Arsenal’s Season Takes It Toll

Bolton Wanderers 2 – 1 Arsenal

1 – 0 Sturridge (38)
1 – 1 van Persie (90)
2 – 1 Cohen (48)

Arsenal’s already faded title hopes were extinguished yesterday barring the most spectacular of footballing collapses. A pall hangs in the air this morning, a season which most knew was over in terms of silverware was confirmed in a game which encapsulated Arsenal’s recent form. 

A game which should have been won, returned nothing as Arsenal could not find the inspirational moment or player to bring the necessary positive result to bear.

Early chances in a brisk Spring afternoon were falling to the visitors. Walcott was pivotal, Jaaskelainen saving in the fourth minute from the England international whilst Nasri and Cesc might have done better with their opportunities.

Both sides traded jabs for fifteen minutes until just past halfway through the first period, Lee was sent clear by Sturridge. Instead of taking his chance, he sought the perfect goal and Arsenal cleared. The same player would bring saves from Szczesny as the hosts enjoyed a dominant spell. 

With half time looming, Arsenal conceded the opening goal. The often criticised defensive provided more evidence of the attention needed, failing to mark Cahill, his header blocked by Nasri before Sturridge threw himself at the rebound and found the net.

It sparked Arsenal briefly into life, Fàbregas’ speculative shot striking the woodwork but a swift equaliser before the break did not materialise. Instead it took three minutes of the second half to arrive but not before the deficit could have been doubled.

Having ignored a stonewall penalty when Taylor bundled Walcott over, Mike Jones judged that Sturridge’s theatrical fall merited a spot kick. Evidence of refereeing inconsistency, a swift viewing of a replay in both instances by the fourth official would have produced alternative outcomes. Szczesny though, was not giving up without a fight and his trailing boot prevented Davies adding to the scoreline.

A crucial miss became more costly when Fàbregas and van Persie combined to allow the Dutchman to score from the edge of the area. It was the incisive break we have come to expect as the norm.

van Persie in the process became the first Premier League player to score in seven consecutive away games. The clamour for a strike partner for the Dutchman needs to consider his record and whether how much it would be adversely affected before shouting too loudly.

Two inspirational moments could not bring the necessary change in fortunes. Arsenal were lacklustre but lacked verve. A winner was going to come from a piece of luck or a moment of brilliance. The latter nearly came from Samir Nasri, his effort blocked by Jaaskelainen.

The winner came from the same area as the opening goal. Arsenal failed to mark at a corner and Tamir Cohen headed home. What followed highlighted the mess that football’s regulators have created. No-one could have been failed to appreciate Cohen’s feelings for his late father, the referee followed the letter of the law and booked him.

Why? Referees are allowed to provide subjective interpretations on foul play, their discretion apparent in handing out yellow and red cards for transgressions yet in commonsense decisions, their hands are tied.

The match was all too symptomatic of Arsenal’s season and within minutes it was over.

A visibly shattered Arsène shouldered the blame, diverting attention from the players. Post-match the manager observed,

If anybody is to blame it is me. I pick the team, I choose the players. I feel the players have had an outstanding attitude for the whole season but they are not to blame.

Yes, it is very unsatisfactory not to win anything. It was one of the easiest run-ins we have had for a long, long time. We still lack maturity, experience and calm in important situations.

Football is a microcosm of society, this morning’s tabloids when they are not bathing in false nationalism over this week’s Royal Wedding, are bemoaning soft parenting and lack of discipline.

Arsène certainly might be considered guilty of the former by protecting the players.His strongest XI with one possible exception, was on show yesterday and could not muster the win required. It is impossible to judge a squad on one match but this is too symptomatic of 2o11.

Mentally they did not recover from losing the Carling Cup Final or dropping a four goal lead at St James Park. Both were self-inflicted wounds, the subsequent results suggesting that any confidence was gradually ebbing away.

That this was the subject of Arsène’s comments this week suggest it was a bigger issue than anyone appreciated, for a longer period of time.

There is a sadness at the manner in which the season is petering out, so quickly after so much promise.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on April 25, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer. Bookmark the permalink. 396 Comments.

  1. ffffffiirrrssttt

  2. not quite sure what kudos it brings but none the less…

  3. Yesterday was a perfect example of our Achilles heel, the same one we have had for years. Played well, but when push came to shove we could not produce the result.

    I have to say I thought we were unlucky yesterday, but Bolton had more shots on target that we did at the end of 90mins, so all our good play is not being effective at the moment. A stat on Arseblog this morning showed that 56% of our goals conceded come from set pieces. That really is shite, and seriously needs looking at.

  4. Warning:

    Trolls and those posting under different names will be spammed today. Zero tolerance when you are caught.

    YW

  5. agree the blame lies with The prof. he put this team together and it is his team that always whimpers at the end of the campaigns. the previous seasons we had the injuries as excuses but truth is we are short mentally with the project youth policy. i agree with Dexter, cant see us winning again this year and if things are not sorted with quality coming in it will be more of the same next year.

  6. sssshhhhh yogi
    dont tell joshua wenger looks visibly shattered….
    apparently everythings ok and wengers tip top…

    well done fella..
    dunno how you did it…its like writing an obituary…
    tough being an arsenal fan sometimes but hey ho…
    theres always next season 😉

  7. Interesting post as per normal YW..In your post you allude to the Newcastle and CC self inflicted defeats as being the catalyst for the loss of confidence.

    We know (or are told how) how much Wenger pays great detail attention to diet, etc etct. Does the club not have Sports Psychologist to help lift the players? From reading in between the lines(and I maybe wrong) there is a greater malaise at the Club than we think in terms of the players and motivation etc.

  8. Ras at least one gooner knows how to get first.

  9. duke
    the blame always has to lie with the manager…

  10. Ras – coming first is not valued at all around here. However 4th is a trophy.

  11. very disapointting end to the season, you could feel Bolton;s winenr coming. hopefully we cna pick ourselves up for the ManU game.

    I think we got a bit unluky though, 2 away games, up against opposition with something to prove after teir previous games and both having had a week to recover.
    I’d also like top see more consisntecy in etxra time, seems that oftne when arsnel are winnign the refs play a little more, taking into account everydelay in extra time and adding it on (see Sunderland/Liverpool), yet when Arsenal are behind the ref blows up the second the time up depsite any delays.

    I don’t think wholesale chnages are needed, but a few more addiotnals are needed, whether it be promoted from within or fresh buys.
    One player who timew i feel may be short is Clichy, i do like the lad, and i know he loves aresanal. obvisuly he’s got great pace,and is good at intercepting etc, but his final ball is woeful 9/10 and his positinal sense at the back can be pretty ropey too.

    Also can someone please tell Chamack that is is OK to shoot!

  12. Yogi
    you talk about a strike partner affecting RvP. As a number 9 he is excellent, but as he showed when Chamack came on yesterday by the chances he created he could be world class as a number 10.

  13. so yogi wins???
    or doesnt yogi count??
    well done duke you are the winner

  14. I’m on a blog-wide campaign telling Gooners to give up their cable football tv subscription and stop wasting money to go to games. Arsenal are only worth viewing on free streaming. Do the right thing and save yourself the money, just like Wenger would have done if he was a paying fan. Besides, who is Arsenal kidding when they claim they are playing out-of-this-world football? Only Barca can make that claim and Arsenal is a very very poor-man’s Barca for that matter. Their matches have been the most boring and so one-dimensional that you will be forgiven if you think you are watching repeats. And the worst part is Gooners are getting mugged worldwide watching repeats. Be a man, do the right thing. Like Wenger would have.

  15. no ras commented twice..
    im the winner..yay…

    bow down to my mental strength… 😉

  16. oh yes 4th!!! listen i’d take winning the fa cup and finishing 5th next year. the club have hoodwincked us all into thinking the top 4 is a succsess. all it is is about money. do we see it, fuck no.

  17. Gordon

    What, did you think I was joking?

    YW

  18. seasons over gorden, we can all relax now mate…
    no point crying over spilled milk..for the first time in years wenger was out of excuses..
    this wasnt an interview that blamed it on the sunshine, the moonlight, or eboue….
    lets see what he does in the summer…

  19. As Fozzy Bear would say: “That’s the end of that running gag.”

  20. I felt very sorry for Arsene yesterday. He looks shattered.

    http://www.arsenalisation.com

  21. I feel very sorry for Arsene at the moment. He had a dream.It did not work out . He has been murdered by the media who claim they love his openness in a way no other manager bar Keegan has and look how he turned out. Yesterday was poor but he takes way too much blame. There were players out there not busting their balls for the manager and that will have to change next year. Our midfield has become one giant shrug of the shoulders and can you imagine one of fergies players giving an interview as ill timed as that at this time of the season. I will still be here next season and I hope Arsene will too. Some of this team am not so sure about

  22. I think it is time when Wenger has a relook at some of the talented players at our disposal and assess whether they really have it in them to make the telling impact on the games that count.

    The whole team forgetting how to play against Barcelona in the second leg and mustering no shots on target, not being able to score a goal against a Man Utd side which had defenders playing in midfiedl, 8 points from 7 games when a title challenge is going on, suggests a malaise in the squad that goes beyond the talent it obviously has. Sometimes having talent alone is not enough. Darren Fletcher, Park ji Sung, John o’Shea, and (whisper it quietly) Chicarito and Rooney are probably not as talented as their counterparts in our squad. But they will be the ones laughing their way to a Premier League title unless Chelsea pulls off an unlikely comeback.

    May be Wenger we can do without some of our talented players. Thankfully Eboue, Denilson and Bendtner didn’t play a big role in the last 2 months otherwise we would have conveniently passsed the blame on to them.

  23. “sssshhhhh yogi
    dont tell joshua wenger looks visibly shattered….
    apparently everythings ok and wengers tip top…”

    hahahahahahahahahahaha… JonJon, you crack me up. In your world looking visibly shattered isn’t the cue for a holiday or a break, Naaaah, its time for counsellors and men in white coats! Bloody genius.

  24. Another game that sums up our season.Dominate possesion,pitty pat passing,afraid to shoot,the search for the perfect goal.Concede from a set piece.So so predictable.And the same old failings.As Kroenke said there will be no change at Arsenal.He was right

  25. One good thing from yesterday – at least it brought an unusually honest response from the manager. I am not going to call for Wenger’s head today, although I’m sure others will, but I would welcome a bit more critical analysis this summer rather than stubborn Gallic self-justification.

    Two other things yesterday conspired to spoil a rotten afternoon – Mr Jones gave the most inept, incompetent display of refereeing I have seen all season even if his error prone whistle blowing did not affect the result, while those of us having to watch at home were punished by Sky in having to listen to Alan Parry, surely the worst commentator in the history of poor commentators.

  26. rvp is a world class 9, 10, false 9 whatever you wanna label him he can do it…
    problem is we rely on him too much and our other strikers are either channel runners or hold up men..

    weve got too many false nines and too many channel runners and not enough poachers…

    id love to see a player like hernandez playing alongside robin…

  27. La Grave on tour

    Yogi –

    Good post, I agree with a lot of what you have said however I disagree with the RVP statement. RVP is world class no doubt, but he has managed just 15 starts in the league this year.

    RVP is a bonus when fit. When we look at the squad in the summer and think about strengths it should be remembered that on the balance of probabilities RVP will miss half the season.

    I wouldnt say that a striker is the most pressing of positions to address however with Wenger it wouldnt suprise me in the slightest if this is the position he actually spends some money on.

  28. If Wenger goes or is sacked finally the hacks’ prediction of us dropping out of the Champions League will come true, so let us not even go there.

  29. Huntelaar JJ. could have got him, where is he now. classy goal poacher, gauranteed goals.

  30. huntelaars a good call…
    dunno where he is now he made the mistake of joining real madrid when they go on their normal lets buy 100players spending spree

    hamburg???

  31. I was reading through the weekend’s sport results when i got hit by this article:

    ” Title: Same old story: Nuggets facing another first round exit
    Denver’s 97-94 loss on Saturday night put the Nuggets a game from losing in the first round for the seventh time in eight years. Injuries, player meltdowns have all been factors in previous early exits.
    The Thunder’s defense has frustrated the Nuggets late in games, and Denver has struggled to find a go-to player in crunch time… ”

    Denver Nuggets…KSE…Kroenke.. AFC… welcome to the twilight zone…

  32. The problem this season has not been RVP, it’s been the lack of any decent in form strikers to back him up.

  33. Gordon is a moron.

  34. maybe theo could do it??
    but either way it would mean going back to 442
    but if we got the right players this summer we would have the personell to play both 442 and 433 when required…

  35. Wenger dropped Chamakh to put rvp in the team when Chamakh was scoring and since then he went off the boil, has to be because of getting dropped so quick, Wenger should have played them both. we do miss that Eds /Wiltord type of striker who can play out wide in a front three, not sure Chamakh can play wide though like Eds /Wiltord.

  36. It will be an injustice if post mortems are conducted by any troll who has an opinion. What irony that our hopes and dreams for this season were buried over Easter.

  37. At times throughout this season I have believed we have taken major leaps forward, youth players promoted like Wilshire, Gibbs, Szczesny, players coming of age like Walcott, Djourou, Bendtner, players finally hitting the form to justify their transfer fees in Nasri, and a new striker who played off the last defender and fancied attacking good crosses in Chamak. Yes in part all of this has been true, and in part – mainly the 1st part – we have made progress this season.
    BUT we still miss key components and have nagging issues that need to be put to bed. I only hope Wenger can put them right over the next few months and win the title one more time his way, his style before he departs for quieter times….otherwise regardless of how much we adore his football, how grateful we are for the trophies, the short spells of golden glory, the invincibles, the doubles, and the financial stability he has allowed the club to create, there will always be a deep sour taste from even the most loyal and understanding of fans when they hear his name…..even if they won’t admit it. ,

  38. Duke. IIf I said I’d been sat all morning by my laptop waiting for YW to post, would you believe??

    Onto matters of more substantial matter do you know that 56% of Arsenal goals are conceded from set pieces..This is Criminal..
    I’ve been an avid reader of this blog for just over 2 years and in this season in particular have been amazed by the weekly proclamations by posters on the technical virtues,the technical class of our players etc. If the PL had been decided on this or any other Blog we’d have won PL.

    For la nouvelle season la Prof will have already had a look at who has and who has not stepped up to the mark when it has been necessary…

  39. Another good post YogiW…

    For me the worrying thing is the length and depth of our slump after the loss in the CC final…and it’s a rather troubling feature of Arsenal under Wenger. I know that people are banging on about previous seasons but the comparisons they make are not really apt at all… the only other season that even comes close to this one in the length and severity of the slump was the the season when we lost in that ridiculous Mike Riley refereed match at OT… after that we went on a run that saw us draw and lose some ridiculous matches with a team full of invincibles. The season Eduardo got injured at Birmingham also has echoes of this season but at least then we could say that we lost a key player and that we had a mature player like Gallas show no leadership skill and effectively sabotage our season with his ridiculous antics.

    Having said that it still needs to be said that this season has been quite unbelievable… it’s almost as if the team found ways of losing unlose-able matches previously unknown to man. Spurs at home was bad enough but then we had Newcastle away from home and then the bizarre Liverpool game. To follow that game with Spurs away and then Bolton is weird beyond comment. One of those matches on there own in a whole season would have been very remarkable, two would be quite shocking but to go lose a 2 goal lead at home to your greatest rival, lose a 4-nil lead away from home and lead the same rivals by 2 goals at their gaff and then get only a draw away from home… is like something you see in a totally unbelievable movie. Add in the way we lost to Birmingham in CC final, the Van Persie sending off in Barcelona and the absurd equaliser that Liverpool got at the Grove and words basically fail me. This has been an absurd and bewildering season for Arsenal football club…

    I have to also add that in hindsight losing Fabianski has proven to be a bigger blow than anyone might have thought. Szczesny has talent and potential but he is too young, immature and prone to rash judgements to be the keeper of a club challenging for honours. And for a team that plays the way we do his general kicking and distribution needs work. I expect him to challenge Fabianski all the way and push him hard next season but I hope that Fabianski is fit enough to start because the CC final and subsequent run-in has shown us that despite his popularity with the fans he is still not ready to start if we are to challenge.

    I’m off to recover from the season… I’m going out to get some sun and forget about Arsenal for a long while… enjoy what is left of the season everyone. And YogiW keep up the good work as it much appreciated. Thank you. PTBAG.

  40. Joshua – The season has not finished yet mate. In my mind to finish 2nd would be a significant step forward for the squad. If we completely fall apart and finish 3rd (or even 4th) it could be an even worse effect on morale in the squad.

  41. Cheers Gordon. Good luck with the, er, campaign. Maybe you when your done spreading your love around the blogs you can get a sandwich board and parade up and down Oxford street. Keep up the fight Gordon. They may laugh and jeer and say your nothing but a bitter and twisted simpleton: don’t you listen to them Gordon.

    Good post YW. I just feel sad and deflated. Drained. I’ll leave the recriminations and finger-pointing to the gloom brigade for now. They’ll be in their element. I don’t know much but they know even less. Don’t listen to the short-termist sheep who will be bleating for AW’s head. They are fools. We all owe the man a huge debt of gratitude and TIME. This was never going to be for the faint-hearted….but we really aren’t very far away you know.

  42. @ Joshua- yeah, i noticed that we have missed Fabianski. Every time there is a penalty im always thinking i wish almunia or fab were in goal.

  43. ooh, JJ your contempt for Wenger is beginning to show. Just thought i’d let you know incase you werent aware.

  44. I have to also add that in hindsight losing Fabianski has proven to be a bigger blow than anyone might have thought. Szczesny has talent and potential but he is too young, immature and prone to rash judgements to be the keeper of a club challenging for honours

    Comedy gold 🙂

  45. Paulie Walnuts

    Arsene`s no quitter but the media can scent blood. Alan Parry`s hysterical counting down of the clock during the whole of the second half was typical of how we`re viewed right now. He almost ejaculated when Cohen scored

    It`s going to take a big turnaround & more than a signing or two to stop this witch hunt in it`s tracks.

    In the short term the players have to do better. AW said they gave their all yesterday but I didn`t get that impression, even if in isolation we were unlucky to lose the game.

    If we lie down against Man U I can see things turning nasty

  46. Like Harry Flowers, i ill also leave the finger pointing and stank attitude for those with the stomach for it. I am now prepared for next season. Bring on the summer. Wenger is not going anywhere (amen).

  47. goonerwife..
    try again with that one…you havent let me know anything your just chatting rubbish..
    contempt for wenger???
    wheres that then??

  48. I think yesterday,by the look of him,was Arsenes Damascus moment.
    I think a change of direction is in the offing.
    I think the team looks more dynamic with someone in the middle who carries the ball sometimes ,a fit Diaby or Sami.
    Thankfully Yogi has decided on a zero tolerance day.I dont think I could have taken it otherwise.

  49. Losing Fabianski has not been a blow. He was playing well and winning over his doubters, but to say we have missed him is a bit much. Szchezny has done well since he came in, and I must admit I feel much safer with him in nets than Fabianski anyway. I hope he starts next season as No1.

  50. i thought that too chippy..

  51. Andy…

    I didn’t say the season was finished… I just meant that I won’t be posting much or at all as for me the title race is done . As it happens I agree that we need to snap this damned wretched run and get a few back to back wins. Beating United, for instance, would be good not only for the result this season but looking ahead to next season. It goes without saying that we need a strong finish. the stronger the better.

    I just feel that I need a break. How the likes of Yogi can find the stamina to write something fresh every single day is beyond me. I honestly find it amazing. Anyone can write crap or push stupid, half baked ideas or just run off at the mouth with loud and meaningless hate-filled guff but to actually analyse and think and come up with something fresh each time takes something special… I salute you Yogi.

    Cheers every body.

  52. I was distraught at Fabianski’s injury. Still am!

    He’d been through his trials of fire, and was ready. One error in a long run of games is as good a record as any ‘keeper in the league. (Why could not Jaaskelainen make another late howler, like he did against the Mancs if my memory is correct?)
    Scezney for all his promise, was always going to make a few green errors.

  53. Why does JJ get treated like a leaper?
    He does not disrespect Wenger ,and he is entitled to be disappointed
    Least we forget most of his warnings have proven to have at very least some credibility..

  54. N0tice how quiet Pat Rice has been lately?
    come to think of it he has’nt spoken since 1973, bout time for a real no 2 who Arsene may actually listen to.

  55. Paulie- it only turns nasty because that is always where this evil and abusive press were going to take. Many have failed woefully and will never get the abuse Wenger gets (british privilage, maybe?) the dissapointment is arsenal fans falling in line like idiots.

    But they will not win. whats with the english press and their lust for ruining lives of other people for no good reason.

  56. Huntelaar???

    Hahaha! This is why we blog on here and others manage.

  57. JJ, does get treated by a leaper by some, but i like JJ. He comes here and fights his corner, good or bad. And if he wasnt dissapointed that would be weird. I was just letting him know his contempt was showing.

    And maybe i felt like he was condoning the Wenger abuse that has been going on. If thats the case, im sorry but – not cool, not cool at all.

  58. JJ, no offense intended.

  59. fabianski wont be arsenals number one next season..

  60. dukeg

    You are chatting a serious amount of shite today mate! Chamakh wasnt dropped for RvP, Chamakh went off the boil and admitted being knackered.

  61. Perhaps Scezney will be ready to be Arsenal’s No.1 for next season.
    Unlike some self proclaimed experts he appears to be honest and forthright with his opinions. I don’t think he was lying when he stated that he thought Fabianski at that moment was the better ‘keeper.
    Not critical, but it was a blow to lose Fabianski, no doubt about it.

  62. I think i will take an arsenal break as well. total lock down like i have done the last few seasons. I was really hoping we could shove the media shit right down their throats. Oh well, next season? here’s hoping.

  63. thats cool gooner wife but i still dont get how you conclude that my contempt for wenger is showing..

    wenger himself has said hes the one who carrys the can and i totally agree with it..hes the man in charge if it goes wrong hes the one who has to hold his hand up..

    im not that dissapointed.. im used to it i get thick skinned after a while ive seen barren periods before as an arsenal fan of course i wanted us to win but its got to the point where if we dont im not suprised anymore..

    if its the jokes that bother you then im sorry but at times like these its better to laugh than cry righ???

  64. as a yiddo,i felt strangely sorry for wenger yesterday,i don’t think a lot of gooners realize how good you have it,its the same on most tottenham sites at the moment, everyone is holding an axe chop chop chopping away.its like we are all tuning into scousers

  65. i think ches said fab was the better keeper cos ches was kicking off and wenger had a word..
    but before that ches wanted to know why he wasnt playing so i dont think he meant what he said he just said it cos AW had give him a slap…

    and didnt chamakh go off the boil when those rumours came out???

  66. Georgeroger …

    who treats JJ like a leper? You think that saying that Wenger looks like he needs a counsellor is OK? Isn’t that what all the tablods are saying.. isn’t that the idea they are pushing? The idea of the crazy Frenchman losing his marbles.

    JonJon gets challenged on his ideas and comments and that is only fair and proper… if his comments are silly then there’s nothing wrong with pointing out where the silliness lies. And that is the strength of this particular forum IMHO… people will tell you most of the time what it is they are disagreeing with in your comment..

    JonJon isn’t treated like a leper… a lot of people disagree with his stated opinions but they mostly disagree civilly and the very rarely make it personal. Saying that Wenger needs a counsellor, shrink or whatever is showing contempt for the man, especially given what we know is in the tabloids. Goonerwife is therefore correct. JJ is not a victim here.

  67. Scenzeny was always going to make rookie errors this season if he had to play. It’s the only way most players make the step up. e.g. Jack Wilshere in the first quarter of the season. I had to gr*t mine teeth, and accept these rookie errors. Much easier to ignore and forget with a midfielder then with a ‘keeper. Or say, a senior player in a crucial game making a dumb back pass. All players make mistakes, in all games. I’ve seen it!
    It is reasonable to expect a rookie or a player who isn’t playing regularly to make one or two more. Usually they do.

  68. Anyhoo.

    I’ll leave the gr*tmunchers to debate which signings they prefer.
    The real issues were discussed upon ACLF at the start of the season and in the off season. Not by me mind you:

    i) The limbo that existed in the boardroom.
    ii) Playing against 14/15 in every game, all season long, must be tiring. In those kind of situations, ‘support’ can be helpful. Just a bit.
    – Actually, I have commented on this. Generally our support is good, but as discussed this past weekend with my evil brother in-law who was born and bred in the shadow of Old Trafford: Based upon what we’ve seen, Arsenal fans are worse supporters then Manc fans. That is bad. I mean, Sagna doesn’t even have a song! Ok, he’s not the best attacking RB on the planet. But he is probably the best D-Fensive RB on the planet.
    iii) The Captaincy issue.

  69. finsbury
    Szczesny stopped us losing at Spurs and was superb again yesterday.He is 21 FFS.Szczesny is the least of our worries.What we do need though is an experienced back up keeper for Szczesny to learn from.Its no coincidence Szczesny has look even better now Jens is back

  70. Is it out of the question to buy Gary Cahill and Jagielka?, this is a dream pairing and better then anything we can put together right now.

  71. Finsbury…

    My point wasn’t that Szczesny should made a scapegoat or whatever or even that one should not expect errors from a 20 year old but that he is not ready to start if we are serious about challenging… I have always found it rather strange that some people were so sure that he should have been playing ahead of Fabianski… the truth is that our defence was more solid and stable when Fab was playing and that guy won us matches… I recall wolves away in particular, but also City away.

    It’s not so much criticism of Szczesny as pointing out the fact that fan sentiment can also be quite wrong and acknowledging Fabianski’s worth. I also agree with what Goonerwife said about saving penalties too… TBH I really didn’t expect him to save the one he did yesterday based on what I’d seen him do previously. The guy’s potential is huge but I’d rather have fab in goal at this point. It’s just my opinion though.

  72. Pat I think Finsbury was responging to an earlier comment. I also think Chesney is a top keeper, having Jens around for 5 minutes wonthave made much difference, imo.

  73. On the captaincy, I agree with Evil’s post yesterday.

  74. spy

    I’d like us to sign a top class CB, so thats a no to Cahil then! He is an overhyped media darling.imo.

  75. Wenger goes when he decides, he’s earn’t that right.
    But don’t think he is not irreplacable. Many of his innovations have been adopted elsewhere and arguably bettered. I think there is a strong argument that with the platform he has developed Stadium, finances another manager is needed to take the club to the next level i.e. Champions League success.
    Reflecting on the season, Barcelona at home excepted, sadly I really can’t remember too much that stirred me, we will have less points than last season and as for developing players, apart from Wilshire and WS the squad has failed to develop, others have performed sporadically and indeed a number of players have gone backwards. However I think the most disappointing thing about this season is the incompetence and mistakes, being outplayed or subject to dodgy refereeing decisions is par for the course but basic errors make us a laughing stock.

  76. This season has hurt more because Utd and Chelsea were pale imitations of there former selfs.How many games has Giggs and Scholes started?And Rooney has had a shocking season. Chelsea never recovered from the Wilkins departure.When in january Wenger knew TV would not be coming back he had to sign a CB.He actually said he would be signing one.My fear is that Utd and Chelsea will now strengthen in the summer and leave us behind again.We need to sign top quality in the summer not buying potential.Get rid of Almunia Denilson Eboue and Bendtner

  77. Harry @12.03

    I’ll never understand why the recriminations and telling Wenger goes on throughout the season, especially outside of the transfer windows. It means that the ‘writer’ is suffering months of angst when nothing can be done about it.

    YW

  78. Dexter
    In Jens there is a keeper who Szczesny can look up to.He has been there and done it.Who else can he look up to at the club Almunia Fabianski Gerry Peyton?

  79. Thanks Dexter, yes it was, and I agree completely with Joshua’s post at 12:58.

    Fabianski was missed. But football can change quickly. As Passenal said to me, look at what’s happened to Ramsey and Wilshere. We might have to wait, and let Ramsey go on loan before we see him return to his best. Not to Fulham mind you. Not after they killed the MS deal. Though some trolls will still insist Arsenal did not bid enough. Yet another lie.
    We’ve seen many young players develop very quickly at Arsenal. No doubt Szczesny can be Arsenal’s no.1 next season.

  80. George @12.15

    JJ? A leaper? I do hope not. It’s a bank holiday and the street cleaners are all on a day off. He’d leave a hell of a mess on the pavement if he leapt.

    YW

  81. Dex
    Still think Cahill’s better then Squillaci, Koscieiny still learning his trade.
    I just want us to buy players that can actually do it in the Prem

  82. I would go for Baines(Clichy will go) Cahill Parker (make him captain) and Hazard in the summer and if Cesc goes to Barca ask for cash and Javier Mascherano

    And before you reply i know there is no chance that any of these signings will happen.But i can dream cant i?

  83. Pat

    I just think Chesney is such a confident dude, having Jens about wouldnt make much difference to him! True he might learn a thing or 2 though, maybe that jump he does where he clicks his boots together to getn rid of mud?

  84. Correction to my post at 12:54
    +
    iv) The Kicking: No broken legs this season, that’s an improvement. I whinged & whinged about this last season. This season these issues have been well covered elsewhere. But it still appears as if Arsenal are playing a different sport to their opponents under a more then a few officials.
    e.g. ignore the two pelanty calls yesterday, and just focus on cards and fouls.

  85. spy
    If we do buy a CB then that would mean at least one has gone mate. Because Kyle Bartley will be expecting to fight for a 1st team place as well. Either that or he will need to go to a premier league team next season on loan.

  86. Szczesny made some very good saves at Spurs just as Almunia made some good saves agaisnt Barca but I find the comment that he saved us at Spurs quite baffling because for me it would be fairer to say he cost us… If Almunia had conceded any of the first two goals Szczesny conceded he’d have been crucified. Van der Vaart’s first goal beat him at his near post FFS. yes, it was a good shot but he shouldn’t be beaten there by a player under pressure. I can forgive him because he is young and inexperienced but that first goal shouldn’t have beaten him… In fact it was more of a ricket that the one Almunia conceded against Orient.

    You can argue that he was unsighted for the second but again he was nowhere near where the ball went and he should have been… as for the penalty.. he had absolutely no chance beating Lennon to the ball. Szczesny is good but I’m afraid some of our fans have totally overhyped him.

  87. UnbiasedTobias

    Well the long ass post I just wrote never got posted.
    And I don’t feel lyk typin it again.

    Basically
    Cesc must decide if he wants arsenal or blaugrana otherwise we’ll take the cash happily.
    Wenger should move bendtner to striker or sell him, 15 mil is a tidy sum
    I’ll buy denilson from wenger I think I have about 20 pounds in my pocket so I’m expecting some change
    Along with our kitty of 40 mil, that’s 105mil.
    With that we need 5 players. 1 cb as cover for our back 4, 1 dm, 1cm, 1 winger/cf, 1 poacher.
    We will be sorted. Fans will be happy. The players will feel that the club has aspirations and we’ll be a scary team to play.

  88. Job done tobias, well done mate, wenger and Gazidis can have a nice long summer off now!

  89. With Vermalen back, bartley/Miquel as 5th choice and Szczesny/Fabianski as number 1 and 2 we don’t need a new central defender or goalkeeper. In anycase Cahill just lost the most important game of his life 5-0 to an inferior team, and he doesn’t bring the “winning mentality” that is the buzzword these days.

    I am more concerned about our attack. Other than the Spurs and Blackpool away games it has under delivered since the home win against Barcelona. If you take away van Persie the figures would be even more damning. I feel a couple of our talented players need to make way for some less talented but more effective ones who can deliver in crunch games.

  90. Denilson, Bendtner, Eboue, Diaby none of these guys played a lot in the disappointing last two months of our season, and when they played they didn’t do a lot wrong other than the penalty given away against Liverpool. I think most of you cannot see the actual elephants in the room.

  91. Joshua,I was not particularly addressing goonerwife.Only a couple of days ago he was being told he was not a real Arsenal fan.
    And quiet clearly he is.
    But I take your point.

  92. Keyser

    Is it Arshavin? Am I warm?

  93. Dexter

    In the business end of the season it is Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri. If they were at their best we would have been top. There I said it.

  94. Keysersoze,Would it not be better if our more talented players just became more effective.

  95. George…

    I have no doubt that JJ is a real and committed gooner.

  96. Keyser

    I agree, I do think that Samir was probably in need of a breather, then again he had the summer off and Cesc didnt so its difficult to say. Nasri was amazing for 2/3rds of the season yet loses out to a player who had a bout 5 good games all season in the PFA thingy.

    Cesc hasnt really delivered, ot to his usual high standards anyway and not on the consistent level we need. Whether it was due to loss of form, tiredness of not being arsed? Time will tell.

    I do hope nasri signs that contract extension as he will continue to be a very important player for us.

  97. On Samir ,if he is holding out for too much he could be sold .Good as the first half was its only half a season out of three.

  98. Ha! I was all over the place with that reply wasnt I! Confused?

  99. Tough post indeed Yogi. You have my utmost respect for your daily offering, and at times like this, well.

    Paulie makes a good point about the media lying in wait. I listened to Green yesterday as well. He was just so excited! Twat. Never doubt the extra difficulty this will add to next season’s campaign though.

    As for The Arsenal, this has been our worst season for some time.

    I said at the start that I never expect to win anything, I hope we will, that is all. However, I actually did think we would win this season, right upto a couple of weeks ago and so, I suspect at the outset, did Arsene.

    The collapse over the last few weeks has been spectacular and difficult to understand. Almost a full strength team and opposition that were there largely for the beating by a committed side. The difference between us at the sharp end of the season and the mancs has been unsettling. Flashes of the good form of early season interspersed with individual lapses and team lethargy. The last time we played at all well was in the second half against Barca (first leg). Since then it has been pretty awful.

    O course the officiating has been awful but we can’t blame that for most of our wounds which were self inflicted.

    It seems the pundits called this one correctly, putting on one side the idiocy of the Savages of this world. For whatever reason, this team is not good enough to win the title. Lack of leadership? Maybe. Lack of determination, certainly. Spoilt and over protected? I’d say so.

    We debated fresh blood at Christmas. perhaps someone new in the mix then might have freshened things up, even ruffled a few feathers. I can’t believe Arsene hasn’t tried to lift them but he hasn’t been able to.

    This team is not the finished article. Some were fortunate to survive last summer and perhaps only did so because of the rebuilding of the defence.

    New blood is needed.Some need to be moved on.

    Ignore the rubbish about Arsene losing it. Most of the squad will be part of winning Arsenal teams. There will be no throwing the baby out with the bathwater but there does need to be changes. Arsene knows.

    Up The Arsenal.

  100. george

    I disagree, Samir is worth hanging onto and has been excellent for longer than that. His 1st season he was excellent too, yet not as obvious to the media! His 2nd was blighted by injuries for much of it.

    If he is after £100k a week, then in today’s over inflated, bloated market, he is worth it, imo.

  101. RVP was on fire in the second half, not just for the goal but also his passing, just immense. Probably seen some the best and the worst from him in the same week as in the second half against Spurs he played more as an out and out striker with his back to goal most of the time. That’s when you get the RVP who falls over a lot, who gets frustrated with the ball supply and ends up giving away free kicks by carelessly lashing out. When teams play a high line like Blackpool RVP is great at leading the line, but when they play a tight defensive line like Spurs or Liverpool did Van Persie finds it hard to be the target man. That is one of the reasons that the lack of a proper Plan B has hurt us this season, when its not working most coaches will change things around, give their team a target man to aim at and allow the flair striker to play off him, we don’t. I’m not saying we should resort to route one football and forget all of the quality stuff we do, but it would be nice to have it as an option – as Bolton did yesterday with Davies as the target man and Sturridge as the talent and very effective it was too. Can Chamakh be that target man? Well he’s shown potential in flashes, but probably needs to be a bit more ruthless in the box. He seems to have embraced the Arsenal way too much and needs to just pull the trigger sometimes rather than look for the next pass. We still appear a bit lightweight in a forward line-up (and I mean specifically our strikers not wingers and attacking midfield) when compared to other teams in the top 4.
    Just a thought and one I’m not happy to have to contemplate, if Man City win their games in hand they are only two points behind us. We’re not in the Champions League proper next season yet.

  102. CBob

    Nice one mate. I agree with a lot fo what you say. I was convinced we could win the title, that was why I wasnt too upset at the CC final loss. However, thats when things seemed to turn sour.

    I do think there will be a fair few changes at the club over the summer; incoming and outgoing, playing and coaching staff alike. Its true we arent too far away though and some perspective, however difficult that is to find, is required. The spuds and Money bags city were meant to overhaul us and yet here we are, having suffered a collapse and those 2 fuckers are still lagging behind us. I will be gutted again though if we can’t grab 2nd spot now.

  103. Keysersoze,
    So what is your solution then? Sell the best players and keep the ‘B’ team?

  104. Wavey

    City wont win tonight mate.

  105. Dexter,I am not advocating letting him go.Just that he is not vital to us.If its Cesc or him ,I opt for Cesc.
    Of course perhaps is a done deal and all the talk is media crap.In which case
    good,I really like everything about him.But then I feel the same about Arshavin.I n fact although it is clear that we need something to change ,I like every single one of our players.

  106. We probably can’t let Nasri go because that would nvolve further rebuilding, but I hope the message goes across to him that he hasn’t been up to the mark. Am I the only one who thinks that he was resting on his laurels a little bit towards the end of the season?

    As for Cesc, I don’t know. It seems he thinks himself to be bigger than the club. If a suitable offer came along it probably wouldn’t be the worst to accept it and move on. Give Ramsey and Wilshere a go, they will be up for the cause and they have the ability too.

  107. George

    I hope neither Samir or cesc leave, or Arshavn for that matter.

    Keyser

    I dont think Samir was resting his laurels, just resting in general! He has continued to work hard, but hings werent coming off for him as they were earlier in the season.

  108. Henristic

    You never know what is the B team. Nick Bendtner can chip in with important goals at important moments when given a run in the team, he showed that during the business end of last season when he had to carry the attack. I think Diaby is an excellent player, and he has done really well this season when given the opportunity. Eboue offers a lot more threat than Sagna going forward.

    What I am saying is that it too easy to single out players based on reputation, ultimately it was largely our A team that contributed to the bad run lasting 2 months. I don’t have a solution, but I have a suspicion that moving on what you call our B team isn’t it.

  109. We can point to the Carling Cup final or the St. James Park debacle as the unfortunate turning point to the season, but I think we should all be looking back to the summer following the 2007-08 season. I think that team was the best team we’ve had in the last five years, a nice mix of veterans and youth. In similar fashion to this season, we can point to a single point in time (the B’ham match when Eduardo had his leg broken) that proved decisive in reversing our fortunes for the bad. What happened that offseason? We sold Hleb. Flamini left. Rosicky ended up missing the entire next season. Adebayor fell in love with Adebayor. And so on.

    After having gotten so close to winning the title that season, Wenger went out and bought a very young Nasri, an even younger Ramsey, and decided to start Denilson and Song the next season. This is when I, along with many others I imagine, started really questioning Wenger and why he wasn’t seemingly trying to capitalize on and build upon the success of 07-08. Obviously we had the whole Highbury Square loan weighing down on us, so that was a factor. Regardless, it’s my contention that the failure to maintain or even add to a veteran foundation at the club after the 07-08 season haunted us greatly in 08-09, 09-10, and now, 10-11. For whatever reason, we were timid and failed to strike while the iron was hot back after 07/08 and those chickens continue to keep coming home to roost. I wish it were not so, and as dead as the horse is that I’m beating, I think it bears repeating as it’s now time for Arsene to strengthen the squad in the manner he should’ve prior to 08-09. I still trust in him to get this club back to the top, but he’s got to make some difficult decisions.

  110. Dexter

    I missed Nasri’s meandering runs down the flank and finally along the goalline to enter the box and deliver the killer pass or shot. Something he had done with ease during the first half of the season. may be they weren’t coming off, but I for one didn’t see them atempted.

  111. I think we have been missing something offensively this season. When a team powered by Fletcher and Carrick outscores you over the course of the season, you know that something is wrong.

  112. Dexter, bear in mind that win their game in hand Man City will only be two points behind, we have tricky fixtures at Stoke and Fulham away. 3rd place is not guaranteed yet let alone going for 2nd that is how badly we have tapered off and probably the true level of this team/squad

  113. UnbiasedTobias

    Yea matoo…
    Its a damn shame
    One we can fix internally? Maybe
    But I’m conviced we need new blood.

  114. Good post Cbob,
    It grates that all those opposing fans/pundits/doomers etc can be so right. They are not right in this instance because of any well thought out rational analysis , you could say many of them simply hoped we would fail (i.e not win trophies)

    Arsene himself hasn’t helped matters. He had an elegant vision, but like I said before, he is the least qualified coach ( in terms of character) to implement it. Sending it out such a young squad with very little experience of winning at the top has not been done before as far as I know, not in recent times anyways.
    To my mind a task of such magnitude requires a more meticulous, ‘drill sergeant’ type of coaching. Young players can’t really be expected to depend on their own wits, because more often than not their lack of experience will cause to their wits to fail them under pressure.
    They’ve got to play to precise instructions that have been previously drilled into them . I realize that such a method is not ideal for the ‘flair’ players, but the fact is successful teams rarely need more than a couple of those anyways. Its more important to have discipline in professional sports as a foundation upon which flair can be allowed to thrive.

    Wenger’s coaching methods on the other hand is more applicable to seasoned experienced professionals I feel, and the difference between the invincibles and this team goes some way towards showing that.
    Even so, it can be argued that his more relaxed approach will more often than not lose out to teams coached by a more motivational, control-obsessed manager, especially in big, high pressure one off situations like cup finals/semifinals etc.

  115. Man City will not win their games in hand and catch us if their form over the season is anything to go by. I think we will clinch third place if we get 69.

  116. Dexter when did Chamakh’s goals dry up then? was that before he was dropped for RVP then?

  117. Joshua, from your original post, I thought all those losses and dropped points were the referee’s fault??? And Fabianski better than Sczeszny? They’re on a par at worst and Sczeszny has much more potential going forward. The younger pole has the shirt and it should be his to lose for the remainder of this and the start of next season.

  118. Keysersoze,
    Diaby is not really a ‘B’ team player to my mind. I think he’ll start 80% of games if he were to ever keep consistently fit.
    My problem with the ‘B’ team is that why doesn’t Wenger trust them more if they are so good? Why does he depend so much on the A team, rarely rotating them except for injuries.
    Some people believe fatigue may partly be responsible for Nasri, Song, and Wilshere’s slump in form towards the end of the season. Cesc would no doubt have been on that list had it not been for his injuries that kept him fresh. Probably the same for RvP too.

  119. “I am more concerned about our attack. Other than the Spurs and Blackpool away games it has under delivered since the home win against Barcelona. If you take away van Persie the figures would be even more damning. I feel a couple of our talented players need to make way for some less talented but more effective ones who can deliver in crunch games.”

    I agree. All the focus is on our defence, but if our attack was more effective at times that would take a lot of pressure off at the back. How many chances do we create and squander? We need another consistent goal scorer other than RVP to make the most of them.

  120. I can’t understand the obsession with Fabianski and/or Szczesny. They have both been alright, Szczesny more eye catching while Fabianski more solid.

  121. If Rvp is fit he must start ahead of anybody.Get a grip.

  122. Henristic

    As it stands I think Song, Wilshere and Cesc are our A team’s midfield three. Denilson, Diaby and Ramsey are the back ups.

    I take your point regarding rotation. We could probably use our squad better when everyone is fit.

  123. George of course, my point was that was why Chamakhs goals dried up and that maybe Wenger should have considered playing both.

  124. keyser, Cesc is off in the summer and who could blame the cunt.

  125. vivb

    City wont win their games in hand and now we are out of the title race, we will win all our remaining games!

    DukeG;

    Chamakh himself, stated he was exhausted nehce him being dropped. Trying to suggest that being dropped was the reason behind him failing to score is laughable man. Now try an find another reason to blame Wenger for something.

  126. I would blame him if he is off in the summer, he is the captain of the team. He need not have accepted the captaincy if he was so fickle minded.

  127. 1 fukin win since the carling black label cup fiasco. cheers boys for helping us get over it.

  128. george rodger | April 25, 2011 at 2:26 pm |

    george you mistake my meaning, perhaps I should have said ‘in addition to’. Chamakh started the season well, but lately I’ve found him very frustrating as he just will not take a shot, choosing to pass every time like it’s a damn training match!

  129. so his goals dried up before RVP came back then?

  130. Seriously, I mind sound a little bitter about Cesc but when I got to know that he played in spite of being injured against Barca that did it for me. Does he think he is bigger than the team? Does he think it is all about HIM?

  131. About the only time I disagree with Joshua for I cannot remember our young goalie making but two mistakes really. Other mature keepers have done much worse. What has happened to us is players not pulling their weight however the sad part is that this time it is many of our big players while it times past we had “scapegoats”. Very confusing.

    The most important thing is for these players to look themselves in the face and make up their minds to get it done for they are good enough. Wenger can take the blame but the truth is the players didnt up their game and let dissapointment stifle them. That was not Arsene’s attitude at all.

    The talent is there, only God knows what the problem is!

  132. Keyser the captain of Arsenal is now the poison chalice. you know players will bugger off soon after.

  133. RvP is our main striker, Chamakh stated he was knackered, maybe Chamakh used that as an excuse for not scoring? But you said it was Wenger dropping him that caused the goals to dry up.

    And you want me to take you seriously?

    Move the fuck on dukeg, this point is a shit one.

  134. Passenal his confidence has gone, why?(Chamakh that is)

  135. Fuck off Dexter you know it all cunt.

  136. Chamakh did admit that he was exhausted but he hasnt been playing lately. I like NB but what I saw from Chamkh early season was excellent. Shame he hasnt played much lately and when he does play he seems to believe he must play 2nd or 3rd fiddle.

  137. Chamakh was hardly gunner come out and say he was pissed off with being dropped after scoring goals and what else could he do.

  138. My worry is that man for man ,I believe,we have the best team in the land.And yet we look like finishing up 10 to 15 points behind an inferior team.
    Now however you put it ,that is a problem.
    I love the players and the manager,so I can not see an answer.But that does not really matter as Arsene is there to solve the problem for me.
    Without Arsene Wenger our future looks bleak.
    Another thing the media dont seem to realize is the if Wenger left half the team would leave with him.

  139. @Joshua
    I agree that Szczesny has made important saves but also conceded easy goals at times. His lack of experience is showing and even though people claim otherwise, he does not organise the defence in any way differently than our other keepers do.
    Wasn’t that one of the prime criticisms? That Almunia is not vocal enough to organise his defence for dead ball situations and that we are conceding goals because of that. On that basis Szczesny isn’t doing anything differently. We are still conceding soft goals from corners and free kicks.

    Despite everything Szczesny is young and has potential, but I am not a 100% convinced if he is ready yet in the sense that I have not seen him do things that make me say that he is a huge leap (or even a leap at all) over Fabianski or Almunia. All three of them have strengths and weaknesses and at this time I just don’t think that any of them is really sticking out.

    Almunia can be a match winner and is one of the best goal keepers in the world when it comes to penalties, but he is lacking consistency. Fabianski is solid in all regards but his decision making is not yet up to the standard you would expect as he sometimes simply takes too long to make his mind up and ends up stranded in no man’s land. Szczesny is better than the two others when it comes to high balls aimed close to him and he is very eccentric, but at the same time he suffers from his lack of experience and being somewhat naive.

    I hope that Fabianski can recover properly for next season and the two of them can give each other competition to get the best out of them.

  140. Thats more your level isnt it Duke, nice one you plastic.

  141. What kind of a mug are you duke? Call me a cunt then add to the original point like you expect me to respond to it? Fucking

  142. DukeG, if his heart is not with the team and he thinks it’s everybody else’s fault and he is blameless then he can bugger off. He is not above criticism IMO, so if he chooses to run away rather than stay and fight, I will blame him.

  143. @Keysersoze
    Reminds me of the moment last season when he made a good tackle but still got a yellow card in the first leg against Barca which meant that he would miss the return leg. He looked deeply saddened by it. He probably felt robbed of the opportunity to play in front of the Barca fans and now that he got the opportunity this season he wasn’t going to let anyone take it away from him, no matter the cost.

  144. Also there is enough experience in this squad to get it done, true they are young in age but in playing they are more experienced than many older players. If they are still immature it again, lies at there feet. They are professionals and they must learn from their mistakes.

    What we cannot have though is crazy interviews at season end, when we are focused on winning the PL questioning the manager. Now if your Capitan is saying you cannot win with youth what effect will that have on his team mates? The team was already shaky to begin with, what a way to sap what little confidence is there! Wenger defended Cesc when he should have shut him down in my view, he did with Gallas.

  145. Much as I love Cesc as a player, was his appointment of him as captain about his ability to lead on the field or because AW had to make a statement about his place in the team? It clearly didn’t curb his desire to return to Barcelona last summer, as it was only Wenger’s determination not to let him go (on the cheap) and Barcelona’s reluctance to pay up which kept him at the Emirates.
    In the last few games Fabregas hasn’t shown any signs either in the marshalling of his troops on the field, or in his actions at the end of the games of carrying out his captain’s duties. Why did it fall to the goalie to console Eboue after the game as Cesc was second down the tunnel? Why wasn’t Cesc helping to pull RVP away from a confrontation with Taylor after the Bolton match as he was again one of the first Arsenal players down the tunnel? Maybe it’s time to bring in a more mature player in either the centre-back role, or the holding midfield role who will also take on the armband. Perhaps we should offer Scott Parker a couple of seasons as Arsenal captain, especially if West Ham are relegated.

    I know Merson is prone to rant against Wenger and he doesn’t always talk sense, but he did come out with an interesting point after the Bolton game. When analyzing Cohen’s goal he drew attention to the fact that Cohen was so easily able to give Djourou the slip and that if the defender had had his arm across the player’s chest in the set-up for the corner he would not have lost him. Surely that is one of the first lessons in training on how to defend a corner? You obviously have to watch the ball so the only way to know where the man you are marking is is to have an arm across his chest. So if even a winger like Merson knows that when he is back defending a corner he should have his arm across the chest of the man he is marking, why doesn’t Djourou? For both corners against Bolton the player who headed the ball directly from the corner was easily able to give the Arsenal player marking him the slip. Either the players or the coaches aren’t up to the task because this seems to be basic stuff.

  146. Forget about the media, they need their targets and have identified Wenger as a soft one. I mean Arsenal’s bad run of form is good story, and who better than Wenger to blame it on and sell papers/invite clicks on the websites? When they next get the opportunity they will come crawling back and shower praise on him, like they did after the 1st leg against Barca. We are fortunate that our board is sound enough not to be led by the media.

  147. Lots of issues to sort out going forward.

    1) 3rd season in a row that the manager has said our defense is not strong enough. They decieved us with a great of form for a while. Players have come and gone but the same problems recur. The coaching staff has to take 95% 0f the blame for this. No other logical explanation. 2 years ago set pieces killed us, last year counter attacks, this year set pieces.

    2) I still believe that we will always struggle to make it over the hump with our style of play. When the pressure is on and the season nears the end other teams tighten up at the back. We are fantastic for stretches but 2 years has shown we can not play our signature possession football and be effective CONSITENTLY. Barca can do it but this is not La Liga. Our high line and our attacking ethos put our defense under enormous pressure and when the attack falters we can not win ugly. The mythical plan B needed. How many set piece goals did we get this season?

    3) Are these players really as good as we think, what do we have going forward? Cesc obviously talented but where is his head and his hamstrings. Nasri has lost his form in squeaky bum time 2 years in a row. Theo struggles to make an impact when the defense lies deep. Song took a step back the last 1/2 year, Arshavin, highly inconsistent. RVP world class fantastic player when he is healthy. Wilshere, great first year but needs to score. 1 goal from an attacking player who had his minutes is not enough. Clichy better this year but still inconsistent. TV5 fantastic going forward but always struggled as a defender when healthy. How will he react physically after missing a full year? Djourou great for a while but struggled in the end, can he stay fit, Is he the anchor at CB we need, highly questionable at best. Kos, smooth as silk but stuggles against height and strength, probably needs a specific type of CB partner which we may not have if JD struggles.

    4) Mental state of the squad????

    Boss has a lot of work to do this summer. Hope we can pick up our game and keep 3rd place. If the Blue Manc’s win their games in hand we will only have a 2 point lead with 4 to play.

  148. fair enough Dexter you acted like a cunt trying to mug my opinion off instead of debating the issue so there is no fukin point talkin to you then is there.

  149. Duke,sorry I get your point now.Yes he might have kept his confidence up.But the again…… we dont know,do we?

  150. Reminds me of the moment last season when he made a good tackle but still got a yellow card in the first leg against Barca which meant that he would miss the return leg. He looked deeply saddened by it. He probably felt robbed of the opportunity to play in front of the Barca fans and now that he got the opportunity this season he wasn’t going to let anyone take it away from him, no matter the cost.

    I don’t think that is in disagreement with what I said. It still boils down to him thinking that it is all about him. I can understand him carrying on, but as a professional you will know after playing for a few minutes whether you will be up to it. To realise that and still carry on is criminal.

  151. Cesc has scored 3 goals this season in the league, 1 more than Koscielny and 1 less than Song. That along with the patchy form of Arshavin and Nasri’s dip has all meant we have been over reliant on Robin and Theo to get the goals on a regular basis. Wenger resorted to this formation to get the best out of hi players, maybe we need to change the formation again then? AS I know everything, that is what I think h should do.
    Oh and Paul merson for new number 2 as well.

  152. @Keysersoze
    Wasn’t meant in that way. Just wanted to point out that it obviously meant a lot to him to play in the Camp Nou and that no one was going to take that away from him this time, even if it means that the team has to suffer as a result. I fully agree that when he noticed that he is not up to 100% he just should’ve given the signal to get substituted.

  153. dukeG

    You are the one acting like a cunt. I tried to answer your original point, but you are basing it on information none of us know; ie was Chamakh’s feelings all hurt when RvP came back and was he lying when he stated he needed a break.

    And I never resorted to called you a cunt eiter

  154. Alex Ice Cream

    Finally some of you have caught up with many other people who had a feeling that the season would end after Brum – again. If there was any doubt, the silly draws afterwards and the ManU debacle were all you needed to know.

    Yogi, I completely disagree that people didn’t realise that confidence/fragility were a deep seated problem. Its been obvious to many for a while now. Other, including the manager, have chosen to ignore the reality of the situation for too long and this is the result.

    Yesterday is a great example. We only had to defend 3 corners and Bolton scored from 2 of them. Both corners came about because runs from midfield were not picked up. Alex Song has been awful defensively this season and apart from fouling and conceding free kicks in dangerous positions has looked out of his depth.

    We had 75% possession for over 10 mins and did not get 1 shot in on goal. This isn’t beautiful football its boring 1 dimensional and predictable. We have not scored when it mattered and have thrown away point after point.

    This team have never been good enough and people that think we are getting closer need to think again. We are as far away as ever of winning anything, especially the Prem or CL.

  155. Bill

    I think if we can get Koscielny and Vermaelen fit for most of the season we will be fine defensively. it will be key to assess vermaelen’s fitness during pre season. If there are chances of the injury recurring during the season we may need to look for another body.

  156. Cesc has about the same amount of assists as he had last season in about the same number of games played. But he has scored 10 fewer goals.

  157. I don’t have a problem with the media spin on this tbh. Of course they are gonna go for Wengers blood. I doubt Fergie would have a free-er ride if the mancs won nothing for 6 years in these modern times., and then collapsed in the way we have this season. Managers have been hounded out by the media/fans for much less. Thankfully, our board isn’t the type to be swayed by such things
    I don’t even think the media reports really worry Wenger that much. Like i said, its to be expected considering the circumstances and he certainly has more than enough on his plate to concern him..

  158. I am with george, one cannot deny that we have a club of immense talent, this is why this is such an enigma.

    These are some critisims I have for our esteemed manager. He seems to bring back injured players too soon and it effects the team. Cesc wasnt ready for Barcelona (that was desperate) and since Djourou has been back we have conceeded quite a few goals, was he ready? Didnt look it to me.

    We also need to get people in the box and work on set piece defense obvioulsy – with that you can see we have issues with set pieces/crosses on both sides of the field.

    I watched the United on Sat and most of their game plan was to get crosses in and did so until they scored. Nothing spectacular about it. I dont think we should change our style of play but we should attack the goal more in these situations.

    Anyway, Love the team and this hurts bad, not because many may percieve themselves to have called it right (I dont rate that because you should believe in your team) but because to me the players are good enough to get it done.

    Here’s to hoping we can turn this around in the next few matches!!

  159. fuck off AIC.

  160. @Paul N
    I saw it as a really positive sign that Wenger did not stick Chamakh out on the wing as he does it with Bendtner. I think the formation we used against Bolton in the last 20 or so minutes with Bendtner instead of Chamakh could really prove to be fruitful when we need to score desperately.

  161. I am amzed you can type and wring your hands at he same time Alex!

  162. Alex Ice Cream

    Paul,

    The players are good enough technically to get it done. They are not good enough pyschologically or tactically.

    I know this with 100% certainty – look at what they have won. Utterly nothing.

    The way they throw points away is pitiful. I pity the poor sods who wasted a glorious day and a lot of money to line the pockets of these loser millionaires. The club should give them a refund – for the entire last 6 weeks or so.

  163. I just can’t understand how some people seem to be almost happy and cheerful today as evident by the tone of their comments. As if they are relieved that our title challenge this season has ended.

  164. Henristic…

    I find your theory to be a bit simplistic. The idea that this Arsenal team would win more things if they had a more rigid system dictated by a more dictatorial manager appears to me to be quite fallacious. There’s no evidence whatsoever that putting the shackles on the expressiveness of the likes Nasri, Wilshere, Cesc, Walcott, Van Persie and Song or Diaby would produce a more effective team or even a team that wins more… neither is there any evidence that a more rigid approach would have overcome the likes of Sunderland, Bolton or Newcastle when we playthem at home. I think the way we play suits the players we have… the problem isn’t really tactical or technical… the problem is more complicated than that and in my opinion it is mostly mental. If you have a very young team that is already performing above normal and everyone then puts the extra pressure on them to go out and match teams that are not only more mature and street wise but also just as talented then at some point the size of task can become overwhelming. The answer is time and evolution and maturity.

    The truth is that team had the talent to win the league and more this season but they just lacked the know-how… and to be blunt they didn’t get the breaks either. Stonewall penalties weren’t given and soft one were conceded. Baffling refereeing decisions were made and chances for good wins spurned… a proper analysis of the season would show that the problem the team faced had nothing to do with tactics and more to do with key players underperforming. Cesc had 13 goals last season in the same system we played this year… he has something like 3 goals this season. Arshavin’s contribution has been erratic at best and often a bit of hinderance defensively at his worst. Rosicky offered literally nothing all season. He even missed a penalty up at Sunderland that may well have secured a win for us. Those are 3 of our most experienced players… add in the the fact TV5 missed the entire season and you begin to get a clearer view of what went wrong. There’s nothing wrong with the way we play… and the idea that Wenger doesn’t know what he is watching on a pitch or that he doesn’t know how to change it is something I find extremely funny. what makes you think that a man who has managed over 1500 games at the very highest level can’t see what is happening in a game or even see things that you or I wouldn’t even begin to understand… the problem is that if you bring on a player who isn’t good enough or doesn’t have the ability to execute what the manager wants then basically nothing happens. When Arshavin came on against Barca and delivered the goal… Wenger was genius and Guardiola was a muppet for making a defensive substitution. So is Guardiola tactically naive?

    I know that the bottle cap enthusiasts think that football is just a case of moving the big guy into the middle or moving the little guy out wide… if it was that simple we’d all be managers. Wenger, despite what the Championship manager gurus say isn’t tactically naive at all… if he was he wouldn’t have won as much as he has. Ferguson has Ferdinand, Vidic and VDS we have callow Cbs and a young goalkeeper as well as an overall younger squad… I’d concentrate on those.

  165. What if TV comes back as good as ever.?
    What if Cesc stays fit all season ?
    What if RVP stays fit all season?
    What if Diaby stays fit all season?
    What if Rambo is as good as he was?
    What if Jack is a gaol scorer next season?
    What is Arshavin gets back to what he was?

    ALL these things could and should be possible.
    If just a few of them happened does anyone think we would not win something?

  166. Evil | April 25, 2011 at 2:43 pm |

    You make some good points but I thought Fabianski was starting to play with real confidence when he had a run in the team. I can’t remember the game when he dragged Cesc into the position he wanted him to be to defend a corner and who headed the ball away? That’s right, Cesc.

    Fabianski’s distribution was also top notch – I think it was Wolves away when he threw that ball out for the second goal, which ensured we took all 3 points. Szczsney is good, but I think Fabianski is better if he can pick up where he left off.

  167. i think both cesc and nasri will leave now..

  168. Alex Ice Cream

    Hi Finsbury,

    You must be tired having to admit that I have a point…..

  169. Pardon moi.

    Do I wonder how Hleb is doing?
    No. No, I don’t.

    In defence of Nasri, he did OK for a 21 year old in his first season in the PL I thought. Then had an injury to get over. Nasri over Hleb anyday, thank you.

    I said to my friend who I go to games with during Chelsea’s romp to the title last year that Nasri will go on to be a better player then Malouda. He disagreed.
    He also lost the bet comparing assists and goals for Walcott and Lennon this season. Easy money.

  170. I hope Arsene does not walk away from our club. He has admitted his mistakes and all fans should now unite behind him and the club as he seeks to build a better tomorrow. J

  171. What point is that AIC.
    That if the diddly cup had been run over by a bus that you’d fuck off?

    No, I don’t think so.

  172. Alex Ice Cream

    Jon,

    Cesc deserves to play in a better team; he has carried us for years.

    Nasri is coming across as a bit of a brat in his contract negotiations. Half a good season and he thinks that he is Zinedine Zidane. He only plays well when Cesc does and has done nothing when we needed him in the last few weeks. Lets see how this contract saga pans out.

  173. fabianski has spent the last few years being worse than almunia..
    and ppl wnat him as number one??

    if we aint going to use ches next year then we need a new keeper..

  174. JonJon

    When Fabianski played for us this season he has been up to it, and we have been up to it. I suspect the goals against stat bears me out on this one, although I haven’t checked them. I am saying from what I saw.

  175. Now now JJ.
    Don’t be hasty.

    What Keysersoze said to conclude the thread above.

  176. Alex Ice Cream

    Its not me that’s the problem. Its a manage that refuses to accept that he has failed – let’s hope that has changed after yesterday’s post match interview, a board that see investment in the squad as an anathema and some lazy, overrated, overpaid players who are overindulged by a manage that rewards failure with pay rises.

    The board and manager have fostered a culture of losing at the club, a culture that you support. That makes you a loser but that was already obvious a long time ago.

    If me fucking off could solve all of this, I would gladly do it.

  177. JJ, we need a new keeper so that Szcz can learn. He is still a kid.

  178. JJ

    Why is that? Possibly cesc could go, althoug once again it will be diffiult due to the fact Barca dont have the readies. I think nasri will stay, the contract will be signed.

    Not so sure about Clichy though.

  179. “I can’t understand the obsession with Fabianski and/or Szczesny. They have both been alright, Szczesny more eye catching while Fabianski more solid.”

    End.

  180. well cesc wants to win trophies and he doesnt think we have the philosphy to do it
    and nasri is in the last year of his contract and is easily good enough to play for another big club..
    if they come in for him and he thinks the same way as cesc we’ll have to sell..

    if we want to keep the players we develop we have to win things or they will be picked off by teams that do….

  181. UnbiasedTobias

    Except for our victrys against barca, city and chelsea and Nasri’s goals against fulham, this has been a season to forget… We made mountains out of molehills: FA cup replays and Carling cup final, Champs league group stage. The team has made a potentiually very easy season one of the most riveting, stressful ones I can remeber.
    This puts soo much more pressure tha neccessary on the team. But our team have failed to cope with this.
    I tried to mask my dissapointment in optimism but its made me look like a fool.

    So many of our players look like they’re over arsenal, those that don’t want to fight for trophies should leave and let’s bring in some new blood.
    Some technically gifte players with a track recoord of being able to inspire a team and fight to the end.
    I’m starting to sway to the spend big side, not because I think these players are better than ours, but because of the psychological effect it has.
    The fans will be stoked, the players will be on their toes for their places in the squad and our opposition won’t be able to predict what we’re gonna do plus they’ll be scared of playing us. Even if we just buy de rossi and cavani for example teams will be shit scared of us and that puts the pressure back on them.

  182. I agree with finsbury.

    The point worth looking at Paul, which Ateeb made, is that Arsene doesn’t seem to trust his ‘B’ team. Otherwise why are players rushed back after injury?

    Do we have a deep squad or not? manu make good use of a pretty threadbare one that we have been sneering at all season.

    This team just isn’t as good as we thought it was.

  183. JJ you are a betting man,give me a price that they both leave.

  184. ches has done more in the last few months than what fbianksi has done in all the time hes been here…

    fab hand a handfull of good games this season to go with the bucket full of crap ones he had in seasons gone..im not convinced at all..

    ches in number one..

  185. @Passenal
    Spot on. I really loved that scene where Fabianski dragged Fab, especially because Fab was perfectly positioned to head the ball away when the corner was delivered. And yes, his distribution is stellar, he throws the ball with ease past the half way line exactly into the path of our fast players. But he needs to work desperately on his decision making. It just happens too often that he sees a ball come in, goes out, then waits a moment, goes back to his goal. Sometimes he is just not quick enough to recover properly or he is too slow to get to the ball first because he hesitated in the first moment. I think his only mistake in his run of games this season came from this, when he waited too long and then came rushing out so that Carroll always had the jump on him in the game against Newcastle.
    However if he can work on those flaws, he would definitely get my vote for number 1. But we will have to wait until pre-season to see how it will pan out. I just hope that Wenger won’t make the decision until after pre-season. Szczesny hasn’t done anything to warrant an automatic awarding of the number one jersey so I want to see healthy competition between the two of them before the start of the season.

  186. “Its not me that’s the problem. Its a manage that refuses to accept that he has failed”

    AIC the press conference is still available to listen to.
    You might have missed it. Don’t bust a brain cell trying to find it, it’s ok. We understand. Fact and fiction are one and the same for a ginormous football brain such as yourself.

    Uncredible.

  187. Alex

    If you think Nasri has only had half a deent season, then you have no idea mate. And calling him a brat for what exactly? You must get all your insight from sky sports.

  188. dexter
    to be honest i dont care about clichy
    he can go..its our best players we need to keep….

  189. AIC, we have a team that has won, maybe not together but almost all are winners in their previous league’s or in international football.

    If winning something doesnt produce a winning mentality then you dont have to win to have it. So what is it?

    Something is wrong, thats for sure but we should be over whatever it is ny now.

  190. Well, you might try it AIC.

    It just might work.

  191. lol george
    i take odds i dont make em…
    but if someone gave me 20-1 id take it…

  192. JJ

    LIke I said, barca aint gt the funds, unless they throw in players Wenger would be prepared to sacrifice cesc for. nasri is top class and could well get into any of the top teams imo. BUT I am more than hopeful he will stay. This logic of modern footballers that they deserve to be at clubs that guanrantee them trophies is an insididous one, not far removd from fans choosing successful teams to support, only to get pissed off when those teams become less successful and the trophies dry up.

  193. Limestonegunner

    Joshua, why are our CB’s and GK’s so young and callow(?). I think they have done a good job generally this season, but if that is where you want to lay some responsibility for the gap between us and ManU, why wasn’t this addressed in the summer or during the transfer window more aggressively? You argued very strongly against trying to add to the squad in the January window. As Cbob suggested, it might have helped the attitude of the team (in addition to strengthening an area that was weakened by injury and lacking in experience).

    As far as the style of coaching and playing–I think both you and Henristic are falling into a false dichotomy. Several of these creative players seem to have lost a bit of verve and invention in their play in our system. It is a very demanding and disciplined way to play. You don’t see Nasri taking on people one on one routinely the way he did as a youngster at Marseille. Perhaps young players need more guidance mentally and emotionally, but as a system for playing, AW’s intricate possession game requires a great deal of discipline and training to pull off. It isn’t some sort of laissez-faire, go express your skills style. That’s why he goes for intelligence in players because our system takes real concentration to learn and implement.

  194. lol @ bob

  195. 20-1 for or against?

  196. Alex Ice Cream

    Finsbury,

    Its taken him long enough to admit it; about 3 years too late.

    Will it change anything though. Lets hope so but i doubt it.

  197. Evil | April 25, 2011 at 3:18 pm |

    You’re right about the indecision, but I think the more games he plays the better he will become. Goalkeepers especially need the real game experience in order to become more confident about what the ball will do in certain situations. Another strength Fabianski has is his ability as a sweeper when we are playing a high line. When he was our cup goalie as understudy to Almunia, I saw him do this particularly well in the CC games.

  198. Alex Ice Cream

    Paul,

    Like who? other than cesc who else has won anything? Arshavin, Chamakh maybe who else?Rvp won an fa cup.

  199. JJ ,that is my point mate .you said

    i think both cesc and nasri will leave now..

    Yet you also think its a 20 to 1 shot.The two dont match up.

  200. Agree Mr. Bob, Arsene boasted having a big squad and then failed to use it. Another troubling thing is that Vela goes to WBA, scores almost everytime he comes on and looks dangerous on the wing.

    I think it is pure nonsense to say that Cesc deserves to play in a better team. He is not our best player right now anyway, no on form. I would put Nasri, RVP and Sagna ahead of him on performance.

    What is wrong with JJ and AIC? Cesc has been make some decisions that have caused the team in the worse way. He needs to pull his socks up forget about Barca for now and come back with a new zeal.

    Better team my backside!

  201. Alex Ice Cream

    Limestone,

    You are right about the difficulty of playing this style but people have worked out how to play it.

    It has failed. Time for change.

  202. AIC, I looked it up and posted it on here the other day. I cannot be bothered right now but you can trust me that we have a team full of winners.
    Do the research.

  203. Fabianski did really well this season. he had a pretty ropey past too. I think he could well have been number one from the start of the season but his poor showings in pre-season might have changed AW’s mind on that one.

    Now, however, I think Szczesney is the number 1 and will be next season.

  204. Absolutely, Paul.

    Strange decision on Vela, wasn’t it?

    We needed goals and no striker has been delivering them apart from RVP recently.

  205. The style of play has not failed, the players have not scored the goals or defended when needed. It is with this style that RVP set a new away scoring record yesterday.
    No matter what you do it is up to Nasri to score yesterday and our defenders to mark their man. It all about remaning faithful to your assignments regardless. Thats what we lacked.

  206. Ah, so AIC did hear the press conference. As always,

    uncredible.

  207. This formation allows for the team to be fluid, probing and waiting for openings. It isnt the formation, it was a collective lack of form, imo. For whatever reason. When they are on song no tam can cope against them, yet when the players lose their spark, that is when we need to be more pragmatic and more reslilent and use other approaches. We used to do it with Adebayor, long balls etc.

  208. Joshua:

    Somehow you have to explain why these players have struggled with the mental aspect of the game. Clearly there is not 1 easy answer but I think Henristic’s post at 2:18 offers one realistic possibility. Conventional wisdom which has proven much closer to the truth then any of us want to admit this year is that younger players thrive with more structure.
    The manager has taken great pain to nurture the squad which on the surface sounds like the correct way to handle young players. However, perhaps the lack of structure has lead to chronic mistakes which leads to self doubt. All the talk of self belief and mental strength from a manager can not make them forget mistakes. It sounds cliche but “tough love”, structure and criticism of individuals and squad when appropriate often works better then chronic confidence building and nurturing. Unfortunately its always easier to say that in retrospect compared with 4 – 5 years ago. I also think that for years these players have been told how technically good they are they sometimes believe their talent will win without max effort. I can think of no other possible explanation for some the complacency which we have all felt and complained about many times this year.

  209. Agree with you Dexter!

  210. Just out of boredom for the GK argument some random numbers(just the league):

    Fabianski:
    Games played 14,
    Goals Conceded 14,
    PPG 2.1,
    Clean sheets kept 4

    Szczesny:
    Games played 11,
    Goals Conceded 12,
    PPG 1.7,
    Clean sheets kept 5
    Bale injured 1

  211. So, from the stats we have available, I just don’t see anything that would make me think that we should just hand Szczesny the Number One jersey without making him go through some hoops (i.e. heavy competition in the pre-season provided by the other Pole). The only stats where Szczesny is clearly excelling is in the amount of times he has injured Bale.

  212. its not going to be odds on is it…
    and seeing as though they are both still contracted to arsenal and still wear the arsenal colours its not like its going to be 2-1 favs

    but at 20-1 its a fiar price and its not a long shot…

    100-1 would have been a long shot and more chance of them staying…

  213. Hahahaha! @ Evil

  214. JJ,lol,Well then the truth is you do not think they will both leave,right?

  215. Considering you said you thought they were both leaving, I think 20-1 is way too generous. More like 5s to me JJ! I’ll give you 5-1 and now what odds on both staying as I will have some of that action?

  216. lol@Evil

    Who was in the goal in the first match against the Spurs?

  217. Fabianski. So he had the opportunity to injure Bale, but didn’t take it. 😦

  218. Lol,Evil is evil

  219. i do…but me thinking it and it actually happening isnt a dead cert is it…lol
    but 20-1 is a fiar price
    the way you gotta look at it is for every one person you get saying it might happen there 20 ppl that say it wont…

    and seeing as though im on my own lol i think ive got it just about right…

  220. With that kinda thinking and logic JJ, you could well make it as a bookie; heads you win, tails I lose!

  221. Limestone,

    You missed my point, just like Joshua did. I completely agree that possession football does indeed require a lot of discipline to pull off, but we haven’t shown that sort of discipline consistently over a season -as Barca have for instance-, have we? My point is partly that AW doesn’t seem to be the kind of coach that is able to instill that discipline, especially based on a team filled with young players. For a team that prizes possession, we give the ball away far too cheaply to be really successful at it. It also doesn’t take a lot of pressure for our passing game to break down.

    Contrast that to Barca who are able to play like that (almost) irrespective of opposition and situation. I would argue that the current Barca team are as well drilled and disciplined in their system as any other team on the planet, including Mourihno and Fergies teams.
    In essence, I’m saying that being ‘disciplined is not exclusive to a defensive minded tactics. That’s why I never used the word ‘rigid’, like Joshua would have you believe.

    Playing a young, inexperienced team in our system requires even more ‘drilling’ imo, as its more likely that they’ll be rattled under pressure.

  222. Limestonegunner

    Chezzer needs to work on his kicking and distribution but if people think Fabianski can improve his decision making with games, there is no reason to think WC can’t either. 7amkickoff compiled some stats on keepers and compared those on the top 6 teams a month ago–since then perhaps the picture has changed a little–and suggested that WC has very good stats. In general it was a good post and shows an edge to WC over Fabianski.

    http://www.7amkickoff.com/2011/the-szczesny-v-reina-brannigan/

  223. Limestonegunner

    Fair enough, Henristic–but I was mostly reacting to Joshua’s characterization. I think you might have a point that young players might have to be handled quite differently. I would expect that AW understands that, but we can’t argue with his own assessment that we have lacked some maturity and calm under pressure this season.

  224. @ Keyseroze:

    “I think if we can get Koscielny and Vermaelen fit for most of the season we will be fine defensively. ”

    The evidence argues otherwise. Both players are better going forward and linking play with our attack then they are at defending. TV5 was not a great defender when healthy, got caught out of position a lot and we were even worse defensively last year. No evidence to suggest he is the organizer we need. Even though many things broke down this year, defending has been our achilles heel for 6 years now. Time to get more proactive and agressive both on the personnel and coaching sides of the equation. Lets not have more of the same.

  225. Do we know what goes on in practice, do we have inside info or do we base it on performances?

  226. Yeah, the defenders are better attackers as well. Ive heard it all now!

  227. how i look at the fabianski/ches thing is that i dont need stats or figures to determine who the top gk is..

    ches, for all his inexperience has indeed made the odd mistake..but none of his mistakes have been getting beat from 40 yards, or letting the ball slip thru his hands or legs..

    when you look at fabianski and almunia these are two keepers that make those exact mistakes..not just mistakes but major cockups..

    i aint seen ches do that yet…he’ll always conceed goals and he’ll always give away the odd pen but as far as the fabianski and almunia mistakes go weve not seen em..so far so good and thats why hes number one…

  228. Limestonegunner

    I agree with Bill that Vermaelen and Koscielny wouldn’t be an appropriate partnership, necessarily, as they play somewhat similarly. I think they are good defenders though (see Kos v. Barca) but in the PL it is necessary to have a tall and physical player for high crosses and long balls into the box and to guard big forwards holding the ball up, etc… So the partnership would be Vermaelen/Kos with Djourou. Do we need more quality, experience, leadership than Djourou is the question. He was very good until coming back from his injury, probably too soon as others have suggested.

  229. i still think we should promote stevie bould…

  230. Dexter Barca have the money if they really want Cesc due to the fact they have finally done a deal to have Their shirt sponsored from next season and if im not mistaken it is the most lucrative deal in history for a shirt sponsor..

  231. I think Squillaci shouldve been trusted Limestone.
    Another thing I see is that if we dont trust our players (B) then we risk the first team players being burnt out!

  232. Limestonegunner

    With all his recent hamstring injuries, his dip in form this year, and the really subpar performance he offered at the Camp Nou, do they really want him badly enough to pay more than they offered last year? Rosell was making noises about how with a year less left on his contract, Cesc should be cheaper this year than last!

    The best thing would be to sort out the captaincy and do whatever business we are planning early in the summer, so we go refreshed and optimistic into pre-season. Cesc shouldn’t go anywhere unless it is for Arsenal’s asking price which should be well above Barca’s derisory offer last summer.

  233. JJ, Steve Bould is supposedly happy doing what he is doing and does not want more responsibility.

  234. Limestonegunner

    Paul N, you are probably right–Squillaci had actually been playing quite well since Djourou’s injury, so there wasn’t a great need to rush him back.

    What I am wondering now is what the mood will be like for next weekend’s game? It will be a long week but there is still some pride on the line. The title may be beyond us but to lose to ManU at home would add insult to injury.

  235. Gooneritup

    I think you are mistaken mate. They do have a very lucrative shirt deal, but they also have a massive debt too. They have also been spouting off about how they will be offering even less than last year too. Maybe that is pure bravado, or perhaps something to do with the fact they havent actually got the cash required and are hiding behind the Cesc was stolen from them, moral high ground bullshit argument.

  236. Agreed Limestone! The players have to put the bad feelings behind them and give a resouding performance.

  237. I too have my doubts about TV being the answer.He wasn’t last year.
    However he is a strong character and leader ,and he takes no prisoners.
    I would like a strong CB brought in,if only to give the team a chance to believe they can defend better,and TV playing LB.
    Clichy is ok but he is targeted in a lot of games.There has to be a reason that happens.
    Even if the player brought in is no better than the current ones the psychological benefits might pay dividends.

  238. JJ

    Apparantly Bouldy has rejected the idea of being assistant to WEnger and is happy coaching the kids. I would have liked him to be promoted. Perhaps Martin Keown then? Out of all the ex-Arsenal players on TV, he comes across as the most insightful, intelligent, but he doesnt have much coaching experience does he?

  239. If Dennis Bergkamp is not our new no.2 I will hold my breath until my face is bright red

  240. I was at Goodison for the 1st game of the season and it was TV’s debut game in the highly competitive, over physical Premier league, playing Everton at their own place and Vermealen was excellent, he won almost everything in the air that day and the way he threw himself into challenges was something else and I really dont get this idea about how he isnt a good enough defender now?

  241. Limestonegunner

    George, I think Vermaelen has played there, for Ajax, so that might be possible. I don’t know if he can cross but we seldom benefit from Clichy’s crossing anyway. We have built up Vermaelen because he had a good first season (so has Koscielny btw) and because he has been out injured. His qualities as a leader might be more valuable.

    So I would agree that we could use someone to compete with Djourou.

  242. Djourou with Vermealen would be my 1st choice CB pairing, altough Djourou and Kos works well too. I am also looking forward to seeing how Kyle bartley does in pre-season. If we sign a new CB then one of our current CBs will have to leave then.

  243. then if steve bould doesnt want it we should bring in someone who does…

    weve got three top cb’s at the club…but theres still a massive hole somewhere cos those set pieces are killing us…

    now i know that football has evolved at an alarming rate over the years and i know the role of the cb has evolved, especially at our club, but set pieces have not evovled..a set piece will always be a set piece and we are struggling to deal with them…

    like i said i dont think our cb’s are bad at all and i dont believe we need a new cb

    but i do believe that we are failing to drill in certain aspects of defending, like set pieces, in training….and i think a new coach who focus’s purely on the defensive aspects of the game will be more helpful than spending 25mil on gary cahill…

    bouldies perfect…was part of the best back 4 ever and was drilled by george graham…he knows how to organise and defend and like i said footballs evolved but those set pieces havent so we could do with someone whos been there and done it and can drill it into them…

  244. But TV was looked upon as the buy of the season last year. Maybe we expect too much too soon from players but from where I stand he was very good. Still room for improvement though.

    We only suffer with set plays, so I think this should be an easy fix – it would seem. This though cannot be placed on the CB’s shoulders alone. The team needs to be more aggressive at staying with their man.

  245. Dexter,no one is saying he is not a good defender,simply that we might benefit from a defender with different strengths.
    Limestone,he has a sweet left foot so he could cross it ,I am sure,and when he cuts in he has a better eye for goal that Clichy.

  246. There have been games this season when opposition teams have run right through our midfield, leaving the defence exposed on numerous times; Newcastle and Blacvkpool away spring to mind. Therefore, no matter who we had as defenders they would have been run ragged. That for me is as much of an issue and when Song is not avaulable we have suffered as a consquence. Thats my take and its a shame that we could have had a ready made stand in, in the form of Frimpong (who has been written off for some reason), he might have made an impact too, nt as massive as jack’s, but significant nonetheless. When he suffered that bad injury, not long after AW said he was promoting the pair of them to the 1st team squad, we should have tried to sign a more defensive minded midfielder.

  247. i want TV at left back george

  248. Limestonegunner,

    its not just about pride, third place spot isn’t nailed down yet.

    Squillaci did seem to have a better spell in the side whilst Djourou was injured, but it still appears that on a number of occasions in a game the central defensive pairing has the jitters and do something exceptionally stupid. Most times they manage to recover from it and clear the ball, but when it goes wrong it looks fairly school boy. Which is why so much is made about our defensive frailty, when we cock-up its usually a doozey. So where is the problem? Well it looks like the common denominator in most of the cock-ups and near cock-ups is Koscielny. I think he has found the pace in the premiership too fast at times and we have been very lucky that some of the tackles he has gone for in the area have not been given as pens because he’s been miles off. Also, some of the passes which have split our defence have just been poorly defended, our centre-backs don’t appear to have a clue where their defensive partner is positioned.

  249. Paul N,If its a easy fix then someone has been grossly incompetent not to have already done it.

  250. there’s no way we are going to beat Manure at the Emirates, you just cant see it can you, 1. they have our number 2.we can have the ball as much as we want but do they care? No cause they punish us on the break
    3 you might be walking around with eyes shut but Fergie has goal scorers all over the pitch, add best defense, tell me how we gonna beat em? you live in hopers.

  251. Bill

    I think you are basing it on the analysis on zonalmarking. I think most defenders, if subjected to such detailed freeze frame analysis over a season will give away a few examples of positional indiscipline or mistakes. Of course I maintain that at any position if we can get someone better than the current personnel at the right price he should be brought in. But the names being bandied around, i.e. Cahill, Hangelaand etc. don’t fit into that category, while others like Sakho, Subotic etc will probably be outside our price range in addition to being relatively unknown quantity (at lest to me). In any case, I don’t think central defence and goalkeeping is our priority area for improvement right now because if they were as bad as they were being made out we would have shipped goals. I agree that a bit more “nous” is needed, for which we can also look at employing a different defensive coach, someone who has a track record of handling good defensive units.

  252. I would have to see TV play left back before saying he will be good there. NO that he wouldnt but I have no proof.

    However, if we say that has has great leadership qualities that pro would be lost a little if he is on the wing. I am guessing it is easier to command a situation from the center?

    As it stands TV for CB for me!

  253. Regarding the crossing is the problem just that the full backs don’t cross well enough, or is it combined with the fact that the player(s) in the box don’t attack the ball and get into heading positions well enough?

  254. spy
    Thats the kind of defeatist gutless attitude the players have been accused of mate. Get some ire in ya belly man!

  255. Spy

    You are the weakest link! Goodbye.

    YW

  256. ire,or fire, your choice!

  257. YW

    Zero tolerance

    magic

  258. Thats my point George, someone has been negligent because there is no way we should be so inept. We are good otherwise but we have to get the hole plugged up.

  259. Keysersoze, I think its both. We dont cross wel enough and dont get enough people into the box. Our freekicks have been dismal of late along with our corners. If we can work on some of these basics we would be unbeatable.

  260. Borges Spinelli

    Arsène Wenger would do well next season, to install Lehmann, as an assistant GK coach of some sort; whilst still completing his professional accreditation. Continuity breeds success everywhere when aptly combined with human endeavors and expertise.

    Also, I’m inclined to agree with the above calls by some, for Fabianski to supersede Szczesny as our No.1 goalkeeper – at least for a season or two. As the younger Pole has plenty of time at his disposal to hone his visible talent and claim an undisputed future reign. Hastening the important process of apprenticeship before its natural expiration, will only lead to tears again. Therefore not worth the heartache.

  261. During the carling Cup final, Trevor Francis was going on and on about how it was obvious Arsenal dont bother doing any defending from set piece training. I gave him the finger at the time as he is an odious bitter fucker who whenever commentating on Arsenal shows his xenophobia and contempt for the team, but looks like the bitter old twat may have had a point!

  262. Something is wrong thats for sure Dexter. The bad thing is we were looking so much better defensively and then since the Barca match we regressed.

  263. Anyway folks, this is still our team and we need to get behind them for the remainder of the season. I hope there is a light at the end of this tunnel not on the front of a train.

  264. Borges Spinelli

    I’m not advocating a mass exodus of players, although some tough, but necessary decisions will have to be made on the playing & auxiliary personnel by Wenger. Tactics too. What is the point in having a squad of 25-30 players, if only13/14 of ’em are adjudged good enough to regularly feature – and in difficult periods played when unfit?

    Sentiments have won us nothing, as evidenced by 2010/11 season’s bewildering & cataclysmic collapse. What it has achieved is to turn us into the laughing stock of the footballing world and foster a bitterly divided camp. Et j’en ai par-dessus la tete!!!!

    [Senhores Yogi Warrior e Darius, your ever reliable authoring and platorm has been a great source of hope, passion, enlightenment, camaraderie and always a joy to read. I’m sure I speak on behalf of fellow, loyal regular ACLF contributors and silent enthusiasts, when I say thanks for the daily dose of equanimity and nutritious feasts of literary gems. Come rain or shine. Long may it continue for many, many moons to come.]

    And, lastly, a wish of speedy recovery to Shottagunner.

  265. Dexter

    Travor Francis has hatred Arsenal with a passion since we beat his Sheffield Wednesday side twice in cup finals in the same season.

    YW

  266. Where has Olegunner gone?

  267. Yes well he has gotten exactly what he deserves,second in command to the most horrible cretin in football.Imagine how that must make him feel.

  268. George

    He pops up on Twitter a bit, occasionally here.

    YW

  269. I think the discussion CBob was involved in earlier is an important point.

    Wenger seems to play either the “A” team or a “B” team.

    To my mind, that is a problem.

    The point of having a club play the same way through all age groups is that any player can slot into the team when needed.

    To then play a “B” team made up of players who are either coming back from injury, or who haven’t played recently or who are stand-ins etc etc is just setting them up to lose.

    What Wenger has done exceptionally badly when rotating the team, is that he has not allowed players to integrate with a core who are playing well.

    By his own philosophy, he should never be looking at more than 3 changes to a team, but he has made 8 or 9 major changes at times.

    He should have been changing fewer players more often, not running with an “A” team for game after game after game then doing a major change to give the “A” team a rest by bringing in a “B” team with no match practice and expecting them to perform.

    If he integrated players more often he would achieve his aim of resting important players while still allowing those coming in to have a fair chance of playing in a side that is already clicking.

    Looking at our squad we do have the best squad in the league imo.

    We just aren’t seeing that squad play to the sum of it’s parts, never mind exceed it.

    With our squad, 2+2 adds up to about 2.5 or 3 at a push. On occasion it has seemed that 2+2 has added up to 1.

    With manusa (*spit*) this season, 1+ 1 has added up to about 6.

    A lot of that is mental. We seem to fall short there, and some of that is down to the way Wenger uses the squad.

    For example, what on earth is the problem with using Vela? He’s looked excellent when he’s got a chance at WBA. If he’d been given half the chances Theo got, I suspect he’d be rocking, but he didn’t even get scraps.

    Theo has really taken off this season imo, he’s developed better ball control, he looks like he’s bulked up, and his decision making has improved.

    What could we have achieved with Vela? Is there something we don’t know that prevents him getting opportunities?

    I’m reminded of Manniger, who did nothing wrong but still got dropped for Seaman when he really shouldn’t have been.

    I do feel Wenger does have a problem trusting some of the players when he really should, and I think that might be one of the root causes.

    Maybe Benitez overdid the rotation, but Wenger has definitely underdone it as badly, if not worse imo.

  270. Keyserzone:

    I agree with Limestone that a tall and physical defender is critical. I don’t think TV and Kos will work out well together. JD may be that defender, but is certainly a question mark for a number of reasons, not the least his injury history. I think we need another player who can take over that role. The figures I have heard for Sakho or Subotic should not be out of our price range anymore. I know its in retrospect but Fergie got Vidic and EVDS for a total of 18 – 20M (somebody probably knows the exact figure) they almost immediately became the leagues dominant defensive team which is the real reason for their trophy haul. A player like Vidic in the center of our defense would be priceless. If Luiz can become the Chav’s bedrock central defender for years as JT slows down his $23M fee will be a bargain. GK is a lower level concern at least for me.

  271. That would explain it Yogi! Thanks, Im off for dinner drinks and um, possibly dancing too.

  272. Bill to say a player like Vidic is the answer is a bit simplistic dont you think?
    Of course he is ,because he is perhaps the best CB in the world.If there were more like him every team would have two of them,
    Its a bit like saying we need a Dennis Berkamp like player.No shit Sherlock.

  273. I think this nonsense that we don’t practice set piece defending is an unfounded myth. If that were the case, we would concede from every set piece, which we don’t. Maybe the fact is that as our forwards are not good at corners we don’t get as much practice against quality balls in the box. But knowing our weakness, it would be criminal for the coaches not to try to do anything about it. I also suspect that the goalkeeper has a large part to play in organising the players in the box when we are defending. If anything this may be our weakness, with young or inexperienced goal keepers and CB’s. It is a problem of lack of communication and organisation at the back. No one seems to be taking responsibility at the times when these mistakes are made. Our players need to stop being so nice and someone needs to step up and start shouting.

  274. george rodger | April 25, 2011 at 5:53 pm |

    Vidic is also allowed to get away with challenges that other defenders aren’t because he plays for manure. Someone earlier suggested that Djourou should have had his hand on the Bolton player yesterday, but with the kind of refereeing we see against us, that would most likely have been called a penalty.

  275. Passenal, very true,but he is a very good player.

  276. it wouldnt mean that we conceed every single set piece..but it would mean we conceed alot of them..which we do..
    and rvp wins alot of of headers when he gets back..
    and weve had the same problems for years with set pieces and weve used many cb’s and gk’s young and old
    i think its a problem at the source to be honest..the lack of organisation and communication is a training ground thing…

  277. Borges Spinelli

    Sakho at 6 ft 2 is marginally taller than 6ft 1, Koscielny & Squillaci. While Subotic, Bartley and Djourou are roughly identical in height give or take a cm (0.5 inches).

  278. JJ ,if that is true it is a scandal.

  279. bob wilson has told wenger to spend..
    and buy british

  280. lol,So has Merson so that means little

  281. I am seriously fuming as an Arsenal fan right now. 6 whole years without a trophy. 6 Years?!! I deserve better than this.

    Arsene Wenger has spent an absolute fortune on this squad, our club is pretty much bankrupt due to the amount of money that Frenchman has spent. We are in an awful position financially because we have wasted all our money on greedy mercenaries.

    Why the hell didn’t we go for the Olympic stadium with Spurs and West Ham? We could have moved into a new stadium but no, Wenger just wants all the glory for himself, doesn’t give a jot about the future of the club.

    I get all my knowledge from pundits and the media and they all know about this six year business. I understand their rage now. Since when has a club who have spent massive amounts like us gone so long without silverware.

    Appy Arry’s fantastically entertaining Spurs have been an absolute joy this season. Harry and wheeled and dealed and hasn’t asked the owner to spend a penny on their squad. What a manager he is. I reckon they are a great bet for the league next year.

    King Kenny is back. Can we get a round of applause please lads. The mighty Liverpool who were the most successful club side in this country and probably Europe are getting closer and closer to winning yet another Premier League title. Rafa got them so far by getting in free signings and now Kenny will finish off the job.

    Look how brave and exciting Manchester City have been after delicately assembling a quality squad full of players who know the City way. This is what I am bloody talking about.

    Arsenal? Pffftt! Joke club. Joke manager who has a load of fancy dans who are scared to get out of bed in the morning. They wear fluffy pink socks, a blogger told me.

    People keep telling me that players peak at 27/28. I have decided that is rubbish. Chelsea are on the verge of peaking. Once they do Roman will just nip out and spend about 300 million on players.

    Are you listening Arsenal? THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT.

    I cannot write anymore, it is making me too fricking mad. I might come back when/if we start winning again. Once we sack Wenger who hasn’t won anything in this country, like forever and get someone like Arry or Allardyce then I might come back because supporting is about winning and winning only.

    We are the only club in the history of the Premier League to go six years without a trophy and I think I may have to commit suicide now because the media are telling me how awful that is.

    Don’t miss me guys. I hope you enjoy next season when everyone wins trophies apart from Arsenal. Luckily I shall not be around to watch this crap.

  282. and its not so much a thing we dont do
    i think we do do it but whoevers doing it either isnt spending very long on it or isnt that much cop at teaching it..

  283. lol
    it something you expect from merse..he cant even pronounce names properly, he needs more british to make is job easier lol

    but bob?? bob doesnt normally say these things.

  284. Mean Lean
    What was in the Guardian podcast that got you so worked up? I have stopped following the podcast and articles from Paul Wilson, Richard Williams etc for sometime now because they are a bunch of conceited fools who think they are the last word on football. Not worth losing your mind on, the comments below the line there are more worthwhile than the “journalism”.

  285. Lean Mean did you write that or copy and paste it from Le Grove?

  286. JJ,seriously its a worry when you cant think of an answer to a problem

  287. Passenal has hit a very good point. If the players play the way that is needed would in result in a pen?
    What cannot be quanitified is how much some of the weird decisions against the team has affected them. How can you defend with confidence when you get pens called against you such as yesterdy and like in the Newcastle match , while it doesnt seem we get the calls.
    What about the Cesc handball against the Spurs? the same thing happened to us in another match with the ref was right there and nothing?
    I know all teams get bad calls but it does seem as we are left holding the crap end of the stick with too much regularity.
    The Barca match says it all!
    I can see how that could play on anyones mind actually.

  288. George:

    You are right it is clearly way to simplistic to say that someone like vidic would cure everything. It would be great start. There are very few Vidic’s out there but I think we need a player who can do some of the things he does, organizing and anchoring the defense. My point is, if there is someone out there who our scouting staff thinks can do that then lets try to get him even if overpriced. I think history clearly shows that you don’t win the PL without an excellent defense so to me thats still the first priority.

    That said, we struggled on both sides of the pitch this year and as the variety of opinions on the blog today shows there is certainly not one simple reason and the solutions are far from clear. Last year I thought that fixing our defense would solve all problems. Not sure what to think at this point. Like everyone, when confused you tend look for simple explanations even when none exists and grasp for straws.

  289. It has to be said, Allardyce was on Sky yesterday(Has he lost weight or what??? He looked like a right little midget where he sat compared to before,nothing left ogf the man). He did say that AW was the best manager this league has ever seen, and the way he has managed with a stadium and not alot of money and all that was just plain awesome.

    He said this even after we lost to Bolton. He probably pissed of a huge amount of Arsenal fans in the process though. Ironic that our fans hate him for liking Wenger now….

  290. Keysersoze,

    I have recently been reading the comments sections and some of the rubbish on it was just doing my head in.

    I have been feeling rather defensive of our club and manager today after so much bile thrown about by Arsenal fans.

    I was in a fighting mood earlier but I think I will just take back seat now and take a deep breath in and relax.

    I know that it is a matter of time before we win and keep winning and that day I will smile to myself and really enjoy the feeling.

  291. @bill i think we can afford everything upto 40M with wages. there is your budget, now start looking 🙂
    Im sure Vidic was no more than that, so its still a chance for us to get one of those players.
    We already got Kos last year, he has the same style as Luiz for chelsea. Those few times ive seen Luiz play ive always thought, darn does he not look like a Kos copy? So obviousley they did a good bit of buisness there.

  292. Bill,

    I had issue with a recent comment you brought up on another blog but…

    I cannot remember what it was now. 😉

  293. Anyone know when the balance sheet parade is

  294. I am yet to catch up on the comments today but I wanted to know what you guys thought of RVP’s switch of position in the second half against Bolton?

    I thought he looked wonderful in that role and some of his passes were reministent of a former Dutch number 10. I have been against it in the past because of his play back to goal but what do you guys think of the old number 14 reuniting with the number 10 a little deeper?

    Against bus parking teams?

    Szczesny
    Sagna Koscielny/Djoruou Vermaelen Clichy
    Nasri Cesc Wilshere Arshavin
    Van Persie
    Walcott

  295. Why doesn’t the center tags work? *frown*

  296. someone above was mentioning our poor marking for the two goals the other day. If Djourou marks his man and puts his arm out to block the man, we will surely see a flop, and probably a pelanty call. Did you all see how badly Sturridge flopped when he won the pelanty? i’m sure you did. When teams are playing defense against us they push and shove and tackle with studs showing. (http://arsenalist.com/video/?id=xidwnv no yellow cards here) If our players run up to mark and man and make a little contact, that cunt will fall down immediately upon contact. It is almost like we have to play with a different set of rules. that could just be my arsenal bias showing a little bit though.

  297. Mean Lean, I think RVP should drop a little deeper and we can put either Chamakh or walcott up front considering who we are playing I guess. RVP is not your ordinary striker and for me when he drops a little we get the use of his total game. On the other hand, if RVP was in Nasri position on the end of the passes, things wouldnt be so dismal today.

  298. William, I dont think its Bias, not when you see what United get away with.

  299. Paul i see that you have been thinking along similar lines. We know how rosicky likes to push his man a little and he usually gets booked for it and the commentators say it is a stupid and unneccessary foul. teams do that to us and i guess it is good hard english style defense. where is the justice in this world?

  300. Mean Lean,that looks good to me,only swap Clichy forTV.
    Bill,I know you get some stick for your defensive stance,but your last post looks good to me.
    So now we have it ,LeanMeans offence and Bills defense and bobs your uncle

  301. Back-up players or the B squad as some might call them, have actually acquitted themselves fairly well throughout the season. However, when there is an injury to a starting player, the notion of rushing that player back into service because there is not an adequate replacement surely cannot be applied to the Arsenal team. In my mind, the Arsenal story is a tale of starting players who rarely play an entire season because of an injury relating to a mysterious muscle or tendon problem. The back-up players are largely responsible for holding the team near the top of the league throughout the season. For example, we have not seen Vermalen for an entire season! Some mysterious event in his Achilles Tendon they tell us. And, there have been many players like that in the Arsenal squad. It seems to me that is the rule rather than the exception for Arsenal FC.

    Unfortunately, the team has experienced more than its share of injuries to first line players who, when they return to playing, spend a considerable amount of time regaining their lost form if in fact they regain any of the form that first attracted Arsenal scouts.

    It seems to me that if we were all collectively of the same mind, we could hold our breaths until we turned beet red and exhaled the mysterious injury demons plaguing Arsenal. A kind of ritual exorcism you might say.

  302. LOL mean lean!

  303. Limestonegunner

    Poodle, perhaps Big Sam knows Pat Rice is probably retiring and is angling for the #2 spot! It is a step closer to being the #1 at Real Madrid or Inter than the Boltons and Blackburns of this world–at least Arsenal play these teams in the CL!

  304. Lol,if Big Sam came as no.2 I would start supporting the Spuds.Or netball.

  305. Limestonegunner

    Mean Lean, I thought RvP looked very good in that spot. But I think Wenger tried playing RvP in Cesc’s role earlier and it didn’t work. To my mind it suggests that when RvP plays with another striker up front that the formation does change.

    Paul N, Passenal and William, I don’t think the suggestion is that Djourou use his arm to block or push his man but to keep track of his movement and be a bit of an obstacle to slow him down. We get called for things as has been pointed out but this didn’t strike me as a risky practice.

  306. “What cannot be quanitified is how much some of the weird decisions against the team has affected them. How can you defend with confidence when you get pens called against you such as yesterdy and like in the Newcastle match , while it doesnt seem we get the calls.”

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head Paul. After the Newcastle game, Sagna was interviewed and it was clear that the players see what we see and it’s only human to be affected by that.

  307. Paulie Walnuts

    Interesting comments from Bob Wilson today but who would HE sign ?

    Looking at English players who maybe available this summer we`re looking at the likes of Cahill (zzzzz), Baines, Parker & Ashley Young. Not much to write home about there & they`d all cost an arm & a leg.

    Infact you wouldn`t get much change from £60M at todays rate & let`s be honest would they really improve us that much ?

    Bob, I know you`re hurting like all of us but it`s just a sound bite.

  308. Passenal @6:02:

    “I think this nonsense that we don’t practice set piece defending is an unfounded myth.”

    Clearly we must practice set piece defending but I think we need to do it a lot more then we are. Either that or the players don’t take what is practiced out to the pitch. I think the myth grows because its seems like the problem should be relatively easily fixed with some work on the training ground leading people go overboard in their speculations of inactivity.

    Perhaps the Manc’s do get a few more calls over the season that go there way. No way to prove if its true or not. I’ve have never met a sports fan who does not think his team draws the short straw with referees. Here in the USA the fans of the chasing pack of teams think that the top teams get all the calls from the officials especially in our basketball games. Manc fans think the FA is after them with Fergies touch line ban and Rooney’s cursing suspension for the FA cup game. They will point out dozens and dozens of calls that went against them. When the referees are so incredibly inconsistent everyone thinks they get the short straw. As Yogi points out in the post, the 4th official could quickly review the replay and solve a lot of the problems and probably debunk many of the myths that spring around this whole issue. Doubt we will see it anytime soon.

  309. Limestone, since so many are clamouring for British and a defensive minded tactician, perhaps they might be happy with Sam after all?

  310. William, that was a bloody red not a yellow card! Davies went through Song like a Mac Truck.

  311. Limestonegunner

    I read an article that suggested that Baines was second to Dani Alves in assists for a fullback the last two or three years in top European leagues. We all know that our crossing from that position has not been terrific, even if we don’t get players making those runs into the box that often. That said, I am much more in favor of taking shots from midfield to open space for our play on the ground.

  312. Limestonegunner

    Lol, Passenal. He certainly would help us get more out of our set pieces (and how to defend them) since that was the some total of his teams’ play! He could maybe encourage Arsene to outfit himself and all the coaches with those high tech ear pieces–wouldn’t that be swell.

  313. Bill, I think it was Yogi who pointed out the stat that manure have only conceded 5 penalties at old toilet in the whole PL history. That alone tells it’s own story. Unless you really don’t want to see it. The referees and media fear SAF – he is far too powerful and influential over the football establishment whereas the studious Frenchman and his fey foreigners are beyond contempt and fair game for all and sundry. Even their so called supporters don’t back them up.

  314. finsbury,

    Before I start with more serious post he does have a song which goes along to the melody of a hit tune by the band Queen. As follow’s:

    ALL WE HEAR IS BACARY SAGNA
    BACARY SAGNA
    BACARY SAGNA.

    It’s just that since a year and a bit before we moved to Ash B, it’s like our fans don’t sing out much. We get out voiced by the likes of Stoke, Blackburn, Wigan, Spuds, shall I go on?

    Maybe some of the Wenger bounty hunters can take some of the blame they are heaping on Wenger or is it also his fault that we have over 45,000 fans at every home game but, all he can hear are fucking spuds? Or maybe the loud Gooners have been priced out since the Highbury move?
    Take your pick on that one.

    Anyway,

    Wenger, has paid a heavy price for continuing to put his trust in certain players which we shouldn’t be ashamed of naming. Players who have had more than their fair share of chances and the first few that come to my mind are Bendtner, Denilson and Rosicky. We have decent young players who have been loaned out or had to move on due to these players taking up space and I think it’s time Wenger brought them back in and got rid of the let down dead wood.

    The same goes for Henri Lansbury. This kid can play across midfield and is a real bully on the pitch. Just the type of player we needed on the pitch when we can see that our team is about to fold in the next 20 mins. I just think that it would be good to have these players with the blood running through them when things are as they do at that stage in our recent games.
    He also tracks back and unlike Denilson, he tracks back with an opposing player not just stroll back in his own world.

    No point whatsoever in having Bentner at the club especially when we got in Chamakh. I really felt it for Chamakh, because he was in fantastic goal scoring form and really learning the way of the Prem when all of a sudden he was dropped all because VP came back. This must have been destroying for his confidence. Wenger should of found a way to keep him in the side just to keep his form ticking and when Chamakh, came on we saw just how effective they were with VP feeding.

    It was a massive error by Wenger but, the man isn’t stupid and will have taken note and will adjust accordingly next season. Oh yes that’s right Glory Gooner there is a “Next Season” it’s not the end of the planet come May 2011 so run along to the sun, mirror and bskyfucking B and spread the word.

    Our manager knows he fked up a number of things this season but so did some of our players who kept opening their beak to the media and then falling asleep on the battle field. Djouru, springs to mind on the subject of falling asleep. A truly brilliant future prospect to match that of a young Sol when he get’s older but, for he needs to be guided during play as do most top class CBs do when young. I’m not convinced about Laurent Koscielny either and need to see how he performs when guided as I don’t think the both of them should be paired unless nothing else is available.

    Possibly a major mistake going all the way to French Div 2 to pay all that money when a decent offer and maybe a player could of got Gary Cahill. I seen Cahill cause us all sorts of problems and always looking to put his body on the line but, I didn’t see this from our CBs as an attacking force.

    Bendtner and Denilson, never should of been at the club in the first place as they have done nothing to enhance the team but, have kept some very decent youth out who could do much better than they have over the years just by leading by example. JET in Bendtner to Germany of Wigan. Sorry I don’t think he would get on the sheet at Wigan. It does look like this is his last season anyway.

    How many clubs around us would love to be a dead cert for CL during the last ten years? How many so say top clubs haven’t won a Premiership Title?
    We have x3 of them. The media are happy to pretty up their racist shitty reporting for some of you to suck on but, you need to wake up and see what’s really going on.

  315. …”The manager has taken great pain to nurture the squad which on the surface sounds like the correct way to handle young players. However, perhaps the lack of structure has lead to chronic mistakes which leads to self doubt”…

    Bill, what do you mean by a “lack of structure”?Why exactly do we lack a structure? I’m sorry but you are not making any kind of sense to me. You appear to be one of those who believes that Wenger goes around massaging his players ego, fluffing their pillows and feeding them nothing but milk and honey and doing nothing else… basically to be honest I think you just look for ways to couch what is tabloid bullshit in what you imagine is more palatable language. We don’t lack a structure at Arsenal whether it is on the playing field or off it. A team with an average age of 23, where the more mature players for whatever reason have not contributed, has fallen short and the burden turned out to be a bit too big for them… that does not in any way imply a lack of structure. May be you can enlighten me by explaining what your idea of a “structure” entails because to me it just sounds like waffle.

  316. Limestone, I think the thing is once you are apprehensive in the box you will not be aggressive and you may not know your “limits”. But I agree we should do that, we should brace the players until the ball is kicked, I remember Chamakh giving Samba, I think it was, a very hard time. We cannot allow players to roam around the box freely.

    @Goonerton, any player that can have such an impact on Messi must be onto something. I am not sure what else Kos needs to do, the man is pure class.

  317. thank you goon
    thats another nail in Dex’s anti Chamakh rant against Duke, he was going along nicely until RVP came back, most unfortunate.

  318. I dont think we should go around as if we know what is happening in the training ground and claim to behave as if we know how Arsene deals with the players. Lets just say we have areas in which we can improve and and trust Wenger to correct them.

    Passenal, I think people dont want to see what is going on with United. How can a team not have a penalty called on them at home for a whole year?

  319. YW – the season began with ‘so much promise’ ??? That’s where you’re lost mate. You seem to enjoy writing, but like most, don’t know what your are doing.

    There are so many problems straight through the squad that things cannot now be easily fixed. Even signing three excellent experienced players will not change things to the degree necessary to restore the club to winning ways, and there is no indication from wenger that he can change.

    Wenger’s personality is determined to drag this club to the very bitter end of his personal pet project, and phw/stan and these diabolical schemers we call ‘our board’ have been applauding this entire nauseating process, including ‘fans’ such as yourself.

  320. Paul N,

    Fair point as he did handle him well but, maybe that was a more straight forward order for him all being it a flipping hard one. But, I see him switch off too often for a side chasing honours. As I said though, if he plays alongside Thomas Vermaelen, I think he will be ok and that goes for Djouru.

    Song, also is a long way off being ready. Too many time this season I have watched him try too much on the ball lose it then commit a foul trying to retrieve it when there was no need because the player with the ball was about to run into one of our players. I would love to see Gökhan Inler come into this position. He is much more better at retaining the ball and making those crunching tackles and getting vital goals when required.

  321. goonerton, Arsenal players are not allowed to ‘crunch into tackles’ or a foul is called. As for your analysis, I love the way it is the fault of players who are not playing, but the players who are are let off the hook maybe because they are more popular?

  322. …”Joshua, why are our CB’s and GK’s so young and callow(?). I think they have done a good job generally this season, but if that is where you want to lay some responsibility for the gap between us and ManU, why wasn’t this addressed in the summer or during the transfer window more aggressively?”…

    Limestone.. our Central defenders and Goalkeeper (especially Szczensy) compared to ManU’s are callow and inexperienced that is not to say that they didn’t do an outstanding job at times…. I don’t even believe that it is up for debate….

    As for your question of solving the problem aggressively in the summer.. how exactly were we supposed to solve the problem? By buying Cahill or Jagielka? Neither of them are good enough to support the investment needed to bring them to the club. What makes Cahill worth 15 to 20 m? Why should he arrive at Arsenal and become our highest paid defender when he is no better than what we’ve got… do you think Cahill will start ahead of a fit Vermaelen and Djourou? Would he even start ahead of Kozz? There’s this idea that predominates in forums like this one that player acquisition with a tight budget is easy. My view in the January window was very simple… I didn’t see the need to get in someone like Cahill, he wouldn’t have brought anymore experience as he’s never played in a Championship chasing side, he has very limited international experience and he isn’t even that old and he was too damned expensive. The same goes for Jagelka. I didn’t see Cahill as an upgrade and that was my view then and it is my view now… Cahill, to be blunt, wouldn’t have made us any less Callow at CB. If Wenger disagrees he is free to bring him to the club but I personally think that if Cahill were not English no one would be talking about him as much they are and neither would anyone think of him as worth 20m.

  323. goonerton, Is there a better DM in the PL than Song? I dont think so. Sure he can improve but it is when he is playing that we play the best.

    I think we can all agree that our players can improve but it took some real low blows to knock us of track. We had an unbelievable run in which refs had a great impact. People dont like that but its the simple truth.

  324. Steve

    “You’re lost mate” because you should be getting ready for your “Anti-Wenger” march on Saturday like all the other useless cunts involved with it.

    YW

  325. “do you think Cahill will start ahead of a fit Vermaelen and Djourou? Would he even start ahead of Kozz?”

    Yes. Absolutely.

    DJ and Koz would be a good backup pair to Cahill and (a hopefully fully recovered and returned) Vermaelen.

  326. How much do we really know about the workings of AFC
    We can only speculate on the following
    What does Ivan do .does he have any influence over Arsene
    How many coaches do we have. Do they issue tactics to the players or are they just there for window dressing
    What does Pat Rice do
    Who issues instructions to the players during the game.We often see other managers talking to players during the game but Arsene just seems to argue with the 4th official
    Do our players actually receive instructions not to shoot outside the box
    Will Kronke get more involved now that he has control of the club

  327. Passenal, Barton vs Diaby springs to mind talking about crunching tackles. Diaby’s leg is nearly broken and nothing but Diaby gets the straight red and not even a yellow for Barton. Not to mention him flattening Arshavin.
    Even in Saturday’s match a Bolton player shouldve gotten a second yellow for a nasty tackle, Davies nearly breaks a leg and nothing.
    I cannot say how many times I have seen Arsenal players pushed off the ball from behing and nothing.
    Something isnt right and we will just have to get better to overcome whatever is going on. Its not gonna change at all.

  328. Terry

    The answer to your questions is probably “Not Much” in most cases or “No” or “Lots”. But on this day, it is a rare voice of reason.

    Welcome, Sir.

    YW

  329. Terry boylin, what I do know is that we have 3 first team coaches, Arsene Wenger, Boro Primorac and Pat Rice, and all 3 are former defenders, so go figure about our defensive frailties!

    Busch, so an average defender for mid table Bolton who just got stuffed 5 – 0 by Stoke would be your first choice defender for an attacking team like Arsenal? Don’t give up your day job.

  330. Even our reserve and youth coaches were defenders in their playing days!

  331. Henristic…

    if you say that Barca are disciplined and we are not … how come we beat them at the Grove. If Wenger is incapable of instilling the discipline that Guardiola instills in Barca tactically… how did we win? And even in the match at the Camp Nou our undisciplined and undrilled team managed to restrict the great Barca to 1 shot on target apart from their goal which was in part down to Fabregas when the team were 11 v 11. An undrilled and undisciplined team restricted the drilled and disciplined one to a single shot on target… it must be a miracle!

    I think that that your theories are a bit too simplistic. The team is not under drilled or necessarily not disciplined. They are first and foremost not as experienced and, despite all the bravado, neither are they as confident as the likes of Barca. It simply takes time and effort to become as good as Barca. As Cesc keeps saying neither Puyol nor Xavi nor Iniesta had won anything by the age of 25.

    I also disagree strongly with this idea that there should be a uniform way to handle young players… Wenger has selected players that he believes can play and thrive within his system… and for the most part they are doing so. We are in the aftermath of a deeply disappointing season so it is natural that folks would look for some big thing to fix… I don’t think that there’s anything that big to fix TBH.

  332. Goonnerton @8:07, thanks for the reply.

    Thanks for the song. I don’t disagree with your report. But when I’m in the stadium, occasionly it is loud and there are more people singing, and sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes people stay to the end of a mid-week game. Most of the time,a lot of people inside the stadium do not.

    The Chelsea home game was great. A holiday crowd. Lots of noise.
    Red action are cool, they are on the case.

  333. Awwww… Passenal.

    You can pick one result to fit your position and it means he could never ever be a “good enough” for your standards player for our squad.

    I’m glad you find those “attacking” defenders of ours who gave up 4 to Newcastle and couldn’t hold multiple leads this season are so far above average.

    Oh, wait… there are other factors inour matches that excuse these defenders you are putting all your faith in but heaven forbid other factors could have led to any bad result for a potential signing that might replace them or upset the apple cart.

  334. Wake up and turn me loose
    Wake up and turn me loose
    Wake up and turn me loose
    For the points are falling

    Got to have kaya now
    Got to have kaya now
    Got to have kaya now
    For the points are falling

    I’m so down, I even have a frown
    Above the excruciating pain
    I feel so bad in my neighbourhood, so
    Here I go again

    Got to have kaya now
    Got to have kaya now
    Got to have kaya now
    For the points are falling

  335. You can’t judge Cahill, on the Stoke game and you can’t say he hasn’t been in a championship chasing side. That has nothing to do with his own quality and the he put’s himself about and is a genuine threat on set pieces which we don’t really have.

    It’s a wild rumour that Arsenal don’t practice defending set plays but, when you see the way we defend and count the exact same mistake week in week out it’s hard to deny this rumour. I mean it’s so basic and the mistakes are mistakes that would see players at the standard I play in left out the team. Our defending does often leave me and mates arguing as to why we do not mark up properly or correctly. It’s really frustrating when we see the opposing teams most dangerous player in the air not being picked up on set plays or nobody on our team directing another player to pick him up?!

    This is so so basic and you see every other team in the division doing it. How the hell do we know what each other is doing if we aren’t talking?

    Cahill for sure would put this issue to bed as so will TV when he is back and ready to fire next season.

  336. All the drill sergants need to look again at how an Arsenal team defended in the Camp Gnu with a hamstrung Captain. And still they drew level, with a fluke goal no less.
    At the time of RVP’s sending off, BBB were losing the tie. Arsenal’s plan was to bring on AA and try to nick another goal I guess, not to shut up shop for the whole game like Inter last season (Inter had a two goal lead I think?). By every measure, it was a good D-Fensive performance. One could argue that after the sending off, that it wasn’t. If you like.
    In case you are a troll, and are now confused, this is not a comment that states that the Arsenal D-Fence is immaculate.
    Just that the Arsenal can ‘defend’.

  337. Thanks for your sarcastic reply Busch, I’m sure you’ve studied Cahill’s performances closely and have good reason to believe he can fit into the Arsenal style of play, or maybe you think we should completely change our game plan to suit his qualities and make him feel at home?

  338. Joshua, it is going to take much more time than we expected and I agree there is not much wrong. To be truthful if the players couldve gotten their minds right after the Newcastle, CC Final and CL dissapointments they had the talent to get the job done and win the PL. That was obviously easier said than done, the lack of maturity is evident in that we couldnt get back up.
    We will get there though, better believe that!

  339. Cahill cannot start ahead of Lescott for England! Oh my sides… if he wasn’t English there wouldn’t be this fuss about him. If he’s that great why is he still at Bolton? Why did Chelsea go for Luiz at 25m instead of Cahill? Clueless.

  340. And my comment above isn’t specific to set plays.
    There is always room for improvement.

    The thought of Vidic getting twined at FA HQ Webbley by Messi, again, makes me smile.

  341. Finsbury, that was an extra ordinary defensive performance at Barca. If Cesc doesnt give the ball away we go in at half time 0-0. I could only see one team winning after half time as we have gotten the better of them in the 2nd half for the most part.

  342. Passenal,

    Only as sarcastic as the “day job” quote.

    And I’ve seen him as much as any player that doesn’t get as much t.v. time as the big squads get.
    But I do see what he does, to us at least, dominate the air and the box on set pieces.
    Not get caught out as much as Koz or DJ, not stick his leg out as a result in the box as much as DJ and Koz either leading to penalties or heart in throat non-calls.
    Change our system? Well, maybe we should adjust it. Not for him, but since Go-Go-Go offense and ball possession hasn’t been working, perhaps one should be made with a more defensive, stay at home defender there to anchor it… Cahill as the player or not.

  343. Well those are great questions Joshua re:Cahil.

    I dont know why people like to give Kos a hard time. He may not be a bruiser but who reads the game as well he does in defense. He cuts out the trouble way before he has t0 try to bully the game for the most part.
    Again, pure class!

  344. PaulN…

    That’s just the way it is… I agree that with a bit of luck we could have done it…to be honest the Liverpool 1-1 at the Grove was the killer. Rotten luck. The funny thing is that Leiva’s dive is hardly ever mentioned as a blatant dive… remember the heat Eduardo got for diving?

    To be honest the decisions we suffer are not all down to luck at all… there’s an anti-Arsenal bias in the press that is driven in the main by xenophobia and it makes the officials either consciously or subconsciously treat us differently. The truth is that it’s not even a secret any more… just look at all the people asking us to sign British players… not better players, not world class players, not players who offer value for money… naaah, they want us to sign BRITISH players. Ask yourself why?

  345. Paulie Walnuts

    I`ve not seen enough of Gary Cahill to know how good he is technically but he does appear to do the business in both areas from set pieces…..whether that`s worth £15/20M of our money who knows.

    On the other hand , Martin O’Neil knows a centre back (his sides are packed with them) & he let him leave Villa.

    Transfers ? They`re a lottery – how people can say for sure is beyond me.

    Do the scouting, background checks, contract negotiations, signing on fees etc etc & hope for the best. Get 2 out of 3 right & you`re doing well.

  346. I hear you Joshua! I agree that something is wrong. And where are the English players that we need and are they better than what he have? for the most part, NOPE!

    All we can do is get beter and leave no room for people to mess us up. It willbe difficult but do we have a choice?

  347. Joshua,

    I’m not sure what your point is here. Are you saying because we beat Barca at home, we are a more disciplined team over the course of a season? Are you saying Barca aren’t a consistently better performing team than we are?

    We are not the only team that has beat Barca this year you know? Does it mean all the other teams who’ve done so are world beaters too? Are Hercules a better team than Barca because they beat them 2 nil?

    We played very well on the day we won against them especially in the second half. There is no doubt about that. But part of our problem is that we’re unable to perform at that level at anywhere near the consistency required of champions.

  348. We were defending quite well for a while with Kos and Djourou, things have gone off the boil lately due to injuries and lack of confidence, which have seen us making basic errors at the back. If Cahill alone could make such a difference, why is his team not doing better in the league? They are after all much more defensive minded than Arsenal. You have to take the defensive set up of the team into account when considering the right personnel. Even the best defender in the world will be exposed if the rest of the team don’t do their part.

  349. My point Henristic is fairly simple. You say that we are less well drilled and less disciplined than Barca… and we played Barca in a high profile game over 2 legs… if your claims had any validity we would have seen the more disciplined and better drilled team romp the tie. They didn’t.

    Not only that but the Barcelona team contained the world’s best 3 players as voted by the coaches of the national teams, the most lethal striker at the world cup, a host of world cup winners and they had a superiority in age and experience… so given your claim they really ought to have kicked our asses mightily shouldn’t they… but they didn’t.

    My point Henristic is that we had an empirical situation in which we could test your claims and the results are clearly against you. That is my point. What Barcelona do for the rest of the season is more less irrelevant. We play in England and the play in Spain. We face circumstances that they don’t… but when we meet head to head we have the opportunity to look empirically at your claim… we looked, we saw and the evidence doesn’t stack up.

  350. Hold up Henristic, there is a lot of sense to what Joshua is saying regarding us playing barcelona. We did sho some great discipline, in two games they only scored two goals against us 11 v 11 and one was a gift.

    In order to play a team like that and keep them at bay you have to be disciplined.

    I agree with Passenal, injuries and a lack of confidence (moreso than the injuries) has done us in big time.

    Prior to Barca travesty and apart from the Newcastle travesrty we had really improved at the back. Even with that we were 2nd in goals against until two weeks ago or something like that.

  351. lmao.
    Great post Joshua.

  352. Well said Joshua! We cannot want to look at facts when they go against us but when they are on our side they somehow become irrelevant.

  353. We scored 3 goals against them 11 vs 11 and I dont care if one was an own goal as the cross was superb. Even if it wanst I wouldnt care actually.

    The stats say 11 vs 11 Arsenal 3-2 Barca.

  354. Passenal,

    Don’t get me wrong mate, players such as Arshavin, didn’t deliver this season as they should have. Nasri, was outstanding before the hamstring and I thought he set a certain standard for himself but, since his return it’s like he’s a totally different player. Hopefully he will find 40% minimum of the form he was showing earlier before the end of the season.

    As for Cesc, his mind was somewhere else at the beginning of the season but, he did put in a shift in most of the games we have had.

    The list is endless and the argument can go on and on but, end of the day we need to finish strong and get in the required players to get the job done. We need players in and players out and Wenger can then hopefully draw up a new battle plan for next season.

  355. Not been around for a little while so just responding belatedly to comments on my thoughts earlier. I was not suggesting that Djourou should have his hand on the player’s chest and block him off, but he should have his arm out feeling where the player is whilst looking in the direction of the ball. When the player moves you can then feel him go and go with him. What Merson was saying in commentary and what I agree with is that a George Graham side would have be schooled in how to stay with their man in corner situations. Sol Campbell was probably the last great centre-back we had who did that really well, the only time I can remember seeing him badly caught out at a corner was when Dion Dublin gave him the slip and promptly scored. Campbell was livid because he had let him slip out of his grasp.
    Defenders don’t have to block off runs, or obstruct in the box, although a lot of teams do, but they have to learn how to stay with their man at set pieces. We seem to have lost that skill set somewhere because we have been giving away a lot of free headers at set plays.

  356. Borges Spinelli

    @Bill
    “2 years ago set pieces killed us, last year counter attacks, this year set pieces.”

    Set pieces,counterattacks, mental fragility & lapses have proved problematic. The fatal blowing this season being an inability hang on to leads; convert possession to clinically executed goals = healthy score lines.

    “Nasri is coming across as a bit of a brat in his contract negotiations. Half a good season and he thinks that he is Zinedine Zidane. He only plays well when Cesc does and has done nothing when we needed him in the last few weeks.”

    I disagree, AIC. Nasri carried the team in the 1st half of the season – a lot of these were games Fàbregas weren’t 100% played no part in.

    “if we want to keep the players we develop we have to win things or they will be picked off by teams that do…. ”

    So true, JonJon.

  357. Cesc hasnt played poorly ( He isnt scoring though) but his interview undermined the team. The only part he said got twisted was regarding Wenger.
    Even if he believes what he said, why say it publicly?

  358. Passenal @ 8:00PM:

    I had never heard that stat. That ones hard to ignore.

  359. Joshua you’ve been a breath of fresh air this season keep up the great support very much enjoy reading your posts (makes it worth wading through the muck) like those others who know who they are, you’re a QUASAR!!!

    __arsenal__

  360. Wavey,

    That’s the basic errors we need to stop in order to challenge for anything.
    If we had a couple of speakers in the side just to organise things before a set play I think we would do much better in defending.

    Whatever we think we have to agree with George Graham to a point because when he was in charge no matter what pressure we was under I can’t remember ever shitting it when we had a corner. I do remember feeling quite smug with myself knowing that the corner/set play would have to be top top draw to get in our net or it would be defended with ease.

  361. Ultimately it doesn’t matter what we think, the coach will select the players for the game he wants the team to play. After all, where are all the ‘sign Joe Cole or I’ll kill myself’ posters now that he has done such a great job at Liverpool?

  362. The players are responsible if they dont win things, we need to stop making it seems like the players are not responsible also.
    Up front only RVP can hold his head up regarding the end of the season all our other big boys have not done the business so please stop with this “if we dont win” talk. They are at fault just as much as anyone else.
    If they want to leave then so be it, but they will have admitted that they also couldnt get it done at Arsenal.

  363. I bet many wouldve killed to have Torres also Passenal.

  364. “You have to take the defensive set up of the team into account when considering the right personnel. Even the best defender in the world will be exposed if the rest of the team don’t do their part.”

    I absolutely agree with that. Along with who one’s partner is. 2 Good CB’s can be a great tandem and 2 great one’s can not mesh at all.
    I don’t have a crystal ball to know exactly how Cahill would do. But the original question was do you *think* he’d start ahead of who we have, and I believe so. I think he’d be a good partner with someone like Vermaelen who is more .. attack minded (I hate that term for a defender), or is better at linking up play quickly from back to forward.
    I’ve always thought of DJ and more in the stay at home defender mold, but if given a choice between him and Cahill, I’d take Cahill. At the price? Depends on if it’s a negotiable deal at 18mil or 25mil. I’d never say yes to the latter, but yes to the former.

  365. If Cesc leaves after him minimal contribution to this season it will be very shoddy of him.

  366. him=his
    sorry

  367. that should be “as more in the” and mould, not that I think DJ is a fungus.

  368. Hate to burst your bubble folks, but those asking for a massive clearout will be disappointed. The main reason for that will be the 25 man rule, it will limit the number of “over-21 players” that can come into the squad, unless other players are allowed to leave. Don’t forget, Gibbs, Theo and Szczesny are 21 now and would have to be included in the senior squad, they can no longer be regarded in the U21 list.

    Arsene is going to have to be clever this summer if he plans on bringing new players in.

  369. Borges Spinelli

    Excuse the incomplete sentence above. It was meant to say, ‘Nasri carried the team in the 1st half of the season – a lot of these were games Fàbregas either weren’t a 100% or played no part in.’

  370. Borges Spinelli

    Should we lose Clichy; Vertonghen or Sakho would be an replacement. Both add a physical presence to the LB position & are equally adept in C.D. Vertonghen is useful too in D.M. With Botelho eligible to partake after protracted work visa fiasco sorted, as deputy & Vermaelen, a further backup. While Gibbs is loaned out on an initial 3 month loan (subject to requirements; preferably to a newly promoted team to get regular games).

    Earlier in the day, someone said Chamakh was dropped to pave way for RvP. False!

    Chamakh was dropped when it became apparent he wasn’t interested in scoring goals; needlessly wasting chances by passing it out of danger. Clearly visible signs of his reticence to score begun to appear late October. Although he manage to score 3 more goals over the 6.5 weeks preceding December 13 (Manchester United away game).

    On a separate point. Fàbregas has scored 9 goals all season and not 3 as incorrectly stated.

  371. Great post Bob. Sadly I have to completely agree with that. New blood is needed and some would have to be let go.

    Borges,

    Fabregas scored only 3 in the EPL this season with 14 assists, as compared to 15 goals and 15 assists last season. So he has to some extent underperformed as compared to last season. But you also have to take into account that Nasri and Theo, started sharing his burden from the midfield. That is till, our bad form started. Arshavin is the second highest, with 11 assists. And in Arsene’s plans, he doesn’t make the starting 11. So Cesc’s loss if it happens, will be HUGE to us whenever it does. No one reads the game like him, and he’s truly the best central midfielder in Europe, ahead of both Inieseta and Xavi in my opinion. But I doubt Arsene would let him go this season.

    And yes Chamakh was dropped to pave way for RVP, and rightly so because he is one of the best strikers in the world. The point was that the burden could have been shared, by some rotation, which never happened. And then you expect them to come off the bench(having not played for months), and save our asses. Not going to happen. How many times has Berbatov been left on the bench for Rooney and Hernandez? Same goes for Drogba and torres, interchanging with each other.

  372. Colney,

    I doubt anyone is asking for massive changes. However, as Bob, pointed out, it is quite clear, that if we go with this same team next season, there is no guarantee they will win anything. But then again there is no guarantee we will win, even if we get some new experienced players. It is complicated for sure. But we’ve tried the former, it’s time to change it up. When you have the club captain coming on air, and stating that it is awkward that he and RVP alone are the only two players that everyone around looks up to, shows that it is a plea to the club, to bring in more experienced players to help them out. Cesc had a fantastic season last year, can’t expect him to perform at that level every year. Also because of his niggling injuries.

    And as for the blame game, I doubt there is any reason pointing fingers at the 2nd or 3rd choices for a position, for example Bendtner, Chamakh, Denilson, and Rosicky. The problem lies within the starting 11. But perhaps getting more quality players mean letting go of some other fringe players, and creating competition.

    Lately the only attacking threat we had on the bench had been Arshavin, and 2 strikers with the same attribute Chamakh and Bendtner. Not good enough frankly. Especially in the midfield, given that Arshavin is injured, we have no one on the bench who can come on to help the attack from midfield.

    The midfield underperformed over the last 2 months, little contribution to goals, and equally responsible for throwing away leads as the defense.

    2-3 players of decent quality isn’t asking for massive changes.

  373. Borges Spinelli

    @Ateeb

    On my phone’s notepad, I’ve kept a weekly list of every game we’ve played all season, goals scored and scorers. It happens to credit Fabregas with an overall output of 9 goals. It’s probable 3 were in the EPL.

  374. No one around at this time. But here are a few things that I’d like a response to from ‘intelligent only’ posters.

    1)Where does Rosicky fits into Arsenal’s plans? Is he a luxury player for european qualifying matches only? We had been waiting for years for his return from injury, and when he does make it, we never see him on the pitch?

    2)Had Arsene been reading Le Grove, as to oust Denilson from the team completely? He had been lauded by Arsene himself, and the more intelligent of the posters did see his quality, but I can’t even fucking remember when he started last. Sure Wilshere and Song have done a good job, but what about rotating the squad, or mixing up things a bit? Or throwing in denilson to keep a lead?

    3)Is Arshavin really that physically weak that he can’t start a game after christmas? He has the second highest assists, but he hasn’t had one for months now, because he only comes on as a substitute? Is he really not up for it after january, that we have to continue playing a jaded and off form Nasri day after day, when he could use some rest?

    It is on the right and left midifeld that I see our problems. Rosicky isn’t in Arsene’s plans, Theo gets injuries, Arshavin well I don’t know what’s wrong with him, and we’re relying too much on Nasri.

    And in the central midfield we do have more options, except that apart from Cesc, they are all young. And from trying Denilson to Song to Diaby, our defensive frailties still exist as it did few years back.

    4) And we only have 1/2 world class striker in RVP, because of his injuries. When it seems everyone else in Europe at least have 2 for that position. Bendtner and Chamakh are good players, but way short than the quality that is demanded in that position. We all know how bad our conversion rate can be because of our bad shooting, and also our inability to take shots at goal.

    That is why I suggested, that perhaps it’s the attacking midfield and the striker position that we need reinforcements.

    I am a strangely bit optimistic about Hleb joining us again, I don’t know why but something from his interview suggested that there might be talks underway already.

  375. Hleb will be 30 in May so I cannot see him returning, although after Sol who knows. Also rumours of PV4 returning in a coaching role.

  376. Hleb, coming back would be a good start. Cut’s through defences set’s up tap in’s. He should never of left but, the grass can sometimes look greener on the other side. He’s not know to bang in goals so I agree that we will still need to address this goal scoring issue. We can’t expect Van P to carry the whole side next season.

    Truly gutted how it’s turned out after being right in it but, hopefully we can look back at this and say it needed to happen.

  377. So what he’s turning 30? We can see that we need experienced players. And unless rosicky hand arshavin have physical issues, I am astounded how younger player gets the nod over them so easily. Has arsene turned into anti-over 30 players. If rosicky is fit n has the same class as he used to, the likes of wilshere, nasty, Theo should be rotating with him as opposed to guaranteed starts. And if he isn’t the same player as he was before, why keep him here at the club? Bring in a replacement, with diminish attributes and also age/experience. as far as I can tell players do perform even after 30, judging from the chavs and united.

  378. Would it be fair to ask how many of Arsenal’s current best 11 (at their present level of ability) could have cracked the starting line-up for the club anytime between 2000 and 2005? I count three, maybe four. Whether it’s money or the manager’s egocentric quest to prove his genius, it’s clear that Arsenal simply lack the strength in depth that they once had.

  379. it is NOT Arsene’s “egocentric quest to prove his genius” i imagine he does not care about what others think. his job is to manage arsenal and he is more than adequate.

  380. At the beginning of the season, most of the pundits predicted Arsenal would finish 3rd, 4rd, or even below Tottenham. Now, these very same pundits have their knives out, and say AW has been a complete failure, acting as if they are speaking on behalf of the Arsenal fans.

    There was an article today about how AW failed to react when Chelsea “moved the goalposts” in 2003. When speaking about moving goalposts, those pundits should very well look at themselves, too.

    I am very disappointed with the season, but I am more disappointed with certain media and fan reactions.

    It is so easy to criticize, but so hard to produce. Especially with limited funds. The holier-than-thou and smarter-than-thou attitudes that the media and certain fans have disgust me.

  381. I notice we are have been talking abuot teams “parking the bus” against us; Bolton certainly did not do that. They started the game with 3 strikers and had more shots on target than we did. I also think that we really do need to look at why we conceed so many goals from set pieces (56% of goals conceeded this season). It seems to have been the bane of our life for so long now, despite what personnel we play in the team.

  382. Joshua | April 25, 2011 at 9:44 pm |

    My point Henristic is fairly simple. You say that we are less well drilled and less disciplined than Barca… and we played Barca in a high profile game over 2 legs… if your claims had any validity we would have seen the more disciplined and better drilled team romp the tie. They didn’t.

    Not only that but the Barcelona team contained the world’s best 3 players as voted by the coaches of the national teams, the most lethal striker at the world cup, a host of world cup winners and they had a superiority in age and experience… so given your claim they really ought to have kicked our asses mightily shouldn’t they… but they didn’t.

    My point Henristic is that we had an empirical situation in which we could test your claims and the results are clearly against you. That is my point. What Barcelona do for the rest of the season is more less irrelevant. We play in England and the play in Spain. We face circumstances that they don’t… but when we meet head to head we have the opportunity to look empirically at your claim… we looked, we saw and the evidence doesn’t stack up.

    Lol Joshua, I can’t half imagine you believe some of the stuff you say sometimes.
    I’ll try again though, be sure to read slowly this time…
    ‘My claim’ can only be tested over the course of a season, and not in 1, 2 or a few more games. Again, just because we played well against Barca for 180 odd mins does not mean we have ‘discipline’ of the sort I’m talking about. The season doesn’t just comprise of us and Barca so why would the head to head games between us determine or prove anything? There are 50-60 odds games a top team should expect to play in a season and we haven’t shown consistent discipline in the majority of those games. If we had, we would be champions by now. Barca on the other hand in the last few seasons have shown that sort of discipline, in addition to the fact that the have awesome players of course.
    I’m surprised you find this point contentious at all. Since when is a team’s ability proven on the basis of 1 or 2 games against one opponent? You really are something….

    I have not argued that Barca would win the PL so I’m not sure why you went on that rant about the difference in leagues etc… The reason I mentioned Barca is because they, like us, play an attacking football. I was trying to show that ‘discipline’ isn’t exclusive to defensive minded teams, to clear up a previous misconception you had. Every other team who win their leagues and/or major trophies must have shown discipline (ok, tired of this word now) consistently, irrespective of the amount of talent they have.

  383. After suffering a week or so of the media laying into Arsene for being soft on his team, I assume we can now look forward to a couple of weeks of “Wenger tries to pass the buck by blaming players”!!

  384. Why do you people still read this media rubbish?

  385. Some is rubbish, but some is decent opinion. I don’t take my own opinion’s from it, but it can be interesting.

    I posted it as there are quotes from Arsene commenting on the lack of a commanding pressence at the back (as it is often a bone of contention on here).

  386. Bragging Rights Ltd

    Too Fair to Support Your Team?

    In the last few years it’s become the done thing for football fans to be objective. So if your team concedes a dodgy penalty they’ll tell you that you should accept it because you’d be screaming for the decision had it happened up the other end of the pitch.

    If one of your players is injured by a hefty challenge, they’ll recite all the times your players were lucky to stay on the pitch after dishing it out over the last couple of seasons. You should be grateful he only got a broken pelvis.

    We love this new sense of fairness.

    Take Arsenal for instance. The fans at the Emirates are becoming so very fair, and give the other team such an easy ride. They’re so accommodating, it’s a joy to behold. After all, the opposition needs to win matches as well – they deserve a comfy environment as guests.

    There’s also a host of former players with high profiles who can’t bear to be partisan because their moral compasses are so precise.

    The only problem with all this fairness is that fewer and fewer people are supporting the team through thick and thin. And in the media, who’s out there passionately defending the club’s values? Nobody that’s who.

    Meanwhile other team’s fans aren’t evolving as quickly Arsenal’s. They’re getting left far behind by gooners in the race to end partisanship, and continue to get behind their own teams. Their pundits haven’t caught on either. You can hear them defending their former clubs with as much passion as ever. Many still harbour resentment towards Arsenal, and they can now attack the club without fear of corrections or rebuttals.

    As you can see, this all leaves the club in quite a predicament, but never fear:

    We at Bragging Rights have developed a package tailored exclusively to your club’s needs.

    For Arsenal we can assemble a crack team of Support Inducers. These former servicemen will be trained to “persuade” pundits to recognize what Arsenal have achieved over the last eight years. After our intensive week-long course of savage beatings alternated with long exposure to white noise, even Lou Macari and Tony Cascarino would come around to the Arsenal way.

    “Ultraviolence is all well and good”, you say “But what about matchdays” Well, we’re already on the case, installing speakers throughout Ashburton Grove. They’ll blast out 150dBs of synthesized crowd noise that tracks the progress of the match and events throughout. There are four programmable songs, whistles and boos when the other side has possession, as well the intelligence to sense when the home team is need of a lift.

    So now you’ll be able to solve your crossword and express your admiration for Wayne Rooney and John Terry without that nagging feeling that you that there was something else you were meant to be doing on a Saturday afternoon in N5.

  387. Excellent, BRL. Where do I sign up?

  388. we can blame our season collapse on the defence but i think the biggest culprits are our forward players we drew a lot of games because no one wants to shoot at all. How many times have we shouted SHOOT!!? Our defence was bad but if we had taken and chance we had we wud have won the EPL by now. Van Persie has a great shot but hardly uses it, same with Nasri, Fabregas and Jack always looks for a pass when shooting is easier same goes for Chamack. Games are won by goals scored and goals are scored by taking shots at goal!

  389. BRL thats classic!!

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