City Lucky To Get Nil In Bore Draw

Arsenal 0 – 0 Manchester City

The worst match I ever saw at Highbury was a goalless draw one autumnal Saturday when Birmingham City were the visitors in the early 1980s. Actually, I may have seen worse but this morning that is the fixture which immediately came to mind. David Seaman was in goal that day and it is far to say that he had nothing to do that afternoon as huff met puff and nothing actually happened. Well, not much anyway.

Manchester City arrived at The Emirates with a game plan. Unfortunately for Arsenal, nobody was nimble enough to let the air out of the fleet of coaches that the richest club in the world hired to park outside of their penalty area. Still, the City Board will no doubt be pleased that they have been able to drive them off the pitch without having to call a Kwik Fit fitter to get them moving. Arsenal is just sooooo middle class these days that we cannot even be relied upon to nick the wheels.

In truth, the complaints about the visitors tactics are misplaced. City needed to come away with a point having lost last weekend and duly did so; at this stage of their season, the result will always be of more importance than the performance. And, to a certain extent, the same held true for Arsenal, needing to halt a run of three successive defeats in all competitions.

There is not much to write about the match, ninety minutes that passed in a breeze of uneventful activity. Given was tested notably by Nasri and Diaby, the latter bringing a save from the Irishman which ended the goalkeeper’s afternoon with a shoulder injury. Robin van Persie’s delightfully curled free kick inched past the upright in the closest effort to a goal which could be mustered as Arsenal struggled to find a way past Given’s replacement, the Faroe Islands national team ‘keeper.

At the other end, City posed no threat at all. What little service their forwards had was snuffed out by the defence with relative ease. The afternoon may just have been what Fabianski wanted following last weekend, the biggest test was trying to complete The Guardian crossword using only the characters in The Godfather.

Wenger said afterwards:

You could see that the effects of recent defeats were in our heads. It was like we were forbidden to lose today and we just blindly throw everything forward because we knew we couldn’t afford to lose the game.

Understandable though it is, the outcome was disappointing.

For all of City’s spoiling tactics, there was enough guile in the Arsenal team to have made more of the situation. Confidence has taken a huge knock, rapid exits from the Champions League and the title race has created a chasm of disappointment into which some minds have fallen. The players need to pick themselves up and regroup once more, knowing that two wins creates a feel good factor at the end of the season.

That might be the last thing on their minds at the moment and I am sure that some are already looking forward to a South African adventure. There are still matters at hand which need to be resolved before then and the visit to Blackburn is the most immediate. The returning players, including Arshavin, can breathe new life into the dying embers of this season and let us hope that they do for the greatest shame would be that this season drift into mediocrity.

And look, a whole post-match blog without mentioning Him…oh, bugger.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on April 25, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 54 Comments.

  1. Without mentioning who? Oh, that bugger.

  2. There is something in what the more critical have said about the match but perhaps they have been led to expect too much.

    City are a dangerous side with, I think the fewest defeats in the League. They have some very capable players to which you can add in the Adebayor factor. How many Arsenal supporters dreaded him scoring yesterday?

    Therefore, Arsenal were cautious. To be beaten really risked the season sliding into recrimination and despondency. So, we did attack and we did dominate without really looking like carrying all before us. Nasri might have had better service from the linesman in the first half when clear on goal after RVP’s pass but I expect nothing of linesmen these days.

    Where you have a point is that there was something missing from our display. A cutting edge? The lack of a killer touch around the box? A lack of decisiveness perhaps sums it up for me. That lack of spark and nous that often distinguishes a great side from a good one.

    Why? Well we are still lacking too many players who might have made a difference. Most sides struggle to score when they lose 1 or 2 key players. RVP is clearly not fully fit. One or two, Nasri comes to mind, have had a long season and looked a little dull. Rosicky is not back to himself.

    So, all in all, I suspect that we wanted to avoid defeat first. A point was really enough for our purposes. a win might have come but it didn’t. We certainly never looked like losing.

    At this stage of the season I can live with that.

    Sorry, I posted this at the tail end of yesterdays’ after a stiff couple of hours in the garden!

  3. Excellent post Consolsbob

  4. Chris Waddle really has to be the worst commentator there has ever been. You can only understand about 1 word in 3 and that’s drivel.

    You know things are bad when you long for the return f Shitanta!

  5. Consolbob, I respect your civil response to me.

    marc, have to agree about Waddle, i think he invented the words anti Arsenal, talk about a biased commentary.

  6. Seaman? Early 80’s? Might need to look this one up…

  7. I’m lining up to agree about Waddle & Ekoku. What a load of cuckoo waffle they served up.

  8. anyone think that sol campbell should be a dead cert for next season?

    I look at players like zanetti and canavaro and Id take sol over them any day of the week. And they are still great players.

  9. anyone think that sol campbell should be a dead cert for next season?

    I look at players like zanetti and canavaro and Id take sol over them any day of the week. And they are still great players. puyol too.

  10. apologies for that….technical error.

  11. Flint McCullough

    You omit to say that young Safe Hands was playing for Brum that turgid day, YW, & he was plucking the numerous hoofs into the area with great ease.

    The difference was that there were probably less than 20,000 paying around £2 to see the game.

    So we have seen worse 0-0s but not that many.

    As you say a tired performance lacking confidence against a side that fortunately didn’t want to know, because we were probably there for the taking. What they did do was thwarted very well by the excellent Sylvestre & Sol. The latter even trying to inject a bit up front, which was never his forte.

    I don’t know what Vela must be thinking seeing Theo getting games, whilst contributing virtualy nothing. Eboue did twice as much in 20 minutes as Theo did in 70.

    I found the baiting somewhat tiresome & the refereeing even more so.

    Well made points from consolsbob.

    Unless the Spuds beat City, 3rd place is ours but we have to get another point, so that restricts the experimentation that could have been interesting at Blackburn.

  12. Last season at home against Fulham 0 -0 on a cold rainy February afternoon.

    At least for those who were there yesterday it was a lovely evening.

  13. I wasn’t too bullish before yesterday’s game.

    I agree with Consolsob, City is a dangerous team and I thought avoiding defeat was paramount.

    The game was turgid, but in all honesty I was quietly relieved that we didn’t lose.

  14. Considering this was bellamy tevez and ade against silvestre and cambell I think we should be giving a little more credit to team performance. Man city have a lot more to play for but we made them look amatuer for 70mins of the match and hardly felt threatened at all.

    Don’t forget this was 4-2 last time and we are supposed to be in one of our worst patches of form for years. How easily people forgot these things…

    Seeing it from high up in a corner of emirates probably means I missed a few things but song was looking like MOTM within 20 mins and that never looked like changing until the end whistle. His confidence has got to the level where he is trying to grab the game by the scruff of the neck. Inspiring for his first game back from injury. Over the next few years song is going to be one of the biggest names in world football for his position. An accademy success we should be very proud of.

    Cambell soaked up bellamy admirably, walcott fought hard after his knock, nasri looks far more at home higher up the pitch, rosicky is starting to find his fighting spirt again. Were we to pinch a goal here this would have been touted as a fine day against the odds.

    The season is over, we are third. The areas that we need to improve are far more apparent this year and wengers resolve to fix them more astute. We need someone special in attack, some experinced defenders and we will be at least 6-9 points better off in the league – enough to win it.

  15. Given our recent Ch L & Prem Title exits and our second choice central defence pairing I’d have thought that City would have made more of a go of it. The one point for them is more likely to end up being 2 points dropped at the end of the season when they end up in 5th place. Far too timid for a team with aspirations to become world class.

  16. The thing we need most of all is for our best players to be available at the business end of the season. We need to find a way to resolve these annual end of season injury problems, which have wrecked our chances for the last 3 seasons. We are not going to be helped by this ridiculous 25 player squad system coming into force for next season either.

    I think the defensive performance may also have been helped by Silvestre getting a run in the team alongside Sol. It must be hard to sit on the bench and then drop in for the occasional game. You can’t expect to develop a good understanding with your defensive partner.

    I also think whether Sol stays is dependent upon whether Gallas stays. With the new restrictions in place, you can’t afford to waste 2 places for the ‘veteran’ defender, not when you’ve got Djourou who will be pushing for regular starts plus Nordveit or Bartley who could come back from their loans to claim one or both of those back up spots.

    Does anyone know how the new rule will affect playing the youngsters in the Carling Cup? Can you only select from the 25 man first team squad? If so that will cause us some major difficulties if we have to use first team players for that mickey mouse competition and will not get to use it to test our up and coming players.

  17. Flint

    I remember that game for more than the pain of the draw. The wistful and pitiful look I got from my then girlfriend – “You watch this every week? You actually pay?”…


  18. Passenal, I think it’s a Premier League ruling, not an FA one so I don’t think it effects who we choose to field in any non-PL games.

    We’re also set up perfectly to deal with the ‘home-grown’ element of the rule.

    Teams like City, Spurs, Utd, and Chelsea will have to sell to create room in their squads – and this will knock-on throughout the league. I think it’ll be a bit of a merry-go-round this transfer window.

    I agree though, Arsenal’s injury record this season demonstrates very explicitly why a 25 man squad is just not enough for the Premier League.

    You should perhaps be able to refresh and rejig your 25 man squad in January say, to deal with any injuries.

    This season for example, I guess that Djourou would not have been declared as part the squad, knowing as we did that he would be unavailable for the vast majority of games.

    I’m rambling now…

    Fair appraisal earlier Cb. Stiff in the garden for a couple of hours? You never fail to impress.

  19. This is England

    Song was not a product of our academy he was signed for 1 mil from Bastia

  20. Paulie Walnuts

    A 1-0 home defeat to Coventry in driving rain late `83 has to be the worst game I ever saw at Highbury. Urgh !

    Back to reality & yesterday was a crucial game for us in a way so to avoid defeat was something of a relief.

    I agree with those who have said Sol should stay on, particularly if Gallas leaves. I`d imagine Sol is a positive influence off the pitch too.

    Theo continues to frustrate. I can see him either becoming one of the most fearsome strikers in the EPL or dropping down the league`s until he`s sub for Barnet at the age of 26. Can`t make my mind up which.

  21. This is England

    Cant remember the year but it was in the 70s against derby in the fa cup.All games were being played in the daytime due to Miners strike.70000 skived of work absolutely dire game.

  22. Thanks for that explanation Limpar Assist. That rule also makes it even less likely that our first team players will be featuring in the FA cup. We cannot afford the injuries. Looks like we might end up with 2 squads. One for the PL/CL and one for the domestic cups.

  23. When I posted that sentence I knew some filthy minded individual would pick up on it. I thought it might be pz but you win the prize Limpar.

    Re your point about sqaud rejigging, what happenned to the chav’s transfer ban? Was it overturned?

  24. the funny thing about theo is….when he’s good hes unbelievable.

    Its so easy to forget what a world class finisher he is.

    Its not fair to judge him on this season though.

    Next season will be make or break I reckon. He was fantastic for large periods of last…that dosent just go away.

    Lets pray it comes back for Edu too.

  25. I think limiting the squad size for the Premier League is a good idea, as it will discourage clubs owned by oil barons, robber barons, and so on buying up players just to stop them joining the opposition. A limit on the toal number of players employed by each club would be an even better idea.

  26. It was overturned, Consolsbob. I believe that was the right decision.

  27. Was it indeed? A great shame. Thank you.

  28. On the basis of this season, the 25-player limit will have very little effect on Arsenal. We have 30 players in our first team, and I think only one reserve player, Craig Eastmond, has played in the Premier League. Of the 30 first team players, Senderos, Djourou, and Szczesny have not appeared in the league at all this season, Wilshere has played only once, Gibbs three times, and Merida four. We therefore have 24 first team players who made a significant number of league appearances; and we in fact have only 24 such players in total, since Eastmond made only four appearances.

  29. I think some of you people ought to watch the game with the commentary off. The atmosphere in the stadium was terrific. Especially after two EPL defeats which put us out of the race.

    Sometimes it is not all about the quality of every pass, shot, move etc. RvP was captain. Great to see… and played for the whole game, great to see. Alex Song was back to his normal self.

    Citeh were frightened to move forward and one of the reasons is that with RvP up front we defend from the front. How? Well because he not only breathes down the defenders necks when they have the ball, but they are terrified of giving him an inch of space.

    Lukasz needed a game like this to get himself back on track and that he did.

    There really is a refereeing crisis in the EPL. the fellow yesterday was just plain incompetent.

    Sure it was a cautious game but it was not without incident. The reception for the ex-players was exactly as each one deserved..and lead to moments of pure hilarity. Not many left early either.

    The real point though is that we needed to secure third spot and we all but did that.

    …and to add to the occasion the plod obviously read this blog. We did not engage them in philosophical or political debate and they duly turned up in trainers, stopped blocking the roads earlier than usual and all the plod donkeys were female and very friendly in a platonic way with our horses. Although Peter tried to shag one of them.

  30. It really doesn’t matter. Our first team is better than any other first team in the EPL already.

    I can see next season’s fixtures reverting to five a side towards the end. There really are some fucking stupid pricks in charge of football these days.

  31. This 25 man rule is going to cause some interesting repercussions. It really is time to allow clubs like Arsenal to have a B team playing in the lower leagues.

  32. This is England

    Frank i thought the atmosphere was quite flat until the whore came on.

  33. With 8 of the players having to be 21 or under, the new limits are probably too strict. The implementation might be bad, but I think the principle is good.

  34. You obviously lack the necessary powers of perception and judgement, this is england.

  35. Bob @ 11:13

    Spot on. We started the day in some danger of finishing 5th. We end with almost certain lock on 3rd. Nonetheless, still boring.
    We seemed to have figured out how to play without Cesc earlier especially vs Porto but we need to regain that Cesc-free nous since the injury bug for him is always a risk again next year. Hopefully the last 2 games will bring some break throughs.

  36. Limiting the size of the squad should go hand in hand with a mid-season break. That would go some way to ensuring that the season is not decided by injuries as this season has. Actually this season has been decided by injuries and refereeing decisions.

  37. Eight of our first team players would have been 21 or under at the start of this season, although half of them did not make a significant number of appearances. Next season, they will all be a year older, and several of them will no longer be of the required age. Since Arsenal has a young squad, I can only assume that many clubs will struggle to meet the new criteria. Chelsea, I believe, would find it hard to put out 8 players who are 31 or under.

  38. I’m surprised the EU haven’t stuck their noses into this.

  39. Not related to any thread:

    Premier League stars draw self-portraits for charity.
    Not sure about the ‘interpretations’, but the Arsenal players are as usual, the best. RVP the most gifted artist of the bunch, but pretty groovy efforts from Master Cesc and the young apprentice TW14.

    Not sure why Marcus Hahnemann drew himself fishing. Goalkeepers…???
    And it’s now officially confirmed.
    Rooney does indeed, have a very big head.

  40. The 25 man rule will drive up the cost of “home grown” players under 21. As we seem to be doing a good job of producing our own we should be in a strong position.

  41. The new age restrictions will give a new bias towards youth in football. Let’s say a football player’s career starts at 18, and continues for 15 years. From 18 to 21 is therefore 27% of a career. According to the new rules, however, these young players will have to make up 32% of a squad. This is a small but significant discrepancy.

  42. I think I’ve been misled by

  43. says, “From the 2010/11 campaign, top-flight clubs must register a squad with a limit of 25 players. Moreover, eight of those named must be aged 21 or under and qualify as ‘home-grown’.”

    This seems to be a mistake. Those eight players must be aged 21 or under OR home-grown.

  44. According to a disreputable source, “Clubs can also supplement their 25-man squad with a B-list, featuring as many players as they want who were under the age of 21 at the start of the previous January.”

  45. Frank I agree, there has to be a mid season break, which is how other countries leagues manage with smaller squads. There also needs to be better refereeing and stamping out the overly violent tackle. Look at how much damage it has done to our squad.

  46. “You should perhaps be able to refresh and rejig your 25 man squad in January say, to deal with any injuries.”

    They read your mind before you had read it yourself. That is in fact the rule.

  47. That’s not so bad then Poliziano. I was also misled by because I thought they had to be under 21 and home grown. Many of our first team qualifies as home grown but are now over 21 e.g. Cesc, Clichy, Djourou, Bendtner, Denilson and Song. Merida would have qualified, but it looks like he has decided the grass looks greener elsewhere.

  48. But I thought you could only refresh with under 21’s in January? The problem would arise if you have someone out, but expect them back so keep their spot then they have a relapse or alternatively, you leave them out altogether then they are fit but cannot play because they are not registered. Seems like a bit of a headache to me!

  49. New post up any minute now.


  50. And it is entirely relevant to this conversation!

  51. Flint McCullough

    Category 1 players from anywhere- 17 allowed
    Category 2 players trained in English or Welsh Academy for 3 years/seasons before age 21 – 8 or more to bring squad up to max 25.
    Category 3 players aged under 21 on 1st January in the year when the season commences.

    I think this will mean for the current squad:

    1 Almunia
    1 Silvestre
    1 Gallas
    1 Rosicky
    1 Arshavin
    1 Sagna
    1 Eduardo
    1 Eboue
    1 Van Persie
    1 Fabianski
    1 Vermaelen
    1 Diaby
    1 Nasri
    1 Song

    2 Campbell
    2 Clichy
    2 Djourou
    2 Cesc
    2 Bentner
    2 Denilson
    2 Mannone
    2 Simpson

    3 Vela 1 season
    3 Walcott 1 season
    3 Gibbs 1 season
    3 Traore 1 season
    3 Merida 2 seasons
    3 Szczesny 2 seasons
    3 Barazite 2 seasons
    3 Bartley 2 seasons
    3 Nordtveit 2 seasons
    3 Lansbury 2 seasons
    3 Eastmond 2 seasons
    3 Ramsey 2 seasons
    3 Emm-Thomas 2 seasons
    3 Watt 3 seasons
    3 Cruise 3 seasons
    3 Sunu 3 seasons
    3 Coquelin 3 seasons
    3 Wilshere 4 seasons

    We should therefore be able to get 3 players in , from anywhere, without moving anyone on. It appears to be a good position for us but it does mean problems of who we will be able to keep as the category 3 players get to be category 2.

    I wonder if this ruling has really been thought through sufficiently. It could lead to academy players over 21 being moved on before a proper conclusion could be made of their full ability. Simpson being a good example.

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