Stone Cold Friday: Finding The Remedy

It’s the time of the week to hand over to a man of whom it has been said that  half of the troubles of his life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough. Here’s Darius

I don’t know what was worse. Me staring at the bottom of my pint glass on Wednesday night with a combination of bewilderment and regrettable anguish; or Dean right next to me literally holding his head in his hands and moaning, almost in a muffled cry about his beloved Liverpool.

It was supposed to be a celebratory night in central London, two games for us that were seemingly straight forward. What – with Ipswich’s dalliance at the gutter side of the Championship and King Kenny’s return to his throne at the Cop – the night was nothing near straight forward.

These punks are going to do a Route 1 on you guys”, Dean observed with some amusement as the game wore on.

My arrogant rose-tinted response was that he should be more concerned with Charlie Adam and their leaky defence since most teams had no option but to go route 1 on us. But there-in was the lesson that we don’t seem to want to learn. If they want it more than we do, they’ll eventually get it.

It’s really not about the fact that we have a chance to redeem ourselves on the 26th. It’s the level of complacency, especially after the experience Leeds unleashed on us that is baffling.

And before anyone starts to question which side of the bread I’m buttering; let’s get it out of the way. I’m a fully paid, card carrying member of the ‘Lifetime Arsenal Supporters Guild’ with an absolute, unequivocal and almost anal support and belief in this team. The last two games have left me scratching my head somewhat, Though Dean reminds me to stop bitching and try support Liverpool instead. And he’s right; we really haven’t experienced anguish in recent times.

What is crystal clear is that our system of play does not work if even one single player doesn’t do what they’re supposed to do, especially when we don’t have the ball. We live dangerously when playing with a high line and letting the opposition have enough time to launch a territorial ball into our box.

It should never be a surprise that lower league opposition will want to raise their game against us. We’re a bench mark that many players aspire to and it’s a world cup final for them to play Arsenal and beating us puts their name out there.

At this stage of the league cup, it is almost criminal to approach the game the way we did. If it was an off-day, the return leg at the Emirates better be one of those nights folks get to remember as a mind-blowing success at the Emirates. The reason is simple; 2 games and 2 wins guarantees a monumental shot in the arm for the psyche and confidence of this team.

Not getting over this hurdle when we’re the overwhelming favourites will actually do more harm than not, and that’s why it’s important for those C-words to be addressed. Build the consistency and cut out the complacency.

It’s time for the team to show some humility and give each team we face the respect they deserve. We have to earn the right to play our football, the way we did with Chelsea and Man City at home, and the way we did with Birmingham at ST. Andrews.

Although it’s a compliment of sorts, teams we face know the cost of giving us time on the ball and letting us play Wengerball. They have seen the way we can grind down a team that comes out all guns blazing only to run out of steam in the latter part of the game – giving us massive advantage with our stamina and fitness.

Our game is like watching a master juggler perform his art with the best jiggery pokery in the land. It’s skilful, breath-taking and mesmerizing; but if one pin is out of place, it can take hard work to recover the rhythm.

Teams know that we can lose possession and that we’re playing a high line and route 1 is their way out. Our system of play is anchored firmly on what we do during that transition when we lose the ball.

The plan is that if we lose the ball, the first line of defence are our forward players who will either force mistakes that we can pounce on – ala Theo on Maluda for the 3rd goal against Chelsea; or buy enough time for our defence to get back into shape.

Our defensive unit is a critical part of building our attacking moves, and they are dependent on our attacking players to be the first line of defence. If this works as it did at Birmingham, or against Chelsea and Man City, it is a work of art. The critical thing is that if any of the players is not consistent and if there’s the air of complacency that we’ve seen in the last two games, we’re going to come unstuck.

That’s why I argue that this isn’t about ability of the players because we know they can all do it. It’s not about fatigue, because dealing with route 1 can catch out the best of defences; we of all the teams, should know how other teams feel when Cesc, Nasri, Arshavin or Van Persie take out an entire defence with one sublime pass.

Upton Park tomorrow evening presents an ideal opportunity to resume normal services. It’s never an easy place to go, but the return of Nasri and Van Persie will add some needed firepower. As usual, Rob Green only seems to become world class when he’s playing Arsenal so profligacy in front of goal is not an option.

The players know they have to redeem themselves following the last two games, and let’s hope that more than anything, the performance leaves us ordering more pints as opposed to studying the craftsmanship at the bottom of the pint glass.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on January 14, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 194 Comments.

  1. Good read Darius.

    Wednesday night was indeed bewildering – complacency personified.

    Also disappointing to see Cesc’s comments afterwards, the Arsenal way is to do things with a touch of class, not come across like a sulky, sore loser.

    The one positive is that we have stumbled in games were we could arguably afford 2 duff performances, and still have the opportunity to put things right.

    A win at West Ham is now vital to maintain the title challenge, and if they can’t raise there game for that, then something is seriously wrong.

  2. Thanks Darius.

    Well thank fuck we’re not foolish or unlucky enough to be ‘Pool fans. They must be a very depressed bunch these days.

    Matt – that is a big positive. Not often you can say that a Semi Final is a match you can afford to stumble on, but it is in this case. We have the opportunity to right the wrongs, and we must be going out all guns blazing for the next few matches. If we don’t, I’ll be very disappointed.

    Upton Park is where we need to see The Real Arsenal come out to play.

  3. Darius – Excellent post.

  4. Can’t help thinking that Cesc comments smack of continued complacency – he seems to imply that we’ll win the replay which we clearly won’t unless we play much more energy than we did on wednesday. He was as guilty as anyone – and typically when you get undone by a ball over the top it’s because the midfield is giving the man in possession too much time. Cesc still doesn’t look 100% fit IMHO.

  5. Good post, Darius.
    Totally, We need to do our talking on the pitch.

  6. Sigh… How many times have we used the word ‘redeem’ this season? It’s getting boring re-hashing the same psychological failings over and over again!

  7. Great read Darius as usual.

    I hadn’t read Cesc’s comment about rugby tactics until this morning and from the comments posted I thought it was out of order and not a good response from our captain. I have read it now and I don’t think this was a bad response, when talking about rugby tactics he wasn’t talking about the rough defence and the bullying around the pitch the stokes usually use against us. In fact he was talking about chasing the long balls or route 1 as Darius calls it which is exactly what Ipswich did. I could not see the first half but thanks to MD gunner, I watched the second half and the whole time Ipswich were defending in numbers and throwing long balls for their lone striker to run on.

    I hope that those two games will be a wake up call for the whole team as our poor performance have not yet harmed our search for trophy.


  8. A depressing post Darius, or that’s the way I feel at the moment. Even visiting West ham gives me some trepidation now. Nothing is no longer straight forward. And yet it hasn’t been all season having lost three league games we should have won. But we’ll recover by the next game, hopefully!

  9. How many wake-up calls does this team need???

  10. This current Arsenal is an enigma. But only it seems, to the players and manager!

    Arsene Wenger has created the modern Arsenal, the mightiest club in the south and on the verge of greatness, but of late (since the departure of David Dein) he has lost his way in a mist of egoism.

    Just a few actions could put things really back on track because we are not far away and who knows, we may yet win a trophy or two this season.

    Arsene, stop being arrogant, stop mollycoddling the players, get help on the defensive coaching side, take a little bit of outside advice. You are an Arsenal legend but you are seriously in danger of cocking it all up!

  11. Jiggery-pokery, now that’s a good word. There is no remedy. We are not sick. We don’t need wake up calls. We are not asleep. We need to continue doing what we do best, pass-play, defend in packs, and get better at it. A bit of shooting practice, seriously, would also not go amiss. It’s simple, if we convert just 5-10% more of the scoring chances we create, we win it all.

    Sorry to be so damn upbeat, but a little rough patch frequently announces growth to the next level, in football as in cricket, and life.

  12. Indeed. As much as it pains me to question Wenger, only he can carry the can for this team’s shortcomings… If they’re not up for every game, isn’t that the manager’s responsibility? It seems like a disciplinary problem to me. It’s no coincidence that the absence of Vieira/Adams/Keown personalities has coincided with this barren spell of ours. Wenger was always lucky with having those types of personalities at the club, I’m not so sure he has the ‘hardness’ of attitude himself to instill it into his own players…

  13. Well, they better respond Darius, it’s not that there’s a crisis but if the lessons are not learnt, and learnt bloody well, then the season will slip away from us. If that was to happen then I suspect that there will be some squad surgery in the summer.

    I love this side but football history is littered with talented sides that underachieved. More than any other I can remember it is important for the game, and us of course, that this side doesn’t join their number.

  14. Selso and Delboy make my point.

    If this side doesn’t succeed we’ll have to listen to a lot more drivel like their posts over the coming months.

  15. As both a cricket man, ZimPaul, and a fan of the word ‘jiggery-pokery’ – you might like a song of the same name by a little English duo called The Duckworth Lewis Method. It’s a ballad written from the point of view of Mike Gatting as he is bowled by Shane Warne at Old Trafford in 1993.

  16. I am not sold on the idea that motivation sits with the manager. Tactics, selection, and the numerous details of match day do. The players needs to shoulder some responsibility as well, and as professional footballers should not need motivating. They are not little cherubs awaiting their divine guidence, they are grown men and top class athletes. All the more so in a semi final of a cup.

  17. The oddest thing is, when your luck is down, everything is down and nothing seems to happen, some say “fatigue” and others say “pitch” and some use the C-word (complacency) and when your luck is up, you respond and run a lot more, and do clever things and people praise you.

    Humility is good. My advice is simply keep going, because luck changes in the oddest ways.

    The retort is “but you create your own luck”, which like many things is generally true and specifically untrue.

  18. Selso – we did not do so good between 93 and 97 with Adams & Keown did we, 12th at one stage I think.

  19. selso

    You are spot on, Arsene is responsible for everything at the club. He made it that way! But when it goes wrong he spin doctors his way out.

    The players are catching on to this as well.

    Arsene NEEDS a right hand man with an opinion but he doesn’t WANT a right hand man or anyone else’s opinion.

    Arsene’s arrogance. That is the root cause of our situation in being nearly men.

  20. Funny how all these people know exactly what Wenger does & thinks.

  21. haha consols. There will be plenty more to come for sure if we don’t step it up. I can’t see us going through the most important part of the season with this continued ‘problem’. Yes, we’ve had more than enough kicks up the arse already, and yes, we should have improved as a result of them, but I think the improvement is going to start tomorrow. Every team has a lull, and this is as good a time as any to have ours. Hopefully the lull is over now. We’ll see tomorrow I’m sure.

  22. The word that keeps being used is Complacency.And thats what we suffer from.Too many times this season against inferior teams we have turned up thinking victory is our’s just by walking on the pitch.The focus has been wrong.And when the opposition hasnt rolled over and died.I didnt think it could get any worse than Barga away but the last two games have been worse.Remember 72 hours before we played Ipswich they got smashed 7-0 by an average Chelsea team.Wenger has got to knock this complacency out of this team

    The comment by Cesc about the way Ipswich played smacked again of arrogance.I hope Wenger and the rest of the team didnt agree with them

  23. Hey, thanks Limps. Dang, wish I had thought of that as a name for a band.

  24. goonerandy

    ‘They are not little cherubs awaiting their divine guidence, they are grown men and top class athletes.’

    Unfortunately our lot are cherubs waiting for divine guidance from Arsene!

    And lets be fair he still goes on about his ‘young team’ no wonder they don’t act/play like grown men.

  25. Consolsbob, re. novels set in the West… Lonesome Dove looks very good. I read a very entertaining debut novel by Glenn Taylor recently; called The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart… a ripping yarn, as they say, spanning a lot of US history… full of all the good stuff; blues, gun-fights, union disputes, moonshining, sniping, snake-handling and cunnilinguism. And funny with it.

  26. Limpar, I saw that you’re a fan of Once Upon a Time in America. What an epic that is! Didn’t realise it was based on a shite book… They managed to turn it into a great film going through a timeline of 3 generations. Great stuff. Haven’t watched it in ages due to it’s epic nature, but may well stick it on this evening now…

    Have you seen an Italian film called Romanzo Criminale? That’s a great film of a similar ilk (about 2 hours shorter!), but well worth a watch if you haven’t seen it.

  27. The worst thing ever to happen to football is money. The same 80-100k a week player who must of course be god-like on these insane wages is the same human being who had an off day on 5k a week in the 90s. It’s the reason I just can’t stand tennis, and have you heard what it’s like actually being a modern tennis player? Never-the-less, Arsenal need to show their intentions clearly now, twice a week, for 4 months. I think Arsene might be too human for some fans, supportive, forgiving and endlessly patient.

  28. consolbob

    get back in the pen with all the other sheep!

  29. Yeah Zimpaul, some people would prefer a hard nosed, boot kicking disciplinarian c*nt at the helm. I know what I prefer. Wenger’s far from human in my eyes though – in a good way..!

  30. Zimpaul, money is the problem with everything. Too much of it or not enough. It had definitely done a lot of damage to sport and football in particular.

    I’ll look out for that book Limpar. Do try Daniel Woodrell if you haven’t already, all the Lonesome Dove books are excellent.

    I must also mention another favourite, ‘Flashman and the Redskins’ as a goiod piece of history and a bloody funny and rollicking read.

    Delboy. Fuck off.

  31. @dupsffokcuf , 10:43 am

    You could have had a back four of Cafu, Baresi, Beckenbaeur and Maldini the back four in that side and you wouldn’t have got anywhere with the likes of Carter, Hillier and Jensen in the midfield.

  32. Delia---Block 112

    I’ve been too embarrassed and totally deflated to post following Sat/ Wed’s night. We looked a very small side against Ipswich , they used their strength and power to advantage. We appeared to be suffering from an almighty hangover from Saturday. What is worse I am lunching with an Ipswich season ticket holder next week.
    I am counting on the boys pulling themselves together tomorrow and putting in a really good performance. Sagna’s absence shows how effective he has been this season ,at least we have him back for the Leed’s replay . Nasri, in particular, should give us some sparkle tomorrow, here’s hoping.
    As always COYRs.

  33. We’re all gooners here, no need to be labelling each-other’s opinions as drivel is there? Hardly encouraging fellow fans to voice their opinions and have a debate.
    Dups is right; we didn’t look good in those last few years before Arsene came along, but I seem to remember we still won the odd FA and Cup-Winners cup here and there. Though we didn’t win the league that often, we were almost always in and around the trophies each year. I know we’re in a better position now as a club, but I question how comfortable this squad is with coming close each year with no cigar. For all the ‘old’ team’s faults, you ALWAYS felt we had a genuine chance when the stakes were high.; this I think was down to the personalities of the players, not necessarily the skill.

    The manager is ultimately responsible because it is he who picks the team and recruits the players. If he himself keeps talking about the callowness of the team, how many opportunities to buy experience has he passed up in the last 5 years? I know full well this is a well-trodden argument that seems to come and go depending on the teams current success on the pitch but I can’t be the only one here unconvinced that this team will emerge from a high-pressure cup final or league-title decider in May without the same old question marks about commitment and maturity bla bla bla.

    We get excited when the team plays well (I was at the Chelsea game so I’m guilty as charged) and we talk up our title chances, but I personally, am still unconvinced that they can go the final hurdle.

    This is only my opinion and I apologize for those who think it’s drivel!

  34. It’s not so much what you say Selso, we get worse on here although any anti wenger comments will get a brusque response, it’s just that we have heard that stuff about ‘softness’ uncounted times already. I only have to turn on Sky Sports or the BBC.

  35. consolbob

    sorry, I underestimated ewe – a swearing sheep!

    Take note of selsos’ comment, can we not have an opinion of our own, without being insulted by the likes of ewe?

  36. Fabianski’s a doubt for tomorrow – Chesney likely to play.

    I really hope that AL stays and fights for his place. Would be nice for him to be part of the title winning when it comes through… he has done much to contribute to the building of it

    And I wonder what is so serious about AAs situation can cannot be rectified with a little more focus and effort from him? Cant see what is leading to these talks of leaving the club except there is more to it?

  38. You’re right Consolsbob, these arguments are trundled out with boring regularity, but maybe this is because they are true and it gets more and more frustrating each year that they are not addressed?

    I too worship at the Wenger-Altar, but surely we as fans can’t be so blinkered as to not admit when there seems to be a flaw in his ‘plan’?

    I know new signings are not necessarily the solution, and I actually don’t think ‘softness’ is an issue this season; we haven’t been bullied by teams this year in my opinion. The problems we’ve faced have usually been self-inflicted; witness the self-destruct button display against the Spuds at home (shiver). There surely has to be some kind of psychological post-mortem on the squad when this kind of humiliation seems to rear its ugly head so frequently? ESPECIALLY sine the outstanding display against Chelsea. There has to be something fundamentally wrong with either the player’s themselves or the regime at the club.

    It seems to me that the ingrained arrogance in a team of young, superbly talented players who have actually won nothing to justify their attitudes is the thing that will stop us winning anything. Perhaps a more ‘hardcore’ disciplined attitude from Wenger could help? I don’t know it’s just my opinion.

  39. A brilliant piece Darius, If I could write, thats what I’d have written!?!

    Been saying it for a long time that our game requires all 11 to be on form, we can maybe carry one, but not two who are having an ‘off day’. Its beautiful when it works but maddening when it doesn’t. Also, for us to be caught out on Saturday by Leeds and just about get away with it was forgivable for it to happen again on Wednesday against Ipswich is very worrying. As you say ‘If they want it more than we do, they’ll eventually get it.’ Lets hope the lesson has been learned, we will see next Wednesday.

    But for now I’m looking forwards to getting back on track against the Hammers tomorrow evening.


  40. The current team is like an F1 car. everything needs to be working almost perfectly in tandum to be effective. When this happens it can be jaw dropping, but when it doesn’t it is easily overtaken.

    Strange to think that last year (and the year before) I wasn’t happy with our No1, but yet was petrified when was missing as I had even less confidence in our No2. Now I am happy with the No1, and completely non-plussed if he is missing as our No2 is maore than capable of stepping up. Nice.

  41. I agree with that and re the GK situation goonerandy. I wasn’t too worried with Almunia in there, but his inconsistency was always at the back of my mind. Now even the Fabster is more consistent than a lot of our players. Chesney too it seems.

  42. Fair enough Selso. I’m not sure that I can see the ‘flaws in the Wenger plan’ but I can see why some might.

  43. Great post once again Darius.

    I feel exactly the same, I was left mystified after the game.. I expected a big reaction after we drew with Leeds after a pretty uninspiring game.

    Arshavin has lost his confidence, he only charged at their defence on one occasion at Ipswich.. he will soon be back to his best, that I have no doubts about. The fans just need to get off his back, he is exactly the same player that scored 4 against Pool.

    Its fair to say Ipswich’s tactics done us, and I agree with Cesc. Problem is however we expected them tactics from a struggling championship team, and the players would have certainly knew what was coming. Its just a shame we lost to a Championship side playing them tactics, when usually its only Chelsea and United that can nick a win against us playing that way.

    Anyway, the improvements I have seen is we can grind out victoried against the harder teams this season. Blackburn away, City away – even though they had 10 men, Birmingham away… games in the past we would have failed to show enough fight to win the 50 50 battles.

    I agree with those who say our luck will change, and I think we will see a focussed Arsenal team taking the three points at Upton Park. I don’t agree about the complacency, attitudes of the players, manager bollox. This is Arsenal, we are the most focussed club in the world with very clear targets. We are going for glory on 4 fronts, a big step up from last season, and its something Man Utd and Chelsea will only dream about doing with their limited squad depths.

    Keep the belief people.

  44. Yup, Fabianski has completely proved me wrong to be fair. I always though he was (technically) a good keeper, but though he was too error prone. He seems to have cut that right out of him game. He will always make the odd blooper (the same as most keepers), but it is starting to look like they will be few and far between. Good for him.

  45. Hmmm… Yes, ‘flaws in Wenger’s plan’ does seem a bit of a dramatic statement now I read it back!!

    I think Wenger’s ‘plan’ if it can be termed as such is great; it’s just the arrogance problem I guess. This was perhaps inevitable when you have a big group of very young, very talented players competing at the top level for a few years now; they have the pressure and recognition of top Prem League players without any kind of maturity or perspective to cope with it (not to mention what I’m sure are very high salaries for players of their age).
    Wenger’s always been known as a very ‘civilised’ manager, but I think perhaps younger players would benefit from a harsher, stricter regime. I sometimes get the impression that Wenger mollycoddles this team sometimes. Perhaps they are not all grown-up enough to be treated as adults the way Wenger seems to do. Who knows.

  46. Chris – I agree with much of what you say; but the complacency against “lesser” teams is there for all to see. I think even Arsene has aluuded to it. Some of our performaces aginst W Brom/Leeds/Ipswich/Wigan smack of complaceny. “We are better than these teams, and will win easily”. Oh.

  47. We don’t Selso. That’s the thing. There are some who think they know better than Wenger. Me? I’m an AKB.

  48. selso

    The same can be said of certain fans. You know some fans like yourself get slightly tainted with things they hear from the pundits and media.. its a case of repeating something over and over until a few idiots believe it.

    For me I have to believe what is in front of me. I see a very talented and motivated team. They take heart from what is said about them, and they obviously want to make a big statement in footballing history. Look at Arshavin for instance, he lacks confidence and is terrified at the thought of misplacing a pass, this subsequently leads to him messing up out of nerves, not ability (This is a 30yr old Internation, not a nervous youth player either!). The last few seasons of dissapointment could sit in the minds of some of our players still too. It is imperative in my mind that we get away from such thoughts, doing so by winning a trophy – not because of the 5 year draught, but for confidence and install self-belief. This is why Wenger remains up-beat, praises the players, and focuses on the positives so we can push forward.

    You slate the manager, the regime, the policies of the club etc etc yet our club is admired throughout the world, where its policies are looked apon in envy.

    I believe the problem which you are suggesting comes from certain fans sense of dissapointment, and the high levels our team and Wenger sets means only a perfect display and result is expected game after game. Some fans need a massive reality check. The likes of Adams, Keown, etc only won titles when Wenger came, and when the likes of Bergkamp arrived.

  49. There’s something I was wondering about. It’s impossible to answer and not really intended as a defence of the performance against Ipswich.

    If you watched that match, without any pre-conceived notions of the statuses and expectations of the clubs, who do you think you would have thought deserved to win?

    We underperformed, of this I have no doubt. For me, the performance, given our qualities was unnacceptable. However, I do think we deserved to win and were the better side on the night. Like I say though, perhaps this is a pointless exercise, everything we think we conclude while watching a football match is informed by our long-held opinions and bias.

  50. “I don’t agree about the complacency, attitudes of the players”

    chrisgoona – what do you put the Leeds match and Ipswich matches down to then? Surely not that the aforementioned teams have better technical ability? I can’t see any other reason for losing those games other than attitude and complacency. We seem to think the game is won before stepping onto the pitch, after 10 mins or so, it’s fairly easy to spot which Arsenal is turning up. I may be wrong, but that’s what it looks like.

  51. gib – It depends on what your definition of playing well is I suppose. I know what you mean, I think our possession was over 70% for most of the game. Having said that I think they had more opportunities at goal than us. At one point they had 11 to our 4. Its good concice passing without creating opportunities playing well?

  52. Geo – I agree completely. In many of the matches we have cocked up, we have come out of the traps really quickly. However, after the first 5 mins we drop our game. If we kept the initial tempo (and we can do it, and have done so in numerous matches this year) we would win easily. But we don’t. It is simply down to attitude and focus.

  53. Just had a quick look at that Geo, looks good. I’m a bit of a sucker for a gangster flick. I enjoyed Un Prophet last year, if you’ve not seen that, definitely worth a watch. Yeah… watchin OUATIA is a bit of an event… but always an enjoyable one. Good one to have a few whiskeys with after the pub. If you’ve not seen Once Upon A Time In The West then you should catch that too… another epic… Leone’s masterpiece, some might say.

    A friend of mine swears blind by Flashman, Cb. I’ll steal one of his and give it a go.

    I’ve not got sound today… can anyone with ATVO do us a quick précis of what God had to say about Ramsey and the transfer market? Would be very much appreciated…

  54. goonerandy

    Its easy to pick out 4 or 5 games where the result didn’t go our way, then point to an easy answer for it. I can’t believe for one second that the players were complacement having lost to Newcastle, to go out and lose to Wigan in the next home game. (I think it was that order?)

    It just don’t make sense, if we are complacement what does that make Chelsea?

    Luckily our players are intelligent, they have learnt to beat the rough teams. We have the players to beat the teams that park the bus – Chamakh, Bendtner.. maybe we should have resulted to a plan B from earlier on against Ipswich. We can score headers and mix it up in the air, the last couple seasons we have scored more in this department than Wenger’s previous teams. I feel there is room for improvement there, and implementing such tactics against teams who decide to defend with 11 men will be worth a shot.

    We kept the ball moving against Ipswich, looking for an opening. It was never going to come though and it had to be a perfect pass to cut them open. It happened a few times, but we need an easier solution in certain games.

  55. goonerandy,

    Like I say, I’m aware that it’s impossible for me to offer any kind of objective view on the match. I did think that while they had a lot more efforts than us, they were largely from distance which tends to skew that statistic. They weren’t opportunities as such. For me, again all bias notwithstanding, I thought we created more clear cut chances (Theo twice and Fabregas) than them (the goal and the first time Priskin broke through).

    All sorts of things affect the way in which we interpret the information given to us. In that match it could be our fear of losing, the commentator’s excitement at every Ipswich attack, our expectations of an easy victory, the list is a long one.

    It’s like watching Denilson. He’s a hugely divisive player so an excellent example. I am a massive fan so on my own in a room, I can watch him and think he had an excellent match. Someone who dislikes him as a player can take in the same information and conclude he was awful. To them, his mistakes will be amplified and his qualities ignored; for me, the opposite wqould happen.

    I think I’m rambling slightly so forgive me if all of this is pointless nonsense.

  56. Chrisgoona forgive me but I am capable of forming my own opinion from watching Arsenal without necessarily being influenced by pundits and media. Losing at home to Spurs after being 2-0 is complacency. Getting humiliated at home conceding 3 goals to West Brom is complacency and arrogance. Losing at home to Newcastle is complacency. Very nearly losing to Leeds, same. Deservedly losing to Ipswich same. Beating Chelsea? They were WORTHY of effort I guess, unlike the other inferior teams that have humiliated us this year.
    Do I need to repeat pundit’s opinions to see this clearly with my own eyes?

    Also, I seem to remember Tony Adams winning a couple of titles before Wenger came along as well as a few domestic cups and a European trophy (finalists the following year). Yes, the team got crapper towards the end of that period but it was forgivable because the team was crap. We have an excellent team which seems to think they are better than Leeds and Ipswich without needing to prove it. That’s all I’m saying.

    Also, its unnecessary and childish to start throwing labels around your fellow fans; ‘certain fans’ like anyone who dares to speak against Arsene is some kind of mindless talksport radio listening moron. Arsene generally knows best, but blindly thinking everything he does is perfect is kind of stupid.

  57. Limpar – I’ve got all Un Prophet on DVD, and love it! And Once Upon a Time in the West is the best Western of all time imo. Right from the start where there’s no dialogue for ages, just the annoying fly, the dripping and the sign squeaking… great stuff!

    Also, if you liked Un Prophet, check out Mesrine 1 & 2. All based on real events, Jaques Mesrine was Ganster No. 1 in France. Absolute nutter!

  58. Limpar – Another good gangster flick is “Gamorrah”. It is italian and subtitles but an excellent film if you like that type of things.

    A good book in this genere is “Donnie Brasco”. Really amazing stuff.

  59. Chris – Fair enough, but we will have to agree to disagree on that subject then.

  60. Geo

    So the players decide in the first 10mins that they will be playing at 60% because its Wigan, or 40% because its Ipswich.

    I ain’t buying that, these are professional footballers. They are highly motivated before every game, and you can bet your house on Wenger and his staff telling the players to play to our maximum.

    Football is football, if you have ever played? you will know that it is impossible to guarantee a high level of performance game after game. Never mind playing at the highest level, and having games every 3 days.. Base your arguments on some facts and logic, it could held in making me and others believe your comments.

  61. Gib – Yeah, you are right. Especially on the Denilson view; he really goes split the fans. I think Bendtner falls into that category as well.

  62. Chris – I doubt it is a concious decision by the players. But they will make that extra run, work that bit harder, tackle that bit sharper againest (for example Chelseas a few weeks before. They know they have to, or they will lose the game. Against lesser team they don’t always do this, because they think ther will win anyway because they are better players.

  63. I’ve actually read and seen Gomorrah – the book was better I thought… all very grim though. I prefer my gangsters with a bit of fairytale glitz and flair. And Mesrine is definitely on my ‘to watch’ list. Cheers. Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises was a decent yarn too, I thought… Vincent Cassel was good in that.

  64. Limpar – Yeah it was. I read lots of book on the Mafia and such stuff.

    “The last Godfather” is a great read based on the Corleonese in Sicily, and the “Iceman” is a must read about a guy who was a contract killer for the Mafia in New York. Both factual books.

  65. Chrisgoona – I’m not saying they ‘decide’ after 10 minutes, I’m saying that I can see what kind of performance they are going to give and the attitude they have towards our opponents, after that amount of time.

    If you’re going to start on one of your ‘you’re this type of fan’ rants, fine.

    Against Chavs and Citeh it was plain to see that they were 100% up for it and gave their all, same with Birmingham (probably because they gave them respect after some previous poor results against them), but then against Spurs for example – before half time had even reached, they were playing around with the ball pointlessley around the halfway line, rather than keeping it up and trying to kill off the game. That was blatant complacency. Not to beat Ipswich (granted they played really well), and to struggle to draw against Leeds, suggests attitude and complacency.

    You haven’t given your opinion as to why we lost those games. Do you think they are superior to us? Do you not think that if they were completely fired up and giving the opposition their due respect, we wouldn’t have easily beaten both of them? Please explain where (and why) you think we went wrong.

    and goonerandy – I’ve got Gamorrah on dvd too, but much preferred the book. I always thought they’d struggle to put it into film, they did well, but you can never fit the epicness of the book into one film. It would need a trilogy really. Check the book out if you liked the film, it’s awesome.

  66. I’m not trying to convert anyone to my beliefs, I’m not a missionary! I’m just a Gooner giving my OPINION to fellow gooners on a gooner site. I’m surprised how many people are having a go at others for having an opinion, bit childish really. If we win the league in May, we’ll all be jumping up and down and hugging eachother regardless… 😀

    Can’t we just share opinions without having a go? We’re more immature than the team! ;p

  67. selso

    You don’t have to agree with the manager to accept he has built a fine club, and driven club with very clear targets. All our players know what is expected of them each game. The complacency excuse that you think is the easy answer is just a myth. Wenger’s arrogance is a myth. I have heard so many interviews by people in the footballing world and those that have worked with him that he is the one manager that listens. In a very high pressure job it takes some balls to proves countless numbers of so called experts wrong season after season. These players have character, you saw that after Ramsey got his leg snapped, you saw that against Chelsea. We destroyed a team which was meant to be the greatest team to have graced the Premiership (apart from the invincibles of course!), then we outplayed a Citeh team that has spent stupid sums of money.

    Be proud, show some dignity, and support. This team is on the verge of greatness. Its just a ‘certain’ supporters can’t see that. 😉

  68. Its just a shame ‘certain’ supporters can’t see that. 😉

  69. Geo – Cheers, yeah I will.

  70. selso

    Its the immaturity of coming of with easy excuses and slating the team that pisses a lot of fans off. Theo could have well chipped the ball over the Ipswich keeper and Arsenal would have went on to score 3 or 4, nobody would be sitting here sulking… Luck plays a huge part, but taking your chances is vital.

    I just don’t see the point of fans like yourself blaming the manager and the clubs policy, none of the regulars on ACLF will accept that until you back up your claims. Something you have failed to do.

  71. Geo,

    I think football is a slightly more complicated affair than the options you’ve offered Chris there. I don’t necessarily agree with him that the players are always highly motivated but it’s too simplistic to say that that is a simple thing to solve. There are an enormous number of factors that can affect a player’s attitude and motivation; public, private, footballing, social, all sorts perhaps even the existential.

    Even then, there’s the way in which your analysis of a match will be shaped by the outcome; retaining posession against tottenham would have been professional if it was successful but as it didn’t, it’s complacent.

    I think it’s too easy (but understandable) to blame complacency rather than try to explain the enormous number of factors that can affect a football match. It becomes a bit of an aunt sally.

  72. ;p LOL

    I am a ‘certain’ supporter to be sure… We’ve all seen Fever Pitch right? Well, I’m the miserable, pessimistic main character screaming and cursing at Arsenal even when they’re 1-0 up at Anfield!! Doesn’t make me less of a gooner does it?

    I am proud and I have dignity, thats why I only share these opinion of Arsenal amongst fellow Gooners and not people who support other crap teams. Keeping my misery ‘in the family’ so to speak!

  73. Sorry i only read the first part of your comment chrisgoona. I’ve played a lot of football since the age of 4 years old, at a very high level (without reaching semi pro). I know you can’t guarantee anything, but you can expect your team (who are meant to be one of the best in the world) to beat those teams. When I was playing for my county (or in any match actually) I assumed that the team we are about to play is better (even if statistics etc said otherwise)- every time. That makes you raise your game.

    Again, please explain your reasons for our poor performances against teams we should be beating. And where is the fact and logic in any of your posts? Pure speculation and jumping on people’s backs every time. There is very little fact in these discussions, mainly opinions. So don’t start asking people for fact on a purely hypothetical conversation – especially when you don’t give any yourself.

  74. Anyway I won’t argue with ya no more, I agree with many fans that criticise certain tactics, team selections, players who need games etc.. When it comes to online blog cries after a defeat, i can’t handle it. We should show more steel than that.

  75. Chris – You talking about fact, and rightly point out the the players showed character against Chelsea. But they didn’t show any of it in the games we are talking about. That is complacency whichever way you paint it. You can’t offer any other explanation for it.

    Arsene even said that after the Leeds game we had “learnt our lesson” (which we obviously have not). What do you take that to mean? He quite obviously meant that we had learnt (which we seem not to have) is that you cannot slack off against lower teams.

  76. All fair points to be sure. I don’t think its a simple solution at all to blame complacency, I’m just saying what I see. It’s about running that extra bit harder when you respect the opposition which I think would have made a difference in the fixtures I mentioned. I think I made it quite clear what I thought the problem was; I was AT the West Brom game and I saw how slack we were with my own eyes.

  77. Chris – do you put it down to ‘fatigue’ then? Not even half way through the season?

    And Gib – I’m not suggesting it’s that simple and a solution at all. But to say it’s not to do with the attitude of the players seems crazy to me. They are some of the best footballers in the world. If it’s not to do with attitude, what is it?

  78. How do you get rid of this slackness and complacency? As far as I can see, you either replace the team or change something about the way they are coached. Just my opinion.

  79. If I knew all the answers the expression would be Selso Knows Best.

    This is patently not the case ;p

  80. Show more steel??? Are we at war with someone?

  81. chrisgoona – if you ever read any of my posts, I am one of the most positive people on here. I was being slated the other day about not wanting to sign a defender for example. So for you to come on here and talk about crying, not being a proper supporter for speaking about a widely discussed issue, and other shite that you think other people on here want to hear, without you giving any explanation yourself, I can’t handle it.

    So again….. whay do you think we lost those games?

  82. chris knows best. Sorry selso.

  83. Geo,

    I’m not saying that it isn’t to do with attitude, just that

    i) attitude is informed by so many factors that at times it is unmanageable.
    ii) i think it’s a little simplistic to give a list of the games we’ve lost and put “complacency” as a cover-all answer for why it happened.

    I have absolutely no doubt that you are intelligent enough to recognise that but I don’t think that is reflected in your post.

    If I knew a way to guarantee that players performed to the peak of their ability and with absolute motivation every week then I’d be far too rich to bother posting on here.

    The best thing about football is the myriad of factors that can influence a result. It means that we have a game that will never create the same spectacle twice. It also means that it is an absolute bugger to analyse well, certainly beyond the likes of me.*

    *I’m not suggesting we never try.

  84. Selso – To me there does not seem to be many of the squad which will demand more of his team mates on the pitch. Maybe some of them will grow into that, I don’t know. If not we need to consider looking at players with those qualities.

    Watch (for example) a Manure game when somebody get a head at their goal from a corner. There is normally some sort of inquasition amonsgt the team immidiately. Then compare that to us, …..nothing. Although Tech9 seems to have a bit of guts about him in that respect. I am not suggesting that this is the solution, just something about the squad that I have noticed.

    A few matches ago I saw Fabianski screaming at Cesc because he was not where he wanted him defending a corner. In the end he manhandled him to where he wanted him. Good, that is a step in the right direction.

  85. Geo

    Like you said, “When I was playing for my county (or in any match actually) I assumed that the team we are about to play is better”. You would expect Arsenal FC to at least adopt such an approach and play to our maximum.

    I don’t have any easy answers to why we lost against Ipswich, I just think we didn’t take our chances in a game which didn’t really suit our playing style. Ipswich performed very well defensively, and we had no ‘plan B’ on the day. Something I mentioned earlier.

    My intention is not to pick you out as one of them fans either, so sorry if i got to you. I just think its very easy and childish for fans to come online and have a go. After all we are supporters and should be looking out for what best for our club, not slating them at every opportunity.

  86. goonerandy – have you seen the documentary called ‘Iceman’? It’s about the same guy and it’s quite scary how cold he is! He’s talking to the camera about some of his hits and things he was asked to do, without any flicker of emotion. I’d ‘ave ‘im though, pussy.

  87. Personally I blame Pat Rice. He’s always sitting there next to wenger, whispering in his ear, playing on his Nintendo DS, smoking crack at half time. He’s a negative influence on the players IMHO.

  88. Chris – Nobody is having “a go” I don’t think. Just as we can discuss the squads plus points, I don’t think there is anything wrong with discussing the faults as well. It certainly does not have any bearing on your support of the club.

  89. lets just get rid of eboue!!he cost us in the ipswich game just as he does in each game he me it seems that even his t/mates knw how much of a lialbility he is i.e djourou owez moving outta position to cover 4 him/help at rb.

  90. Do you remember the cartoon ‘ Spiderman, Iceman and Firewoman’

    That shit was the bomb !!!!

  91. Geo – Yeah I have. He is called Richard Kuklinski, the book is great. Strangely enough you actually end up liking the bloke despite his profession.

  92. gib – that’s very true, and obviously there are far too many factors to go into. But it’s a worrying trend that it only seems to happen against teams that are massive underdogs. (Sp*rs watch was different as they switched off after such an amazing first half). I’m no expert either, and I may rant on like I am at times, but to me it seems that attitude (and all of the factors that lead up to having that attitude) must be the reason. I can’t see any other explanation, and will happily take on board some alternative explanations.

    Chris, fair enough. And it also wrangles me massively when we get the full blown twats who just want wholesale changes (as if that’s going to be the answer) after every loss. But I do think my comments show some logic, misplaced maybe, but I have thought about it logically…

    Anyway, as gib said “It also means that it is an absolute bugger to analyse well” – that’s the beauty of football, and the option of coming on blogs like this to discuss. We’ll always be wrong to someone, and others will share your opinion.

  93. True. That is the thing debating the merit and flaws of players, and sytems of play. It is all opinion, there are no facts.

  94. selso | January 14, 2011 at 12:20 pm | ,

    I see your point. However, you seem to be taking the (negative) results
    uncritically and then looking f0r a common first cause. As CG points out, your selection of “complacency” as the cause does seem in keeping with the niavety of the worst type of punditry and anti-Arsenal media reporting.

    Just a thought!

  95. I’ll check that book out for sure goonerandy, cheers. and yeah, you do end up warming to the Iceman, strangely…!

  96. I llike the bit when he was talking about injecting somebody with poision.

    “I walked up to him and just bumped into him”

    “And then what happened?” (Interviewer)

    “He had a heart attack and died”

  97. Just out of curiosity – so who is this player from a respectable North London club in the top 10 of the Premier league – a player who is God fearing and doesn’t drink, 27 and single.

    He was a naughty boy in Las Vegas and maybe the injunction is weighing heavy on his mind.

  98. selso

    I’m with you and see where you’re coming from mate. We are both I’m sure, dedicated Arsenal fans but our opinions only come from frustration and because we give a shit.

    ChrisGoona is an arrogant bully but he’s entitled to his opinion, he just doesn’t want ‘certain fans’ to have one.

    His motto might well be ‘when I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you’.

  99. If he’s single i dont see the problem anyway……. unless he’s very close to his Grandparents

  100. Exactly. I really don’t see how it is a scandal. “Single rich man has sex”. Stop the press, so what.

    Chamakh is my guess the little tinker.

  101. What have I missed Darius?

  102. I was wondering that consols…

  103. Gawd. COYM!!!!!
    Woza Friday. Have a good ‘un folks.

  104. GoonerAndy…

    My guess was Eboue.

    @Consols and Geo – there is a super injunction taken out by a top EPL club on a news story where a top 27 year old single footballer from a North London club – said to be God fearing and alcohol free – was filmed having an orgy with 3 Swedish girls including the waitress who was serving drinks to him and his friends that night. The sexcapades were covertly filmed on a Blackberry and the footage is being sold to the highest bidder after the footballer refused to bow down to the blackmail demands.

    The Metropolitan Police are investigating the blackmail and the newspapers are hesitant to touch the story because of the possible criminal charges for the blackmailer.

  105. All this talk of Lonesome Dove, I’m imagining Arsene and Pat crossing Texas with 50,000 head of cattle. Head ’em up and move art, yeeehaaa.

  106. Apparently the footballer in question was photographed naked, and it turns out he has a penis. If this information becomes public, it could damage the player’s reputation.

  107. Darius – Hmmm, could be. No scandal really though is there? So what? I would do the same in his position.

  108. ‘God fearing and alcohol free’

    I think its safe to say he’s not British.

  109. Geo, I agree

    Everyone has their own opinion, thats what makes football discussions so heated. On boxing day I randomly had a discussion with an Arsenal fan who was fairly old, and in front of family members and god knows who else we just couldn’t stop. This was just before the Chelsea game, and he was certain we would lose, and he blamed Arsene’s arrogance for Arsenal not being able to beat the big teams. He maintained he had to leave etc etc, something which just amazes me to hear. Especially from an older supporter who should realise how far Wenger has brought our club, and what a disaster it may potentially be replacing him.

    Of course we went onto win the game against Chelsea, but having lost to Ipswich I am sure he had a few additional reasons to back up his claims that Wenger is arrogant. I just can’t agree with anyone who is so quick to discredit our players or manager. They prove season after season their worth, and I feel they have enough this season in quality and numbers to win a few trophies.

    We just need to improve our consistency and take our chances in games where teams sit 10 players in front of their goal imho.

  110. If I was single and had managed to pull that off, I would be encouraging it to be put out. I would have tweeted as soon as I had finished 🙂

  111. How old is Van der vaart?

  112. 27. He is most definately not single though.

  113. His wifes hot with a capital H

  114. Is she a hologram?

  115. Yeah her names Rimmer

  116. Have you seen Eboue’s taste in clothes, Darius?

  117. That makes him top of the pile for me consols 😉

  118. DelBoyEssex

    Your just one of the many commenters who seem to be ready and willing to have a pop at me… maybe thats because I am extremely passionate about Arsenal, or maybe its because your actually jealous that I have REAL views.

    You can call me an AKB or whatever bullshit, but I can see what is in front of me. Watching Arsenal is far more entertaining than any other team, and I feel very lucky to be supporting such a talented and motivated group of players. I am sick of having to explain to pathetic supporters why they should support. Everyone nowadays thinks they are entitled to throw insults at the club and players, so tell me you cock, why can’t I throw them at you…?

  119. Consols – I think the question is whether he would be out of place in Vegas with that taste of clothes.

  120. Chris – I can’t really be bothered to get into an argument, but your post highlights why some people get bored of you.

    “or maybe its because your actually jealous that I have REAL views”
    Most on here have real views, how arrogant to assume that as they don’t match yours they are not real.

    “but I can see what is in front of me”
    Which is what everybody else does. Only if they don’t agree with you you assume that they have goten their views from some TV pundit.

    “I am sick of having to explain to pathetic supporters why they should support”
    The arrogance of this statement speaks for itself.

  121. Darius – Do you think Vegas would be ready for the Eboue experience?

  122. I’ve just found out that Tottenham’s mascot is called “Chirpy Cock”. Astonishingly on-the-button.

    I warm more and more to Gunnersaurus Rex each time I think of him/her. I mean we couldn’t rightly have an actual big fluffy gun walking about the place… especially considering the work for inner city crime charities the big fluffy gun would be obligated to appear for. I only wish the dinosaur was a darker hue… more realistic… not that anyone knows of course…

    Or maybe we could have had a fluffy effigy of the old Highbury Horse… a flaming skeleton of the old nag that fell under the old North Bank while they extended it in the 30s… complete with apocalyptic rider. Three man job really. Bill! You can be the arse.

    Anyway… can’t complain I suppose. A cannon will always be cooler than a cock on a ball after all.

  123. So it’s THAT sort of place Darius?

  124. Looking for an inspirational figure to shake things up and inspire the team?

  125. ChrisGooner: “…or maybe its because your actually jealous that I have REAL views”

    Are you for real men? lmao!

  126. Oh Yes Consols – if you have the money, Vegas doesn’t discriminate.

    Only this case, what happened in Vegas didn’t exactly stay there. Someone got greedy and wanted more money.

    I would think though, that the young lad may require a licence from the fashion police in some cities around the world.

  127. Did you see him in the tunnel after, I think, the Leeds game!!?

    The man has no shame – or taste.

  128. Heh, Eboue rules.

  129. I dont know but when the team keeps putting in woeful performances against teams we should beat it must be something. If not complacency, then what is it?

    I dont however agree with saying, its the managers fault. The players must take responsibilty.

    For me, I dont like the high line when we play the long ball teams. We have been burnt way too many times, its too costly. I dont know, I am just getting frustrated with these long passes leading to goals against us. . What about if as soon as we give away the ball the defense just backs the hell up a bit, maybe thats too simplistic but again, how many more times will this happen before we learn?

    Anyway, looking for a win tomorrow.

    I love this team!


    Have a blessed one all!

  130. The problem with sitting deeper is that it makes it much harder for the midfield to quickly put pressure on the ball. The way we play means we will pretty much always play a high line.

  131. Eboue is married so not him. I heard rumours that Chamakh was not of that persuasion.

  132. dups – I heard that too… he’s more of a Miami kinda guy 😉

  133. Vegas Boy is Jermaine Jenas

  134. That true Paulie? I didn’t think he was of that persuasion either… maybe it’s all a publicity stunt!

  135. Have a good one all.


  136. Dups

    The word in France is that Chamakh and Gourcuff were more than teamates as they have never been seen with a girlfriend and when Gourcuff moved to Lyon he chose Chamakh’s 29 number for this reason.

  137. Jenas??? Last I heard he was gnashing his teeth at Agbonlahor banging his flight attendant ex and getting her paged.

  138. Geo – maybe he is using the same guy (Max Clifford) who did Freddie’s PR.

  139. I didnt say sit deeper though did I, however if we are going to leak silly goals sit the hell deeper. It makes no sense to get beat over and over the same way, you just look rather silly and ill-prepared.

    I have heard a million times the team doesnt have a plan b and now we dont want a plan b?

    Also it doesnt take much to hoof one ball up. I dont believe that we can defend so tightly from the front so that we never give the opposing team an opportunity to blast it upfield.

    Once we find out what teams are doing, we should’nt change all we do but there is nothing wrong with changing slightly so we dont lose like this.

    Trust me, if we dont learn there will be more moaning this season.

  140. Still hoping for an Arsenal WHAm final.

    In the meantime, another test for the high line at WHam tomorrow.

  141. Excellent post by Darius, as usual. Using his Liverpool friend as a counter to being an Arsenal supporter was an excellent rebut to the doom and gloom. I understand the general dissappointment after Leeds and Ipswich but as ZimPaul emphasized we must take the dissappointments in stride and have a good laugh at times. What pissess me off though are the two-faced treacherous bloggers who are quick to stab Arsene in the back because results don’t come as easy as they expect.
    For those who have been watching this season, whenever this team struggles to score goals our catalyst and savior has been Nasri. It is not an unusual state of affairs for most big teams. Messi scores the big goals for Barca, Tevez for City and Etoo for Inter . Interestingly enough, unlike the 1st half of this season, during the two cups, Arsene has studiously kept Nasri wrapped in cotton wool and depended on others, who have done it in the past, to do the business. Players like Cesc, Arshavin and Bendtner have won us games like this before but whether due to injury, off-form or simply jaded it just hasn’t happened. Nasri is now our talisman and, unlike last year when we worked Cesc to the bone until he succumbed to injury, Wenger it seems is holding him back for the 2nd half of the season. Up to this break he was showing tremendous fatigue with the heavy schedule of matches and the endless double-teaming he experiences from every team (including City, Chelsea and United ). Wenger’s priorities are the BPL and Champions League, unlike those plundits and bloggers who are satisfied with the also-ran status of both the Carling and FA cups. Look out for the return of Super Nasri tomorrow with our league game against West Ham. Let us hope this one week rest has truly recharged his batteries.

  142. Not to dwell on the result at the home of the Suffolk worzel inbreds, but three things play on my mind:
    1. This was a cup game ffs – upsets are supposed to happen so the media can write about the “magic of the ______” (insert name of cup competition).
    2. Is the most pressing need for a CB or a CF of what we used to call a “goal hanger” the greedy, take the ball off your foot so that they score type (sort of Ian Wright). Someone needs to convert all the many, many chances we create in every game.
    3. As many have pointed out on this blog, other teams have sussed our tactics and sometimes have managed to successfully counter them. Do we have a plan ‘B’ – is there a way we can throw them off balance by doing something different? I’m not saying give up the excellent standard but have we become too predicatable?

  143. GoonerAndy

    Thanks for your comments regarding GhrisGoona’s attack on me.

    He IS an arrogant bully and he called me a ‘cock’, what’s all that about?

    I haven’t ‘insulted’ Arsene or the players, just voiced my own considered opinion!

    He’s not an AKB, he’s a CGKB!

    He must be on something and needs to calm down!

  144. Nice one Shotta. Spot on about Nasri.

  145. Geo,

    Just a wild stab in the dark actually – a bit like one of JJ`s night`s out

  146. I listened to a broadcast yesterday about ‘the quiet manager’ ranging over a number of professional sports. Names were rattled off relating to managers that were quiet and especially not demonstrative and who were virtually constant winners. The quiet manner of these managers gave the appearance of disengagement from the game itself. Although it was clear they were more than present, judging from their calls from the sidelines.

    It was mentioned during the broadcast that players, in fact, prefer the quiet approach. When I think of the managers mentioned during the broadcast, they were indeed quiet with a very level, unemotional, appearance on the sideline. Wenger is not one of those managers.

    Wenger is a very emotional man who at times seems to be in great discomfort and pain on his bench beside his right hand man who he can be seen always consulting. In fact, I think that Pat appears more at ease with games than Arsene. That comment is only a guess but Arsene can often be seen gesticulating on the sideline and often talking to a ref. which some in the media report as “moaning.” Wenger’s facial expression during games tells the story of how successful his team is on the field. Wenger has reported that when he has lost a game, the emotional impact has been such as to cause him to vomit and this applied perhaps earlier in his management career. The present substitute for vomiting is likely articulating his observations about the game. His comments are rarely if ever negative. He is usually capable of producing a positive spin out of a very ordinary performance on the pitch. Following games, Wenger is never at a loss for words. He never rages about his players deficient manners on the pitch which, again, some in the media comment as a kind of blindness.

    We all know and understand Wenger as a very fastidious manager who is virtually always prepared beyond the often mentioned lack of a plan B. The current difficulties with the team is not through a lack of preparation from the manager but rather a lack of acceptance of personal responsibilty from individual team members. This is something that the successful team responds to from within the player ranks.

    In the meantime we all chew our fingernails in the hope that the current malaise will be short lived and that the real Arsenal team will stand up and be counted.

  147. You are pathetic, the lot of you. I come on here and expect round condemnation of Arsenal and Wenger and all I read is a load of wishy washy excuses about humanity and truth. NOBODY, especially arsenal season ticket holders, should excuse average performances. If I come home in the evening and then some way into the evening my wife delivers an average performance, she will be the first to know about it. If my dog delivers an average performance, he will be the first to know about it. Therefore if Wenger delivers an average performance, and I mean average, then he should know about it. Talking about cowboy movies or intelluctalising about films ain’t gonna change that. I’m from Essex and we don’t talk shite. That’s for the shires and people who come from places where satellite is advanced technology. Some blogger came on here yesterday and started mouthing off about arabs and iraq and iran. For fucks sake, what’s that got to do with it, the centre of the universe is my living room, then the pub and after that highbury. Get a grip, mouthing off on here ain’t gonna do jack shit.

  148. Whats happening to the world? Muppet ranting and Goonerandy talking sweetly about Fabianski? You two swapped personalities or sumthin?

  149. I think Muppet should get a medal. And when we start a new fans radio station online for Arsenal – I nominate Muppet to do the mid-morning show.

    His rants will give the likes of Porky Parry a run for their money.

  150. Muppet should do a phone in show

  151. There is no reason to feel or care about anything. Everything is transient. Why feel joy when the team wins?
    Why feel blue when the team loses? It’s just football.
    Why post on a blog about football with other people who watch football and talk about football? There is no such thing as good or bad. Everything is subjective.
    Sharing ones opinion is pointless, there is only 1 view: Don’t care. Feeling upset and even worse, talking about or asking questions about what has made you feel upset is pointless. Life is pointless.
    Don’t vote. It doesn’t do anything or change anything.
    Luck rules the world and sometimes the fickle finger of fate is just against your team. You can’t change it. Your team can’t do anything about it. Throw some salt over your shoulder and avoid black cats, just in case.
    God has turned his face, momentarily, from you and your team. Repent your sins and perhaps things will change. Perhaps they won’t.
    Go help the homeless, teach children, anything other then take the time to make angry, hopeful, positive, moanful, negative, sarcastic, humorless, funny, or any other kind of post on a pointless blog about a pointless team that plays a pointless sport in a pointless world, otherwise you are wasting even those pointless minutes of your pointless life.
    Especially, when it doesn’t suit what others want to read or hear.

  152. Perhaps I will read that last comment or maybe I won’t. Does it matter if I do or not?

  153. Of course not.

  154. Cbob,
    In a different style may i suggest “The Last crossing” from Guy Vanderhaeghe (set in Canadian West) or “Fools crow” or “The heartsong of Charging Elk” by James Welch…

  155. I thought Muppet already had a show??

  156. I don’t really see why everyone was so quick to have a go at that Selso fellow. I consider myself to be on the glass half full side of the debate more often than not, but nothing he said really upset me.

    He has some conflicting views with people on here. He made his point without calling our players any names and without being childish. There could be the outside chance that some of his views are correct, but no one here on this forum will really ever know. Anyway, time to support the team and enjoy the football. If we all knew what to expect from every game every season this wouldn’t be much fun at all now would it!

  157. GA: “Limpar – Another good gangster flick is “Gamorrah”. It is italian and subtitles but an excellent film if you like that type of things.”

    This is a pretty good flick. After watching it you will not be able see Italy or Italians as passionate people who live la dolce vita ever again. Instead you’ll start understanding why there are mountains of trash in Naples and why no one cleans up the mess.

    Another good flick is a French movie called Un Prophete. It’s about a street punk who goes from nothing to becoming the top man in a prison gang. I rate it amongst the very best gangster films I’ve ever seen.

  158. This is Muppet calmly expressing his views about Wenger. You have to watch the whole clip to understand how healthy his vision is.

  159. This one accurately depicts doomed life on Planet Le Grove or Le Gloomed…

  160. Darius:

    Excellent post as always.

    I have never been a huge fan of Wengerball because of the high line and the risky position it seems to consistently put our defenders in and the number of goals it causes us to concede. Your point about needing the whole team firing on all cylinders highlights the other problem, the lack of consistency in attack that we are seeing. We are an absolute joy to watch and we can be devastating in attack when we are on top of our game but if we are not perfect or if the other team is especially effective at parking the bus our attack breaks down. When our attack is not effective we do not have the ability or inclination to go to route 1. We are not very effective at grinding out goals such as with set pieces. Our high line and difficulty we have with keeping clean sheets compounds the problem. Hopefully we can get the whole team firing on all cylinders for the rest of the year but as we have seen that is very difficult. We still have a chance for 4 trophies so lets hope Arsene can pull a rabbit out of his hat. Lets win big against West Ham. We need a top notch performance.

  161. I agree with Chris. The way I saw the Ipswich game was that the boys kept possession very well and kept plugging away like the manager tells them to do. This might look unimaginative and lacklustre but it’s what works. That’s how an Arsene Wenger side breaks teams down. They keep the other team running after the ball until they become tired and start making mistakes at about the 70th minute mark. Unfortunately for us, the referee decided to gift them a goal and things went belly up. We surely didn’t help ourselves by not putting away our chances and we paid for it. On top of that, Ipswich were compact, stuck to their tactics well and were bouyed by their home support. All in all they played well. The reason why some of our supporters are moaning about complacency or spewing the negative talking du jour is because Ipswich sit at the bottom half of the championship table and lost 7-0 to the Chavs. In reality any team in the championship can have a go at anyone. The difference in class is not as immense as some would like to think. Just look at Blackpool, for example. They’re basically playing with the team they played with in the lower division and are doing pretty well. I think some are taking things out of proportion for no reason.

  162. Tokala, thank you very much. I am always on the lookout for new authors about the ‘West’. Fascinating period of history. So much happenned so quickly.

    Some terrific stories, many tragic.

  163. Forgot to add, fuck Selso and Del Boy for their unimaginative talking point spewage. Del Boy your comments are not your own. You are following the doomer line and trying to meekly point out that their just your opinions. You have no opinion and you don’t know how to watch football.

  164. I agree with Wenger that football clubs, and any other businesses, should be allowed to do whatever they want with their money. On the other hand, I find it strange that he says the “people that work in the company have to get their share of the success of the company.” I dare say there are plenty of people working for Arsenal F. C. who have not seen the club’s financial success reflected in their pay packets. If you start trying to decide what it would be “fair” for people to earn, you are likely to find yourself on treacherous ground. I don’t know what he means when he says companies should be run in a responsible way. If he means they should be run in accordance with the law, then of course he is right, and there are already plenty of systems to ensure that they do so. If he means they should not take risks, then he is completely wrong. We live within an economic system that depends on companies risking, and often losing, their money. In my opinion, the financial problems that are rife in football are the consequences of the incompatibility between football as a sport and football as a business. The twin aims of winning football matches and making profit have a complex interrelationship, sometimes pulling together, sometimes apart. This makes it almost impossible for many football clubs to make rational decisions. We are therefore faced with the strange situation where perhaps the majority of businesses in a successful sector of the entertainment industry (for that is what football is) struggle to make a profit.

  165. Bill, Chelsea tried their route one nonsense on us when they ran out of options and we crushed them. Man City did the same thing and we made them look worse than Ipswich. Teams don’t go to a plan B unless they’re getting outplayed. That rarely happens to us. Going route one against teams like Ipswich is playing right into their hands.

  166. G69, the problem is so did Braga, Newscastle, Ipswich, United and Leeds and got something.

    That blow wow bothers me a whole lot!!!

  167. Is football not an industry in its own right? The problems arise when comparisons are made with other industries. Football clubs are businesses but they exist in a bubble. Sure occasionally the bubble bursts, hopefully the bubbles will burst tomorrow, but no business in other industries would sign up to being regulated by the FA, UEFA or FIFA. Football clubs as businesses exist in a unique and sometimes quite artificial environment.

    If there is a parallel to be drawn at all it is probably with Banks and Financial Services industry which is almost impossible to regulate precisely because the customer and especially the ‘authorities’ encourage them to take real risks. People only whinge when they lose.

    Apart from the supporters of any particular club in trouble does anyone really give a fuck what happens to football clubs?

  168. All this talk of Westerns reminds me of one of the only nights in my life that I have been really turned on by a chap. Well chaps actually.

    It was a fantastic night in Paris. I was out on the town with Veronique in Pigalle. I had won a few bob on the geegees and so we had been out to the Moulin Rouge. The whole cabaret was based on a C&W hayride…all ironed jeans, pearl buttons and flouncy dresses. Very French.

    Turns out Veronique is turned on by chaps..and actually so am I. So we spent the rest of the night in her apartment, both of us clad in nothing but chaps….

    ….much as I am now although I can only use one chap at a time these days but that is probably too much information.

  169. Pz,

    No. I think Wenger means that they shouldn’t take crazy, speculative risks with no guarantee of a return. I think if you have been around in football long enough, you would know if your assembled squad would bring a return. Unless of course, there was a gross miscalculation. We do not know if the management of Leeds, Portsmouth and other clubs that nearly went to the wall, did so because of overestimation of their squads abilities, or because of other financial circumstances of the day.

    I think the argument of fair play is a more pressing one. It is frankly, an abomination that Man City are currently 2nd in the table, as this has been clearly bought. The same applies argument applies to the chavs. Of course, there are some that argue that this is good for football in general, which is complete and utter moonshine. I don’t recall football being less exciting in the 80s when Villa, Everton, Spurs and Liverpool all romped to european trophies, in emphatic fashion.

  170. Frank – LMAO – But I don’t know what you are on about !

  171. Muppet – Me thinks you doth protest too much!!

  172. Limestonegunner

    ZP, couldn’t get back to the blog until late today–but thanks for your remarks. You’re very right also about Greek bureaucratic families in the early Arabo-Islamic empire. I believe they were centered more in Damascus (modern day Syria), which was formerly under Byzantine rule and served the first dynasty (the Umayyads) before the capital was relocated to the new city of Baghdad under the Abbasid dynasty. It wasn’t until 692 that the administration and record-keeping of the Umayyad empire was arabized (until then it was kept in Greek). When it did move in 750 or so, those Persian bureaucratic families from the old Sassanian Persian empire ran the Abbasid empire. History is full of twists and turns, of continuities amid change and diversity below the surface of uniform identity.

    A lesson English football could certainly acknowledge, learn from and celebrate. The PL is incredibly diverse now. It should be possible somehow to reconcile local identity and culture with the global diversity and change that has taken place. I think Arsenal have done this very successfully, and in so many ways are again leaders and models for others.

  173. No investment is guaranteed a return. Managers who have been in an industry for a long time can nevertheless make miscalculations and bring their businesses down. Football clubs should be allowed to fail, like any other business. I don’t particularly agree with docking points from clubs that are in financial trouble. Financial failure is sufficient punishment. In my opinion, Doctor Diesel, Abramovich, and the like should not be allowed to pump money into football clubs as they have done, as there is a risk that we will find ourselves in a situation where success in football simply goes to whichever billionaire is prepared to squander the most money. On the other hand, I never had a problem with rich fans attempting to buy their club a year or two of success by spending their spare millions on players. The scale of the expenditure is what matters. Putting the resources of a whole third-rate middle eastern country behind a football club is absurd, and the culprits should be clearly told to fuck off.

  174. Gainsboro69

    Thats you’re opinion but you are unfounded in your criticism of selso and me, you spout your words but when analysed they mean nothing – your thoughts against mine, that’s all.

    And it does seem that you are sticking up for your mate, bless you.

    Why does this blog have a few aggressive, self-opinionated individuals who think that they are ‘The Arsenal’ and anyone they don’t agree with is an anti Arsenal wanker?

    I’ll post on here when I want and quite frankly I am not the slightest bit interested in your opinion, OK!

  175. I mean they should be told to fuck off in a clear manner, rather than that it is clear that they should be told to fuck off – although it is clear.

  176. I hope I cleared that up.

  177. Clear as clear can be 🙂

  178. Poliziano | January 14, 2011 at 6:14 pm |

    I think running your club in a responsible way means only spending what you can earn or what you can afford to pay back. Knowingly spending money you don’t have and going bankrupt is irresponsible because non football creditors are the last to be paid – and they are not always banks and the taxman – some can be fairly small local businesses. There are also the non playing staff who work for the club. Risk taking is important, but it has to be a calculated risk. What is the point in getting into massive debt to win a cup (Portsmouth FAC) for which the prize money is less than the bonuses you are paying to the players?

  179. I agree with you Pz. In fact, they should be told to fuck off in a variety of languages, the most relevant being their native language.

  180. G4E,

    He he. I loved doing that drum solo.

  181. Limestonegunner

    I can tell whoever wants to say it to the owners of Man City what it is in their native language as long as you find someone to do it in Russian to the owner of Chelsea.

  182. Ебать скидка!

  183. Limestone….Does it have to do anything with The Pyramids?

  184. No one liked Pedro expressing his views about Song @5:34? He’s the lead singer.

  185. I didn’t say you were a bad supporter. That’s not a card I like to play. I’m basing my criticism on your lack of football knowledge. I just think that calling the manager arrogant and the players lazy, when you know absolutely fuck all about the sport at that level, renders you a know nothing hack.

    I watched Ipswich at Nottingham Forest and I knew they were going to execute a parked bus, hoofball, tight marking in front of the area playing style. That nightthey were tight and stayed compact for most of the game just like anyone with a footballing eye would’ve expected. The goal they were gifted was just the cherry on top for them. As far as our players were concerned, they held on to 60% of the possession in the first half and had them running their asses off. That we didn’t score is not a case of lazyness or arrogance, it’s a credit to Ipswich for coming out and executing their plan to perfection. If you think otherwise, then you should get your ass in shape , see if you can get into Arsene’s starting 11 and then tell me if scoring against two banks of four is as easy as you suggest. The only thing I’ll criticize the team for is not playing with more calm. If they hadn’t gotten desperate to score they would’ve eventually opened them up. They tend to get panicky when they don’t score after enjoying so much possession. So you see, you calling them lazy and their effort pedestrian shows how lazy and pedestrian your interpretation of the game is.

  186. Tennessee Arsenal

    For those making comments that think they’ve found something to blame:

    Anyone who believes that players underperform because they are overpaid or complacent must never have played sports, or forgotten the essence of the experience. I will never believe that any Arsenal player, or Chelsea player, or Ipswich player, or LA Lakers player, or NY Yankees player ever goes into a game without the ardent desire that lies between two thoughts: I’m gonna go out there and do a job that helps my team win/I’m gonna go out there and not do something that causes my team to lose. Whether I was playing little league baseball or pickup basketball as an adult, this is what I thought going into a game, and I’d guarantee it’s no different for all team sports players. Where in the continuum between those thoughts a player enters a game is important. I hope Arsenal players enter a game closer to the former. I think most people in the sports blogosphere overestimate the impact fans have on the game, but I’m sure that negative feedback before, during, and after matches does move players closer to the latter attitude. Doomsdaying is every fans right, and understandable due to the immense amount of emotion that goes into supporting a team, but don’t be surprised if Arshavin begins playing more and more scared of making a mistake as censure is heaped on his head.

    As far as blaming anyone for losses (or giving credit for wins):

    There’s big difference between responsibility, and blame or credit. Football happens in microseconds and millimeters; not even the best athletes have absolute control over these. A huge amount of a game takes place in a realm outside of anyone’s control, if you’ve played sports, you’d understand this. A responsible team, from ownership down to groundskeeper, lives up to their responsibilities, but anyone who thinks they can individually, or even collectively, control a football match is delusional.

    So as you analyze Arsenal, be realistic about what any part of Arsenal has the ability to control, praise and blame within that realm, but be willing to acknowledge that defeats, no less that victories, can be fully analyzed according to players’ and coaches’ conscious attitudes and choices.

  187. Tennessee Arsenal

    Dear me, that last phrase should read: “can never be fully analyzed according to…”

    I take full responsibility!

  188. Tennessee Arsenal

    To Gainsgourg69:

    I’m happy to have ended up next to another level head.

  189. i’m happy to read that some people have opinions like mine. While I was watching the Ipswich game, it looked like Arsenal were in complete control, always prowling and looking for a gap in the defense. We would pass and pass and pass, once ipswich intervened they hoofed it long.
    I guess that is what people call Wengerball, and it seems like a great way to win games. Don’t let the other team have the ball, and when they do get it, work your arse to get it back. Our boys are getting better at it, i just think that our front 3 was a little stale, IMO they should be making runs and interchanging with each other.
    Anyways that is just a 20 year old yank trying to talk football. Come on you gooners!

  190. Bill & Tennessee Arsenal,

    Look guys, for fucks sake, there is no point coming on here and writing intelligent posts that actually hint at the truth. NOBODY wants to read that shit. What they do want to read is that Arshavin and Bendtner were average and Wenger is a disgrace. That’s the reality. After all, Bush didn’t get into power by looking intelligent did he ? He appealed to middle america by being the anti-intellect, and Fox news loved him. So if you want to gain kudos on this blog, say it like it really is and don’t fuck about with reality. Call a spade a spade. All of this analysis bullshit. You’ve been watching too much baseball and american football. Lies lies and statistics. Analysis paralysis. You need to watch english football in the right spirit – and appreciate the beautiful game – stamps, long ball hoofs, cheats, parking the bus, abuse etc etc. And there are no excuses for average performances. Don’t start quoting systems at us and stop writing intelligent posts.

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