Does Anyone Want To Win The Title This Season?

Arsenal 2 – 3 Tottenham Hotspur

1 – 0 Nasri (9)
2 – 0 Chamakh (27)
2 – 1 Bale (50)
2 – 2 van der Vaart (68 pen)
2 – 3 Kaboul (86)

A home defeat to Tottenham is never a pleaseant occurrence; one where an abject second half performance was inexplicably at odds with the impressive nature of the previous forty five minutes is sickening. It is one  which has seen some sections of the support stoop so low with personal abuse that they have not scraped the bottom of the barrel, they ploughed through and continued unabated to the bowels of the earth.

Where the defeat cuts deepest into the soul that it was entirely avoidable. The strongest of foundations had been built for victory, dominating the first half to render the visitors entirely impotent. The second saw talented players capitulate through their own mistakes, architects of their own downfall leaving the manager furious and bewildered in equal measure.

The defeat rests ultimately on his shoulders for that is where the buck stops but each member of the squad must look at themselves this morning and ask if they have the mental strength to cross the rubicon, to breach the citadel walls of title winners, leaving the land of potential behind them.

Despite this, the team still remains two points from the summit. Chelsea’s defeat at Birmingham means that they rule the roost by that margin from Arsenal, goal difference from a distinctly ordinary Manchester United side. Arsenal cannot continue to rely on the largesse of their rivals; at some point they must stand up and make the victories achieved on their travels count for exactly that rather than making up for their home travails.

It was all so needless. Spurs had been swept aside in the opening half. Half chances had been traded before Fabregas lofted a pass over the top of the visitors’ defence; Samir Nasri chased it down but Gomes came to make the ball his and failed, hesitating instead of being brave to collect. The Frenchman nicked the ball past him and from the tightest of angles, dribbled the ball over the line with enough power to tantalise the chasing defence but sufficient to tease the pursuers into the net as well.

Pressure mounted on the Tottenham goal, most notably when Fabregas wriggled free and shot past the far post. The lead was doubled as Tottenham pressed on their left, Sagna cleared the cross to Fabregas who swept the ball wide to Arshavin, the Russian’s cross glanced into the net by Chamakh’s boot. Two-nil, complete control assumed. The Moroccan spurned two opportunities before the interval but nothing that had been seen gave any indication of the mania to follow.

Within five minutes, Tottenham had their foothold as Bale sprinted onto Defoe’s flick, beating Fabianski with a shot across the goalkeeper. Even so, fifteen minutes of stability would have taken some of the sting from the moment. It never happened.

Modric should have equalised before Song was deemed to have fouled him with half of the second period played. The freekick was curled at the wall by van der Vaart, Fabregas lifted his own and Chamakh’s arm to block the ball at above head height. A penalty was awarded; van der Vaart converted. This picture (thanks to Ole for the link) highlights the folly clearly. Had the ball struck either, play would have stopped if the power was deemed that sufficient. Absolute lunacy, the softest and most foolish of penalties to concede.

Arsenal came back to life from the crevice of despair. Fabregas was offside as he played the ball back to Squillaci, the defender still buried the chance. The Spaniard would also go close with a volley moments later before Gomes turned his effort away with fifteen minutes left. The most culpable of misses though fell once more to Laurent Koscielny. Having incomprehensibly headed over the bar in the opening minutes at Stamford Bridge, he missed a glorious chance to deflate the visitors, heading over from close range.

It was the first of two costly late interventions. With six minutes remaining, he felled Bale. The resultant free kick found Kaboul poorly marked, his flicked header gave Tottenham their first victory at The Emirates, only their second at Arsenal in the Premier League.

For Wenger, it is a tough week ahead.  He is being criticised for the mental failings of the players in this match. There was enough experience on the pitch for those in red and white to have closed out the match. Indeed, having shown that calmness at Everton with a two-goal advantage sealed inside 48 minutes, the capitulation is staggering. They have this knowledge yet no-one stood sufficiently tall to bring the group to heel. That was a failing of all, not just the captain. Yet Fabregas should have done that but did not.

Hindsight is a wonderful gift but Wenger made an error in playing Koscielny. The defence did not need changing. Djourou had played well in the previous two games, his understanding with Squillaci had handled the Wolves and Everton frontlines well. Denilson for Wilshere was understandable, the Brazilian having played at Goodison Park impressively as a second half substitute.

It is however not a time for individual finger-pointing. The burden of the defeat rests squarely on the shoulders of all. Damaging as it was, fatal it was not. However the slovenliness of recent home form has to be removed. Winning at home is how title winning sides build their success. Defeats such as those already suffered have been costly in that a potential seven point lead at the top had they all been won, has not materialised.

Two tough away games ahead this week; the players have to respond meaningfully, winning both with good performances. Two victories in Braga and at Villa Park bring December into view, a month for driving forward. At this particular moment in time, that is by no means certain.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on November 21, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 162 Comments.

  1. We will lose 10 games this season

  2. DEFENCE DEFENCE DEFENCE DEFENCE

    We just cannot defend.Wengers policy is we will score more than the opposistion.That will not work.We need a defensive coach appointed pronto(Keown or promote Bouldy the first team is more important than the youths.And why is the home form so poor.It should be a fortress

  3. Thank you Yogi. A great summery of a terrible game for us. This is the last head dunking in the ice bucket we can afford.

    If this doesn’t wake them up I struggle to think what will. I sincerely hope this is hurting the players as much as it has hurt us.

    I don’t think I am imagining things when I say that Fabregas cuts a dejected figure at times. Some of his first half passing was a delight but I can’t for the life of me fathom the hand ball. I can’t understand why he pulled Chamakh’s arm up with his. He looks like he doesn’t care sometimes.

    Only wins will do this week. Bring Djourou back for now…he’s in good form and he dominates at the back. Koscielny’s a massive talent but he needs time.

  4. Nice summary YW. At last some semblance of sanity and perspective. I don’t know the root of our dismal unraveling in the 2nd half…….I can only support the team and hope AW & Co. can sort it out. The quality of this side is there for all to see. There’s going to days like yesterday along the way…it’s how we react to them that matters. All the usual illiterate bile, hysterical name calling and mud slinging elsewhere serves no purpose. Some of those people aren’t Arsenal supporters. Maybe with results like yesterday we’ll lose some of these “fans” and they can find themselves another glory train to hitch a ride with. It’s terrible thing to say….but I hope so. They don’t do us any favours.

    We are still only two points off the top. Lest we forget we were all brimming with optimism after the last few away games. How quickly things change in football. One needless defeat and we are f*cked apparently.

  5. NO CHAMPIONS HERE.

    No need to be too stressed out. It was a confirmation of what we suspected about the mental fortitude of this team. there are the obvious shortcomings in terms of personnel but what was evident was the almost vacuous nature of our teams collective organizational strength. Spurs did not play too much better in the second half but we just laid down and died. Sad.

    Anyhow, as I have said before we should take the cups seriously and I believe we will gather enough points to comfortably sew up the 3rd position. There will be those who will come out with the usual “mathematically possible”, “only 2 points behind” arguments but we have heard it all before havent we?

    Mathematically Black pool can get a champions league spot. The fact is.. they wont. Chelsea and man u will drop points during the rest of the season, but this arsenal team is not good enough to take advantage of it. I dont know what we have been “rebuilding” these last 5 years.Truly sad.

    Change needed.

    Cheers all!

  6. A lot of people are praisong Harry and his tactical changes for the sp*rs resurgence.

    On MOTD they tried to show how Defoe made a difference in getting behind our defence, saying our defence doesn’t like it. Yet the editors couldn’t find 1 clip of Defoe doing that, every time they tried to get the ball to him it was dealt with by the defence.

    So how did we lose? Defoe did win a ball for the first goal, against Clichy and Denilson. Fair play to them on that goal.

    Chamakh was put through but for some reason tried to cut back after being ahead of the defence.

    The freekick leading to the penalty was soft, but what was going through Cesc’s head? We may never know.

    Another freekick from almost half line gave them the win. So I don’t see where tactics from Harry or Wenger made a difference.

  7. Judith Le'Strange

    The reason we can’t defend is because the back line is crap, the only decent defender is presently out injured for how long only God knows, the other two that Wenger brought in, one is way out of his depth in the PL and the other is over the hill. We need young agile players who can actually defend and a goallie who doesn’t flap (although it wasn’t all Fabianski’s fault yesterday), plus we need to weed out the deadwood players i.e. Dennilson et al and bring in some decent players not just kids, we have plenty of these and a fat lot of use most of them are, bring in some of the players from the reserves i.e. Lansbury, JET etc. Plus I think (I’ll probably get a lot of stick) but I would get rid of Wenger and get another manager who has the instinct to want to win trophies and give the respect back to Arsenal that we deserve.

  8. I can see us beating braga but we will lose to villa.

    Let’s give arsene until the end of the season and see where we are. Depending on the investment made by ourselves and spurs in January we could yet find ourselves with only a europa lg place by the end of the season.

    We need fulham to win today.

    Up the anal

  9. Harry Flowers | November 21, 2010 at 11:59 am |

    Ironically, they have an enormous amount of loyalty and persistence.

  10. Gay Jamie | November 21, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
    “Up the anal”

    Eloquently put, sir.

  11. I wonder what happened to first team players gaining fitness in the reserves after an injury lay off, van persie still looked far from sharpness yesterday may be theo would have been better in the middle.
    Sad as the game was, the squad needs to challenge themselves not just to win their C/L game but games from now till december. The gauntlet has to be thrown to them after all they are no longer boys but men. It is a situation now of No guts, No glory!
    I don’t think our defence has a problem the problem is how do you react when you concede? panick, attack or just sit back

  12. The Anti-Arsenal Arsenal supporters like Lazarus have risen with force. This is typified by Judith Le’Strange. When last did “she” post again?
    Oh, and all of a sudden a team collapse is all the defenders fault. Talk about scapegoat hunting. What a dirty lot!

  13. Galling defeat. I retreated to the bunker straight after anticipating the usual fallout….Arsenal is crap boll@cks….yawn. Its even more dissapointing as I think we did enough with the team we had to have rolled them over and b@tch slap them into oblivion. Also the ease with which Spurs were able 2 come back into the game and bundle 3 goals past us after our 2 beautifully crafted goals. Gallas definitely saved Spurs bacon with 2 decisive interceptions. And after being imperious and close to our best in the first half the 2nd half capitulation is baffling and inexplicable. However I dont buy that Spurs have superceded us or we have blown our chances of the title. There will be games like this.lets not hope too many more for gooner teds sake. It certainly makes for an interesting championship with many topsy turvy moments to come. We are still a great team and this will be proved when we are crowned champions. Chelsea ans united have lost games the should have won. Win as one loose as one.COYG we will pay them back with interest at the lane.

  14. You can blame who you want but the awful truth is Spuds wanted it more.Getting sick of tired to here how we lack experiance and matchwinners! Virtually all of our team are full internationals and our captain has won the world cup.Cesc was awful again yesterday,drop him and put Nasri in his spot with Wilshire alongside him.Nobody should be untouchable and it seems Cesc is.

  15. Absolutely right – a collective failure. There’s no point ringing the evacuation alert, though. The team was awful in the second half, but these players also toughed out encouraging wins at Wolves and Everton, and no one complained then.

    We’re still comfortably one of the top four teams, and with the way everyone else is playing at the moment, we are still in with a big shout for the title.

    Having watched Barca’s 8-0 win at Almeria last night, though, I really don’t want to be playing them again any time soon …

    http://thearmchairsportsfan.com/2010/11/20/complacent-arsenal-lulled-into-false-sense-of-security/

  16. The EPL is the weakest it’s been for many years with all the top teams dropping points. Which is what makes yesterday even worse. As it’s this teams best chance of wining the title. But they continue to frustrate.

    No matter how technically gifted this team cannot defend and will continue to flatter to decieve. Failing in the big crunch games and at the business end of the season.

    Unless the domestic cup competitions are prioritized this team will again finish the season empty handed.

  17. WE SHOULD BE VERY AFRAID OF WIGAN CAUSE WE KINDA SUCK

  18. Devil's Advocate

    Can’t help feeling disappointed and gutted. The Chelsea loss and the time elapsed since match should have helped, but they haven’t. Utterly incomprehensible. What happened to those players? Aren’t their hearts at Arsenal? Don’t they know what it means to play in red and white? It didn’t seem like they did. Don’t they know what it means to play against the Lily-whites? It was bad last year after Wigan. It’s worse this time. I love the Arsenal, will always love the Arsenal… But the eleven on the field, whoever they are, owe the club a lot more than they gave yesterday. That was not worthy of the shirts they wear.
    Some pride in the club, if you please – we can stomach losses if you leave your hearts on the field. Not like this. Not when it seems too obvious that you don’t care. Redemption is up to you now – if this humiliation won’t wake you up, I don’t know what will. Fingers, toes, eyes, even nose crossed. You can’t be a Gunner if you’re not a Gooner. WAKE THE FUCK UP, GUNNERS!

  19. Not a bad match report but a little one-eyed. Spurs didn’t turn p in the first half but when they did begin competing Arsenal couldn’t live with them.

  20. am really bemused,as arsenal went down yesterday.i feel wenger made some tactical errors by bringing kolscieny for djourou.and playing walcolt down d wings rather thru d middle.for chamack he is a gud player,but if he wants to be top scorer,he has to b courageous and never turn away from goal once he is played thru.but lets 4get d defeat and move on.

  21. The outcome of this match rested on 2 set plays.

    I believe there is greater parity in the league than ever b4. It is likely that the title will be one on the last day of the season, an occurrence not unusual.

    We are basically a young team – regardless of the number of 1st team matches many of our players have experienced. Yesterday’s 2nd half let down is just another growing pain for player, manager, and fans.

  22. Devil's Advocate

    But anybody who saw AW on the sidelines would see that he was as bewildered, baffled and completely bust-your-arse blind mad at his players. If the players really don’t care, how can we or he make them care? I really don’t know what we can do. The thought that they actually could be so lackadaisical, against the Spuds! At 24, I’m just a trainee-Gooner, really, if I can understand what the North London Derby means – it meant running four miles home from work, to catch the match, through the biggest storm that has hit the city in a while because that was the fastest way through that traffic, for one thing, for me – how is it possible that my heroes in red and white could just fold like that? I don’t understand, and I don’t know what AW or anybody else can do.

  23. “But the thing I find most worrying of all, worse than the defeat itself, which had to happen one day, is the continuing seam of mental frailty that runs through this team. We can be brilliant, stubborn, resilient one weekend and we can collapse like a pack of cards the next. I don’t know how many times I have been forced to bring it up on the blog. Far too many.

    For the fan – or for me, anyway – not knowing which Arsenal will turn up is the ultimate purgatory. Yesterday we even managed to squeeze both Arsenals into one match.”-eastlower
    For those who still say we have the best team in the league,well the table doesn’t lie,we are the third best.Come to think of it our so called “strongest team ever” trails what’s undoubtedly the weakest man-u and chelski teams of the last five years.Wenger over to you.

  24. We lost the game it real painfull. But what the next? I hope Arsene he will spend to have strong DM, and get lukaku in, we lost the game at the center we never comit our self at second half, denilso repeat his old problem,

  25. Judith Le’Strange – Er you suggest that one of our defenders is over the hill and we need young mobile players, you then say get rid of the deadwood players but don’t replace then with youngsters and then go on to say bring in some of the youth team.

    Exactly what do you want?

  26. Devil's Advocate

    How could they…. I’m sorry, obviously not ready for sobriety yet. Goin’ to remedy that now. Heads and hearts up, Gooners, there’s still a title to be won, and let’s hope we learn from this – low points can’t get much lower than this. Only way to go now is up, after all. That’s the good part about hitting rock bottom. As long as nobody hands our players any power drills.

  27. Rahl, exactly. At the risk of being branded a ‘doomer’ (whatever that is) by some of the more fundamentally extreme posters I cannot see us winning the EPL let alone the CL under AW.

    As always a good editorial by Kevin Whitcher on the online Gooner. Well worth a read.

  28. I am bewildered Djouru should have started, KOS is not yet ready for the EPL he gave away another yellow card, and missed a sitter. Sqillachi had to tackle Bale where was Clichy?We gave Sqillachi a 4 year contact and hes 30 yet refused a two year contract to Gallas without TV the defence is completely at sea. We cannot handle set pieces

    Chamakh leads the line but doesnt have a killer instinct he wants to pass..Bentdner should have been in the squad. RVP is still not ready and we have already played 13 games.

    And according to Wengerspin its our best team , and based on STATISTICS
    we should have won.

  29. actually we do have a good defence that might sound ridiculous but it is true. away from home we tend to defend deeper and we deal with everything thrown at us, to do that you need a good defence. at home we play a very high line and go all out attack which leaves us venerable at times . Chelsea Manure, West Brom all beat us that way. What Harry has done second half was not genius ,quite simple. he put defoe up front to exploit that vast amount of space we were leaving behind which to a bt of a panic. So the quality is there maybe just work need to be done in training to find a balance on when to go all out and when to shut up shop, keep possession and see the game out . passing sideways and furstrate the vistors when you are2nil is a very good thing.

  30. “We are basically a young team – regardless of the number of 1st team matches many of our players have experienced. Yesterday’s 2nd half let down is just another growing pain for player, manager, and fans.”

    I agree. That’s near the truth of it I think. If we play like we did in the 1st half we are match for anyone…that’s what makes it all the more frustrating.

  31. Fear lost us the game people.

    Fear made us make rash tackles, commit stupid had balls and miss sitters.

    I think this team wants it more then anyone. They want it too much and are afraid of losing too much.

    Vertigo is not the fear of heights, it’s the fear that you don’t trust yourself not to throw yourself off! We have footballing Vertigo!

  32. Devil's Advocate

    YW, could you please moderate Dan? The Anti-Arsenal shite is actually understandable because half-wits will say that after losing the derby, but antisemitism on top of it is not excused by anger.

  33. DAN YOU ARE A RACIST PIG

  34. Small point. It was not Koscielny but Rosicky who fouled VdV that led to the free kick that led to the Kaboul headed goal. It was be a disservice to Kos to report otherwise.

  35. Deano, I think that at half time they already thought they’d won. And when the yids put them under pressure they buckled and didn’t have the collective nouse or organisation to see the game out.

    I’d put it down to arrogance and complacency rather than fear

  36. Shoulda!coulda!woulda!yea the players who played yesterday cost me a very bad hangover which am jus recovering from atm.judith as we are doing away with the manager,players and whoever else let you down,can you pack your bags coz you are one fan we wouldnt mind doing away with.

  37. Also a plain and simple fact that wont sit comfortably with the doom and gloom:

    Should we play the way we did in the first half every-game, it will most likely win us the league even if we are ordinary in the second half. A controversial viewpoint I concede but probably true. If we play like that in the 1st half against anyone 9 times out of 10 we will be out of sight.

    Should we learn to ride adversity and face our fears and keep the performance up in the second, we will become unstoppable.

    I don’t think there is any danger of us dipping performance wise in the second half of a game were winning 2-0 again.

    A lapse in concentration made it 2-1 spreading panic.

    The panic caused a hand ball giving them a penalty to make it 2-2.

    Panic and fear made us miss chances spreading more panic and fear.

    2-3.

    Every defeat has made us stronger. West Brom we were out played. Newcastle we were shut down. Spurms we played wonderfully but had not exorcised the ghost of past home defeats and they came back to haunt us at 2-1. Let that be all. Lets go for it there is nothing to lose.

  38. The bad habit was already apparent to let Everton back into the game the week before at 2-0. Foot was off the gas and we let in a goal to make it 2-1.

  39. deano-that vertigo stuff is deep 🙂 but I agree the only explanation to that Fabregas handball is fear of conceeding. the first trophy for this team is key. any trophy w ill do. the pressure and that “5 years without a trophy” record played by the media does not help. but once you cross that line and taste glory then the fear goes.

  40. DAN YOU ARE SCUM!!!SERIOUSLY YOU ARE!

  41. ‘Every defeat has made us stronger’

    We’ll undoubtably pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and go on to win many more games. But don’t be fooled we’ll also repeat yesterday’s mistakes over and over again.

    Groundhog day is here again

  42. Echoing the sentiment of many here, our defence has been generally pathetic since the CL final run of 2006.

    Wenger spends too much time training the team to score goals and too little time training the team to defend, especially counter-attacks and set pieces.

    No chance of a title for a while until this is corrected. Nada.

  43. Has to rest on the shoulders of the manager. What could he possibly have said to his team to merit such a dismal performance after half time?
    The team is not responding to him. We don’t have any on-pitch leaders.
    Yet, we have so many talented players. It pains me to say it, but Wenger must bring in someone to help him motivate (and help direct) the players.
    It is looking more and more like it wasn’t his motivational skills that helped the gunners of old to win, but rather the inate qualities of the players themselves.
    This is a different challenge for Wenger and he cannot continue to do the same things and expect different results.

  44. Thanks for the post Yogi. Under the circumstances would have understood it had you skipped it today. It’s a tough world out there. The first half proves we are on the verge of greatness. The second that we are still missing something. I believe it’s a bastard hardman!

  45. footballing vertigo,that is brilliant

  46. And Kocienly is frankly a liability.
    What did Djourou do wrong?

  47. @Luke he also got blamed for losing athe header to Defoe for the first goal. When it was infact Clichy who challenged Defoe.

  48. Nice post Yogi:

    Tough loss to stomach. We looked so composed winning at Wolves and Everton. Our 2nd half defending yesterday was completely last year. Bad habits certainly returned yesterday.

    I am not sure if this team really believes they are so good and they become complacent. The other theory is that they lack the real self belief needed to take them over the top and they lose their nerve whenever there is a chance to get close. If its the former they certainly been taught many lessons and not learned them. This team has gone from a lovable underdog with lots talented inexperienced kids fighting above their weight group against the evil empires of Chelsea and ManU to a team that on paper should clearly be the favorites and plays below its level. That is frustrating.

    We are only 2 points behind but at least today it difficult to optimistic about our chances in the league. No matter how poorly the teams in front of us play we seem to match them and go just a little worse. Lets hope they get their act together. If this team does not win this year, then AW needs to take a long look at this group of players and coaches and our tactics and think about some restructuring.

  49. It’s heartening to notice that the people calling for Wenger/Denilson/Fab/whoever’s head are generally illiterate. Proves if you can’t see beyond one game then you’re probably thick. We’re 2 points off the top you spastics, are you doomers mental? I reckon our games against the worst Man U side in years are going to be decisive this season.

  50. 1LC

    Exactly….Don’t anyone on here be fooled the pressure on this Arsenal team is greater than any other. They all want to win for Wenger. They all see the horrible things that are written.

    That United run is being made to be decimated by us at Old Trafford december 13th. Imagine the belief that would afford us? It’s written in the stars.

    Of course we have many important games before then. Lets keep supporting this team. The quality was there for all to see yesterday. The belief will come. We haven’t had a catalyst in a long long time. Even Man city win away was marred by the “10 men” doubts. Remember the old days. Remember over coming a 10 point Man U league lead at christmas and going on to win the league.

    ARSENAL

  51. Well, well, well. Le-Grover and A-blogger unite around the cause for yesterday’s team collapse, Arsene Wenger. The same Arsene Wenger whose team was so dominant in the 1st half apparently sent an inferior team out in the 2nd half to gift the game to Spurs.
    Life is strange or is it that strange after all. Talk about birds of a feather.

  52. Realistic Gunner Fan

    I really do hope the deluded ‘Arsene knows best’ fans have fully awaken to the real world. Simply put, the decline started after the Unbeaten season. Replacing very good, skillful and technically gifted players with a bunch of ordinary players who tend to have a good game occasionally. These bunch of players have given a lot of the fans a reason to rightly question their quality, potential, mentality and attitude. It was never so with the likes of Henry, Bergkamp, Pires, Viera etc. I cant remember the fans ever being divided or ever questioning their quality or mentality.

    Mr. Wenger replaced quality with potential which is still costing us till today. We all know that going for potential (Bentley, Amaury Bischoff,Lupoli etc – AW rated them all highly, where are they today? )is a lot of gamble and most of the time doesnt materialize.

    I also think that team selection should be strictly performance and merit based (not based on AWs perception of the players potentials) and not that some would player would just glide back into the starting line up.

    I still believe there is a fundamental flaw in the way Arsene prepares for matches. I remember reading this a while back by Cesc “Here they give us much more information than they do at Arsenal, definitely. At Arsenal we don’t really look at anything from the other team, we look for ourselves and that’s it. Here, maybe two three days before the game, we start looking at some videos, we know more or less the starting eleven that is going to play… we know nearly everything about them.”

    http://wearearsenalblog.com/cesc-criticizes-arsenals-preperation/

  53. Let them hate wenger as much as they want. We all know they will yell for him again after two weeks if he leaves. Just like they all yell for Djorou to start ahead of Kos after they lamented him a failure four matches ago.

    The collective memory of a gold fish and the emotional maturity of a 14 year old teenager with too much hormones really describes a huge percentage of the arsenal fans. many have a love hate relationship to Wenger and the guys.

    that said. this was horrible, horrible, horrible. I have no words. Im so dissapointed i wanna just throw footy out of the window until Braga. no papers no nothing until tuesday. Why? I dont wanna sit and read al the SHIT the fans spew out. I mean jeezes not only do we loose to Tottenham cos we play crap. it turns out a huge part of our fans are cunts aswell. Its just to much to take. shit team, cunt fans.

    Hope we raise as a pheonix on tuesday, i wanna be a happy gooner again.

  54. When Defoe came on it meant they had two strikers instead of the lone striker in the first half and VDV had a free role.Straight away Wenger should have passed instructions to Song and Denilson to drop back and PROTECT the back 4.But Wenger didnt change a thing and Song kept bombing forward(madness).Bad management by Wenger.When we have a two goal lead where is the mentality to keep hold of the ball and not keep pushing forward.I really thought the lessons were learned from the disaster at Wigan last season obviously not.Whatever Wenger says this team does lack is mental strength.
    The CB’s are poor defenders.Kos looks like a fish out of water
    Song needs to be told once and for all he is a DM and not an attacking midfielder
    Bendtner would have been the ideal sub yesterday instead of the still not fit RVP but his future looks in doubt as he didnt even make the bench and he’s not going to put up with that

  55. Realistic GF

    Is that the same Cesc Fabregas that deliberately hand balled to give away a penalty that led to the equalising goal?

    Was he talking about the superior preparations of a team that just lost 4-0 to their fiercest international rivals?

    The same Cesc Fabregas that wants out to a club that didn’t win anything for a six year period and are now regarded as the greatest club team in the world?

    Interesting. You make good points

  56. “They don’t prepare properly?”

    Typical AAA D**M mongering. I’ll refer you to Barry Glendenning’s accounts of Redknapp’s training.

    Cesc can prepare properly for next time, and look at replays of how Song held his hands during that free kick! Simples.

    (A coded critique of such dumb errors were in the post match interviews, for those willing to listen).

  57. @Realistic gunner fans, info means nothing. Tottenham according to VdV dont even have a tactical plan! they dont do tactics, yet they win. This shows you dont need tactics, you dont need info, you dont even need to be a particularly good side to win matches. Your know nothing about what spain or arsenal does for prematch plans. All you know you read in the papers. Yet you conclude that Arsenal are shit in match preparation cos you read that the spanish national team does it different.

    Please back up your arguments on more than quotes from the sun. IF you really want to discuss “footballing facts” you need it from more than a 3rd party source like a tabloid before you make rash conclusions like that. SOmething is not right, we can all see that. But whatever is wrong i doubt the Sun will have the mindblowing article that reveals the truth.
    Being a grown up you should know that much.

  58. Poodle I wouldn’t waste your time.

    People like our friend Realistic Gunner Fan never EVER let facts get in the way of their quest for the truth.

  59. Realistic Gunner Fan

    @poodle, I can only hope for your sake that you are being honest with yourself. Wenger is just not getting it right. With other teams not performing so well, there isnt really a better time for Arsenal to really go for it. Imagine if all our home losses this season were wins. A problem I have with AW is that he has an explanation everytime we lose and if he knows so much why cant he just prevent the losses. I think his time is up.

    I am first and foremost an Arsenal fan not a Wenger fan. I like him as a Manager but when your methods are not achieving the expected results, the rational thing to do is to change it.

  60. Delia----Block112

    We ,the ticket paying public at the Emirates, have been badly let down this season but are we and the media part of the problem? The expectation of major success followed the Blackpool and Bolton PL wins and the CC displays at WHL and St James Park added to the euphoria. Media criticism followed the humiliating home defeats against WBA and NU and the lack-luster performances against Brum and WHU. I agree that fear consumes this team when they come under pressure at the Emirates. They know how badly WE want success in the form of trophies and I agree with the post that they are desperate to make that happen. It seems panic sets in when the tide turns against them in the home matches in particular. A lack of leadership on the pitch is obvious to many and I suggest that TV5 is given the arm band as soon as he returns to the fold and please let that be soon.
    I am disgusted at some of the vitriol and personal abuse that is being peddled on other Arsenal blogs . Please ACLF contributors refrain from this quite pointless exercise.
    As always ,COYRs.

  61. Realistic Gunner Fan

    If you watched the match, you’d notice that it was not only cesc that his hands raised.
    And Barcelona only started winning trophies again when they invested in quality and already proven player(s) and have won 4 trophies in the last 6 years. They didnt achieve that until they did something different.
    Seriously, I dont think you can use the friendly to judge spain.

  62. The bottom line is that this is a good Arsenal team but isn’t as good as we want it to be nor as good as some people think it is. And it certainly isn’t a winning team.

    AW needs to stop making a rod for his own back with comments about this being the ‘best squad’ he’s ever had and ‘mental strength’ and reassess his tactics and playing personnel. Otherwise it’ll be more of the same.

  63. Very predictable guff from the paperweights. Christ spurs had the greatest slice of luck yesterday. Now its sack Wenger and drop so and so coz their not fit to wear the shirt and its all cescs fault …who created both goals….and Chamakhs fault…he scored a belte ffs. What do fans want.!!!!It took a handball from cesc and a hopeful punt that pinged of Kaboul Op for the tide to turn. The players hearts must have sunk judging from the fact that we could have won yesterday by a country mile without breaking a sweat with the chances we created. How anyone can say that the players had no desire to win is unfathomable. Sometimes when you are up against it nothing will stick. Let spurs enjoy their moment. We will be back.

  64. A friend sent me a text message from the ground at the final whistle. It simply read: ‘Sick’.

    I sent one back several hours later: ‘Drunk’.

    The pub I was in had Gooners singing well into the early hours. Moans and groans aside (of which there are many), we have to take yesterdays result on the chin along with our sore heads, and support this team until the last game of the season.

  65. Instead of playing a more conservative game in the second half we continued to play very open football. We don’t seem to know any different.

    At half time I knew the Spuds would get a lot tighter and not give us so much room and Defoe would offer a different threat. I wanted Walcott on and Denilson and Song to sit back allowing us to play a more counter attacking game. We could of picked off Spurs and won the game comfortably.

    The team have to learn to see out leads. Hopefully the pain of this experience will be part of that process.

    We’re still in the hunt and despite yesterday’s loss I still believe this is our year.

    Keep the faith.

    COYG

  66. Gosh Yogi what have you created? This blog seems to have turned into the site to come and digitally throw tomatoes at anyone who has a little faith. Someone commented the other day that the blog gets more posts when we lose than when we win. You slimy little tits will all come lickin our ice-creams when the sun comes a shinin on the Arsenal!

  67. if we want to win the league we need to do three simple things,sack wenger and replace him with martin o`neill,sell fabregas to barca, buy cattermole and give him the armband and let me think………..well two things really.

  68. Karim you be the first man that come a lickin!

  69. Lol very funny Karim. Although personally I’d go for Sam Allardyce and Joey Barton

  70. Naga, you said It was a confirmation of what we suspected about the mental fortitude of this team.

    No, mate, only what you and some other poor, disillusioned, glass-half-empty, buggers playing silly bollocks suspected. It is a free world, you are certainly free to always be pessimistic about the squad, but don’t include others in your doom.

    YW, it certainly seems like it is time for Wenger to stop saying things like “I can’t understand how we lost.” As you rightly point out the buck stops with him, the ultimate responsibility rests on his shoulders. He needs to sit down by himself and have a good think about what it is about his style as manager that could be contributing to performances like yesterday. The rest of the team needs a good think about the same as well.

  71. Eh oui Gris Gris

  72. we’re gonna win the league.

  73. I hate little fuckers who proclaim us dead in the water then say: Cheers all!
    I hate little fuckers who proclaim “saying Up the anal” is eloquent.
    This description by poodle of a huge chunk of spineless arsenal fans is correct: “The collective memory of a gold fish and the emotional maturity of a 14 year old teenager with too much hormones”.
    Anyone with the hubris to declare themselves “Realistic Gunner Fan” is a complete twat.

    Now that I got that off my chest I can go make pancakes and work off this hangover.

  74. GIles Grimandi our chief scout must have known that both Kos and Sqilachi would find it dificult in the EPL they lack height and physical strength and with TV missing we are weak against set pieces alsoFabianski is a superb shot stopper but he still doesnt convince me hes ok with crosses,

    Has Vela been Kidnapped?

    Id like to see Markah and Bentdner play together or RVP justbehind Marakh
    and Djouru back with Squllachi.

    Despite all the moaning Cesc made some beautiful passes yesterday and is regaining form. the defense is the worry bring back Keown as defensive coach.

  75. The best place to do the talking will be on the pitch. Starting with Braga. This is exactly the sort of title challenge we need were we dont have the pressure of being favourites and were no one is a clear favourite. Early on in the season is the best time for obevcoming the mental hoops.Again I think that this title will be decided by the last 3 games of the season.Compare that to the dross of the duopoly of Barca and Real great as they are noone has a look in. The same papers that mock Arsene today will be the same ones hailing his genius

  76. Realistic Gunner Fan

    @ Verminator, I dont think you should take this personal at all. You were so disappointed that you had to get drunk to get over the defeat. Is that what you want your club doing to you? Many people I know could not handle the defeat and when people decide to express themselves, you try to shut them down by using offensive terms because you are not able to falsify their point of view. A lot of the fans are unhappy and I think they should be allowed to express themselves.

  77. I love it when doomers tell you to wake up to reality then go on to outline a plan which involves sacking Wenger and everyone else, eventhough the season hasn’t even reached the midway point yet.

    Don’t forget to drop by when we win the league you mercenary fucks.

  78. Realistic Gunner Fan

    The only thing working for us right now is that most teams are not really performing well right now. What if the next time we lose, others win. Do we always have to be in a position where we’d always hope that Chelsea, Manutd and the others drop points? PLEASE LET’S JUST BE REALISTIC. Some losses are just not acceptable.

  79. Realistic Gunner Fan

    The only thing working for us right now is that most teams are not really performing well. What if the next time we lose, others win. Do we always have to be in a position where we’d always hope that Chelsea, Manutd and the others drop points? PLEASE LET’S JUST BE REALISTIC. Some losses are just not acceptable.

  80. Realistic twat is concerned about your health, Verm. You should listen to him. It’s way more harmful to get drunk after the odd defeat than it is to carry doomer posion in your gut for the entire season.

  81. lol@ karim. that made me laugh. in this 38 game league, its best 2 take each week as it come. we swung from one of our best wks to one of d worst. tempered by chelsea’s loss. we will bounce back!

  82. Some losses aren’t acceptable? What the fuck are you personally going to do about this loss? Face it, you’re just a moaning little twat on the internet whose raison d’etere is to gather with other like minded trolls at the end of the season and bitch about purchasing a quality defender and getting rid of our poor goalkeepers.

    Again, be a peach and do drop by when we lift the trophy at the end of the season.

  83. it s amazing we are 2 point behind the co-leader,the chav and manure are not playing that great(and not getting result) but we are not anymore in the title race anymore.I would like how some can explain that.

    The league is much stronger that in the invincible year.i very much doubt the invincible team would have gone in this league without defeat.Team like birmingham,aston villa,totts,everton,sunderland,Man city are much stronger.And the rule of 25 help have his effect too as team like the chav,city and manure cannot collect star player anymore, This year is the club who has the more depth in squad who will win it…us but expect few more set -back for an exciting season were result are not getting the way of the “big team”anymore because the pack of wolves are chassing us

  84. @ gains. i also at their version of reality. even they at thier doomest would not have predict yesterday. @ realist, what of if we win and all others drop points?

  85. Well said g4l

  86. @Realistic Gunner Fan
    It’s amusing you think the club makes me get drunk to drown my sorrows. I was drunk when we were 2-0 up, and I was drunk when we lost, and I’ll be drunk when we pound Braga next.

    And I’m not trying to shut the doomers down, because I know that’s pointless. I’m merely expressing what I think about the douchebags who come on to to hate every time we lose, and then scurry away out the back door when we string together results. So don’t let the door hit you on the way out, ok?

    mmmmmmm….pancakes.

  87. Realistic Gunner Fan

    team spirit, that would be very good for us and we should focus on getting it right regardless of the outcome of others. What worries me the most is our home form.

  88. Still insist we need a hardman. It’s back to the future when we had both Vieira and Gilberto. At the moment the only hardman we have we have is the inexperienced and injured Emmanuel Frimpong. Certainly unproven. Song and Denilson aren’t hardmen. They are cultured defensive types!

  89. I don’t want to be labelled as a second guesser, but I was disappointed that Djourou was not on the pitch yesterday. He’s a favorite of mine and based on his performances I think he’s worthy of being a first choice player. I’d go so far as to say that he and TV5 would be my first choice CB pairing whenever Thomas returns to health. Koscielny has a lot of potential but right now I’d prefer to see him used in the other competitions. Johan is a senior player with the club and should be given the opportunity to feature in prominent matches.
    One other disappointment yesterday was that I felt Wenger missed a chance to change the game tactically. Putting Theo up top for Chamakh and sitting the defense deeper at around the hour mark would have caused massive problems for Spurs. Theo to me is most effective in situations where we can play from a counterattacking position- why not deploy him that way? He’s one of the most dangerous players in the sport when there is space to exploit and we don’t seem to want to turn him loose. Chamakh played well enough in the early part of the game and did a fine job to knick a goal, but he looked spent by the hour mark.

  90. Realistic Gunner Fan

    These ‘Arsene knows best’ fans are just funny. They are just as upset as everyone else but instead of taking it out on Arsene (who they dare not accuse cos to them he is never wrong) or just express their anger, they simply visit various blog sites and abuse anyone that points the finger at Arsene forgetting that he is to blame when we win or lose cos he put the team together. More annoyingly is that they lost shortly after Arsene declared them his strongest squad yet.

    And please let’s be objective, we dont need to ABUSE or BE OFFENSIVE to make a point.

  91. @ realist yesterdays defeat was the players doing! cant see much dat AW did wrong there. the team out there was good enough to close out d game or even score more. only them can explain why they preferred not to win & go top. we have certainly seen them do better! at no time is allowed from both camps

  92. Realistic Gunner Fan

    Arsene brought this team together and we all know by now that talent is never enough. A winning mentality and the ability to focus is very important. These are the things you look for in a team.

  93. When I heard the we had an “all-French” backline before the game, I was already worried. What has Kos done so far this season to warrant promotion over Djourou? I just can’t see the logic there at all. Kos has potential, but with little PL leauge (or even Ligue 1 experience) why pitch him into a blood and thunder North London derby. It was not the time to do this. Perhaps, Wenger could be a bit more imaginative also and look beyond Ligue 1/French defenders.

  94. Realistic Gunner Fan

    Arsenal fans like me are constantly under attack from ‘Arsene knows best’ fans for speaking the truth. They should remember that they started out as Arsenal fans.

  95. ThebigM, maybe we should snatch Dawson from Spurs as we did Campbell?

  96. Realistic Gunner Fan

    Heres a little slice of reality for you because you love it don’t you? Reality!
    You ready Realistic Gunner Fan? Bend over and think of Mourinho! HERE IT COMES ARRRRRGHHHHHHHH:

    We’re 2 points off the top of the league.

    We’re top of our group in the Champions League.

    We are a win against Wigan away from the league cup semi’s.

    The FA cup has yet to begin.

    Reality hurts more for doomers mate. I’m afraid that that isn’t the work of a manager that doesn’t know what he’s doing. Go back to sleep.

  97. Kenyan Gunner – I’m not sure about Dawson, but surely our scouting network can do better than buying ageing French central defenders and unproven ones like Kos.

  98. “These ‘Arsene knows best’ fans are just funny. They are just as upset as everyone else but instead of taking it out on Arsene..

    What are you talking about? how (why?) should we take it out on Arsene? hurl abuse on a blog? write him an angry letter? will that make me feel better about the Sp*rs supporting tit at work who will be taking the piss tomorrow?Scrolling through the earlier comments you actually said you thought Wenger’s “time is up”….so whom should we replace (one of the greatest managers in football) with? when should this happen? unless you have some miraculous Plan B that your neglecting to tell us then your just talking crap off the top of your head. Some of you people must live in la-la land. No offence intended and you seem like a decent enough sort….but for god’s sake sit back take a deep breath and have a look at where we are and where we are going and get some perspective.

    Here’s to thumping Braga mid week and putting all this behind us.

    ARSENAL.

  99. Deano we ARE in a strong position but unfortunately we are complacent. It’s not so much that we are two points behind the leaders but that we would have been SEVEN points ahead had we won the three homegames against admittedly weaker opposition. It’s such things that come to haunt us later!

  100. theBigM

    We were priced out,Everton wanted 19 million for Jagielka and Bolton a similar amount for Cahill.

    Besides Squillaci has done a a great job since he’s been in the team and Koscielny is adapting and has shown his ability in the majority of games he has played. We have Vermaelen to come back, Djourou looks great and Song is a more than competent centre back.

  101. KG form is temporary, Class is permanent.

    This bad home form will not last…. this great away form may well continue.

    We should have buried Spurs yesterday.

  102. Deano

    Yes we are 2pts off the top but we all know it wont last.We were 6pts clear with 9 games to go in 08 and level on pts last season with 6 games to go.Im season 07/08 we were unbeaten till december yet only finished 3rd.

    And as for the CL as soon as we meet one of the big teams we are out it always happens

    The beer cup is our best hope of silverware and that shows how far we have fallen

  103. Deano as a fan of Brazilian football your term on class reminds me of how we tended to brag even we lost. The Brazilians decided class wasn’t enough though! Sometimes you need a Gilberto Silva or a Dunga to win the world cup. And as a progressive I’ve always had a problem with class. Sounds snobish to me. But that’s just me, I hold nothing against you.

  104. Deano – But why was Kos playing yesterday? It was a strange decision for a big game. Vermaelen is quality and I like Djourou. Squillaci is an ok back-up, but not convinced about Kos yet.
    Why do we never bring any centre backs through from the youths/reserves?

  105. I miss the real Frank where has he gone?

    Frank no, every season is different. We have the ability to beat any team. We have not been outclassed this season by anybody, even in defeat.

    As for always going out to the big teams I’d love to know how Real Madrid and Juventus would feel about that. As well as the Porto’s Villareal’s etc.

    Anyway in cup competition the best team scarcely wins. If they did Germany would have won the World Cup, Barcelona wouldn’t have been in the CL 09 final etc..

    The league represents a massive opportunity. You disregarding us is exactly the type of negativity that hampers our progress. It’s ok to be down after defeat. But we aren’t the only team losing. Sport does not have a script. With a good mentality and good support we can win this league. Stop dooming.

  106. Dunga didn’t too well in the last World Cup.
    Mauro Silva was the real CM star for Brazil in ’94.
    Phil Melo’s World Cup ended in him showning that he has the temprement of a confused toddler. His opponent’s were laughing.

    What was that line about goldfish bowls and memories? I’ve forgotton.

  107. Here’s my favorite line today from “Realistic Gunner Fan” at 2:30:

    “A problem I have with AW is that he has an explanation everytime we lose and if he knows so much why cant he just prevent the losses.”

    Absolutely priceless. It takes a genius to make up stuff this stupid.

  108. talking of memories…………. clever but greedy corprate hand.

  109. Finsbury Dunga started the ’94 wc as deputy Captain but ended up lifting the wc as captain! As for your claim that Mauro Silva was better that’s a personal opinion I wouldn’t argue with. But they were similar players anyhow! As for Melo he didn’t win the wc and I didn’t compare him to Dunga or Gilberto either!

  110. theBigM

    I think Wenger just wanted to keep Koscielny’s run going and let’s face it none of us minded too much after 45 minutes that Djourou was dropped.

    I prefer Djourou for now but anyone who has watched Koscielny properly can see he has exceptional quality about his game. Unfortunately he had made 2 or 3 high profile errors but never the same one twice. He is learning a new league and will be a star. I personally don’t think he had a bad game at all yesterday. We were desperately unlucky to concede from a free kick 40 yds from goal.

    As for CB’s coming through the academy, there are, Nordveidt for one but more often than not CB is a position that requires experience. Or an exceptional talent for reading the game. I’m sure you’d point to Pique and howard marks at Barcelona but the game is slower in Spain and Pique is dog shit anyway.

    Kenyan Gunner

    Dunga got the sack.

  111. expanding on that point:

    Djourou is a product of the Academy.

  112. Dean0 I’m talking of Dunga the footballer and not the manager. I disliked his style of football but he was effective playing in two wc finals. I disliked him as a manager and was glad he got the sack. But that’s football. My favourite Arsenal players are Walcott and Denilson but they don’t get the first look. Cest la vie!

  113. Realistic Gunner Fan

    @ Harry Flowers, if you cant take it out on Wenger then keep your frustrations to yourself instead of playiing down those of us fans that really have the guts to do so. To people like you, Wenger is never wrong so you’d rather blame everyone else but him. He is responsible for the team. Managers lose their jobs based on the performance of the team. Not that I am saying that Wenger should be fired, but that we should come to the reality that an approach that hasnt gotten us there is the past 5 seasons is not likely to this season.

  114. I sense there is something different about this team this year. I know we are repeating situations where we look as if we are mentally frail but there are also signs that the team is growing stronger. There will be setbacks on this road – we must be prepared for them.

    This weekend should be the low point, the team need to come out fighting and start demanding more from each other. There’s no point playing a top 4 Spurs team off the park to then be overcome with fear when mistakes are made or tactics change. Belief is key.

    COYG

  115. Talking of favourite Arsenal players. I’m not saying he would have necessarily affected the result, but I think we missed Jack Wilshere yesterday.

  116. KG, you mentioned Melo as a possible signing earlier.
    Fair enough, Dunga was a Captain of a ‘winning team’. Brazil got whupped in one of those finals, and the other was very boring. A distraught Baggio thought he should’ve won that game for Italy, and to be fair, being a Football G*D, he deserves the accolades, not Dunga.

  117. Deano

    How can what i say hamper the team.Does Wenger sit there waiting for me to post get real. Its muppets like you who swallow all the crap Wenger feeds you and never question him.

    As for Koscielny the guy is out of his depth and until TV is fit Djourou must always start before him
    yesterday Wenger got it wrong

  118. *deservers the accolades, the game was decided by the lottery of a penalty shoot out.

    The same old trolls are back out of the cave.

  119. More potency in front of goal and this would have not been a problem. Thought the starting lineup was pretty good but AW took too long to adapt to the scums changes. We left our defence out numbered and exposed too many times in the second half, a little too proud to sit back and defend when a team is throwing the kitchen sink at us even though we know that our counter attacking game is very effective.

    AA really pissed me off yesterday. Just about 4 clever passes in the whole match and still he refuses to get up quickly and hound the ball even when its in play 2 feet away from him. The guy is not pulling his weight and he is niavely arrogant about his own ability to beat people. Losing possesion and then turning the other cheek and sticking his tounge out is frankly pathetic and hugely disrespectful to the team on the pitch, the players on the bench and of course the fans. Rosicky offers the team so much its simply not befiting that he get so little minutes. Simarliy theo would have been less desperate had he been given half and hour or more. 12 minutes each is pratically counter productive as it puts them under more presure to deliver each time they get a touch.

    Chamakh offers the team a hell of a lot but a striker needs to be more goal hungry. Hopefully he learns from this and I for one would like RVP to be supporting him from the left so RVP doesn’t waste his energy holding up play.

    wenger strengths and weaknesses lie in his princibled academic like philsophies but the lines of truth become blured in his rose tinted lenses as his mind tries to merge his vision of how things could be and how things are… ok thats a pretty frivolous statement but I just feel he could think on his feet a bit more and adapt quicker to the form the players bring on the day.

    2 points form the summit is hardly the end of the world anyway, we know that any team can beat anyone on their day. the chances of teams like man city or spurs taking points off chelsea or man u are actually very high so lets just hope its a case of swings and roundabouts and that we continue to grow as a team.

    just because chelsea and man u are showing the first signs of decay doesn’t mean they are spent forces. certainly we have not proved anything yet but the future is ours.

  120. Finsbury Romario deserved that wc more than Baggio and he got it. It was a dour final though. Cafu was my man of the match. Taffarel was also outstanding in the tournament. Dunga, Mauro Silva and Manzinho in the Brazilian midfield were very “un-Brazilian.” Baresi for Italia was a legend. But the best team won on the night. Hard to see if we’ll see anything like the entertaining teams of Brazil prior to ’86 anytime soon! Goodnight all it’s 22:20 hrs in Nairobi and I’ve got to be up early!

  121. The Kos will be an excellent player. Yesterday he and SS were bad. Our entire defense was bad in the 2nd half. It was a very close choice between the Kos and Djourou. No way that prospectively you could criticize the team selection.

    I have not been an Arsenal fan for as long as many of the people on the blog but I think this is the single most demoralizing defeat I can remember. Both because of the way we lost and the team that beat us. I doubt even AW really understands what happened which is probably the most concerning part of the whole thing. That said we are only 2 points off the lead. A run of good games which we take 18 of the next 21 points would see us on top. This team clearly has the personnel to make that type of run.

  122. Bill – possibly the most positive comment of yours I have read. Keep it up please.

  123. I thought our back 4 played well. I’d give Sagna an 8, Squillaci 7, Kos 7 and Clichy 7. Even though we conceded 3 goals and surrendered a 2 goal lead!

    I haven’t gone mad. None of the goals was the fault of the defence.

    Goal 1. Nasri did his thing of playing the free kick into the wall or nearest defender. Then, as the centre backs were sprinting back into position, none of the forwards went to close down Assou-Ekotto. I think it was Song who eventually went to close down.

    I’ve been on this point for so long now. When you have 8 players in and around the opposition box, you can’t afford to lose the ball on the edge of the box, unless you’re sure there’s a covering player nearby to win the ball or force a duel with the defending player who wins the ball. Mistake 1. Then mistake 2 was that for several seconds nobody closed down Assou.Ekotto. That was just very stupid because the worst position to be is when your centre halves are caught in no mans land, the opposition has transitioned into attack, and you can’t make the opposition act predictably. When that happened I was screaming close him down, close him down we’re going to concede. From then onwards, Clichy lost a header to Defoe which can happen, then the ball could be laid perfectly for Bale & from that point there was no way to stop the goal.

    The second goal was a penalty, the defence had nothing to do with it either.

    The third goal, someone (Kos perhaps) conceded the free kick 45 yards from goal. Cesc and RVP gave the goal away. Cesc didn’t attack the cross, RVP allowed Kaboul to the ball. Goal

    Again, not really the fault of the back 4.

  124. we gave away too many free kicks i thought, the players have been a lot more rash with challenges this year and we need to reel that in a bit without losing our competitive edge.

  125. Word- good point. We seem to be comitting a lot of fouls and taking a lot of cards this season. It’s good to see us getting stuck in but it also means that we are facing more threat from set pieces

  126. Gah…. I’ve inherited a ticket to Birmingham vs Arsenal at st. Andrews on new years day…..with the home fans.

    Shall I wear my Arsenal shirt with pride and see if I can get on 2 good 2 bad on MOTD 2 minutes before my death?

  127. how the fuk are we still only two points off the top.

  128. kos a seven? Fukin ell oleg i thought you knew a bit about football. He had a mare. Couldnt out jump a fukin midget yesterday.

  129. What do we expect? His scouts work only in France, recruiting French players season after season and not delivering. They don’t know what this Derby means to Arsenal fans. I could hardly eat yesterday.

    He’s not doing much developing Lanbury, JET but Vela and Denilson the donkey.
    Too many foreigners destroying the spirit of the team/club.

  130. If yesterdays result is not mentioned again I may well get over it within the next five to six years!
    Grrrrrrr

  131. For all of you that thinks this defeat was down to AW.
    Its really not AWs fault that Cesc puts his hand up and handballs in the penalty area. Another manager Murino or say Hiddink, non of them could have prevented that from happen. Only thing that could have prevented that from happen was if we never bought one of the worlds best midfielders in the first place. I mean who the hell sticks up their hand in the penalty area??? that was the single action that led us to point of no return for us. Our match was lost with that handball. A handball from one of the worlds best players. A handball that NO manager in the world could have prevented, nor any tactics in the world could have prevented. Yes, actions before the fatal freekick could have been handled different but still, that single point of time, that handling of the ball changed our game last nite. And the only living person on this planet that could have prevented that from happen was the arsenal players, not the manager, not the fans nobody but cesc could have prevented that, and only he knows why he did it.

    I dont mind aw critics,but please. cesc and his crew has brains, they have responsibility they are GROWN UPS on high salarys and they are really good playes. this is the teams fault. Not AW. They should know better than to loose a 2 goal lead with or without bad coaching. I mean look at tottenham! do you really need AW to bread down your neck to take a game like that serious? Do you really need AW to tell you in the dressingroom to not be complacent?? Do you?? its ridiculouse! Are we to belive a team like arsenal has players that are incapable of doing anything without AW telling them exactly what to do? Harry aparantley never tells Tottenham anything, surly Cesc, Nasri, Arsharvin, Song, Denilson, Squilly Clichy and the rest should manage the same. No blaming all on AW is to easy, its letting the players off the hook. this was down to the players. they should not need to be told not to do stupid stuff on the pitch,

    Shame on you, clichy, Sanga, Squilachi, Kos, Shame on you Song, Denilson, Cesc(!), shame on you Arsharvin, Nasri, Chamach, Walcott, Rosicky and RvP. If Arsenal has a wall of shame your pic should all be up on it.

  132. dukegoon,

    Outjumped by which midget? what are you talking about.

  133. I agree with Ole in one respect, it would be churlish to point the fingers at individuals in the defence. I think it would be fair comment to say that our overall defensive performance is up for criticism, particualy after the first goal and the manner in which it was conceded. Why we had to have so many players forward when we already 2-0 up is the big question.

    I think that some of the shortcomings of team have been exaggerated because of the nature of the team and the opposition. But there is no denying that another important lead was not held on to, and this has happened before. The real question now is whether the team can change it’s tactics and do what a lot of other teams would do if they were 2-0 up, and park the bus. We have never parked the bus; well, the last time I can remember was against the mancs in the 2005 FA Cup final, and the Villareal semi final of the champions league. Could we do that now ? I seem to remember after our customary run of the 2 or 3 defeats in November, the team taking a different tact and going for clean sheets and then eventually wins. Perhaps it would be good if we did the same.

    Final thoughts – In my view we have not see the real arsenal forward line this season. Chamakh has done an excellent job, but the forward line to me is really about VP, Bendtner and Walcott . The former 3 players will hit form, and it is with that, that I believe we have plenty still in the tank. Just 2 points of the top off the lead at the moment. Can’t believe a lot of people wouldn’t have taken that at the start of the season.

  134. California Gooner

    Absurd that people call the team complacent. Even more absurd are fans who question the team’s mental fortitude but have no mental fortitude themselves. NONE. ZERO. ZIPPO. Credit for Spurs for going for it when three down and having a lot of luck go there way. Shame on Cesc for being an idiot — he was clearly cheating (he knew what he was doing) but got caught. Hopefully he will cut that out. Koscielny, a brilliant talent, seems to switch off at times. And collectively, of course, the team simply needs to learn to play with more restraint and caution. But there are some bounces of the ball that one simply cannot control.

    This team is really close to being a world beaters, but some of the fans (and some of you one this site) seem to have projected their own whinning, loosing, “Oh my god the world is ending” attitudes onto the players. I’m just glad none of you are on the pitch. For 17 years you’ve been taking the piss out of your Spur’s mates at school or work, now you need to take the piss from them for a week. You are Arsenal fans; you can do it.

  135. California Gooner,

    Today is one of those days I wish someone would explain things to me. What did Koscielny do wrong yesterday?

  136. California Gooner

    Sorry, Ole — there was that header from about 5 yards out, for one… a near repeat of Chelsea… but maybe he just missed it.

  137. California Gooner

    Ole, and since you never got an answer as to which midget outjumped Sagna, they were referring to Defoe. Of course, it is just sour-grapes by fans who are looking for a finger to point. Defoe was in a better position, that’s all. Even Messi scores headed goals from time to time.

  138. We’re all hurting but a centre back misisng a header from that position, I am sorry is something we see all the time in football. It’s a weird reason to criticise a centre back’s defending.

    No they claim a midget outjumped Koscielny. But it was Clichy who was outjumped. Defoe was in space because the set piece broke down. Clichy ran a couple of yards to contest the header.

  139. Koscielny had a good game. I wish he’d have scored though.

  140. I think folks need to put this all in perspective.

    First it was a dissapointing defeat, but in reality the direct causes are much different than we think.

    1-2
    – Jermaine Defore (a 5’7″ guy once publically described by his former girlfirend as an “ooompa loompa”) should not win a free header on ANYONE, not Kos, not Squil, never mind whether Djourou was playing or not. But then again Arsenal have been loosing headers for years, even when Gallas was here.
    – Denilson switched off – he was supposed to be tracking back to cover the space where Bale was heading, and in the sequence he slows up at one point, instead of sprinting

    That was it – basic errors. No conspiracy theory required or inquisituion over whether player x or y should have started. We could have played Nordtveit and Eastmon in this game and reasonably expected both to a) win a header vs Defore and b) sprint to cover the obvious open space.

    2-1
    1) Song didnt foul Modric – it was a shoulder to shoulder charge against a smaller player, the likes of which refs in this league NEVER call in favour of say Nasri, Ashavin, Walcott and Rosicky. Week in, week out, those calls go against us and are clearly not considered fouls in this league. Why on earth does Phil Dowd suddenly decide it is a foul there?
    2) Forget the one-frame picture presented here and instead look at the video. What you see is that the players CORRECTLY linked arms to keep their bodies together and prevent openings in the wall. When the kick was taken it was bending and heading towards their FACES very fast – not above their heaeds, but toward their faces, and BENDING unpredictablly in a LATERAL directon. If you dont understand what kind of threat this poses to their nasal bones, you should try finding a professional footballer and lettting him try to kick a ball towards you at face height from 10 or 12 yards. When said ball presents itself on course towards your nose, I think you’ll find that your ELBOW will come up pretty quickly towards your face. Which is not illegal actually. Its flailing the arm outside the frame of your body or seeking to use the arm to CONTROL the ball that is illegal – not protecting your nose. Again PHIL DOWD lost his bottle here, not Fabregas. The players in the wall are free to protect their faces with arms and that’s where the ball was headed. Whether their arms are linked or not is NOT the matter. The pertinent fact is that ball headed to wards their faces hit the arm of a player held IN FRONT OF HIS FACE T PROTECT HIS SEPTUM. If that is a a penalty then I think the game of football needs to forget having a future – this is becoming a spectacle of drama and a random chance of meeting a bad ref – not a game of skill.

    2-3
    – Here Kaboul is a big guy but seeing the video the defense had been set up such that he was marked by a man in front and a man behind. The man in front failed to get the ball first and the man behind helped kabout inadvertently as Kaboul’s weak and lucky header spun off of him – otherwise, Fabianski probably pushes the ball away.

    All in all this was a dissapointing loss, but at the end of the day a loss of collective errors, plus a simply BAD REF who made two awful calls that ended up having the effect of losing us the game..

    I cant see where Wenger is to blame tactically, although I would have to agree with Lee Dixon’s post-game assessment that Wenger’s standards of quality in players have dropped. These days he seems willing to field players who make elementary errors and put the result up for grabs by their opponents or bad refs. The kid of errors of judgement in positioning and gambling on tackles that the likes of Diaby, Kos, Clichy and sometimes Denilson make, well turn the clock back to 7-8 years ago and one can see that these guys playing at that level would have been marginal guys on the squad, not players holding starting jerseys or considered to be first rank replacements. THAT difference in quality is why those players would not lose a game at home after going up 2-0.

    And that’s the real problem at Arsenal. You look at the “invincibles” and the reason they dominated was that their skill levels was immense, allied to iron discipline. They did not make dumb mistakes and if you went behind 0-1 to that Arsenal team, the opponents knew that they had pretty much ZERO chance of 3 points, and that even a point was gonna be a lottery result.. Because those guys did NOT make dumb mistakes defensively and they were clinical offensively, so 1 goal down to them was game over. You werent going to breach their defense and when you tried, they made you pay, you’ve opened up your own defense and 1-2-3 passes and someone was sticking the 2-0 knife in you.

    Truth is that Fabregas is the only player in todays squad who could for sure hold a starting jersey if you time-travelled these players back 8 years. He has both the skill, the desire to win and the discipline that those old school guys showed.That anyone would doubt his quality or commitment in this game is an utter joke.

  141. Interesting viewpoint on the penalty. Didn’t spot that Cesc’s septum was 6 inches above Chamakh’s head. Take a look at the still photos. 3 of the 5 players in the wall had their hands above their heads. None of them had linked arms. Let’s not make excuses for simple poor defending.

  142. I’m tired of hearing about the effing invincibles.

  143. Ahh the rocky road to consistency.

  144. according to Arry the Spuds are going to win the title and their new captain Gallas thinks the arsenal fans were kind to him. we coudn’t really be bothered to pay him too much attenion because he is a meaningless charcter in the Arsenal history. he will always be remembered for his clown act at Birmingham.

  145. I knew Naga would post today.

    I think we lost the game on Cesc handball, that just took all the wind out of our sails.

    I wouldve much preferred us sit back and defend in that match.

    I heard Cesc talking about the team being complacent against Shaktar, I just cant understand why we are still complacent in any matches. What are these players thinking?

    After all the dissapointment, this team can still achieve greatness if they would take every match serious for the whole match.

    ARSENAL!!!

  146. Yes, the weekend’s capitulation was unacceptable. Yes, the subs were abit mystifying. Yes, I feel bad for all those that spent good hard earned cash at the stadium and to a lesser extent people like me who pay for the matches on the telly. And finally, yes, losing to the Spuds hurts.

    But all this over the top, sack Arsene hooplah is ludicrious.

    Let’s put it all in perspective, we’re still only TWO points off the pace. Just dont get all these “supporters” trashing Arsene and Arsenal right now. If they want a team that will walk over everything in their path go support Barca or RM. Really doesnt take a halfwit to figure out / see what Arsene and Arsenal are trying to do and when they finally do do it, what an example our club will be!

    Just another blip on the road to success, we’ll have more no doubt, but its not exactly like we are out of the race yet and we’re fighting for 4th, we’re still fighting for 1st and thats the bottom line.

  147. Perspective, please?

    Seriously, ACLF comments are becoming very disappointing. You are allowed to vent after you lose the North London Derby. It’d be a poor Arsenal blog if you can’t! It’s one of the best blogs on the Web, I like Arseblog a bit better, but mostly coz I love the in-your-face-humour, but all these attacks on anybody who dares to say anything that remotely sounds Anti-Arsene or against any player! I’m not anti-Arsene, but when players seem to stop trying on the field, fans have every right to say that. You give credit to them when they win, you blame them when they lose silly like that, and there’s nothing wrong with that because they’re supposed to play well. That’s their job. You don’t do it well, you get stick. Saying so doesn’t mean you deserve to be called names and anti-Arsenal and all! Trying your best and still losing is different. This is taking no-Arsenal-player-can-do-wrong to ridiculous heights.

  148. I know we can still win the league. More thought needed to go into the substitutions, knowing that there were tired legs from international nonsense during the week. Rosicky came on too late in my opinion.

  149. Watched the game again. What at all did Koscielny do wrong as a defender that’s earning him criticism with people saying he’s not ready, he’s like Cygan etc.

    Bollocks.

    Well Gael Clichy would be happy it’s not him they’re piling on without reason.

    Talking of which Clichy had a great game yet every single action, Kenny Sansom on ATVO was tearing him apart.

  150. Thanks Yogi.

    Well that ws one of the most frustrating performances from Arsenal I’ve seen since Wigan last year. Amazing first half, making the spuds look like the mid table obscurity ridden cunts that they should be. Going back to 2-1 was a worry, and that’s when the team needed to dig in, stop the inevitable flurry and finish them off.

    What the hell was Cesc thinking? That’s not the first time i’ve seen him do that kind of ridiculous handball either. Can’t remember what game it was but it should have been a huge lesson to one of our most experienced players.

    I hope Wenger blasted them for such a demoralising capitulation. They need to learn from this and bounce back. Fortunately, we have a month where we should regain some dignity with 3 wins. Then it’s Chelsea. We’d better be up for that one.

    When we were knocking it about and taking the piss before half time, i was thinking, let’s just get up there and get a 3rd, that’d really finish them off. Chelsea or Man U would have done exactly that.

    Sorry for the negativity this morning, but i’m still reeling from the match. I had a really annoying Villa fan with me and he wouldn’t stop goading through the 2nd half – made the defeat even more unbearable.

    We can win the league, we just need to stop thinking we can cruise through to victory. They should know that by now.

  151. Spot on regarding Kos. He is not the finished article – a lot of raw edges and a lot to learn positing wise, which is not suprising considering he was in the french 2nd division not long ago.

    On the other hand, what is pretty clear to anyone with two eyes is that he is the first defender we have had in a long time who has a shot at being what Sol Campbell was in his prime: the perfect central defender.

    If you look closely, this guy is pretty fast and has the ability to be incredibly precise with his tackling. He passes the ball better than many midfielders in this league, practically on par with the likes of Rio Ferdinand.

    What’s he missing – he needs a bit more raw strength, which is already coming and will continue too, as the Arsenal fitness team works on his body. He also needs to get more exposure to playing in this league because the best players here faster than he is used to and his game is all about making quick judgements on timing. But the potential is there and you can see he is sharper mentally than Djourou and senderos for example.

    I would say shame on anyone who compares him with Cygan, but even that would be unfair to both as Cygan was a actually good defender who simply lacked the footspeed to make it in the premiership. But Kos does not have any issues with speed – all he needs is just the playing time.

  152. a win at Villa and United and everything will be honky dory

  153. Can’t wait for Braga. Need a good performance to reduce the hurt of the weekend’s defeat.

  154. Hope our boys will at least learn how to form a wall and be ready to take a knock for Arsenal if need be without the use use of the arms. And Song, pls keep your eyes open; closing them will not stop the ball from hitting your face.

  155. Many of the reactions to our defeat on Saturday have been shameless and revealing. Most unedifying was the immediate search for scapegoats. After an excellent 1st half and then our gifting the game to the Spuds by a series of unforced errors, the search for a perpetrator began. Despite picking the bones for individual errors, it is noticeable that it was difficult to find the usual suspects. Hence Messers Ablogger and LeGrover decided it had to be Arsene Wenger. He must be at fault for sending out a team in the 2nd half who lost concentration. What a revelation!

  156. Michael Thomas 4

    There is nothing as dangerous as having an entire club ethos built around a manager. He is in this ivory tower where nobody is applying the remotest bit of pressure on him. Players jockey for the position if they have competition (Clichy take note, when Gibbs comes back), but until Kroenke or Usmanov get their feet firmly under the table to remove the Hill-Woods once and for all be prepared for these outcomes season on season. Wengers subs baffled & his post match comments bemused.

  157. @ shotta… that is what baffles me most of all… really… What exactly did AW do wrong that its his fault his team cannot defend a 2 goal lead, like they didn’t do it just last weekend against Everton… I cant even remember us being 2 goals up and losing in any recent memory… still against spurs we had that last 4 – 4 which springs to mind.

    These things are not easy to accept, but they happen, and we will bounce back!

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