt played one of the other 3. Manu lost to LPOOL,and drew with Chelsea so they have 2 less hard away games

  28. in terms of the title, I had put Fulham down to not being ready for the season ie it was like we were in pre-season while Fulham were completely ready, plus we were missing Cesc. now I have seen a carbon copy of the Fulham game 6 games into the season and with Cesc in the team I have realised that Fulham was not a one off – and Fulham Hull wont be a two-off either. There are very real problems in this team now that need addressing. without solving the problems the team cannot win the title. given the competition at the top, 4th might be all we can reasonably hope for.
    of course wenger could have a eureka moment, sort the problems out and we go onto win the title but it does need wenger to make changes not just beleive we were unlucky on the day or a ‘bit short physically’.

  29. exactly, gazzap. I too thought Fulham was a one-off, I didn’t view it as decisive, I didn’t freak out the way so many other gooners did on other blogs. I’ve thought that the team is still in a kind of “pre-season training” mode in these first few games, it hasn’t really gelled yet. Players came back at different times at different fitness levels. But now I see it wasn’t a one-off.

    Also, I agree that Ade doesn’t seem to be able to develop a strong enuf partnership with anyone.

  30. A bad defeat, no doubt about it. I dpnt hold with the attacks on Gallas. He fought till the end and everyone makes mistakes – we just got punished hard.

    I am not at all convinced that we need a specific defensive midfielder aka Flamini. If we had one more creative midfielder playing (Nasri or Rosicky), I am sure we would have won.

    here is hoping our team really have a good day tomorrow to banish the memory of this loss.

  31. Gunnerblog’s excellent analysis of RVP as a luxury player:

    gunnerblog.com/?p=1125

  32. I wish Gallas would shout at the players, not when he is wrong like with Djourou but to make sure that they are alert and aware of what is at stake, this is what I thought Flam brought to the table more than any other.

    I still cant see what the problem is with Cesc and Denilson, after all we have beaten tougher teams than Hull with them in and played the most beautiful football seen in a long time. We admit that we have only conceeded one goal from open play, then say the combination is not good enough, huh?

    To me we could have 11 6′ 4″ players playing but if we are not aggresive we will still concede from set plays. Yes I do think it is time for Djourou but there is no doubt in my mind that this has to be an area of concentration, we are just too lax on these type of plays, confusing!

    I will say again, it was our strike force that was found wanting more than any other area yesterday. If you score early you put fear into teams. The more a team like Hull stays close the more confident they become. Walcott, RVP and Ade – were just not good enough and it affected the whole team in my opinion. Vela needs a chance now.

    Do we miss Nasri this much?

    I do beleive we will win the league but our attitude is off at present.

    God Bless!!

  33. “Saturday” my bad!

  34. Agree that Gunnerblog’s analysis is interesting – but i simply cant agree with the amount of criticism being directed at van P. Eboue’s Friend said he was shooting form “ridiculous angles”, maybe, but he also scores from ridiculous angles – and i thought he created space well on a number of occasions in the second half, and it wasnt only for him to take a shot himself, there was at least one great ball through for Theo to run onto – all in all far more contribution than i remember from Ade.

  35. I blame 100% AW for the defeat for under-estimating the opposition.
    I watched this Hull team and I can tell you that Hull will beat many more teams of Top Four, because they are built on the current Chelsea resilience and pragmatism.
    In your previous post, Yogi, I said that until AW understands that there are problems in these three areas:
    – Ade/RVP is not working, because none of them is a natural goal scorer.
    – Gallas/Toure is not working, because they are too similar and don’t really like each other(I can see that in the way they barely talk to each other).
    – Denilson/Fabregas is not working, because we are playing too lightweight players in very critical positions (DM). On this one, It will work only if we go for 4-3-3 or 4-5-1, which gives AW the option to introduce in the mix, either Song, Djourou or even Clichy I see him as the only genuine replacement of Flamini, and give Gibbs the chance to develop better at full-back.
    I think Clichy is in my opinion the only natural replacement of Flamini, if AW wants to carry on playing 4-4-2. Song can be used as well, but I suspect he is more of Gilberto style DM than Flamini type.

  36. Paul, you have a point about focusing your attention more on the failure of our strikers on Saturday rather than the defense. Fair enuf. And it’s an important point because AW’s new strategy for this team relies so heavily on clinical, efficient attack plays.

  37. Peter Storeys Budgie

    What did you mean by that???

    Im more worried about the fans than the team, some of you are so quick to jump of the bandwagon after a decent performance then just as quick to slate the team when things dont go well. Geovanni’s wonder changed the game in my eyes even though we were by far at our best. No-one really performed for us which is very strange. I think Hull’s resilience got the better if our players who didnt really expect such a demanding game. It could have and should have been 2-0 and the game would have gone to bed. But at least we can address the problems which havent been resolved. Defensively in open play we look solid. 1 wonder strike in 6 games dont change that, but height is the issue and the sooner Djourou or Diaby come into the team the better.

    Theres no point blaming Gallas’s leadership because that is just a childish excuse.. so dont bother starting that again. Gallas being the captain will retain his place which is unfair to a degree.. but changes must be maid. Djourou should play or Silvestre. Denilson hasnt put a foot wrong in the last few games and is turning into a great player for us. Just look at his tackling, assists, and passing stats. Eboue dissapointed me heavily on saturday, after playing so well, it looks like he just stepped back a year or two. He just isnt smart enough to make the right choices within a game on a consistent basis. The sooner Rosicky & nasri come bakc the better.

    Theo played ok.. needs to be sharper and take his chances more tho. Up front Ade didnt have the best of games because he will normally benefit when the team are performing. Van Persie for me is looking better all the time, he could have scored a few but some of you seem to be pointing at him also which i cant understand. We all know he is a flair player, dont blame him for it.. again very childish feedback from a very dissapointing weekend.

  38. Chris Goona, The fact is that Walcott and RVP didnt score some very easy chances. They are supposed to score. Out of all those chances, are you telling me they couldnt score 1? they are to be blamed just as much or even more so than our defense in this match for If they had scored it would have changed the whole game.

    Gallas is playing well but I just wish he would be more vocal.

  39. Big Johan,

    RVP’s moments of inspiration have been few and far between this season. He’s a remarkable talent and can do things with a football that many others cant.

    However on the whole, he slows moves down by taking 2 or 3 extra touches which may look wonderful but its out of synch with the rest of the team. And i know the ball to Theo you are talking about and its the kind of pass Bendtner is constantly looking for whereas with Robin it felt like he had no other option.

    My biggest gripe was his laziness, from where I was sat, North Upper, you could see so clearly his complete refusal to close anyone down, even when we were losing. He looked totally disinterested other than when the ball was at his feet.

  40. It was us not being clinical that changed this game more than anything any Hull player did. No matter how defensive you are if you dont score you dont win, quite simple!

  41. One more thing, do people realize that we only scored one goal against “HULL”. Our strikers need to sharpen up, ADE and RVP especially. the numbers dont lie at all. ONE GOAL

  42. Peter Storeys Budgie

    Chris GOONA

    Cannot agree with you on RVP.He is not a team player he plays for himself.Compare how quickly the ball was being passed around at Bolton when Bendtner played.He slows the game down.
    He is always trying to score the goal of the season.And his right foot is as bad as Nigel Winterburns.

  43. Agree with Alex Ice Cream, Arsene’s comments are enough to wind us all up, every single Arsenal fan, on any blog or otherwise, has been in agreement all summer (and far beyond) that Toure and Gallas are not tall enough. The answer is simple, as it has been for the last few years, play Djourou, play him, let him learn, let him make mistakes, but let him learn, don’t send him on-loan to play in midfield. Gallas has been an absolute disaster for Arsenal Football Club, his performances have not only stunk, but he’s caused major problems for the development of both Senderos and Djourou.

    That said, and like Yogi has said today, the chances of him “wielding the axe” are next to none. Also, for whatever reason, Arsene always stands by senior players. If he’s going to drop one of the two centre backs, which I think is possible for tomorrow, then it will be Toure and not Gallas, even though I feel that would be extremely unfair. Walcott, Denilson and Eboue are also more likely to be in the firing line than the desperate Van Persie, again, unfair.

    This said, Saturday’s performance wasn’t depressing, just highly disappointing. We’re still in a great position, and we have a fantastic depth of talent, I still feel extremely optimistic, but let’s hope Arsene finds the courage to make those necessary CB changes, because, we know for certain, it will come back to bite us on the ass sooner or later. Yogi says we’ll forget about it in 4 or 5 victories time, highly possible, but no amount of form can compensate for the two CB’s being too short. We can play like Brazil-70 for the next 30 games, come a Champions League semi-final, and come the corner, we’ll be as vulnerable as ever.

  44. Hboy,

    ur comments are fair but the fact is we didnt play like brazil, if we did we would have scored. I dare anyone to look at this match again if possible and see how we were carving Hull to shreads. Yes we were complacent but believe me eevn though we were we had ample opportunities to put this game to bed. Yes the defense needs help as far as set peices but our strikes must put away simple chances.

  45. I wonder how comes, Wenger is not addressing the fact that we were not clinical and downright wasteful in front of goal? What about our taking of corners? This has nothing to do with height. It is very popular to jump on the defence at present but I dont fully buy it.

  46. Peter Storeys Budgie

    Paul N

    I honestly wonder if we practice defending corners and taking corners in training because to be honest we are awful at both.
    Also can someone please teach Ade the offside law and RVP how to use his right foot

    The Hull result needs to be a massive wake up call to Wenger.

  47. The reason for our failure on Saturday is the same it was a few years ago: our defensive strength, or to be put more accurately, the lack of it. For years we have been leaking goals on set-pieces and have lost innumerable games as well as trophies. Just visit the statistics of last few years’ games when we went ahead and failed to maintain the lead and you’ll agree with me.
    The main difference between us and the likes of Chelsea and Man United is that when they score a goal, they normally find the means to maintain their lead and carve out a scrappy win. The Gunners, on the other hand, need a lot more than a single goal as their defense always lets them down.
    Last year we lost he Premiership crown only by a difference of points that we conceded in games where we had a lead but lost this advantage by conceding some silly goals – Chelsea and Birmingham are only a few examples.
    What is more frustrating is that one doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out the cause of our persistent flaw, yet we have never seen Arsene making any concerted effort to address this issue. Perhaps it was for the first time at the end of last year’s football season when I heard Arsene admitting that Arsenal had defensive problems and assured the frustrated fans to address this issue. His words, however, were never translated into any meaningful action and we are again staring at another trophy less season. I don’t know what future holds for us but if cannot defeat the likes of Fulham and Hull, how could we even think of getting something at Stamford Bridge, Old Trafford, and Anfield?

  48. PSB,

    I can’t believe that we seriously practice set-pieces; for how many years have they been a problem?

    We regularly concede from corners and hardly ever score from them. It doesn’t matter who takes them, they are always rubbish.

    I think AW tells the players that scoring from corners is not allowed.

  49. hboy,

    Arsene’s comments didn’t wind me up. His bemused look and tone coupled with the “I don’t know what we can do line” made me laugh hard!

  50. we can practice set pieces in training but who are the defenders challenging against. Only Ade and Bendtner are two strikers tall enough. Defenders can challenge against defenders but like everyone says they are too small.

  51. Flint McCullough

    Far too much hot air !!

    We were beaten because the committment, concentration & simple respect for PL opposition was not there.

    That in itself is more worrying than whether Gallas & Kolo are tall enough.

    No one but perhaps Denilson really did themselves justice & I hope AW has read the riot act.

    The two goals they scored were both brilliant but come because we had not shown enough conviction & thus concentration from the start.

    These games happen, it will be interesting to see how well Hull do against our main rivals. I was impressed by their teamwork & complete togetherness. It is something we need to learn from & fast.

  52. Alex Ice Cream:
    There you go ridiculing yourself. Come next week you will then begin the process of retraction.

    I bet you want him to come out and admit to problems that will then be played a billion times by sky, quoted in all blogs world wide, and misrepresented by every tabloid paper?

    A little bit of intelligence should never go amiss.

  53. William

    What are you on about?

    Where are my ridiculing myself?

  54. Flint, I agree with our lack of commitment but whas is that what caused Walcott to stumble over himself and RVP to take crap free kicks or for our corners to be atrocious? my answer would be no? Hull should have punsihed from the beginning of the match. As I was watching the match the commentator said it was not a matter of if we score but when, this being in the first half, this is to show the way we dominated the play eary on.

    AIC, I kinda disagree with yo regarding our corners, I believe Cesc was doing a decent job last year. Lets go back to being simple and get everyone in the box, what is one of our most feard strikers doing way out taking corners? makes no sense.

  55. I don’t think it was the defense alone or the attack alone. It’s normal that when your attack is not scoring after “carving out Hull” to pieces, that your defense will become more edgy, then once the first goal was conceded, half the confidence was gone as well to concede the second.

    It is weird how that awesome fighting spirit we have seen in Blackburn, then Bolton can all of a sudden disappear in the next game?

    My biggest disappointment is that Hull scored their goals in minutes 62 & 66, we had 30 minutes to score a goal to salvage a point. At Bolton, we put them under immense pressure for 10 minutes and we scored 2 goals….that didn’t happen with Hull, we never really put them under great pressure. We even resorted to the long ball at the end of the game which means we surrendered to Hull’s way of playing football.

    Anyways, it’s over now and we can’t get those three points back. We have to get the next three though to stay within reach of the top.

  56. I agree with Yogi, saying that the complacent attitude should have stamped out from jump. Our leaders, i.e – Toure, Gallas, Cesc, Ade, RVP and most of all Wenger need to make sure these young cats are focused. Time to stop playing ring aroung the rosey, lets get focused! Please.

    We are just way too brilliant to not be ready!

  57. G4E, I think ur right.

  58. AW says the team wasn’t sharp/focused to win, how come Chelsea & ManU have off days & still win? (I know ManU gets a lot of favours from the refs but still). We always seem to have to play the other team of the park, score atleast 3 goals to end-up winning the match…lack of experience, the team is built for attack & not defence?!

  59. Siva, agree we should still be able to scrap out a win against the likes of Hull. We were wasteful!

  60. Guys,

    Hull is in the past. We have a very important game tomorrow. Porto won their first game and we drew so the pressure is on. Let’s hope we can put this Hull defeat behind us and that we can get the response we need from the team. They need to be fired up and start at a quick tempo.

    In future, if a team wins a corner, should we offer them a penalty instead. I think that we have less chance of conceding a goal from a pen.

  61. I believe our problems from set pieces are psychological as much as anything else. Scoring scruffy goals from corners is almost beneath some of our lads , as is following up shots in the hope of a rebound.

    On the size issue, it`s obviously a help but desire & anticipation are necessary too. Look at how many headers Owen & Essien win in both penalty areas for instance.

    As for Porto, I think there may be a big name casualty from the starting line up.

    It ceratinly won`t be Gallas as he`s practically our only right now.

  62. AIC, some things are easier to get over than others. As you know, I defend Arsenal to the max but the losses against Fulham and Hull are really dissapointing and it is a must that we kick this nonchalant attitude in the backside! I know you agree.

    Anyway, our team is great and I see a win tomorrow!

  63. Paulie,

    Its a fair point. Look at Sagna, he is not that tall but he wins a lot of headers. Arsene mentioned desire to get the ball which is also key. A bit of height wouldn’t hurt though.

  64. I’m still not sure why Ade’s goal was disallowed. Was that the right call?

  65. AIC,

    Agreed. Sagna should be a role model for the whole squad. He`s always switched on a has that winning mentality – a brilliant buy (thanks Grimster)

    NY Marcus,

    The Hull defender went down very early & easily & I`ve seen them given. Ade actually completely mistimed his header which wrong footed the keeper.

    Going back to the height issue, Barca, who play in a similar passing style to us have the very same problem. Is it possible to have two footballing centre backs who are both good in the air ? Apart from Chelsea & Man U that is.

  66. Our team will just have to understand that our “Awesomeness” in the previous game will not guarantee us the 3 points in the next game.

    To win a title your commitment have to be consistent in every game big & small, otherwise we will continue to play awesome football and win nothing.

    It’s not about buying extra players, or 7’2″ players, it’s commitment to the cause that matters and so far I don’t see it.

    I hope I see it tomorrow.

  67. G4E:
    Totally aggree with your post at 9:09 pm. It wasn’t because of quality that we lost, because of our lack of commitment, and the joint that Song passed to everyone before the game. Lathargic they all seemed. Well everyone seems down, but consider it this way. If we had drawn the match, which all the big 4 teams did more than 8-9 times last season, we would have had just one more point right now.

  68. Ateeb,

    You laugh about joints, but when I was playing Sunday league, and this is a true story, we played a team in a pre season friendly from West London, let us say, all of carribean or african origin. As we walked past their changing room, the majority of them were smoking something rather long and it wasn’t cigarettes. They proceeded to give us a good thrashing, 10 – 3.

  69. Muppet:
    HAHAHAHAHAHA….How about you and your mates switching to some other sports than? Cricket maybe. Or Golf.
    Football isn’t your thing:)

  70. Ateeb,

    Yeah. We were rather crap.

  71. Have just watched the reserve side get beaten 1-4 by Villla reserves. I think saturday’s performance against Hull passed on to the reserves.

  72. Steve:
    Did the reserve players look lathargic as well? If yes, then I think what the problem is. Its the Song with the bong!!!

  73. California Gooner

    Busy at work, so hard to keep up with comments, but I agree with Gunnerblog’s analysis that RVP was the wink link. He articulated something I felt during the game: when there is space RVP will destroy teams. But in tight spaces he gets knocked off the ball too easily, doesn’t fight enough, etc. It just felt like he was wrong for this last game and to the extent that Hull resemble Bolton, Bendtner would have been a better choice.

    Marcus — I don’t get the hysteria. It was disappointing, but two points off in September is hardly time for doom and gloom.

  74. Ateeb,

    Judging by Muppet’s experience, Maybe we lost because Song ran out of the sensimellia?

  75. California:
    But we haven’t yet played any of the top teams, but the rest of the big three have. But than again, it’s september. We can beat anyone. Everyone is making sense in one way or another with the concern. But how about we hold our judgments for now, and see how our title race goes on from here. If by the end of november if we’re 10 points off the lead, than there are real reasons to be concerned. Right now we can just blame one player or the other(the most preffered would be Gallas and Eboue though), or the manager. And keep going on and on, untill we move to the reserves and blame them. And then the joint that Song passed. And start moving backwards to the transfer windows. How Flamini shouldn’t have left.And point out the OBVIOUS FLAWS of the last three season, despite the fact that we lost the title by 4 points. Than we can go back to the champions league, and blame Lehman for the CL final against Barcelano. Move on to how Pires should have never left. And how we lack the experience of those invisible’s season players. And……

  76. California:
    Im sticking to my earlier conclusion of Muppet being not good at playing football. The other outcome seems higly unlikely, unless there is a new energy boost plant in the market. If there is, well than you’ll see me in an Arsenal shirt soon, but not in the stands, but on the pitch.

  77. Ateeb, we will give the number 10 shirt man. Oh, and ship Gallas to a retirement home far far away from here.

  78. California Gooner

    So, there are a few players — the one’s who suffer from nerves– who might benefit from a bong-hit or two before the game, no? Think how a little cool might help Adebayor put away those easy chance in from of the goal. Ade after a smoke could be our new Thierry Henry.

  79. Song the Bong Bilong…kind of rhyems good too.

  80. G4E and California:
    The last two posts were well thought out, and I don’t see any reason for anyone to disaggree with the two of you. Imagine Cesc high, three times the vision he already has. His better reading of the game. The only problem could be the execution, as he’d just want to sit on the sideline and watch the rest of the players play.

  81. Wenger is getting stubborn in transfers for last two years. Anyone who understands football can easily say Toure-Gallas combination can never work in the premier league and against teams who concentrate in set pieces. CB combination failure was one of the main reason we didn’t win anything last season. Still Wenger think it’s gonna work. It’s not only fulham/bolton/hull but we gonna suffer more from our CB’s this season given that Almunia is also not commanding in air. Djourou is immature and cannot lead our defense line at least for this season. Next season maybe?

    Every Arsenal fans were waiting for Wenger’s involvement in the transfer season but he did nothing right except for Nasri who is wonderful talent but still a crock. He released Flamster and Gilberto and replace with Bischoff(absolutely crock, hasn’t played football for 2 years) and Ramsey(not ready for at least 2 years). Team was begging for a strong CB but he got Silvestre crock again, Manu reject. Blah Blah….

    Cesc not performing well this season is all because of not signing a top notch partner for him in the middle. He need a CDM like Flamini who can win a ball and pass to him, who can tackle and dominate the middle park so Cesc can attack frequently. This season Denilson is deloyed there who is more attacking mid than defensive. Cesc was seen defending more than attacking to help Denilson who is not the answer for a DM who can play alongside Cesc for Arsenal.

    Arsenal are already humiliated twice and it’s gonna repeat more often due to inexperience in CM and no command in the aerial balls.

    For tomorrows game I want Ade, Denilson, Gallas dropped to make place for Bendy, Ramsey and Djourou. Its going to be a tight match and we have to be at our very best to get 3 points and confidence back in the team. Mentally this team is so fragile it’s hard to imagine they are good to play for Arsenal. Toure being scared of Hull was a joke. I thought he is a top man but if he is scared of Hull than he is not good enough mentally to play for us.

    Looking for a good response.

  82. Hey Highbury, you just said Ramsey is not ready for at least two years and now want to start him in a very important CL game?

  83. I don’t think it’s a question of writing off our title chances, we don’t realistically have any with the current squad.
    Yes, they can play wonderful football but the art of winning a championship requires the ability of the team to consistenly keep clean sheets. It is defenses that win titles not attacks. It was clear last season that we were not strong enough defensively and nothing has been done to change that. Ok, we are only four points off, but we blew the title well before May. Go beyond the moaning that we were unlucky against Liverpool in the champion’s league at Anfield, but the fact is we shipped 4 goals. We shipped 4 and Man U and 5 at Spurs. I know in the cup games this wasn’t our first team defense but it is not acceptable.

  84. oh ye have little faith….. support your team my friends… I expect Arseanal to win by at least 3 goals and look damn good while doing it….

    damn you Hull…… damn you to Hell (joke well done you bastards)

  85. support Dennilson and Eboue… they will suprise you all

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