Success Demands Lessons Are Learned Quickly

The manner of the defeat at the weekend was in pointed contrast to the belief in this squad’s abilities recently espoused by Arsene. Wenger believes it to be the strongest in his reign at the club. Position for position, his point is that the numbers and abilities of those competing for places in the starting line-up has more depth than previously.

Some have misinterpreted this to believe that the players are better than the likes of Vieira, Overmars, Seaman, Adams, etc. The comparison Wenger was making was that the numbers and manner in which the side can be changed with minimal impact overall, is better not that the players now are superior to their predecessors.

Judging players in different eras is always subjective but in some cases, it is easy to see the relative strengths and weaknesses. Problematically when the forbears are successful (or more successful) than the current incumbents, letting go of the past is not easy but is what has to happen. We have to never forget the success but support the future, no matter how hard that journey is.

Overall, the current squad is technically capable and on paper, superior to the rest of the division. Yet they have underachieved thus far this season. The defeats suffered are not ones which were expected. Wenger is reported to have been furious in the dressing room post-Tottenham, rightly (and unsurprisingly) so. He and the supporters were badly let down by the second half performance. As a result of this and two other poor home results, a seven point lead at the top of the Premier League has not materialised. Instead, a two point deficit has remained.

The players are undeniably talented. Technically gifted, they have benefitted from the promotion of youth through the ranks. They have grown in a relatively pressure-free environment. The club has not been expected to challenge for any silverware by those not connected with Arsenal.

Irrespective of the internal pressures – and the players want to win silverware – others faced harder times. The demands to win or stay in the Premier League are more persistent when money is an overriding factor for a club. Losing your top flight status – unless it is regained quickly – can have a devastating effect. Not winning silverware with millions invested continually will lead to unemployment for a manager or a severe salary cut for the players.

That is not to say Arsenal players have it easy. They know (now) that there is a surplus of talent at the club, that poor performances or lack of application can lead to demotion from the starting line-up. It has not always been the case with injuries demanding that players retain their place or continually play out of position.

However, times they are a changing. Wenger has a big enough squad to cope with the injuries which have arisen in the past, should that volume reoccur. Laurels cannot be rested upon no matter how comfortable they are.

Tomorrow’s match in Portugal is a tough test for the squad. Mentally, they looked shattered following the collapse of their world on Saturday. Wenger will make changes, ‘resting’ some but the players need to show strength of mind and purpose. A fair number of comments have been made about how succumbing to defeat on Saturday is a repetitious event. Certainly, it has arisen in the past but the confidence drained when Spurs scored. That is the biggest issue Wenger has to confront. Reimbuing the side with belief. In themselves. Chelsea will not continue to drop points every week, no matter how much we might wish that to happen.

The squad is sitting on the naughty step at the moment. There is a giant stride to be taken before the word ‘achievers’ sits on it’s own in any sentence with their name. They have the ability; they need their confidence to match those levels. And they need support from us.

Posted on November 22, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 180 Comments.

  1. well its not what koscielny did wrong on saturday but wht he didnt do right.

  2. we need a big lump at the back a no nonsence player who will not get outjumped at set pieces,all season we have been conceeding poor defensive mistaken goals. clike i said before our attack is the best in the league and they did their job on saturday by getting two goals, but its our piss poor defending that is killing us. im not writing kos off as a stepanovs coz actually he does look good and will get better.

  3. Those baffled by the substitutions, you seem very easily baffled. One knackered striker off for a fresh one, two knackered midfielders off for two fresh ones. All three found themselves in positions to win and draw us the match. Nothing to do with the subs. It should never have got to that. We took our boot from their throat when we should have been in complete no-mercy mode – grinding it into the ground. We need to instill ruthlessness in this team. And no fucking piss-taking until we’re at least 5 up… which we would easily have been within 40 minutes if Fabregas and Nasri hadn’t started foxtrotting about the place like a red-rag to a bunch of dumb bullocks.

    I love the sp*rs fans trying to say, hold on give us some credit here – like they weren’t shite. The one consolation in all this is that lot will struggle to hit the Europa places.

    But we’ll struggle to win the league if we don’t temper some of this precocious talent with a bit of eyes on the prize, take no prisoners, fuck you, ruthlessness.

    Having watched this team learn and develop and adapt before, I have a great belief that that is exactly what they will do. Braga, Villa, United… time to fight back. It’s all part of the ride.

    It goes without saying that anybody blaming Wenger in all of this is an absolute cretin. He was spitting blood on the touchline when we were still 2 nil up while his midfield refused to press home the advantage he’d masterminded.

  4. Limpar – passionate and spot on. I agree 100%.

    Great article again btw Yogi.

    I wont re-post my earlier post as it’s been said here by Limpar already…

  5. It was arrogance that lost us this match. Not Wenger. It was the players. Does anyone seriously think Wenger said to them “don’t worry about it now lads, this one’s in the bag.” Whatever he did say, it was obviously unheeded. Fair play to ‘Arry though, who knew what our players were thinking (it was pretty obvious when they were showboating before we’d even reached half time), and he roused his players into teaching us a lesson. I hate him, but he took advantage of our arrogance clinically.

  6. Great perspective Yogi…….

    Fans will cautiously wait to see what Arsenal team shows up in Portugal.

  7. Good post btw, YW. The squad is certainly sitting on the naughty step in my eyes. The one thing I’d disagree with you on is Chelsea. They’ve got a very nasty run of fixtures coming up, big injury concerns, a dressing room full of cunts, and an away grudge match at title challengers Arsenal which places our fate firmly in our own hands. I think dropping points is exactly what they’ll continue to do.

  8. That’s true too Limpar. I just hope Man U don’t go on their predictable late season charge, what with their pie munching talisman back an’ all…

  9. There wasn’t problems with the substitutions, just the timing of them. If the players had ‘tired legs’ from playing too many games, then maybe fresher legs should have been on sooner. Hopefully this is the final lesson that needs to be learned. No more complacency and no more needless penalties (although I don’t know how that free kick was awarded in the first place. The ball wasn’t under control and Song stepped in and took it). Come on lads, sort it out – we know you can do it!

  10. Limpar, its hard to see how Wenger shouldn’t share the bulk of blame in all of this. He certainly takes the glory (and rightly so) when things are going well. He picked this team, without interference from anyone. I can only think of one other manager in European football that has that sort of control.
    We also know that he recruits players not just based on their talent but also on their psych profile.
    So why should he not be blamed when the team underachieves?

    I’m not saying he should be sacked or anything stupid like that. But its up to him to fix it. Blaming the players like you’re doing is pointless.

  11. Yes it was the players fault but we all know them piss head yids are serial slow starters and always start playing in the second half, probably after the hangover wears off. our players should have known this. or Wenger should have drummed it into them. we clearly have the best squad in this division and they should be winning something this season for sure.

  12. Cheers, Geo. I’m just about crawling out the mire. Partly because a friend of mine (in reply to a spurs email with a photo of AW with his head in his hands) sent a ‘Winning at Arsenal… A Journey’ email back; a photo from the game in ’93, the same photo of AW – 2011, and a photo of a futurisitc robot sportsman ready to play something like Rollerball – captioned 2027.

  13. Nice post YW,

    But is it really confidence that they need? Or discpline.

  14. Henristic – how is blaming the players pointless?

    They went into cruise control in the first half when it was obvious that Wenger didn’t want them to. He was looking so angry for a manager that was 2-0 up against bitter rivals. He wanted them to get forward and put the game to bed, not try Ole football, which only makes them more determined to come out guns blazing. Wenger knew what was required and he knew the danger of taking their foot off the neck as limpar put it.

  15. I still feel ill thinking about it all! 😦

  16. I think there is some blame to be attached to Wenger . His substitutions in games are either too late or completely crazy! On saturday, we were being overwhelmed in midfield in the second half because of changes made by them at half time. The midfield should have been strengthened to combat this weekness – Wilshere on for a very ineffective Arshavin ( apart from laying on the pass for our second goal – he contributed nothing as seems to be the norm for him these days) was the obvious substitution . What does he do bring on RVP ( who has hardly played for the last few weeks) for Chamahk and then Walcott (who played badly on wednesday for England) later on for Nasri . Our two goal scorers out of the game and our attack completely weakened as was later proved by both substitutes. Denilson once again showed that he is completel ueless and is certainly no holding player!! Song should be doing that role instead of stumbling around up front later in the game. These player and positional choices were all made by the manager – although I accept that some of the players like Fabregas and Rosicky performed badly in the second half. I have now come to the conclusion that Wenger’s position is so powerful at the club that nothing will change until he is no longer around and that no trophies will be won until a new manger arrives with some new ideas!!

  17. We obviously see things differently, Henristic. The team that AW cherry-picked got us 2 nil up on Saturday going top of the league. 45 minutes later we’d all been kicked in the bollocks. I saw players swanning around taking the piss and AW barking furiously at them to pull their fingers out – which was just what I was barking at them. So no, I don’t blame him. The players take the responsibilty – they were the ones who threw it away.

  18. This was so predictable. As soon as we were 2-0 up so soon I began to worry.

    This is a serial problem, this team cannot defend a lead and needs a good slap to wake them up.

    If a team is as poor as the spuds were first half you know they can’t be as bad in the second, which means you need to play BETTER in the second half and not $£%%$^ing loaf around waiting for full time.

  19. I know it’s boring but does anybody here seriously think that they know more about managing a football club than Wenger? No? Thought not.

    Bill has a good point about underperforming this season as YW as reiterated. Very difficult to understand why. Show boating is almost always counterproductive. Stamp it out. Remember a smiling Song coming on a couple of years ago agaist the spuds prior to bloody Bentley scoring an equaliser? Lesson not learnt.

    Not too sure about the reason for a lack of confidence. Winning a match should be inspiration enough for hungry young professionals. If they don’t trust themselves, why not?

  20. Gunner90…

    So you believe we won’t win nothing until Wenger is gone… that has got to be the most stupidest perspective. Before the season began everyone wrote this team off, now everyone is coming to terms with Chelsea not actually having an impressively strong squad, City don’t look great, and United are very ordinary.

    We are 2 points off top, and we are still under-performing. We are the best team and squad in this league. The evidence is there, and the talent is there. We just need to apply ourselves mentally every game, every half, every minute. There is no limit to what these players can achieve. 3 home games lost to teams we shouldn’t lose to. All games you can argue we under-estimated our opponents.

    It is a massive problem, but it is a problem you are learn from after you experience it. As fans we suffer from it too, we get dazed by the beautiful football at times, and you forget the basics of football.

    We need to remain composed, aggressive, and kill teams off. Too many times it has let us down, but I believe we will only learn from days like Nwecastle, West Brom, and Spurs.. These players are too good, too intelligent, and we are in a very good position to push on. We should be firmly in the driving seat, but this league is not easy. The players and manager can only accept the blame, and seek to put it right.

  21. Limpar, and Geo,
    If this was a one off event, you’d have a very good point. But we’ve seen this sort of behavior repeated enough times to know that its more than just player A or B. If its not Cesc or Kos being blamed, its Clichy, or Arshavin, or Eboue.

  22. Great article in The sun. Says Arsenal is the best run club in England and should honestly be comfortably ahead by now. It doesn’t say anything we don’t know and that is why it hurts.

  23. Chris Goona. Think you are the stupid one. You kid yourself about this squad. Fabregas is our best player but he is no captain and you just know he would rather be in Barcelona’s team rather than Arsenal. Wenger will not change in his views and is completely unopposed at the club – hence the reason he has a YES man – Pat Rice as his number two!! The ineffective defence is a testimate to a manger whose priorities are all wrong!

  24. Chelsea will drop points everyone will drop points but the question still remain. can we take advantage of it? because so far we have failed to do that. this probem point to one thing a mental issue and not quality.
    the good thing is this can be overcome and once its done the door will open. contrary to what people thing its actually they are so desperate to do well they panic . would you ever imagine Fabregas blantantly doing te beach volley ball thingy to stop a free kick. i’m almost certain if you ask Cesc why did he do it. i don’t think he will have the answer. its a bit like when you go for a job iterview and you are so desperate to land the job you end up over doing things and muck it up.
    and i think the disastrous thing is when players see their captain wobble.
    I go back to my main point about quality. Fabregas was the best player on the pitch by a conutry mile even Hansen dedicated about 5 minute of his liverpool loving program to show highights of FAbregas’s awesome display and yet we could not do the simple things which is to calm everybody down slow the game keep possession and see the game out including dirty tactics time wasting all sort of things. we hate it when other teams resort to crap stuff just to kill the game .we will overcome this I’m sure. we just to give them every support they need and stop leaving te ground so early is the start.

  25. Many of these players are still young and need direction and guidance, in order to play well as a unit. The lack of organizational intelligence and discipline displayed in games like Saturday’s is the responsibility of the management staff. The boys can’t teach themselves those things.

  26. It goes without saying that the team will always have MY support and that of most Gooners. However,blame has to land squarely at the feet of one Arsene Wenger. It is his players, his tactics, his training methods-the team is AW 100%. How many times must we have to hear “we will learn from this leasson”. It just has not happened and quite frankly you will be hard pressed to find one Gooner who honestly believes in the nether regions of their Red & White soul that they will soon.

    The real question that hangs like Damocles sword is what can be done to rectify the situation. We have lost at home to two promoted teams and our most bitter rivals. We could and probably would be all upset by a loss to Chelsea or MANU but we might grudgingly admit they have been better than us for the better part of 5 years. However to lose not once, not twice but three times at home to teams that we should be better smacks of a bigger problem than just not learning lessons.

    I have loved the way that Arsenal have developed under Wenger and up till a short time ago I would have said no way should we countenance his dismissal. However, this season is his moment of truth-he can no longer ask for time as his charges mature. The 1st team is stocked with full internationals regardless of age. Most are desired by other big teams. The question to ask is why have they not yet produced?? There is one of two anwers-either collectively they are not good enough or our leader is not good enough to direct them in the ways of winning. Either scenario leads back to Wenger’s doorstep.

    In my opinion, his fate will be decided in these two games against Braga & Villa. Two defeats and I forsee major upheaval. Two wins and the and the hounds baying at teh door for his dismissal will retreat – for a while. Either way, no silverware at the end of this campaign spells the end in my eyes.

    The club is big enough and rich enough to recruit the best managers available in the world. Wenger should realise that his time is running out should he not deliver-My heart hope he does but my head tells me he will not.

  27. Here’s how I saw the game. First 15 mins, Arsenal take the initiative. Masterclass from Arsenal as we ripped Tottenham to bits on every part of the pitch. All their threats completely nullified. We score early deservedly. Might have scored earlier had Chamakh not been wrongly ruled offside. But that’s another matter.

    2nd 15 mins. We sit back and rip them apart on the counter attack. Arsenal still has full spectrum dominance.

    3rd 15 mins. We’re still in control. Many chances to bury them are not taken.

    4th 15 mins. We start quite well, still sitting back and hitting them on the break. Inability to manage a simple transition from our own free kick in their half leads to a stupid fluke goal conceded . We’re still on top after the goal, much more likely to score than them. We have a goal ruled offside, Chamakh fluffs a 1-on-1 etc etc.

    5th 15 minutes. Dowd gifts them a free kick. Not to be outdone, Cesc gifts them a penalty. They equalise. We’re still on top. Still creating. The only difference is that we have to come forward and now they can hit us on the break so for the first time in the game they’re dangerous. But we’re still on top.

    Last 15 minutes. We’re pushing. Koscielny misses a sitter. Walcott skies the ball when he had to hit the target. RVP is rusty and can’t control when clean through. Great save prevents a Cesc goal. other chances created. Kaboul steals the winner from a very lucky header. The ball hits RVP & changes the flight of the ball & even adds a spin to it making it harder to save. Last 10 mins including 5 mins of extra time, we hoof the ball upfield continuously which was daft.

    So somehow, if you look at the facts of the game. We dominated for 90 minutes, our defenders didn’t individually play badly AT ALL but we concede 3 goals and lose.

    Everytime I think about it I either get very angry, or very worried.

    We don’t have to play badly to lose. Teams don’t have to play well to beat us. Teams don’t have to play better than us to beat us.

  28. but he lessons are not being learned are they???????

  29. It WASNT the defence that was the problem. It was management decisions (again)

    Nasri scored the first goal.
    Arshavin set up Chamakh for the second goal.
    What does Wenger do ?
    Takes off ALL THREE !!!!

    he’s clearly old and senile.
    Please stop talking about what he’s achieved.
    That was in the 90s ten years ago. He hasnt achieved anything in over five years,

    Verdict: Wenger out

  30. I am sick of hearing about the glorious invincibles, the glorious famous back 4 who were defensively solid, etc.

    Even the old teams had their weaknesses.

    It’s some kind of mental weakness from us fans that it’s easier to fall into glorifying the past instead of getting into how to turn the present and future into a glorious one.

    For fucksakes, Adams & Bould shipped 49 goals one season and we finished 12th.

    It’s easy to look back at when the squad was fully developed and they were at their peak and winning without forgetting that it takes a lot of cracked eggs to make a good omelette.

  31. Maybe we are to blame as fans for the loss. We were so indifferent and arrogant before the game and gloated/goaded the spurs fans to no end. A case of what goes around comes around.

  32. Apparently some of you do think that you know more about running a football club than Wenger.

    You are more stupid than I thought. Sorry everyone, I got complacent there.

  33. Still finding it hard to deal with our latest stunning defeat but this is always a good place to find some perspective. What more could Arsene have done, the players simply need to learn to kill off games!

  34. Some idiot above thinks changing our offensive players for fresher ones when we needed a goal is a mark of senility. I think that comment is a mark of his own senility.

    We’re all hurting but drivel like that just makes it worse.

  35. I am still shocked from the game, it is hard to believe when you are such in control during the first half that you can let the opposition score three goals.

    I think the problem was down to complacency, the players need to understand that in every game and even more in the EPL you need to keep focus for the 95 or so minutes of the game. Even if you control the game completely, you still need to be focused until the last second otherwise you will pay for your concentration lapses.

    Like limpar said the substitutions were not the problem. Indeed Chamakh was bringing a lot offensively and defensively (he was the one marking Kaboul on set pieces) but he seemed tired when getting the ball, he stopped looking for another player when he should have gone for a shot, which according to the post match interview, was the reason Wenger took him off.

    Ok RVP is only coming back, but what people would have said if Wenger left a tired Chamakh on for the whole game and leaving Robin on the bench?

    Same with Arshavin, he looked tired and a lot of his passes were not completed so to put on Rosicky was the logical response. Finally Nasri was starting to drift out of the game probably feeling the 95 minutes he spent running the show against England and Walcott is the logical man to put on.

    The problem was not down to personnel but down to a mental strenght, the team needs to learn to be ruthless and consistant. If you get into a game where the opposition is inexistant you shouldn’t drop your concentration thinking it’s a won game but keep the pressure and destroy them 6-0.

  36. I can’t see how we’ll have a serious argument with all the insults flying around. Let’s try keep to the issues – like Yogi did!

  37. Many of these players are still young and need direction and guidance, in order to play well as a unit. The lack of organizational intelligence and discipline displayed in games like Saturday’s is the responsibility of the management staff. The boys can’t teach themselves those things.

    Intriguing comment. One I probably agree with. But any examples that illustrate our lack of organisational intelligence & discipline?

  38. Best squad my foot… this is the worst and most spineless group of players Arsenal has ever had. and the Wenger excuses are lame…….teh totenham players were also involved in internationals and it shud never be an excuse for losing from 2-0 up…

  39. Learn quickly? You must be kidding. Learning means you don’t repeat the same mistakes over and over again. This Arsenal team are simply incapable of learning. No hope for 5 years already. There’s no reason to expect things to change in the next 5.

  40. Wengerspins latest comments are ridiculous that a lot of the players played 90 minutes in last wednesdays internationals, and the problem was physical Clichy, Kos, Sqillachi, Song, Denilson, never played at all, Cesc, Walcott, played 45 minutes, only Nasri. Arshavin and Chamakh played the 90 minutes.

  41. It seems every time something goes wrong its Wenger out and when we have a good week he is amazing it all a bit daft.

    However while I don’t presume to know more about managing a club the he does I do know that when you score a goal in Sunday league you get back to the halfway line and pretend its 0-0 and go again at least until you are minimum 3 goals up and the other team’s morale has been shattered.

    This was the our biggest game of the season, and a chance to put the spuds out of it and go top. There are no excuses. The team doesn’t need their confidence building up they need to have their backsides kicked by the manger until we have put together a decent run and handed out a beating at WHL.

  42. @ LimparAssist | November 22, 2010 at 11:54 am |
    Well Said

    That said… YW great post as per usual… I don’t seem to say that often enough, but don’t think i take your write ups for granted… i read them even when i don’t have tome to comment at times

    They are usually well said indeed

  43. Ole Gunner | November 22, 2010 at 1:09 pm |

    “Everytime I think about it I either get very angry, or very worried…

    We don’t have to play badly to lose. Teams don’t have to play well to beat us. Teams don’t have to play better than us to beat us.”

    This isn’t particularly worrying Ole. It happens often enough in football that teams loose without playing badly. What you don’t frequently see are teams loosing 2 nil leads to less talented opponents.

    I was ecstatic when Manu were dropping points from winning positions earlier in the season, thinking finally, the predicted decline of manu is finally happening, contrasted to our seeming ascendancy.

    It’s more worrying that lessons from previous seasons haven’t been learned at all. Individual and organizational errors still cost us in the most silly ways.

  44. If you’re going to claim to be debunking someone’s claim (in this case, Wenger’s) it’d help to actually debunk them.

    It is a fact that 65% of the Arsenal team and just 30% of the Tottenham team were involved in midweek internationals. That after two away games in the league.

    So don’t be a bigger idiot than you usually are, Solgooner

  45. substitutions or not. YOU SHOULD NOT LOOSE A 2-0 advantage against Totteham. Even if the manager was non existent, even if the tactics was as crap as they coudl ever be. there is no excuse for the players behavior. Blaming Wenger is protecting the players. Why does our fans want to protect and cotton wool the players into thinking this was not their fault but Wengers????

  46. Wenger shd b ashamed of himself – wot’s he dun 4 Arsenal? Nuffink. No ambition, poorly built squad, spineless players. Wenger out – b4 we gt overtaken by Bolton. Denilson shd b sold, Walcott has not footballing brain, Flappihandski is nt gud enuff, Cesc is alredy at Barca, Spurs r da beter team. We dnt train dfense. Wenger out. Now.

  47. Ole,
    “But any examples that illustrate our lack of organisational intelligence & discipline?”

    I honestly can’t be arsed to give specifics. I generally defer to you for such things 🙂 But I’d wager that most of our losses have been due to a lack of proper (usually defensive) organization and indiscipline. Do you not agree?

  48. It’s incredulous that we sit 3rd in the league…..a mere two points of the top (I’m sure most of us would have thought would be pretty good going at the start of the season) and someone can say they honestly believe Wenger’s “fate” will be decided by our next two results. Unbelievable. Arguing with some of you would be like pissing in the wind.

    Nice write up anyway YW. Balanced and rational as usual. Keep ’em coming.

  49. oh yeah nd wenger is nickin all da money we is bn makin in last 5 yrs. buy Terry, Vidic and Casillas. Prob sloved.

  50. tome = time LOL

  51. 4-3-3 with the high line at home has been found out big time. Last season, it was exposed by Chelsea, Everton and ManU. This season, only the lazy ones do not exploit its weaknesses. However, we do not play it away, and the results are better. I do not know where we are going from here. This squad is underacheaving. Does the manager still have the motivation and energy to get it right? Is he still interested? He certainly worked very hard (by his own admission) in 2007-2008, and you could forgive mistakes when you see the commitment to the club. But now? Not so sure.

  52. Yogi,

    You write:

    “They have the ability; they need their confidence to match those levels. And they need support from us. ”

    Certainly. But they need something even more – Defensive coaching that remorselessly drills organization and discipline into them. It sickens me to the stomach to see this squad commit the same form of suicide after 5 seasons of development.

    You are right to highlight the deflation once Spurs got a goal in. The only remedy to that is confidence that comes from faith in solidity of the team’s organization. This, though, is a feature that has to be trained non-stop every single day.

    Wenger has to hire an accomplished defence coach now, and give him the freedom to put the team through some really tough paces. Till that happens we’ll never ever get to the summit.

  53. Delia----Block112

    Let’s put Saturday to bed , we won’t feel any better until we have a good couple of away wins to mull over! Braga have not shown any form in the CL ,so tomorrow night is a great opportunity to show our true form and CL experience, with an emphatic win.

  54. Firstlady | November 22, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
    You are absolutely right about the arragance of our fans (and I will hold up my hand partially). Go to all blogs and review the posts during half-time especially the Groaners. They were revelling in our ascendancy, gloating and cocky. It comes as no surprise that when the team shot it itself in the foot they have to turn on someone, not themselves. In this case it is Arsene…after all the buck stops somewhere. He is a convenient target.
    A similar arrogance and cockiness showed up in Messers A-blogger and Grover, prior to the game. I highlight both because they are the most popular Arsenal blogs. Ablogger was merciless in his diminishing Gallas’ stature as player and a gooner. Mark you Gallas is a proven winner who has both a world cup and EPL medal to show. Yet our boy, Samir Nasir, who has won nothing to date, chooses to disses the man publicly over an incident two years ago. It is in retrospect the most unseemly and classless thing to have done. Of course it is Gallas who has the last laugh with a MOTM performance in defence.
    This attitude in the blogs and apparently in our team is costing us dearly. This team is indeed the most talented I have seen, has the potential to win everything. But IMO, our attitude is costing us dearly. Most of them have won absolutely nothing and now they have to learn that talent without application, confidence without a large slaver of humility, will get us no where.
    As for the cocky, classless bloggers (Yogi being one of the few exceptions) I doubt they will get it.

  55. SV, how about 4-3-3 away and 4-4-2 at home?

  56. The problem wiv arsenal is, they always try 2 walk it in. Wot was Wenger doin bringin Walcott on so early?

  57. nice posting YW and LA

    In regards to the subs – no they were not the wrong men to change but I do think giving rosicky and theo getting only 12 mins at the end is pretty ineffective. They were begining to add the decisive threat we needed to pin the scum back again but knowing that time is so short adds so much pressure to an already tense situation.

    “That is not to say Arsenal players have it easy. They know (now) that there is a surplus of talent at the club, that poor performances or lack of application can lead to demotion from the starting line-up.” – not sure if this is at all true in the case of AA and rosicky…

    ok I’m done with moaning now…

  58. I laugh at people who look at the fact that we have a defensive coaching crew consisting solely of defenders who played at top levels; Wenger, Rice, Primorac, Bould, Banfield, but they don’t drill the team or try to organise them defensively.

    Strange the kinds of things people believe.

    Somehow there are people who believe Keown has ever been an Arsenal first team coach. Not true. He worked with the reserves when he was getting his coaching badges.

    No he wasn’t responsible for the run of clean sheets that saw us to the Champions League final.

    We hear all about George Graham’s great defensive nous. But the fact remains that Arsenal conceded more goals under Graham than under Wenger.

  59. Kenyan gunner ,

    I think 4-4-2 suits most of our attacking playes better (Archavin, Diaby, Van Persi, Rosicky, Vela, and also Eduadro did not find himself in the new one …). But we would need an experienced, solid DM to play alongside Cecs, and we do not have one at the moment.

  60. For Koscielny read Cygan and Silvestre.Not good enough

  61. I find it amazing the number of ways some people will contrive to blame fans for a loss such as this.

    And blaming Nasri for being classless? Bigging up Gallas? Like AW said, in an ideal world, everyone would get on well with everyone else, but we don’t live in such a world do we?

    We’ll see who has the last laugh at the end of the season won’t we?

  62. Absolutely, Henristic. When we win the league we’ll all look back on this and laugh…

  63. Aaron training with the first team is a sight good for sore eyes.

  64. Hello all,

    Trying times to be a gooner. That has to be one of the most frustating losses we’ve endured in awhile. Getting beat 2-0 by Chelsea at the Bridge hurts. Losing 3-2 to Spurs at home after being 2-0 up is like having a leg amputated without anesthesia. Reminded me of Wigan last year. 2-0 up, lose 3-2. While I dont think the goals conceded on Saturday were quite as shambolic as the ones at Wigan, something was seriously wrong with our second half performance. Should Wenger have left the CB pairing be? Maybe.. Would anyone have been making a big deal about that had we won 3-2 or by an even more convincing line? Doubtful.

    To me the biggest dissapoint is the reaction that some within our own ranks are having. The post on Le-Grove yesterday was in all likelihood written by a 9 year school boy who had saved up some allowance $$ to buy his matchday ticket, horrified of the prospects of being mocked by friends at school on monday, vitriolic about his now gone hard earned cash. Pathetic. Grow the fu*k up!!!!!!! This is sport! Sometimes the better team loses!

    As someone quite rightly said earlier, its all part of the ride…

  65. Ole Gunner,

    People don’t believe strange things; they believe the evidence of their eyes.

    The worthies you name haven’t produced the results over the last 5 seasons. If you haven’t realized that our biggest defect is defensive fragility, I wonder which team you watch.

    Wenger era defensive numbers may, or may not, make better reading than Graham’s; but the last five seasons have made it abundantly clear that the numbers as they are aren’t enough for this squad to cut the mustard; Perhaps our opponents for the title have gotten much better.

    After 5 seasons of “development”, if you are convinced we are a top defensive unit, I can only marvel at the things some people believe.

  66. Oh well, no-one bit at my attempt at trolling. Too obvious? Thought it’d be a laugh, but now i just feel dirty… and a little silly 😦

  67. Spud fans in disguise?
    Apart from being incoherent and writing like a semi-literate, it is noticeable that they only turn up after a loss with advise that would only weaken and destroy our team. I present you the following:
    Jonny Martin | November 22, 2010 at 1:11 pm |
    Gunner90 | November 22, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
    jena | November 22, 2010 at 1:31 pm |
    Jan | November 22, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
    solgooneer | November 22, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Cupid Stunt
    Cupid Stunt | November 22, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
    ken | November 22, 2010 at 2:28 pm |

  68. Geo… ‘Buy Terry’ forced a smile. Thought it might be Muppet actually.

  69. You got Shotta!

  70. Le Groan’s ethos is that it’s a blog where you can have an opinion not get one, yet every doomer uses the same two or three talking points. Sack Wenger, Denilson is useless, we will win nothing with all these frogs on our team, blah, blah, blah. Bunch of unoriginal, spineless cunts.

  71. People don’t seem to understand that the invincibles were all closing in on 30 when they won things – which is when players reach their prime (give or take a year or 2); and the squad we have now has an average age of about 24-25 (ish?).

    How the 2 squads can be compared is beyond me. Any team would have struggled immensly to replace Pires, Henry, Adams, Seaman, et al.

    When players like Nasri, Denilson, Song, Theo etc etc etc are even close to reaching their prime, they’ll be some of the best players in the world. I know the inexperience excuse has lost some credibility, now that they’ve been playing at this level for so long, but that still doesn’t hide the fact that this team is yet to reach the dizzying heights that will come when they are all coming into their prime.

  72. What has Wenger got against Water bottles?

  73. hahahaha – sorry shotta. Thought i’d take a trip to the dark side for a minute. Wasn’t anywhere near as fun as i’d hoped. I’ve learnt a lesson… but can the lads follow suit? 😉

  74. Koscielny is now being compared to Cygan and Silvestre? Too funny.

  75. If you want talking points wear a hat that says, ‘Gay Nazis for Jesus’. I thought that was rather the point of that blog? Same principle behind Talksport radio, Piers Morgan, Jedward or that Crazy Frog thing – have I completely misunderstood it?

  76. Theo is not going to change the game when the opposition is sitting back on a lead as easily as he can at 2-2 or 2-1 where he will have space ahead of him. The problem is it seems neither RvP or Bendtner were either match fit or ready to help us when Chamakh tired over the course of the second half. In that case, playing Theo centrally might have been the best option. But it wasn’t a question of substitutions–as LA said above, the killer instinct was lacking in the first half when we should have been up 3-0 or more. In the second half, we still had chances after 2-1 but we couldn’t take them–panic set in and belief eroded in giving away the penalty for the equalizer.

    Debating whether the players or the manager is responsible is a really fruitless debate. The players let the manager down but he is responsible for the makeup and shaping of this team, mentally and psychologically. It is a real indictment that we cannot concentrate and play a full 90mins without complacency, overconfidence/casualness, and mental lapses and even a worse indictment that conceding a goal spreads fear and panic (which is when you are more likely to do something silly that costs you the game) rather than a ruthless, calm, determined reaction. Some tactical adjustments at 2-1 might have helped us get a result but would simply paper over the deeper cracks in our underachieving team. I especially don’t like how when we have been down at home in we have resorted in the last 10 or 15 minutes to very desperate and un-Arsenal like play–long balls booted forward rather than incisive and direct build up.

    It doesn’t help to say they are the best team (even with the provisos YW gives for understanding Wenger’s statement)–why praise them publicly in these terms until they have demonstrated more achievement? If the manager wants to give them confidence he doesn’t have to do it through the public media since he has the opportunity to communicate with and work with the players every day. But he has put himself under pressure–and he has said that if the team doesn’t win this year it will be time to assess the situation very seriously. We’ve heard this type of language before, but I think it is serious now. It is his responsibility to remedy and repair the weaknesses in his squad–hopefully he has some plans but I worry when he seems at a loss to understand or explain–he is such an intelligent and analytical person that you don’t expect him to be stumped for long, but it can be very hard to implement solutions.

    What this also means is that this is no time to talk stupidly about firing the manager–that’s ridiculous. We will have to see how the team handles it now and I am sure there will be a reaction, as there has been in the past, but the real proof will be if we can put together a string of victories, defeat ManU at OT, and Chelsea at home before the new year.

    An away win at Braga and Villa in the league are required but not sufficient to demonstrate that the team is on the right track and not dangerously capable of underachieving. Chelsea and ManU were weaker last season than the season before, this season both are again weaker, and ManCity has not put together a functioning team yet despite the vast sums they (and they alone) have been spending in the league. We are better and deeper than last year and have the best chance before us to win the league. I believe we can do it but there really is no excuse for the manager and the team now if we can’t seize the chance.

  77. Same old zombie trolls, celebrating victory by, er, trolling Arsenal blogs.
    They sure know how to have a good time.

    From the Tottenhamblog:

    “No, I don’t think that this win represents any shift of power”

    “I suppose that Arsenal fans have gone for so long with nothing to moan about, that it doesn’t come as naturally to them as it does to Tottenham supporters”

    It’s worse then that. Some fans of the tiny totts, have to pretend to be their opponents in victory, so they can carry on as they usually do. Weird.

  78. Ken,
    please explain to me what Koscielny did wrong yesterday as a defender?

  79. Great post Limestone.
    I totally agree with:
    “a ruthless, calm, determined reaction”
    that’s what was/is needed.

  80. Shotta’s easy Limpar.

    Actually I thought it was muppet as well.

    I ‘ll tell you why no one responded though Geo. I’ve noticed that we are having far less fun on here than we have in the last couple of years despite the tougher times then. I think it is because all of our patience is a little thin these days. We’ve had enough of the ‘growing’ and ‘learning’. We now expect out team to compete fully.

    Plus of course, the doomers are thinner on the ground and have little to say that hasn’t been dealt with on here a thousand times.

    Onwards and upwards.

  81. dammit! Geo got me too.

  82. True, true consols. If only Frank was here, we could have gotten into a quite heated debate me thinks..!

    Onwards and upwards indeed. I do always love to watch Arsenal after a defeat, usually we go out guns blazing… Here’s hoping that happens tomorrow!

  83. Thanks, Geo, I hope we will see that reaction not only to this game but within games. We hung on at Everton, Wolves away, so we can exhibit these qualities–it is a big mystery why we haven’t show that mental resilience at home. Why do you think that is? We had good home support during the derby, which hasn’t always been the case this season. So…

    Anyway, tomorrow we play, so we can begin to set things right.

  84. lol sorry finsbury, i’ve had my fun now… oh, i live a sad life, while at work anyway…

  85. I agree with Henristic. When a group of players is playing below their level typically the management gets blamed and usually rightfully so. This team has underperformed for several years with this year being the best example. AW can yell and scream and get mad at the players all he wants but if they do not respond what good does that do.

    I copied and paraphrased something that I saw since it says it better then I can.

    “We didn’t lose the game because we didn’t take our chances, we lost because we didn’t defend well enough. We continue to give up soft goals. It is, and has been, our Achilles heel for some time now, and unfortunately nothing seems to change. Those who champion better defensive coaching will point to it as more evidence that we need to do something. Without knowing exactly what goes on at the training ground I can’t say one way or other but at the very top level of football the slighest mistakes get punished and we keep making those mistakes.
    Personnel have come and gone over the 5-year barren spell without a trophy, yet the same defensive issues remain. You can draw your own conclusions from that.”

    I can think of 5 games in the last 3 years that we have given away 2 goal leads and lost points. There may be more. ManU has given away a 2 goal lead and lost points 1 time in the last 11 years. Teams in the top 4 fighting for titles can not let that happen and that comes down to the manager to fix.

    No one in their right mind thinks that Wenger should or will get sacked. He has done an incredible job building this team. However, he has to recognize the way he has managed it has not been optimal. We obviously can not make radical changes at this point in the season. There is still a long way to go. A run of 25 points out of the next 30 might see us far enough on top that even a late season melt down would not kill us. However, if this talented squad ends the year empty handed I really hope he takes a hard look at everything from the top down and does some significant “freshening” of the squad, modifies our tactics, and makes some changes in the coaching staff. He has become ultimate micro-manager, AFC has in reality become Wenger FC and IMO he needs some new input.

  86. Of course the result was shocking at the weekend. However in all the gloom there are two thoughts we might consider;

    – It was clear for all to see that Arsenal are a far far better side than the Spuds. Amongst the crowing and the car salesman-like superlatives of Arry the Rag it is noticeable that even he and they realize that.

    – The way to expunge this game from the memory is to make this the point at which Arsenal go on to have the most successful season in years.

    We are so close…..

  87. Not sure Limestone. It’s strange that it’s gone from being a fortress to almost the opposite in the space of a few months… Maybe they really feel the pressure of winning something after 5 years without – particularly when they’re in front of 50,000 gooners…? Don’t know what else it could be? Or maybe it’s the opposite and we’ve gotten too comfortable at the Emirates due to our impressive home record (previously)? Really don’t know but it is a bit worrying.

  88. It’s very hard being a Tottenham fan. In fact, physically and socially it’s really, really bad for you. I just got a very angry email from one. Irascible two days after they won their first North London derby away from home in 17 years! That takes a special kind of bitterness. Or maybe he just knows his football and saw his team get completely humiliated first half – and knows that only arrogance on our part stopped it being an utter drubbing.

  89. Agree with that 100%, Frank. We’ll have to endure Spuds rejoicing for a while, but they know we are a better team. Lots of Spuds fans are nervous and embarassed by Harry bragging they can win the league (sure there are some deluded few, but listening to 606 there were lots of Spuds acknowledging that they aren’t good enough).

    It’s time for the team to make this something we can look back on at the end of the season as we celebrate multiple trophies as the low point from which we rose above our competition.

  90. Name and shame your source, Bill! I couldn’t agree any less with that pile of steaming drivel you’ve just quoted.

  91. Geo – You got me there. But I missed your alter-ego; one of them or all of them. Care to tell. LOL.

  92. Frank! Good man…

  93. just Cupid Stunt shotta! Sorry i’m not one of these schizophrenic spuds who argue with themselves… just a bored schizophrenic at work.. lol.

  94. Bill – you need a pill, for constipation.
    Blame the manager for underachieving players?
    Blame the manager for inconsistency?
    Blame the manager for sloven mistakes?
    Blame the manager for cockiness?
    Thank god you are not a school teacher.

  95. People don’t believe strange things; they believe the evidence of their eyes.

    The worthies you name haven’t produced the results over the last 5 seasons. If you haven’t realized that our biggest defect is defensive fragility, I wonder which team you watch.

    Wenger era defensive numbers may, or may not, make better reading than Graham’s; but the last five seasons have made it abundantly clear that the numbers as they are aren’t enough for this squad to cut the mustard; Perhaps our opponents for the title have gotten much better.

    After 5 seasons of “development”, if you are convinced we are a top defensive unit, I can only marvel at the things some people believe.

    Oh no, not that “the facts prove me wrong but I’m going to tell you my eyes prove me correct drill”? Well it’s proven useful for retards to avoid facing facts since the beginning of time.

    We have defensive weaknesses. We all know that we need to improve.

    However, the notion that Wenger doesn’t coach defending or that his teams by definition can’t defend whereas there was a glorious past when we could is disproved by the facts.

    YES. We do have to improve. We have improved in fact.

  96. RVP is rested for Braga game this is a puzzle he has only played 45 minutes for us and 45 minutes for holland why is he rested?

  97. RedandDread .. Bill.. and all the other classless idiots who have no spine and can’t take the unlucky result of a defeat.

    It is typical that such spoilt supporters of such a spoilt club are coming out after a derby defeat to have a moan. We are indeed the most spoilt club – blessed with Champions League footy year after year, title challenges, technically the most gifted players, best attacking team etc etc. It is also typical for guys like Limpar, YW, Geo etc etc, to come out and support the team, these are the people that live and breathe Arsenal. They don’t come on just after a defeat to bitch, they support and follow their club everyday.

    So RedDead and the rest of the mugs who can’t even form a proper commenter name.. you can’t break the real Arsenal fans, we have stuck by our manager, players, and club through thick and thin. Spurs may have won the 1st game on our turf for 17 years, and fair play to them they took their chances. For me it was pretty evident who was the better team for much of the day, but luck and the major incidents went against us.

    Lets continue getting behind our team. We have seen the potential, the league is ours for the taking. 3 games we have fu*ked up at home, and we all know we should be top. Moaning about it won’t achieve jack shi*. The league is tougher than ever. As much as I was convinced we would humble Spurs, the result didn’t really reflect our superiority as it should have, it actually highlighted our faults which Wenger has been working on, and in many games we have seen how far this team has come.

    Anyone that says bullshit to that is plain naive. After 3 difiicult away victories at Blackburn, Wolves and Everton.. and having the best away record. Nobody can argue that this team hasn’t got the mental capacity to grind out victories. Its just a shame that we haven’t converted our slightly easier home games.

  98. Vela is missing not mentioned in any way, does anyone know whats happpened to him has he pissed off Wenger. It a shame when you see how well Hernandez is doing at MANU

  99. Limestone watching AbuCitey play yesterday they are being to gel and did not not let a 3/0 lead drift away they played more defensively in second half but still looked good

  100. Nice post Chris. And cheers for the shout out lol!

  101. solgooneer – they are one of the most defensive teams in the league, playing against a team that are underperforming – even for them (post Woy). They just happened to have a game where they scored almost every chance they had. Can’t deny that they are a good defensive team, but Arsenal are a different beast altogether. I’d much rather see a team that’s scoring 6 and conceding 5 than a team that scores 1 and keeps a clean sheet. Maybe that’s just me…

  102. pointless post of the day winner…..Solgooner 3.33pm.

  103. shotta-gunna | November 22, 2010 at 3:16 pm |

    Bill – you need a pill, for constipation.
    Blame the manager for underachieving players?
    Blame the manager for inconsistency?
    Blame the manager for sloven mistakes?
    Blame the manager for cockiness?

    Quit slagging the players, you doomer.

  104. My comment to Limestone was in reply to his remark that Mancity had not put a functioning team together yet. Yesterday they did seem to be firing on all cylinders, and when Botello comes back they will be another threat to the top four

  105. GEO their defense used to be very rocky, but now theyve got it together. I hope we can do the same

  106. They’ve got a functioning team, definitely, it’s just a very boring team considering the amount spent on players. If i were a Man City supporter, i would have wanted flairy bitches not 4 defensive midfielders and a group of greedy, self serving, retarded strikers (all vying for one place). Tevez excluded of course. Balotelli is a tempremental little twat who’s going to show himself for exactly that.

    Although i do feel sorry for him getting racist abuse from his own fans when playing for his country – someone’s got to sort out the racism in Italian football. It’s ridiculous.

  107. pointless post of the day runner up…..Solgooner 3.22pm.
    RVP needs to get ready for the weekend PL game. It really is quite simples!

    List of Strikers:
    Robin Van Persie
    Marouane Chamack
    Prince Nicholas Bendtner
    Theo Walcott
    Carlos Vela.
    Jay Thomas.
    Various players on loan

    Wayne Wazza Rooney
    Dimitar Berbatov
    Danny Welbeck (On Loan)
    Diouf (On Loan)

    Why is Hernandez starting more games the Vela?
    Er, let me attempt to count (that includes counting injuries to, say, um Rooney?).

  108. shotta,

    I have to agree with Bill on that point. When a team or any group is performing below its level, you can only blame the manager.

    That’s not the same as saying Wenger was at fault for the loss against Spurs. But he’ll be responsible if the problem is persistent.

    We have a squad that’s probably the best in the league right now. If we’d not dropped the points against Newcastle & Spurs we would be 4 points clear at the top of the league.

    Those were 2 games we lost to teams that didnt even play better than us. That’s a clear sign the team is performing below its level at the moment. The person to set it right is Arsene. My assurance that he’s more than capable of doing that is unshakable

  109. We can do the same. The point is though, that it’s not the technical ability of our defenders, it’s not even the strength and bite to win ugly (as we’ve shown we can do that), it’s the complacency and expectation that we’re going to rinse the ‘lesser’ team without exerting too much effort. The prem, as we all know, is by far the most tightly contested league at this level and anyone can beat anyone, so we need to go into games knowing that, not expecting to win. I know what you’re saying though.

  110. “My assurance that he’s more than capable of doing that is unshakable”

    Love it Ole. That’s how it should be.

  111. Well, after a media lock down and my lunch time discussion with sensible and diverse footballing lunch partners (Chelsea, United, Spurs, & Millwall), I’m over the loss. It doesn’t even hurt to look back on it now. Like a wonderful dream which turned to a nightmare it’s begun to fade. But meh, it doesn’t happen too often, at least not to me. (No I’m not counting the Wigan game because Wigan deserved to win that game by virtue of their grit and desire, Spurs show no such thing).

    This team is utterly capable of winning everything, but they must sort out the mental issues that have plagued us thus far. We as supporters and fans will sing that we are the greatest, but the players must remember the hard work that goes into it, both to get there and to maintain it. If we cannot get over these issues, then we will remain trophyless and deservedly so.

    Fight with hunger, fight through the whistle, never stop fighting.

    Bring on tomorrow. I believe in my team

  112. Frank at 3:04… is that Frank the country mile original Gunner?

    If so, welcome back, you’ve come in our darkest hour!

  113. Jesus man, there are stories coming out about who’s going to replace Wenger… What are these hacks on about? Talk about sensationalism!

  114. @ Gadget
    Frank at 3:04… is that Frank the country mile original Gunner?

    If so, welcome back, you’ve come in our darkest hour!

    LOL at the description of the original frank, but if he is the one then he is certainly welcome back!

  115. Watch your words Ole Gooner; invective is easy.

    Retards? After 5 seasons of evidence?

    Asking for more of the same methods certainly qualifies for that label. It isn’t working. Have we improved? Somewhat. Enough to challenge for honours? Don’t bet your shirt on it. The world could do without brazen ugliness.

  116. This is a post-World Cup season made worse by the constant disruption of international games. Players become tired, mentally if not physically. Concentration levels drop especially when training regimes have less continuity. The top sides will be most vulnerable to these effects for obvious reasons, particularly with the additional burden of injuries and new players getting used to the EPL.

    The EPL probably won’t get going this season until Christmas.

    ….and then Arsenal will win it by a country mile.

  117. Don’t really know what you’re meant to be saying there saloner… If your point is that we’ve not improved enough to challenge for the title, that’s pretty retarded, bordering on brazen ugliness. Have you looked at the league standings in recent weeks? Have you noticed that we’re up there without our best defender and best striker?

  118. Is that the real Frank? Sorry if not, don’t mean to belittle you lol!

  119. Superman returns !

  120. Performance levels of all sides have dropped this season. With the odd exception. One of those exceptions was the first half of our game on Saturday. Sublime football from Arsenal, truly sublime.

    Once we get going we really will do it this season.

  121. Can we all just move on? we don’t need to dwell on this any longer, time to look toward the future and set things straight. If it’s any consolation for my fellow gooners, know that there won’t be any more international breaks to rob the squad of the consistency we need.
    Haven’t all our losses come on the back of an international break? Time to move on and get behind the team, the EPL is not an easy league to win.

  122. Ole Gunner | November 22, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
    “shotta, I have to agree with Bill on that point. When a team or any group is performing below its level, you can only blame the manager.”

    We have to disagree, to a point. My point about being a school-teacher was to say; if a brilliant teacher has class of gifted students but some of the fail to realize their full potential because of inconsistency, sloven-ness, carelessness, cockyness etc who do we blame? The teacher or the student? I may be old school but I hold the student accountable. That is what I did for my kids, btw.
    That is the metaphor I apply to the current group of players at AFC. They have it all and at this stage must be held accountable for their attitude. On that note, I find Samir Nasri to be a brilliant player but his public attitude to Gallas stinks especially since he has won nothing in his career compared to the defender. Be confident yet humble. Show you are truly great by doing what it takes to win!

  123. Saloner,

    I generally consider people who counter fact by referring to what their eyes tell them retards. That’d be like thinking you’re thin because you look into a distorting mirror.

    My simple point is that the notion that Wenger’s sides can’t defend or that Arsene can’t create teams that defend is rubbished by comparing his record to the manager considered one of the best defensive coaches in English football for the last 2.5 decades.

    You then counter that by telling me your eyes tell you otherwise. Who cares what your eyes tell you. Shit-tinted glasses can distort one’s view of where things stand you know.

  124. Limpar @ 11:54am

    Came for THIS.

  125. RvP is staying behind to get in extra fitness training. I can see a corner ahead…

  126. Michael Thomas 4

    You have a responsibilty to use your writing prowess to tell us how it is and what needs to be done. “The squad is sitting on the naughty step at the moment” is one of the understatements of the millenium. Your emotional support on what Wenger has done is clouding your judgement. Let go mate, you are embarrassing yourself. It may be a broader squad but @ a level well below 1998 to 2006. Think!

  127. This is the bit that I find difficult to comprehend: “…we are so at ease in some games that maybe subconsciously we feel we need to go through the motions.” That should not happen. Least of all in the North London derby.

    Having said that, I for one am feeling much more philosophical about the whole thing now, and it is not the North London derby that wins or loses you the league.

    I think the shitty trend that Ole mentioned earlier – concede the fewest shots on target in the league, yet lots of them result in goals – is actually quite a clear consequence of playing a possession game. When an opposing team sees so little of the ball there is of course an exaggerated urgency to their play when they do have it: route-one knocks over the top like Bale’s goal, lumping it into an overloaded box at every given opportunity and throwing everything at it as you know you might not get another roll of the dice. When you reduce a team’s chances to a suckerpunch, you’re going to get a few suckerpunches. It requires red alert team defending as soon as the ball is lost – something that when added to the immense physical demands of playing a possession game in the first place, is easier said than done – esp. after midweek internationals. But we can do it and we do do it 90% of the time.

    I like deano’s analogy, this is the last time we dunk our heads in the ice bucket.

    Those talking about managerial swaps, kangeroo court verdicts on Laurent Koscielny, invoking the ridiculous media scarecrow of The Five Year Drought, defensive drills and scrapping the 4-3-3 are so far off the scent it’s laughable. Random, knee-jerk Nancys.

  128. Ole:

    I agree that we are a better defending team then last year and I said so last week. I still think we have improved but obviously we still can not maintain that level. Wenger has been and is a great manager. The positives from the last 5 years greatly outweigh the negatives. However, to insist that there are not some significant negatives at this point is probably not realistic. The boss is clearly passionate about his beliefs which is his strength but perhaps it lends to some of those negatives. Is he so emotionally attached to his transfer policies, his style of player development, tactics and style of play that he can not modify when needed? This year is especially frustrating. The top of table is weaker then ever and on paper we have our best team since 2003. Yet we are playing down to the level of our competition. Long way to go and all this teeth gnashing will be forgotten if we make a long strong run in the league. We shall see what happens.

  129. shotta,

    I thought Nasri was wrong too. I don’t know what happened btw them. It didn’t appear to be anything too serious, or serious enough to create an additional subtext to the match.

    Samir doesn’t come out of it looking very good. He just seems childish.

    About the mgt thing. Everything I’ve had to manage in my life, my singular understanding has been that a good manager is one who gets results beyond what is expected. If your results are worse than your resources & capabilities should dictate then you’re not doing well.

    By the way, the reason I have so much regard for Wenger is because he achieves stellar results with far less resources than are available to his competitors or peers. For me that has been the genius of Arsene Wenger.

    Right now, we have the best squad in the league. I’m not sure we’re the best first XI yet since we don’t have a settled back 4, and our best striker is not match fit.

    But if you look at our results, if we hadn’t thrown away the lead on Saturday and we hadn’t inexplicably folded to Newcastle & West Brom we’d be top of the league. So this team is somehow achieving results below what even its own performances dictate.

  130. It was pretty amazing how we managed to make Tottenham look like 9 men first half.

  131. And Van der Vaart is a hilarious little player. Like a poodle fed on foie gras. Very Tottenham.

  132. Cupid Stunt | November 22, 2010 at 1:55 pm |

    oh yeah nd wenger is nickin all da money we is bn makin in last 5 yrs. buy Terry, Vidic and Casillas. Prob sloved.
    …………….I think you got the spelling of your name a bit wrong. It should be spelt ‘Stupid Cunt’.

  133. Thinking of nine men & kicks that aren’t given as fouls, and dodgy free kicks given against Arsenal (not an excuse for the goal that followed), reminds me of how RVP got injured.
    It’s easy to imagine a phone call between Slur Fergus & Fat Sam before the Ballackburn game:

    “Kick ‘im. Kick RVP.”

    “Aye (slurps). I’ll get the lads to kick ‘im”

    “Make sure. The ref won’t mind you kicking those typical foreigners and southern, sunshine sucking champagne charlies. We play against nine opponents sometimes, but there you go!”

    The trip to see the Arsenalistas is well timed. Clichy, Arshavin and RVP left behind. COYG.

  134. Bill you’re recidivating.

    Emotionally attached to what?

    Arsene Wenger has the best transfer record in Europe. He is well known as the best spotter of talent around.

    He wins again and again and again. Why should he change his approach? So that you would feel better?

    The club’s budget is the club’s budget. We have no rich sugar daddy which leaves us with one option. Get the bestest bang for our bucks and nobody does that better than Wenger. N-O-B-O-D-Y.

    About tactics, you’re all just blind and don’t really watch football and are easily led astray. Wenger changes his tactics frequently.

    What he doesn’t change is his approach. Which is to go out and try to win most games by taking the initiative and attacking.

    Approach is different from tactics.

    While some moan all over the internet about the tactical change that sees our Alex Song sometimes playing up the field they don’t see that the tactic of positional rotation in midfield has already been a success.

    Watch wherefrom Fabregas played his 3 defence splitting passes against Spurs. The answer is from deep in midfield.

    The point of Fabregas going deep is that it make sit all that much harder for him to be man-marked there. That’s why Heitinga was almost sent off against Everton, he kept being drawn too high up the pitch and being the holding midfielder, having to commit fouls to not be passed around.

    That’s a veritable tactical innovation from Wenger. I can count 100s of such per season.

  135. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Frank!!! Welcome back, old friend!

    That loss will fuel us to the treble. Mark my words.

  136. I buy that theory Limpar.

    Its the boxing equivalent of a more skilled fighter totally controlling a fight to the points that when the dominated gets an rare opportunity to throw one of their own…they put it all on a hayemaker.

    Shouldn’t be a problem to defend against…but if you get hit it could be game over.

    It simply shouldn’t be that way though we have far too much quality, our players need to calm down, focus and believe in the ability they so clearly posses.

    I was thinking the other day how much individuals have come on this season and there is no good reason we shouldn’t be miles ahead.

    Nasri is thrice the player we recieved from Marsaille…some achievement as he wasn’t exactly average when he arrived.

    Song, Walcott, Bendtner, Sagna and Fabianski all appear to have upped it a gear.

    Chamakh, Squillaci and Koscielny are additions of undeniable quality.

    Djourou has returned from injury and looks imperious at times, and Jacky boy has emerged as one of THE exciting young talents in world football.

    That combined with the return from injury for the likes of van Persie and Cesc means that we really ought to start acting like the sum of our parts.

    The football we played in the first half against Spurs was awe inspiring. And I said it before, more often than not playing like that for a half alone will be enough to bury most teams.

    But if we can keep it up for 2 half’s the footballing world is Arsenal’s oyster.

  137. Ole our tactics are way to predictable and should be mixed up a bit more. Perhaps you are the blind man as there are way more of us that can see it. Perhaps you just cant.

  138. Seemes to me that if you think a bloke is a fucking toad, shaking hands with him is dishonest. I support Samir Nasri in both his judgement and his action.

  139. Frank,

    I was worried he’d be a little too focused on that “part” of the match, but his calmness in the 9th proved me wrong!!

  140. Well, that certainly sounds like Frank alright.

  141. I agree with Deano

  142. dean0 | November 22, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
    “Nasri is thrice the player we recieved from Marsaille…some achievement as he wasn’t exactly average when he arrived.”
    Quite right. I am amazed by this guys talent. But like too many, he still behaves like a child. You are a fookin 23 yr old adult. Stop obsessing over Gallas and the seat in a bus three years ago. Stop fookin around what happened in Sth Africa; be very happy you were not part of that disaster for heaven’s sake. Stop being baited by the press to be controversial.
    Focus your fookin energies on winning football games, on winning trophies.
    Except for Clichy, none of the current group at Arsenal have won jack-shit in England. Its up to the players to take that final step. Wenger keeps bigging them up but like the proverbial horse, he can take you to the water but he can’t force you to drink.

  143. Seems to me that Samir Nasri’s performance was excellent on Saturday. He had every right to underline the fact that William Gallas is a toad….as evidenced by his toady remarks after the game.

  144. Interesting (but obvious) that most reports of AW stating that several lower teams e.g. Spuds, Villa, Man City, Liverpool could win the league, seem to miss out the word ‘mathematically’. Probably don’t know what it means.

  145. Ah, but when the well runs dry the proverbial horses will seek to drink at the mirage.

  146. Sorry, NJ, didn’t spot your comment. The little dig in Samir’s face by the toad Gallas sums it up nicely. No handshake-childish and immature, elbow to the face-manly and honourable. Fuck off and play with your new friends, cunt.

  147. Loosing to Newcastle on a bad day is humiliating enough. IF this loss to tottenham does not wake the players up i doubt anything can. IF i were them now id be so imbarresed id be scared to show my face outside my flat. This must have woken them up. this must have taught them a lesson. I hope this can be the point of no return for us. the point where we went so low that the only way is upwards. this must be the most humiliating moment in AWS history as a manager in England. I hope the players feel the same, if they do they will correct their actions. Nobody will want to feel like this ever again. This is worse than the Wigan loss las spring cos there were no excuses this time. We had a good team on the pitch, some quality playes.

    If they feel only half as bad as the supporters over this loss, they will have to bounce back, nobody can walk around with that feeling for to long, its just humanly impossible. Im hoping for a great CL game and for us to take our humiliation, anger and hatred out on them and Villa ths week..

  148. Frank,

    No worries. I thought Gallas was very lucky with that whack in the face. Whenever such incidents are written off as accidents I have to laugh. These are athletes who have complete control of their bodies in every way, even at highest of speeds. So for me, Gallas knew exactly who was breathing down his neck and knew exactly where his hand would swing.

  149. “a seven point lead at the top of the Premier League has not materialised. Instead, a two point deficit has remained.”

    Exactly, it feels like we swore never to bypass Chelsea or United when we get the chance. It happened last year too, it’s annoying and borderline fishy.

  150. For me our 3 home losses are all different kinds.

    WBA – literally didnt show up to play, Almunia doesnt exactly cover himself in glory, WBA play their game of the season, we lose 3-2. Problem = a hefty dose of overconfidence sprinkled with some complacency.

    Newcastle – just terribly unlucky. Couldnt break the deadlock. Woodwork rattled numerous times. They score on their first and only shot on target. Problem = Poor luck mixed with a well disciplined side and a dash of Andy Carroll’s ponytail.

    Tottenham – complete collapse. 2-0 up at home to anyteam should result in nothing more than 3 pts. At no point in the other losses did we even have the lead. And let’s be honest, the fact that its Spurs makes it seem so much harder to take. Problem = A smattering of complacency mixed with a smidgen of poor finishing and Song’s “foul” on Modric.

    I guess what I’m saying in making this analysis is that hopefully we can learn from all 3 of these defeats. But honestly, this team has something to prove to us, themselves, and the world. I hope Saturday can galvinize our squad. I wait with great anxiety, much like one waiting to see if a loved one can pull through a hard time in their life. Their is little we can do, but offer our support!

  151. Don’t worry, G4E. We will beat the Mancs and Chavski in the EPL this year.

  152. Sorry Bill, I got frustrated with my lack comments. Don’t want to call anybody blind.

    I have been very frustrated for a long time about how silly ideas get developed. One, that Wenger doesn’t do tactics. Or that he doesn’t change or adapt his tactics.

    It’s not true. Wenger’s version of the 4-4-2 was refreshing and innovative in football. Some people think that the only tactics that exist are negative ones.

    Some others fail to realise that tactics are a small part of football. The major parts are preparation, skill, fitness, harmony and a feeling for the game. Tactics can sometimes edge matters but no one tactic is supreme.

    Rafa Benitez is a tactical supremo. Few people in football understand the minutae of tactics like he does but he’s not proven capable of identifying and nurturing talent, or managing limited resources.

    Mourinho has contributed nothing tactically to football beyond being the first manager I ever heard say his strategy was not to have the ball. Everything else he does is just the same thing again and again. Play the same ultra-negative teamshape, stifle the opposition. That’s who never alters his tactics.

  153. Great that Aaron Ramsey is playing in the reserves game tomorrow. Soon be back to full strength.

  154. Frank – I disagree re Samir.
    You might whack me in the face, rhetorically.
    But I’d still diagree.

  155. Just TV and Abou Diaby to come back now.

  156. Fine so you disagree, Shotta. Samir is a backstreet Marseille kid..switchblade stuff. I like that. But he has one over-riding attribute that trumps anything William Gallas has.

  157. In fact he has two …..

  158. Attribute 1: He is an Arsenal player
    Attribute 2: He is not and never will be a Spud player.

  159. well well, franks back. hello mate where have you been throughout all our hard times. better late then never i suppose.

  160. I have been or rather I am being repaired

  161. Samir Nasri is both an excellent footballer and a boy who invests emotionally into the fun and drama of team rivalry. I don’t generally like to see handshake snubs, but I much less like to see people making money by telling tales the way Gallas did. Anyone who does that sort of thing doesn’t deserve a handshake.

    Gallas was a very good player for us, on yesterdays evidence he is continuing to be a good player for Tottenham…but come on….the bloke is a tool.

  162. By the way welcome back to the “real Frank.”
    Now we know the battle is on.
    Never has the EPL presented us with such a golden opportunity. We cannot let defeat be snatched from the jaws of victory.
    I can feel it. Can this team?

  163. I hope so Frank, we need that.

  164. Ole:

    End of the day it was just a really bad loss. Fortune has helped us with the weakness in the table around us so its not a deadly loss. You have been an AFC fan much longer then I, but I can not remember a loss that was more disappointing except perhaps the CL final in 2006, and that one was disappointing for a much different reason. I agree with Shotta @ 7:57. EPL has never given us a better opportunity. Hope the boss can figure out how to plug the leaks.

  165. Congrats, Gris Gris to your Colorado Rapids. Kroenke wins his first footy trophy and it isn’t with Arsenal…

  166. The aviator is defor original frank…

    Frank, Welcome back… No mild way of saying it, YOU WERE MISSED!

  167. watching that video of Denilson @Kitchen Sink 5:18… I love Denilson. He’s ALWAYS there tactically as an outlet without the ball, always makes himself available when we have possession, and when we don’t he’s constantly breaking up the opposition’s play. I’m so glad he plays sideways passes for Arsenal. And didn’t someone say he was Arsene’s denied son? It must be true.

  168. Tan@ 5.39pm
    “Cupid Stunt | November 22, 2010 at 1:55 pm |

    oh yeah nd wenger is nickin all da money we is bn makin in last 5 yrs. buy Terry, Vidic and Casillas. Prob sloved.
    …………….I think you got the spelling of your name a bit wrong. It should be spelt ‘Stupid Cunt’.”

    Lol – hook line and sinker! oh bugger, didn’t realise i’d misplelt the name…

  169. Here’s the team I’d like to see tonight:

    – – – – – – – – – -Fabianski – – – – – – – – – – –
    Eboue – Squillaci – Koscielny – Gibbs
    – – – – – – – – – – – Song – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – Wilshere – Denilson – – – – – – – –
    Nasri – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Rosicky
    – – – – – – – – – – Bendtner – – – – – – – – – – –

    Strong, possession midfield – with Rosicky pulling the strings and Nasri playing off Bendtner who gets his chance up front. Eboue (I think Sagna played about 260 mins last week) and Gibbs bombing forward on the overlap, covered by a central three taking it in turns to cover. Koscielny sent straight back out to have a stormer and shut everyone up.

    The other option of course, is to release Theo. He does love the Champions League. I guess then you’d rest Nasri…


  170. Watching Arsenal play in a quarry against a team wearing Arsenal home kit and with fans called Arsenalistas is going to be a bit confusing tonight. However once play starts the difference will be obvious….


  171. I like that lineup Limpar, although i would play Theo from the start tonight, to give him more game time.

    I miss Diaby now… With him and Ramsey back soon, there’s going to be some real battles to get into those CM slots… That’s a choice of Song, Denilson, Cesc, Jack, Ramsey, Diaby, Eastmond – then there’s Rosicky and Nasri who can happily play in there. What a great choice…

    Oh yeah, i’d quite like to see Djourou with Koscielny tonight too. I’ve been so impressed with Djourou after a slow start (inevitable after so long out). But he’s looking awesome now, back to his best before he got injured.

  172. I’m loving the look of the Estádio Municipal de Braga; carved into a huge quarry. You can see in a picture on that the almost sheer rock face of the quarry is right behind one goal, and apparently behind the other is an open view over the city stretching out below. The design is also in part inspired by Incan bridges. I’m going out on a limb and saying I reckon Finsbury would approve of this stadium.

  173. Good point, Geo. Squillaci has played a lot of games recently. Barely had a rest.

  174. I like the line up too limpar, I just hope for a good response so we can put the weekend’s result aside and insure qualification so we can rotate in the last match.

    As for Samir no handshake, it seems like a childish response to a small incident but if you look back the small argument about Samir taking Henry’s seat in the bus and being told off by Gallas. But the consequences were enormous, first they blamed the Euro 2008 fiasco on Benzema and Nasri who where the scapegoat because they did not respect the elders. Read by this Gallas, France main defender at the time, did not like them so they were at fault.
    Secondly, this incident was the reason Nasri and later Benzema were excluded from the group until the South African strike showed who were the real problems.

    So from a mistakenly taken seat in a bus, Nasri was depicted in the French press as a stupid arrogant brat and was excluded from the French squad for two years because Gallas did not like him! If I was in Nasri’s shoes I would have done exactly the same and maybe would have stamped on his crouch by “mistake”.


    Fuck off Pyles Palmer
    Fuck off Alan Hansen
    Fuck off Richard Keys
    Fuck off Andy Dunn
    Fuck off John Richardson
    Fuck off Rob Beasley
    Fuck off Brian Woolnough
    Fuck off Tony Cascarino
    Fuck off Stan Collymore
    Fuck off Trevor Francis

  176. we cant ask everyone to fuck off. i think they are entitled to take the piss and laugh at us when we loose a match like that. However they will quickly shut their gobs ones the team responds.

    But you can only laugh at that loss, and you can only point and scream loosers after that loss against Tottenham. Cos that is what it looked like. And we as supporters have to admit that. We are still supporters and we still lover arsenal but that loss was awful!

    But we will show them, we always will. Still though, anyone who does not take the piss out of our preformance on saturday. well they must be blind or something. thats how piss poor that was.

  177. Fuck off Poodle.

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