Dismal Arsenal Survive But Will They Learn?

FA Cup Third Round
Arsenal 1 – 1 Leeds United

0 – 1 Snodgrass (54 pen)
1 – 1 Fabregas (90 pen)

Aside from the final ten minutes of the first half, the final twenty of the match, it was a turgid and dismal performance. The absence of width in attack, combined with sloppy passing in the opening twenty minutes gave a disciplined Leeds United encouragement to believe that they can could achieve a good result.

Not that all of the starters were poor; Szczesny, Gibbs, Djourou and Denilson all played well, considering the overall context of the team performance. Some of the others had mitigating circumstances. Alex Song looked shattered; Chamakh was starved of any chances – it is impossible to score if few are presented – whilst Nicklas Bendtner is not a right winger by any stretch of the imagination. And it showed.

Leeds started as energetically as Arsenal were lethargic yet it was the hosts who should have opened the scoring. Rosicky in a rare glimpse of brightness from his performance, fed Arshavin. The Russian’s lack of confidence showed with a weak finish against Schmeichel’s leg.

When or why the Russian is apparently mentally shot is unknown but bereft of confidence he certainly is. And subject to the kind of abuse that Song, Eboue and Denilson have put with for years – welcome to Arsenal, Andrey. You’ve never truly arrived until the crowd are on your back.

The following twenty minutes disappeared into a mire of ceded possession and stray passes as Leeds threatened sporadically, Becchio the main threat all afternoon. Arsenal awoke from their comatose state with half an hour gone. Schmeichel denied Arshavin and Denilson whilst Squillaci and Chamakh were denied by defensive discipline.

As much of a flurry activity as a false dawn. Bendtner had one moment on the right, drawing a save from Schmeichel but no breakthrough came. For Arsenal at least. Eboue was isolated on the right, shepherding Snodgrass towards a position of relative safety. The Leeds midfielder turned and fed the unmarked Gradel, who cut in and was felled clumsily by Denilson. The power of Snodgrass’s penalty beat Szczesny.

It was a mistake for which the Brazilian is rightly criticised, too many basic errors in one passage of play. It brought chastisement from his captain about the ‘stupidty’ of the incident. It’s a catching thing, eh, Cesc?

Cesc’s arrival was no surprise, Song’s departure meant Denilson was shifted into the more defensive role and became more subdued, along with knowing that his mistake might cost the team dear. It might have been an irrelevant substitution had Szczesny not blocked Becchio’s header with a sharp save to his right.

The arrival of Walcott gave Arsenal some pace. Either Chamakh or Bendtner could have gone with little complaint. Would the Moroccan have fared better with the late chance that Bendtner sliced wide – who knows?

The main focus of Walcott’s involvement in a comedy of errors that eventually came to the right decision. Walcott admitted that he dived in an attempt to win a penalty. Dowd appeared to award the penalty before overruling himself and giving an offside after the event. He should be commended for his honesty; whether there are repercussions is an entirely different matter.

Arshavin sent Walcott clear but the England forward failed to get any height on his attempted lob which ended tamely in the goalkeeper’s arms. The next time Walcott broke into the area, it was more effective. Tugged back, he still managed to get his shot away but Phil Dowd decided that he had been impeded enough and pointed to the spot. Cesc coolly scored and a draw salvaged.

Whilst the referee is to be commended for his bravery in making that call, perhaps officials can be more consistent and penalise all of the pulls and tugs suffered with penalties. No wait, our full and centre backs might be in real trouble in that happens.

The outcome is a replay. Lucky or unlucky is a matter of perspective. Despite the appalling nature of the performance, Arsenal survived and Leeds may yet fancy their chances. History is against them. They have never knocked Arsenal out in any tie involving replays nor have they ever knocked Arsenal out at home. Which side Wenger fields may have a big influence on whether that record continues.

’til Tomorrow.


Posted on January 9, 2011, in Arsenal, FA Cup, Football, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 118 Comments.

  1. Fffiiiiiirrsssssstttttt…Good day to all Gunner Fans…

  2. YW – This is very critical by your standards but I love your honesty. I think we have reached a stage where we should expect and demand more from this group. There may have been mitigating circumstances why we looked so sloppy in the 1st 20 minutes especially in in the final third. As I posted yesterday we created enough chances to score at least three.
    It is in games like these that the doubts about our pedigree to become champions have real credibility.

  3. Very balanced post as usual Yogi.. It was very interesting watching Wenger being interviewed after the game..He looked rather annoyed to say the least that the team were unable to convert the chances created..We know that rotation is necessary I just felt hat a number of players were below par.No pint in me naming individual players as it solves nothing…

    It is going to be a huge test going up North and it its going to need a solid all round performance to beat Leeds..

    Yogi do you think Walcotts admission is one that could come back to haunt him and more importantly Arsenal in terms of penalties to be awarded fro the remainder of the season??

  4. PS: The “mitigating” circumstances I was thinking of was the the unfamiliarity of the players who now make up our so-called “B” team and the fact that many of the players are rusty and returning from injury. But in truth it is insufficient a reason and no excuse for some of the sloppiness.

  5. Personally think it’s a bit harsh, it was a disjointed performance but multiple rotations contribute to that. Eboue had his brainless head on throwing himself to the ground and why did he swap his shirt with a Leeds player at half time? Personally Bendtner’s finishing let him down yesterday but it’s difficult for any striker to get in the grove playing sporadically, the missed shot in the last 5 mins was a difficult chance he was quite wide and he had to volley first time.

    Leeds had a go but unlike at Old Trafford last season they were the poorer side an Arsenal loss would have been an injustice. No comment on the two reckless challenges in the 1st half (although Rosicky could have got red for a poor challenge when already on a yellow).

    What yesterday says to me is god help us when Cesc goes.

  6. Ras

    No I think it may have helped yesterday because he appeared to admit to Phil Dowd on the pitch that he dived and apologised.


  7. that was our ‘b’ team..and i thought we did quite well..
    certain players continue to frustrate but overall the fringe players did ok..on another day that game finishes 4-0 its not like we didnt have the chances

    and why is rosicky escaping the critisism AA’s been getting recently??
    easily the worst player in the squad on current form..he hasnt scored or assisted in over a year whats his role again???

  8. Wow, what a disgrace. Berbatov dives, Webb couldn’t give the penalty fast enough. Unbelievable. Fergie’s got all these dopes in his back pocket.

  9. where’s every1?wat a clear dive 4rm bubbletov!!!

  10. Walcott’s confession has got the pundits and hacks in a bundle of twisted knickers.

    For one, it is almost unprecedented for a player to admit openly that they dived, take responsibility, and publicly apologize for it. If it works, Walcott would have executed a coup and mother of all bluffs. I think the referees will respect his honesty and not use the incident as a reason for an embargo.

    We all cry about discretions in the game, but what to do when someone honourably owns up? Vilifying them will just illustrate how petty you are.

    Secondly, I think Theo is surviving this somewhat because he is English and he is playing well. If God forbid, the first foul led to a penalty (or pelanty as the Azznal pronouncing git of the ‘he doesn’t have a footballing brain’ legend would say) and Theo happened to be a foreigner; lo and behold we would have never heard the last of it.

    Now if only Rooney and Gerrard would openly admit diving.

    As for the game, I simply shook my head at the final whistle to acknowledge that we muggged Leeds. It reminded me of the Everton game in January 2009 when we mugged Everton off 3 points at Goodison Park with a 4 second move that saw a distribution from Almunia via Diaby straight into the path of Van Persie for a rocket into the net with the final kick of the game. We were our own worst enemies, but I suppose such is the nature of the giant killing 3rd round.

    I think Wenger should put back that same team against Ipswitch on Wednesday, perhaps giving Djourou and Song a rest to not only get some match sharpness , but for the players who played yesterday to redeem themselves. The pitch time wil remove those cobwebs soon enough.

    Can’t complain about the replay though. It’s the lesser of the two evils.

  11. Wonder if Berbatov will apologise!

  12. am never going to undrestand wat a player like eboue is doin at a club like ours.tbh hes the most crap player at the club.imo as much as i hate him/them rafael is beta.just my oppinion.

  13. at least theos got the balls to admit he dived
    but i like that..diving to win pens is what gets u the result sometimes..just ask pires..
    winners win at all costs..pure football is glorious to the eye but its sometimes they darker side of the game that gets u through..
    if the pen would have been given then i dont think theo would have said anything but thats hindsight..
    besides its not like us gooners aint used to divers, eboues been doing it week in week out for years so much so that nobody picks up on it anymore..

  14. I don’t know how you can say Denilson’s performance was ok, when it was obvious to the captain on the bench that it was not.
    ‘Mitigating circumstances’ is only enabling a problem within the 2nd squad- that an abject/ pedestrian performance is ok…just to retain their space on the team, unprofessional.
    I think Arseblogs’ article is spot on- Bendtner must live up to his talk (ok he’s not a winger, but his finishing is not clinical either), Denilson has got to prove to me he is actually Brazilian (show me a passport at least), Arshavan has got to realize that even though he is playing currently on the 2nd squad, it’s still the first team…If he ever wants to have that ‘mega- dollar contract’ he thinks he deserves… he has got to start performing in ‘lesser’ games, and take his rest, when the gaffer deams it (un-professional)….this is not a retirement club.
    I can’t fault Eboue… realistically he’s only a utility player, and until he shows enough graft to stand up to the challenges instead of flopping like a fish on the deck of a tuna boat, thats all he will be…we are fortunate we had at least that much cover for Sagna, as little as it is (lucky it wasn’t at a more serious time in our schedule).
    The same could be said for Squilacci, his sole purpose was to provide coverage for the CB’s, and not to be full time. That being said there was no reason to be so far out of position so often…it wasn’t as if Leeds was making so much movement up front.

    It seams like nobody wants to perform unless the captain’s on the field… it’s like psychologically- they think they are on the 1st squad if he is present..and only then do they make an effort….noobs

    I was really hoping for a run out for Ramsey…just to send a message to the 2nd squad…your time is almost up.

  15. come on liverpool.!!looks like we ll see another goal.could end as a draw.

  16. I think teams like Leeds have sussed out that to stop the gunners from playing,they have to be like speed demons and they almost pulled it off. I still think the gunners still take a long time to score compared to other teams. This is because of Wenger ball.If the gunners don’t win anything this season,it’s time to ditch the pretty soccer and go direct.
    If playing direct doesn’t pay dividends,I’m afraid Wenger has reached his zenith.Then it’s time for a change. Anyway we have until May to see what will happen.
    Walcott was naive if not dumb to admit he dived. I can bet my house that berbatov won’t do so. I think refs have been perpetually giving the red faced penalties at OT. I hope someone can bring the stats to confirm my

  17. Didnt think it was a dismal performance, however “God help us when Cesc goes”!!!???. This team was doing well without Cesc for a while and even when he was playing he had a hamstring problem and was crap during that time but here we find ourselves in all competitions. How do we manage that without him?

    For me our expectations of players who have rarely played and/or played together is over the top. If it takes one player a few matches to get into the groove how long will it take a whole team that hasnt played regularly?

    The main problem for me was song because he was shattered, understood.

    They needs a run of games together, will they get that?

  18. The united hounds force Webb to give Gerrard a red card…LOL!

  19. it was a red though
    two feet off the ground studs up..red card

  20. “It seams like nobody wants to perform unless the captain’s on the field… it’s like psychologically- they think they are on the 1st squad if he is present..and only then do they make an effort….noobs”

    Again thats a load of rubbish as we were without Cesc for a while but yes a player can come on the field and Change things, ie the Barcelona match with Cesc playing (1st leg, CL), Walcott, Eboue and Denilson picked the team up.

    I will defend the team against this nonsense about Cesc needing to be playing.

  21. It’s Webb though…

  22. lol darius
    yeah webb likes to spend many a night round at fergies house but when a player makes a tackle like that it makes his job much easier

  23. gunnerwilliam | January 9, 2011 at 2:00 pm |

    Whats soccer?

  24. Paul

    This Cesc thing is a pile of whatever you want to call it. Quite simply, it was a bollocks performance. Put it behind them and focus on Wednesday.


  25. howard”i luv MANURE”webb -couldn’t wait to give the penalty-wasn’t touched-diving b’stard-then couldn’t wait to get gerrard off.what a c**t!hope he never ever gets any of our games-he’s manure through & through..

  26. Typical FA Cup game. The lesser team ups their game,at least in defence, and the bigger team fails to rise to the occasion. It could easily have been 4-1 though.

    I have no doubt that normal service will be resumed in the replay. There has to be a result in that game and we will win it comfortably.


  27. Very noticeably these days our supporters go missing when they are needed most. The atmosphere in the stadium yesterday was tense to say the least. Instead of spurring the team on when they are not hitting the heights we have a horrible tendency to grind our teeth, bite our fingernails and moan. Even in the first half. It must be so obvious to the players.


  28. Well put Yogi. Agree 100%. You too Darius!

  29. On to Wednesday Yogi!

  30. I am bemused by Theo’s comments about diving. Makes he seem a bit simple.

  31. Oh dear now I seem a bit simple…makes ‘him’ seem a bit simple.

  32. Frank | January 9, 2011 at 2:36 pm |

    Totally agree Frank, the crowd was poor yesterday. Fortunately, the away crowd are much better and hopefully we’ll see the benefit of that.

    I also don’t think the balance of the team was right yesterday. Only one of Chamakh/Bendtner should have played and since Vela was brought on anyway he should have played on the left instead of Bendtner because his pace may have caused more of a problem to Leeds as Theo’s did when he eventually came on.

  33. I suspect the players had their minds on the Ipswich game on Wednesday.

  34. Nice post Yogi, honest and to the point.

    Just when you really get your hopes up the club throws in a clanger of a performance. I realize that it was the 2nd team but they are all internationals and there is no reason to draw with Leeds at the Emirates. Despite the wonderful football we played over Christmas we still ended up with the 4th best haul of points of the top 5. The draw with Citeh is understandable but if we really want to win titles the points we dropped at Wigan can not happen. The football that the “1st team” played during the holiday break was wonderful but they can not play every game and realistically we can not expect the current run of health we are enjoying to continue indefinitely. Having a first 11 stay healthy for long runs is uncommon for any team much less Arsenal.

    We can argue that the 2nd team players are rusty. However, Chamakh, Arshavin, Denilson Eboue Rosicky Song have all been playing regularly. Bendtner has been playing. The 2nd team players are never going to get a run of games so they have to perform when they are called on or they are not really ever going to contribute to the team.

    It seems that inconsistency is part of the current Arsenal squads DNA. Hopefully the 1st team will get past this. The talent to dominate the PL is clearly available but we are going to struggle until we can get past this frustrating inconsistency.

  35. Agree with the Chamakh/Bendtner point, Passenal, and Carlos Vela should definitely have started. I disagree with those who thought that Alex Song was below par. Thought he did well.

  36. Nick Bendtner needs to spend more time in the box. Practice his headers. He should have put the game to bed with those two attempts alone.

  37. I’d describe the performance as uninspired rather than as a full-blooded pair of bollocks.

  38. Something like the last 4 or 5 times we have played Leeds in the Cup, the tie has eventually been won by the side playing away. Not that that will have any influence on the replay – we just need to go out and take the game seriously, given that we are likely to field much the same XI.

    The performance was poor, the replay far from ideal, but at least we are still in it, which is more than can be said for several other PL teams.


  39. Bill,

    I’m sorry but this is sport. There is every reason why we should draw at the emirates. It’s called 11 psyched up players called Leeds – fresh – and hungry, equipped with a game-plan tried and tested by many teams against us. To expect us to beat everybody displays colossal arrogance. Leeds beat Man U last year in the FA Cup. Why not us ?

    We got 8 points from 12 over the Xmas period. We took 8 points from teams that last year we took 1 from in corresponding fixtures. To me, that represents progress. You can moan all you like about expecting to beat Leeds, but I don’t see it as frustrating inconsistency. I’m sorry – but that is bollocks. Our last defeat was courtesy of a deflected cross that bounced off Park and went in at Old Trafford. That was almost 4 weeks ago.

    Arshavin and Bendtner did not play well, and Chamakh has not regained his early season form. Beyond that, the positives are massive. Djourou is the heaven sent centre back that we have all been waiting for, and Gibbs and Szczesny are not far beyond him. Ramsey is back, and VP, Walcott and Cesc are actually fit. If Vermaelen and Diaby can come back, we are in with a massive chance of the PL this year.

  40. if we win the leeds match we are playing Huddersfield at home

  41. Benik Afobe will be very happy lordgunner!

  42. Frank

    I thought Song looked very tired and listless. He worked hard but seemed to lacking enthusiasm for the encounter.


  43. Bill.

    8 out of 12 points over the Christmas period like Muppet said was a dan good return considering the teams we played.

    Wenger should field the same team save for Djourou and Song on Wednesday so that they can play their way out of the cobwebs. Otherwise – it’s steady as it goes.

  44. I still like to believe it’s not due to corruption that Man poo keep getting all these favourable decisions. But it really shows how much this league favours them

  45. Bill

    You contradict yourself – throwing in a clanger of a performance and then telling us it was the 2nd XI. The former implies it is the same team whilst the latter tells us the opposite. This was a cup-tie and needs a different mental approach from the Premier League, that’s before the team changes took effect.

    Champions always drop daft points. Remember The Invincibles? Only took 2 points from Portsmouth and drew at relegated Leicester and Everton (who missed the drop by one place).


  46. get in leicester1-oil city 0

  47. Cup games against lower league opposition are always a potential banana skin because the lower league team has nothing to lose and they are highly motivated and focussed to try to get an upset. We started too slow and handed the momentum to Leeds who grew in confidence the longer the game remained goal-less and certainly so after they scored. But we did actually create several chances even after our penalty and could have won on another day.

    Ole, I’d like to think so too, but I’m not sure I can any longer. It happens far too frequently to just be coincidence.

  48. gunnerwilliam | January 9, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    What utter nonsense:
    “This is because of Wenger ball.If the gunners don’t win anything this season,it’s time to ditch the pretty soccer and go direct” – Like Stoke or Wolves or Brum?
    “If playing direct doesn’t pay dividends,I’m afraid Wenger has reached his zenith.Then it’s time for a change.” – Don’t wait around for that change you twat. It is easier removing gunner from your name. You defile the word.
    effen troll!

  49. The Pensioners might be the whipping boys of their own division, but they’re determined to show they can still deliver a thrashing to relegation candidates in the lower divisions.

  50. Limestonegunner

    I like that Theo is honest–it is very admirable and makes us genuinely proud– so it is good he cleared up things with the ref during the game. But it was a very close call and looked like there was some contact. No one was really questioning the play, were they? He needn’t have discussed it publicly or he could have used some discretion in describing what happened and avoid the loaded and exaggerated term “dive” for this case. Maybe it won’t matter or have any consequences positively or negatively. But as Wenger chooses players who are intelligent and of good character as much as possible, it should be understood that you don’t have to say everything in the media in the most provocative way. In any case, kudos to him for trying to stay on his feet and continue the play for the penalty he won moments later–in fact, he might have been awarded it because he owned up to the ref earlier.

  51. I didn’t enjoy having 7,000 Yorkshire puddings descend on our capital at all yesterday. Very poorly presented bunch. When you come to London you should have to make an effort. To a man they smelled of allotments and stale Shandy Bass. However – appearance and manners and taste aside (and the gnawing stroke victim drawl) they could teach some of our lot a thing or two about supporting a football team.

    Leeds played like a well-supported football team plays – with passion and an energy to win the ball.

  52. Limestonegunner

    Everyone’s away support is better than their home support these days, it seems. However, we had great atmosphere against Chelsea and ManCity. And we saw the energy, passion, and spirit, LA was talking about above.

    I don’t know why this didn’t carry over into the Leeds fixture, but either it is a slightly different crowd or the support isn’t there for games against “lesser” opponents where we presume it should be a stroll to victory. Instead, when it doesn’t go all our way early on, the mood turns anxious or, worse, hostile to players perceived to be playing poorly or not making an effort.

    Arshavin has already made a big contribution to the success of the season so far–it would be great if the home support helped him regain confidence by urging him on rather than undermining him further. This is a bad situation. He of course could put in a bit more effort to win the ball back or track down passes. Sadly, it didn’t seem like other players on the pitch were encouraging him either. Is he unpopular with the other players?

  53. I hope Aaron Ramsey regains his form quickly so that we can play him in the center in these Cup games. I’d also really like to see JET get a run out in place of either Chamakh or Bendtner.

    The thought of Eboue having to play right back against Barca is making me wake up at 3AM in a cold sweat. I don’t mind him playing in the midfield actually, but at RB his mistakes are magnified.

    When o when will we see TV5 on the pitch again?

  54. There is no doubt that we should have won, that the display was disjointed, that we had enough opportunities to cruise this but what most people fail to realise is that there is so much more parity in modern football that it rarely seems that you get the spankings that were so common in yesteryear. Also, this was the FA Cup, the smaller teams are ALWAYS up for this. that we managed to drag our asses back into this tie is a positive I shall hold onto.
    And whilst Denilson’s tackle was lazy , clumsy and ill-timed it wasn’t anything worse than what Cesc did against T*ttenham. We had a group of players who have not played much together all season and it showed. Combine that with a few coming back from injury, one who is off colour, one who was out of position, and one who seems to have lost his magic and we had a recipe for what happened yesterday. Still we are in the Cup and this team has shown that it can go to difficult places and get results. They showed some fight to get back into the game also.

    Lets hope that’s the end of our goal scoring problems!!!

  55. It’s easier when you’re away and surrounded by folk you know have made the effort to travel – you can rely on each other to stand up and be counted… and in turn the team can rely on you. It also helps when the stewards daren’t go into your end and sit you down.

    In fairness, there was some good singing, but you’re right, Limestone; it turns ugly far too quickly, far too easily. As Frank says, it’s a horrible tendency.

  56. A very poor peformance, but the cause is the same as against Wigan, too many changes. By all means make four or five, but changing nine players doesn’t lend any continuity to the way the side is playing and results in a performance like that. We’ve seen it so many times I’m not surprised at all any more.

    I think Arshavin’s time at the club may nearly be up, with Wenger’s public confirmation he’s interested in Eden hazard I think he may be the next over the hill player dumped at the Camp Nou.

  57. It’s a mutualistic symbiotic relationship (or something), and Arshavin didn’t help things by trying to escape every time the substitution board went up.

    …but when you can visibly see a player impeded by the weight of negativity on him… it really, really stinks. You see a player scared and second-guessing themselves and thinking too much and dallying when they should be playing freely, naturally and uninhibited.

    All you can do is rouse a song and drown out the abuse… but the longer they play poorly – the harder that becomes.

  58. LimparAssist | January 9, 2011 at 4:55 pm |

    Excellent points LA

  59. Bill, your beloved Manure lost to this lot last season under way more embarrassing circumstances. Say whatever you want about inconsistency being in our DNA, but Leeds is a club that will make you pay if you’re not playing up to a high standard. Not to mention that this draw is the equivalent of the CL finals for them as well.

    gunnerwilliam, go back to watching hockey or NFL football and leave proper football to those of us who understand it. If you want to watch powerful, direct football there are more than enough clubs to choose from. You can pick anyone of Bolton, Chelsea, Stoke or Wolves and you’ll get all the directness your little heart craves.

    Bill and gunnerwilliam, please stop contributing. Our overseas counterparts are going to think that all Americans are as idiotic as you two.

  60. Well said, ReadandDread. Football at this level really is a game of mere inches just like it is with yachting or formula one racing. Yesterday the team was not in synch with each other and it showed. The penalty we gave away was the only chance they were going to ever put away.

  61. it is utter bull to say we were lucky. We hammered Leeds for 75 minutes, same against Man city same against Newcastle at home it would have been unlucky to lose but not lucky to draw. on Arshavin i think he is obviosly a gifted player but giving the ball away as much as he does is detremental to the team he tries to many flicks and difficult balls, wenger said his game is based on risk so is Nasri’s and Fabregas, they just know when to risk and when not to. Song was tired, and playing Bendtner on the wing is a no no. Denilson will surely go in the summer along with Rosicky, leaving room for Hazard? and Rambo to come back. any way still in the league cup , fa cup, league and champions league. 4 chances any trophies?

  62. He probably is due a rest, YW. I think that the team found it difficult to lift themselves. As Passenal says, so typical of an interdivision cuptie. The away support will make a difference in the next leg and I am sure the team will rise to the challenge. As with Citeh, Leeds have nothing for Arsenal to worry about. I think we will shove it right up Ken Bates fat, hairy arse.

  63. Perhaps the stewards should be reminded who pays their wages.

  64. Arshavin has been playing badly for months you cant blame it on the fans. If he showed heart and passion the fans would love him no matter what! His interviews are negative he says ”we cant win the league or champions league” what Arsenal fan wants to hear that from one of thier supposed best players? I think the rest of the season will be the making or breaking of his time at arsenal?

  65. Delia---Block 112

    It was a tale of missed chances and lack of application . We expected more from the likes of B52, AA , Chamakh and TR7. Song looked fatigued and Eboue was erratic . Gibbs, JD and Szczesny turned up and did us proud, with the keeper keeping us in the tie. I must admit the final 15mins were some of the most exciting I have witnessed at the Emirates , thanks to Cesc and Theo.
    What side we put out on Wednesday is anyones guess but I would like AW to put out our strongest 11 to put the tie out of Ipswich’s sight. He can then play some squad players in the return game.
    I still believe we will be playing Huddersfield in Round 4, even if it takes penalties to get there.
    As always COYRs

  66. Irony. AA is a wit. He chuckled wryly when he made that remark.

    Hahahahahaha what sort of supporteres ole their side against a lower division side. Citeh supporters that’s who. And then Leicester went and scored again..

    Hahahahahahahahahaha….hehehehehehehe….uuuurrghh ….faaarkin ell. You couldn’t make it up.

  67. MDGunner | January 9, 2011 at 5:20 pm |

    The stewards upset a few supporters in the North Bank Upper by insisting that they sit down.

  68. jonjon: “Arshavin has been playing badly for months you cant blame it on the fans. If he showed heart and passion the fans would love him no matter what! His interviews are negative he says ”we cant win the league or champions league” what Arsenal fan wants to hear that from one of thier supposed best players? I think the rest of the season will be the making or breaking of his time at arsenal?”

    He’s merely echoing the sentiments of many a doomer.

  69. Limestonegunner

    Exactly, LA and Frank. AA is a different sort of character, not always appreciated for his Russian irony–perhaps all fans need to read some Russian literature. Chekhov short stories sold at the Armoury…

    Somehow this negative feedback cycle needs to be disrupted, shortcircuited, where he questions himself, doesn’t put in evident energy and assumes he is being substituted (wants to be substituted?) while the fans abuse him more and more as the game goes on. If it doesn’t change, it will be a really unfortunate loss of a quality player for Arsenal FC.

  70. Team and fans both finished strongly. I left the ground absolutely buzzing. So exciting, as Delia says. The final ten minutes were worth the admission alone. Theo Walcott really is a brilliant little game changer. Shame he couldn’t put away the winner when Arshavin played him in. I felt he could’ve jumped, got over it, and hammered it in low and find a corner as he does so often now… but he went for the lob instead. Arshavin, on his website, thought that was the right shot to take… and he’d know I suppose.

  71. Thought for a while now that we should release a special gas into the stadium on matchdays. Only affects people in dayglo orange. Causes explosive diarrhoea.

  72. The funniest things I recall in Chekhov were games of Russian roulette. I’m not sure Arshavin’s sense of humour is characteristically Russian at all.

  73. 7-0 against Ipswich? What a complete and utter lack of class.

  74. I saw a lot of idiots moaning at Arshavin. Mostly the well ‘ard idiots. There were a lot of hot girls at the game, though. The camera man couldn’t take his lens off them.

  75. Was Passenal among them, Gainsbourg69?

  76. Limestonegunner

    Pz, I am not going to argue whether Arshavin’s personality, mood, sense of humour, etc… are characteristically Russian or not. He clearly is different from other footballers at Arsenal at least in the way he communicates his personality–could be individual quirkiness and/or cultural context. The more important issue is how supporters and other players in the squad relate to him, and it seems right now that he is being isolated/marginalised at least by the home support for hostility. Above, someone blamed him for making pessimistic statements that have turned supporters against him–but he is being misunderstood really, I think, because he expresses himself in a different way.

    I think we agree, at least we did so yesterday evening, that while he hasn’t made it easy for himself in some respects, he has made big contributions to the team. Abusing him at home serves no good purpose and is likely to be very counterproductive.

  77. Arshavin: 4 goals 9 assists = 13 goals scored or made

    Samir Nasri: 9 goals, 2 assists = 11 goals scored or made

    Cesc Fabregas: 3 goals, 7 assists = 10 goals scored or made

    Marouane Chamakh: 7 goals, 2 assists = 9 goals scored or made

    Theo Walcott: 5 goals, 2 assists = 7 goals scored or made

    Alex Song: 4 goals, 1 assist = 5 goals scored or made

    Who’s had a bigger impact on our season so far? Real, tangible, indisputable, impact. Who?

    I’m not saying that Arshavin has been lighting the premiership up or that he is not going through a dip in performance. I’m not even saying that he’s had a better season than the rest of the players on that list. But people really need to put things in to perspective before they open their trap holes.

    Arshavin can frustrate me just as much as anyone else. But all that is, is just an indicator that he is a different kind of talent; a different kind of weapon in our arsenal (yes, the pun was intended, and I am quite sad). He has to be treated differently and he has to be used differently.

    But that’s the manager’s job not ours. Just so long as he’s having that kind of an impact (in what everyone will agree is a poor season by his standards), doesn’t it fall on us to support the man until he regains his form? I don’t believe in getting on the players’ backs at the worst of times; but come on guys, the stats can’t be THAT far from the truth, surely?

    I think that in the same way that people cannot see how counter productive and damaging, booing your own players can be; people fail to see that football at the highest level is determined by what can at times be the finest detail.

    In short: stop your fucking whining and get behind the team. ALL of the team!

  78. To me Arshavin after Cesc is our most creative player.Bendtner is never a winger in a million years so why oh Why does Wenger keep playing a 6ft 5 in striker on the wing????Madness

  79. Good stats serk. Good take as well. Well said.

  80. Nice one serk. Should be noted that Arshavin and Bendtner got the goals at Wigan.

  81. http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/jan/09/ryan-babel-howard-webb-manchester-united-liverpool

    Ryan Babel is facing the possibility of disciplinary action from the Football Association after responding to Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford by posting a mocked-up photo on his Twitter site of the referee Howard Webb wearing a Manchester United shirt.

    Webb had incensed Liverpool by awarding a first-minute penalty when Dimitar Berbatov went to ground after a slight touch from Daniel Agger and then sending off Steven Gerrard for a dangerous challenge on Michael Carrick.

    Kenny Dalglish, returning as Liverpool manager, called the penalty “a joke” and Babel posted the picture of Webb with the message: “And they call him one of the best referees? That’s a joke. SMH.”

    “SMH” is the abbreviation for “shaking my head” and Babel’s attack will almost certainly lead to the FA intervening on the basis that he is alleging impartiality on the part of the man who refereed the World Cup final and was made an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list. An FA spokesman has confirmed they are aware of the incident and are looking into it.

    Dalglish’s son, Paul, also vented his feelings on Twitter, posting a mocked-up picture of Mr. Ferguson with his arm around Webb, again in a United shirt.

    Dalglish junior wrote: “Howard Webb MBE. Manc of the Busby Era. I am not normally bitter, as you know, but it is different rules against them.” In a separate tweet, he added: “Mr Alex Ferguson has his puppet Howard Webb on a piece of string.”

  82. I agree.

  83. If it’s okay for a Premier League referee to go around in a man utd shirt, it must be okay for Ryan Babel to post photographs of it.

  84. I must say, I’m surprised that Webb wore the man utd shirt during the match.

  85. Booing your own players is such a stupid thing for fans to do, but I long ago realized 1) just how emotive football is 2) most people don’t think before they act at the best of times, not to talk of when they’re probably drunk and in a such an emotiotionally charged atmosphere.
    It really is no surprise that those idiots fans booing don’t stop to consider how many goals/assist stats a player makes before opening their mouths to express displeasure. It’s a shame they don’t realize how bad it makes the club look but such fans probably don’t care about such things.

    However, I do find it weirdly reassuring that Arshavin got booed. When Eboue suffered the same treatment a couple of seasons ago, I did wonder if there were some racist undertones to it…
    It is now clear to me that the English/British football crowd seem to cherish effort more than anything else (although Eboue’s booing was probably caused by his poor form and Arsene’s tendency to play him as a midfielder). Arshavin seems to have dropped his effort levels and there’s the feeling that he can do so much better than he’s been producing recently, ergo he gets booed. Not even his ‘superstar’ pedigree could stop people turning against him. The ‘booers’ are no respecter of persons it seems ;). Or could it be because he is a foreigner? Those anyone know of an instance where an English player was booed for poor performance?

    Anyways, I hope Arshavin can rise above this and bounce back to his best soon. The crowds are fickle and will cheer him when he starts playing well again. More importantly he should realize that he needs to improve his overall contribution to the team. Its no suprise that the crowd like players who don’t sure commitment and energy the least (e.g. Denilson, Diaby, Adebayor etc ) and worship those who are seen to bust a gut for the team.
    Even if he can’t run all over the place like flamini, he should at least be able to get the basics right; cut out the sloppy passes and provide adequate defensive cover when required.

  86. “Those anyone know of an instance…” should read “Does anyone know of an instance …”

  87. We should play our best eleven at Portman Road and take them apart deeming the Emirates game irrelevant but knowing Wenger he will probably play a weakened side and we will be in real trouble before the home game.

  88. “Ryan Babel is facing the possibility of disciplinary action from the Football Association”

    So freedom of speech does not exist? Babel is only voicing what everyone but man utd supporters and the FA knows

  89. Can someone please do some research that shows definitively that Webb is in SAF’s pocket…I am sure the info is out there somewhere…it is becoming more than a joke now…

  90. freedom of speech never exists within sports organizations…any admission that corruption is present will undermine the entire league…the FA has to punish this stuff to keep the charade hidden…from the outsider’s perspective something is definitely rotten with the refereeing situation in England.

  91. “Was Passenal among them, Gainsbourg69?”

    Sadly, no! I am very self-aware and have no such delusions!

  92. viceologist, if everyone keeps talking about it, it might force them to clean up their acts because the light is being shone in the dark recesses of the game.

  93. could not say it better:

    “Howard Webb MBE – Manchesters Best Employee – managed to last all of 20 seconds before awarding his fourth penalty to Manchester United from his last six games in charge at Old Trafford.”

    “Webb ignored his linesman, gave a penalty for a dive and then dished out a red card for an incident he barely saw. “

  94. “What is more worrying is the mancs new song along the lines of “we’re man united and we’ll do what we want” after every suspect decision was given in their favour. They have actually started to sing about the preferential treatment they get.
    There is no bigger indictment of the refereeing bias towards them that they can actually make a song up about it.”

  95. The “fans” were an absoloute disgrace to Arshavin yesterday.

    I just don’t know where they get off. Tossers.

    Who’s excited by Theo ‘the master of the right side of the pitch’ Walcott. He looks like a different being. He looks to be the sort of player that will win us games on his own very soon.

  96. deano, I noticed in the man city game just how much Theo has come on. He is using tricks to get around his defender not just pace. I agree he is becoming an Arsenal VIP (very important player!).

  97. Seems Squillaci is out with a hamstring injury now. The talk of Sol returning might not be all crap then.

  98. Where did you hear that dupsffokcuf?

  99. John Cross usually has the inside track but he was completely wrong about Cesc leaving last summer, so I’ll wait for official confirmation. If the quotes from Arsene are correct, I’m surprised no one else has them.

  100. Sol’s right in line after Silvestre.

  101. I didn’t hear an awful lot of booing toward Arshavin. Certainly no orchestrated mass-boo like The Booing of Eboue. Lots of fans jumping up and down calling him a lazy effing layabout and telling him where to go and how to get there… but not a lot of booing. He had a pretty characteristic game really… not a lot of flicks and backheels came off… on another day they would’ve done… he should’ve got his touch right on that Rosicky through ball and that’s then a certain goal… but framed in a sluggish team performance his contribution looked below par. He was an easy target for a frustrated crowd watching a frustrated team. What pissed people off wasn’t giving up possession with backheels and flicks… but the three or four times when he’s let a pass go past him – passes seemingly within reach – and given up the chase on them prematurely. That doesn’t ingratiate a player to the crowd at the best of times, but in an FA Cup game when not a lot’s coming off for anyone and we’re one nil down to Leeds and possession is precious… it winds people up. I’d rather do away with all the meek marys and cautious colins who sit on their hands all day than do away with the effers and blinders… at least they sing… and we all love Arshavin really.

    I’m disappointed, personally, as I thought he’d really bust a gut and seize this opportunity to play himself back into the ‘dream XI’ – which he’s played himself out of recently/lost his place to Theo and Nas. It’s as you were in the ‘pecking order’. Hope he gets some time at Ipswich.

  102. The television cameras picked up some ugly reactions yesterday – not just towards Arshavin, but towards Walcott as well. They looked like a bunch of arseholes, and I’m glad our players don’t try to ingratiate themselves with the fuckers. One goal down and half an hour remaining and most of them had given up hope. I’m surprised they didn’t just leave.

  103. I’m well aware of how they all operate, and I know it’s only football, so I shouldn’t get annoyed, but John Cross is such a sidling, disingenuous piece of shit. He knows how this club works, and has always worked, but is never above a far-fetched transfer story or heartfelt plea for Arsenal to “splash the cash”, even though he’s well aware that it’s something we’ll never do.

    Worst is he’s got Arsenal fans thinking he’s one of them. But a backhanded shit-stirrer, preying on the fears of the fans and ramping up disharmony is all the fuck he’ll ever be.

    The other problem with that piece is that AW was sounding very confident about TV5 recovery timetable on Friday, so I don’t know what training he’d have got in between then and now to feel pain.

  104. Arshavin is experiencing a long hectic winter of football, football and nothing but football. it has caught up with him a bit. he looks tired and fed up at times. I remember his 4th goal at Anfield where he sprinted all the way to catch up with Walcott, that was then when he was still fresh from Russia. He is used to long lay offs in Russia while in England its frentic and it does not end. Best thing for him is to have a break , he will come back fresh but with the FA cup replay that looks unlikely.
    Watch the 4th goal. unbelievable pace and finish. He will come good .he is a top class player with amazing ability. even when he doesn’t play well I always feel he is capable of doing something amazing at any moment in the game.
    some fans are stupid really. why are they having ago at him? they should help him and support him.

  105. @ 1 Loose Cannon – Love AA personally but remember most of the fans are just venting their frustration as they know what a great player he is and what he is capable of doing. And that in its own way can be helpful. It should focus him on improving his game. I don’t mean playing brilliant football game in game out but there are times when he comes across as lazy. This is never a good trait but one all fans forgive (to an extent) when you are in form but heaven help you if you are not, and I think even he would agree that he is far from his best. Yes I hate the fans booing one of our own and that should stop, but I equally hate seeing one of our own walking back to defend after he gave the ball away whilst other players are springing 50-60 yards to try and help out. I can’t wait for him to regain his form, what a team we will have then!!! COYG!!! COAA!!!

  106. OneOfUs | January 10, 2011 at 12:04 am |

    I agree, I really dislike him but there are so many Arsenal bloggers up his butt. They forget he is a hack first and foremost and is not above the dirty tricks of that dishonourable profession, whoever he claims to support. He is not one of us, he is one of them.

    LA, I was surprised to hear about the booing of AA as there was none in my section, not even the yelling at him to move his lazy arse. Even Bendtner escaped without any abuse, which is pretty unusual. I think there was too much anxiety that we were about to lose at home to dirty Leeds!

  107. I didn’t hear any booing of Arshavin personally, plenty of shouting at him to up his game though. As said above, the frustration of the fans is born out of the knowledge that he’s way better than the form he’s currently showing. As for the list of stats above, yes he’s created and scored plenty of goals this season, but he also leaves the full-back behind him very exposed, Walcott and Nasri track back and help out when we don’t have the ball which at least partly explains why they’re in the side at Arshavin’s expense, the defensive side of the game is important as well!

  108. Reg AA being booed,
    It felt so on TV.. Maybe it was the groans and the shouts which felt like booing..

  109. The Theo admission is a strange one. It did not really look like a dive, and there was no discussion on the subject. He has highlighted it himself.

    I did not think we played that badly on Sat, despite lacking a cutting edge. Djourou was our best player for me. Denilson gave away a pen with a lazy challenge, but did not play too badly. He really needs to work on his tracking back though. He is either the slowest player in the lge, or to lazy to run after players very fast.

  110. It was just a one of those games really.

    Not much we can do about it other than win it at their end. And we will.
    I have to say we had a few frustrating performers. But it always seems worse in a cup game when you think your entitled to a win. Leeds defended well and despite their current league played fairly well.

    I would say that we should have Bendtner or Cham, not both. But there definately is room for both. They need to put the chances away when given. Currently the competition each of them is giving his not getting the desired result Wenger would have hoped for, I feel. Cham was on fire a few weeks ago, now that RvP is threatening his place and is competing with NB he seems to be struggling. Lets hope he can fight more for his place. As for Bendtner he really should be putting the kind of opportunities he got on saturday away. That was the best chance he’ll get to make the first team all season.

    I can’t believe the criticism aimed at Deni tho. He gave his usual level, calm and confident game. Yes the trip was poor and a bit of a basic error. It was rightly criticized by the captain (that’s his job to do it). Over and done with. Other players perhaps could have made a bit more effort but Denilson was certainly not one of them. When things go bad. The poorer fans with lacking knowledge look straight to the easy targets that have previously been given grief and let rip. I imagine it will be doomarific here today and will not play along. Bring on the Ipswich game as mentioned let Song have a rest and maybe Johan needs to be guarded against a very untimely tiredness also (although he would be missed drastically).

    We’ll beat Ipswich, Saturday’s team will come good. Come on Gunners!

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