Matheus Brace Means This Week Is Not Rosé For Arsenal

Champions League, Group H
SC Braga 2 – 0 Arsenal

1 – 0 Matheus (83)
2 – 0 Matheus (90)

Two late goals mean that Arsenal’s abysmal record in Portugal continues but more importantly, qualification for the Round of 16 is still open to question. The defeat means that a win against Partizan at The Emirates in a fortnight’s time is required to be sure of coming at least second in the group. Should that be coupled with a Braga win in Dontesk, Arsenal will have bragging rights for top place. But that is a big IF.

An Arsenal side bereft of attacking fluidity made hard work of breaking down Braga in the first eighty minutes but two refereeing indecisions within five minutes as the match reached its’ climax, changed the outcome from stalemate to a home victory.

With fifteen minutes remaining, Carlos Vela was scythed down in the area but booked for diving as opposed to a penalty being awarded by a referee who was barely ten yards away and with a clear view of the incident. Inexplicably, he received no better information from the fifth official behind the Braga goal.

Graham Poll this morning believes that Vela was possibly a contributing factor to the decision, his dive may have been considered theatrical by the Hungarian referee. That close to the final whistle, a goal would probably have been decisive. Presuming that the kick was converted and that is by no means a certainty this season.

Theatrics is not a word normally associated with Emmanuel Eboue yet having been booked in the first half for such antics, this can be the only reason why Matheus was allowed to remain on the pitch with ten minutes remaining for ending the Ivorian’s contribution. Having made three substitutions, Arsenal were left with ten men until the final whistle and failed to hold on.

The two decisions influenced the outcome more directly than the failure to breakthrough in the preceding seventy five minutes. Post match, Wenger railed against everything and everyone, believing that on any other night Arsenal would have won. It is hard to believe that is true, the manager admitting as much observing that his much-changed side did not create any clear openings.

Wenger’s changes to the team did not include resting his captain beforehand, despite persistent rumours that he would. The manager wished he had afterwards with a fresh hamstring injury arising, speculation that he will be out for several weeks was rife but the club will scan the injury today. Whilst losing any world class player is detrimental to any team, in this instance I wonder if it will be the decisive factor in sparking the players into life.

Fabregas improves the team’s passing but in some respects inhibits others; they look for him frequently and it appears at times that he casts the same shadow over the side that Henry did before him. Nasri and Wilshere are capable of playmaking as are Rosicky and to a lesser degree, Arshavin. The loss may not be as bad as it initially seems, the ‘deputies’ are themselves outstanding players.

Last night’s match was largely forgettable. Arsenal created precious few real opportunities, too frequently stifled by opposition numbers. Walcott brought a timely interception from Felipe early on and then dragged a shot wide when a goal seemed likely. Bendtner diverted a header into the side netting but Fabianski was largely untroubled in the first half.

The second half was in a similar vein. Bendtner was isolated too easily by the defence and when space was found, his touch belied his belief that he should be an automatic first choice. Nasri and Chamakh were brought on to add zest with Fabregas leaving through injury and Bendtner necessity.

When Arsenal were reduced to ten men, closing out the point in their hands should have been the paramount objective. They failed. Twice in the final seven minutes, Matheus breached the defence. Both were avoidable.

Johan Djourou summed up the situation perfectly in his critical assessment of the ninety minutes,

It’s crazy. We had the game under control and two counter-attacks and silly, silly mistakes – we can be disappointed because we should have won the game easily, it’s very hard to take.

A point would have qualified us so it’s a shame to concede goals like that, I just cannot understand. We have to look again, that shouldn’t happen. It was a lack of concentration, the team needs to concentrate and do better than that.

The team needs to know that now we have to wake up, it was a big wake-up call. We have a big game against Partizan and we have to win that to qualify for the knock-out stage.

The season is apparently in freefall yet we find ourselves in November with two points to make up at the top of the table, the quarter finals of the Carling Cup ahead and qualification in the Champions League very much in Arsenal hands. Four defeats in six matches mean November has been in stark contrast to October. That does not however state emphatically that there is nothing left to play for, that nothing can be won. It is ludicrous to believe that to be the case yet the players have in the last 130 minutes offered little evidence to supportany claim that they are on the path to glory.

Form is transient. The team that was back on track is now hurtling with the gay abandon of a runaway train towards oblivion, so we are told. In the past a siege mentality has been highly beneficial to Wenger and his predecessors. Invoking that by including the manical element of Arsenal support might just be the biggest kick up the arsenal that the players need.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on November 24, 2010, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 330 Comments.

  1. Devil's Advocate

    Sigh.

  2. Don’t want to be an apologist. But has everyone forgotten we were down to 10 men?

    When we get counterattacked from our own setpiece, you have to ask why it could happen. The answer in this case is that the holding player who, up till that point had been first to every ball, was covering in defence and the midfielders ahead of him didn’t cover.

    it’s annoying because it’s the same problem we saw a few times last season and which cost us against the tinies.

    But this time around there’s a mitigating factor in that we were down to 10 men.

    The second goal was irrelevant. The players were trying to lead the player into a blind alley, win the ball cleanly, and start an attack. It was the last minute of extra time, they didn’t want to concede a foul and let Braga close the game out.

    Squillaci didn’t cover himself in glory on the second goal. He should have read the situation better and quicker.

    I haven’t seen the video again but wasn’t there a foul on Denilson?

  3. Devil's Advocate

    At least Ramsey is ok. First game back. Yes, clutching at straws for hope and good news.

  4. well well. now im not going to slag off this team anymore. maybe we just have to except the fact that they are not as good as we thought they were.

  5. Fans are entitled to behave however suits them but I do find it rich that we all talk about the players lacking character. A lot of the fans lack character no less. The reaction to the 2 last results have been hysterical.

    Lets show some mental strength, gooners. Success never is delivered on a platter. There’ll always be setbacks on the way.

  6. truth is this is the easiest champions league group we have ever had and they are strugling. time to batton down the hatches and get behind them coz i think they bloody well need it more then i thought they did.

  7. Ole,

    Do you really this this team will deliver success? Really. Braga are sh1te they are 10th in a cr@p league yet we couldn’t even avoid defeat. We weren’t down to 10 men for the whole game but we were rubbish throughout the game.

  8. For all those slagging off Denilson, I’ll say this… was it the same diminutive Denilson of old ? Not that I saw.. I saw somebody that looked like he was getting stuck in like a premiership player. I thought he was outstanding. Sure, he was caught out for the goal – but he does not have lightning pace. But his physical attributess showed that he is a million miles away from the “lightweight” he has been dubbed by the doomer gang.

  9. Well the only good things to come out of that game were Limpar’s post of 11.51 and Grand Oral Disseminator’s at 9.11. Very good chaps.

    Limestone Gunner’s correct about your choice of flooring though. Nice bit of recycled oak for me evry time. Very shocked at that. Laminate’s for chav and spud fans.

  10. AIC

    We were but let’s face it, until we went to 10 men Braga didn’t look like scoring either. That the scorer should not have been on the pitch is galling.

    It does not take away from a poor Arsenal performance but it was more influential on the game than is being noted in some quarters.

    YW

  11. “The two decisions influenced the outcome more directly than the failure to breakthrough in the preceding seventy five minutes.”
    Fraid I disagree with you Yogi. This is a team who we put 6 past a few weeks ago and have lost 3 out of their last 4 games. They are mid-table in a crap league. Motivation and desire seems to be missing at the moment and that has to rest at the feet of the manager. One shot on target simply isn’t good enough.

  12. Yogi,

    The point is is that we should have been able to hold on even with 10 men to get the point we needed. We couldn’t do it. We “lost concentration” according to Johann Djourou. Maybe, but maybe we bottled it.

  13. AIC,

    I have no doubt in my mind. The only question is when.

    It’s all well and good to say Braga are shite and all that. But they never came close to scoring. Denilson & Djourou bossed them around & they had to resort to kicking us around.

    In the last 15 minutes we went for the win & were looking good to win until……

    Until Eboue went off injured and we were down to 10 men.

    By the way, did you notice a change in tactics yesterday? Did you notice that Arsenal set up to always have 8-10 men behind the ball?

    All I heard was people moaning about how the team wasn’t playing well.

  14. All is not yet lost given how inconsistent all the PL title contenders are, but in the sudden-death format of the CL (should we get there) it’s hard to see this side not making a mess of things in the knockout stages. Would dropping into the Europa League be the worst thing in the world? Arguably not.

    This is a squad which was good enough to hammer six past both Braga and Blackpool early in the season, and tough enough to eke out battling wins at Wolves and Everton more recently. It’s hardly rubbish. Inconsistent? Oh yes.

    At times like Saturday and last night, we lack leadership in the spine of the team – a Vieira or a Campbell in their pomp – who will not allow the team to sit back when they get nervous, but instead step up to the challenge and press the ball even harder. Our entire back line became increasingly timid as the game went on – Sol would have stepped in and kicked some people up in the air in a “thou shalt not pass” style. Vermaelen is the only defender we have who can do this – how we missed him last night!

    We are simply too passive in difficult situations, and the second goal last night was a prime example of this. Three defenders around Matheus. One of them should have stepped up and tackled him – or at least fouled him. Instead they all backed off. Sol would have just flattened him- assuming Vieira or Gilberto (or Song) hadn’t committed a ‘tactical’ foul in midfield first.

    Yes, Wenger is partly to blame for the players’ attitude, but leadership isn’t something you can really coach. The players either have it or they don’t. Aside from Vermaleen, no one – not even Cesc – in this current group does. Pundits often talk about having 11 captains on the pitch. When things are going badly, we have none.

    http://thearmchairsportsfan.com/2010/11/23/arsenal-their-own-worst-enemies-yet-again/

  15. i have excepted this team have a better chance winning sweet fa again. too poor at the back to win the big ones. so lets just get behind them. like banging your head against a wall in wanting wenegr to sign a decent defender.

  16. lol Duke, but you are quite right. This team certainly needs all the help it can get. I now have my doubts as to whether even that will be enough.
    All I hope for is that we play good football and score some sweet goals along the way.

  17. As for the game, it was bloody awful. We really must do better.

    Their second goal though, didn’t it remind you of the sort we used to score regularly? A mixture of skill, determination and sheer ruthlessness. I loved it as a goal.

    That seems to me to be the missing link at the moment. Soemone to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and shake it until it breaks. Many of this team have done it before.

  18. Denilson was awesome i thought. At around 60 mins he’d made 65 passes and completed 87%. He was making important interceptions (as always), knocking accurate yet tricky passes, making some great challenges – all the while getting lumps kicked out of him at every opportunity.

    Gibbs was really good too. Showed some great skill when going forward, final ball still needs some work, but overall i thought he did a good job.

    Djourou was immense for pretty much the whole match. He’s looking the real deal these days, showing that it wasn’t just glimpses that we saw a year or 2 ago.

  19. Flint McCullough

    Thanks for the calming report, YW.

    That was just poor, particularly when you want to see a statement made after the Tottenham debacle. Not helped by a simply awful referee but still no excuse.

    We have to get Cesc sorted,even if it takes 2/3 months. I have never believed in playing a less than fully fit player regardless of what he brings. In this case Cesc has been trying desperately to find some sort of form, whilst not sure of how far he could extend himself. At best this has led to patchy performances from him & as he is its barometre, the team has also functioned in a similar way. It has not worked & we have enough quality, particularly in Nasri & Jack to get by without him.

    All is not lost, but this squad does now have to prove to us that it does have the character & determination to succeed, whilst AW similarly has to show he can motivate them to do so.

  20. Yogi,
    Braga started creating chances even before Eboue got injured. Who knows were it would have led given our recent form.

    Sure it didn’t help that we were down to 10 men, but why should it be Denilson marking that Matheus guys for the first goal, when everyone knows Denilson isn’t close to being our fastest. Why wasn’t Gibbs marking him instead? Considering 1) we only needed a draw 2) the number of goals we’ve conceded from counterattacks in the past late in the game, shouldn’t we have this part of our game better planned?
    Are we really learning from our mistakes?

  21. Ole,

    A team with no defence and an inability to deal with pressure situations consistently will win nothing.

  22. It’s determination, tenacity and motivation that we’re showing signs of lacking, not a big shiny new defender. We all know that this team can be devastating if in the right mood, we just need them to snap out of whatever weird mental state that they’re in and win matches in the way we know they can. Up the tempo a bit and bust a gut to close down at every opportunity and we can beat anyone…

  23. The team are very low after the Spuds defeat, and football is all about confidence and belief.. having said that I’m certainly not happy with the club at the moment. The Emirates is shit.. The team is a mixture of world class players and youngsters/mediocre players.. Both have done reasonably well but neither Squillaci or Kosnielny are the CB we needed. Johann is that man, and if he can stay injury free should be in the first eleven always. Bendtner is a player I have always supported but he is having a nightmare at the moment. Denilson is a good squad player, nothing more. Arshavin is the anthesis of what an Arsenal player should be, despite his clear genius, and our captain is a moody little sod whos head just isnt in the right place.
    I can’t wait til Jack and Ramsey are the heartbeat of this team. Cesc can fuck off now.

  24. No defence? Were you not watching Djourou’s masterclass AIC? 2 counter attacking goals when we were pushing high up to win the game does not mean we have no defence. We’ve done it to some of the ‘best defensive teams’ going over the years. Countless times.

  25. @Geo ….. Denilson was AWESOME????!!… Come on now.

  26. Oh the horror, the horror! Hope the nightmare ends Saturday. But oh the horror!

  27. Harsh words about Cesc there mate. He’s struggling with injury this year, itching to get back to his best, and this month’s football is enough to make anyone moody. I am looking forward to seeing that midfield combo for years to come though…

  28. Of course I prefer real wood flooring and one day I’ll have some but I won’t be in this place for more than a year or two and laminate adds a bit of value over the shitty old carpet I just took out. Plus I got half the laminate for free so if I didn’t choose to use it I’d’ve been a complete mug.

    Spud fan indeed. Do me a favour.

    Agree with you on Grand Oral’s post. I know about six OfficeFootballMen and they can all go and get f*cked today.

  29. Up until the last 10 mins he was awesome. Don’t know what game you were watching..?

  30. I think this ‘Braga are shit and doing terribly in a shit league’ talk is utterly pointless. We were fairly lacklustre, but Braga were well organised and defended deep. They will have played very differently last night (pumped up at home in the Champions League against a top European team) to the way they may play week in week out in their league.

    In a game like this where a home team is defending deep and an early goal doesnt come it is often the case that one key breakthrough is the difference between the teams. Yogi is right to point out that that breakthrough came for us but was cheated from us by an appalling referee.

  31. Excuses excuses Limpar – we all know you’re a secret sp*d really… 😉

  32. Gunner From Nigeria

    I am considering running away from the internet because the abuse directed at the manager and some players coupled with some things i have read is throwing me off balance.
    Putting things into perspective, i would prefer that AW makes an adjustments to the team by laying more emphasis on defending. The FA cup victory of 2005 was achieved by the defence as well as the CL finals we got to in 2006.
    We have to cut out some of our attacking instincts to achieve our aim of winning trophies.
    The end justifies the means when its ultimately a success.

  33. Yeah, I’m like Tom Sizemore in Point Break, Geo. Deep-cover.

  34. A team with no defence and an inability to deal with pressure situations consistently will win nothing.

    Characterise it whichever way you want.

    We’re at a low point. If you judge the team after losing away to Braga & say they can’t win, it’d be like me saying we’d definitely win when we bash them 6-0.

  35. Geo,

    I agree with your appraisal of the performances. I do think that Cesc needs to be interchanged with Nasri/Wilshere/Rosicky now and in the future. His comment about the number of games that he has played should be taken very seriously, I believe. I’d also like to see Diaby (injuries allowing) taking this role on more as he offers us pace and directness that might not exist in the centre at present.

    My view here is that such directness and pace could have been very effective last night. No one could help but notice the instance/s when Theo actually sent good balls across the box and Bendtner and our midfield were still outside the box at the point that it rolled by.

    Speed kills and this is a feature that does distinguish the Invicible side from its successors. Despite the two goals last night (for which I feel YW has given a good analysis), it was our inability to break down a team that always has time to get ten men behind the ball. Theo is not enough without supporting speed. That makes Diaby and Arshavin important options in my view.

    The squad is good enough: of that I have no doubt. We need to adjust aspects to achieve what I still expect this season.

    COYG

  36. You know an awful lot about films Limpar. Perhaps too much…

  37. Geo,

    I thought that Johann did well but I am talking about the defending as a team. We conceded 2 goals to a team that can kindly be described as sh1te last night in the last 10 mins. We conceded 3 goals to WBA at home – a newly promoted team which also missed a pen, we conceded to another newly promoted team and lost. We conceded 3 times out of 4 attempt on target to Sperz at home in the second half. How many clean sheets have we had in the last few years?
    Defensively we are a joke and unless this improves we will win nothing.

  38. YW/AIC,

    I do not agree that we gave a bad performance last night. Sure, the last quarter of the field saw a lack of incisiveness but we performed well across the first three quarters of the pitch up until the late stages. Yogi has already outlined the impact of refereeing decisions on their goals and therefore the result.

    I do share YW’s views on the rest of the issues though: particularly concerning Cesc. I’m maybe just a little less angry this morning.

  39. lol Limpar…

    Dgob – I agree. Particularly about the pace and directness. It will be great to have Diaby back, as you say, and his nimble feet and change of pace can really make the difference in tight matches like that.

    NB52 was coming far to deep too and after laying off a pass, you can’t rely on him to bust a gut to get into the 6 yard box for the final ball. (to be fair it’d be hard for anyone to get there when Theo’s charging down the wing like that), but he was so often in the wrong position for a central striker last night. He’s been great since coming back from injury, but last night he didn’t show the determination i hoped from him – especially given the competition for places at the mo. Hopefully he’ll be more up for it next time.

  40. Ole,

    I am judging the team over the last few seasons. We make the same mistakes, we have the same weaknesses.

    Other than blind faith and wishful thinking there is nothing to base your argument on. Look at the facts, look at the big games in which we are regularly outclassed and even when we are not we find ways to lose like Chelsea this year. Look at the lack of a winning mentality in the squad, a number of players who have some talent but don’t produce, a team that’s less than the sum of its parts and a manager who is losing his way. All overseen by a board whose idea of a trophy is paying off debt and who believe that trophies are not a requirement at a supposedly top club.

    I have doubted the direction of “Arsenal PLC” for a long time so please don’t think its based on the sh1te on offer last night, or Saturday, or two weeks ago, or the last time we got tanned by manU, Chelsea, WBA….

  41. Can’t know too much about film imo consols! massive film fanatic myself…

  42. Braga got away with countless fouls and a very very dodgy penalty call. We were very much in total control of the game without creating much. Would United or Chelsea create much after having changed 6 players?

    I don’t think some fans on here have the mental capacity to consider such factors. We won harder away games at Everton, Wolves, and Blackburn, yet you get cunts like AIC coming on saying we ain’t good enough after 2 very unlucky shocking defeats. The media does a good job on manipulating the minds of certain gooners. Last night should have been a very good away victory, the referee bottled it, not Arsenal. Get your facts right AIC and the rest, the shit you come out with is hilarious.

  43. Dgob,

    Who said that we gave a bad performance? It was hopeless, desparate. Bad does not even begin to cover it. This is Braga FFS!

  44. chris,

    We haven’t been good enough for years. Results like Sperz, WBA, last night are not just freaks. They have been years in the making…

  45. AIC,

    Our views obviously differ. For example, your appraisal of Braga rings bells and recalls many sagacious pundits and their ability to categorise and then dismiss so-called lesser teams. To me this seems a little arrogant and removed from the realities of playing a professional sport in real time and against real opponents. Woosh..

    Baby and bath water.

    Bye

  46. AIC i agree that our defence needs to tighten up for sure, but to say we have no defence is ridiculous. A higher pressing game with more emphasis on defending counter attacks will help to minimise this worrying habit we’re developing of conceding from very few chances. We have been playing the whole season without our best defender too dont forget.

  47. Genius headline! The only ray of sunshine in these dark November days!

  48. True Ole,

    We are at a low point. But I can imagine most people judging this team aren’t doing so from one or two losses. There’s a clear trend going back a few years to base a ‘trophy pessimism’ on.

    I have no doubts, we’ll get back to winning ways again soon. Hopefully that would be as soon as this weekend against Villa. The real question though is not our ability to trash the odd team 6-nil, but our ability to maintain a sustained challenge to the title, better than we have managed in the past.

    I had believed that we had a very good chance this year, if one factors in our weakened rivals and our own stronger and more experienced squad. In the light of the recent results, it doesn’t seem like we are all that improved in the main areas we had weaknesses in. A shame really but only Wenger can fix the problem.

  49. Keep the faith folks- something tells me we are going to see something special from this team this season. Sure we are struggling at the moment making silly mistakes etc but young players need to make such mistakes to learn from them. Crucially the mistakes have so far not been catastrophic! It is most likely we will qualify possibly even win the group- the siege mentality can help galvanise the team. Cesc’s injury may be a blessing in disguise as it may encourage others to take responsibility and push the team forward- Step up Nasri! And the feel good factor from Ramsey returning may just be the missing ingredient! I am optimistic we will get a result at Villa and who knows from there!

  50. Henristic,

    Every season is different & has been different. The problems haven’t all been the same. The only constant is that we won nothing

  51. For me, if a team or person is always close to the top & not slipping down, it’s reasonable to think at some point he will indeed reach the top.

    Despite everything what we’re complaining about is stagnation. We’re not in decline. It’s the final push towards delivering that’s proving tough.

  52. Gunner From Nigeria

    Its saddens me that all we have to do to be a GREAT team and conquer the EPL and CL is to sort out our defending and, we are not doing it. I get so emotional when we lose and, its pains to lose the same way over and over again. Teams either beat us either by set pieces and counter attacking after soaking our pressure. Why can’t we counter these obvious tactics from teams. Why? What is wrong for Christ sake?

  53. Arsenal are the latest team to be linked with Lorient striker Kevin Gameiro.

    Reports in the French media suggest that initial talks have already started between the Gunners and the French club.

    The forward has been a reported target for Premier League rivals Tottenham for a number of months but Arsene Wenger has now joined the race to sign him.

    Arsenal were said to be originally interested in Lille frontman Gervinho but any deal there may have been to bring the Ivorian to the Emirates appears to have fallen through.

    AC Milan join the two north London clubs to make up a trio of teams interested in Gameiro, 23.

  54. Now AIC says its all Wengers fault..

    What is Wenger’s fault AIC, why can’t you put some brain cells together to realise that the league is a lot harder than it use to be? You do know that Arsenal has always, always always struggled away in Europe, now we actually look like going places and winning. You fail to look beyond the obvious, and I feel deeply sorry for you. When it comes to the end of the season, I know for sure you won’t enjoy when we win something. You will be silent, like you always are when you have nothing negative to jump on.

  55. Sorry AIC, I don’t buy into this conclusion that there is a systemic failure to defend over time and nothing is being done. We have signed Vermaelen, Koscienly and Squillachi in space of the last 15 months. This seems to me is very real action.

    I suspect Wenger will go into the transfer market in January and make a signing if he feels it is necessary.

  56. What’s he like Muppet? Kevin Gameiro, I mean. Not AIC.

  57. We’ve also had a completely rebuilt defence this year, so there are bound to be teething issues, even similar issues to seasons past – because Gallas Toure etc spent a couple years learning from those mistakes, now Djourou, Koscielny, Squillachi are finding it out for themselves.. Any team who has to play a completely new defence is going to struggle to be rock solid defensively, whether it be Chelsea, City, Bolton or whatever. So patience is required, no matter how many times we’ve heard that.

  58. Folks let’s not kid ourselves; that was the worst Arsenal play I have ever seen in a long while. A couple observations; playing Fabregas just behind the main striker if that striker is bendner is an absolute waste of his talent- no wonder he’s constantly frustrated.Theo & Vela are only useful when the team is cruise control, otherwise, their one dimensional approach to the game us useless at best and criminally negligent at worst. If Arshavin is lazy then Theo has elevated it to an art form. For crying out loud what was Denilson doing in the middle of the pack? Giving away possession and exposing the back for consistently. Finally, if Nasri and co was rested because of fatigue how about squilachi? He has played almost all the games in CL and PL. . He seems tired a times. The only bright spot last night was seeing Gibbs and Johan , both of them were excellent.

  59. Ole,

    I’ve not seen any reasonable argument that says we’re in decline. But being close to the top without significant overall improvement shouldn’t be acceptable either, considering the talent and resources at our disposal.

    We can’t simply assume that by being close to the top for long enough, it will one day happen for us.

  60. Have to confess consolsbob, I’ve never heard of him – Kevin Gamerio that is, not AIC, who we see in bad times !

  61. Results like Sperz, WBA, last night are not just freaks. They have been years in the making…

    This is football, have you ever played the game? No team can win every game, same goes for Chelsea (4 losses), United, and City and the rest. You seriously need to pull your feet back down to the ground. You are obviously still in dream world since the days of the invincibles. We have a great squad, options all over, yet you still try to validate your selfish supporter attitude. What do you want AIC, instant success, or bragging rights? Try hopping down to the bridge with the rest of the glory hunter cunts. Arsenal will remain Arsenal, win lose or draw.

  62. I guess there are Chelsea and Manu fans who tot up lists of past defeats from earlier on in the season, and from seasons gone by… and reel them out from atop their carts like the Dead Collector in the plague years… “Bring out yer dead… We lost to Wigan before last summer… Bring out yer dead.” I guess they have them too because both are on similar points tallies in the league, and they’ve both suffered upsets in the CL of late. I guess it’s just a certain type of personality, rather than a scourge particular to Arsenal’s support…

  63. chris,

    So Wenger has got nothing to do with it? He assembled this “best ever” squad and he is ultimately responsible. Fron 2007-8 onwards AW said that we conceded too many goals to win the Prem and despite the in and outs defensively we are still not not good enough. You have to look at the coaching, organisation and tactics as well as the players. If Aw can’t solve these problems after a few years when will he be able to?

  64. Yes… what Chris said.

  65. AIC,

    Come off it.. don’t exaggerate the problems. We are 2 points off the top of the table in a very very competitive league full of rich sugar daddys.

    ‘Pool are nowhere. There is a supposed crisis at the chavs.

    If this is a crisis, I’ll take it, any day if the week.

  66. Abdoul

    Johan was our best player. He won every battle, and you can’t really blame the guy for the goals. I have to disagree about Denilson, who had 90% of so pass completion, when did you see him exposing the back 4? We was very comfortable up until the referee handed them the game.

  67. Er hello – has no one mentioned our gobby , big mouthed world class forward Sir Nicklas Bendtner – a man who can perfrom , right midfield , centre midfield , left midfield BUT has abidcated his throne as the best centre forward in the universe – I have never ever seen a centre forward rarley not be in position as this guy , how many balls did Chammakh win when he came on !

  68. I did mention Bendtner earlier @ 10.54 – albeit far more diplomatically than that…

  69. Our current seemingly laissez-faire attitude, will on the balance of probabilities keep us in the top four for the foreseable future, especially with the fair play rules coming. We have too much talent coming through to ensure this. But it’s hard to see that it would automatically translate to titles/trophies just by hanging in there long enough.

    In order to be champions, something extra is needed over and above what we’re currently seeing from this team.

  70. AIC

    The 4 CB’s we have are good enough for us to win the league. FACT. Bring back any comments you wish because we all know you love slagging our French manager and foreign players. The truth is we will challenge, we will score, and we will concede in a league which has a lot of quality players. Only a team like United or Chelsea won’t leak as many goals as they focus mainly on defending. If you prefer Arsenal to limit ourselves by moving to such tactics, then we won’t be going for titles every year, and we won’t be getting the most out of our attack minded players and philospohy.

    We have built our whole club around playing football in an attacking attractive manner for the last 10 years. You think the board or Wenger will change that, or you think the supporters will accept Arsenal playing like Chelsea? If you do you are out of your mind. We watch the best football, and all it needs is a few adjustments. The defence has certainly improved, and considering the amount of changes Wenger made during the summer, it can only get better by the end of the season.

    This Arsenal team is on the verge of greatness, show some balls and support when it really counts. Like I said before, otherwise you won’t enjoy it when it all pays off. And it will, just have some faith.

  71. Remarkably perky this morning aren’t we?

    Thanks ACLFer’s. Brightened up a very dull morning. Dull, wet and cold in fact.

  72. Once again my credentials as an Arsenal supporter are questioned when I have the temerity to question the direction of the club (not just the team) based on a few years’ obsevations. Its easier for you to criticise me than to look at the reality. I don’t expect us to win every game or to win trophies every year but for a team that has been 6 years in the making capitulations against WBA, Toon, Sperz, last night, Chelsea even though we outplayed them plus regular humiliations by Chelsea and United paint a grisly picture. Not to mention the meltdown of Wigan last year.

    We are not a bad team – top 4 in the prem and maybe last 8 depending on draw in the cl but if that is the limit of people’s ambitions (yes Arsenal board I am looking at you) then that’s not enough for me.

  73. AIC that’s not the limit of their ambitions. We are playing a long game. A game that’s going to pay off – maybe not even this year (i think we will lift something this year though), but Arsenal have suffered far greater droughts in the past. We’ve got a squad to cope with injuries now, a squad that’s in line with the new rules, financial nous that’s in line with new rules, and a team that are still so young compared to the last 5 seasons’ winners, who will only get better (Nasri, Wilshere, Fabianski for example).

    It’s the old caviar and sausages thing again…

  74. Seriously, I don’t even know why you entertain AIC’s arguments. He’s a clever maker of strawmen, I give him that, but his arguements aren’t as strong as he’d lead you to believe.

    At first, I did think Maria was being harsh on him with the whole parasite thing, but it didn’t take me long to see what she was on about.

  75. It’s hard not to though Gadget… but it’s not going to change his stance so you’re probably right…

  76. Chris

    I agree with you about Johan, but I gave to disagree with you about Denilson. Any defense mounted on his behalf seems to follow the same partern; stats do not lie, look at his pass rate and completion. His job is more than just passing, even so, his pass range is very limited and how easily he’s dislodged makes me wanna cry. Compare Jim with Song who shall put himself in harms way to block near goal mouth when oppositio aim shots at the goal. He has none of that. I agree they’re different players, noetheless, worth comparing. I know he’s not a rough and tough guy but his velvet approach to the game is his soft underbelly.

  77. I blame a collective lack of intelligence and savvy – we were down to ten men with eboue off and we left denilson as the only defender as we pushed the big guys up to try and grab a winner.

    We need to understand how to balance attack with leaving enough cover at the back. I dont see it as an individual screw up by denilson but a collective failure – one of the CBs should have been back there given eboue was off the field.

  78. Mourinho has no shame as he uses all the dirty tricks in football wether his reputation or his football looks good its not a concern for him at all.accordig to reports Alonso and Ramos made sure they got sent off last night so their yellow cards are cleared for the the next round. i wonder who instructed them to do that? i think his win at all cost rubbs off on all his players. I would love nothing better than meeting the Portoguese fisherman and nock him out because i believe we will go through but second.

    it is really baffling this situation. we battered Donesk, and Braga at home and yet we failed to collect a point against them away. New Castle beat us at home but they get absolutely stuffed by BOlton.Wenger mut be scratching his head at the moment but he knows what is wong and hopefully it will be sorted out soon. it might be as simple as altering the formation. I thoughtI kew what is wrogt but after reading and hearing so many opinions I really don’t have a clue. my opinion is that we play a very dangerous high line we dont have the pace to give us thse extra seonds to come in time and break up counter attacks. vermalen is certainly a lot quick than any of our cenfre backs but he seems to have a strange injury that they can’t work out. alterations are needed to help our defenders a little.

  79. Last night was a shameful performance.No fight no passion sloopy passing against a team halfway down the Portugese league.The same excuses used now are the same being used after the WBA Newcastle Spurs and Shakhtar defeats.What is the point in having 65% of possession when we dont do nothing with the ball?We just cannot defend its as simple as that.

  80. Its not just that we are not winning. We are getting no closer, making little progress while other catch us and overtake us. Maybe in 3-4 years we may be on top of the world, maybe we won’t be. Haven’t we heard that before?

    How anyone can say that these ridiculous defeats are progress is beyond me. I know that the league is tougher now and we haven’t coped well.

    How any of you have the gall to say that a humiliation by Sperz and WBA is progress is amazing. I have to question people’s motivation if they regard this as progress.

    Its sad that people accept such p1ss poor performances by players and ultimately by the manager and as such are also responsible for the culture of complacency that is a huge problem for AFC.

  81. Gadget,

    “He’s a clever maker of strawmen”.

    Are you describing our manager?

  82. Delusions border on the hilarious, chris even says that its a fact that our 4 cbs are good enough to win the prem.

    Squillaci – a decent pro no more. Johan talented but injury prone. Has yet to start 5 games in a row. Koscielny talented, raw last season playing in the French second division. Vermaelen class player but crocked.

    Where is the fact here. This is symptomatic of the “it will be alright” attitude that pervades the club.

    Show us AW, show us some real progress instead of excuses about “concentration” and focus.

  83. Completely random topic, but has anyone else noticed theo walcott constantly trying to pass on opportunities to deliver a final ball. He seems do be doing that thing that C. Ronaldo does when he wants to be on the scoresheet badly,where he passes the ball to either a widely positioned player ahead of him (Chamack or bendtner) or one behind him (Sagna, Eboue, Denilson, Song) and then heads straight into the area around the 6 yard box hoping to be the one to receive the final ball instead of giving it.

    I know that he is a confidence player, but will scoring an easy tap-in really raise your morale as much as, say beating the full back for pace time and time again and delivering telling crosses or cut-backs for others to score.

    Last night he was supposed to be the source of all the crosses, and he got to the byline twice all game.

  84. You see, I told you a clever maker of strawmen.

    You should go into politics AIC. I’m certain you’d rise very quickly

  85. Oh shut up AIC.

  86. Andy,

    Well said. Shameful is the right word. Against a really, really poor team. Don’t the players care?

    How many times do we have to go through this? Why do people keep making excuses for this team? Talent will only get you so far.

  87. AIC
    “Its not just that we are not winning. We are getting no closer, making little progress while other catch us and overtake us. Maybe in 3-4 years we may be on top of the world, maybe we won’t be. Haven’t we heard that before?”

    Dude…chill out. You’re smart enough to realize that with wholesome changes to defensive personnel, with on average 3 of our 5 defensive players this season being recently purchased or not not featuring heavily in the squad last year, the Chemistry of the backline will take some time to settle.

  88. sixtay

    Give Theo a break – do we really need another guy on the edge of the box trying to thread in the through ball?

    Our problem is not having enough players like theo who actually try and get in the box on the end of them.

  89. Why do people always slag Denilson off when we loose! There is this myopic hysteria every time we loose to let fly at Denilson (and Diabby) regardless of how bad the rest of the players are! Denilson yesterday was pretty good overall. The problem was the other players in midfield did not turn up! Cesc’s injury could be a blessing in disguise as I feel Nasri would relish a go in the centre. This would open up the right hand side for Rosicky if Walcott continues to blow hot and cold.
    Wilshere had his worst game so far but the boy is 18 years old he will be a better player for this- he has to be allowed to make mistakes!
    Cant wait for Diabby to get back- he offers something completely different from all the other midfielders,!

  90. Oh for fucks sake stop whining, AIC

  91. RomfordPele
    No problem in getting into the box whenever possible, but when it hurt’s our game by denying other team players an outlet because the right winger is off duty trying to get into tomorrow’s headlines I just think is an unwelcome change. Getting into the far post attacking a cross from the left is one thing, drawing the target man wide so you can replace him in the box is another thing all together.

    We saw bobby pires and ljungburg get forward all the time. There was a method to it, supporting play when the ball was on their side of the pitch, giving and going as they pleased, and then turning around to be on receiving end when the ball had been crossed in. They got bags of goals and were still very involved in the buildup of the teams attack.
    Theo can and should do same.

  92. Your pretty pathetic AIC.

    Like I said, you are still living in dream world post the invincibles. Anything Arsenal ever achieves will be seen as a failure to you. Just move on and support another team and do everyone a world of good.

  93. Hi Frank,

    Its been a very long time. Hope things are ok with you.

  94. Come on chris, you can do better than the “support another team” rubbish.

    Performances like the one I have mentioned are unacceptable for AFC invincibles or not.

    Maybe you need to expect more from these pampered millionaires? A pretence at caring would be a start…

  95. Hi AIC, things are improving

  96. AIC what exactly was unnacceptable? Why can’t you accept that the game was ours and the not-awarded-penalty changed the game? I don’t see why you are using the game as an excuse for your little selfish outburst.

    It is a fucking game. One which I believe we got cheated out of as a result. How anyone can see it otherwise just shows up any hidden agendas. You have obviously got something against our manager and various players. So why don’t you come straight out with it instead of hiding it….

    Come on be a man little AIC.

  97. I don’t agree we’re getting no closer.

    This team in its current form has existed since Henry left at start of 07-08. 07/08 we were best team in the country, we had an extreme chain of events & lost. In 08/09 we under-achieved but still played 2 semi-finals. In 09-10 we challenged despite the most extreme injury situation I’ve seen any side have. We’ve had setbacks along the way but we’ve been competing.

    At some point we will succeed, the transition will be complete.

  98. AIC, Do you get off on these hysterical rantings of yours? FFS, you post every couple of minutes saying the EXACT SAME THING. We get it, ok? You’re like that Rejak character from that Star Trek where he feeds off the fear he creates. You just happen to feed off your hysterical doom mongering. Please give it a rest because my finger is tiring out scrolling past your bullshit.

  99. Sorry Ole

    We are not progressing we are standing still.We havent had a quality keeper since Jens left,The CB’s are the worst in living memory.The likes of Denilson Eboue and Bendtner cannot step up to the plate.What with RVP never fit to play more than 20 games a season.We have two quality players in Nasri and Cesc.

    Great article in the Standard about AA23
    http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard-soort/football/article-23900571-meerkat-andrey-arshavin-doesnt-compare-well-to-wengers-big-guns-do

  100. I agree Ole.

    Problem is though, even if we won 1 league title during that time, people like AIC would still be bitching about going backwards because they can’t see the bigger picture.

    All they look at is the end result, they would say 1 trophy in 5 years.. then start bitching about how good the invincibles were! Its the same tiring excuses we keep hearing. Why can’t we just enjoy the football, we have some fantastic players, and we have a very good chance in every competiton this season. I don’t see how idiots like AIC can support a team with such a mentality, and be willing to turn on the players and manager whenever they feel like it.

    Spurs got lucky and I still don’t know how they managed to steal the points. Kaboul’s header was from a freekick that shouldn’t have been, he also climbed all over Cesc to win the header. Bale’s goal was a dodgy counter attack which we need to sort out. Then theres the penalty, which was again our own fault. Spurs didn’t beat us because they were better, we just messed up, we are in control of our own destiny, and the players need to realize that they have the ingredients to achieve what they want. Against Braga I truly feel the ref fucked us. We wasn’t at our best attack wise, but I have seen plenty worse performances from the likes of Henry and co in the past away in the Champs League.

    Two shocking defeats against the run of play is a huge blow. But we can correct the mistakes and use them to improve. Every team has its faults, we are not perfect as we like to believe sometimes.

  101. Let’s talk about something else! I saw someone mentioned the Alonso and Ramos red card, I’ve seen the highlights and it’s a bloody disgrace I hope they get a longer ban and that the club is fined.

    They were 4-0 up and Alonso was going to hit a freekick and kept going back to kill time while looking straight at the referee. Then Ramos did exactly the same for a goal kick (Casillas letting him kick it is probably the first time ever he did not take a goalkick) and then went to shake the referee’s hand to thank him!

  102. Think it stretches it a bit to say this team goes back to 2007. That team included Toure, Gallas, Hleb and Flamini plus Eduardo and Gilberto playing in many of the games.

  103. Guys like AIC are just wind up merchant and you feed them by taking time to answer them.

  104. Johan Djourou had a great game, for god’s sake bring him into the starting eleven Mr Wenger! Mr Gibbs looked good too.
    Chances of us winning the league? There’s more chance of me receiving fellatio from the pope.

  105. Michael Thomas 4

    Got to learn to work hard defensively for the point. It was all we needed so playing “our” way is nonsencical when asked to play for a result away from home. Should of had pen no doubt but our heads went down once denied it. Bendtner cannot do the target man job, his touch is too heavy, Denilson not strong enough and midfield with or without Jesus the midfield is not working back. Injuries are really unfortunate but think Villa will be a win, as we are so unpredictable. Get the feeling Fabs is being flogged b4 his inevitable sale? Djourou again steadily improving.

  106. chris,

    Keep the excuses coming. Its obvious that you prefer to delude yourself that everything is fine despite the mountain of evidence against this.

    I’ll sum up why we keep losing: Not good enough.

  107. Why would anyone want to read that bog-rag, The Evening Standard?
    How good is that hack writing the above article. Well, here goes, get ready:

    “In a nutshell, this is the problem with Arshavin. For whatever the statistics say — in the Premier League he has six assists (only Nani and Chris Brunt have more) and two goals — it is hard to escape the feeling that he should be creating more given his talent”

    What a ****. Name James Olly. In fairness, he could he be a Harry Enfield character who has escaped from Harry & Paul?


    AIC in turbo Troll gear, moaning about defending. No praise for a player who he abused and heckled upon this blog in pre-season: Johan Djourou.

    “Talented yet injury prone”. Alex Ice Cream has changed his tune.
    Are AIC’s pronouncements as reliable as his prophecies of financial meltdown for the club. I think I need to think about this…

  108. Finsbury,

    Did I heckle and abuse Djourou pre-season? I don;t think so.

  109. I donnot sink condom iz good sing bat maybe on occasion to prrrevent disease. I sink fellatio iz better solyoushun and I am willing to demonstrate ze best technique. I look for volunteer to help me in my demonstration.

  110. Finsbury,

    Oh yes finances. I got it all wrong didn’t I. The basis of my argument was that the lack of available credit plus falling property values would mean it would be harder to complete on the flats. Unless the club took less money for the flats affetced this would result in defaults on completion. The project £80m profit was revised down to break even and then revised to a profit of about £20m depending on whose stats you read so it seems that they club took less money. Delays also occurred.

    Exactly which part of this was incorrect Finsbury?

  111. Arsenal are 5-1 for the title right now, BigM.

    You offer such low odds on Papal fellatio that I can only assume that you are young, Catholic and in the presence of clergy. You are in danger. Run while you still can.

  112. AIC,

    Give it up.
    I’ve had this thread with you before, it’s all in the archives. There are many reliable bloggers who know even more then me on this subject. Read.
    Or just take some Imodium. Please.

  113. No, seriously we actually have our best chance of winning the league for a long time consdering the state of Chelsea and Man U. Although, we need Vermaelen back and Johan to stay fit and to stop losing games to second-rate teams.
    I wonder if the pope would be any good though?

  114. Blah blah blah. So back from lunch and the theme of the day was: quality assurance of refering: is there any? We finished by concluding that there really isn’t. There are few sanctions facing a referee for making truely baffling decisions. Three card poll got sent home for making what amounts to a clerical error, but when aggrevious errors of judgement are made repeatedly, there doesn’t seem to be any official action. The only action seems to be from the utterly fanatical supporters who issue death threats a la Norway with love from Chelsea.

    This should not be the case. UEFA may want to say the referee is sovereign, except they kinda threw that arguement out the window with the whole Eduardo affair (on a side note – it’s interesting how a whole season later, we’re yet to see such a similar action take place). If I recall the ref of that fateful match against Celtic stood firmly by his in-game judgement upon review (were this a post written as an article, I’d have taken the time to confimr my memory and cite such, but it’s not and so I won’t), and yet that didn’t stop UEFA from undermining the referee.

    Cutting this short (cause work calls) if the game is to progress, if we want to see an end to gamesmanship and henious foul player video technology must be introduced. It’s the only way to ensure fairness in the sport and it can be done without slowing the game down at all.

    And the argument about equality from professional to amateur levels is for fools only.

  115. Chamakh was offside right before the penalty decision

  116. I don’t know about the Pope, but I’d bet the whores they ‘rescue’ would be amazing… (quick, think of some sly way of getting out of any religious insults)… on the microphone. Great singers they are, the way their tongue caress and shapes the air as it flows in and out. Like cunnilingus to the ear.

    I bet they’d make great salads too

  117. AIC YOU AND I ARE BACK WHERE WE WERE 3 YEARS AGO.

    Still Wengerspin is believed on this site. “We have the strongest Squad” We Lost because of bad luck ” our two centre backs are fine.

    They may be fine for French league but not for EPL , Bentnder showed his true worh last night we should grab the hand of anyone who wants him.Djouru has improved with each game but still KOS was preferred Satuday. Denislons passing is good but his defensive slowness makes him a squad player not a starter. Gibbs has the potential and Clichy cost us the game at Donetsk.With the current injurt crisis Nordvelt needs to be brought into the squad and Vela given some real playing time.

    Cescs injury gives Nasri th chance to show that he can be an ample replacment if Cesc leaves.

    WE neeed Inter to win big in their last 2 games so that they head the group then our possible opponents could be Inter, Lyon,Bayern, Madrid or Barcelona.

    I am sure we both agree the Carling cup isnt even worth boasting about even if we win it.

    Our problem is we have no real defensive coaches, and when we sell players for 40 million we bring in Sqallchi and KOS who were vetted by Grimandi and are not what will win us the EPL .they are good tactically but still cant handle physical pressure and set pieces.

  118. I remember it was AIC who slagged off Djourou’s ability to return in any shape or form as a good CB. I doubt this is the 1st nor the last time AIC will be proved wrong. Enjoy your run out today and this week even while you get to share your misery.

    Sad git.

    Anyway, I was also shocked with the Alonso and Ramos sending offs. I didn’t initially make sense of it with them being 4-0 up to both get second cautions for time wasting, well until I heard they delibaretely got the reds to get the suspension out the way. UEFA must take action against this cheating.

  119. what is AW doing writing that kind of bollocks on Yahoo ??
    http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/football/arsene-wenger/article/1672/

    Seriously he should know better…

  120. VIDEO TECHNOLOGY PLEASE..!!!
    5 Officials and they still fuck it all up !!

  121. Yogi:

    I really thought that our defensive issues might have been put to rest after Wolves/Everton. I guess I was wrong. These 2 games have shown the worst part of AFC over the last 5 years. I read the other day that we have given up 1 or 2 goal leads 34 times in the last 5 years. Shocking. We have scored about 0.6 goals/game against Chelsea and ManU over the last 5 years. No matter how technically excellent you are its extremely difficult to break down a well organized opponent. When that opponent knows that Arsenal will almost always concede 1 or may be 2 goals there is no reason for them to chase the game, thus we continue to lose games that we dominate the game and the possession. Spanish national team, Barca and our 2006 CL finalists have demonstrated how to win using a style of play similar to ours. It has to start with defending. Spain conceded 2 goals in 7 games. Barca has been one of the least scored on teams in Europe for a few years. Barca showed us how to beat good teams by conceding 1 goal in 3 games to Chelsea and ManU in their CL winning season. Our CL finalist team overperformed and were shock finalists because they defended well. (Not sure if its a coincidence but Martin Keown was involved with that make shift defence in our 06 CL run. )

    This summer Cesc was struck by the difference in the way AFC and the Spanish team prepare for games. Spain spent a large amount of time studying their opponent and working on how to stop them. AFC spends almost no time studying their opponent. 2 years ago Wenger was talking about the 433 and he was quoted by “the brain” in his blog as saying “It’s always easier to correct what doesn’t work defensively; if you don’t create chances you are always more worried.”

    Based on 5 years of history I would certainly argue with the first part of that statement. I know you may disagree but IMO that philosophy is the real reason this group of talented players continues to underperform.

  122. sol,

    Unfortunately so. I too (and many others) are tired of AW’s excuses. He blames everyone other than himself and as the manager he has to take responsibility. I am not going to mention the defence again – like AW in training no doubt.

    The “strongest ever squad” comment makes me laugh. It makes AW look stupid espoecially while his “best ever” players keep losing to rubbish teams.

  123. Still vouching for a bastard hard man. We once had Vieira and manutd had Keane. Unless you have a phenomenon, as Barca has Messi and Madrid C. Ronaldo, you gonna need a hard man in the midfield. I wouldn’t propose Melo today but I’d take any suggestions from anybody.

  124. This is the best squad I’ve seen at Arsenal since I’ve followed the club closely in the last 3 decades. And even before I followed closely we never had a squad this good.

    During the invincibles era, we had a great first 15 and nothing beyond that.

    Make of that what you will.

  125. Ole,

    The great first 15 were far, far better than the 25 that we have now. I don’t think having more decent players outweighes have fewer great and in some cases all time great players.

  126. Ah solgooner

  127. Kenyan

    Wilshire not a hard man? Song? Diaby ain’t light in the challenge also, not to mention Ramsey. I don’t get where this argument has come from…

    AIC.. I don’t know who is laughing, but we are 2 points from Chelsea and we should be top. Knowing that we are still under-achieving, and knowing their are still problems the coaches are working on.. what has got your knickers in a twist?

    You still havn’t shared with everyone your real underlying reasoning to your slating of Wenger and this fine group of players…

    Stop making excuses AIC and hiding behind sterotype comments (like you say Wenger does).. share your real views, you are looking like a right mug you know.

  128. I agree with Ole.

    I’d also point out that AIC is only ever this prolific when we lose.

    Maria has the gift of making astute observation.

    God I love this webcomic: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/minor_differences2

  129. “I don’t think having more decent players outweighes have fewer great and in some cases all time great players”

    AIC it blatantly does outweigh that – given our tremendously massive injury list every season. How many were calling for more squad depth over the last few years? Anyway, we have some all time great players – albeit some are in the making. Cesc is already one, Nasri will be one, TV5 will be one, Wilshere will be one etc etc etc.
    PATIENCE!! Jesus.

    You obviously weren’t around for the decades that we went without trophies. Wenger has spoilt all of us yet he gets so much disrespect and stick from certain ‘fans’.

  130. Ole

    With the invincibles we had a constant 15 players all playing, all at the right age, and all knew each others games very well.

    It is ludacris to suggest or even make the comparison of a great player, or a legend, and then look at the current team.

    Cesc, Nasri, Vermaelen, Song, Van Persie, Ramsey, Gibbs, Sagna etc.. they have the ability to become legends. They have the quality which sets them above the rest, they are just yet to achieve something great which earns that label. AIC you are very childish to once again make that comparison.

    You need to move on, you need to support your team. Legends is what they will all be if we win a title, but it takes hard work, and it shouldn’t be expected. Wenger has prepared this squad, and our club to obtain the top prizes in football. Even your bullshit cannot hide the quality that our squad has.

  131. At this point in the time, the Invincibles would get murked by our squad. That’s just a given with age being a factor and all (ooh, context clarifying statement).

    Let those who cling to the past stagnate and become one with their memories. They can go easy into that good night like the powerhouses of the past.

    The future’s for the explorers. Adapt or die, that’s the game.

  132. Throw dem bows Chris!

  133. Gadget you’re a legend.

  134. If the invincibles had Henry, Vieira, Campbell, Toure all misisng at the business end of the season thay’d have won nothing talk less of being invincible.

    If we’re talking of first XIs, they were better, as a squad we are much stronger now than then.

  135. Cesc’s injury is most concerning to me. I didn’t want him brought back so soon–if he wasn’t going to make the Chelsea game, it seemed a good opportunity for the creative midfielders (wilshere, nasri, rosicky, diaby) to acquaint the team to playing without Fabregas early in the season. Results were mixed, but since Cesc’s return he hasn’t really been fit and the hamstring has been giving him trouble, so even with him back he and, thus, the team haven’t been at their best. With the reports about continuing fitness issues, I thought starting Song over Cesc made the most sense so he would be ready for the game at Old Trafford.

    We really need Cesc for our biggest games, I think. But the team is so dependent on him and built around him that the temptation always seems to be there to rush him back in and keep playing him. We are paying for that. If no one can reprise the Cesc role exactly, then we need to be able to find new ways of lining up or combining players in this formation or in a different one. Now it will be forced upon us but in a less advantageous position with big games in the league against our title rivals on the horizon. Hopefully, with three or four weeks he might be ready for Chelsea, but if not, all the time that is necessary for him to get absolutely fit and solve the problem of his recurring hamstring injuries should be taken so he is ready for CL knockout games and the second half of the season.

    It is no blessing in disguise at this point in our fixture list, or at least it may be a very, very good disguise. At least it isn’t in the second half of our season, but if his recovery and rehab isn’t handled and managed with a view to the longer term now, he could be in and out of the side in the second half with awful consequences, like last year.

    Now it is a matter of the rest of the squad and particularly our midfielders to perform well enough to qualify us for the knockout stages, keep us in the hunt for the league, and do some damage against the big sides. Right now this is the real meaning of our squad depth. If it can’t lead to strong results and consistent play with Cesc out, it doesn’t matter so much that we have so many players. It means stepping up and doing what so far has eluded us–learning to play well without Cesc. Such a dependence in our setup on the gifts and attributes of one player are ultimately a weakness that we need to grow out of. We have a big test ahead.

    Talking about their talent and comparing to previous sides is really irrelevant right now. The challenge to recover and play consistently after these bewildering losses has now an additional challenge to do so without our best and most influential player. It has clarified everything now–it is down to the manager and the other players to demonstrate Arsenal’s quality. Make us proud! There is still a quadruple to be won!

  136. The current squad we have is very good and there is plenty of depth, but it is not looking like a squad of world beaters to me. They are nowhere near earlier Wenger squads in terms of desire to win and sheer bloody mindedness in defence.
    A great deal of talent; undoubtably, and they are fantastic to watch despite the many episodes of “keystone kop” defending.
    Will they win anything? I’m not sure, but I just want to enjoy the ride.

  137. Great post Limestone. Let’s hope they give him enough time. Remember Thierry’s last season for us? Hope it doesn’t go down that route…

  138. Agree with Ole and Geo

    Gadget.. AIC always comes out to bitch when we lose. Thats 5-6 times a year, see you again in spring AIC 🙂

    I hate saying this again, but we should expect a big reaction from the players at Villa Park. We got it at Wolves after the Newcastle game, I hope this is the last kick up the arse.. If we discover that ruthfulness we will dominate. The qaulity is there. Djourou’s mopping up last night was top notch, and I think he has now found his stride after being so long out.

    Next to come in will be Van Persie, giving us that world class attacking edge that so many times proves the difference, tallying that 3rd killer goal that Rosicky cant currently provide.. so many players yet to hit the heights that we have seen them hit in the past. Cesc included, Theo is no where near the player he was before his latest injury. Bendtner looks edgy and threatened by the presence of Chamakh. Not to mention the mis-firing Arshavin, return of Ramsey, this team is ready to really gun down some teams.

    Like I said after the Everton game, we are no where near performing to what we are capable of. We scraped the hard victories, but failed to deliver in the games which everyone expects us to. I am expecting big things from this squad over the christmas period. AIC, come January when we are top of the league, when everyone talking about how Wenger defied all odds, all the championship manager supporters like yourself.. I hope you have the decency to come on and apologize, or even aplogize to your manager and club. Send a written letter! You are such a coward I expect we won’t be seeing you for much longer commenting.

  139. At the beginning of the season, we thrashed 5 teams. In the last few weeks, 4 of the them have beaten us. Does that not say something about motivation?

    One of the things I have always felt we lacked is real motivation. There are times one thinks that the players feel they have a right to win, and just do not put in enough umph.

    Last night, in the main there was no umph, just huff and puff.

    I am pleased that November is coming to an end, but there are still 2 more games in November. Is not 4 defeats in a month not enough?

    What is it about November that brings us misery every year without fail?

  140. ChrisGoona the players you mentioned are not hardmen ala Vieira! They are very creative types. Like Wilshere’s a Liam Brady in the making. Song’s a cultured defensive midfielder. As are Ramsey and Diaby. Very creative types. The hardman compliments such talent. He’s like Tonto!

  141. Agreed, Geo, that would be a sad precedent to follow. Instead, I hope we will storm back and grab the Carling Cup as a boost and in the second half Cesc and Ramsey bolster us further as we go on to win big. Cesc stays on for several more years as Ramsey and Wilshere join Nasri as creators and leaders of the team. That’s the scenario we want, and it is still possible.

  142. It could be worse.

    AFC could be asking one of their most important players to play on with Malaria!

  143. jjgsol | November 24, 2010 at 3:17 pm |

    Wow! I hadn’t thought of it that way.

    About why November is such a pain to us, I think the international break has now proven to have come at the wrong time for us. Wenger says it’s because by then the players would have played a lot of games & physical levels drop.

  144. Vieira wasn’t just sitting around hacking people. That’s a blighted view. He was an extremely skilful player.

  145. Kenyan

    I doubt many gooners would go for a Barton type player, we don’t need war thugs, we can mix it with the hardest of teams anyway. We need players that can do it all, Vieira was one of a kind. A rare gem found by Wenger, but we have a new set of gems.. we just need to get them sparkling a bit more.

    Rotation for me sometimes spoils the cohesion of a team. I know its all in order to save legs, but I am beginning to lean towards playing our best team week in week out approach. Arsenal’s play is all about the small triangles, creating an opening out of nothing, quick 1 2s, it just makes it harder with players coming in and out IMO.

    No offense to Bendtner, but when Chamakh came on everyone started to function in the final 3rd. Everyone is familiar with his play, and I believe Bendtner will have to work very hard to get in front of Chamakh in the pecking order now. With Van persie coming back too, positions and starting 11’s are anyones guess every game. I think this can be a bit of an interference in our play is my point.

  146. Kenyan,

    Considering the amount of yellows we’ve got sans the hardman, if we did have one, he’d hardly play with all the sending offs and suspensions he’d have.

    We’d have to beat team a man down quite often.

  147. anyway I’m off, laters people!

  148. Who fucking cares about having a hard man. Take your chances, don’t concede from a corner. More important issues.

    Getting talented players to play at their best. Not whether we have a hard man.

  149. I think that’s a good shout Chris. Too much rotation can definitely be detrimental, but it is a fine balance as you say… I’d like to see Wenger mixing Chamakh and RvP in the same lineup. It wouldnt necessarily mean we have to go back to 442. Both wander from the central position, both are excellent at holding up and build up play etc… I’m just imagining the two of them 1-2ing their way through a static Chav defence…

  150. Cheers Chris

  151. We didn’t need a hard man to hammer teams at the start of the season, we don’t need one now.

  152. Hardman in demand I say. The three in mancity are far too many. The two in the Invincibles and in Chelsea last year just right. But in a talented team like we have now one would do. With a footballing phenomenon like Messi you don’t really need one. Don’t see any phenomenon’s in our pipeline or one we can buy cheap. So hardman it is!

  153. Any suggestions Kenyan?

  154. Geo we didn’t need a hardman to win the first five games. I agree. But you don’t win the league in the first five games either. Last time I heard it was 38 games!

  155. Geo I suggested Felipe Melo two days ago as we await Frimpong’s development. It wasn’t a popular choice I assure you!

  156. What i’m saying is, that we don’t need a hardman if the team plays with the motivation, determination and guile that they showed earlier on (and in some recent games). We have Song, Denilson and Jack who are all very adept at intercepting, tackling etc and also have the ability to go forward and build attacks. Vieira was big, but his main attributes came together to make him a great cultured defensive midfielder (a la Song) who went box to box. He was just as much an attacking player for us, with Gilberto as the shield (hardly the hardman – more like a denilson type).

  157. Melo has been awful since all the hype last season/season before last. So i can understand the reaction!

  158. Hope is hard to die. It is the last ember of life and sentience. The serene happiness in a dying man’s eyes. It’s that wish that undermines all pessimistic inclinations, the strength you find when you’re weakest, the hand that pushes you to progress.

    Never give up hope; you’ll always have a chance.

  159. Philosophical stuff Gadget! I agree…

  160. Melo was great before Juventus ruined him. But it doesn’t have to be Melo anyway. He’s my suggestion and we know that Wenger also wanted him before Juve outbid us.

  161. He did look good before he went to Juve. If there was an Essien type character hiding in some random team somewhere that we could get for a pittance, go for it. Other than that, i think we can sustain a title challenge quite happily with what we’ve got – as long as they apply themselves – every match for 90+ mins…

  162. I’d also love a Gerrard/Lampard like player. The sort who can change a game and hit the ball from long distance. I believe that Lansbury has similar qualities but will take two years or more to get there. I believe strongly in him. It’s just a matter of time.

  163. Nasri will be that player – and Jack. They will be truly great players for years to come, with plenty of goals i’m sure.

  164. AIC is over the top, but Chris do you mind explaining exactly how were we ‘unlucky’ against Sp*ds?

  165. Geo wonder if you were old enough to have seen Reuben Sosa or Mihailovij aka The bomber from Belgrade. Those guys would score great goals from distance. With such players packing the defense was useless. Always get annoyed when the other teams pack their defences against us. How I wish we had such a player. We used to call such shots “a bullet.”

  166. I’m sure Chris would take you up on your invitation but let me chime in. mj_gunner

    They got given a free kick where there was none & then got a very lucky penalty. Their winning goal hit RVP and that changed its direction and addd a spin to it.

    They’d been well contained, hadn’t come near threatening us. They were battered but won.

  167. BigM,

    Forget the pope, are you catholic?

  168. How is throwing your hand up in the air a lucky penalty?

  169. Pantelic,

    You scrotum. Was that the reason the referee booked Vela and gave a costly free kick?

    Also, strange that no twat from Braga claimed for an off-side, only some jumped up Spud on a Arsenal blog!!

  170. its was a very poor first half from both team (nearly fall to sleep in the pub), Braga got lucky but i think the worst was the ref, i never see a so poor referee of my life. Giving yellow card on every tackle we were doing and Braga player could have gone away with murder.
    even the manure fan next to me watching couldnt believe it.wenger was too nice,5 blind fucker in black were in charge of the game

  171. Ole @ 4:28:

    If the figure I read was correct we have lost a 1 or 2 goal lead 34 times in the last 5 years. Before the Everton game this year, United had not lost a 2 goal lead in over 10 years. Why is it so much different for us? At some point don’t you have to give up blaming bad luck?

  172. Braga were anything but Arsenalistas last night. They should be called the Wolvesistas or the Roveristas from now on. That’s who they learned their rotational fouling from.

  173. Bill,

    Its not bad luck; its bad defending.

  174. The penalty was lucky Ole? It was a poor piece of play from our captain & so were the stupid free kicks we conceded in our half, which resulted in the goal. I fully support the team & I also know that we were unlcuky last night; but on Saturday, we were really not good enough in the 2md half. All I am asking is to get rid of the excuses.
    Earlier, it was the injury argument with Chris & now this.

  175. Last night and the second half on Saturday our team showed no heart, no passion, no leadership!
    Very poor

  176. Bah, It’s not about what anyone else does, it’s about what we do.

    Fuck United, Barca, and all the rest, I seek no comparisons, for I need none. You break down individual goals on an individual basis. Looking at the whole may provide some sort of narrative, but narrative without context is just inane ramblings.

    Yeah we’ve had our bouts of bad defending, but anyone who says we’re not working on that is a fool (I say while pointing at that fool).

    If you wish to make comparisons, this season, everyone’s had costly defensive fuck ups. It happens and it will happen some more; so when it does, rather than focus on the shit that’s now behind us, we get up and fight forwards, because that’s what we do.

    Arsenal, fuck yeah!

  177. Gadget, you are an anti-intellectual philosopher! Come to think of it, so was Nietzsche. Thus spake Gadgethustra…

  178. Does this team currently fight forwards?
    Im not totally sure that it does at the moment!

  179. Gadget:

    Looking at the evidence its hard to not conclude that their is a long term problem with our defending. We have tried different players and formations over the years but the same problem persists. Looking forward without figuring out what has caused this problems in the past will only cause it to persist. Trying to look at how other clubs do things differently seems like a good way to analyze. No need to reinvent the wheel.

    We can only speculate on why we have have struggled. Perhaps we have just been chronically unlucky for 5 years and our luck might change tomorrow. In that case your idea is correct.

  180. Ole Spurs got lucky with the penalty did they?.What you mean Cesc didnt use BOTH hands.Not only did Cesc handled the ball but Chamakh tried to as well.We have got to stop looking for excuses and realise we cannot concentrate for 90 mins.Its the reason we have lost 6 games so far this season nothing to do with bad luck

  181. This week has been so bad that there has to be at least one small bit of relief. Are you there, God? It’s me Limestone. Please, don’t let Spuds qualify first from their group. And if you can arrange to do so, let us play them in the quarters, if you have to let them qualify at all.

  182. Ole, you are an apologist, or at least a polemicist. I assumed you were happy and proud to be so. But there shouldn’t be any doubt about it.

  183. Get Keown in put him on the same wages as Eboue and you will notice the difference in our defending.Look what he did to the back four who had Eboue Senderos and Flamini!!!!10 CLEAN SHEETS IN A ROW Lets be honest now our defence especially at centre back is woeful

  184. It is official. From his own mouth, Alex Ice Cream | November 24, 2010 at 10:55 am |:

    “I have doubted the direction of “Arsenal PLC” for a long time so please don’t think its based on the sh1te on offer last night, or Saturday, or two weeks ago, or the last time we got tanned by manU, Chelsea, WBA….”

    – Like so many others. Nervous nellies when the going gets tough.

  185. Limestone @ 6:21:

    LOL. Please also ask God to remove November from the calender.

  186. I don’t really think we have any problems with any line in particular,

    It’s the learning process and curve: In the past…

    1- We were physically weak and we overcame that
    2- We were inexperienced and we overcame that
    3- Now we can’t concentrate for 90 mins and we will overcome that

    Will we overcome it this year to accomplish something and cement the confidence in this team for future success? I sure hope so.

  187. Will do, Bill. I’d love to remove raking leaves from my seasonal chores, along with helping Arsenal.

  188. Bill,

    Man United have lost a 2 goal lead like 5 times this season.

    We hadn’t lost a 2 goal lead a lot of times in a decade before the Wigan game.

    I saw the piece by Squid Boy and he himself acknowledges not having shown how many times Man Utd or Chelsea let leads slip in 5 years.

    Not that I deny that keeping a lead is important. I’ve expressed the same sentiment.

    What’s funny about this is that nobody doubts that the team has yet to conquer all about it. Stats like that are just another way of saying something else we all know.

    In the final analysis, what will determine this season, is how many 3 points we bag in the league, and how far we go in our quest to win 3 other cups.

    As far as that goes, we’re 2 pts from top, in 1/4 finals of the Toy Cup, likely to qualify in the Champions League, and still in the FA Cup. We’re still in it and with more than a fighting chance.

    Next!?

  189. Of course the penalty was their luck. No more, no less. It’s a freak incident. Nothing they did could have yielded them that hand ball. They were lucky. Face it.

  190. I agree with G4E.

    Apart from skimming past AIC/Solgooners double act, ACLF has been great to read today.


    My favourite meme from last season:
    “Nasri is not good or fast enough (hah!), doesn’t play like an orthodox right whinger.”
    Then there was:
    “Walcott isn’t as good as Lennon, whoops, now he’s not as good as Bale, whoops, then we’ll have to say he’s not as good as RVDV!”

    Don’t believe the hype merchants.

  191. Has anyone read the papers today? its a bit mad, but poll says AW was right to blame ref and Lewis writes about how thick arsenal fans are for wanting AW out the door! i mean where is the slagging off and the smugness of how arsenal again fall down and land flat on their belly?? It is almost as the press is with us afer this loss. What is happening??

    Infact the only people that hate Arsenal now is the arsenal fans themselves. You know you have lost your way when you as a fan take the piss out of arsenal and moan aobout the club and the manager more than the taboids.

    PS: I think AIC is enjoying this tremeandously, he is so happy we play shit cos then he can argue and spew out venom. weird how some fans live and breath for our losses and live and breath for us to be shit. It is almost like their life is not worth living if they canot have their daily moan.

  192. What a star you are Poodle.

  193. I thought Denilson played very well last night. The off camera stuff that he does, like positioning himself to intercept while the play is 20 or 30 yards away, is amazing. He did give the ball away on several occasions and allowed Braga to press him but he was our best midfielder on the night.

  194. Ole @ 6:53:

    Fortune has given us a good chance to win the league this year. I still think our defending has improved this year and the run of games we had before Spurs gives hope that we can find that form and keep it long term. If that can be sorted out we will win going away. Its frustrating because I would think playing consistent defense should be a lot easier then the other parts of our game.

    If we can get a draw or a win at Villa Park and United and get our home form under control we are in great shape. Even a loss in one of those games would not be a major mathematical hurdle. By mid season we will have played almost all of the away games that before the season you would have expected us to drop points.

  195. We are not set up for playing in quarries. Just not a quarry team plain and simple. Veeeella don’t play in a quarry although Veeella Park is a pit. We will win on Saturday. Goals from RvP, AA and Marouane Chamakh.

  196. I fancy Werder Bremen tonight. Spurs will hopefully revert to type.

  197. Poodle, that article could’ve been written by anyone here on ACLF. The doomers and AAAs are a vocal minority of spoiled idiots who don’t have the capacity to look beyond bragging rights. The worst part is that they’re convinced that they are in the majority. Go figure.

  198. Bill,

    What good is a wheel to a hovercraft?

    Anyway, defence, let’s say team A loses 0-1 to team B, 0-3 to team C and 0-3 to team D, what conclusion would you draw from such?

    If I may be so bold, I would say you would say team A has a defensive issue.

    However, what if I were then to tell you the shots on targets for each team was: 13-1, 12-3, and 23-3, what becomes of your conclusion?

    What then becomes the conclusion if I were to add extra details about the goals? An own goals or two, a few screamers, counters, penalties, free-kicks, blah blah.

    The original conclusion becomes meaningless once you delve beyond the surface.

    I’m not saying we’ve been unlucky. I do agree we’ve seen some bad defending this month and thus far this season. However, I will only admit to a defensive problem when we are getting torn apart despite the best concentrated efforts of our players. We do not have a defensive problem because too many of the goals have come about from our players being silly. That’s less defensive and more discipline.

    And I’d say it’s about time we re-invented the wheel. Dr Brown said I’d have a flying car by now.

  199. Finsbury:
    “My favourite meme from last season:
    “Nasri is not good or fast enough (hah!), doesn’t play like an orthodox right whinger.”
    Then there was:
    “Walcott isn’t as good as Lennon, whoops, now he’s not as good as Bale, whoops, then we’ll have to say he’s not as good as RVDV!”

    Don’t believe the hype merchants.”

    You do know how they rationalize this, don’t you? The minute one of their targets for criticism starts performing well they attribute the harsh words as the catalyst for their improvement. The minute they drop off a bit they revert to type and resort to every cliche in the book.

  200. Really looking forward to the Veella game. AW indicated that this game is the priority this week.

  201. @g69 i know the article could have been written by anyone on here, but its written by a journalist in a tabloid.
    I think it puts things in perspective when the tabloids are even more arsene and arsenal friendly than a large minority of the arsenal fans.ts mad how they screm and yell and moan. Its almost as their entire life is orbiting around planet “ihate AW and Arsenal sucks”. Its like their entire existence is focused on slagging off AW and Arsenal. I just dont understand how you can dedicate every breathing, awake minute of your life to find ways of dissing arsenal. A club you are suppose to love! Its truly fascinating.
    I mean what does these people do in their spare time? Do they have families? Is AIC a typical wife beater that takes his frustration out on his wife when AW dissapoints him, does he take it out on his kids, or is he one of those that just drive a bit reckless the day after a loss driven by hatered( i kinda imagin the LeGrove guys to be the same)? thats how i see these men, bitter, frustrated, lashing out on all and everyone.

    And now even the tabloids have turned aginst the arsenal moaners.

  202. 1.) When a Braga player fouled an Arsenal player it was “continue playing”, but when it was the other way round it was a booking, why?
    2.) Obvious penalty is obvious…

  203. }:^#})

  204. I have a very strong feeling that the bad run in recent weeks is laying the groundwork for a new unbeaten run the rest of the season, paradoxical as that may sound.
    Just about time the plastic whinging support turned their back on the team. Glad to see them go. They don’t know what they’re about to miss. Saturday at Villa the season truly starts anew.

  205. Werder Bremen are really useless but they have a very good player called Marin. i wouldn’t mind seeing him play for Arsenal.

  206. I saw Marko Marin play against England a few years ago. He stood out from the other players on the pitch at that time, but I don’t know if he has progressed as well as I thought he would. He didn’t play much of a part in the World Cup. I think he was in the squad, and came on as a substitute in one match. He’s very small. About the same size as Arshavin, I think.

  207. for people that think Penalties does not matter. United just won 1-0 over Rangers due to a correct penalty late in the match. It was the crucial incident that decided the match really.

  208. POli- very true he is like ARSHAVIN. He showed a lot of heart by taking on the Spuds on his own at times as he plays in a crap team

  209. Poodle:

    @g69 i know the article could have been written by anyone on here, but its written by a journalist in a tabloid. I think it puts things in perspective when the tabloids are even more arsene and arsenal friendly than a large minority of the arsenal fans. Its mad how they scream and yell and moan. Its almost as their entire life is orbiting around planet “I hate AW and Arsenal sucks”. I just dont understand how you can dedicate every breathing, waking minute of your life to find ways of dissing arsenal. A club you are suppose to love! Its truly fascinating.

    I don’t find it fascinating at all. I find it quite sad actually. I mean, here you have a club that is at the forefront of every major development in world football today and all these doomers can do is moan and yell at the man who put us there. I am not saying that Arsene Wenger is infallible but the level of vitriol being slung about by these so called supporters is incredible. Hearing them talk about Wenger is almost like listening to a supporter of a lower league side that’s facing relegation talking about their manager.

    I mean what do these people do in their spare time? Do they have families? Is AIC a typical wife beater that takes his frustration out on his wife when AW dissapoints him, does he take it out on his kids, or is he one of those that just drive a bit reckless the day after a loss driven by hatered( i kinda imagin the LeGrove guys to be the same)? thats how i see these men, bitter, frustrated, lashing out on all and everyone.

    I don’t think that Alex Ice Cream beats his wife or anything like that. I think he dresses himself up like a clown and self flagellates with a piece of pipe covered in barbed wire. But that’s just me assuming.

  210. I think that sometimes Wenger is tactically poor. However yesterday he got his tactics right but was let down by the players. Also, we need some players who are more willing to shoot it from distance.

    Time to put Nasri into the middle and let Fab4 recover fully. And tell Walcott to start crossing.

  211. That Guardian article is also correct. We seem to have a discipline problem, and the concentration problem seems to stem from there.

    One of the two points I want to make is how our game is when we need a goal. We push players forward and cross it in a lot but it doesn’t seem to work the way Man Utd’s crossing game works. I dunno but it’s just irritating the way they get so many goals like that especially at the end of games. I really, really wish Wenger would get our wide players to cross it in better and to get more players in the box to receive and attack the crosses coming in.

    Another thing is physical development. I obviously don’t know much but Walcott seemed to get brushed off the ball really easily yesterday. Contrast that to Nani and Ronalo, who both arrived in the PL as scrawny teenagers but who became extremely strong players. I would definitely like to get some more details about this.

  212. what a shit fukin week.

  213. i fukin ate november.

  214. I am shocked and quite unhappy about the way this team has been performing. To be honest, I had great expectations for this team. The great is now removed from the expectations. I am merely hoping that the coaching staff can get this team to do the job in a reasonably consistent manner. I am a diehard Arsenal fan but at times their play bores me and I find myself turning to other things. Say what you like about me but I am sure their are many diehards that are doing the say as me.

  215. WEngker out!!!

  216. Gunners…..
    it is quite dangerous not accepting the fact that we do lack quite a bit this year…..first off cesc is a goner not a Gunner anymore..look at him..he doesnt want to play for us anymore….look at what he did this summer openly wanting out….yet he is *still*Our captain..what a joke …
    Wenger…well well…maybe he has been too busy with *other*things than managing Our Beloved Arsenal…at least it do look that way….
    Why isnt the goalie situation been sorted out ?????????
    The Arsenal needs changes….and not in ticket prices…..the fact that we do crumble in every important game is dangerous…..and starting to develope into a sure thing….
    Best way to describe us this year….foot loose and fancy free…with no end product….

    cesc you are a disgrace…go home !!!!!!!

  217. Two Owls, I have to admit that I found the Braga game really boring up until Braga made it infuriating and awful. We played it around the midfield but it looked like we had no ideas in attack, unfortunately. We often console ourselves that at least we play entertaining football, but Tuesday night it wasn’t actually very engaging.

    I liked how we played more directly after the Newcastle loss, but we seem not to have kept up that dynamism going forward.

  218. What it is about some posters? On some of the blogs they go for the ride, moaning and dooming. At ACLF they put on this cheery hypocritical facade.
    The things that a supporter must put up with.

  219. Anyways I will focus, not on whingeing fans, but on throwing my support behind the manager as we get over this bad patch. COYG!

  220. The voice of reason.Swallow you pride Wenger and bring this guy in as defensive coach.If he can see it why cant you Arsene?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-13327941/Martin=Keown-Arsenal-lazy-pitch-shock-Braga-defeat.html

  221. Spot on with that manu win down to a late penalty.

    There but for a truly appalling ref was the result of the Braga game.

    Very similar games, very different results. One referee got it right, another wrong.

    Human failure.

  222. In my opinion the ref in the Braga game was guilty of a lot more than human failure. His decisions were too obviously wrong to be incompetent at that level. In the past we have seen match fixing in France and recently in Eastern Europe. He is involved in something…..

  223. …what intrigues me is that not one lazy, fat-arsed hack is interested in going after that story.

  224. bloody aussies. making my week even worse then it is.

  225. We had another very dodgy ref when we played Porto. Maybe it is something in the water over there. Or maybe Frank is closer.

  226. The five versus two yellow cards was a remarkable reversal of the number of transgressions by each team. The intensity of the atmosphere was not at all sufficient for him to be swayed by the crowd. I doubt whether the echo from the quarry walls would have made a difference either. Naaaah…this guy is crooked.

  227. here is the lazy fat-arsed hack starter kit….

    Viktor Kassai, Hungarian, 35 years of age…a jewel in FIFA’s refereeing crown during WC 2010.

    http://uk.soccerway.com/matches/2010/11/23/europe/uefa-champions-league/sporting-braga/arsenal-football-club/1015141/

    Question for lazy fat-arsed hacks: Is he working independently or is he instructed by UEFA/FIFA?

  228. I’m surprised that I agree with Antony that we should improve delivery on set pieces. I do think the crossing from the full backs is better than people say it is. It’s a game of percentages, and you can’t expect a very high percentage of success. Corners and freekicks are another matter.

    The discipline problem of complacency or inability to raise one’s game seems evident in losing to teams we trashed by significant margins earlier in the season.

    I do think there is a problem with taking our chances. No not just taking chances, but pressing an advantage. So many times I see us in very promising attacking situations that don’t lead to a shot on goal or clear chance created. We’re the team that had four 1-on-1s in one game and none of them led to a shot on target.

    The goals we concede sometimes are surreal.

    The point about physical development is also a good observation. The likes of Nani, you have mentioned, but also the overhyped Spud, Gareth Bale. He’s developed a man’s body. Ours appear to still be filling out.

    I disagree with Wenger being tactically poor.

  229. @ Frank, Even with a good ref, i cannot say we deserved anything els than we got that night. I think that is why nobody shows interest. Nobody can and should save arsenal but the arsenal players themselves.

    I mean, dammit! what is happening this year. We dont even control games with posession anymore and teams like WBA have outplayed us on our own game, They did not park the buss at Emirates, they played and they played well. We dont have the 70% posession like we used have anymore. The all posession no end product play style has been changed with the no posession no end product playstyle.
    Were not even best at our own game anymore. It should have been wba 30% arsenal 70% and then we should have won by 1 goal.What happend to us keeping control?

    Maybe the guys will pull more together now that Cesc is out for a while. Maybe that will be wake up call they need, maybe they will step up and take responsibility. Maybe the captain in cescs absent will not lead only by example but push the players too. I hope so.
    You know its bad when even the tabloids dont take the piss anymore…..

  230. We had 71% possesion against Braga, Poodle

  231. Frank? Is it you?
    AIC, you are a very active poster when the chips are down. That is the most one can say.
    Otherwise, usual crap.
    My one-horned goat says, if you want to make a little extra cash, put money NOW on Arsenal. Me, I never bet, but I promised I would spread the word.
    Ah, November. If we reach the end of it within 7 points of EPL leaders, and in any shouting chance of next phase of CL, we will …
    I’m surprised fans don’t know the team by now, really. As if this team, of all recent versions, will NOT come out of its November with spirit.
    Cheer up … FFS. If November don’t depress you, the fans surely will.
    Cesc is in a rather odd way isn’t he. And he’s not the type to hold back …

  232. so what Frank. whats your point. i fukin hate that possesion stat, it means nowt.

  233. Do you watch Arsenal, duke? Possession’s pretty important for the way we play. If see a lot of the ball it means generally that we’re in OK shape. Creating chances, finishing and defending are another matter, but possession’s like the basic platform that we have to lay down in the first place.

    That’s all pretty obvious.

  234. EPL is changing quickly now, catching up with Europe and the world. For the better, and really about time too. I find it very unlikely that there will be any more talk of a ‘top-four’, and then nothing, and then nothing, and then another two, and then the rest, and then the worst.

    Any team, almost literally, is realistically capable of upsetting any team in EPL. The (relative) quality of WBA, perhaps Wolves and Blackpool, Newcastle in their style, and even Bolton has confirmed this. And if that has not, then Tottenham certainly has. Hell, even Stoke is starting to play.

    The rest will be down to stamina, fitness, depth, technical ability over a long season, but so-called upsets aplenty are still to come. It almost reminds me of English football when it was so exciting, and a season nail-biter certain.

    It is a good thing and augers well for the future. I blame Arsenal for showing the how, what, who … and mainly the why (this specifically is Wenger’s fault). Think of it this way: it is a curious fact that the only unbeaten team in the EPL is still in the thick of a serious fight to even finish in the top four.

    By the same yardstick, no team can in reality be written off at either end of the table, and not least The Arsenal. It is a fool who imagines otherwise.

    Now, where is Diaby? I’m missing the lad.

  235. Posessin is very important cos that is our game, aslong as we have posession we are in control and posession and patience usually equalls us winning. When the oponent does not have the ball they cant score neither. If we score and have the ball we win. Latley however our posession has gone down, if it was indeed 71% against Braga i think thats the first time this year it has been that high. Maybe i am wrong but it seems to me that we lost the ball alot easier this season, we have been running around and inbetween huntint the ball rather than controlling it. Anyone els noticed?(i hope i am wrong though). COs posession and no goals are bad enough, no posession and no goals is disastorous. How can we win if we loose the ball before it even reaches the final third of the oposits half?

  236. sorry oneofus but you could have the ball allday in your own half knocking it about. when we play chelsea they WANT us to have all the possesion. they hold their shape and then just hit us when they get an inevatable one or second chance. cl semi final classic example of how inter just LET barca have all the posssion they wanted,they held their shape and never left heir posts. shots on target is the most important stat isnt it.

  237. PS: Tottenham has been good this year, for a neutral they are really fun to watch atm(blah!). they play just like i want us to play.

  238. we do need possesion coz we are poor without the ball.

  239. possession is fundamental in football. The objective of the game is to score more goals than the opposition. No way you can do that if you don’t have the ball.

  240. thing is poodle there are no neutrals when it comes to them, either your or spud or you hate them. everyone hates them alike.

  241. Michael Thomas 4

    The tide is turning but will anyone have the nerve to sack Wenger?

    Everybody @ Arsenal, Wenger has had a say in their employment from the top (Gazidis who loves his vision!) to the bottom. He’s actually accomplished what Benitez failed to do @ Liverpool!

  242. Tottenham are not good enough to compare to Arsenal. Please let’s try to be serious. However, they can be and are an entertaining, not a fouling park-a-bus team, and that’s a good thing.

  243. yes ole but it doesnt mean shit having more of it then the opponent does it. just what you do when you have it and when you dont , at the mo we look like confukinceeding every time we dont have it. we are clearly not comfortable without possesion. we should be getting 2-0 up then being comfoftable to see out the game with the other team having most of the play as long as you defend well stay in positions you should keep them out but no we go all amatureish and they lose there discipline and we make silly mistakes get caught out of position trying to get a third.

  244. What possible reason would there be to sack the most successful manager, by a distance, in Arsenal’s history; and a visionary in modern football?

    When fools talk, only idiots come out to listen.

  245. Totenham is not good enough to be compared to arsenal? The thing is they are about to become. If they go futher then us in the CL im gonna die of imbarrasment, and its likley they will this year. If we become 2nd and get drawn towards RM or Barca in first playoff while they become 1 in their gropu and get drawn against some simple team they will have conquered us for the first time in well when was the last time they did that?

    I mean last spring they beat us at WHL, this autum they beat us at Emirates, next winter they go further than us in CL, next sumemer they leapfrog us in the PL?
    Thats ofc worst case scenario, but it is in no means an unlikley scenario.
    The irony is that is not because Tottenham is so damn good, its because the arsenal players seem to be “not in the rate state of mind” to use a washed out tabloid phrase.
    Everyone can see that Arsharvin is a better player than Lennon, Walcott should be better than Bale, Nasri should be better than VDVand Song, Wilshere better than whoever els they got in their midfield. Our left and right back is also better than the Tottenham ones. Tottenham has 4 strikers though that regularly score, we got 1. rest are out or not preforming. Gomes is no better than Al or Fab1 and hell even our defenders should be better.

    And no i dont blame AW, hes has proven in the past he is a winner, i do hope the players find back to their old self tough, and i like Djorous attitude, he seems proper pissed off, not dejected or dissapointed, just pissed off.

  246. All that really matters at the moment is the game on Saturday.

    …..Arsenal…..

  247. …hello, ZimPaul, I hope you are well

  248. A question for the trophy hounds, let’s say the unthinkable becomes reality and we don’t make it out the group stage, would it be worth it if we only win the Europa cup?

    The squad didn’t play badly against Braga. They didn’t play magnificently, but they played well enough. We played far worse against WBA, Shakthar and tot’s 2nd half. Anyway for how much longer must these post-mortems last? To the future; to Saturday

  249. poodle,

    Why call me a wife beater you cretin?

  250. are u all that blind? Denilson one of the worst Arsenal players ever. Wenger has lost the plot since 2006, fact!!

  251. Oh come on…people aren’t really seeing Spurs as a threat are they?

    Van der Faart and Gareth, the holy son of the father, Bale weren’t in the game on saturday at any point. They were utterly bossed.

    We will beat Aston Villa on Saturday. Spurs will lose to Liverpool.

    As for the champions league, I’m glad we get a rReal or a Barca instead of a “second rate team”. We will be tested. It presents a fantastic opportunity to prove what were made of, after all as the old cliche goes you have to beat the best to be the best. If we win (preferred) we may well go up a gear with belief. If we go out early then we can focus our energies on the league much earlier.

    We know what tier of team were in. Finishing top of the group is not a requisite of a successful champions league campaign. Inter came second in their group last year as did liverpool in 2005.

  252. A quick look at the distribution of goals in the Premier League confirms ZimPaul’s sentiment at 10.17am. Every fucker is scoring against every other fucker.

  253. Oh AIC, shut the f*ck up! Instead of your usual hypocritical obfuscations, you said, without any prompting:
    “I have doubted the direction of “Arsenal PLC” for a long time so please don’t think its based on the sh1te on offer last night, or Saturday, or two weeks ago, or the last time we got tanned by manU, Chelsea, WBA….”

    Unlike AIC and his ilk, I fully support Wenger’s vision. I have no doubts in my mind that it is the blueprint for long term dominance. (Unlike the lilywhite Scum who are enjoying a purple patch but don’t even have a Reserve team much less a stadium to match their ambitions.) Hence I can take in stride the current setbacks we have suffered. All clubs have a large swathe of fans who suffer from short-termism. No wonder the knives are coming out for Arsene. The last time I checked all visionaries, no matter how successful, have difficult years. Even Cruyff who laid the foundations for Barcelona’s current success was pilloried at the end. With 11 trophies, Cruyff became the club’s most successful manager to date. While becoming the club’s longest consecutive serving manager, serving 8 years. Cruyff’s fortune changed in his final two seasons, when he failed to win any trophies and fell out with president Núñez, resulting in his departure. Like Cruyff the hypocrites will laud Wenger to high heavens when he eventually departs. Unlike them I give him my undying support when the going is rough, not when it is easy to jump on the bandwagon at the end of the journey.
    Wenger will

  254. i dunno AIC, you just strike me as very angry person. You are just so full of hate. All i ever read from you is i hate this, i hate that(just swap this and that with an arsenal player or manager or anyone that has to do with arsenal).
    You are not interested in a constructive discussion(Or so it seeams). Its just hate, hate, hate!!!!!!
    If you are constantly in such a foul mood, how do you blow off steam? Or do you write angry messages on here then go out and smile and cheere happily over life afterwards? You are just so so so so angry. Why are you always so angry?

    PS: I dont really think you are a wifebeater, it was just an “innocent” name calling just like Wenger is a Pheado, “innocent” things that always pop up but that nobody means. Maybe you have never called AW a pheado, i dunno, i dont care. But who cares right? it is at the internet after all and poeple that expose themselves for critic(play bad or write bad) have to take it right?

  255. @ deano i am so happy for fans like you. your little speeches makes me belive again. thanks man 🙂

  256. Michael Thomas 4

    What possible reason would there be to sack the most successful manager, by a distance, in Arsenal’s history; and a visionary in modern football?

    When fools talk, only idiots come out to listen.

    ZimPaul

    Not only did you listen but you replied you fool. Infact I agree with everything you said but it’s all history? It will be a very painful period of transition ahead but no club can be controlled from top to toe like this. He has to much power and no-one telling him he’s currently doing his legacy no good at all. Gotta look to the future. He will just be another t-shirt one day.

  257. ^wum^

  258. Ole Gunner | November 25, 2010 at 10:26 am |

    “possession is fundamental in football. The objective of the game is to score more goals than the opposition. No way you can do that if you don’t have the ball.”

    While I’d normally agree with you Ole, results in some of the ‘big’ matches played in the last few years show that having better possession stats is definitely not always required for scoring and winning games.

    I very much prefer the arsenal/Barca way of football but it takes a lot to be consistently succesful with that approach. As Bill explained early, possession football requires a very, very good defense. Its no good having all of the ball and then conceding goals in the silly ways we regularly tend to do.

  259. This might sound a little bitter, but nobody’s pointed out that Spuds’ incredible Euro feats have come in a group with Bremen, Inter (who are both in complete meltdown) and a half-decent Dutch team; no long trips, no particularly hostile away fans, and two teams that are free-falling down their leagues.

    Obviously we should have won our group by now, but trips to Eastern Europe and Portugal have never been easy for English clubs.

    I like the Braga coach by the way. I thought he was pretty gracious after both the thumping defeat and Tuesday’s victory.

  260. The danger with the seeming slow pace of learning is that we face a risk of struggling to keep our best players if clubs more successful than we are come calling for them.

    Players that excel individually may eventually get frustrated with waiting for their teammates to catch up. They may start to want something to show for their ‘excellence’ on the pitch and it would be easier to have their head turned in that case. Admittedly that would be less likely from the likes of Nasri, Wilshere and co but the risk is certainly there.

  261. J*mes, fuck off.

  262. What a lot of dribble you come out with sometimes, Henristic.

  263. Deano,
    The “V” in “Vaart” should in fact be pronounced like an English “F”, just as the German word for “father,” “vater,” is pronounced like “farter”. I remember seeing van der Vaart’s fellow Dutchman, Ruud Gullit, on English television. At first, he pronounced van der Vaart correctly; but he obviously realised (or perhaps was told by the producer) that this would sound comical to English ears, so he started to use the Anglicised version instead.

  264. Its unbelievable some people already talking about europa league. we will beat Partizan handsomely without a doubt.
    I’m enjoying this Spuds loving from the media at the moment. Aparrently they play a better football than Arsenal , they have better squad and they have a better chance of winning the champions leaue. We all know a reality check is coming their way soon and everything will calm down

  265. In that case Vermaelen should be pronounced “Vermaele”, I think. In Dutch, an “n” at the end of a word is usually not pronounced. Maybe someone can correct me on that though.

  266. Wenger out. The club is and has always been too big for him. The guy doesnt know what he’s doing.

    LOL

    I’m joking

    People need to calm down. It is, after all a game of football..

  267. I can’t remember which commentator it was, but I recall somebody recently flagging the problems of the other teams at the top and their problems with ageing squads and big salary bills (Man U haven’t replaced Giggs and Scholes yet and Chelsea are a bunch of geriatrics) and saying that Arsenal should be flying high as we have worked on develpoing our squad and bringing the youngsters through. So why aren’t we?
    I am now concerned that some of the reason for us not just walking off with the whole lot this season can be attributed to the stubborness of our manager. The insistence of continuing to stick with Densilson, Diaby, Bendtner and Alumina when they surely wouldn’t make the squad of any of the other top teams in the Premiership, the decision to keep playing Nasri as a winger when he has demonstrated in recent games how good he is in the middle (moved inside in the second half against West Brom, the masterclass for France against England) and the seemingly blind faith in Walcott when everybody knows he is a one trick pony who always cuts inside rather than go the byeline to try to stand a cross up.
    We are soon going to have 4 very talented creative midfielders available to us when Ramsey returns from injury as any two from Fabregas, Nasri, Ramsey and Wilshere with a holding midfielder is likely to put the willies up any Premiership team. With Arshaving and Rosicky on the two wings as well we can play a very attacking line up with just one striker and it should stop Song from going on one of his runs (every time he did that against Spurs it completely slowed down our attacking impetus).
    With the mysterious long term injury to Vermaelen (does this remind anybodyof Rosicky), I hope we will buy another central defender in January as I am sick of hearing the manager and the players, most recently Djourou, going on about a lack of concentration. What are they doing instead of concentrating on the game, thinking about the wife’s new colour scheme for the dining room?
    While we were at let’s accept Bayern’s bid for Bendtner and buy a decent striker and can we finally put Almunia out of our misery and buy another goalie.

  268. Poodle i thought Spuds would need more than about 10 seasons to become our equals, and thats assuming we dont improve from when they beat us last. Turned on the telly a min before they scored their first and turned it off immediately after. The thought that they have qualified to the last 16 and we havent is distressing me to no end!

  269. So Poliziano are you saying we should be pronouncing it Fan the Fart?

  270. shottagunna | November 25, 2010 at 11:36 am |

    Interesting post there. I’m guessing that you started following the Arsenal during Wengers reign, right? Very much like myself then, which is why I totally understand your devotion to the man. The part I don’t get is why that support causes this inability to face any sort of criticism of Wenger.
    I don’t see any evidence of knives coming out for Arsene, apart from usual suspects on le-grove are doing what they always do. Yet you attacked arseblogger the other day for what was a reasonable and measured response to the recent defeats.

    You really should learn to take it easier men. I have to confess that my own faith in Arsene’s ability to deliver championships have been shaken this season, but that changes nothing. If we win this season, it won’t be because of ‘undying support’ or lack of it from you or anyone else.

  271. What we need is a big, rampaging, nordic warrior type centre back like Dolph Lundren, partnered by a nimble, Italian stallion like Stallone, with a Bruce Willis type midfield enforcer and a charasmatic midfield general like Steven Seagal. Why are we not buying them?

  272. Thanks Limpar, I like dribbles. Its one of my favourite skills in football 😉

  273. Time to harp on about history again, but back in the days when we had the likes of Adams, Keown and Bould at the back you would have needed a battering ram to get through them. Yes, they could be a bit slow, but didn’t they let the forwards know they were there? The current squad appears to have only one central defender like that and he is much faster than any of his peers ever were, but he is currently out with what seems to be a long term injury. None of our other three CBs apepar to have the muscle needed and its going to be a bad day at the office when Rooney and Drogba come to the Emirates unless we bringing in somebody with the power and leadership qualities at the back to marshall a back line which looks very shaky at the moment.

  274. This is the only gooner blog I read these days as it offers insight and perspective. Thank you to YW and all those regular contributors. By ‘regular contributors’ I don’t mean those such as AIC who post repeatedly following defeat. It’s good to share opinions, but this chap doesn’t debate or listen – he just seems to be convincing himself. I really wish he’d fuck off somewhere else rather than polute this island of sanity.

    For the record – we are incredibly fortunate to have AW as our manager. Anyone who can’t see that is a fool. Get some perspective, stop your whining and support the team.

  275. I’ve a friend who works in, and supports Totteringham.
    Something to do with sewage. It’s a tough job. There’s a lot of **** that passes through Totteringham.

  276. shotta,

    I know you are deluded enough to fully support a vision that is failing despite evidence to the contrary. I don’t think that AW should go though. Maybe a change of backroom staff could help becuase it is clear that AW cannot solve the problems with his current staff. This team is fundamentally flawed. Its not a write off by any means but needs serious work. The worst part about this is that with a very ordinary ManU team and with Chelsea struggling this should be our time. We could have been top by at least 6 points now if we didn’t throw away games or defend like a pub team after a heavy night. Its so frustrating..

    As you note its Arsenal PLC that I have issues with. The corporatisation of the club has widened the gap between club and supporter. The new stadium lacks atmosphere and prices are way too high. The prioritsation of debt repayment over winning is another example.

  277. Meanwhile, here is Arsenal’s reserve LB, and England International in action:

  278. While I’d normally agree with you Ole, results in some of the ‘big’ matches played in the last few years show that having better possession stats is definitely not always required for scoring and winning games.

    It’s not a matter of opinion. It’s just fact. And common sense. The team which dominates possession is usually able to do that because its superior and usually wins. That’s not to say that there aren’t teams which are dominated which win. But there are fewer examples of that than otherwise.

  279. Totally agree with Ole, it’s far harder to win if you don’t have possession. You have to be quite efficient or lucky in creating and converting chances, a trait we sometimes lack. Best to have possession and let the numbers game play out in such instances as we win far more than we lose. Unfortunately, when we play like this it’s generally not regarded as us playing bad unless we lose.

    AIC, your pseudonym initials are becoming synonymous with mug. If you didn’t have the traits of a no-good politician, I’d urge you to pay attention to the internal logic of your own arguments, but as it stands you’re a troll who weaves straw and makes it look so purty.

  280. Oh yeah, happy Thanksgiving to our US brethen. Don’t get too fat

  281. Not being a Londoner, and so missing an important part of the history of North London club football rivalry, I don’t really feel special antipathy towards Tottenham, I just don’t like them very much. In London I have preferred Fulham, and for historical reasons, West Ham.

    That said, the media hype over a team which has, once in 15 years – if my memory is correct – reached the last 16 of the CL is so typically sports media garbage for the masses, as in “find a story, hack it out to death, move to the next”. But well done to them, really. It is an accomplishment, and their CL form has been good. Once is once. Last time I checked Arsenal has done this 14 consecutive seasons, and likely to reach 15 (if we can improve ever so slightly our most recent home record … tee hee).

    Which is also my response to Michael Thomas # 4. Football clubs, like people, are so interesting sometimes but not always.

  282. Ole,
    I think a some kind of distinction can be made in games between rivals/peers and those between not so matched opponents. I’m reasonable sure that even Mourinho’s teams dominate possession against smaller clubs most of the time, much like we or barca do. Its almost natural given the difference in talent.
    But when his teams play a more evenly matched rival, like us or barca, he always revert to the tactic of conceding posession. Its those kind of matches were possession won’t always lead to winning. It would be interesting to see if the stats bear that out but imo, those games are much more defined by tactics, discipline, experience, individual errors, ref mistakes etc.

  283. Maureen’s template is not one I’d ever want subscribed to. Chelsea fans were bored by the football, Inter fans were bored by the football, and who knows about Real.

    The entertainment is not found in the result.

  284. Strange things happen in football. A wump here, a weezle there, a karump somewhere else. However, the bottom line is the incremental accumulation of results by a season’s end, and then, season after season for a period.

    It is no secret that Arsenal has been meticulously building something.

    What I don’t get is where we have “failed” and how such apparent failure is measured. All I see is success, but certainly no easy victories. I have not yet heard that Arsenal is out of the race for the EPL, or the CL last 16, or the lesser cups, because we want a good trophy this season – that is a stated goal. Or am I missing something?

  285. OK, everyone is tired of dooming. So, some thoughts that may put the Saturday defeat into perspective.
    1. Big teams do not lose derby games! Hmm… Manu in 2007-2008 lost twice to ManCity, and still won the title (not that they deserved it, mind you, should have been our year).
    2. Big teams do not waste 2 goals leads! Hmm… ManU conceded 2 when playing West Brom at home with a draw as a result. The same against Everton away. I also remember Chelsea in 2008 leading 4:2 at home against the Spurs and drawing.

    Our 3 best players are missing or unfit. We’ll readjust and be back on winning ways shortly I hope. Interestingly, I’m not really bothered with CL whether we qualify and who we will play. All we get from it is injuries, fatigue and moral blows impeding our league form. CL is a competition for experienced squads that won something already, the next step after winning domestic leagues if you want. We should first concentrate on winning something at home. Lost revenue? Who cares. I’d rather win Carling Cup than being humiliated in CL semis.

  286. If you can’t see that all this team needs is a little tweak on covering back, a little more belief when going forward – then I would say you’re just mining your own well of inner despair – and you should just f*ck off and stop trying to foist it on the rest of us.

    Spain were the first ever team to win the World Cup after suffering defeat in their opening game. How did they recover? Unerring belief from inside and outside the camp.

    Oh, and I heard they liked to keep hold of the ball a bit too.

  287. Gadget,

    Unlike some of other contributors to this blog, AIC has ben consistent with his thoughts and concerns on this team over the past few years now.

    He sings a similar song to me – that there are serious concerns with the attitude of the players, their lack of motivation at times, the lack of focus in defensive discipline, poor leadership and the inability to be streetwise in closing games out.

    All this thinking is someway substantiated by the under-performances both on and off the field over the past number of years. I don’t think we have an automatic right to win anything, but is it really too much to ask that players show just a modicum of fucking pride and concern when they wear the jersey throughout an entire 90+ mins?

    I left the Ems on Sat as deflated as I have ever been during my lifetime supporting this club. I never felt we had it in the bag at 2-0 up. And why we felt the need to press ahead to score a 3rd when we should have just closed the game out – tells you all you need to know about the confidence in our defense. Similarly against Braga, we had total possession for most of the game. All we needed was a draw. Why press ahead and leave the opportunity of a counter attack when your down to 10 men? We only needed a draw – against Braga ffs.

    As usual, because we won the first three matches in the CL we didn’t think it important enough to close out the qualification by playing full teams against Shaktar or Braga. Have you any appreciation of how much money qualification means and now its all riding on the partisan game? As arrogant and as stupid as some of the fans on this site who thought we only had to show up to beat a team like Newcastle because “we are the Arsenal”.

    Instead of course its the usual bitchfest about poor refereeing and injuries. Neither the players, nor the manager can ever be culpable – because the last 6 years have shown remarkable improvement right! Honestly, who do think were fooling?

  288. Top 3 teams in the Premiership?
    Top 3 teams for possession…
    …who are the top 3 teams for passing accuracy.
    …who are the top 3 teams for goals scored.

    Interestingly, and upsettingly for those who seem to think that Arsenal studiously rack up their impressive possession stats while camped out in their own half, Arsenal have completed more passes in the opposition half than any other team. They have also made ‘killer passes’ i.e. broken the opposition’s defence with a pass, more times than any other team save Chelsea.

    Not suprising in the slightest is that Arsenal have resorted to the ‘long ball’ fewer times than any other team.

    “Surrendering possession” in the big matches is an interesting tactic, cowardly, but interesting. Glad we don’t do that.

  289. I think the possession discussion is missing the major issue. Possession is a means not a final end. Of course you have to have possession in order to score (except in the most bizarre and fluky of own goals or Cesc’s goal this season when he injured himself on the blocked clearance that went in–never say never in football!). But you don’t have to have it for very long if you do the right things with the ball and the other team doesn’t stop you.

    Every strategy has its advantages and disadvantages; and some of these disadvantages emerge when the tactic is developed to an extreme. That’s why I was quite intrigued when Wenger mentioned that the team needed to try to play more directly. I wondered what this would mean–long balls or quicker forward movement and passing to open up spaces and chances more aggressively. Immediately after the Newcastle defeat we saw some impressive results–Chamakh scoring a header from an early cross in the first minute of play and so on. Being able to do these sorts of things makes us much more dangerous in our possession play.

    So possession is useful but doesn’t tell the story. Watching the Braga game, we kept the ball hypnotically at times but had few attacking ideas and very few shots. We didn’t look threatening but we had lots and lots of midfield and high back line possession. It is part of our strategy but it isn’t the goal and citing these stats at the end as if it indicates dominance and a just reward is somewhat misguided.

    I hope we can develop that direct form of play within our style because it is magnificent. Unfortunately, we have sometimes lost our drive forward while keeping possession. But the risk of more direct football, if not developed from our style of play and its strengths are the horribly disappointing high and long balls of desperation that indicate a real breakdown of our play. I don’t like to see that either. Against Newcastle, that was what distressed me most about the game–a serious breakdown in our style.

  290. Persoanally, I just want to see RvP and Diaby back in full scale action. We are missing a bit of Vermaelen also. Walcott will recover his exquisite early season form, that’s a matter of a few matches; the usual. Alot of people are guilty of under-estimating Arsenal.

  291. Sri Lankan cricket circa mid-1980s into 1990s took a long time and a lot of painful losses for their then young generation cricketers – already individually quite brilliant – to assert their style, confidence, and finally dominance, over teams used to winning. It was a matter of self-belief.

    Sri Lankan cricket had no baggage of ‘entitlement’. It was a big advantage. They also had Jayasuriya and was it Ranatunga.

  292. There are few if any problems in Arsenal that cannot be fixed by a ‘reality check’ or two, always helpful in these situations. We are fortunate indeed that ours have come in such a way so as not to derail various trophy hunts. Or rather, let’s see how we respond away against a useful Villa side.

  293. I’m well thanks Frank.
    Welcome home.

  294. @Joe,

    Its that fans interpret the results to suggest that we are casual when we play… I think the loses are painful to the players, more painful than we give them credit for.

    They are the ones that have to pick themselves up and continue no matter what… They do try and these things will eventually click… It takes time to gel to play our style, much understanding between players… they are getting there. If TW14 had not gone off injured sometime back, who knows where thi team would have been… even with ramsey and RVP and Diaby… even young frimpong was doing so well in pre season! Even cesc has not had a smooth run with injuries

    These are the same players that saw out the everton game… i don’t believe they are as arrogant as we make them out to be in saying they always take the teams they are playing for granted. They are too intelligent for that.

    This team will come good. The invincible that we compare these players to were in their prime!

  295. Villa away is, in many ways, a deliciously tricky prospect.

  296. I think that is right, what LA suggests–we need a bit more ruthlessness and belief going forward to produce good chances, like we did in our first few games this season–and some adjustments to covering and tracking back on counters. Also we seem to give up some goals on set pieces; hopefully there is something that can be done to stop more of these goals.

    Now with Cesc out there is a perfect opportunity to make some adjustments anyway. It’s up to our manager and to the players to find a way out of this gloom. I am sure they feel the pressure to do so and feel the strong desire to do so. I believe this is still the best team we’ve had over the last few years. It is too early to judge, even if admittedly some of these early signs are worrisome. It is going to be a huge challenge and harder without Cesc at his best and Vermaelen out still. But what is there to do other than support this team at this low point ahead of big games in December?! The away support has been fantastic–hope they give this team a lift away to Villa.

  297. ZiimPaul…

    well said on the response thing

  298. Alex Ice Cream | November 25, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
    As usual you are so full of b*ll-sh*t. Trying to have it both ways as usual:
    Sentence #1: “I know you are deluded enough to fully support a vision that is failing despite evidence to the contrary.” VS
    Sentence # 2: “I don’t think that AW should go though.”
    If the vision or blueprint has failed then the “visioneer” or leader has to go.
    Messing around with the backroom staff as you propose is just the language of a weaseler who either knows that his fundamental premise is flawed or is concealing the axe because you know you enjoy no support. The latter is a typical ploy by you.
    Your true colors is revealed in your subsequent statements:
    “This team is fundamentally flawed.” Damning language indeed, aimed at the heart of the manager. But it is another lie on your part because a few weeks ago, when you crawled from under your rock as things looked swimmingly and the tide was about to leave you on shore, you said the team was sound except for goalkeeper and some other mythical new signing.

    Then you resort to another of your favorite ploys, belittling the club’s financial strength because it is averse to your basic premise that somehow we can buy our way to success. “As you note its Arsenal PLC that I have issues with.” Your problem is not with the PLC, or else you would have a problem with all the PLCs in Barclays Premier League. Your problem is that you are a p*ss-poor fan who is happy to go for the ride when the going is good but as soon as we hit a bad patch you simply want to tear up the blueprint for success.
    That is why I have no reservation in telling you (and Joe your fellow traveller) to just f*ck off.

  299. Hi Joe,

    Like you, I was disgusted on Saturday and left the game depressed but somehow not surprised. Everybody in the stadium knew that Sperz would have to have a go and were prepared for it – apart from the team that is. I said to my friend that its not how we handle the game when we are 2-0 up but what happens if they score. We all know what happened next – total capitulation due to not being able to do the basics of defending and concentrating. Sperz didn’t have to do much to beat us which is the worst thing – we just died a horrible death. The lack of passion and pride from the team was just terrible to watch. You wonder if some of the players care at all.
    We seem incapable of changing the way we play to suit the situation – playing out draws/wins changing to counter a specific opponent.
    Unlike the mugs like Gadget who just accept the erosion of standards at Arsenal and sound exactly like Sperz fans used to (we don’t care if we win f*ck all we play good football) we aren’t content with being the annual whipping boys of Chelsea and Manu. Now we have been humiliated by WBA, Toon and Sperz at home and yet we are not true supporters becuase we don’t accept this as good enough for Arsenal. We used to laugh at Sperz fans who used to say that trophies don’t matter.
    Its the old cliche: show me a good loser and I will show you a loser.

  300. AIC, truly i dont believe anyone siggests trophies do not matter…. but to say the players dont care because they lost os also not right.

    I cant ever even remeber arsenal dropping a 2 goal lead to lose so unceremoniously… no one was at all happy with the result

    the issues that come up is usually about what to do next… some say AW out, others say, the team should do better like we all know they are capable of doing! the team is good enough skill wise, they are working on consistency, great things take time and lots of up and downs to build!

  301. shotta,

    You really are an idiot. Have you ever been to a game? Even 1?

    You think that posting deluded sh1te on this blog makes you a better supporter than others who have spent thousands going to games over many years.

    I try to start the season in a positive mood and thought that this team could do something. Results have shown me otherwise. Unless things change soon we’ll win nothing again this season. I don’t want AW to go as I hope that he can turn it around. I want AW to win the CL with us.

    I do believe this team is fundamentally flawed – look at capitualtions v WBA, Sperz and Wigan last year.

    I don’t need support on this blog. You must be even more stupid that I thought (and believe me that’s impressive) if you think I want support on this blog.

    I want 1 thing. Arsenal to be champions of England and Europe. That’s it.

  302. Can we try to be tolerant of all the ghouls we’re encountering this week who risk the daylight only after an Arsenal defeat? It must be immensely frustrating for them that there are so few opportunities to writhe and wallow in the rancid, fetid mire of their own ordure – and there’ll be even fewer in the future. Surely everyone’s entitled to their occasional fleeting moments of pleasure.

  303. what is the meaning of capitulation exactly? Thought its about giving up without a fight in football, it thought it was more about losing from a leading position?

    of the 2 teams listed, i thot only spurs fall into that?

  304. what is the meaning of capitulation exactly? Thought its about giving up without a fight in football, it thought it was more about losing from a leading position?

    of the 3 teams listed, i thot only spurs fall into that?

  305. Alex the queue for the trains on saturday were like a morgue, that was one of my worst experiences ( among many over the years ) it’s a long journey home after a game like that. The thing is guys like us will be there next week full of hope getting behind the team,chin up mate.

  306. AIC, This is England has puts it more plainly for you to see.

    You cannot say a season’s hope for trophies have come to an end, until it actually does, cos even the most optimistic of us did not expect Chelsea to lose 2 games in a row, but being an arsenal fan, i hoped for it and was totally glad when it happened rather than not hoping for it and having to grudgingly accept that the season is not over till the end like many of the :experts” that concluded Chelsea were champions are beginning to find out!

  307. Joe, so you mean AIC’s only ever moans prolificly after a loss? Go figure. Nice way of trying to leapt to his defence though, but you shouldn’t take a bullet for someone unless you love ’em.

    Anyway, you’re free to believe whatever you wish, but AIC’s arguments lack internal consistency that leaves them all too shallow. You can be fooled by the pretty arguments if you want but a simply examination reveals contradictions and, perhaps, the frustration of unfulfilled idealism.

    Out of interest how have our players underperformed off-field?

    Similarly out of interest, on any given weekend, how many teams do you think under-perform? Would you say Man U perform if the just manage to win a game? What is it to actually perform? In my opinion, there have been 2.5 games of under-performing this season, and the reasons for such could be simply down to the fact our players are human and therefore entirely fallible to fuck up, but nonetheless, I urge our players to play as hard as they can and keep fighting.

    You make silly conclusions based upon your natural inclination. How do you draw a lack of confidence in our defending in us not sitting back against Tottenham? Did you actually watch the Wolves game where we pretty much defended most of the game? Besides if our defending was that woeful, why the hell would you do anything other than attack all game?

    You have the temerity to question our players’ pride, but yet at the same time rebuke them for not playing for the draw against Braga? I’m tempted to say you lack a spine. I’m not going to berate my team for losing a point when going for the win.

    If we were losing 2-0 at the time of the penalty appeal, then by all means you can say that’s us not seeing the issue, but the fact is, our player got injured, reducing us to 10, by a rash challenge that was worth of a yellow but got none. The penalty was a penalty and had we scored, we would have probably won. The injury to Eboue left us short, and the rest is history.

    This team has improved. It may or may not be remarkable, but the fact is, we lose because we lose, not because we’re beat. Hard to say that about any other team out there at the moment. So by all means criticise the players for not giving all, but to suggest we’re rubbish is something entirely different.

  308. Show me a bad loser and I’ll show you a loser who’s also a chump.

  309. Gadget,

    What does being down to 10 men late in the game have to do with the utter dross that preceded it?

  310. Would you still be moaning if we lost?

  311. Add a ‘hadn’t’ in there and you’ll getmy meaning

  312. AIC, As utter as the dross was, it held braga to a goalless draw until the injury… it would have been enough to ensure qualification in case you didn’t know that

  313. Mourinho is being investigated by UEFA.

  314. merlot
    ‘ occasional, fleeting moments….
    is that on the cosmic scale then ?

  315. Didn’t see this coming:

    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/ramsey-joins-nottingham-forest-on-loan

    Doesn’t his mate play for Forest?

  316. Chris Gunter…they used to live together apparently.

  317. Enjoy, Forest fans. Look after him, Championship.

  318. verm
    agree article good. only one word missing. the most imprtant one really.

  319. I agree with Zp all the way.

  320. hate watching football highlights with the gf. she really spoils it. comes out with stupid things like ” weellllllll. if the players aren’t good enough why dont you just buy some who arrrrre.” simple, see. electrics back – night all,

  321. one other thing. horror. i actually know a forest fan. his name is john and er….. funny people.

  322. @ firslady..lol you make me laugh ^^
    I know i should have done the same. turned off and done something els when “tottenham was showing the wold how good they were”. But like a bad horror movie i just could not stop watching. It was disgusting and horrible and i ended up feeling sick. blurgh!

    Oh well, Inter will snatch Capello before his england contract goes out(cos Benitez aint what they thought he was), which means Redknapp will become England manager. You can see it coming, already he has closed down the pursuit of Benzema, he knows its coming closer now,his eyes fixated on England national team.(thats what i hope anyway). Bye bye, Tottenham, hellu England!

  323. I agree with ZP too. Veeella is the most important Arsenal event on the horizon.

    Nice move for Aaron, back to the club who gave us our first red kit.

  324. I also agree with Desi Gunner and thanks for the link, Verminator.

  325. Gotta be excited about Ramsey. He’s one player who’s going to be immense and I think I am most excited about him among the Arsenal youngsters. Remember that goal against Portsmouth lat season?

  326. Delia----Block112

    Such fickle fans we have.Let me tell some of you , you have never had it so good! We’ve not had a good week but we will bounce back and we are still with realistic chances in all competitions ,so cheer up gooners.
    Very few of the contributors on this site have had to stand in the snow and pouring rain, watching rubbish football played on muddy pitches ( almost unplayable conditions) by a group of players none of whom would grace our current squad. What was even worse was having to see the Spuds, in their hayday , playing great football and winning the double.
    See you all at the Fulham game. COYRs

  327. @ Delia:
    Excellent comment.

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