Arsenal v Sunderland Preview

Sunderland visit TNHOF this afternoon, times changed since the day that the lido overflowed onto the pitch at The Stadium Of Light and Cesc’s Alice Band was not given due credit for its late equaliser.

Some things never change though and the highly strung hamstrings that pervade the squad have had their patience sorely tested, Eduardo’s the latest to succumb – unsurprisingly – to the injustice of it all and he is out after a scoring return, pencilled to reappear at the second leg of the Champions League tie against AS Roma.

Whilst that was a negative, then positives abound with the likely appearance at some point this afternoon of Andrei Arshavin. It seems almost a lifetime away since the negotiations were concluded for his services, so let the hype begin. But not here. Excited, yes; invigorated, yes as with any new signing of substance. Expectant of a starting place? No.
At best, a thirty minute runout, a dazzling hat-trick with a dozen assists but hype, no.

There will be changes to the side that romped home in the FA Cup earlier this week and no doubt some will be preserving their energy for the Roma match next week. Wenger though is in a small quandry; the chance to close the gap to fourth exists through Villa and Chelsea meeting in the lunchtime kick-off. Whatever the result, an Arsenal win will see them closer at the final whistle than they were at the start of the match and the balancing act he has to weigh all of the competitions up.

In goal, Almunia will return and it will be a surprise to see Gibbs retain his place with Clichy having recovered from his war wound suffered in last weekend’s derby. The centre though is a different story. One of Gallas or Toure will make way for Djourou, particularly with the need to combat Sunderland’s aerial abilities. Personally, I think Gallas is still his ‘first choice’ centre back so it is likely that he will be rested for the busy period ahead.

Midfield will more or less pick itself. Eboue is back following his suspension, a not universally option outside of the squad but nonetheless, an option. Otherwise, I would not expect Wenger to juggle too much. Perhaps Nasri may be sacrificed for Gibbs but in the middle there seems little option but for Song and Denilson to continue to build on their solid performances in recent weeks. And that sums up everything before Cardiff; solid. Expansive football was possible in the cup but that was because the Welsh side allowed it. Sunderland will not, setting out to stifle as much as possible. The forwards will doubtless be van Persie and Bendtner, few other options exist for the manager following Eduardo’s withdrawal.

The line-up I would expect to see is:

Almunia; Sagna, Djourou, Toure, Clichy; Eboue, Denilson, Song, Nasri; van Persie, Bendtner

With all Premier League matches at the moment, Arsenal cannot afford to worry about other teams around them. A win is crucial having spurned Villa’s dropped points last weekend. The opportunity is presenting itself for Arsenal to reclaim a top four berth in coming games; they need to take it.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. ’til Tomorrow.

Posted on February 21, 2009, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 319 Comments.

  1. I’m not sure if that’s a possibility, but why not Arshavin to start and then replaced by Eboue when the result is secure?

  2. I’m confident about a result later today and I think that Arshavin will impress in the 20 -30 minutes he gets. Things are well and truly on the up.

  3. I’d like enough youngsters on the bench to ensure that key players can rest once the result is secure.

  4. Hey I have a weird question,

    There was a piece of music used during the early seasons of the “Dream Team” series, and also used by for some of their 2004 season clips.

    Does any one know the name of that piece?

  5. Le Gunner,

    Without hope there is no “We”

  6. I haven’t given up yet. It will be amazing if we can do it. It will be the best title ever.Specially if the spuds get relegated.

  7. G4ever-how do you change the picture

  8. I have a wordpress account which them allows you to have an avatar of your choice.

    I think there are some avatar management website where you can create and use an avatar on on sites or blogs that allows it (i.e. ACLF)

  9. – them
    + then

  10. Thanks for that. Good luck to OurKevin (Arshavin) today I hope he does well and get us going. 3-1

  11. Injuries (good) news

    “Rosicky looks very good in training, he looks unbelievably strong. Fabregas looks good, Diaby will come back. Rosicky is three weeks, Cesc four weeks, Theo two weeks.”

  12. vela will start instead of Eboue and rvp in place of dudu – everything else looks like it will stay the same from the game against Cardiff.

  13. If this incident about Ade is true, it’s just proves that some fans have really reached a new low.

    It’s not any one’s business, Ade works for Arsenal and if he’s not pulling his weight it’s down to Arsenal and Wenger to deal with it not a stupid fan in an airport.

    I think if it’s true Ade said he is getting paid 110K it was to infuriate the fan even more, good for him.

  14. This news about Rosicky and Walcott is awesome. Fabregas to follow….

    It’s a good day to be a gooner, and pretty soon it’s going to be awesome to be a gooner.

    We love you Arsenal….We do
    We love you Arsenal….We do
    AaaRSENAL……..We love you

  15. G4E

    “Fan” is short for fanatic. That guy who confronted Ade at the airport is one such fanatic. The price of a season ticket doesn’t entitle one to behave like an imbecile.

  16. what a freaking Imbecile! Ade doesnt have to answer to any stupid Arsenal fan least of all at an Airport! Ade should have punched him to obscurity.

  17. Sounds like boll*cks to me. It’s like someone’s gone on to a sh*tty Arsenal blog and tried to find the perfect story to wind up a few of the fans on there. Best to ignore stuff like this.

  18. agu,

    Agree wholeheartedly, should have kicked the loudmouth moron’s arse!

    We have some pathetic fans at the moment, I guess we always have had, but any period without trophy after trophy really makes it clear!

  19. Praying: timeframe for the injured returning is realized. Would be blindingly AWESOME!

    Praying: Arshavin plays & impresses today & we beat Black Cats

    Praying: We beat Roma thoroughly in 1st leg

    WE are ARSENAL!

  20. You cannot be seriously thinking that Eboue will play????? My heart rate has already gone up with absolute hatred at the thought. I was hoping never to ever see this idiot again.

    ANY player in the squad can do better than that waste of space. Do somethings with Gibbs, Vela, Wilshire, Ramsey but NO NO NO NO to Eboue.

    It will be a massive downer to see Eboue even as a sub (God forbid he actually gets on) because of AA’ s participation in todays match.

  21. After Monday I was so looking forward to this match. Whatever you say about Cardiff, we were way better than we have been all season.

    I really thought we’d put out a similar line-up and attack Sunderland with the same pace and style. Now, with Eduardo out, and the realisation that Arsene probably won’t throw caution to the wind, the feelgood factor’s largely gone. I’m now back where I was, just hoping for a win.

    I’d love to see Nasri on the right and Vela on the left, but I’m expecting Eboue to start – and be substituted as always. Hopefully Arshavin can make a difference when he replaces him.

  22. Peter Storeys Budgie

    Arshavin must start.How can Eboue still be in the squad after his antics at Shite Hate Lane.I would give Vela a start he was excellant v Cardiff

    Must win game

  23. Gunner 4 ever

    We the fans pay Ade his huge wages.What that guy said at the airport was true.As they say if you cant stand the heat……

  24. Dont worry guys..Arshavin will start…I have a feeling Nasri could be rested on bench…Vela cud continue on wings…Eboue will get play off bench..

    We look short upfront as well..rvp and bendtner have to start both these games…

    this is tricky time for us..we need to keep in hunt for 4th place..and have to get thru roma with very thin squad..even after all the injury returns..they wont be match fit for 2nd leg..

    lets hope for the best

  25. Injury List


    That is some list and some creativity

  26. I wouldn`t believe too much in the `soaraway` Sun.

    As for bringing on people when the game is secure – if only ! We`ve not had that luxury in the EPL for a long time & I`ll just be glad of a win today.

    I actually think Eboue will start against Roma & AA will get a start today.

    Great news on the returning injured too. Our bench is going to be something else in a couple of weeks.

  27. Our strikers are going to wage an unjust war against Sunderland today. They’ll score a disproportionate number of goals.

  28. Can there be an unjust war against any team standing in the way of The Arsenal?

    Can we score a disproportionate number of goals? How many is that Pz? Put a number on it.

  29. Proportionate is the same number as they score. Disproportionate is more than they score. We are going to score a disproportionate number.

  30. They’ll be protests from the Premiere League community, but we’ll laugh up our sleeves at them. Might is right.

  31. I’m off to the game today, very excited.

    My hopes :

    * Stating the bleedin’ obvious – we win.
    * Arsh to start.
    * If Arsh doesn’t, then Vela left and Nasri right.
    * Eboue on bench (sorry).
    * Bendy to play well and score.

    Also – never ever ever believe anything reported in the Currant Bun.

    Come on Arsenal !

  32. Anybody want to put money on the fact Robin didn’t actually say the things attributed to him?

    Anybody willing to put money on his actual words being taken out of context, altered and twisted in their meaning?

    Anybody believe that the confrontaion between ade and a ‘fan’ actually took place as decsribed in that bastion of the truth, the Sun?

    Actually the latter story, true or false, shows the importance of not spreading ignorant hatred of our players on blog sites. Such incidents are likely to be exactly the outcome of the doomers’ approach to ‘supporting’ our great club?

    Take care people. These are real people’s lives you are dealing with here. Your victims’ are unlikely ever to actually read your words but they will see them reflected in the media, will hear their echo from the terraces and they might, just might, come face to face with a hyped up fan with hatred stoked by your views someday.

  33. Elegant as ever Pz.

    You are a lucky man Matt. Have a great day.

    Although I think that you might be dissapointed to see Eboue in the starting line up. If he is, I wonder if he might not score. Just a feeling. He’ll be fired up, that’s for sure.

    Good luck to him. One of ours.

  34. Hmm…not sure I want a ‘fired-up’ Eboue, not after last time.

  35. Consols –
    Eboue fired up ? That doesn’t sound very healthy.

  36. Don’t worry Gerry. I mean fired up in the right way. Running at the panicking defence, finding Robin in the box, hammering home one from 12 yards.

    That kind of fired up.

  37. Have faith Pb.

    Think of him as cockerel, obviously not one of those pathetic ones you see on sh*tty tots shirts, that has been kept out of the hen run for a week. then come Saturday, he is thrown into the middle of the expectant flock.

    Well, if they weren’t expectant before, they would be after.

  38. You know Eboue will play some part today as are running a story highlighting a few quotes from Wenger about how Eboue has learnt his lesson from the sending off.

    I just cannot see that he will truly have learnt any lessons yet – he doesn’t seem to be the sort to get his head down, work hard and not get involved in silly tackles/diving/arguing with the ref and oppo.

    Regardless of my thoughts on him (for the record I only rate his defensive play as being anything above average) I think Vela’s performance on Monday night on the left wing gave us a far better shape. I know he’s young and being used sparingly but give him a little run now and then rest him (if needed) when Walcott/Rosicky hopefully return in 2/3 weeks…

    For me, Eboue should have a little rest on the bench to see if he truly has learnt from his sending off…that would involve working hard in training and proving his worth to the squad.

    It won’t happen of course as Wenger likes to play him and he’ll start today – AW obviously sees something that I (and many others) don’t but he’s the boss so let’s hope Eboue can turn it around…

  39. Like a sheep amongst a bunch of Mackem-farmers ? Yeah, makes sense.

  40. Surprised that Arsh is 5’6. From all the clips you certainly don’t get the impression he’s so short.

  41. i rate wenger very highly but if he goes back to eboue after vela and nasri out wide on monday…..surely not

  42. More like a Welsh farmer amongst a flock of sheep I’d have thought. Still I don’t know much about sexual preferences amongst the Mackems.

    Could be that they are into ovine dominatrixes. You just can never tell these days.

  43. Folks, I need pepping or something. Frank, quick! pump positivity into me.

    I have a bad feeling about Tuesday and Roma. Roma never won against an English team. Wenger has a great record against Italian teams. But that has to end sometimes doesn’t it? We’re missing our top strike options. Diaby is out. Fabregas is out. No Walcott. Ed is out. Meanwhile Roma are so motivated that the CL final is in Rome this year!

  44. The comments attributed to RvP have been completely misinterpreted especially by the Guardian…probably deliberately…the comments read as though they have been printed in the wrong order….for instance…this is perfectly sound…..

    Do you think the club has the ambition to win trophies?.

    “Arsenal have promised me they will do everything possible to make that extra step to a level where we win prizes on a regular basis…’.

    When did you last win a trophy?..

    “In the last four years I’ve had only one prize, the FA Cup, and that’s not enough”.

    You are one of the senior players now. What are you goals?

    “I want to achieve more and I feel I can play an important role in bringing Arsenal to a higher level.”

    Have you agreed a financial package?

    “Financially the last offer made by the club is fine but that isn’t everything for me. It’s about my ambitions and how they can be fulfilled in the coming years. The club and I want the same and it is our intention we achieve that”.

  45. OG – Relax! Know you need a dose of Frank, but cut out the caffeine first..

    Cb: An Ovine Dominatrix sounds rather, erm, well..woolly and cuddly. And the odd butt is quite nice, afterall. Please keep this quiet.

  46. Ole Gunner…..stop wobbling….we are going to win convincingly today…and we will see a bright new star play….

    On Tuesday…we will see a very entertaining game and an Arsenal victory based upon a very sound defensive performance and very sharp passing….Nic and RvP will really click…and it will be a great, great evening to be a gooner….

    Remeber, OG…Roma are a good side…..good sides do not give us a problem….meat and drink to us….really looking forward to the game/s…..

    Top two…and some silverware…..I’m telling you…

    Arsenal, Arsenal, Arsenal….Arsenal, Arsenal, Arsenaa all…Arsenal, Arsenal, Arsenal….Arsenal…ARSENAL

  47. …dominatrices, Cb…you know like the plural of mattress is matrices….

  48. Frank I am not worried about today. i am worried about Tuesday. The key to the tie is Tuesday. And we wont have pace upfront,the best of our creative midfield, and a threadbare subs bench! Pace is what worries me most. Pace is the key to beating Italian teams.

    Here’s to Bendtner stepping up!

    Well I only have to keep the faith.

  49. …I told you what will happen on Tuesday, OG…if you don’t believe me…I can’t help…sorry…

  50. The empire of Rome is long gone, although Britannia is still struggling to come to terms with the imperial legacy. Those centuries under foreign dominion have left deep scars in the British psyche. What better response than to send the Gunners to battle the Roman legions? Then, on the eleventh day of the month of Mars, they will march across the Italian border, and sack Rome itself.

  51. ….on elephants…..

  52. i like that frank
    ” Nic and RvP will really click click click..”

  53. Polizano wats the matter with ya ? Did u forget when in Rome u do the Romans

  54. The lads are looking forward to helping themselves to Roman totti.

  55. Ole, let’s focus on today first and then Tuesday will take care of itself!

    I’m glad I came here first so I have been warned to avoid the RVP and Ade stories floating around. The media will do anything to undermine our confidence in our players. Unfortunately they have too many willing sheep jumping onto their band wagon, but I refuse to be one of them.

  56. Flint McCullough

    I am with Paulie W here.

    AW has to pick the team most suitable for the match.

    I think Clichy for Gibbs & RVP for Edu being the only changes.

    AA for Samir, after about an hour if things have gone well.

    The only problem with starting Nic, RVP & Vela is that there will not be a fresh, out & out forward to bring on, against tiring legs.

    YW thinks Djourou will come in but that would surprise me, because both Gallas & Kolo are both performing strongly again. Kolo, in particular has looked an entirely different animal in the last few games. He looks to be fully fit for the first time, since the ACN.

    Eboue is very likely to be a starter against Roma, because believe it or not he is very useful against the better opposition. There is this perception of him not putting the effort in that is totally erroneous, in my book.

  57. There are some great bordellos in Rome – the ones catering for the Cardinals. Some of them only have boys for sale, though, so you have to be careful.

  58. Eboue- village idiot. Adebayor – greedy village idiot.

  59. Arsenal’s going the way of Nottingham Forest under Clough. Spurs will retain their rightful place in the top 4.

  60. It looks like people have learned nothing from the Bendtner debacle last week. These RVP quotes are taken from a very positive interview he gave a couple of weeks ago and again they have been twisted out of all proportion to create anxiety and uncertainty amongst the fans. I see most Arsenal blogs have fallen for it as well.

  61. …I agree with Passenal…..

  62. …right I’m off….reaally, really looking forward to this….17 of us today….walking in step down Holloway Road…..lalalalalaaaaah…lalalala..lalalaaaaah…clickclickclick

    quifs, leather jackets…drainpipes…winklepickers…flickknives (switchblades)…rubber…of course …well maybe…in formation down the steps from the podium to the cannons….

    …listen for the parps from the trains today guys….there were two gooner drivers on Tuesday night…


    …what a f*cking fantastic day to be a gooner….

  63. Imposter – pretending to be Howard is just pointless.

    ( by their avatars ye shall know them )

  64. Stating the oblivious – it’s a must win game for us today, would be great to see the the ‘finger on the lips’ celebration today.

    About the other game of interest to us – Chelsea Vs Villa hope they draw – as it would just be 2 points gained by them together, while we would have (hopefully) earned 3 – which means we would have made 2 points on both of them kinda like 4 points in all!

  65. Siva,

    Same in my head. The plus point is, if we win, any result in that game is not too bad.

  66. Come on Arsenal!

  67. When you come back from TNHOF Frank, look up Dominatrix. It has two plural forms, the one you used and the one I used.

    Not that either of us will care. We will be just resting in the afterglow of Pz’s disproportionate victory.

    Come on you Gunners!

    By the way, well spotted Pb, (and I won’t mention the ‘you know what’ to anybody.

    By the way too, Jamie Redknapp dies his hair. The great p*llock.

    A great day indeed….

  68. Aston Villa are losing to Shellsey. What odds they get a lucky refereeing decision that changes the game?

  69. Arshavin starts!

  70. any links guys?

  71. thanks Tee

  72. the link isnt working

  73. What the commentator said when the half ends pretty much sums it all up- “Same old story for Arsenal. Plenty of possessions and nothing to show for it.”

    The players don’t seem to be enjoying their football. No smiles everyone was stressed up. Anyone remembers Pires’ smiles and the way he enjoyed his football?

  74. Bit early to start slating the team. They look determined to me. And I wouldn’t want Arsenal to be smiling while the score is still 0-0.

    We’ve played some good football and had some decent chances against a defensive side. Their keeper is playing well, but he’ll be tested a whole load more in the second half.

  75. I missed the 1st 30 mins but from the highlights AA seems to have made a lively start. Hope v score early in the 2nd half it would then be a very comfortable match.

  76. lets see what happens, we are just not doing it in the second half.

  77. What the hell is up with Vela, come on bro!

  78. When did English football get so cynical? Sunderland know all the dirty little tricks.

    Eboue can stretch a tired defence; he’s quick, direct and strong.

    10 minutes.

  79. Come on Arsenal…we need the 3 pts 2day

  80. I can’t bear to watch this anymore. We suck. We have to admit it. An attacking team like us can’t score a goal in the league for 4 games?!?!?

  81. Big Al, we are just plain bad today, only good has been Denislon, Arshavin and Almunia.

    Guy on Setanta made a few good points, our strikers are not being creative enough regarding one on one’s and our crosses find no one.

    Is it me, or do we always drag after a good win?

    Still believe in this team though.

  82. I don’t even consider us an attacking team anymore. Creativity is close to ZERO this season.

  83. gack, this was quite bad but where on earth is the crowd?

  84. Hahaha…..crap. Played a really good first half. And were just like sunderland in the second half. No creativity.

    Too many crucial injured players out. Song, really can’t pass forward. Denilson should partner Cesc, when he returns. And Song, shipped back to his CB role. WHY THE F*** can’t he pass forward.

  85. Nah, Look at Anton Ferdinand just now. A classic example. Killed the last minute of the match. We face this sh*t every fortnight. These teams don’t even come and try and play football. And the commentators love it!

    How is the premier league still popular when these tactics prevail? Only 2 teams in this whole bloody league try and play football. It’s total boll*cks. Give me the Spanish league any day of the week.

    We just couldn’t finish our chances today. Arshavin was OK-ish, he is just settling in though.

    Give it a couple of weeks and we’ll be battering these negative bast*rds.

  86. I think Wenger has to stop putting Song and Denilson together. Having 2 defensive midfielders in the team does nothing for us. Denilson was good as usual but Song was horrible today. I’m quite impressed with Bendtner and Arshavin too.

  87. I am depressed.

  88. It’s very simple, the team has no brain and I can’t see any one so far who can actually replace Fabregas.

    Until we can find this guy, or until Fabregas comes back, we will be up and down.

  89. By “creativity” you clearly just mean goals.

    We are creating chances but our finishing wasn’t there today. Vela (!), Gallas, van Persie and Toure all missed decent chances.

  90. Frank's biggest fan

    We had our chances. We didn’t finish them. Extra pressure on the squad would do them good. Few players couldn’t move as much as they would have liked. The crowd support was horrible and would have almost drove them to sleep. We will do well with Arshavin looking more sharp, and with Dudu, Adebayor (he could have made a difference today with his headers from crosses, Freekicks and corners ) WAlcott & Diaby to return. By April we will get Cesc. By end of the year, we would have got Rosicky.

    6 points off Villa, and 7 points off Chelsea. I don’t think it’s end of the world.

    And when you see teams play disgracefully with 2 layers of 5 men before the goal keeper. IT’s only really a 0-0 game.


  91. Errrm no. By creativity I mean chances being created. We barely had more than 3 good chances in this game.

  92. That match was straight out of 06-07. We had Fabregas, Rosicky and Hleb then, but we still couldn’t find a way past these cynical teams.

    Team confidence is what it’s all about. And a bit of bloody luck.

  93. 3? Please!

    Watch the game again.

  94. Big Al,
    We created decent chances in the first half, but no clear cut. Second half we were woeful. Not worried about the 4th place, but the title is clearly out of reach. We’re going to play Roma with this team, minus Arshavin, plus Eboue. Let’s see how that goes.

    Ahhh…..I am so depressed. It was funny seeing Cesc, Rosicky, Eduardo sitting together. Any two of those could have changed the game for us. We’re weak in the middle of the park, relying too much on our flanks for attacks. Denilson’s ok, but Song just keep passing sideways.

  95. Frank's biggest fan

    “We face this sh*t every fortnight. These teams don’t even come and try and play football. And the commentators love it!

    How is the premier league still popular when these tactics prevail? Only 2 teams in this whole bloody league try and play football. It’s total boll*cks..”

    Exactly. I think only Arsenal play attacking football. The other teams just part their buses. This is the Mourinho-effect in my opinion. The league has become negative ever since that moron came over, and lauded by the media-c*nts.

  96. The Premier League is now worse than Serie A. Seriously, how is this football? Every team puts 10 men behind the ball, and celebrate draws.

    Van Persie had a poor game. Vela missed a sitter- all the hate start now.

    I’m very sad. We had 7 shots on target and didn’t score.

    If the game went on for 5 years Sunderland wouldn’t have scored tonight.

    The main problem with this team is that the game gets away from them sometimes. They just dont know how to control games.

  97. “And when you see teams play disgracefully with 2 layers of 5 men before the goal keeper. IT’s only really a 0-0 game.”


  98. Frank's biggest fan

    The key to this game was finishing off the chances early. I think RVP’s chance or Arshavin’s chance would have made the difference. Still got plenty to time to make up for these lost points. 12 games is not a lot. I see ourselves on the way up. Our defensive record is good.

    Now for the Champions league. Let’s beat Roma!!!

  99. On a positive note though, we have started creating decent chances. We’re getting there. If only Nasri could be switched in the middle next to Denilson. Arshavin and Vela/Eboue on the flanks. Bendtner had a good game though. Vela lost confidence after he missed his first chance.

  100. Nasri had an indifferent game and even when he was put in the middle.

  101. Hard to imagine how the crowd is going to get excited with the way we play now.

    The way we are playing now is:

    1) Keep hold of the ball
    2) pass it around the midfield
    3) get it to the flanks
    4) cross the ball into the penalty area with no one inside it most of the time
    5) opponents get the all back
    6) try to win the ball back
    7) repeat from step 1

    Come on where are the slick off-the-ball movements from last season that gets us chances after chances?

  102. gackt13,

    That’s because teams put 10 men behind the ball.

    Today we had the chances and missed them. Van Persie should absolutely have scored.

  103. Who the f**k is Kenwyn Jones

    What a great result we kept the mighty Sunderlanf Scoreless like we did the mighty West Ham and Spurs.

  104. Peter Storeys Budgie


    Teams used to come to Highbury and put 10 men behind the ball.But we had the players to beat them Bergkamp,Henry,Overmars,Pires and Freddie.We just dont have the quality in thia Arsenal team to beat teams who come to frustrate us. Song and Denilson created nothing today.But a pleasure to see a quality player,Ashavin on the pitch instead of that pile of shite Eboue.Shame he cant play v Roma

  105. Yeah it was quite boring. It was like watching chelsea play. But people need to relax, we’re getting there. We had to build from scratch, with Rosicky, Eduardo, Theo, and Cesc out. We’re doing a decent job, 12 games unbeaten.

    Looking forward to a great next season. It’s going to be amazing, unless the injury plague hits our squad again.

  106. PSB,

    Nonsense. The same team was scoring goals for fun early in the season. Tearing teams apart. Quality aint the problem.

  107. As far as creativity, I look to when Bendtner had the ball one on one and he crosses the ball into the GK hand, our stikers must be able to beat a defender or at least get some space to get an accurate pass off – this is not good. Bendtner is good but give me Ade, he is more consistent.

    I played football as a youth and I know that we are doing something wrong and that is we pass the ball around the defense. I agree they park the bus but obviously what we are doing is not breaking down the defence. Players must be willing to hold the ball and run at the defence, a la Diaby, Eboue against the Spurs and as Walcott does – this causes the defence to have to shift and will cause gaps in the defence. I am no Wenger but there I some things I know from playing the game.

    Dont get me wrong I believe in this team but I think there are some changes that we can make to cause defences a little more trouble. Maybe its the lack of personnel but one thing I know is that teams will continue to put 10 behind the ball until we can carve them to shreds. I know we are good enough to do it.

    Its not the end of the world but no Arsenal fan can say that they are happy with a draw against Sunderland – we havent scored in the PL is how long and yes this concerns me a whole lot.

  108. One more thing is, even though teams park the bus in playing us complaining about it does nothing to help the team. It is up to the manager to figure out a way to break it down (yes you need the right type of players and some are injured) and the players to carry out the plan in game.

    This problem could actually be a blessing in disguise because we will learn how to unlcok these kind of defenses and can you imagine what we will do to a team who want to have a go at us?

    It is just around the corner, lets get Cesc, Ade and Roscky back and AA and it gonna be real good!

  109. Frank's biggest fan

    “can you imagine what we will do to a team who want to have a go at us?”

    Roma game (I hope). They wouldn’t play banks of players in front of the GK. They haven’t looked good against Siena so far. Siena could have gone a goal up with some improved finishing.

  110. Fbf, I hope so too.

    I just hope and pray these youngsters keep firm belief in their abilities and dont aloow these results to affect them negatively.

    We just have to get all our peices together and it will be different.

    On a different not, I do wish Nasri would be a little more aggresive and greedy with the ball. He has the ability to unlock defences but doesnt seem to have the confidence to hold the ball and do it. Come on Nasri you are a great player!

  111. dissapointed with the draw but m pretty happy with the chances we created… more than enought to put the match way beyond S’land… in matches like this r strikers cant afford to be so wasteful..

  112. funny thing is it seems that most teams r aware of eboue’s ability to run at them with the ball n hence tend to foul him as soon as he gets it..

  113. chkmiaot, excellent observation, very true regarding Eboue.

    We had some decent chances but overall our play wasnt up to par.

  114. I have to agree with Big Al – La Liga is way ahead of the EPL for entertainment. Every team there wants to get it down & play a bit.

    Forget all the Sky hype, most EPL matches are dire & predictable. Why do you think the highlights are normally based around refereeing decisions & controversy ?

  115. Somehow we need to get more people in the box when we cross also.

    Funny we have gotten our defence solid which was the problem at the beginning of the season and now we cant score. wow!

  116. Roma are in for a thumping at the grove.

  117. Paulie, I am glad Arsenal make the difference in the PL.

  118. Peter Storeys Budgie


    Which of the present side except Sagna would get into the 2004 team.This team does lack quality Song Denilson and Bendter are not good enough.Do you wear a blindfold when you go to the match?

  119. Well Clichy, Cesc and RVP for starters.

  120. we should forget crosses as we have no 1 in the box n cut inside n try some shots from the edge of the box… the only guy who can put a cross in is bendtner n maybe ade… if we can get guys to the edge of the box or maybe make runs into the box as the ball is passed we should have a better chance…

    anyways wenger should have that sorted out soon… cant wait for the next few weeks when we r back to r best..

  121. Also arshavin, rosicky

  122. eduardo…

  123. all of them in fact…

  124. half of our first team:)

  125. The always changing line up due to injuries dont help us as far as playing flowing football.

    We cab only truely judge this team when we have most of our players back.

    Eduardo wouldve made the difference today, damn it!!!

  126. I guess you have to think before you ask a question, this team is full of world class players!

    Didnt we have the most player of any team in the last world cup?

  127. Chk, Eduardo is pretty good with his head. I dont think we should forget it rather we need to change our mindset as far as they are concerned. Just get in the box, I also remember Sagna having a decent header, Gallas is ok. The chances are there but we dont get into place. If you look at Eduardo’s first goal against Cardiff, you can see him picking the right place to be, we must do that as a team.

  128. PSB,

    Don’t be silly. Which of the team from 2004 will make it into the current team, all players fit? Only Henry, on current form!

    Shows what’s silly about comparing the 2004 team to this one.

    It’s simply stupid to think because some individual members of the current team are not as good as members of our best team ever, who were at their career peaks, that they’re not good at all.

  129. Ole, was DB in the 04 team? Pires, Sol Campbell.

  130. I’ve just got home from the match, feeling pretty depressed it has to be said.
    On the positive side – Arshavin looks like the player I hoped he would be. He is very small, having not really seen him play even on the telly I was surprised how tiny he is. But he is direct, skillful, and very two footed. He will be great for us. He looks like he could play in the no.10 role as well as either wing.

    I thought Denilson played well.

    Otherwise, there was a disappointing lack of urgency all match. The full backs can’t cross a ball at the moment. Song had a poor game by his decent recent standards. VP and Bendy struggled to form a partnership, we really didn’t create anything like enough chances.

    Sunderland looked decent in the first half, but they parked the bus in the second half.

    And it has to be said, the crowd were poor.

    Sorry to be negative, but it was one of those days.

  131. You people slagging off the team should just shut the fuck up or find another target for your vitriol. I’ve just come from the game and we played quite well created some good chances and were unlucky not to convert any of them. Sunderland were ultra defensive and created nothing – typical anti-football that the Sky pundits love so much, and which has obviously infected your view of the match. I’m just so pissed off that their negative tactics were rewarded by an undeserved point. No ambition, no backbone aided and abetted by a hopeless referee who blew up for nothing and handed out cards like sweeties at a childrens party.

    I was very pleased with the performance from our defenders and Almunia, whose handling today was excellent. Another clean sheet against Roma and we’ll be fine.

  132. “It’s simply stupid to think because some individual members of the current team are not as good as members of our best team ever, who were at their career peaks, that they’re not good at all.”

    Good point.

  133. Matty, thats not negative, its the truth.

  134. Arshavin is the real deal!

  135. another thing i noticed on here is that whenever we play gr8 u guys say the crowd was awesome..

    i guess it is pretty obvious that a young team like our’s is influenced by hte crowd alot more…

    in that case our place in this season’s table cannot be blamed only on the players but even more so on the ‘fans’…


  136. -hte

  137. Yeh, the whole match was like a moment of silence.

    The fans are joking!

  138. some of the fans r a joke…

  139. Dissappointing to not win a game in which Sunderlands game plan was clearly to frustrate Arsenal by parking the bus andtrying to catch us on the break.

    The defence and Almunia hardly ad to work.Even Gallas was playing his now favoured striking postion. In truth we did cut them open time and time again despite the massed ranks of defenders but just couldnt find the final pass and finish. But with all of Sunderlands anti footbal tactics we missed Ades link up play with RVP. I think he is very undrestimted in this department. He is good at holding up the ball and heaing down balls to feet from long bals over the top.Good to see Arshavin

  140. it’s six of one and half a dozen of the other isn’t it.

    there is an element of the crowd not being up for supposedly “smaller” matches, for want of a better word.

    but there is also something to be said for the team giving the crowd something to get excited about.

    one feeds off the other, doesn’t it.

    i did feel there was a sense of groundhog day today, another game where we were trying to break down a team who were happy to get a draw, where we struggled for some spark, and where the players seemed a bit stressed.

    like bolton / portsmouth / west ham / wigan home games.

    it’s too much of a pattern now to be a coincidence.

  141. Agreed Paul N, just got back from the game and I was just amazed by the lack of support.

    Myself and my mate were looked at as if we were crazy when we sung.
    Not like the old days in the clock end thats for certain.

    I am very disappointed with the result, we look very static in the final third, not enough off the ball runners. I wish our creative players were coming back sooner. They still have to gain match sharpness when they do come back.

    I thought Denilson played very well and his urgency should have been copied by others.

    Arshavin looked sharp which is a real plus. It will be great when he is fully fit along with Cesc and Rosicky. He looks like a little eight year old out there. Bloody tiny.

    Class act though.

  142. @arsenalvision

    Did Denilson really play VERY WELL?
    He is getting slaughtered on so many other blogs as the main cause of the draw, along with, as usual, Song.
    I’m confused…

  143. I was at the game and I thought Denilson was our best player. He won tackles and kept things moving in midfield.

    Nasri was awful, woeful while Arshavin looked lively and had some dangerous shots.

  144. arsenalvision,

    It certainly wasn’t like the terrace days in terms of atmosphere!

  145. arsenalvision,

    I noticed the staticness (is that a word?) too. The front men don’t drop off enough. Sometimes they have to drop off to receive the pass.

    I also thought Denilson was commanding today. Song played well but he’s not a ball player so many will give him stick just for that.

    I am disappointed as hell….It seems like we’re back to the days after the Man City loss. Madness is about to break lose.

  146. By the way, I thought we played well. A few players were off their top game, but it wasn’t a bad performance.

    I’m putting the result at Van Persie’s feet. He’s getting the plaudits so he should carry responsibility too. He should ABSOLUTELY have scored from that great Denilson ball that put him 1-on-1.

  147. Jimmy Rimmers Jersey

    Will everyone stop looking for excuses and face the facts.In our last 3 games against poor teams we have picked up 3pts and not scored one goal.We have become an easy team to play againsr.Just let Arsenal have the ball,let them pass it about all day and then no end product.We rely too much on RVP if he has an off day like today what other treat do we have.

    I agree with an earlier post both Sagna and Clichy are a shadow of the players they were last season going forward,their crossing was just awful.Song and Denilson dont create mothing.We have dropped 4pts against both Sperz and Sunderland teams we should be picking 6pts off

  148. Denilson had a great game. He’s been one of the very few consistent players this season. And there is absolutely no better player than him to play next to Cesc. He offers alot more then Song does. Defensively I think he’s better, better positioning and tackling. Songs better at winning the balls in the air. Denilson is a far better passer, and can pass forward, unlike Song. Whenever Songs playing, it’s like a CB is roaming around in the opponents half. Offers absolutely nothing to the attack.

  149. Denilson played well, anyone saying today was down to him is an idiot.
    It was not a disaster, but we lacked pace, and often in tight games you rely on full backs to make a difference, and our two didn’t have good days by their own high standards today.

    Walcott will make a difference, his pace makes teams defend 5 yards deeper and that opens things up for other players.

  150. We did not carve anything up today, really, at least as far as I can see, though we did have our moments. Sunderland were never under costant pressure. when a team decides to sit back it should be as if they are fighting for their lives to keep the ball out of the goal and I did not see that today.

    We must play with more pace and be direct, I love the slick passing but doing that around the box? The day we start to run at defences is the day when teams will have to try something else.

  151. I think you have two distinct types of striking styles a goal poacher or a creative striker. Its either you stay around the box and get your head, foot, knee, backside on the ball for a goal or you are going to beat a defender and score but today we saw none of that. We need Eduardo add him to Ade and RVP and we have something really special.

  152. Looks like my earlier comment is still in moderation, but I didn’t think the team played that badly although I see a few are quick to put the knife in. Sunderland didn’t even try to play football so I’m really disappointed that they were allowed to get something out of the game. Maybe the players are trying too hard because they are desperate for that top 4 finish. They need to just relax and play without the handbrake. I know some fans are disappointed that we couldn’t capitalize on Villa’s dropped points, but let’s keep things in perspective please!

  153. Denilson gave another high-quality performance, in my opinion. He reads the game well. He often knows what the opposition will do before they know themselves. It’s incredible how he pops up all over the pitch. Watching on television, one often wonders how he manages to get from one position to another.

    “He’s here, he’s there, he’s every f*cking where, Denilson, Denilson.”

    I like him nipping in between player and ball.

  154. Agree Poliziano, Denilson was a star today. I also thought, Kolo, William and Manuel all played well – the odd time Sunderland had the ball, they made sure they could do nothing with it.

  155. According to Skysports’ rating, Denilson is on 4, the lowest of the bunch!!
    I just don’t understand this whole thing about Denilson being viewed as good in some section and sh*t in other section of fans and media.
    Anyway hope for the great performance on Tuesday!

  156. Sky sports haven’t got a clue – they are scoring him as a Cesc replacement, which he is not – he is a more defensive partner for Cesc. In fact, I noticed during the game that he played further back than Song most of the time. If they scored him on what he actually did, he played very well in terms of breaking up attacks and passing the ball to the more creative players. Unfortunately our forwards just couldn’t make the most of the opportunities today.

  157. Denilson was a 9 today. His best performance for Arsenal since he started this defensive midfield business. Don’t know one single thing he did wrong. Even judging him as a creative midfielder you’d have to be really f’cking blind to hand him a 4.

  158. Ole, it just goes to show there is no objectivity by the media – they know that Denilson is not a fan favourite so he’s an easy target. Like most fans they only notice the obvious and flashy. They have no particular insight, yet people continue to allow their opinions to be shaped by these idiots!

  159. Denilson today:

    85 Passes, 3 Unsuccesful
    5 Interceptions
    6 Tackles attempted (1/5 of team total), 4 won

    You don’t really need the stats though. Just watch him play! The fans at the Emirates definitely appreciated his performance – he was clapped quite a few times today.

  160. Frank's biggest fan

    By this stage, We were 6th and trailing by a lot more points in 05-06. We reached the CL final AND finished 4th ahead of c**ts.

    Last season, we were 1st, and heading by handful points. Still we collapsed after the brum game.

    So anything could happen. There are two extremes. We, as “supporters”, should hope for the best, and not give up. Not yet. No.

    The next two games, the fans need to turn up. Our home crowd are f-ing disgraceful at times. Not of a help to this young team who desperately need it.

    Let’s sit back, relax, and enjoy the finish to the season. I still believe there is a lot of better moments in store for us. Keep the faith!!

  161. That’s the spirit FBF – we need a bit more of that than the depressing headlines on newsnow, led by Arsenal blogs – they are not supporters.

  162. I must agree on Denilson. I thought he was our best player today but he’s an easy target so people beat up on him.

    His tackling has improved – it was good today and against Cardiff.

    Pretty quiet on the whole at the game also which didn’t help.

  163. Jimmy Rimmers Jersey

    No outfield player played well today.We struggled against a poor Sunderland team.Ashavin was our best player till he tired.

    Why cant Sagna and Clichy beat the first man when they cross the ball

    Best news of the day was Eboue only played 12mins although that is still 12mins too long

  164. Smart point FBF! But even that team would have had no chance if they were getting so much stick, so little support and this much madness had surrounded the club.

  165. Our crossing is dismal. I’d like to see the stats. We hve to be the worst crossing team in the league.

  166. Ole,

    Its pathetic. Even when we finally get the ball past the first man there is no one at the end of it.

  167. I thought we did ok we lacked few creative ideas from midfield Arshavin was really good we looked like scoring in the first half second half we lacked a deadly finisher like Eduardo even the reliable Vela looked rusty and he scuffed 2 good chances. We missed the opportunity to close in on Villa but I’m expecting Villa to hit the buffers soon having said that we need to win our games otherwise we’ll kiss that fourth spot goodbye.

  168. I agree on our fullbacks performance this season. Hardly any decent crosses go through them. Especially Sagna, his crossing has been utter crap recently. The only good cross that came from a fullback today, was from Gibbs. Shows the kid has desire, and good at the ball. One could argue that since we were conceding too many goals untill january, the fullbacks have been concentrating more on their defensive duties. But seriously, if you make it to opponents half, and cross, why the heck have they been so bad.

  169. AIC,

    I think that’s our biggest weakness in attack. The full backs are central to how we play.

  170. I agree, Ole. It seems that way with most teams. If you can get your fullbacks involved that really helps. Of course finishing your chances is the holy grail. I am encouraged by the chances and performance of Arshavin but very disappointed another two points were lost. If we’re not winning our games as we should it doesn’t matter what Villa does, we’re cooked.

  171. Who will be a whipping boys? Oh god! I cant take these draws anymore, fucking driving my blood pressure above the roof. Who will be our whipping boys? and i tell you, someone is in for a thorough whipping very soon!

  172. Who will be a whipping boys? Oh god! I cant take these draws anymore, f****g driving my blood pressure above the roof. Who will be our whipping boys? and i tell you, someone is in for a thorough whipping very soon!

  173. Jimmy Rimmers Jersey


    our whipping boys will be Burnley just like Cardiff and Sheff Utd were.We cant even score one F**king goal against a premiership team

    Wenger lookd like he had seen a ghost in his post match interview.I think he”s beginning to realise its going to be a real struggle to get that 4th place. Even he couldnt gloss over another poor performance

  174. Pressed Rat And Warthog

    Poor Performance? It was not that bad. When the mackem’s only came for a point and hardly ever got out of their half it was always going to be hard.

    We made chances but they were not taken, unlike monday.

    Get some perspective please.

  175. Our style of play is far too predictable. We pass it nicely till we get to just outside the box, then a forward slips in a full back, who plays a poor cross which is cleared. Wash rinse repeat. It’s awful. If your gameplan is based on the full backs crossing, make sure your full backs learn how to cross the ball.

  176. California Gooner

    It is really disappointing to see Arsenal unable to score goals. Arshivin looked very promising and will definitely bring some much needed creativity to our attack as he settles in. It cannot come soon enough! I was a bit miffed to see Alex Song playing in front of Denilson, who seemed to have an electric collar keeping him near the center-circle. I would have liked to see Song parked deeper so that Denilson could make runs into the box. I was also hoping for an Eboue goal when he came on, just to though everyone into total cognitive confusion (and to win the game, of course).

  177. “The good things that belong to prosperity are to be wished, but the good things that belong to adversity are to be admired.”

    Going back to Passenal’s earlier remark about Toure and Gallas being stars. I feel proud of them both. They’ve had difficult seasons, but they haven’t buckled. On the ball, they’re the best centre-backs in the league. They look magnificent in possession. Gallas has been accused of “losing a yard of pace” – just a standard remark that critics make of players they don’t like. He by no means gives the impression of a player in decline. He’s athletic and energetic. I can’t see Wenger off-loading either player in the summer. If that annoys one or two people, all the better. Clichy and Sagna (together with Fabregas) often used to be named as the only players in the squad of Arsenal quality, but it’s the centre-backs who’ve caught the eye of late. Recently, the full-backs have come in for criticism, most of it unjust. Sagna in particular has contributed a lot to our attacks on the right.

  178. We just need to win a couple of games on the trot. Then much of this negativity will go away.

    It seemed to me that the players themsleves reached a stage when Arshavin went off of thinking'” Oh no, not again”. That was certainly what most of our fans were thinking. It was like watching a film where you know the ending but hope against all expectation that this time it will be different. Groundhog day indeed.

    Watching Arsene’s post match interview, his frustration was clear. He knows we should be beating these teams, his players just don’t seem to believe that as well. At least not all of the time. I don’t buy all this stuff about not bothering to raise their games for these matches. They look like the are trying to me but confidence remains fragile.

    Sbragia had the grace to say that they enjoyed a lot of luck and that seems to be the pertinent. We are not getting any luck. No own goals or dodgy penalties a la Villa. I don’t know which God has Arsenal in his care but he needs to pull his finger out.

    This team can beat anyone. We are not conceeding, and that was our biggest problem a couple of months ago. Just stick the blo*dy ball in the back of the old onion bag!

    Bring on the Romans. Into the Arena, Roman dog!

  179. Here’s a link to Arshavin’s post match thoughts on his website if anyone is interested

  180. Jimmy Rimmers Jersey


    This team cant beat anyone.West Ham ,Spurs and now Sunderland were not beaten.Something is going very bad at our club.We should not be struggling even to finish in 4.We have to be better than that.We should no be excepting this.The lack of creativity in central midfield is shocking.Does song Ever pass the ball forward.
    Its alright being unbeaten in 14 games but we need to win games not draw them

    And against Roma we will have no Ashavin

  181. I agree with Passenal

  182. The performances of Sagna & Clichy mirror the team in general in that they`ve been a notch or two down on last season.

    I think Sagna`s ankle problems at the end of last season took longer for him to fully recover from than is realised & Clichy has been effected by Nasri`s arrival in that he`s unsure of cover if he goes ahead of the ball.

    Both Hleb & Rosicky were excellent at tracking back & holding the ball up which gave the full backs more freedom in general.

    What I don`t want to hear is anyone saying Gibbs should replace Clichy. Yes, he`s done well in a few cameo`s but basically he`s a 19 year old converted midfileder with a lot to learn yet.

  183. Excepting what, JRJ?

  184. Gallas was real frustrated towards the end, shaking his head on a few occasions. (I can understand his feelings.)

    If he was still the skipper, his post-match comments would have been scathing, and unhelpful.

  185. “What I don`t want to hear is anyone saying Gibbs should replace Clichy. Yes, he`s done well in a few cameo`s but basically he`s a 19 year old converted midfileder with a lot to learn yet.”

    Paulie Walnuts, your post in general is very insightful, but this comment in particular is so true. A couple of good performances and then people start clamouring for players to start before they are ready. When they fail to live up to the hype they are then slaughtered as poor Vela has been since his two horrible misses yesterday.

  186. Gibbs does have a lot of promise and has looked extremely bright. Of course, I agree that there is no way he can replace Clichy yet. He does bring a spark off the bench though, and could do that from midfield too.

  187. A lot of moaning on here about Sunderland only coming for a point when in fact it was just another below-par performance from Arsenal.
    What do you expect from a team that are looking to secure survival playing away at a team that struggling to score? We had 5 on target shots to their 2, hardly dominant.
    I’m glad you have finally woken up Ateeb and realised the title is beyond us, we are fighting for 4th spot!
    But with Song and Denilson in midfield and Nasri having an off-day where was the creativity going to come from?
    On the postive side, the defence is much improved and we are not leaking silly goals like we are earlier on in the season.

  188. Totally agree that calls for Gibbs to replace Clichy are really wide of the mark. Gibbs has huge promise but to start him regularly in the EPL is a different thing altogether. He looks exciting going forward, but even when he has played in the Carling Cup there have been times when his lack of experience at playing full back has been exposed. His natural athleticism has usually got him out of trouble. He is a great player for the future, and a great understudy to Gael – but that’s all at the moment.

    Having read recent posts it does seem that there is some concensus regarding Clichy and Sagna, with them both peforming (offensively at least) a notch down from their very high standards of last season. I’m still hugely pro both players, and my comment is based mainly on their crossing results this season as a whole – they both remain first class defenders and I still wouldn’t swap them for another pair of full backs in the EPL.
    (I think the main reason we fell just short in the PL and v liverpool in the CL qtr last season was that Sagna got injured, not Eddy).
    It has to be said though that the majority of Gael’s crosses tend to be floated over too loopy and with little pace, and Bacary’s crosses tend to hit the first defender in front of him. I really think it’s largely a confidence thing.
    Amazingly I was happy to see Eboue come on when he did yesterday, because one thing that guy can do is cross a ball.

    I also wonder if this is more to do with Arsene telling both full backs to be a little less offensive minded – to protect the CB’s a bit more. Certainly half way through the season we were leaking way too many goals, and at least that issue has been improved upon.

    Re Toure/Gallas – They have hopefully turned the corner for good now, after various issues. But I’m still not convinced by them as a pair. Can’t put a finger on why – height / chemistry / both want to play on the left side / neither prefer to be the one who attacks the ball in the air …… all contribute to my feeling.
    I don’t think the opponents of recent matches are quilty enough to gauge their progress. Let’s see – I hope I’m proved wrong.

    Lastly – Now Arsh is here, I’d like to see us play Denilson/Nasri in centre mid at home – until Cesc returns.

  189. Thank you Passenal,

    I agree with you about Vela too. Wasn`t he some peple`s early season answer when he got his CC hat trick ?

    We have to remember the age of these players sometimes. Yes, they are talented but consistency will elude them initially.

    Matty – spot on about Kolo / Gallas. Both appear more at ease with JD alongside them.

  190. Vela – must have been those lime green boots. I hope he gets a few quid for wearing them cos they are bloody awful !

  191. Very disappointing. As a fact I counted 4 clear chances (Vela 1, v. Persie, Gallas, and Kolo’s header cleared off the line) and 5 possibles (Vela, Bendtner, RvP, Arsh x 2). So, is this talk about creativity true? I admit the passing was way too horizontal, but the simple fact is there were clear chances created, despite the complete negative play of sunderland and there were few defences lapses on our side.

    Had we taken 2 or 3 of the chances, we would be saying we played a ‘good game’.

    Why we do not take the chances is probably, as AW says due to nerves and expectations (eeek … we cannot lose etc) and a young team. It’s also due to something called momentum, the habit of winning and putting away chances.

    This will change. I am tempted to say one of those days, that’s all. I also thought RvP had a bad day and that didn’t help matters.

  192. Paul,

    Exactly right. We’re looking at the wrong places for answers. We didn’t take our chances, and a couple were gilt-edged.

  193. Where did it all go so song.

  194. CM= weak as shite. everywhere else = great.

  195. Paul – one of those days? It’s been the same for most of the season. How many goals have been scored by the midfield this season? The problem is that if the strikers have an off day who is going score from our midfield? Song, Denilson and Eboue are hardly prolific scorers.
    It’s not their fault they are Defensive midfielders

  196. It’s interesting reading people criticising Song for not passing forward. I would have thought that with the pairing of Song and Denilson in midfield, it would have been more Song’s responsibility to shield the defence and more Denilson’s job to be creative and by that I mean make incisive passes, the Cesc role if you like.
    Well, it seems to me that Song did his job but I not convinced that Denilson did his. That is not to suggest that Denilson had a bad game, his tackling is improving as well his short range passing but in my opinion Denilson is far guiltier of only passing sideways, this is why his stats for completed passes are so high. The amount of times it went from Sagna to Denilson then to Clichy and back was mind numbing. The skill necessary to carve open a defence with an incisive pass is skill that he does not posses, maybe this will come with time I don’t know.

  197. Vela had a poor game and it seems to me that he lets the moment get to him when we “need’ to score. He seems like he should calm down a bit, however I would pick him to start anyday of the week.

    People are saying we were creative because we had chances, not in my book, Sunderland had some decent chances and they were in no way creative.

    Arshavin was creative but that was it from our team, I would like see some players take on defenders and make some magic – only RVP does it at present, I dont see that in Ade and Bendtner.

    My few cents.

    Looking for the victory on Tuesday!

  198. Im pissed off with people playing the stato card. what do they really mean? that a player can pass 85 times sideways and backwards. Denilson & song played well defensivly but attacking wise they were piss poor.

    Like London said we need a cm to get the ball forward with pace, someone with that penertrive killer pass. even when fab is back , who is going to partner him??

  199. Sunderland did not have any chances, never mind about decent ones.

    The CM’s were both defensive, the creativity was supposed to come from the wings and the forwards, but it just wasn’t happening for them.

    Vela is 19, he did not have a poor game, he just missed two chances he could have done better with.

    Ade and Bendtner are both capable of creating chances or they would not both have assists to their name this season.

  200. A large proportion of Arsenal fans at home games have no class….I would say about 30% have no class…..booing a team after a game…about 30% did that… a classless act…the manager and the team are trying to produce…but even with our new signing on the pitch from the beginning there was tension in the crowd… the main a decent bunch but a significant minority have no class….and quite frankly 30% is enough to ruin a game….and that is what is happening at home games…the atmosphere is ruined, uttely ruined by the 30%…in the old days that would have been sorted out by certain members of the 70%…but the classless ones are protected by laws and stewards now…and they feel safe… with their classless booing….the players can hear it…the opposition fans can hear it…the press can hear it….you in the 30%…and you know who you are…I charge you with having no class…and with trying to bring down a football club….the best football club in the world…and I cannot forgive you people for that……and you know who you are….epitomised by the 50 odd year old fat pr*ck in the West Upper wearing the expensive ski gear who claims that he has been supporting the club for 50 years…yeah right….and who espoused the view that he had paid 50 quid and he deserved better….people who say that have no class….he is in the 30%…

  201. ….I agree with Passenal…..

  202. DukeGoonem,

    Even attacking-wise Denilson was great yesterday.

  203. I think there is strong possibility that that 30% will disappear next season, it is unlikely that they will renew their season tickets because the novelty of going to the new stadium has worn off. This will allow people who want to get behind their team to take their places.

  204. …I hope so, London…that was a good positive are a star….

  205. I agree Frank, and London, I really hope so too. Unfortunately though, they will be back when the trophies start rolling in, which they certainly will.

  206. Frank,

    There is a 30% classless society, I`m afraid.

    If Mr Berghaus HAS been a `supporter` for 50 years he`ll remember far far worse & if he`s had enough he should stop going.

    Call me old fashioned but I just don`t understand people booing their own team.

  207. I’ve seen people suggesting yesterday’s performance is the worst they’ve ever seen and that this team is the worst under Wenger. Are these people for real?

  208. Frank,

    any chance of giving the team any critisism?

  209. DukeG –
    It gets quite enough as it is.

  210. Cant argue with you there Ponyboy. But a bit of cunstuctive critisism doesnt mean you are not a true fan does it.

  211. ..why would I want to do that, DG…to what end….?…..we should have converted more of our chances and we kept a clean sheet….typical pre-European game in my opinion…Roma is a massive game….I enloyed the game…but the occasion was marred by the 30%….Sunderland were very lucky…as shown by their reaction at the end of the game….they thought they had got away with murder…and for them it was a cup final…Sunderland are not a bad side…and like many Prem sides have learned to defend in numbers…offensively they were just shut out….we however are not getting the luck at the moment and frankly the tension in the crowd is not helping the players confidence….we are fifth in the league…and stand a good chance in the two cup competitions…and the team need us…but I have never known supporters like this…never…it is really horrible….

  212. …and your only response, DG is to ask me to crticise the team…why don’t you just f*ck off…

  213. I thought you had forgotten the nice ending there for a minute Frank.

  214. Let’s change the subject. Anyone else as angry as me about Ronaldo being let off (yet again) when he kicked an opponent ? I think it’s happened 3 times this season.
    Howard Webb is like every other EPL ref – startstruck.

    I really really hope Mourinho’s Inter duff them over in the week. As unbearable as he would be, it has to be better than all this talk of a ManU quadruple.

  215. …I almost never do this but if you go around the so-called Arsenal blogsites at the moment…it is like reading hundreds of mini-Suns clustered around a dirty great big f*cking lazy piece of sh*t Sun article right in the middle of them all….one or two are even going to the same lengths as the Sun to get people to read them or promote themselves…..some of them are telling even worse lies than the hacks…..what the f*ck has this classy football club done to deserve this… utter, utter arseholes…

  216. …and you ask me to criticise the team…you piece of sh*t, DG….you are just like them…

  217. why dont you pipe yourself down mate. The team have only scored 1 goal in the first half in the last seven games. you expect people not to throw a bit of critisism the teams way! can they not handle it then? do they not deserve it then? the team know they are not playing well. they are probably critising themselves aswell.(well maybe not ade)

  218. Frank f*ck off you silly c*nt

  219. you are one of the 30% then DG…you are worse than Howard, son…..didn’t take much to out you did it….

  220. I don’t think there was much to criticise in the match yesterday. I’m amazed anyone should say it was the worst match under Wenger. Song has had better games, but I don’t believe he was responsible for the result. He was mainly a defensive player, and the defence as a whole functioned perfectly. We created at least a handful of great chances. Vela missed a couple, but I can’t see what further criticism of him there could be. Nobody can say he lacks the skill to score those goals; they just didn’t go in.

  221. …I agree with Poliziano….

  222. I guess we can sit here and criticize the team all we want, it’s not going to change any thing though.

    The game is over, we played Arshavin and he looked good for his first 60 minutes. We didn’t play Eboue from the start (I’m sure many of the D&G fans loved that) We played Bendtner, and Ade didn’t play (much to the liking of Ade’s haters) and we still didn’t win. It just shows “Criticizing” players doesn’t help and every game has it’s own circumstances, we would have loved to win and we should have with a little bit of composure and a tiny bit of luck.

    We move on to the next game, and we cheer them even more cause that’s what supporters do. We can’t get on the pitch and play, we can’t pick the team, we can’t put the game plan, we just cheer and that’s our job.

    I agree with Frank, I’m sure the constant moaning by the fans during the game makes the players more nervous, lose concentration, and just want to get rid of the ball.

    I said earlier we miss a player like Fabregas in the middle, the one who knows what he will do with the ball before he gets it. The one who thinks far ahead of every one else on the pitch. We don’t have him or someone like him right now, so we will have to do with what we have. Denilson is becoming better by the game, and Song still learning, he didn’t play as much as Denilson this season.

    We will look completely different on Tuesday.

  223. Listen Frank i will never boo the team when i go to the games and i will never get on the players backs. but sometimes i will say how i feel about the team even if it isnt nice like song isnt good enough or we have been playing poor. even though i dont rate song i would never shout at him or givve him anything but support at the game.

  224. #

    By this stage, We were 6th and trailing by a lot more points in 05-06. We reached the CL final AND finished 4th ahead of c**ts.

    Last season, we were 1st, and heading by handful points. Still we collapsed after the brum game.

    So anything could happen. There are two extremes. We, as “supporters”, should hope for the best, and not give up. Not yet. No.

    The next two games, the fans need to turn up. Our home crowd are f-ing disgraceful at times. Not of a help to this young team who desperately need it.

    Let’s sit back, relax, and enjoy the finish to the season. I still believe there is a lot of better moments in store for us. Keep the faith!!


    FBF. thanks for a fine summary of my take to the run in to the end of the season! Arsenal fans, support to the end of the season!

  225. Guys, that game hurt…..

    We would have blown them away if RvP had scored early! It was a game I’m sure all the players will feel very bad about.

    Enough chances: RvP, AA, Kolo, Eboue, Vela, Bendtner, Gallas……(sigh)

    Frank forget the 30% & f**k off faithless. There were positives, the prospect of AA especially.

    To the Roma game.

    We are..THE ARSENAL!

  226. …what a star you are, Team Spirit…

  227. …you are a star too, Aman….

  228. Gee..thanks Frank (u All-Star u)!

  229. Alot of stars out tonight but Frank your the brightest.

  230. Passenal, my point is that Sunderland did have a couple shots on goals but that having chamces to score does not mean that they were creative.

    Sorry, when I talk about creativity, I am talking about magic, like Henry or DB, that is not coming from Ade or Bendtner at this moment. When your team is playing like garbage it takes one player to do something special, RVP has done it but Ade and Bendtner dont do that on a whole. Its the truth.

    I love Arsenal but I think there is a level of denial when it comes to our creativity upfront.

    Fact is if we were as creative upfront as we are saying we would be scoring. 1 goal in 4 PL matches speaks for itself.

    I know the team has the ability and they are on the cusp of greatness but I do think some players need to get more aggresive.

    Peace out!

  231. DukeGoonem,
    There’s nothing wrong with constructive criticism; but if you look around the web, I think will find that the profession of Arsenal critic is already full, and you will understand why a lot of people cannot stomach any more of it. I’ve just read some of today’s arseblog. Perhaps I can save some of you from making the same mistake. Sickening. We have now reached the point (if we hadn’t some time ago) where many people are unable to watch a match through their own eyes. Everything is inserted into the script of sh*t to which they have committed themselves.

  232. PZ,

    you only have to hear a few minutes of any radio phone in to know the mindset of today`s typical `want it all now` football supporter. I can imagine the Liverpool blogs this evening & they`re second.

    Matty 6:24 I couldn`t agree more. Benitez was right – Man Ure play to a different rule book than any other team.

  233. Was Arshavin really the one positive from the game yesterday? I mean, Kolo Toure had as many chances as he had.

    There’s this perverse thing out there. if you’re an Arsenal player who’s been criticised in the media. You can’t play a good game ever.

  234. Serie A used to be Europe and the footballing world’s League one. But in the 90s, corruption and negative football hurt it seriously. Many stopped watching including myself.

    Isn’t the Premier League going the same way? What kind of league are we in, in which this whole season, in 26 games, only four teams have attempted to play football against us.

    It’s the same for all the top teams of course. In the league now, only Arsenal, Man Poo, Shellsey, Totts, West Brom, West Ham & maybe Boro can be called footballing teams. Is that how a league should be?

  235. Poliziano – I read the first paragraph of Arseblog, saw where it was headed and did myself the favour of not reading on. The other Arsenal blog headlines were enough to stop me reading any further. These are supposed to be written by Arsenal supporters, but the level of vitriol is higher than anything written by a spud or man u supporting media hack. The team really doesn’t need to be laid into in that way. It is in no way helpful. We are shorn of some of our best players and the stand-ins are all trying hard and doing their best. So, not everything came off yesterday, it might do next time with a bit of belief.

    Being critical is easy, being supportive less so it seems. But the criticism has gone beyond the bounds of reasonable. Criticism by fans can never be constructive because you are not in a position to change anything about the team, other than how or whether you choose to continue to support them. There is a lot of bitterness and hatred towards our players out there in the blogosphere. I say, if you feel that way about the team, you have to question whether you can still call yourself a supporter.

  236. I used to like Arseblog. But since he went “pro” he has lost it. And the bloke who he got to sub for him today is a dickhead.

  237. Well we are down but not out, while we are not consistent we have the talent to do it.

    I do also think the biggest blame is not the manager or the players but the fans. I watched the match and the silence was deafening. There are some things I would like to see with this young team but regardless if it doesnt happen it is our job to cheer the team on, those who go to the stadium “must” get behind the players, regardless, if not why go? to moan and cry.

    We still dont seem to have the confidence as a team and seem to “play with the handbrake’s” on as Wenger says but the fans can give the team that extra bit of strength and belief when things are not going well.

    This team will do wonders and have people eating their words the talent is there, so lets hope the players believe along with the many fans who do.

    Big ups!

  238. BentleyTheFlyingSpur

    DK ur a cu*t. Support ur team or come and join me. Support the best team in the world.

  239. Passenal…You’re a star.

  240. BentleyTheFlyingSpur = C*unt

    F*ck Off BentleyTheFlyingSpur !

  241. Song is an embarrasment. He’s almost as embarrasing as Wenger asking teams to let us beat them. Van persie will leave soon, he doesn’t love the club only himself and goats

  242. Arse21 – Think about who you’re blaming for Saturday’s result, and why…

    …because our defensive midfielders are getting trashed for not being creative enough, but they’re not getting praised for Arsenal’s massive defensive improvement, which is their real task. That tells me it’s all just blind scapegoating. But good luck to you if it makes you feel better.

  243. ….buddhist, Arsehole21?…I don’t think are malevolent…and it seems malignant…

  244. F*ck off Arse21 !

  245. Big Al,

    In truth its pretty much the whole team. They look stale, bored and clueless. As soon as its not going to be an easy victory there’s noone willing to stepp up a gear. Its been obvious they’ve been too pmpered for a while and I think its come tyo fruition now. They think there the bloody Invincibles without ever having done anything. And dont get me wrong, I belive Wenger to be one of the best managers of all time, so why bring on Eboue when we need to win? Its crazy and the act of someone who’s lost the edge. Were his academy now, not a normal football club striving for success. Van persie loves goats, whats that all about?

  246. Frank,

    Luckily I dont know what malevolent or malignant means. I know that Song and denilson play like a crabs though

  247. Lets play Cardiff again, we battered them it was just like old times

  248. I’m just responding to 90% of Arsenal blogs laying the blame at the door of our DMs. It’s not on.

    There’s no need to point the finger at anyone for Saturday, because we did create chances, but just couldn’t take them. The later it got, the harder it became to score a goal because Sunderland got more and more defensive.

    I think the foundations are there for an impeccable team – it will blow people away.
    I reckon we’ll beat Roma tomorrow night easily enough. The run will start from there, and build momentum as players return.

    I think it’s been delayed for a week, that’s all.

  249. I would say that Man U are about three years ahead of us. Thats how long it will take to develop this team to that level. One of the most worrying things is the fragility of there team spirit, they look llike they dont even know eachother let alone like eachother. I’d rather, Van Persie, Adebeyor and Gallas leave the club, I think there ego’s are hurting the dressing room. There ‘senior’ players now really, they needt to look after the kids not look at them like there tupid, even though they are playing shit. I dont know what the answer is though, there seems to be so many problems I wouldnt know where to start.

  250. ….and this is an Arsenal supporter?…..

  251. Frank,

    Stop attacking me personnaly and answer the football question

  252. You seem to have a lot of insight into the relationships within team. Do you have a camera in the dressing room?

  253. …YW, I think this Arse21 guy is really in the same category as that other fellow….there is a job to be done here and it can’t be done with malevolent, malignant rats hanging around….

  254. Big Al,

    Yes I am a voyeur just like Wenger. Do you not notice the lack of togetherness? Maybe I’m wrong, It’s only my opinion

  255. Frank,

    Stop attacking me personnaly and answer the football question.

  256. I’m really getting p*ssed off now with people blaming Song and Denilson for our failure to win on Saturday. This whole scapegoating culture is beyond a joke now. We created enough chances to win – our striker did not convert due to good goalkeeping and not so good shooting. How does that translate as the fault of Song and Denilson? They are just easy targets and it’s not acceptable in my opinion.

    Perhaps some of these bullies picking on our players should ask themselves how much they think the constant criticism, booing, scapegoating and negativity might be causing the anxiety, which is preventing us seeing the best of these players. The odd occasion on which the crowd have chosen to support the team, they have rewarded us with a good performance. Perhaps the supporters should try doing that more often and see where it takes us. Save the criticism for the end of the season if that is required. It is not helpful while we’re trying to win something.

  257. …attacking you personally?…did you really think that I would ever forget the way you attacked and insulted my children?…I am just waiting until you give enough clues out as to who you are…..

  258. Passenal,

    Appartently Van Persie Ferrari wouldnt start yesterday, I belve it was down thjo bad vibes from the crowd. They should be ashamed of themselves, poor Robin had to hire a limo to take him home, its disgracefull, they call themselves fans.

  259. Frank,

    I’ve never said anything about your children, I didnt even know you had children, get over yourself. Song is a crab

  260. You’re pathetic Arsehole 21 – grow up or STFU!

  261. …you are a liar, Arsehole21…and you have a memory………

  262. …a dim memory….just think….

  263. ….think very, very hard…and do be careful…

  264. Passenal,

    I know you cant take someone badmouthing the players, I know your probably foamiing at the mouth and shaking uncontrollably because I’m critising a professional footballer, but dont worry, its quite normal to do this just not on this blog. Sit down and calm down. have a cup of tea and Chillax. Have you ever seen this film called ‘Sideways’? Its pretty cool you should watch it.

  265. We know who that fellow is Frank, he was outed a few days ago as a’Troll’. God help us.

    Nothing changes with these people, does it? “For evil to succeed…’

    Unless we win 4-0 every game and therefore go a whole season unbeaten and win all 4 trophies and sign Messi, Torres, a ‘big’ defender and a ‘defensive’ midfielder’, there will be absolute pr*ts coming on every Arsenal blog you can think of, even this one which stands out in it’s high proportion of thinking fans, slagging off the team, the manager and the Board.

    There is no arguing with them about what the club are trying to achieve, about the sheer class of the club compared to our competitors, about the talent of this nascent arsenal side, about the ‘broad sunlit uplands’ that are just ahead and they will never, ever, see that to be part of the disgraceful media fed negativity that surrounds the club is an act of treachery.

    It doesn’t matter what steadfast fans write on here every day, bless them, all they care about is being one of the Gadarene swine, and joining in their oh, so popular, outpouring of ignorant poison. Dedicated followers of fashion that they are, they will claim to have been on the side of the righteous all along when the trophies start rolling in.

    I loathe and despise you. You bottom feeders, you cretins, you hateful and deceitful nay sayers, hiding behind your elementary school argument of ‘constructive criticism’.

    We are all upset when we do not win. Every time. It is how we respond that define us as supporters.

  266. ….people on this blog are not all they seem, Arsehole21… very careful….

  267. …I agree with Passenal…

  268. Frank,

    I couldnt care less about your personal life, I cant think of anything more boring then a strangers personal life. This is a public internet blog for gods sake. If you want more privacy maybe ring Wenger on a secure phone line and tell him ‘Songs shite’

  269. ….I agree with ConsolsBob….

  270. Emirates atmosphere stinks! Mon, everyone is singing and enthusiastic; Saturday, everyone is cold and subdued!! why go there at all?

  271. …I don’t want privacy, Arsehole21…..but you might… careful….

  272. Frank,

    Stop making veiled threats frank and tell me? What sould I be carefull of?

  273. …it is a fine club, Agu….I fine stadium, manager, players…..but the supporters are not up to it…..they are theatre goers…not football supporters….look at some of the other blogsites…..Arsenal supporters?…..doesn’t look like it does it?….just exploiting the name for hits….

  274. …..dim memory, Arsehole21?… careful….

  275. Frank,

    You’ve got some issues dude. You make me proud that you support Arsenal

  276. …I certainly do have some issues, Arsehole21…..and you don’t know the half of it….be careful….

  277. Someone’s wriggling…on someone’s hook…

    as to the cleaners he is took..

  278. Frank,

    What kind of issues?

  279. Frank, I agree with you. Like the team, our crowds are just as inconsistent:

    Mon, Cardiff {i respect the support shown to Eduardo} but the atmosphere was terrific, though i could only see it on TV
    Sat: the atmosphere was very different, most fans were just sitting there and waiting for a goal.

    why cant everyone decide to stand up: the stewards wont be able to stop everyone from standing.

  280. Consolsbob,

    Climb out of his arse

  281. agu,

    So its all the fans fault? Dont be ridiclulous the crownds always been quiet, even at highbury

  282. ….thought you were not interested in my personal life, Arsehole21?… careful….

  283. Frank,

    What kind of issues?

  284. Frank,

    That was untill you started threatening me. What kind of issues?

  285. Arse 21,
    Highbury, that is different, the team was winning.
    Now, the team is struggling and the crowd could help

    we have seen that it works, like against ManU. why not do it against Sunderland if you know it will help the team

  286. …he didn’t say it was all the fans fault, Arsehole21…….you seem to have a small problem with your cognitive powers…….takes a special kind of fool to walk naked and stupid and boasting amongst others…

  287. …why so insistent, Arsehole21?

  288. Funny thing paranoia. It can get to those with the strongest minds. To those who have weak ones… well.

  289. Frank,

    You’re funny, you make threats but dont say anything, just because I’m saying Song is crap, which he is by the way Frank, Song is shite. Only my opinion.


    Climb out of his arse and go and make him a cup of tea

  290. The game on Saturday stared very well, when AA fired those early missiles, everyone was ecstatic: this was the time to seize the moment and sing madly until a goal was scored. 60,000 people cheering for their team consistently could make life really difficult for the opposition. we have seen it work. Instead, RVP missed a chance and the noise level started going down. AA comes off, the stadium goes quiet until the last ten minutes

  291. Arse21:

    what do you propose about your problem called Song? right now, at this moment in time? when Cesc is injured? and AA not match fit.

  292. I was more worried by the players total lack of motivation. Thats not all our fault, maybe we need a good captain, I dont know

  293. agu,

    I just dont rate song at all, He should of played ramsey. Song positional sense is awfull, his talent is so basic, I cant belive we’ve sold so many midfileders who are better them him

  294. arse21,
    In my opinion, the Crowd’s more vocal support can give that little extra motivation.

    not constant barrage of vile least of all at an airport

  295. arse21:

    I think Song is better than Ramsey in a defensive role. Case in point Cardiff away, you could see that Ramsey was struggling.

    Song’s only problem is his passing

    I think Ramsey is still young to cut it on a regular basis

  296. Frank's biggest fan

    Waiting for Yogi’s post.

    Still waiting….

  297. The fans have a bog part to play yes, but they also need to be inspired. Booing happens all over the country, its not right but the players have to get on with it, its what there paid to do for gods sake !!!

  298. sorry arse21, i need to catch up with sleep;

    it is 1:50am and i am still awake

    we will continue this some other time

  299. the Song / Denilson pairing in the middle just isn’t good enough YET. i don’t know why people are slagging them off though, they’re kids who trying their best, in a few years time they’ll be sensational. I don’t understand why Arsene doesn’t play Nasri in the middle in Cesc’s absence… could even go with Kolo in a defensive midfielder role or Johan…

  300. …are you a water carrier for other sites, Arsehole21?…a mule?… careful my poor simple friend… are exposing yourself….

  301. Frank,

    You’ll know when I expose myself frank, you’ll know because my willy will be hanging out

  302. ….the little tiny mini Sun’s are at it again today……attached like limpets to their big bloated hit machine Suns…some of them are even beginning to forget where they started and that Arsenal support was supposed to be centre of their enterprise…..

  303. …aahhh you just did it again, Arsehole21…..are you not embarassed?…be careful…

  304. Frank,

    Is there any chance of you just saying what you mean? Or do we have to play this Alex ferguson game for ever?

    Song is shite

  305. …I have made myself quite clear, Arsehole21…others understand……

    btw..why do you keep using other teams as a reference point?…to be a real Arsenal supporter you have to have class to match the club….we are independent…we are innovators….you are failing very badly….and you don’t care… very careful….

  306. Frank,

    Have you ever seen Rosemarys baby?

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