A Point Gained Or Two Lost? Time Will Tell

Burnley 1 – 1 Arsenal

0 – 1 Fabregas (7)
1 – 1 Alexander (28 pen)

The weight of expectation followed by the second half performance at Anfield was high. This is a match that title contenders do not lose, the perceived wisdom went, despite the fact that Manchester United lost in August at Turf Moor.

As it turned out, Arsenal played more in line with the first half at Anfield, pressurised constantly by the hosts, determined to repeat their Carling Cup victory last season. Events transpired that make this a point gained this morning rather than two lost.

The match itself was open with chances at either end. The tone for the evening’s defending was set early on with a lack of communication between Vermaelen and Almunia as the Belgian dropped a header back to where he expected the goalkeeper to be; no-one had told Almunia this as he was more advanced towards the ball and arched his back to tip the ball onto the bar. It was the sort of goalkeeping for which Cech has been lambasted in recent weeks. Almunia has not escaped such chastisement either.

Within minutes, the incident seemed irrelevant. Bikey dithered; Cesc with the nimbleness of a cat burglar in books of yesteryear, smuggled the ball away, leaving it nestling in the net an instant later. One-nil to the Arsenal and shortly after it should have been two. The Spaniard lifted ball over the defence, chested the ball into space and lashed the ball into the sidenetting. It seemed his toes were twinkling like the stars in a crisp winter’s night and Burnley were reeling from the weight of the Arsenal attack.

As the quarter hour mark passed, the woodwork intervened in Burnley’s favour, Arshavin striking a fierce drive against Jensen’s post. Arsenal were in control, containing Burnley but being pressed themselves. The breakthrough for the hosts came from the penalty spot. Vermaelen was deceived by the sloppiness of Bikey’s control as he ventured forward, the Belgian diving in with a rash challenge, the outcome of which cannot be argued with. Alexander has missed five penalties throughout his 2o-year career. There was no danger of last night seeing the sixth.

As the half drew to a close, Fabregas was replaced, apparently a hamstring injury suffered, keeping him out of the coming match against Hull City as a minimum. Ramsey replaced him and chances were spurned, Arshavin denied by Jensen, Vermaelen likewise as the giant keeper pushed a header over the bar.

In the second half, Arsenal became more reticent in their attacking. Walcott suffered a lack of composure having latched onto Song’s pass, blazing high and wide when a cooler head or more in-tune international would have surely buried the opportunity?

Eagles rattled the woodwork from an acute angle having skipped past Silvestre before Fletcher had a goal disallowed, dubiously, at the end. It denied Burnley a win but an undeserved one.

There is a lot of talk this morning of how they were denied but evidentially, they only managed two shots on target all night, Arsenal seven. Presumably whoever thought that stat up at the Daily Telegraph does not count Almunia pushing Vermaelen’s effort onto the bar. Burnley do deserve a lot of credit however for the level of the performance, pressing without descending into the physicality that sides lower down the Premier League often resort to.

The Arsenal performance was disappointing given the finish at Anfield. It seems that Jekyll and Hyde will be used to describe our performances. Some solace though can be taken from the fact that a month ago, we would probably have been bemoaning a defeat such was the manner in which November transpired.

The gap to Chelsea remains as it was prior to last weekend’s fixtures. Win the game in hand and it is down to five points. Win twice as Chelsea draw and the gap closes further. That is not the problem; consistently winning afterwards is an issue that needs to be addressed.

In the end though, whether this is a lost opportunity will be decided when the League title finds a home at the end of the season. Otherwise, we move forward and look to bury the ghost of 2008/09 with a victory over Hull on Saturday.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on December 17, 2009, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 207 Comments.

  1. very important we win against hull, very important we erase all memory of the depressing 2-1 defeat last season, as the following game vs villa will be aswell

  2. It’s really sad to see eduardo in such poor form, he has lost every cm3 of confidence.

    Hopefully a goal on Saturday will begin to restore some of it, he hasn’t lost the confidence, it can be easily found simply with a goal in a significant match, wether it’s vs Hull or villa, but at the moment every match is significant when you are title contenders.

    I want to win the champions league more though, so Stuttgart please tomorrow morning!!!!

  3. Not a bad result really considering Burnley’s strong home record. We were fortunate to come away with a point in the end though.
    Four points from the last two tough away games is a good return.
    Alumnia’s confidence looks absolutely shot, I feel sorry for him, but I feel he needs to be dropped for the sake of team.

  4. Either the Glass is half full or it’s half empty, I for one chose to see the glass half full.
    Half bread is better than none under the circumstance, a one valid point gain which moved us back into third, with a game in hand is far better than no point at all.
    No other team can survive and keep pace with the top two this much, with the avalange of injuries to key players. I believe that the title race is not beyond us yet, like Assene rightly said: The top teams will drop more points this season. That’s true!

  5. Was there that much difference with the performance at Anfield? At Liverpool we were awful in the first half, got the rub of the green on a couple of penalty shouts and won because of a piece of brilliance by Arshavin.
    Is Liverpool’s home record any better than , Burnley’s? Therefore is it really surprsing that we won at pool and failed to win at Burnley?

  6. a point gain…definitely and fabregas lost….

  7. They say Arsene is a dictator who doesn’t allow dissent at Arsenal. But can you imagine any other club having presenters at the official channel, saying they think the club’s star player will leave at the end of the season?

  8. Hurberto Suazo – 29 – Chilean, with a huge knack to find the goal. Can he do it at emirates? he is linked to Atletico, Sunderland and Spurs. Consider we sign the guys they want to sell to get Suazo.


  9. Another example of Arsene sending mixed signals to the team is his moaning that Hull have had more recovery time.

    I know Arsene isn’t making a preemptive excuse for the Hull game, but it could be interpreted that way.

  10. thebigM, the difference is against liverpool the post was on our side, and last night it wasn’t.

    Let’s go win the EPL

  11. let’s hope not OG, but if we did drop points he would point to that fact.

    We can’t lose to Hull, we are not as bad as last season.

    I want to win the champions league more than the P.L though, or the F.A cup. I want at least 1 win in that white shirt! It really doesn’t look like arsenal they should have made it grey or something

  12. I thought Walcott’s display was miserable. Surely Eboue would have done much better.

  13. the injury list in Arsenal is unreasonable, look at the list of 1st squad:2 keepers , 6,7 out of 9 defenders. the entire(!) midfieled with exception of Song . front line decimated. at least 20 1st squad playes were already injured many seriously.half the players on the field at any moments seem not fully fit. Bad luck?so many “glas players” ? obviously something is wrong in Arsenal, besides couple of freak accidents this is not a coincidence now year after year

  14. diaby isn’t injured though, thought he did very well.

    Big game for him, Almunia and eduardo as well as walcott who all have things to prove.

  15. i’ll be very happy with any win against hull.

  16. The Burnley pitch must the smallest in the league impossible to move the ball around its the secret for Burley’s success at home any team playing there will struggle, almost all Almunia’s kicks went to a throw for Burnley, There is no space I don’t blame him. Still we should’ve finished them off in the first 15 minutes. They just grew in confidence after our missed chances.

  17. then comes Villa on a high with loads of energy and enthusiasm, on present form the emirates fortress wil
    l be breached,

  18. Why is everyone down? Bloody hell it is a great point, plus if we did win it would feel completely unjust as they had an obvious penalty decision disallowed.

    It is not away at burnley that will truly test us, it is the games against a.villa away coming up, and the run of man u, chelsea and liverpool all in 3 weeks that will decide wether we can win the title. It is those games that will decide wether we can win, not a well-fought draw against a good team with good support.

  19. 1 loose cannon yeah, and burnley arent the only team that uses the pitch to their advantage, Stoke’s pitch has a width of abt 10 metres so Delap can throw those in. Seriously on fottball focus they showed it being the shortest pitch in the EPL.

  20. I don’t know what you’re talking about Zap.

    We could have been 4 up in 15 minutes. If we were just even 2-0 up we’d have walked it.

    Their goal was a penalty. They barely had shots on target.

  21. small pitch bad pitch, ok, we did not play better in anfield. yesterday the post saved us, in anfield there was stand out defensive effort but also unusually misfiring Torres and 2 penalties turn down in our favor. point is team play in regression at this point of season, half the players on the field seem practically unfit

  22. i would have settled for 4 points before the last 2 games…

  23. ole.
    but that is the point 15 minutes, then a setback and the team spirit and zip collapses. itis not about the point but about team display. we were lucky to get a point. we are going backwards.

  24. Zap- They should make a standard size where all teams should comply to.

  25. OG. But we weren’t 4-0 up, no point looking back on those chances mate.

  26. I know 1lc, the Emirates is one of the largest in the EPL at the maximum allowance whilst Burnley have theirs at the minimum

  27. i think that contributes to the noise their aswell. I think the Emirates should have

    a) Microphones

    b) Tough looking men holding baseball bats urging on the crowd- og did you spot them when you went to greece?

  28. And VErmaelen, who by the way is the ONLy fully fit player in the team said that this is like a barca team in the making.. anybody saw Barca play yesteday btw?

  29. sagdf & Robespierre,

    Well that’s why we can’t be happy with a point is all I’m saying. We had enough to win it.

    But the person making the point about how we’d have taken 4 points beforehand is right.

    It’s an opportunity lost, but in the grand scheme of things, nothing’s really changed. If we go on a winning spree, we still have a good chance of being top or very close to top in January.

  30. Cesc could be out for a month, FFS that can’t happen.

  31. Robespierre,

    How’s Vermaelen the only fully fit player we have?

  32. yes, we have now sequence of 7 winnable games, till mid jan, ths will be the test, after that come the hammer in mid jan feb. but that. point is Ole that at some points in the season we have to do BETTER then expected, The Anfiled is such moment of exceeding. thoiugh not really if you look at the game itself. I am just very very worried and dejected about what i see happening. please Read my post above about the INJURIES data

  33. All our players with few , very few exceptions were already injured this year, serious

  34. and most of them even those returned do not seem fit to me

  35. Robespierre,

    As far as I know we only have Bendtner, Clichy, RVP & Gibbs out long term. Of those, 2 should be back in the next 1-2 weeks.

    We have some carrying knocks like Gallas & Arshavin. Maybe Denilson.

    We have Traore who’s out short term, and Cesc who we don’t know how long he’ll be out for.

    In terms of the present the injury situation is not unbearable, but I do recognise that the cumulative effect of all thse injuries have cost us.

    I was looking at the Castrol Index again, and I realise that RVP has been one of the world’s best this season. So he’s a major miss.

    But as much as he’s a miss the thing we’re suffering from is that Eduardo is very much off form.

  36. One point few pundits have noted is that we have played 2 home games less than Chelsea and ManU, and played one more away game. That should be worth a few points.

  37. Have we played one away game less. One of the stat guys on twitter says in fact we’ve played one away game more.

    Whatever the case is, we do know that we have played most of the tough away fixtures, bar Stamford Bridge and Villa Park.

  38. ok, I want CSKA or Stuttgart, the former are in shambles 2 of their star men have been caught taking drugs.

  39. West Ham is a big game aswell, the F.A cup we have a good chance of winning, and maybe without carlton cole we can easily beat them and hopefully by then we’ll have betnder and cliche

  40. Ole Gunner

    you’re the village statistician can you explain how Henry is at the top of the castrol index with his couple of goals this season when two of his team-mates have already scored 11?

  41. Kitchen Sink,

    Funny tag. For a second I saw myself with an abacus and a joker hat for a fleeting nanosecond.

    Easy. The Castrol Rankings are based on 1 year of Castrol Index scores (CR & CI are 2 different things). So Henry is still top because he played very well from Jan-April 2009, and many of those are very heavily weighted games.

    It’s stupid that the Castrol Rankings use 1 year of data to tell us who’s performing best today.

    However the underlying index scores are valid.

    If you apply it using data for this season, Henry would, as well all know is true, not be number 1.

  42. it seems when stats are blended the point is obscured..

  43. Paul, we have indeed played one away game more. Is this better or worse?

  44. Watch the video Ole Gunner posted yesterday, guaranteed to cheer up any miserablists.

    Really good write up today, Yogi.

  45. KS,

    I don’t think so. You just have to know what you’re looking at, and know what it says and what it doesn’t say.

    Would you say Britain’s GDP obscures the point? No. It tells you something, and you just need to know what it tells you.

  46. I haven’t looked at the GDP but if you look at tackling and defensive stats there shouldn’t be a way to have a leveling comparison with goal scoring stats..their comparison is subjective and all these sites that come out with grouped stats saying for example damien duff has 89 whet ever points only tell half the truth.. singular stat comparison is far closer to the point..

  47. I don’t understand why you think it’s subjective. Au contraire.

    The CI for example gives a lot of weight to successful actions over 90 minutes. Because of it’s the same basis against which all players are measured it is consistent in telling us (to a reasonable degree of confidence) which players are effective at whatever they do.

    And, whatever you might say, you and I, the average person doesn’t have enough access to match stats to make robust comparisons.

  48. defensively a single tackle can stop a goal and that tackle should give as many points as a goal where as another isn’t as crucial .. attacking wise a pass can serve a player perfectly to score an easy finish yet if the striker misses the provider only gets awarded for a normal pass.

  49. How can a team start their attack when GK distribution is an asset for the opponent?

    Arshavin, so many poor passes and lazy play . Theo was 1st division talent.

    At this level of competition, no team will be successful with these number of player liabilities.

  50. marrying these defensive and attacking stats for one revolutionary grouped stat can only lead to more obscurities.. great for fantasy football but not ultimately practical..

  51. whatever, gained or lost.
    The fact is
    Arsenal is not going to win anything with this team.
    Thats all………………….

  52. KS,

    They do adjust for how much impact each action had in leading to a goal or saving it. That’s why I really like the index.

    Stats have however never been able to measure beauty. No statistical points for artistic merit.

    It doesn’t weaken what stats do tell us. It is an approximation, for sure. But it is an approximation in every case.

    It’s the problem with comparision in general. If we compare Carlton Cole to RVP, it might be easy to miss the point that RVP might have scores more and assisted more than CC, but CC is nevertheless more important to West Ham than RVP is to Arsenal. No comparison is every perfect.

  53. i dont think Arshavin is lazy, he just looks like that because instead of pretending to look active all the time when he knows he doesn’t get the ball, he just stands still whereas others would jog and point everywhere to make them look like they give a damn.

  54. To the gooners harping on about the size of the pitch last night…where shall we put the by-lines? In the stands? We haven’t shortened the pitch, and incase you haven’t noticed, we try to play football in the right way so would love a bigger pitch. To be compared with Sjoke City is an absolute joke and a slur on my wonderful football club.
    Rant over

    Dean BFC

  55. Kitchen Sink,

    I think you miss the point of the CI. It’s very useful for measuring effectiveness. Irrespective of what you do, whether pass, tackle, juggle or draw, how many of the things you attempt, do you succeed in doing.

    I don’t see anything about that concept that’s not valid.

  56. Consistency is the key. Arsenal doesn’t have that. Great win at Anfield followed by a so-so performance against Burnely. Two points were lost. Will this come back and bite the Gunners in the butt? We will see. Burnley is a tough out at home.
    All is not lost for I think Chelsea and Man U will stumble. Why? Chelsea barely escaped with a win against Portsmouth. Man U had trouble with Wolves before scoring.
    Some one asked if I am a Gunners fan? I am. I have huge warm spot in my heart ever since I saw the movie Fever Pitch with Colin Firth. I saw myself in his character. He was always expecting worst but hoping for the best in his beloved team Arsenal.
    The other part of me likes to see a dog fight for the top spots. I love the Dogs (underdogs). It is the American in me.
    Arsenal needs to be consistent. With RVP out this will be hard but Eduardo, Fabregas, Nasri, and Walcott need to step it up big time.
    Spam bobby http://bobbygee.wordpress.com/

  57. Also, there are statistical ways to measure how capable the index is in predicting performance, and I’ve been told it has a high score in that regard.

  58. Ole stats are essential to knowing what has taken place,

    grouped stats and point systems are flawed.. take the intercept stat, you gain how ever many points for an intercept.. clearing the ball off the line is also an intercept but shouldn’t give you the same amount as a normal intercept stat who decides how many points that goal saving intercept is worth.. tha’ts where the subjectivity coming to play..

  59. If we are at leat 5 points off by the time those massive 3 or so weeks start in which we play a villa, man u, chelsea and liverpool one after another, we will have a good chance but only if we survive those fixtures

  60. their stats are as bad their oil. nothin to say when they got that wanker as their role model.

  61. and also, most fan’s views on our goalkeepers is like a merry-go-round, if fabianski played for example vs Hull, you would say start Mannone. if he made a mistake you would say i want Almunia back in goal, so what’s the point slating almunia, you weren’t doing that after the Roma game after the penalty shoot out

  62. KS,

    I already explained that this particular index does give weight to whether any one action saved a goal. An intercept that saved a goal is given more weight.

    It doesn’t matter so much who decides how much weight should be given, so long as the eight is applied in every case. It is, and that’s why it’s not subjective.

    If anything, the indexed stats are better since they’re more robust. A mistake in one area, (say giving too little weight to a match saving tackle) wouldn’t depress your overall score too much.

    Having an index score doesn’t even stop you from comparing individual stats (drilling down) to anyone area that interests you. It’s not either or.

  63. well I’m glad you like millions of others finds joy in their judgments of weight..

  64. John Radford BigLeggy

    The fact is that none of our GK’s is up to the task. Zap, you are probably too young to appreciate this club’s GK history. Over the last 40 years we’ve been very blessed with great first team keepers (I’ll exclude the back up keepers before the argument expands). We now have a keeper who did not make his first team debut until he was in his mid 20’s and played in the lower echelons of the Spanish La Liga (with some stints lower down). A good keeper can be worth 12 to 18 points a season to you. This clown will cost 12 to 18 points. Quite simply he is not good enough for Arsenal.

  65. Well, I’m much younger than you, but I think whoever is playing in the Arsenal goal you have to support him. I think Fabianski has a great future with us, whilst Almunia will not retire without at least a trophy or two

  66. Frank the Gunner


    cannot agree.Almunia should be dropped Fabianski promoted to number 1 and Mannone to number 2.Almunia looks like a shot boxer.You cant have a keeper who has no confidence

  67. I think the team is great techincally. They also are becoming leaders in their own right. To win at Anfield, 1-0 down, required leadership. Ashravin, Fabregas, Roscisky, Song, Gallas and Vermaleen are all leaders. Nasri, Walcott, Eduardo, Diaby and Denilson are in the process of earning their stripers.

    However, I do have a problem with our goalkeeper. He should be doing much much better. He should be besides Gallas and the like.
    But as of now he is lower on the leadership scale then lets say a Walcott. A goalkeeper needs to organize his defence and inspire confidence from his defenders. A great goalkeeper is brave and his work uplifts the entire team.

    I think Almunia is an excellent no 2 goalkeeper. But i do think we need a commanding keeper. Because as defenders go, we are fine. Plus, that kid norvedit is getting regular games in bundesliga and probably stake a claim for no 3 next season.

    I also seem to think, that Wenger as getting close to shutting out Almunia. And probably this time sell him. Because no point getting someone new and make wait the fabulous set of goalkeepers who will be ready in a few years time.

  68. Wilson,Rimmer,Jennings,Lukic,Seaman,Lehmann all quality keepers and a couple truly world class and now Almunia who is not fit to wear their gloves.Why havent we got a top quality keeper?.C’mon Arsene sort it out

  69. would have, could have, should have…


    2 points lost – gutless performance: more fed up with the performance than the score, which I can live with…

  70. Ok then, in the F.A Cup semi-final last season, did you wish almunia had played?

  71. Wenger’s fixture list point is valid. They could have scheduled this midweek games for next midweek. in which there are no Europe Cup games.

  72. Instead of bloody complaining, why can’t the fans in the stadium be louder. We all know what we are capable of (man u last season in the c.l, Spurs all the time) but we have to create the same atmosphere against teams like Hull, it’s so bloody quiet sometimes and you make even more noise when almunia makes a mistake or Diaby misplaces a pass, so please if you know u arent makin any effort please give 2 shits and make some more noise.

    But i know most of the fans on here are good and the ones i’m aiming at are watching England’s poor cricket match against South Africa or saying shit on Le Grove

  73. The goalkeeper thing is being fanned right now. Drop Almunia! Play Wookash!

    Bloody hell!

    Almunia has become a crap keeper overnight.

  74. wukash!! You speak polish OG?

  75. I think we should leave the small pitch complaints well and truely alone considering we had highbury for all those years!

  76. Ole,

    we are supposed to be a top side, right? fixture congestion with 2 games played against new boys and last season’s relegation fodder should never be an excuse…

  77. If Clichy and Denilson are fit to start on Saturday -then that will be a massive boost. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow.

    Hull, with a week of orange-faced drills and a grudge against the Arsenal because us dirty foreigners spat at their grandad, will be playing like it’s their Cup Final on Saturday. We will need to have our wits about us, to say the least.

  78. Zap,

    whenever I try to stand up and sing, I am told to sit down and shut up…

  79. Zap,

    No, but I know how it’s pronounced.


    It’s not an excuse.

    The fixtures are done wrong. Simple as that.

    It’s wrong that some teams have 1 week to recuperate.

    I don’t want Wenger moaning about it, especially after a draw that felt like a loss. But on the merits of the issue, he’s dead right.

  80. Bleak house on ACLF today. Never mind gooners. It is important to support the team, lift your spirits, make a fight of it yourselves. Never say die cuts both ways, players and fans. Like BobbyGee said, we are the underdogs. I like it. We have a fine team.

  81. Yep true, this is my predicted team for sat….

    Sagna Gallas Vermaelen Silvestre
    Song Fabregas Denilson
    Eboue Arshavin Diaby

  82. cheers word you’ve brightened my day a little, but i’m not 100% sure it’s true, we all know what sh*t they were saying abt RVP. You just never know….

    Shit i forgot in my prediction cesc won’t play, so i’ll go for Nasri and replace nasri with diaby, i forgot nasri in the first place

  83. so it goes:

    Sagna Gallas Vermaelen Silvestre
    Song Diaby Denilson/Ramsey
    Eboue Arshavin Nasri

  84. you know, when we say rozitsky (pronunciation) its actually roshisky

  85. ive always supported almunia but last night was a bit different as there seemed to be some stern words and body language directed at him from gallas (mainly) and TV didn’t look too happy either.

    Almunia doesn’t really react well to this and it seems he couldn’t even look gallas in the eye. he knows he’s wrong and if the confidence of all 3 breaks down then it can become and sticky up hill battle.

    Problem is I dont like fabianski’s over enthusiasm and general niavity too much. he will have just as many mistakes as almunia but for different reasons. Mannone on the other hand looked rock solid for us at very short notice, very determined and stern with his defenders. A mentality that would be useful within the squad right now.

    Still i think almunia must stay for now. All of the top 4’s goalies have had ‘patches’ historically and game time is the only way out of it.

  86. where’s mark Poom nowadays?

  87. Rosicky & Clichy should be back this weekend, setbacks barring.

    Based on what Arsene said before now.

  88. Actually Zap, I think it’s more like, DOM-UHZ ROZ-ITS-KY. And I’m very glad the little Ceska genius will be back with us again soon.

  89. – – – – – – – – Almunia – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Sagna – Gallas – Vermaelen – Clichy
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – Song – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – Ramsey – – Denilson – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Diaby – – – – – – – – – – – – – -Arshavin
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – Eduardo – – – – – – – – – –

    It’s a toss up between Ramsey and Nas to fill Cesc’s boots for me.

  90. Wenger is not right about the fixtures. Every team is in the same situation. It is a clever media diversion tactic that’s all and it worked.

  91. Rosicky will not retire without a winner’s medal at arsenal, that’s what my informers tell me.

  92. Limpar, I’m certain SamirN will play

  93. The media are not like dogs- they are dogs, if Wenger throws them something, they’re after it, like everything

  94. Geez, I hate to say this of an Arsenal player but Almunia is a big liabilty to our title push at present. Something is up mentally with dude.

    I also think it would be good to give Walcott and Eduardo some full matches with the reserves. They just need more playing time.

  95. Imagine how pissed off Traore is right now, i mean this is his chance.

    He’s really won me over though and i like him a lot, he’s made a few mistakes for sure but wether his future is with us or someone else, it’s bright

  96. I also understood it’s pronounced Roz-its-ki.

  97. sad to drop two points but burnley played their bestest and deserved the point..

    When we lost Cesc, Ramsey wasn’t ready to replace him which meant Nas had to drop back to support the mid-field (again)..

    Diaby’s defensive work was amazing all night and he hung back when ever Song marauded forward, with him and Denilson fit in Jan we will be absolutely fine.. Song was his usual quality exposing his wonderful passing range..

    As soon as Eduardo came on for walcott and arsha moved wider our attack looked sharper.. Eduardo makes runs like very few players in the world, sadly when he did get the ball at the end of those runs he lacked the confidence to shoot or finish the ball with any conviction.. One of our main priorities this month is to get him fit and confident..

    I pray that Denilson is fit for this weekend if not Nasri showed that he fulfill that Cesc freedom role on the point of the three and with Rosicky out I hope to see him there this weekend as his all-round game yesterday was exceptional..

  98. is not OG i’m sure of it

  99. Well if your team plays in Europe or a PL match midweek, then its a disandvantage physically if you play a team that didnt, no?

  100. theBigM,

    That’s nonsense. Not every team is in the same situation.

    The opponents of Stoke and Hull will face much fresher teams than their opponents.

    Burnley will also face a fresher team but that’s another matter.

    Given that there are no Europa Cup games next week, this week’s mid-week fixtures could have been moved to next week.

  101. Def, Paul N. I have supported Almunia up to now, but he looks completely shot of confidence and really mentally troubled. I feel sorry for him out there.
    It’s a real dilema for Arsene.

  102. why are Aston Villa’s fixtures always so kind?

  103. ESPN: Arsenal had a cracking start to the season but since then have suffered in their title challenge. What rubbish

  104. Agree BigM, its is a bit sad! That cross he let slip through his hands has to be the last straw or close to it. He is often in no mans land when balls come in the box. Very indecisive, he is just one big bag of nerves.

    Hopefully he can get his head straight, he is very good when confident.

  105. I happen to think that Almunia is an excellent shot-stopper and while not the best in the air he is definately one the best one-on-one…it can’t be denied that he’s having a real problem with confidence right now and it’s causing problems. The whole defence is panicked because of it.

  106. axis at least he looks better than cech..

  107. I don’t know why that’s a last straw. I can’t comment since I haven’t seen it again.

    But it wasn’t a goal. It wasn’t Almunia’s fault we dropped points.

    And he did make a good saves in that game.

  108. I’ll say 2 saves, being he didn’t know that Burnley player was offside.

  109. he did very well to push vermaelens header onto the bar

  110. yes Zap that was a game changer..

  111. Kitchen Sink,
    You’ve made some very shrewd criticisms of the ranking of players by combining statistics. Statistics for passing, tackling, scoring, and the like are very useful, but combinations of statistics are far less so. You are correct to say they are subjective, thereby undermining the chief merit of statistics, which is their objectivity. As I have pointed out before, there is no way to verify an overall ranking, since verification would necessarily require comparison with some method of ranking that is known to be superior. If such a superior method exists, we ought simply to consult the results of that method directly rather than wasting our time with inferior statistical techniques.

  112. if Wenger managed chelsea, they would be out of sight, if he managed man u so would they. If they managed this young side, they would probs just abt make the top 4.

  113. imean if one of their managers did

  114. agreed Pz..

  115. OG, whether it was goal is irrelevant, that was terrible goal keeping. The guy is playing like a novice and while he didnt cost us any points yesterday he has and will if it continues.

    Also can we forget other goalkeepers, this is about Arsenal, we want to win the PL dont we?

    Look, I love Arsenal players as much as anyone else but he has been consistently average, thats just the truth. Something isnt right.

    I am pulling for him to improve though.

  116. Arsenal should have scored at least one more goal and they need to add another attacker or somehow get their attacking nous back. Hopefully this is just a short offensive dry patch due. Nick B will probably be an excellent striker in the future, but I do not think he will add significantly to this year. Drogba did not really shine until his mid – late 20’s. Eduardo, Theo, Vela who knows what the future holds. I think it is bright for Vela in the next 3 -4 years. Theo and Eduardo maybe. However, we can not afford to keep dropping points now. At some point we have to stop hoping for future greatness and start thinking about winning. This year seems to be the most open EPL race for years. I really hope we buy a good striker, and a good CB as cover for WG and TV. We can never spend like the Chav’s or City or even the Manc’s but we could afford to upgrade these positions without breaking the bank. It would not kill all the younger players coming up thru the ranks. Buying Arshavin last year did not “kill” anyone and he probably saved our CL spot.

    We really need to learn how to keep a clean sheet. No matter how good our offense, we will have games that we score only 1 goal and if we want to win anything we need to win those type of games. We can not win in this league without the ability to keep a clean sheet when it is needed.

  117. It’s true KS…and you know how much I hate to slate a player – but the man just looks broken right now.

    I’m not blaming Almunia for lost points.

    But his lack of confidence and his indecision is causing panic in the back line. They expect him to being coming for the ball and he isn’t…when he comes for the ball it’s clear they were expecting him to stay home. I’m not talking about the game itself. Burnley barely managed a shot. I’m talking about the fact that the whole game FELT like panic at the back even though Burnley barely managed a shot.

    Almunia was caught halfway too many times…something’s wrong…

  118. Poliziano,

    I don’t know how an index is subjective. I’m struggling to make sense of this one criticism.

    if anything, an index is more robust than individual stats.

    There are several statistical means of measuring how good any statistical measure is. Even without having to benchmark against a better index.

    The entire world depends on GDP measures. The GDP is an index, a statistical index. All the Central Banks, and geniuses in the world recognise its validity as a measure. As far as I know, no serious ecocomist has evenr made the point that it would be more robust to compare the individual value making transactions in each country to determine what that country’s output was.

  119. OG, I also remember Lehman getting dropped after two mistakes, atleast thats the only reason we knew.

  120. Ole,
    You clearly don’t know anything about statistics.

  121. You also apparently don’t know the meaning of objective and subjective.

  122. To claim that an index as such is objective or subjective is absurd., as is the comparison of GDP with combining individual statistics about football players to give an overall ranking.

  123. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Credit to Burnley for sticking together after we went up. They fought hard. I don’t understand all this talk that we should have been up 4-0. That’s over the top. 2-0 maybe but at the end of the day it has to go in the net to count. Burnley could have had 3 goals with the same bit of luck. But they’re a good side at home and no one rolls over against the Arsenal. We have to work for ours and we just didn’t put in the shift we needed as a unit to to get the result.

  124. Cant wait for the C/L draw!!!!

    please please please:

    Chelski vs Inter
    Manure vs AC Milan
    Arsenal vs Stuttgart

  125. Actually no, i want manure to win because i really want to play them again in the C/L

  126. Walcot is so frustrating, what in gods name has happened to him. He seems to be lacking confidence and cant seem to get out of first gear, he was woefull

  127. how old is walcott again? oh yeah he’s 20. 20 is incredibly young for someone piled under so much pressure from the media. The hattrick for england has come back to bite him in the ass

  128. Nasir-Jones, spot on, no sense in moaning, we were shit and got what we deserved

  129. Did anyone else think Song had the right idea last night, trying to chip the final ball over the defense rather than play it through them on the ground? He looked really quite good last night yet again.

  130. Song seems extremely reluctant to shoot but i love his assists, Eduardo almost nicked the ball away from jensen. I would’ve put my mortgage on him scoring that chance last season

  131. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Agreed, Ted Harwood. Song’s range of passing is impressive. He just keeps getting better and better.

  132. There are 3 ways of measuring GDP and all are known to contain errors, omissions and all fail to capture how data effects people’s lives. The UN HDI is more useful in that regard, but is a combination of statistics. Like all politically loaded stats, it can be fudged.

    Almunia was shite last night, he should have been on his line, as he was nowhere near claiming the ball, when Vermaalen lobbed him.

    The best indication for how crap he was came from Sagna, who a couple of times stood screaming at his keeper for his incompetence. Fabianski should play on Saturday.

    If we win our game in hand we are still only 5 points off the leaders. If we get through December and that is the gap then we are well in the hunt.

    2 big games at home now – we need to avenge last season’s losses.

  133. Educate me, Poliziano.

  134. forget the gdp, let’s talk about depression ratings:

    Arsenal 1-2 Hull- 9/10
    Arsenal 0-2 A.villa-10/10

    i was depressed as shit cos everything was going wrong for me at those times, and Arsenal did shit aswell. The only statistics that count now is the league table.

  135. Chelsea playing West Ham away, Manu away at Fulham.

    Points can be dropped in both games, particularly the fulham one. But to be honest i don’t care about their results, if we don’t beat hull it doesn’t matter what they do.

  136. arseneholis,

    Stats can be fudged. GDP doesn’t measure level of economic welfare. All true.

    But it’s still the best measure of output that exists, and it’s basically an index.

    I’ve never heard anyone say its value as a measure of comparing output between 2 countries is limited by the fact that it’s an index.

    If anything anyone looking for more detail is always free to drill down, and compare say the blog industry in England with the newspaper industry in Russia.


  138. Ole – just some thoughts, I agree with you that statistics can be very useful in evaluating players, if not total.

    I think adding goals and assists to assess an attacker is good, so why not other factors? You always need to be able to translate numbers in to reality though. I mean, higher pass completion for defenders is obviously down to them having more time to play easier balls, not more ability, say.

  139. Good summary, YW. We could have won, deserved to win in terms of shots on target etc. Regarding the table, a win would have been fantastic, a loss would have been a setback and a draw is…meh. It may end up mattering hugely, it may not.

    Another statistic – the team which is in the top position at the turn of the year is very rarely the team which ends the season on top.
    We want to be within 5 points of the leaders at the halfway mark, hold our position through Jan/Feb and come storming through to win in the last third of the season.

  140. Bloody hell it’s a Stat-Off!

    Good call Ted Hardwood on Song going for those lofted chips that him and Diaby have been perfecting over the last couple of seasons. The difference between Song dicting Arsenals rhythem and play in the last quarter of that game, and Diaby (who was very disciplined, and a little less expansive then usual on this return from injury) was just game time and confidence.

    Some of the same people berating Walcott, were a year ago, moaning non-stop about Song & Denilson. They’re the real dissapppointments. Why do these people buy tickets or watch games if all they want is instant perfection? Why not just stay at home and play FIFA, doctor your players stats and conquer the world a la Alexander?

  141. A reminder everyone that the draw tomorrow morning is at 11.00, if you are in another country + or – your difference from 11.00

    Can’t wait

  142. You can always be relied upon to come up with a sensible balanced post at all times Yogi. Thank you.

    I feel strangely disappointed with the point, it feels like a loss as we had chances we just couldn’t convert. But Burnley at home are not easy and under the circumstances we have to accept a point was the best we could get. It could have been a lot worse.

    I hope Rosicky, Denilson and Clichy are back on Saturday. We are running out of players!

  143. On Fab4, the silver lining if he is to miss Hull is that I am sure all the players would have been out to kick and injure him after whatshisface was exposed as a liar over Spitgate.

  144. I think the fascination with statistics in football is perverse. AW uses his own judgement backed up by data which focuses upon specific areas of interest to him on a player by player basis. Subjective opinion of an expert with some applied numbers…sensible. The statistics we tend to discuss on this site mean fuck all.

  145. arseneholis,

    Every measure tells you no more than it tells you. Your bank balance tells you how much you have in the bank, but not how much you have stuffed in your mattress. Your bank balance might suggest you’re rich, whereas you’re just holding the funds in trust for your spendthrift aunt.

    Even for midfielders there’s a lot the pass completion stats don’t tell you. Arsenal are for example a passing side, Bolton is not. You’d expect Bolton midfielders to have different pass completion rates to Arsenal players.

    I like the Castrol Index because it places great weight on successful actions. It basically says, even if you’re a striker. If you tackle a lot and win the ball very often, it’s added to your mark. And it does go into enough detail to even evaluate whether your tackle saved a sure goal or not. Some might say subjectivity comes in here. But it’s nonsense. The question someone like that might ask is who determines if a sure goal is saved. The answer is that in 1-on-1 situations, the striker usually scores. if a striker makes a last-ditch tackle in a 1-on-1 situation he’s marked higher.

    I don’t see how the fact that all the differnt marks is aggregated into an overall score makes the score less valid.

    If you were interested in any one individual measure, you can simply look at shots on target by RVP vs shots on target by Sanchez Watt.

    I don’t see how doing one prejudices the other.

  146. @ Passenal

    Yes, the expectation was raised because of the Liverpool game – rightly or wrongly, that was thought of as the harder fixture. Although 4 points from the two games is probably what most people would have expected – just the other way around! We’re just going to have to ride this low-scoring patch that we have hit.

  147. How many more lousy games must Almunia play before Fabianski gets a chance?

    Should Vela start ahead of Walcott?

    Will EDS ever regain his speed and shooting ability?

    Which player has returned after injury and been like us acquiring a new player?

  148. On que…’Some of the same people berating Walcott, were a year ago’…

  149. The league table is just an index. We randomly decided that a win gets you three points, a loss gets you none, and a draw gets you 1/3 of the points you’d get for a win. We decided to use goals difference to break ties.

    The league table might not tell you which is absolutely the best team, but it at least gives an approximate rating of which is the best.

    We know the league table (index) works because the same teams tend to win, which suggests those teams are better than the others at winning games.

    However your league table points at the end of the season won’t say how many of those points came from teams capitulating at Old Trafford, or how many were won on cold wintry nights when players played through the pain barrier.

    You might feel that league points aggregate is not good enough for something you care about. You could for example drill down and look at away points, or number of 1-0 wins.

    Doing that has no bearing on whether the index is valid or not.

  150. Boy am I glad we didn’t spend £5M on ‘new signing’ Jimmy Bullard.

    Now which manger is worrying about injuries more, Phil Brown, or AW? Lets not even mention the stupidity of asking Bullard to play three games a week from the beginning after such a long lay off, & just concentrate energy on abusing our own players as they make a gradual but incremental return from similar injuries.

  151. Sorry there’s nothing similar there about Bullards & Eduardo’s injuries, other then that they are serious.

    I really think Hull need to look at their physio regime. All these players coming back from injuries and breaking down again. Tut tut tut.

    Foreigners like Bullard just can’t handle the pace and physicality of the English game. It’s true!

  152. I think Hull are going to be on the end of an absolute slapping. Backlash ahoy.

  153. SOLGOONER, your answer:

    v.Persie will be

  154. i don’t think so Limpar, i predict a tight match.

    However they don’t have Bullard and unless Geovanni doesn’t score another wondergoal we can win.

    You never know what to expect

  155. Rapid Wien 2-0 Celtic

  156. There’s a chap pun in that scoreline somewhere.

  157. cheap

  158. Rapid Wien 3-0 Celtic

  159. “ESPN: Arsenal had a cracking start to the season but since then have suffered in their title challenge. What rubbish”

    Zap, how is that rubbish? It’s true…at the start of the season people were trying to predict how many goals Arsenal would score and if we’d break records. Right now, we’re trying to find an even footing and its tough…not sure why people think otherwise. Any organization losing this many key members would suffer some set-backs. I’m certain that we will start winning consistently soon enough. However, I see nothing wrong with that statement.

    Its annoying when people take optimism to a whole new level. We need to be positive but realistic as well. For instance, Almunia has sucked over the past while as has Walcott. If a paper said “Arsenal has goalkeeping issues” I’d bet that you’d be wetting your pants in anger. Yet, its a fair statement.

    There’s always room for optimism but reacting crazily to anything that has the slightest tinge of negativity towards Arsenal is stupid.

    Anyway, the draw is hard to swallow but our squad has been through a really tough test over November and the past few weeks, and you know, I don’t think we’ve done too badly! I doubt any other team would’ve still held onto 3rd place if they had gone through our injuries and nature of fixtures.

    A win against Hull would do us a lot of good so I’m focusing on that.

  160. I’ve got a feeling about this one, Zap. You’ll just have to trust me. Hull will work very hard but it won’t be enough. We will shred them apart. Stephen Hunt will probably injure somebody but not before we’ve aboslutely served them. I can see us putting 10 past them on Saturday. And hopefully we thow some iphones at Phil Brown while we’re doing it. Maybe he can get a job selling them on at a second hand electronics shop.

  161. abid what when we lost 4-2 to man citeh?

    October was when it was great, those wins against fulham and blackburn were key

  162. i dont know about you but the ‘start’ isn’t just the first 2 games, it’s the first 4 or 5.

  163. Rapid Wien 3-1 Celtic

  164. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_prem/8419336.stm

    The attack continues.
    As Rza from the Wu-Tang said once upon a time:

    ‘It’s War **********.’

  165. did you guys notice Diaby working his socks off in defense last night? i think he really has something prove now that Denilson has returned to “fitness” and it was really apparent that he was busting his hump in defense to show AW that he deserves the spot… as we always say, thats a nice problem to have

  166. whats that finsbury??!?!?!? someone quoting Wu-Tang on an Arsenal blog? two of my biggest passions rolled into one

    arsenal’s technique alone blows doors striaght off the hinges

  167. I think Diaby was great last night aswell

  168. I’ve never looked forward to Arsene’s injury update so much.

    We might be getting an early Christmas uber bumper bundle of: Gael ‘The Force’ Clichy, one of our finest, most loyal lieutenants, Neves ‘The Dance’ Denilson, future captain of Brazil and inspiringly wonderous workaholic, Dom-Uhz ‘The Sickness’ Roz-its-ky, the most naturally gifted little footballing genius ever to be cooked up by the Ceska footie gods.

    Even if only one of these little beauties comes back to the fold – it’ll be boost enough for us to absolutely shaft the shit out of hateful Hull.

  169. glad you noticed diaby zap

    did you guys hear Wenger talking about he’s unsure about Silvestre’s future with the club?? ive never heard him talk about a contract negotiation with a player in those terms, so its kind of a sign that hes gonna go…

    i was more confident with traore in at left back that silvestre… i dont like to be completely critical of players, but man does he make me NERVOUS

  170. What bloody post is everyone on??

  171. “You’re never going to find a girl thats into Wu Tang Clan and Seinfeld!”

    High five to anyone who knows where that’s from.

  172. Dom-Uhz ‘The Sickness’ Roz-its-ky.

    If I could afford it, that’s what I’d have on the back of my shirt!

  173. nasir i dont… but please do tell

  174. Funny stuff at 6:20, LA. Haha.

  175. Didnt see the game or catch any reviews but i suppose a 1-1 draw away to Burnley isn’t the end of the world, tough place to go is Burnley. But another man down is another all to familiar occurance now, its got to the stage where i’d be suprised if we dont get any injuries.

  176. It’s from Chris Rock’s HBO special Never Scared, NJGooner.

  177. We will continue to cope with the injuries. Staying in touch and gradually moving up. We will be in pole position by the end of January and with an almost full squad start the sprint for the finish.

    ….country mile….

  178. haha nice nasir ill try and find a clip of that… cant tell you how nice it is to see some wu-tang love on the blog of all blogs…

    Frank, whats your opinion on our goal keeping situation? also, what do you make of AW’s comments regarding silvestre’s contract?

  179. Frank is right on this one…we’ll keep working our squad around and filling in as needed until we can get our team back together…we’ve an unsettled squad as players rotate in and out trying to regain fitness and form. Remeber that Burnley only got a piece of that game after Fab got injured. It will be a tough stretch but we need to just stay strong, nick points whenever possible and stay in striking distance. We’ll get RvP back in the nick of time to mount the final attack.

  180. I don’t really have an opinion on the goalkeeping situation, NJGooner. All keepers in the EPL are making mistakes at the moment. The changing ball technology is becoming ridiculous. Used to be that only certain very skilful players could beat a keeper with a long-range shot. Now any Tom, Dick or Harry can just welly it and the ball moves as if it has a mind of its own. It will not be long before the fuckers in charge have us playing with balls which behave like rugby balls. It will be like watching the Harlem Globetrotters every weekend. Ball technology stands as testimony to the utter arrogant fucking stupidity of FIFA, UEFA and the FAs. How are you supposed to judge a keeper in this environment? You can’t! But AW is the man to give it the best shot.

  181. Apparently the ball producers are trying to balance the scales again with the WC 2010 ball, which doesn’t need to be pumped to maintain its perfect spherical shape, due to its cover.. The current EPL ball has been shown to move around a lot at slower speeds, yet the new WC ball is supposed to balance the scales again for the keepers by moving straighter and “truer”..

  182. But Frank shot stopping is not our keepers problem is it. There problems are more basic than that. They seem to shit there pants

  183. seveN is back

    great news Chamakh

    I guess we can expect Diaby to take cesc’s advanced role against hull for a mid-field of:


  184. You don’t really expect a response to that stupid remark do you, RedTrev?

  185. Almunia
    Sagna Gallas Vermaelen Silvestre
    Song Diaby Denilson
    Eduardo Arshavin Nasri

  186. Almunia
    Sagna Gallas Vermaelen Silvestre
    Song Diaby Denilson
    Eduardo Arshavin Nasri

  187. – – – – – – – – – – – – -almunia – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -sagna – gallas- vermaelen-silvestre – – – – – – – – – – – song- -diaby – – -denilson – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -eboue-arshavin – -nasri – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

  188. – – – – – – – – – – – – -almunia- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -sagna-gallas-vermaelen-silvestre- – – – – – – – – – -song- -diaby- – -denilson- – – – – – – – – – – – – – -eboue-arshavin- -nasri- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

  189. – – – – – – – – – – – – -almunia- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -sagna-gallas-vermaelen-silvestre- – – – – – – – – – -song- -diaby- – -denilson- – – – – – – – – – – – – – -eboue-arshavin- -nasri-

  190. – – – – – – – – – – – – -almunia sagna-gallas-vermaelen-silvestre- – – – – song- -diaby- – -denilson- – – – – – – – – – – – – – -eboue-arshavin- -nasri-

  191. Rapid Wien 3-3 Celtic

  192. Frank, no

  193. As Lehmann has shown, there is no need for a goalkeeper to foul himself during a match, provided the ball is up the other end.

  194. Up the other end of the pitch, I mean.

  195. What would the score be if the 2004 invincibles played today’s strongest team?

  196. Lehmann
    Lauren Campbell Toure Cole
    Pires Viera Gilberto Ljungberg
    Bergkamp Henry


    v.Persie Arshavin Nasri
    Rosicky Fabregas Song
    Cliche Vermaelen Gallas Sagna

  197. Well, Zap, if they’re playing in the league, the invincibles would of necessity have either to draw or win, since if they lost they wouldn’t be the invincibles.

  198. Zap… are you related to Zip ?

  199. who the hell is Zip?

  200. Champions league then

  201. I don’t know who Zip is. I know what a Zip is though but that’s where my knowledge of zips ends

  202. Omg. Aw is yet going to buy yet another promising kid.When will the needs of the first team be prioritised?Yes when Sterling fulfills his undoubted promise blah blah.The game against Hull will show whether Arsenal can really challenge. After beating liverpool, all kinds of things were said before the gunners came crashing down to earth. It won’t surprise me if Hull get a point or three.The soak up pressure with a swift counter is going to catch the gunners rearguard flat footed.It all boils down to the gunners being unable to convert their chances into goals.
    this has been going on since Henry’s time. I think the reason is the gunners pass all day and the other teams massed defences.

  203. yes it was poor performance from our side we are still in the title race.

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