Eduardo Sinks Arsenal

Champions League Group H, Matchday 4
Shakhtar Donetsk 2 – 1 Arsenal

0 – 1 Walcott (10)
1 – 1 Eastmond (27 og)
2 – 1 Eduardo (45)

Arsenal missed the chance to qualify for the knockout phase of this season’s Champions League, squandering an early lead that leaves them needing to match Shakhtar’s results in the final two matches to ensure first place in the group. It would be easy to put the result down to the absence of two key midfielders but this is the essence of the squad system; you have the personnel to cope with that in place. Quite simply, the overall performance was not good enough.

Arsene was more damning in his post-match comments,

I felt we moved out of the game altogether and moved into the game altogether so it was more of a team problem, a kind of complacency problem more than an individual problem

In the early exchanges it did not seem that this was going to be the case. Srna tested Fabianski with an early free kick that the Pole comfortably held in his chest. At the other end, Nasri’s toes twinkled into space and curled an effort against the upright; it seemed that the changes wrought by the manager would not have a negative impact. Indeed, the return of Jack Wilshere was to have early rewards.

From a scrambled clearance, Walcott laid the ball back to Wilshere. The youngster clipped a ball around the defence and into space inside the Arsenal half; Walcott did the rest. Outsprinting the full and centre backs, Walcott was clear and with aplomb – the sort that we became accustomed to from Thierry Henry in such positions – he curled the ball around the goalkeeper and into the net. One nil away from home in the toughest fixture in the group phase, it was all that Wenger could have hoped for beforehand.

He would also have wanted the defence to keep a clean sheet for the following fifteen minutes to take the sting from Shakhtar’s response. That was achieved but with a lot of luck along the way, not least when Jadson hit the woodwork, Djourou having blocked his initial effort. The defending was nervy; the midfield was not coping with its defensive duties particularly well whilst the back four were at times desperate in their marking.

Shakhtar once more tested Fabianski, Chygrynskiy bringing another save from the Pole. The equaliser came with the hosts dominant. Chygrynskiy met an inswinging corner, Eastmond’s shoulder deflected the ball into the net. Replays showed that the original header was at best going towards Fabianski; an own goal declared by Uefa. Shakhtar were rocking, Arsenal rolling. Both full backs were being stretched and tested by the Ukranian’s movement, neither coping particularly well. Eduardo tangled Clichy in a blur before shooting, once more Fabianski stopping the effort.

The nadir of this came with what turned out to be the winner. Clichy switched off when attempting to shepherd the ball out of play. It was an elementary mistake that was avoidable; in such circumstances, the agricultural clearance into row Z must be the preferred option, especially with the defence needing to regroup. The Frenchman dallied, Srna exploited the weakness and found Eduardo who bit the hand that used to feed with a comfortable finish past Fabianski.

For all of Shakhtar first half dominance, they retreated into their shells in the second. Wilshere bundled an opening on the edge of the area and with the top corner beckoning, curled his effort wide. Pyatov comfortably held a Walcott effort minutes later, a scene that was to be repeated throughout the half.

Perhaps the clearest opening of all game as the game entered its’ final quarter. Squillaci found time and space, his header straight at Pyatov when a metre either side would have been the equaliser. Carlos Vela’s late effort would have brought due reward for a lively cameo but it was not to be.

There were too many sub-standard performances last night. Whilst we can observe that a draw might have been a reasonable outcome, little argument can be made that Arsenal enjoyed the majority of the play in the second half because Shakhtar chose to defend their lead and look to hit the visitors on the counter-attack. Defensively, the inclusion of Eboue and Djourou changed the four too much. I can understand the resting of Koscielny following two ninety minute outings in three days but presume Sagna has some sort of niggle otherwise it is not clear why he was relegated to the bench.

Clichy though was caught out on too many occasions. Sometimes the criticism of the Frenchman seems knee-jerk but last night was poor. The winning goal is down to his error but there were other times where his defending was not to an acceptable standard.

Even so, there were positives for Wenger to draw upon. Fabianski was once more solid, unable to stop either goal and at fault for neither. Indeed, the Pole made several important saves to prevent the team being overrun and a collapse ensuing. Likewise, Djourou was the star defender. I think it was his best game for the first team since returning. The odd slip aside, he was impressive in the air. Had Koscielny not been injured recently, I wonder if Wenger would have played him instead of Eastmond who seemed a little overawed at times.

As things stand, Arsenal must match Shakhtar’s results to top the group. Avoiding defeat in Braga means Arsenal qualify. A win though is essential to avoid a tough Round of 16 tie with the likely destinations Madrid, Barcelona, Munich or Lyon should runners-up spot be the eventual outcome of this group.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on November 4, 2010, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 137 Comments.

  1. Agreed Yogi. A poor performance. One of those that we made excuses for in the past but really can’t these days.

    Neither the experience of the squad or our mood allows that easy option any more.

    Sort ’em out Arsene.

  2. Again we get done over because of our poor fullbacks. clichy and eboue have let us down too many times now! Drop em arsene!

  3. Bummed. Hope its not the whole november thing and i hope the boys can forget this and win this weekend.
    I cant beleive they were they were complacent knowing our history over there.

  4. Clichy would not get a place at any othe top top teams in Europe. When is he going to learn the lessons. he has cocked up so many times. Worse still he got into gud positions numerous times and could not deliver 1 telling cross. HIs 1 assist and 1 Goal is 5 seasons return is not good enough. especialyy when he makes up to 5 critical mistakes in key games every season. ITs a pity Gibbs cant get off the treatment table………but we are not gonna win anything with players like Clichy who cant make simple decisions. It was the 45th minute of the game and all he needed to do was put out the ball. Simple……the team gets back into defesnive positions and the referee might have even blwon for half time b4 the throw in was taken.

  5. Look at that, Jena’s is back. only shows up when sh*t hits the fan. You are pretty sad.

  6. Apparently were selling Bale for £90 million, to the San Diego Zoo.

  7. Flint McCullough

    Hard to disagree YW.

    I would add that I think Shakhtar are a much better side than we are giving them credit for. My bet is that they will be hard to beat by any side, in the Ukraine, as the fact that they have been unbeaten for 15 months, in their new stadium, shows. It is not often that the stadium atmosphere translates to tv but it did here. That sort of crowd support makes a huge difference.

    Even so we were equipped to due better but the crux of the matter is that no team is going to prosper with both fbs having complete mares of 1st halves.

    I thought Eastmond did pretty well in these circumstances & could turn out to be the proper holding midfielder we need on certain occasions such as this. He does however need the run of games that he is not going to get with us for a while. I hope he doesn’t get the criticism because he was doing his job, whilst many of his seniors were not.

    Fabianski was faultless & Djourou did well. Bentner struggled but maybe this game was a bit early in his comeback. He didn’t hold the ball up, which was what we needed during that 20 minute spell that lost us the game.

    No disaster here but with the right concentration from ALL the team & we could have put this group to bed.

  8. A disappointing performance + result especially since we opened the scoring. Less than 18 months ago we were pretty sceptical about Walcotts ability to consistently perform at the highest level,very impressive finish. Eboue and Clichy are real concerns as is the lack of direct cover for Song, we don’t have enough destructive players available and with the african nations next season it will be interesting to see how the manager addresses this long term. Would have liked to see Lansbury make a start and for Nasri to be rested ahead of the Toon.

  9. Goonerwife.
    I am not one for bashing our team or players but, truth is Clichy is becoming a worry.
    Over the last couple of seasons, we have witnessed a number of high profile errors, that were all so preventable.
    Gael’s game is all about an attacking full back, this inevitably will create openings and chances for the oposition but, his offensive return is very limited.
    The outcome was hardly a disaster last night, we still have the upper hand and fully expect to come through topping the league.

  10. Never read anything after the words ‘we will never win anything with” {insert Arsenal scapegoat of the moment here}…

  11. f*kin november ..

  12. Not a good day at the office, but it should not be too damaging.

    Both full backs were poor last night, and Bendtner was really looking out of sorts. Great goal by Theo, and some good stops by Fabianski. Wee Jack did pretty well also.

    We lost a game that we never really threatended to take control of. But we will still finish the group as winners, so all is good.

  13. I noticed for much of the game careless passing in the final 3rd lead to our full backs getting exposed. You cannot simply blame one area, it was a general lack of focus by the team, I agree with Wenger.

    Bendtner, Theo, Nasri, Rosicky, all losing the ball far too often. Fabianski played well, but defensively we were awful, we always looked stretched. Mainly due to the carelessness of our passing I think.

    It was hard away fixture, one we would never have a chance of winning 3,4,5 years ago. The amount of changes we made, and the quality we put out there, we should be reflecting on at least a well earned point now. Clichy’s error is perhaps the difference, we cannot afford to be so sloppy, but with the number of chances we made I was expecting at least an equalizer.

  14. I am growing increasingly concerned about both Eboue and Clichy, whose basic errors led to both goals. Eboue’s positioning was dreadful all night, and Willian made him look very bad on several occasions. And how often have we seen Clichy made the kind of error he committed at the end of the first half?

    A shame, as without those mental errors I think we would have at least held on for a battling draw.

  15. I thought people were a little OTT when critiscising Eastmond after the Newcastle game but there’s no arguing with how out of his depth he was yesterday. It was far too intense a game to throw him into and I’m surprised Arsene didn’t start with Rosicky in midfield and Vela out on the left from the off. We could have had two whole games in which to give Craig and the other youngsters a decent run out, instead we’ve got to carry on working through an already crowded schedule.
    Eduardo though, what a classy guy. Glad we got to have him for the time we did.

  16. I’ve just remembered! We get Wellington Silva in January!

  17. The words Leopard and spots come to mind Deano.

  18. Nasri and Rosicky do not play well in combination with Bentdner , and Fabianski has improved so much to me he was our man of the match we could have lost 4/1 if he hadnt been on top form as our backs were lousy, Clichy is arrogant and Ebuoe is better in midfield, I also worry about Sqillachi when he beaten to the ball he has a tendency to pull his opponent backwards, and could have conceded a penalty. Wilshere was good as was Walcott, but I wonder about Vela should he be loaned out or sold, he seems to have gone backwards.
    Chamakh shows how to lead the line and Bentdner needs to get fit and come on as super sub. Djouru is also improving all the time and may challenge the TV , Kos combination.

  19. I see what your saying dupsffokcuf, for me the only big cat that springs to mind is Cheatah ……*sigh*

  20. Always feel rotten after a loss. But Walcott’s goal was a class act. Sprinting halfway across the pitch and then sliding it in from such a distance. Chris Waddle couldn’t do that in his prime. Gives me memories of ‘that’ past Arsenal legend. Can’t blame Eastmond too much. Of course he must be feeling rotten. Happened to Diaby as well last season. These things happen! But Clichy ? Can only wonder what he was thinking when he could so easily have booted the ball into touch. And he’s a full French international. Only regret is that unless SK lose another match then it’s not likely that our fringe players will get a champions league game as they did last year. All in all life has this habit of bringing us down to reality!

  21. One thing we’ve learnt from this game is that Song is indispensible. There was no cover for the defence during counter attacks, and we can’t play without Song or Denilson. Great goal from Theo.

  22. I’m not too worried about this result as I would rather get it out of our systems as it were, awayfrom home in the Champions League where we can still comfortably qualify. The performance was poor overall and the team didn’t really look balanced, but on the positive side Theo’s finish was scarrily Henry like and Fabianski and Djorou performed well again as did a few others.

    I thought it interesting that Yogi refers to Clichy as ‘the Frenchman’ twice in his piece, I’m probably reading too much into this (as he is French afterall) but maybe it’s telling that many believe when fit, the Englishman (Gibbs) is the preferred option on this seasons form.

    One last note is to say well done to Eduardo for his goal, it was a nice touch not to celebrate although personally I would have liked to have seen that trademark smile of his beaming across my television set. That goal made it 2 in 2 against us and really makes me wonder what could have been had he stayed with us, he still has that quality finish in him. EDUARDOOO, EDUARDOO!

  23. Hi sol,

    Long time no blog…

  24. I can’t begrudge Eddy his winner – it was well deserved and a sweet finish. I felt for Eastmond who was not ready for a tough away CL game. Lovely finish from Theo and Woocash was excellent again – he had no chance with either goal and made some great saves. Now that the weakest link (Almunia) has gone its time to get rid of Clichy who surely is only being kept in the team by Gibbs’ continual injuries. Clichy is a liability and he just has not developed into the Cashley replacement that we all thought that he would become. Yes he actually created a goal on Saturday but that was his first Prem assist in over 2 years.

    Its not just Clichy though. The team need to learn how not to lose these tough away games. A draw would have been a great result for an almost back-up team who didn’t play that well.

  25. I forgot to mention Wilshere, he was like Geppetto again (or a famous pupeteer, but not a carpenter!) and really looks the part in the centre of midfield, he reminds me of a left footed Cesc, dictating the tempo of our play at such a young age. The way he gets kicked and just gets on with it also shows a maturity beyond his years.

  26. Not a terrible result in light of CL qualification. But it is worrying in the larger scheme of things, as it calls into question the ability of a squad (not just the 1st team) to consistently deliver good performances/results needed to successfully challenge for titles.

    I don’t think the fact that it was an away game was a valid excuse either. Can playing away explain the poor performances from experience pros like Clichy, Eboue and Rosicky? Can it explain why the passing was so poor? Besides we played just as poorly against WestBrom at home.
    The team can only safely carry a 1 or 2 non-performing individuals. Having 4 or 5 asks too much from the rest.

    I hope AW will look hard at some of the squad members we’ve got and question their overall usefulness to a title challenging squad.

  27. I’m not normally defeatist, but I said at 1-0 up, we were definitely going to concede. And I said at 1-1 I would gladly take a draw.

    They were a really decent team, and well up for it last night. We were a significantly weakened side, in a country where we’ve never won, in a stadium where the hosts have never lost.

    I don’t know what some people base their expectations on – it was always going to be extremely difficult. Just need to move on, we will still win the group anyway.

  28. Wenger was right- this was down to complacency. Overall a very poor game bar a few moments. As has been noted defending from the flanks was woeful and for once Squilly has had a torrid time with ariel balls. The positivies though for me:
    Theo’s goal- what composure! More than a touch Henriesque
    Fabiansky-very assured, steady and great presence
    Djourou-terrific game, still needs to cut out the habit of diving instead of covering and denying space, but overall great defending
    Wilshere- not his best game but the kid does not hide, got stuck in and tried to influence things.
    Eastmond- was actually okay, what he needs to do more is have confidence in his ability, many a times he rushed his pass or looked to give a safe pass backwards whereas he could have been the one opening them up in midfield.
    Vela- I thought he played well and took up great positions in the box, unlucky not to score mainly because our passing was all over the place.

    Nasri-even when he has a poor game is still a threat, one thing I like about the boy is his tenacity and hard work, rarely looses the ball and works his socks off!
    For the rest a night to forget!

  29. AIC

    Bit harsh on Clichy, he was starting to pick up form. It was a terrible mistake to make, at the worst point in the game. Try get a little perspective though, he has dominated the left side of the pitch in many of our matches, and while playing with Arshavin in front of him – who isn’t the best at offering support defensively.

    I think he is having a much better season than last, his crossing (prior to last night game) is much improved. You cannot use 1 game to slate the players of whom you have had question marks in the past.

    Same as Eboue, who has been playing very well when covering for Sagna… many suggesting for him to start as he offers more going forward than Sagna.

    Like Wenger said, team focus went missing after going 1-0 up. We were sloppy on the ball, positionally, and wasting good positions going forward. It is VERY easy to pin point a couple players, rather than look at what really went wrong.

  30. I mean FFS, one loss & Vela, Clichy to be sold off? It wasn’t even a knockout game…Let me remind you all, we are still top of the group & have a great chance to finish top.
    Its was a poor performance but the positive is that such a loss came in such a time of the tournament where we have a chance to fight back. I am sure all will be forgotten at the end of the group stages.
    A R S E N A L

  31. What is in Clichys brain that stops him from blasting the ball into row Z.If it was good enough for Nutty Nigel and Cashley why cant Clichy do it?.His fuck up at Birmingham in 2008 was the start of the the collaspe which should have been a title winning season.He lacks concentration.If only Gibbs could stay fit

  32. What I find really hilarious about yesterdays defeat are the soundbites from Arsene about how our young team have learned another lesson.
    To my mind – its the young players who actually acquitted themselves and the older heads who let themselves down. Have we learned anything from West Brom – or indeed the myriad of complacent performances over the past few years?
    Can anyone honestly tell me of another top manager who would tolerate such indiscipline and complacency at the back? I now wonder just what Gael Clichy has to do to get dropped these days. His last two seasons have been very very poor. And while Eboue has resurrected some form in the past year in midfield – he’s clearly not a back up option at full back because the lad has a propensity to be far too stupid, far too often.
    Its just typical of the trophyless prima donnas we now have at the club. We beat Citeh and the Newcastle B team and all of a sudden we don’t have to graft anymore. Theo was being interviewed afterwards – all bright eyed and bubbles after such a performance. While some may think that Chris Waddle has egg on his face – the Ivanisovic’s and Evra’s of this world won’t give you 40 metres of free space to run into unlike Blackpool and Shaktar. So for Wenger to be comparing our darling Theo to TH14 is not so much premature – as just being totally unrealistic and ridiculous. I’ll be the first to happily say that he has improved alot this season, but Theo has a long way to go yet.

    This team has a long way to go to win silverware (and I’m not talking about the carling cup). While Fabianski looks to be finally finding his feet, our full backs and lack of focus at times leaves many many questions about our defensive ability.

    And those persistently unanswered questions are a direct reflection on Wenger’s management..!

  33. no quite right clichy wasnt at fault how dare we suggest for minute he was

  34. I thought the youngsters did Ok last night that cannot be said about 2 senior players who simply had a night to forget, but that can happen once in a while.
    RVP is called up for the Holland squad is like giving Wenger a smack in the face. They get him injured we look after him then they take him get him injured again and Arsenal pay the bill for his treatment. Surely something must be done to protect the players from the National team. The clubs should have a say in the players well beeing. After all its the clubs that pay them their expensive good living and they are the ones who cough up for endless expensive treatment after they get injured on a national duty.

  35. chris,

    I didn’t have doubts about Clichy in the past. Far from it, I have no doubt at all that he is a weak link and has been for a long time. He has been a bit better on occasions this season but I just think that Gibbs should be given a chance as first choice. I just don’t rate Clichy anymore and this is based on his form probably since the dreaded Brum game of 08.

    I take the point about Arshavin providing no cover for Clichy though but I honestly believe that he is not good enough for Arsenal. We have always had word-class left backs – Samson, Winterburn, Silvinho, Cole; Clichy isn’t in their class.

  36. Wow. that was dreadful. Too many heavy first touches losing the ball, too many passes simply going astray. It was an unfocused performance all around by all except Fabianski. Picking out one individual to blame in that mess is pointless, because it was a team loss.

    I also agree with livearsenal about not understanding where people’s expectations come from. I looked at who were playing in our squad and where we were playing, and the fact that Shakhtar is a much better side than we saw at home, and I saw a very difficult fixture.

    In the end, this was a minor blip that Wenger will sort out.

  37. Hi Joe,

    I take your point but it was a team missing many first teamers. Losing away in Ukraine wherewe have never won is not the same as being smashed at home by WBA. Don’t get me wrong, it was not a great performance by any means but they are unbeaten at home for 2 years so it wasn’t an easy game. I am not surprised that AW seemed annoyed and it is worrying that we have these lethargic games.

    Totally agree about Clichy and Theo. Why heap even more pressure on Theo by comparing him to Henry. If Theo is half as good as Thierry he will have a great career; its not fair to compare the two. Theo has had enough hype in his short time so why add to it?

  38. @Verminator – I am with you, its a minor blip. We can’t win them all & I am sure we’ll come back stronger.

  39. Morning/afternoon all!

    The game was not down to personnel to me. Simply, the goal came so easily and early that the team thought it would be a walk in the park like the first match. They lost concentration and it was a shame with the senior players that were in the squad. The game needed someone to kick start the team again and to me no one said a blinkin thing.

    I dont know what Solgooner (how are you? long time) is talking about but for me when Vela came on he was the best Arsenal player. His passes were quick and precise, he defended brilliantly and got into some dangerous positions.


  40. Delia----Block112

    I think I said everything I wanted to say in my e-mail to ATVOL last night ,today’s posts bear that out. I am more concerned about Sunday and who might be available in MF. We must hope the likes of Cesc and Song are on the team sheet and the defence bolstered with the return of Kos and Sagna.

  41. Clichy should have cleared the ball or dribbled clear. It was an error. But it wasn’t the major cause of that goal.
    The question I want answered is why EDS was left so free in our box. That was unacceptable.

  42. OG, both were major but if Clichy clears the ball we dont get to the other lapse.

    Clichy for me is a great player but he needs to take a good look at himself and these silly mental lapses.

  43. Perhaps it was asking a little much to expect us to boss the midfield and control the game when we start with our deep lying midfielders are both 18, especially in that type of hostile stadium where we have never won. JW is clearly talented, and not really seen enough of Eastmond to pass judgement, but no matter how talented they are still very inexperienced. Perhaps it would have worked at the Emirates.

    Disappointed about lack of defensive consistency. Mental shut downs and soft goals have been the Achilles heel of this club ever since the invincibles. Poor attacking games much more easy to understand. Defending requires effort and concentration and should be simpler and much more consistent. Not sure why this group of players and coaches can not get a handle on the problem. That said, we played a strong team at a very difficult venue, in a game that we did not really have to win with a starting line up that was not our best. Lot of possible explanations for a poor game. Expect us to refocus and restart our run of clean sheets and get a comprehensive victory this weekend.

  44. Last night our boys just were not up to it! Eboue and Clichy were poor, but in all fairness Eboue had his first bad game in a while. Clichy has been poor for some time now.
    Bad loss to a good team, no train smash at all but if we plan to win trophies we need to get our shit together. If we intend to go far in the Champions league we will have to play away to some of the biggest team in Europe. Performances like last night will be punished far worse by the likes of Real Madrid or Byen Munich.

  45. A bit off-topic, I never really understand why do we leave substitutions till so late in 2nd half? I have never seen us making a chaange during halftime. I mean when we were 1-2 down after 45, then doesn’t it make sense to bring on Chamakh/Vela?

  46. Ole I dont see how you can say Clichy error was no the major factor in the goal, are you serious? Please explain! He was dispossessed on the bye line on the stroke of half time when all he had to do was put the ball out. Im sure the ref would have blown the whistle if he had done that.

  47. @Jo, we always play the ball out of defence. Its like routine stuff for us fans now. Nobody complains when we beautifully start our moves from our own half; I am not covering Clichy’s error but, just saying that he should have just cleared is closing your eyes to Wengerball. It was an error nonetheless, but if the move works out & turns into a counter attack, then everyone forgets the clearance…

  48. Yes mj but in this instance it lead to a goal! It was a stupid decision that cost us the game. I cant really see any reason for praise here. I love Wenger ball but we cant forgo common sense for it.

  49. I think last night performance was not a complete disaster. It is the toughest fixture of the group stage, where shaktar have a great record and where we were missing a few key players. Wenger did not take this game lightly but played the most balanced and competitive he could field on the day.

    Indeed without Song, Denilson and Diaby, Eastmond was the reasonnable choice to field as fielding a midfield of Nasri, Rosicky and Wilshere would probably been too unbalanced especially against a tough opposition. The only other option would have been to play Djourou in midfield but that would have been too much for a returning Koscielny.

    Chamakh had played a huge number of match this season and Bendtner’s performance against man city and newcastle was a good sign that he was back in form and it was natural to roatate a bit.

    I think it was a bad day in office for many players just like the west brom match. You can’t expect with about 50 high tempo match per season ( as they are no easy team nowadays), plus the international games, to win all of the matches so it is better to have those errors in matches where the consequences are not so damaging than at the end of a season where a loss would lead to be out of the trophy race.

    This result means that the fringe player might only get a chance against Partizan but it does not mean we will have another frustrating season. I hope it will serve as a lesson to all the players and that they will have learnt that they need to keep focusing in all matches.


  50. They only lost because all three goals were scored by Arsenal players!


    It’s reassuring to read that you weren’t impressed by Theo’s goal last night.
    Poor little lamb, how does he deal with the pressure eh?
    By scoring goals like that? Maybe some Sp*ds flying around on clouds, screaming “Monkey!” whilst dressed up as Pigsy, don’t like to hear it, but he has been scoring goals of that quality for a few years now.
    A brief spell in the second half, Theo on the ‘left’, Vela on the ‘right’ was when Arsenal looked at their best?

  51. Jo, Nobody’s praising, just saying that simply clearing the ball is not so common sense after all..
    Anyone knows when will we get injury news for the weekend?

  52. Finsbury! What the fuck are you on about? Please explain to me where I posted that. Or are you just making shit up.
    I am waiting?

  53. Jo,

    It’s simple. Your full back can be beaten at any time in a game. It happens to all full backs. Players are caught on the ball. It happens to the best and the worst players.

    Getting caught on the ball doesn’t mean you have to concede a goal.

    We gave the ball away or got caught in possession other times in the game, as did our opponents, but we didn’t concede.

    Why? Because those situations were defended better.

    The reason you have 6 defensive players is so that they can cover each other and reinforce each other.

    If we won’t bother to mark lethal finishers in the box, nobody has to make a mistake for us to concede.

    One is a mistake, which can and does, happen. The other is incompetence, lack of focus, complacency, whatever, which shouldn’t happen at this level.

    It’s not like Eduardo even had to make a clever run. He was basically just standing waiting for the ball to come to him.

  54. Fair enough Ole ! I see what you are saying. Thank you for explaining.

  55. There’s enough to blame Clichy for. He won the ball and could have simply kicked it on the Shakhtar man to win a throw-in. If he’d read the game well he’d have seen that the 2 holding midfielders had gone walkabouts and when the long diagonal came it was actually 4 against 3.

    Clichy’s mistake is too typical of Arsenal players. They do the hard things well and get lost on the simple things. It’s a testament to Clichy’s ability as a defender that he won the ball. But his thinking wasn’t good and it eventually led to a dangerous situation

  56. Ole no goal was ever scored from row z in the stand and thats where the ball should have ended up.The goal was down to Clichy

  57. But why in God’s name would anyone in this squad be complacent given our recent history? Its crazy! I don’t think its complacency. It instead points to a more perennial question of the ability of some our players to consistently maintain concentration and consistently deliver professional performances. My opinion of course

    Just when you think the club is turning a corner, this team brings you right down to earth. In a way, I suppose its a good thing, i.e not letting expectations run wild.

  58. I actually agree with Bill that having two teenagers in central midfield didn’t help at all. Shakhtar are a good team at home. They’ve beaten all kinds of top opposition at that cauldron of theirs.

    I still haven’t seen the game. Just judging from highlights.

    This was always going to be the kind of game we’d struggle in. I was actually surprised when I saw on Twitter (I was folowing the game on Twitter) that we’d scored first and scored early

  59. Finsbury I am still waiting!

  60. I find it very amusing that Ken and Joe, the most simplest minded and simplest named bloggers come on after a loss. You never fail to show up when you wanna have a little digg. A pair of right pussy whinging babies

  61. Jo, typo sorry: I meant:


  62. ken,

    Why don’t we boot every ball into Row Z then? Instead of freeing Walcott, Wilshere should have booted it into Row Z. No goal ever scored from Row Z eh?

  63. tbc:

    Joe@1:00 pm.

  64. Finsbury. No worries!

  65. Ole,

    Clichy was looking to play the ball out initially imo, then seeing he had no option tried settling for the throw-in. It was careless, but he isn’t a worry for me. This season he has upped his game. I have to agree with your questioning of our CB’s positions, why was Eduardo on his own. I know it happened quite quickly, but they are as much at fault as Clichy is.

    I don’t like taking the easy option and blaming one player, if the team is functioning properly and is focussed, we would have at least got a point. The only people that do so are weak. This ain’t aimed at you Ole!!

  66. I once scored a goal from Row Z.

    It was back in 73…………

  67. In one of Gibbs’s seven appearances in Europe, his inability to stand up cost us a place in the Champions League final. He continued to be such a liability that he had to be replaced with Eboue. I guess Clichy isn’t the only one of our left-backs who makes mistakes.

  68. maybe Ken wants us to emulate Bolton’s row Z style.. they have been so successful down the years right!

  69. Ole @ 2:27:

    Share your frustration. This has been a consistent problem for several years despite players coming and going. This year I think the coaching staff has made a real commitment to defensive improvement and for the most part I think we have been better but I guess old habits die hard.

  70. The only silver lining after the Shaktar episode is that we will be more focused for the Newcastle game- this keeps us on our toes.

  71. CG,

    I don’t think it was the centre backs either. Squillaci was occupied marking a SD player, while Djorou was drawn into backing Clichy up. Watch when the diagonal is played in, there were actually 4 SD players to 3 Arsenal players. Where were the 2 holding midfielders?

    Eastmond eventually showed up much too late.

  72. Ole Gunner 2:36 pm |
    Exactly my point!

  73. In football mistakes are made all the time.. those on here that can’t accept or understand this, have you ever played football ?

    Fabianski is the perfect example, the twats on here that were slamming him last year are willing and ready to run up to him on the street and kiss his boots. He is turining into a very assured keeper. Some people never fuckin learn!

  74. Ole I will have to watch the replay again…

  75. If we make a habit of leaving lethal finishers unmarked just around the penalty spot we won’t win one single game.

  76. Ole, they dont have to be lethal, Eduardo took advantage yesterday didnt he.

  77. If Wiltshire or Schillachi had taken there sitters you would of got a result

  78. Just watching it again, the gap between our defence and midfield is massive when the long ball was played over. The midfield were still trying to get back in time even after Clichy’s mistake. In our system we pressure very high up, but what is our defence doing leaving such a massive gap in front of them.

    I doubt we can blame the midfield because that is how we play, and they are informed to pressure and defend from the front. Its the defensive line being so deep which caused us issues on the 2nd goal for me.

  79. I’m sorry Chris, but if with 2 holding midfielders we can’t have someone dropping in to defend, we’re doomed.

    Before it became settled wisdom that you have to have specialist holding midfielders we had box to box midfielders who still had to support the defence.

    It’s very basic team tactics. You need the midfield to drop back.

    The reason there was a gap between attack and defence is that the midfield didn’t provide cover. Shakhtar deliberately stuck 3 attacking players upfront. it’s a common tactic with the 4-3-3. The reason you stick those players upfront is to occupy the defenders.

  80. I dont think the goal should be made into more than it was. Clichy’s mistake was a joke not only did he not clear the ball but he didnt sheild it properly and the rest of the team apart from the few back were an utter joke also, there were lazy and didnt help.

    Its not the loss that hurts really, its the foolishness that caused us to lose. Its hard to fault the team when they play hard and stay focused and just get beat but beating yourself in such a stupid manner is unnaceptable.

    I am very dissapointed regardless of going through or not. This was very disturbing to me.

    I love Wengers response to Theo’s goal in the interview, “we play to win the game!”

  81. Thanks CG, I guess I was wrong about the lack of help.

  82. CG,

    I can’t agree. Once that ball was played in, the 2 holding midfielders, or the closest midfielder to the action should have been sprinting back into defence.

  83. Finsbury,

    “he (theo) has been scoring goals of that quality for a few years now”

    Really Finsbury? For what Club?
    Last season, for Arsenal, he scored a whopping 3 goals in the league.
    The season before that he scored 2.
    In fact in his previous 4 seasons for the club – Theo scored 9 goals in 86 league appearances. Was it this you were referencing?

    This year, as I said, I am most happy to see an improvement. But one swallow does not a summer or TH14 make. At least not in the corridors of objective reality. But then again, whats reality got to do with anything eh?


    We did precisely the same in the past – we thought that we could travel away and comfortably beat teams in the CL now that we had 9 points under our belt and a supposedly strong squad. Instead of closing out the qualification – we took risks by fielding an understrength team and now we have 2 ties left where we have to get something instead of using those games to rest players.

    That said – I do believe last nights team was capable of getting a result. But that’s based on the assumption that the attitude and focus is right. It wasn’t.

  84. I don’t even want to put the blame on Eastmond. The fact that he was even close to the action when Wilshere was nowhere to be found is a plus. Very often the player involved in a bad action is blamed while the one who went hiding isn’t

  85. But Ole, Clichy is to be blamed, he may not be alone but he was the first defender in line.

  86. Well complacency once again, clichy made the error but the overall team performance was poor, at least it wasn’t in the knockout phase, i believe the players will be brought back to reality with this defeat and focus will be very much needed especially for the Newcastle game which i believe would be no different from the West Ham game, Wenger will probably sort this out ……. but is one thing for the manager to talk and it is another for the players to follow the instruction.

  87. Paul N,

    Yes, Clichy made a mistake. He afterall won the ball, and could easily have won a throw if he hadn’t been indecisive.

    I am however more worried about us allowing Eduardo to stand around unmarked, hands in pocket, 12 yards from goal

  88. deano | November 3, 2010 at 10:05 am | posted this:

    Wow! A few amazing goals & assists, some in the old No.32 shirt too!
    Imagine that! I reckon last nights goal must have been just a random fluke.

  89. “Last season, for Arsenal, he scored a whopping 3 goals”
    Yup. He never scores good or important goals:

    Of course, he was fully fit, had no growing pains, for the entire season, both last year and the year before. Why would I pay attention to how long TW14 spends on the pitch, what relevance does it have?

  90. @Ole…

    I havent seen the goal again since watching last night, but it seemed that Dudu didnt have THAT much space. It was the way he opened up his body and anticipated that made it look so easy. Squillaci followed his run but was a fraction late, and that is all Eddie needed.


    Regards Clichy I think its rather blinkered to defend his performances of late. He is one of my favourite players, and Wenger’s, but he has been a weak link for almost two seasons now. It amazes me how he often escapes criticism from the same sort of people who spit out a kidney every time Denilson makes a sideways pass.

    Not too worried in general about last night. Shakhtar had the wind in their sails and this allowed all their luxury players to shine. We were poor but Kos,Verm,Bacary,Song,Cesc,Chamakh,Arsha, and (dare I say it..) RVP were all missing. Heads up and lets smash the toon at the weekend.

  91. Joe…
    I really do respect everyones right to an opinion, but anyone who doesnt recognise just how dominant Theo can be in English/World football in the next 10 years has no idea and a bitter pessimism which is difficult to comprehend. Hes had terrible luck with injuries, has been fucked around by the England set up for the last 5 years, and has had to adapt to being probably the player in the squad with the most weight on his shoulders (English,early comparisons with Henry,large transfer fee etc etc..)
    No matter how bad he is playing, his introduction,or name on the team sheet is always exciting. He is one of very few players in our team who is a genuine impact player. He can change the game in a second with his pace. End of.

  92. Pez,

    He was completely unmarked. He didn’t even have to make a clever run to find himself unmarked.

  93. Paul N,

    Are you ok? I’ve never heard you so critical of your team.

    Have you had a tough week?

  94. You know what Ole,

    I could handle eduardo being unmarked, I could even handle him having his hands in his pocket, but what I cant have is him tap dancing on the spot, juggling three satsumas singing ‘I am the one and only’ by Chesney Hawkes. That for me, absolutely took the biscuit I think you’ll agree.

  95. How about you handle fucking off, James?

  96. Clichy fucked and he probably knows it. Such a mistake would have been debateable had it been a younger or less capable player. Clincy is one France’s finest. No use defending the indefensible.

  97. Problem with Clicy is as said he has no real competition. Gibbs is a good prospect- injuries always hamper him- but he is still learning. I would like to see with TVCinq the Verminator when fit to be given a run at left back. I think a back four of Sanga,Squillaci/Djourou, Kos and TVCinq looks the business- It certainly has the mean/scary factor. Vermalen has the speed and attacking flair to make a great left back, but does he have Clicy’s stamina? Playing left back has to be one of the hardest positions- constantly overlapping and expected to double quick time!

  98. Pez,

    I respect you opinion – I just disagree.

    Before Theo becomes a world force in football he needs to concentrate on trying to be a force at the club by holding down a regular place before he thinks about the national side.

    There is no doubting the young mans talent but he hardly helps himself by selfishly ignoring his managers wishes and playing with the U21’s as well and then getting injured for the season, or asking for the vacant TH14 shirt as if he needed the extra pressure.

    And as for raw talent – Its my opinion that Jack Wiltshire is going to be the national sensation at the club – not Theo.

  99. Clichys like Gomes, a brilliant player but is howler prone by nature. Theres no reason why. Its just written. And you know this.

  100. Joe, agreed, Wiltshire will be an England legend

  101. Yesterday’s game was dissppointing, no doubt, and resurrected past deficiencies which we hope have been overcome. Joe, AIC, Jena and the usual suspects were quick to pounce and revel in our failure. Thought it funny that they are ready to sell Clichy and Vela just as they demanded (from pre-season into September) selling Fabianski et al.
    Speaking of disposable players, it is ironic that Denilson, who should have been sold everytime a talented Britisher makes it into our corps of midfielders, was surely the most missed holding midfielder in the absence of Song.

  102. I think NB52’s performance last night solidified in AW’s mind that Chamakh is solidly ahead of him. While some of Bendtner’s performance can be attributed to his lack of games, little things like his first touch, so crucial in our passing game, is nowhere near Chamakhs, and obviously not worth mentioning in the same sentence as RvP’s.

    Someone said earlier that AW didnt take this game lightly. I somewhat disagree. I think he rested some key players knowing that a draw would be a good result, and that a loss would not sink our ship.

  103. Agree with CBob @ 10:44am (Wise man that he is, he did not claim 1st)

    Although this team may be much more talented than the Invincibles, but for some reason they have the tendency to get complacent at times when complacency is not really an option. Why would they be complacent when they didn’t qualify for the next round yet? Yes, they’re very close to qualifying with 1 point needed from 2 games, one of them is a home game. BUT, why wait? Who knows what freaking circumstances we will be in, in two or three weeks time?

    The difference between this team and the Invincibles is “Personality”.

    What the hell was Clichy thinking exactly? A player of his caliber and experience should not be caught in the same mistake over and over and over again extended over a few seasons. What did he learn from past mistakes?
    I love him, but very disappointed with his mistakes which are always costly and some are grave.

    The positive from yesterday is Fabianski, Walcott’s sublime finish, but then he disappeared not necessarily to a fault of his own but rather due to a team disappearance.

    I’m not going to say I hope they learned from this mistake because it’s becoming a Clichy.
    I’m just going to move on to the next game….

  104. also I should say that if yesterday’s result had come in the league i would be much more upset. That is why I cant blame wenger too much for resting some key players.

  105. It makes me sick to see people like “jena” showing up now to spout rubbish about who we should get shot of. I wonder where he/she has been for the 5 wins on the trot that preceded this game?

    There seems to be in general a ridiculous over-reaction to the loss, which whilst it was unpleasant, was always on the cards playing a side as good as Shakhtar on their home pitch. It does rankle that we went ahead within 10 minutes and then played so poorly, but it’s not the end of the world, and as someone else pointed out, better to have the blip in this game than in the league where the consequences could be much harsher. We can take comfort from the fact we were also missing 6 or 7 first choice players, and some individuals performed rather well given the circumstances (Fabianski for instance).

    In the end it’s probably the kick-up-the-backside we deserved for becoming complacent. But lynching Clichy/Vela/Eboue/Wenger/Gunnersaurus is a bit silly. The team just needs to put things back on the right track with a win Sunday.

  106. Taeryn

    Its clear that Gunnersaurus is the root of all our problems. We need to bring in a world-class mascot. Not some chump who we have to mold ourselves, but a mascot established on the international scene. A mascot with a winning mentality. A mascot that’s got some good old English grit. Enough of Wenger’s policies experimenting with inexperienced mascots, spend some of your massive profits on a new mascot so we can start winning!!

  107. “Its clear that Gunnersaurus is the root of all our problems”

    I thought the doomers would resort to this when we win a title and there is nothing else to complain about 🙂

  108. G4E

    I enjoyed Taeryn’s inclusion of Gunnersaurus at the end of his list of scapegoats that I couldnt resist writing that post!

  109. Can I also comment on how nice Shaktar’s stadium was? The atmosphere was unreal, after we scored, their next few corners, the foundation had to have been shaking!

    As I said to my brother during the match, Shaktar are clear and away the best team east of Germany.

  110. I will admit it’s frustrating when mistakes like Clichy’s cost a goal, and the fact is he does have previous. It’s just not wholesome or productive to make him a scapegoat. The media does enough of that, as fans we should be behind our players even when they fuck up. I’m happy letting Arsene decide if Clichy is good enough to play, and even if I wasn’t happy there isn’t shit I can do about it so I might as well at least support him while he’s wearing our shirt.

    How quickly we forget the cross from Clichy which almost certainly won us 2 points in the league on Sunday.

    NJGooner, I agree with you 110% on Gunnersaurus, and would like to add that he clearly struggles with fitness (only being available for selection in 50% of league games, and he just looks the sort that can’t stop gulping down pies). We need to cut our losses ASAP and bring in some established talent.

  111. Arsene took the last 2 years getting rid of our defensive liabilities, in Toure and Gallas. There is just one more left. Next summers, we’ll have another LB in Gibbs or some other player. So everyone just calm the fuck down.

  112. For those of you thinking of watching England (big assumption, but….) in the European championship – beware – the Ukrainians search you when you go into the ground, they search you a second time when you go to your seat, and they search you again when you go for a slash and try to return to your seat. A lot of people getting really pissed off. As for the airport at Donetsk…..6000 english arriving there will be really fun. Luckily we’re not Millwall. But the women…..unbelievable.

  113. I agree Ateeb, I foe one don’t miss those toure/gallas days. Their what the he’ll happened facial expressions after every goal used to make my blood boil. Now Arsene has Spurs and Man Oil dealin with those problems, talk about genius!

  114. James, I have not had a rough week but last yesterdays match made me feel like I did.

    Anyway, i dont believe that Clichy should be done away with, he is an excellent player that just loses focus for whatever reason.

  115. I hope he figures out why he has these lapses.

  116. Taeryn. Clichy is good enough to play for Arsenal. You just have to think about the ability to learn from his previous mistakes. Did Clichy reach the hight of his potential that he can’t learn any more?

    We all know that we like to keep the ball in play and that all our players are skilled and capable of doing that, but for god sake, sometimes you just have to throw all that in the wind and fucking put the ball in raw Z, with Clichy’s technical & intelligent level he should be able to hit raw Z, it’s the one right after Y.

    These little mistakes got make you blood boil at some stage.

  117. I’m happy to see the improvement Gunnersaurus has made this season, but one swallow does not a summer or a Godzilla make. At least not in the corridors of objective reality. But then again, whats reality got to do with anything eh?

  118. Poliziano don’t be daft, his scoring record is pants, I think he’s lost the plot completely and become nothing but a passenger this season.

  119. Look guys, the reality is Gunnersaurus is just another Wenger pet-project that he refuses to cut his losses on. I would not be surprised if the Gunnersaurus turned out to be French in heritage, so willing to give the burly mascot chance after chance is Wenger.

    All i know is that it will be anotehr 10 years without trophies and another 10 years of record profits with nothing to show for it if Wenger lets that good-for nothing Gunnersaurus stay in the side.

  120. I agree, Gunnersaurus is such an ass denying Eboue his rightful place at the club, club mascot!!

  121. I am repeating myself. But why are you all not glad that we are over one Clichy howler, without it making any difference to our season? Just one or two more to go, now. So be glad, it happened in an insignificant match like yesterday’s.

    And on a brither note. We had 3(or 2) clean sheets in a row, before last night. And frankly if not for us gifting them the goals, it would have been a clean sheet as well.I am using the same methodology as most people use when it comes to exhibiting negativity. E.g, what if mancity had not gone a man down.

    Cut th Gunnersaurus some slack. He’s have massive injury problems the last couple of years, and he’s only 22. The best is yet to come from him.


  122. Ateeb

    If RvP gets selected and plays for the dutch side in the upcoming international break I swear I’ll.. well I’ll just be belligerently frustrated. But FFS, we havent seen him at all yet this season bc he was worked so hard during the WC.

    It just goes to show how, at the very least, FIFA are a completely incompetent and negligent bunch. I think that might be giving them the benefit of the doubt.

  123. It was a shit night. We conceded off an OG and a silly mistake. Shit happens. There’s no need to get all finger pointy about it. Some of you need to get on lithium in order to keep an even keel. One loss away doesn’t mean our season is ruined or that otherwise reliable players are shit and need to be replaced.

  124. Got to say the reaction has been a bit OTT. Starting with Richard Keys, that nasty man from Sky, asking stupid leading questions, followed by the usual purveyors of doom on the blogosphere. For fucks sake, we go with the entire midfield out, our best striker, no Vermaelen, and in front of a crowd assembled like cannibals at the annual human sacrifice.

    Anybody care to see the bright side ? I saw plenty. A fit Bendtner, Walcott. Re-confirmation again that Wilshere is very very good. A good performance by Fabianski. The latter point is very good news indeed.


    Man Oil just conceded the funniest goal!!

  126. It weird to see that even when Walcott plays ok he gets stick from the press. LIke today, in daily mail,we were all told how great Bale is compared to average Walcott.

    I relly do not think it matters what Walcott does, he will still be shit in some peoples eyes.

    I just dont get it, its like its open season on the kid. try to find some dirt to stick on walcott. Weirdest thing is taht they love Gibbs and Wilshire..

  127. Another wonderful goal scored against the Mancs!!!

    Three straight defeats and were bitching!

  128. *Third

    “Poor Shay Given” says the commentator. Imagine that was the Arsenal? The shitty fans look confused!

  129. Ade-bay-whore is smiling and swapping shirts at full-time! What a ego!!

    What a wally, another one I am glad we got rid off!!

  130. I think it was pretty clear what Arsene thought about the performance in general & one or two average moments in particular.

    Clichy has made the same mistake on many occasions & it`s certainly a flaw in his game but Eboue played a ball across his own six yard box (instead of row Z) in the second half to begin a length of the field move that was almost capped by what would have been goal of the season.

    I wonder if our players are coached / instructed to play football from anywhere, clear the ball in dangerous areas or use their own discretion. Our defending seems very off the cuff at times which cannot be a good thing.

  131. Maybe not such an ego-maniac after all!

  132. City manager is about to get the sack, I think.

  133. I’m sorry to see that Szczesny has an iPad. And to think I defended him!

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