Arsenal Mess Around By The River

Fulham 2 – 2 Arsenal

1 – 0 Sidwell (26)
1 – 1 van Persie (29)
2 – 1 Zamora (56)
2 – 2 Walcott (89)

Gera sent off (74)

And so the season is over. A match that had the intensity of a training session took place down by the River Thames yesterday, one which you would not have believed that Arsenal had to win in order to have any chance of finishing third. Fourth place was accepted beforehand and it duly arrived.

As funny as it is to see Birmingham City slip into the Championship – now you know how it feels to lose a cup final in the last minute – Arsenal’s form since that fateful February encounter has been no better which for a team that had title aspirations, is simply not good enough.

Fulham started brightly yet seemed to content to take advantage of the windy conditions, the long ball style of play that symbolises Mark Hughes managerial career came to the fore. Consequently, possession was surrendered cheaply and frequently.

Arsenal probed and created the first chance of the day, the aerial threat possessed by Kieran Gibbs has been well disguised throughout his career. The youngster though brought a fine save from Mark Schwarzer.

As Arsenal threatened to take the ascendency; Fulham scored. Zamora found space on the right and waited until the right moment, Sidwell provided that and the finish.

It was joy for the hosts that was short-lived. Diaby combined with Chamakh, the Moroccan pinged a pass to van Persie whose instant control and shot were too good for the Fulham defence. Had the Dutchman been fit for a whole season, little doubt he would have been top scorer in the Premier League. Keeping him fit for the whole season is the problem.

If van Persie has shown the striking missed before Christmas, Vermaelen did so with the defending. Murphy’s effort was tantalising its way into the net before the Belgian intervened on the goalline, sending the ball around the post. It is a matter of attitude, of not wanting to give up, refusing to concede cheaply. Vermaelen is not the perfect defender nor is he a guarantee of a clean sheet; his is the attitude that the team need to follow suit with.

The lack of urgency in Arsenal’s play continued into the second half. Nasri tested Schwarzer from a free kick but it proved a false dawn as Zamora climbed to meet Greening’s cross, beating Vermaelen in the air to restore the host’s lead.

Lack of match play is a reason oft-cited as forwards miss relatively straightforward chances. We’ll give Chamakh the benefit of the doubt for his miss following Schwarzer’s butterfingers. Lack of match play is the reason that Nicklas Bendtner has apparently joined Denilson in stating his desire to leave Arsenal. His father, no slouch when it comes to Junior’s PR, states that Germany is his likely destination. I suspect he might have scored yesterday though. Junior, that is, not Daddy.

A player scorned though, should not be underestimated. Wenger’s hand was played, a triple substitution that was to pay handsome dividends late on, but Mark Hughes trump card spectacularly backfired. Zoltan Gera is apparently being shown the door this summer, he left the pitch three minutes after entering as a substitute for Zamora. Fulham will no doubt be looking for an enhanced transfer fee if his red card is to deprive the club of Europa League football via the Fair Play Table.

Superior numerical advantage turned into superior possession. Arsenal might have struggled in recent months when the chips were down but this time, it came good when Walcott’s shot bounced off the post and into the net with a minute of normal time remaining. Could he be the answer for coming seasons if (or when) van Persie is absent?

A draw was of little use considering Manchester City’s win. Qualifying for the Champions League is not an issue – unless it involves a trip to Dynamo Kiev or Ruben Kazan. Even then the issue is more of distance and lag than the football itself.

Perhaps though it will have one beneficial effect. A busy start to the season is a good incentive for Arsenal’s transfer business to be conducted quickly. Let’s hope that it is, if nothing else to put a brighter complexion on the summer.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on May 23, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 176 Comments.

  1. Good one, YW, the day seemed incomplete til now!

  2. First?

  3. And so the season ends as it started – a late equaliser away against ten men. A lovely goal it was, though. Equally lovely was Vermaelen’s lunging, goal-saving interception on Murphy. How we have missed him – although he is not the solution to all our defensive woes!

    Hopefully the board and Wenger will take heed of the fans’ request to “spend some f***ing money”, as they chanted during the second half.

    http://thearmchairsportsfan.com/2011/05/23/walcott-saves-a-point-as-arsenals-fans-make-a-point/

  4. Alex Ice Cream

    I am quite happy about reports of certain players leaving but let’s hope that we can keep the players that we want to keep i.e Nasri and Cesc. The likes of Denilson, Almunia and Rosicky can leave now. I will even help them pack.

  5. Oops!! Sorry.

    Good post,YW.

    I didn’t see the match, but was suprised from the match reports I’ve seen that we lacked urgency. Is it that we believe we only need to turn up for matches to win them? The biggest problem of this team is not quality in terms of play but I seriously think the team just has a terrible attitude. We play at time as if nothing is at stake. Yes, agreed that we like to take our time and open up defences but we seem to lack urgency too.
    I don’t know if this is what the manager can correct or maybe we need a psychologist to treat this.
    Anyway, this just has to change as it has cost us time and time again.

    Looking forward to some interesting activities in the transfer market as I have never seen AW this frustrated. Let’s hope it translates into important signings.

  6. A fair summing up of both the game and our late season performances. Little enthusiasm from the team at the start of the game, having to be stung into getting the motor running by conceding a goal.
    At least we were able to salvage a draw this time around, although I wonder if we would have managed even that if Gera hadn’t been sent off.
    I agree that business has to be handled quickly this summer as we need to ensure that next season’s squad has some time together in pre-season. To that end I would hope that AW gives his players and their suitors a deadline to resolve any contract/transfer discussions, with Barcelona in particular being told to either stump up or f*ck off. None of this endless whinging by the Barcelona players about Cesc coming home, if your team really want him they will pay up. FIFA’s rules on tapping up players is clearly a joke as teams can openly court targets in the press with no recriminations, all you need to do is let your players talk to the press.
    Whilst I have no desire to see Fabregas leave Arsenal, if he is to go I would like to see it done swiftly and not at a discount.

  7. I wonder if Birmingham would have swapped the Carling Cup win for 3 points against Arsenal that would have kept them in the Premier League?
    They’ll probably come straight back up unfortunately.

  8. It’s that time of the year again.

    Why haven’t we signed anyone yet?? What a f**king joke!

    If we don’t sell 10 players and buy 10 players by the end of June, I am not going to buy the end of season review DVD – I MEAN IT.

  9. As even Arsenal.com declared yesterday the last few games have been the stuff only a masochist could take pleasure in and I am afraid the trip to the Cottage was another example – very frustrating to see a team that had been torn apart by Liverpool a fortnight ago blunt our best efforts for much of the match.

    No excuses or room to hide however – much work to be done over the Summer to put together a credible PL challenge next season – quite pleased that the CL qualifier will add a bit of pepper to the stew

  10. The Verminator have men sorely missed but he did not exactly shine when Zamore headed home. He was beaten by half a yard.

  11. *have been* Fraudian slip?!

  12. Great post as usual Yogi. So the season’s over and the boredom begins. Well if you are inclined to give us some guest posts as you did last season’s break please hand an opportunity to Joshua and George Rodger.

  13. Just some point of interest for you guys. This is how the league would have finished had the Premier League gone down to 18 teams as the Bundesliga. Using the format of when the epl was started of only promoting one team from the lower league on relegating three, when the league went from 22 to 20 teams, I only used Newcastle. Interestingly Birmingham and West ham would still have gone down!
    TEAM P W D L F A GD PTS
    1 MANUTD* 34 20 10 4 67 30 37 70
    2 ARSENAL* 34 17 10 7 59 37 22 63
    3 CHELSEA* 34 17 8 9 53 31 22 59
    4 MANCITY* 34 17 8 9 51 31 20 59
    5 TOTTENHAM* 34 16 11 7 50 39 11 59
    6 LIVERPOOL* 34 16 7 11 55 38 17 55
    7 EVERTON* 34 12 14 8 43 35 8 50
    8 NEWCASTLE* 34 11 11 12 51 48 3 44
    9 SUNDERLAND* 34 11 11 12 41 49 -8 44
    10 FULHAM* 34 9 15 10 40 39 1 42
    11 STOKE CITY* 34 12 5 17 42 46 -4 41
    12 BOLTON* 34 11 8 15 44 49 -5 41
    13 ASTON VILLA* 34 10 11 13 41 53 -12 41
    14 WIGAN* 34 7 14 13 34 54 -20 35
    15 BLACKBURN* 34 8 9 17 37 55 -18 33
    16 BIRMINGHAM* 34 6 15 13 31 51 -20 33
    17 WOLVES* 34 9 6 19 37 62 -25 33
    18 WEST HAM* 34 6 9 19 35 64 -29 27

  14. One can only look with envy at Real Madrid where they seem to have made 2 signings already! Both cheap, but reasonably high profile signings. Imagine if we did that? Everyone will be literally buzzing, and this air of negativity around the club will have been largely lifted.

    Hope Wenger will avoid transfer deadline brinksmanship this time around. I realize it is sometimes unavoidable but from his past comments you get the feeling that he looks for such deals as a way to save money.
    We know he can make quick signings when he feels he is getting value for money (e.g. Kos). I hope this summer will see us move swiftly, like we did for Kos, rather than the slow, drawn out will-he/won’t-he nonsense we saw for Arshavin/Schwarzer.
    Moving swiftly will be a huge boost for fans and might even be the final straw that convinces some players to stay.
    C’mon Arsene, surprise us all! while you’re at it, ry signing a defensive coach as well. They come much much cheaper, than ‘world class’ defenders!

  15. I was more disheartened at Johan drifting 3 foot ahead of the front post and away from the danger than by Vermaelen being half a yard off what would have been an audacious recovering header. I thought that was Djourou’s man and his ball to clear. Having said that Sczensey could’ve dealt with it too. That’s been a recurring blindspot JD + WS, three times in 5 games now. Or 3 in 3 Away games.

  16. LimparAssist | May 23, 2011 at 11:33 am |

    I was more disheartened at Johan drifting 3 foot ahead of the front post and away from the danger than by Vermaelen being half a yard off what would have been an audacious recovering header. I thought that was Djourou’s man and his ball to clear. Having said that Sczensey could’ve dealt with it too. That’s been a recurring blindspot JD + WS, three times in 5 games now. Or 3 in 3 Away games.

    What a doomer you’ve become Limpar. Whats the point in such negativity? Frank and co. should be here in a moment to call you names.

  17. What?

  18. “Vermaelen is not the perfect defender nor is he a guarantee of a clean sheet; his is the attitude that the team need to follow suit with.”

    Couldn’t agree more with you there Yogi. Also applies to his commitment on attacking set pieces; he attacks the ball and tries to put his head where the ball is, not wait for the perfect cross to fall on his head.

  19. We’ve missed him all year, we’ve missed him all yeeeaar
    We’ve got Vermaelen, we’ve missed him all year

  20. Your statue is shit, your statue is shit, should of got Jedward, your statue is shit….

    Can always rely on the away support to come up with something creative in the song dept!

  21. despite the perceved wisdom, has the defence been our problem in the league? Our away form over the season as a whole was better than anybody else’s. it was at home that we lost the prem. At home we conceeded 15 goals, only 3 more than Man Utd, so if our defence had been as good as their’s we could have been a max of 6 pts better off, not enough to win. The real problem was that we scored 16 goals less. It was our inability too often to open up massed defence that cost us, not our defence.

  22. John,

    I don’t know about that – I think it was probably a combination of the 2.

    We conceded some very soft goals this season, another 2 yesterday, and in the previous 10 matches we have only had 2 clean sheets – not good enough to consistently win.

    Our forwards shouldn’t have to score 3 goals every game just to have a chance to win.

  23. Could be wrong (and I most likely am, drawing on ten-year old French), but I think he’s saying the transfer market is going to be hyperactive this season because everyone wants to get their business done before fairplay kicks in.

    Meanwhile AW will be more active than he’s been for a long time. I don’t know what they’re agreeing on at the end there though. Une effort?!

  24. Thanks, OOU. I think I am going to be a complete sucker for silly season this year. Already found myself on ‘goonernews’ once already, and that godawful bbc gossip page…. and even daydreaming about an RVP | Benzema partnership this morning. Season’s only been over 24 hours. Complete sucker.

  25. Find it hard to blame Djourou. Seems to me when a cross is that close to the goal it should be the keepers every time. Besides it is probably standard practice for one defender to go near-post in that situation to cover it and get out of the keepers way. Seems like both Djourou and Vermaelen expected him to come and claim it.

    I haven’t been one of those calling for a new keeper as yet, because there is no point criticising players when nothing can be done, but in the interest of having stability and experience between the posts it’s an area I think should be looked at in the summer. People tend to forgive a lot when it comes to Szczesny. No doubt he has the right attitude but he has made the kind of mistakes which we can’t afford next season.

  26. “We conceded some very soft goals this season, another 2 yesterday, and in the previous 10 matches we have only had 2 clean sheets – not good enough to consistently win.”

    If I am not wrong, we managed just two points from these matches, goalless draws against Blackburn and Sunderland.

  27. Yeah, don’t take my word for it entirely, LA – I think I understood about two thirds of what they were saying.

    But that guy in L’Equipe did seem to think we’d be busy as well. It’s going to be fun this time. Every other summer I’ve been found it tiresome, but this year I’m going to bask in the nonsense.

    As usual, nobody knows a thing at this point, but it might be worth keeping an eye on Sport.co.uk – the site looks like a joke, but they broke the Vermaelen transfer and the Kroenke takeover before anyone else.

  28. Yes, sports.co.uk has some inside contact. The website is also run by a gunner as I understand. I think most of the English media is clueless, especially about non UK based targets. It is better to follow some of the foreign journo’s tweets and foreign news sites if you understand the language.

  29. goonzablazin

    JohnN- I would expect our defense to give up a low number of goals at home when opponents are massing their defenses. Doesn’t necessarily mean that our defense was good, just reflects how teams play us at the Emirates. We need a way to measure goals as a percentage of possession in order to compare our defensive effectiveness against that of other sides.

  30. LimparAssist

    You’re right, it should be fun. Could be a fat, puerile waste of time of course…. but if those comments are near the mark it’s exciting.

    Thanks for the tip. I usually rely on old J Sanderson at YGB – he’s usually pretty close to the pulse.

  31. I was kidding Limpar, kinda. Frank likes to moan when some of us are being in a anyway critical of the team. He calls it being mean spirited and negative. So I fully expect him to extend the same courtesy to you.

    Re transfers; I won’t be looking up any transfer rumors this summer, except for the stuff I find on here. Its the least interesting part of being a supporter for me and one of the reasons I hate the summer break.
    I just hope we get our business done early.

  32. Here’s a translation of the French article:

    http://www.metro.co.uk/sport/football/864086-arsene-wenger-planning-arsenals-most-active-transfer-summer-in-years

    He actually says ‘We’ are quickly doing our business before the stores are closed… and ‘for the first time in a while, I will be very active’

  33. The summer should be a massive turning point for us. We have to make up the ground between fantasy and reality. Delusions are extremely common place in football, arsene is not himself immune. This is a time for science and analysis of the evidence and fortunately for us there is plenty of that and its largely pulling in the same direction… So who better to have than le professor overlooking it all? The best men know their limitations and my only concern about the year ahead is that arsene must concede that some of his belief’s are skewed / overstated. But surely he is smarter than to fall for the old vanity trick?

  34. I’d love to see us get back to the days when our scouts appeared to be at their very best, spotting the players who were clearly talented but who for one reason or other were struggling in the team they play for. Surely our guys should have been spotting players like Van de Vaart, although it does appear that he seemed to fade a bit towards the end of the season.
    Clearly the radar appears to be working to some degree as we have picked up players like Nasri, Vermaelen and Chamakh (who looks like he needs games), but we need the antenna to be working at full extent now as the two players or maybe even three we bring in have to be ready to go from day one.
    Benezema has clearly not settled in Spain so maybe he is the next Wenger super spot.

  35. By the way, there are some indications that we have done a piece of business in Ricardo Alvarez, a 23 year old midfielder from Velez Sarsfield in Argentina who can play across the midfield. Being a bit of an unknown quantity the spend spend brigade may be underwhelmed, so to cheer them up he is 6 feet 2 inches tall.

  36. OK, good info KS and LA.

  37. Wavey – those players hardly needed ‘spotting’. They are all fairly well known, and it is normally all about the timing, their relationship with current employers, European football, what we are prepared to offer etc etc etc. I’m no scout and I knew about all of them (not Koscielny though!).

  38. Our program is a fusion of athletic development and socio-cultural awareness. Using national soccer team uniforms and national country flags our program is designed so every team represents one of the world national soccer teams.

  39. YW,

    Well summed up (both the match and general frustration). I think it was Diaby that made the pass for RvP rather than Chamahk but ay oh.

    Arsene has promised buys and with B52 promising to crash out along with Denilson (whom I think is right to go in order seek a club where his attacking midfielder talents can be developed with more game time in a different role – I’d ignore his alleged face saving references to our ‘not being able to win’ something as underpinning his desire to leave as I suspect that was said to help him seem more attractive to any would be suitors!), there seems little doubt that this summer will see some arrivals.

    I do wonder, however, if the fact that we will need to see how much we can get for those departures before knowing how much we can really spend and where we now need to spend will not lead to some delay before the bulk of our transfer business is done. I only say this because I foresee much gnashing of teeth if we all expect an immediate conclusion to this.

    Anyway, I remain optimistic that the changes will bring what we all desire.

  40. Well thats over..frankly the season finishing is providing relief..and i feel terrible about that..

    Anyway time for wenger to look the the problem in the eye..maybe approaching it like he did when he first arrived might help..some attitudes needed to be changed then and boy did he manage that..so for those who think wenger cant change players attitudes..theres proof right there..this time the attitude change required is very different of course to that in 96, however it has to start there..

    the only difference now will be familiarity, its always easier first time around when u are a new face, familiarity breeds contempt, but if it has been bred in some players then he needs to ask them to pack their bags in no uncertain terms..more than signings, formations, systems, set-pieces etc it is an attitude adjustment which should form the bedrock for next season, the rest i feel will follow because we have incredibly talented, intelligent players throughout the squad..

    Of course then we would need signings to bolster areas where players leave.In general like I have said before jan vertonghen, and juan matta are players i would like to see arrive..but that is secondary..i would like to see a different set of attitudes on the pitch starting from our traditional pre-season opener..

    And some change of attitudes from sections of support to if possible..maybe supporting the team for a change would be nice..

    Still sure of 20 league titles by 2020 🙂

    Up the Arsenal!!

  41. Borges Spinelli

    Season over; so the prognostics begin…

    Players whose contribution & commitment to the cause have faltered must be expunged. Pronto!!! Tchau!!!

    I, like many on here have fond appreciation for the majority of our players. However, in taking the club forward, sentiments must be discarded in favor of honest appraisals. Sentiments get us nowhere, but back to square one. Which, frankly, I’m SICK of.

    Questions like these need to asked by manager and fans alike:

    Over the years player x, y and z have been at the club – do I think they have anything significant to add for our collective betterment, next season? If not, who will? Is the team’s balance right? Do we have any impact players in the squad? Do we have enough tenacious players
    willing to mix a little savior-faire with mud to get the job done? Is the defense leak proof ? Does the offensive lineup invoke fear into the opposition? Would the injection of cash, spent wisely rectify our glaring deficiencies? Would it foster a harmonious dressing room or cause resentment?

    A precarious position to be in for any manager. Although, I believe Wenger is the man to deliver desired results, if anyone can. That said, should he fail to act accordingly, I’m afraid the full opprobrium of Arsenal fans will be unleashed. Winning, after all, is everything, at the end of the day.

  42. The 10/11 season will be long remembered (for me) for the actions of our captain during the summer of ’10 and how Arsene chose to handle the issue.

    There is nothing more unsettling for a club when your marquis player and captain wishes to leave.

    The season wasn’t a disappointment because of the play from Diaby, Squillaci, Bendtner, Rosicky, Denilson, Eboue, Clichy, and Almunia.

    There were few to support RvP.

    Even if the club had replaced the above mentioned players – Arsene has his favorites and when they are healthy, the pecking order is set in cement.

    I feel sorry for our manager. A good man with admirable intentions. So many hours invested in a vision to benefit the club and fans.

    His first 8 years of performance, set the bar of expectation so high for many fans. Had he begun his career at Arsenal with results of 07/08 – 08/09 – 09/10 – 10/11, who knows the latitude of patience that would be bestowed now.

    Arsene has the greatest challenge of his coaching career with Arsenal over the next 50 days.

  43. Metro are reporting we’ve signed Ricardo Alvarez – 23 year old Argentine AMF. Apparently his contract is up and we’ve snapped him up on a free.

    Hopefully this is a nice addition to the squad that is an improvement on someone like Bendtner who’ll be leaving. Doesn’t address most of our concerns about the defensive side – most of the moaners are asking for CB / DMF / GK.

    http://www.metro.co.uk/sport/football/864023-ricardo-alvarez-becomes-first-arsenal-transfer-of-summer-window

  44. I’m quite looking forward to seeing how Riyo does in the prem. He was looking very dangerous in Holland, and has a quick and direct style that could be really effective.. Obviously we need to be careful not to expect too much from the youngster, but a few Carling & FA cup appearances, and a few prem cameos will be good to see…

  45. Henristic
    The point I am making is not whether the defence is good or bad, but whether we could achieve our aims by improving the defence. we could for example try to reduce our goals against column by not commitng so many people forward or playing 2 defensive mids who stick to their role. however, it would appear to me that this would be counter productive as it was insufficient goals scored at home that seemed to be the problem rather than excessive number of goals conceded. Could we have done better playing 442 at home and risking conceeding more while hopefully scoring more?

  46. Borges Spinelli

    If that story proves to be true, this Alvarez guy appears to have a physical presence that we happen to lack in the middle of the park. A positive move for me.

    Found another story on the site below.
    http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard-sport/football/article-23952646-wenger-is-facing-his-toughest-summer-after-new-fabregas-doubt.do

  47. Borges Spinelli

    Personally, i’m resigned to us losing both Fàbregas and Clichy.

  48. John N – for games we had to win – had to win – playing RvP on his own up front was difficult to fathom especially at home against the Blackburn’s and the Sunluns.
    More flexibility required

  49. @Arsesession,
    if he had started his Arsenal career with the results of 07/08 – 08/09 – 09/10 he might not have even been at the club for the season just gone.

    @Geo,
    maybe those players didn’t need spotting, but my point is that we generally appeared to have scouts with a good eye, although we have seemed to pick up some real howlers in the centre of defence (Stepanovs). The Metro story looks a little too quick off the mark to be true, but you wouldn’t put it past him to find a gem of a player out of nowhere.

  50. Borges Spinelli | May 23, 2011 at 1:28 pm |

    Agree with everything in your post apart from the part where you say “Winning, after all, is everything, at the end of the day.”

    I think you mean, “doing your best to win is everything”. No one can really guarantee trophies, but I’m pretty sure most will be happy to see that we use all available resources in trying to reach that target.

    Have to say that Arsenes recent comments promising that this will be an ‘active’ summer is welcome news indeed (though not sure how reliable the reports are). I’m convinced that should Wenger decide to go all out in the transfer market, it will be an exciting summer indeed, as there simply isn’t anyone out there to match his talent spotting abilities.
    I’m a bit concerned though that signing players isn’t enough. Our problems run deeper than that, but heh, one step at a time…

  51. JohnN,
    what??

  52. @Geo,
    wouldn’t be surprised if he sent Ryo out on loan for another season. I would have thought it would be best to send him on loan to another Prem team to see how he copes. For Jack it proved to be a real step forward and I’m sure there are a number of mid table teams who would be interested in having an Arsenal lad on loan. Perhaps to one of the promoted clubs?

  53. Sorry Wavey, didn’t mean to come across as a know-it-all..! Yeah that’s true, but i’ve got a feeling we’re going to end the summer with a strong looking team. I think Nasri and Cesc will both stay. Unsure about Clichy, Den and Bendy, if the rumours are true, looks like they could all be off, with Clichy most likely to stay out of the 3… Interesting summer ahead, that’s for sure!

    And I’m with Limpar in being suckered in this time…

  54. TFITEOTS, sadest thing for me this year is that we have taken a step back. Like everyone else I hope the players who wouldnt get into world top three club gets moved along. That will leave us with quality, we can then bring through ouyr youngsters, but only quality, and on top we can get a partner for cesc next season and a central defender. our players, who without much doubt are going to be world class eg JW AR EF should be squad players, they are not ready yet. I will be confident of trophies

  55. And that’s a good shout about Ryo too… As you say, it did Jack the world of good. Wouldn’t mind at all if he stayed with the team this year though, judging by what i’ve seen of him anyway.

  56. YW: Gera is out of contract.

  57. ..and has chosen not to renew his contract.

  58. Borges Spinelli

    Henristic,

    My life view – winning is everything. History has shown, that winners are remembered and losers forgotten. I fully understand that success isn’t guaranteed and an automatic right to anyone. The desire to win, however, is something that is open to all – separating losers from winners; steps taken by both decides the victor.

    Going by this season’s league standing and lack of trophies, there’s no denying, we have been losers. A painful, but truthful fact.

  59. @boomer – I don’t think the club should get involved in Cesc’s love life, I’m sure he’ll get over it 😉

  60. I thought Cesc and Jack made quite a good couple…

  61. I know people are up in arms about Cesc going to the grand prix in Spain, and although I’m not reading anything into it re Barcelona, I do think it’s a little disrespectful towards the rest of the team by not being there for the last game of the season. Gerrard was in the away stands with the rest of the fans vs Villa… Fair play to him.

  62. I have copied and pasted a few quotes from the boss.

    In the summer of 09 discussing why he decided to change to the 433

    “In football you must create chances. The defensive problems are more easily corrected, but you worry if you are not creating chances.”

    Early in the 10/11 season.

    “We are a team with an offensive philosophy and maybe at home we go overboard with that but I still feel that in the last games we were punished every time we made a single mistake defensively, that will not always be the case”

    In other words the cause of our defensive problems was simply down to bad luck.

    After the Stoke game this season

    “We have conceded, I think, 21 from set-pieces and only 17 in open play. That is something we have to correct. It is the easiest thing to correct in the game but you still must understand the flight of the ball and want to be first to the ball. I feel we are sometimes a bit naïve”

    After the last Tottenham game this season.

    “We have not been stable enough defensively. The numbers are the numbers, we have conceded six goals this week at a moment where you cannot afford to conceded six goals in three games and win the championship. We were too frail defensively during the season.”

    3rd season in a row for that quote. that was before we conceded 3 at Stoke, 2 against Villa and 2 against Fulham. This year despite what seemed like improvement at times we ended up conceding more goals then last. We had a run of good form in midseason but the reality is that our defense did not improve despite the boss promising improvement for 3 years running.

    2 days ago when discussing why we do not need any coaching changes.

    “I have enough experience to know what is important and what is less than important. It will be difficult to find a coach who teaches me how to manage a football team.”

    Unless he changes his mind there is no defensive coach on the way.

    Word said it well at 1;18. ” Delusions are extremely common place in football, arsene is not himself immune.” The first mental adjustment that needs to be made is the strange idea of our brain trust that somehow defensive problems are easy to fix. Thats not to mention that despite terrible injury bug last season we have scored significantly fewer goals this year. The team was supposed to mature together but it has taken 5 giant steps back. Lots of work to do this summer.

  63. LimparAssist

    I know just what Frank means by mean-spirited, Henristic, and I don’t think it has to do with talking about a defensive lapse.

  64. I don’t think the club should get involved in Cesc’s love life, I’m sure he’ll get over it
    B4 lol

  65. Borges Spinelli

    Bendtner and Arshavin have a year remaining in their existing contracts. The pair are frustrated with their form and pecking order, I doubt very much that they’ll sign an extension. Moreover, Wenger, being the shrewd businessman tha he is, won’t permit the conclusion of their Arsenal years to result in a free transfer.

  66. Being active in the market doesn’t necessarily imply buying.

    Although I think we’ll replace any who leave, I can’t see them being big names.

  67. LimparAssist

    It’s been a funny old season. Bizarre reversals against Newcastle and Tottenham hit confidence very hard. Cup Final compounded it. As ever, mass generalisations on how we’ve ‘gone backward’ because of where we’ve finished in the league – are to my mind, pretty facile. You couldn’t watch the first half of the season and say there was no improvement on last year. The reasons for this big dip in confidence and form are many and various but do we really think it is because players have ‘got worse’, or ‘gone backward’?

  68. How do we interpret some of these Fabregas news tidbits? Apparently he posted a picture of himself and his chums at the Spanish Grand Prix yesterday while we were drawing at Fulham. He has taken it down after getting lambasted by his followers. Not to mention, there’ve been multiple anecdotes from various blogs, albeit blogs of dubious repute, of his sullen disposition these days. Lastly, what do we know about this injury of his that has sidelined him here at the end of the season? A thigh injury? Not hamstring, not a quad, but a thigh? I’ve been thinking for weeks that there’s more to it than just an injury. Perhaps he’s finally going to force Arsene’s hand and get himself a transfer this summer. Makes it that much more imperative we get Nasri re-upped. That would be the best transfer news we Gooners can get this offseason.

  69. LimparAssist

    I agree with Passenal that Sunderland was the big turning point. The straw that fucked us over. I remember a very sane sounding Arsenal fan on 5Live that night (conspicuous in it’s rarity) and she said she was afraid that might be it for the challenge and what a travesty and a robbery it was too (was that you, Pass?).

    I think the refereeing at Newcastle was even worse really. Of course you can say, ‘should’ve overcome it’ – but you can’t ignore games like that and how it fucked our confidence.

  70. Borges Spinelli

    LimparAssist,

    Facile or not, a season isn’t judged on half a season’s performance. If it were, we’d be 1st or 2nd.

  71. Henristic

    Nice to see you took your comments back quite swiftly. Frank, Limpar, and the fans who see sense, all put their arguments across with the best interests of the club first. I don’t see why fans should be abused for trying to support the team. When shit hits the fan they need all the support they can get, no matter how much you don’t like the way certain players look, run, dance and so on.

    Constructive criticism is healthy, but abuse is destructive. (For instance: IMO Djourou has his worst game for the club yesterday – why would I go out my way to abuse the guy who plays for my club, he isn’t no Rooney, Terry or Barton). This is why I can fully understand Wenger’s public comments. He has had to protect and protect his maturing team for so long, now shit has hit the fan and everyone is up in arms. I am as disappointed as any fan in the completely lacklustre end of season form. I truly believed we had it in us to win the league and a cup this year. I believe Wenger knew they could do it, but I bet he knew that if we did flop once again we would get a massive amount of abuse from all directions.

    That pressure and fear of losing is what cost us in the CC Final. We all saw what this team is capable of .. Barca, Man Utd, Chelsea.. all beaten.

    As dark as it may seem, there is hope for much of these players. Lets wait and see how we fair in August before criticising the transfers. He has always gone about them in his own way, like any manager.

  72. I agree with LimparAssist, tha confidence leeched away and resulted in more mistakes being made. The team is trying too hard at times rather than not trying hard enough. Tension leads to lapses in concentration. Thomas is totally focused and so is RvP. More of that from the players in between them next season please. The squad have it in them, signings or no signings.

    AW will make changes in the summer. He always does. I have very high hopes for next season. I always do.

    This ‘re-upping’ thing? Can you do it to yourself or does someone else have to do it to you?

  73. Geo

    Cesc was given permission by Arsenal to go to the Grand Prix. It is not Arsenal’s policy to have injured players on show at away games, only those at The Emirates. Given those two facts, where is the disrespect to the club or his teammates? Those who started whining about it are just whinging for the sake of it.

    YW

  74. Limpar

    This season there has been more than any other. I can’t remember how many times I felt the referee and events in the matches went against us. I am pretty sure it didn’t even itself out too. I said it before the CC Final.. if we get as much luck with the officials and crucial decisions as we havn’t all season long we would win it. Unfortunately our boys lost any real faith in winning a football match it seemed. Its like Diaby, crippled and crunched time and time again, he lost all faith in the referees ability to protect a player and team is trying to play the game fairly.

    I am not just trying to paint a positive spin on things because we have been awful lately, but had luck and decisions levelled itself out we would be sitting in a much better position.

  75. Referees have become a real problem now. They have dictated our result in far too many games this season.

  76. I don’t think the indications on Cesc are that great. AW said in his Pr Conf a couple of weeks ago in response to the query about M City being interested in him… “that no one has phoned me on that” – which really means “M City please call me and make an offer”. Now I don’t for one moment think that he would sell Cesc to M City, not in 100 years (and Cesc has said categorically said that he will not move to another EPL team), but it does show that AW wants a high transfer figure available to quote to Barca.
    This week in response to the speculation re Cesc, he said “I will fight to keep him….. we need to fight to keep our best players”. This statement although strong is much weaker than the official statements last off season that pretty much said “he is not for sale, and we are not taking offers” (which he could easily have said again now, but didn’t).

    The other thing to look closely at is the team selections over the past few games. Although he’d prefer 3rd place to 4th, it is not a disaster and gives another £3m in gate receipts (assuming they win it, which they have always done previously, and who’s to say its not better to get the players focused and fully sharp for the 1st couple of weeks of the season). Anyway he’s had latitude in selections and a few “mystery” type injuries once 1st place was virtually impossible. That Cesc, Clichy, Denilson and Nasri have not been appearing is consistent with players under negotiation for extending their contracts or to save them to avoid injury prior to being sold. So it was a pleasant surprise to see Nasri yesterday, and I hope it means he has now agreed terms and an announcement will follow shortly.

    Not such good news for the others. Denilson has been told (nicely but firmly that he is to be sold) and I suspect that Clichy (via a low contract offer) is being slowly moved out (Gibbs and Botelho lined up as replacements). I would also guess that Cesc will go if Arsenal gets the figure he should properly garner (although I hope Barca see sense and wait a couple of years until Xavi is nearly through). Ramsey has been tried (with very mixed results in the Cesc role) but I doubt he is fully ready to take on this role full time.

    Will be interesting to note if Cesc is called up for Spain next week. Although maybe he is really injured and I’m just speculating wildly… !

  77. LimparAssist

    Exactly Borges. 1st or 2nd. All the way through til March actually. Very close.

  78. YW, whether or not Arsenal gave Cesc permission, I would hope that our captain would WANT to be at Fulham, would WANT to see our team snatch 3 points at the end of the season in an attempt to try and secure third and more importantly feel what it’s like to actually win again. I’m disappointed. If we were fighting for the league title yesterday, would Cesc have been there? Probably. If we were fighting for the league title and he was at a car race, would you be so forgiving?

  79. LimparAssist

    Hello, CG. I enjoyed seeing Diaby start again yesterday – had a good game – though how RVP killed that pass like he did is beyond me, incredible touch.

  80. conferencier

    If you accept a manager, I believe you accept his ways. I don’t buy into the nonsense of wenger changing – if it is not his modus operandi, I don’t think the “change” (e.g. new defensive coach) will be successful anyway.

    You either accept him and hope things get better or sack him.

    I choose to maintain my support for Wenger because I don’t believe any other manager can do what he has done so far or can keep our best players.

    Asking him to change his ways is futile IMO

  81. Van Percy was available for the first 3 games of the season. He was then unavailable for the next 7, starting with Bolton at home and ending with West Ham away. He was sub in the home game against Newcastle and then started or was sub for the remaining league matches, with, possibly one or 2 exceptions.

    That is a maximum of 31 games out of 38. Also, let us say that it took him a few games to get his eye in after he came back for injury when he was sub for the first time against Newcastle at home on 7th November.

    The picture being painted that he missed half the season does not tally with the facts.

    During the 1990/91 season, with Alan Smith leading the line, we seemed to be scoring goals for fun and started the 91/2 in the same vein. Alan Smith was scoring regularly, as were many other players.

    Then GG bought IanWright and everything changed. Yes he scored a record number of goals, but, because the style of play changed to accommodate him, the goals from the rest of the team, including Alan Smith dried up. Things only changed with DB and then other strikers came into the squad and IW became nothing more than a fringe player.

    During the 13 games between Bolton at home and Shaktar away, when RVP was not available, we scored 36 goals, include one 6, one 5, three 4s.

    Since his return, in November last eyar , we scored 5 once, against Orient, when he did not play, 4 once against AV when he did not play and 4 against Newcastle, when he did play.

    This is not a critisism of RVP, but it seems to me that as soon as he started to play again, and we built our attack around him, as we did with IW, he became virtually the only scorer and the goals dried up from the rest.

    Perhaps that coincides with CF’s loss of form, because so many of our goals come from his passes, but this is surely something to consider.

    So many of our bloggist colleagues take the view that he is best suited in the no 10 role, rather than as the lead striker and I think that these figures indicate that that is correct.

    Yes he has scored so many goals, but we cannot go forward and be what we should be just relying his goals only.

    Yesterday I thought that having Chamakh there was beneficial, although I agree the lack of momentum meant that the performance as a whole was very flat and uninspiring. Nevertheless, we looked more penetrative that way against what was, as usual, a massed defence.

    Please don’t shoot me down, but that is what the statistics look like to me.

  82. YW – it’s fair enough, that it may not be policy of the club. And fair enough that he got permission. But do you honestly think that it’s good for the team that he wasn’t there for the team’s final push potentially for 3rd place? I was captain for my team last year and had several injuries, but i made sure i was there to cheer them on, at both home and away games, and definitely would have been there on the last day of the season had i not returned from injury, regardless of whether or not there was anything at stake. Being captain of one of the biggest clubs in the world means that there is always something at stake.

    You may think there’s nothing wrong with it, but to me, it is a little disrespectful, yes. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Cesc, but everyone has their flaws and makes mistakes, and i think that was one.

    And I’m not one of those whining for the sake of it, i was merely opening up a conversation about it on today’s comments.

  83. Borges Spinelli,
    Depends what half of the season you are talking about. If you double up the second half we would have featured in Survival Sunday.

  84. Frank
    Interesting quote from Arshavin on his site (re not winning the title):

    arshavin.eu: Was it due to a lack of luck, conspiracy of referees or something else?
    AA: We couldn’t win, we tried, but the season went its own way. Our paths parted at some point.

    Interesting that he (as other players – Wilshere, Schesny, RvP) have highlighted the refereeing. The Untold Arsenal site has been running ref reviews weekly from a ref (Belgium leagues) which show often 40 or 50% error rates in the Arsenal games and 80 to 90% of those errors favouring the other team. When you see the blatant non awarding of goals like Chamakh, Ramsey penalty and RvP turn and pass to Ramsey against AVilla then it is hard to ignore.

    That coupled with the lack of protection of players from bad tackles does lead to despondency. They have to be professional but you reach a point where you say “what can we do”. AW has highlighted 17 penalties awarded against them this season. That is a phenomenal number for a team with usually 60% possession. If an Arsenal player breathes heavily near an apponent its a foul or penalty, but the same standards don’t apply to Arsenal. Alex “the destroyer” Song has the 3rd highest foul count in the EPL this year!! (what a joke).

  85. LimparAssist

    I thought Diaby was another one in the minds of most gooners’ “get him out” list tbh. Im glad he put in the performance we know he is capable of. He lost the ball quite a few times with some misplaced passes, but he done very well considering how much action hes got of late.

    Van Persie was amazing, I felt the partnership was working with Chamkh but will need a few games. His record is impressive but we rely on him too much in our setup, something needs tweaking.

    I just hope Wenger tries Theo as the man playing off a Chamakh or Van Persie next season. It has gone very silent on the whole “stick Theo up top” talk from our manager and I do think Theo has learnt as much as he can on the wing. I think it could work very well in our system as we move far too slowly through the middle. Plus all our CF’s dont like to play on the shoulders of the last man. I don’t think no striker will offer what Theo gives us in terms of raw pace and finishing. He has rarely dissapointed when getting into them positions.

    If Wenger does finally transform Theo into a striker, we will surely be on the lookout for some widemen.

  86. Re CL qualifiers, based on the European leagues before this weekend (and an amateur attempt to decipher the Platini Rules), it looked as though the seeded qualifiers going straight into the final qualifying “play offs” would be Arsenal, Bayern, Lyon and Villareal. Udinese would go in but unseeded. The other seeded team would be one of those coming through from the previous qualifying round – almost certain to be Benfica, but if they were knocked out I think Panathinaikos or Kiev would be next in line. So one of those two or Rubin probably the biggest threats as Yogi suggests.

  87. jjgsol, some fair points but I think it was more a matter of RVP being the only attacking player of ours to maintain his good form during our dip, rather that the rest of the team expecting him to do everything and perhaps relying too much on him (although there was an element of that too).

    I do agree that he plays most effectively behind another forward though. And as Chris says maybe it’s time to push Theo up front and get an a out-and-out wide man on the right. Theo and Chamakh rotating up front depending on the opposition would be my shout.

  88. So it appears we will have a summer of “buy/sell/transfers!” on one side and “the ref’s cost us the league” on the other…

    exciting times.

  89. Diaby’s success rate was over 90% yesterday, although he did dribble his way into trouble a couple of times. I think his teamwork is actually underrated – there’s isn’t much subtlety to his passing, but he keeps it simple and is very good at receiving the ball without breaking stride. We need him fit next season. Hopefully a few of the more negative fans (I didn’t realise Diaby was that much of a scapegoat until last week) will be appeased by Denilson and Bendtner’s departure and finally show some goodwill towards the guys who haven’t quite set the world alight so far.

    Meanwhile, Nasri finally showed glimpses of that pre-injury form. He’ll benefit from the break, as will Ramsey and Wilshere, who both looked a bit swamped at times yesterday.

  90. Theo up front would be great, and like the idea of him and Chamakh rotating, but do we then just go with a standard 442? who would be sacrificed from the starting lineup? Jack? Song? Tricky stuff…

  91. ArseChicago / Geo

    Can I ask why this wasn’t an issue at Stoke – he didn’t go to that one either. What’s the difference between him staying at home or being at a Grand Prix? What about other matches throughout the season. He wasn’t at Anfield either, on the opening day of the season. By your standards, he should have been. Yet there were no complaints?

    If the title was up for grabs, I suspect the whole of the squad would have been there. I don’t understand why people are bent out of shape, seriously, it’s pettiness of the highest order.

    A bandwagon has started rolling and too many people are too willing to jump on it?

    YW

  92. ChrisGoona | May 23, 2011 at 2:45 pm |

    Calm down and have a look at my posts again. I took nothing back. and I certainly didn’t abuse anyone.

    LimparAssist | May 23, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    “I know just what Frank means by mean-spirited, Henristic, and I don’t think it has to do with talking about a defensive lapse.”

    Of course you’ll say that Limpar. I expected nothing less.. 🙂

  93. Ok YW, you’re right. Jumping on the bandwagon is all it is. My bad. Absolute pettiness. I wish I wasn’t so easily influenced my the pesky media. Damn them. If only I could form my own opinion of something… alas.

    It’s not about him being at the grand prix. It’s about him not being there for the last game of a gruelling and emotional season… The last game signifies the finale of a collective mission, one that the leader should be expected to attend – in my opinion. No bandwagon – my opinion. And that’s why I think it’s more of an issue than not attending the Stoke game.

    Anyway, I haven’t been massively bent out of shape by it. Far from it. Some may have been, and have put it down to him wanting to go to Barca, not me. I just felt that watching his teammates get over the finish line after the season would be a bit more important to him than watching a race. Shoot me down for that if you want, i apologise in advance.

  94. Geo – No I wouldn’t want to lose that solid base in midfield. Song + one of Diaby, Wilshere or Ramsey. I mean more for when Cesc is missing through injury, or has his head up his arse and we need that vision and craft from RVP instead.

  95. YW, depends on what he was doing I’d think. Whose fault is it that perception is reality? It’s one thing to wish your teammates well and stay back from the stadium. It’s another to stay back and then publicize how it is you’re having so much fun while your teammates are fighting for a win. Who is to say that his absence at Anfield or at Stoke didn’t matter to the players? Maybe it did, maybe it didn’t. But you’ve got these millions of supporters tuning in to watch yesterday’s match, thousands of away supporters showing up to Craven Cottage to support the club. Fabregas posting pictures of what he was doing while all this going on creates a terrible perception with supporters, if not with his teammates. There’s been a lot of handwringing on certain blogs about supporters not getting behind the club. That handwringing loses a lot of weight when you see the club captain out at a car race on matchday. If that’s me jumping on a bandwagon, so be it. Most of the other bandwagons I’ve refused to jump on.

  96. jjgsol | May 23, 2011 at 3:07 pm |

    Very interesting perspective you have there. But surely there are many other factors that may explain why goals from the other usual scorers dried up when he came back into the team. Any idea if a similar trend occurred in previous seasons? It may very well be coincidental that the other scorers lost form around the same time he returned to the team?

    Besides the idea somehow doesn’t tally with the view that RVP is brilliant at bringing others into the game. His goals/assists stats for the last 5 seasons (22/8, 11/9, 30/14, 10/6, 14/9) supports that view.

    Or perhaps the team isn’t set-up well enough to take better advantage of his creative abilities?

  97. Jack wont be with England U21 for the finals. He ruled himself out. Good lad

  98. Nasri and Fab situation need to get fixed ASAP. Losing Cesc would be a huge blow to everything we have assumed about the future of the club for the last several years but we can’t afford another year like this one. He needs to be fully committed or moved on.

    Nasri is another big concern. Based on the way that Arsene does business there can be little doubt that he has been offered several chances to extend his contract. His lack of form in the last 1/2 year and his reluctance to extend his contract worrisome. Hopefully the summer will see a new contract and see him re-energized.

    If Clichy leaves I would like to see at least an experiment with TV5 on the left. He has the pace and loves to get forward and his body size is much better suited for a PL fullback then a CB. I think he would offer more as an attacker and as a defender especially during set pieces. Clichy certainly not an asset on set pieces on either side of the pitch. TV5 has never been in a side which is a good defensive team. 2 years with us have been a shambles and his previous team Ajax was not a great defensive team when he was there. Interesting how much Ajax has improved defensively since he left. None of it is all his fault but asking him to be the central focus of strong team defense is asking for another year of trouble.

  99. Cesc went to his Grandfather’s (after the GP) to watch the Arsenal game. He posted it on FB yesterday

  100. Arsene 1 – Pearce 0

  101. The situation with Nasri is interesting. There is precedent that a player’s form dips when there are protracted contract negotiations.

    At a time when he was playing very well, Kanu started to negotiate a new contract. They dragged on for ages and his form dipped steadily, so much so that he never regained it and went soon thereafter.

    It seems to me that his may explain both Nasri’s and Chichy’s drop in form.

    Whilst both eventually insisted that they would negaitiate at the end of the season, but the initial distraction could have had a reral negative effect.

  102. Good lord. Well done, AW. An outbreak of commonsense from the FA. Psycho actually backed down.

  103. Three cheers for the FA. Hip, hip…..naaaah…booooooooooo. Hip, hip…….boooooo, hip hip….boooooooo

  104. quote from an actual arsenal fan.
    “Wenger first purchase should two centre half defenders – Chris Samba from Blackburn & Gary Cahill from Bolton. Then midfielder Nigel Reo Coker from Aston Villa, Shaun Wright Phillips and Michael Johnson from Man City and Scott Parker from West Ham. Finally a big striker like Ba from West Ham or Kenwyne Jones from Stoke. With these players Arsenal can secure a trophy or 2 next season.”

    arsenal fans are getting delusional.

  105. Good work YW.

    The only bright light on darkness we have suffered is that business will hopefully have to be conducted from early.

    At least we will know by such time if the tide has changed in terms of adding to the squad and wielding the axe on the dead wood that should of been chopped seasons ago.

    Worried about Nasri but,Clichy can f-off.

  106. this from the metro… Are they for real? i thought Jack was not called up?

    Wilshere will be heading to the European Under-21 Championships this summer, after Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger revealed his player has been chosen for the squad, despite the Frenchman having reservations about his selection.

  107. Is it true that Cesc wasn’t at the game? If so doesn’t really send out the signal we want.

  108. Jjgsol, interesting analysis.

  109. ChrisGoona | May 23, 2011 at 2:45 pm |

    That post was like a Churchill speech. Nice one.

    It’s so hard to digest how it turned to shit after it was all looking like we would clean up. Agreed that AW, put every bit of trust he had in them but, I believe he got let down by certain players.

    Just hoping he doesn’t give certain players the time of day and brings in what’s required. I have total trust in him to make the right power moves to fix this mess and bring joy.

    This project needs tweaking not wholesome changes. I also think that it’s possible we need changes to happen in the background as well as on the pitch and the first thing that comes to mind is a recognised x CB to coach Defensive drills. Stop the papering over and get this area sorted out.

  110. agree goonerton. It seems like all one has to do to trouble our defense is launch a long ball up field repeatedly and wait for Djourou to fuck it up. It happened about 5 times yesterday in the first 20 minutes. Not that Djourou completely fucked it up (meaning turnover>>>goal) but still he gave the ball away cheaply, in our own half, much too often.

  111. Good Lord. Yes he wasn’t present at the game. He chose to have a day out. Big fucking deal. He isn’t going anywhere. And if he does, he will go for enough money that perhaps, we can build a stronger team.

    Silly season……..

    Pearce “I spoke to Jack last week and he explained that while he told me in March that he wanted to be part of the squad, he now feels he is not in the best condition to take part in the Finals”.

    I hope RVP can learn something from Jack. He’s our real captain, and the team will need him fit for next season. Not that, it’s his fault he gets injured, but perhaps he can cut down the risks, by not going for internationals.

  112. I read somewhere that Arsenal have the worst form in the league over the last 10 weeks. If true, that is astonishing.

    BUT

    Not as astonishing as our home support. Is it any coincidence that our away record is the best in the league and our home record is nothing to write home about (particularly after the league cup final loss)? Our away fans are legends but a large portion of our home crowd are terrible.

    If Arsenal need to sign any one in the summer transfer window -its more members who support the team no matter what. Are many of our home support mentally weak? Not tough enough to help the team over the finishing line? Do they drop their heads when things aren’t going our way?
    What happened to the rule that you only boo the oppsition?

    Love your team and show your love at every chance within the stadium.

  113. I second that. RVP should take note.

  114. The slump we suffered needs scientific analysis. It was a disaster.

  115. Borges Spinelli

    @jjgsol at 3:07pm
    Buddy, i am not trying to shoot you down, at least not with malice. But your figures are slightly inaccurate, therefore misleading.

    You said:
    “Van Percy was available for the first 3 games of the season.”

    No, he wasn’t. He missed the first couple of games. Started the 3rd, lasting about 22mins before injury claimed him, and in his place returned Chamakh.

  116. Jjgsol
    Interesting analysis. Unfortunately the fact that the first 3 paragraphs are completely false means I cannot take any of the rest of it seriously.
    RvP – Telegraph statistics for the full season. Total mins RvP 2010/11
    = 1,768 mins
    = 19.64 games (ie just over half the season)

    So he did miss almost half of the season. He made 18 starts and 6 sub appearances.
    Where did you get your figures from?
    Or did you guess?

  117. Borges Spinelli

    That’s right, kenyangunner. A LOT of strange occurrences took place this season. Too many freak injuries; multiple loss of form from key players; goal leads lost a million times. It does need analyzing. and ofcourse, the refs played their parts, too. Notable games for me, were Barcelona away, Newcastle away, Everton at home.

  118. @ William? Why do you beg to differ, you have just confirmed that he is not in the squad unlike the metro

  119. Yogi,

    Would you be blogging in the summer?

  120. re: Cesc at the Grand Prix…….

    Yogi – maybe our captain had made his travels plans month’s in advance and Arsenal approved.
    What’s all the ruckus, he’s only the team’s captain?

  121. Arsene Baggins:

    Interesting idea. Spend our transfer kitty on new home fans.

    If you look at the fixture list, in the last 2 -3 months our away record was worse then our home form despite having fantastic away support and not having the pressure of all the oohs and aaahs at every bad pass coming from the stands. May be we should blame it on something like the position of Jupiter with respect to Saturn. At least no one can prove or disprove that by looking at the record.

  122. william,

    It’s hard to put a finger on Djouru’s mess ups. One moment he’s clearing everything, timing perfect headers and last ditch tackles and the next minute he’s a fucking car crash with really bad timing in the tackle, poor defending from set pieces and worse, letting balls bounce when they should of been attacked.

    This is very strange behaviour which I think a good Pre Season with Thomas Vermaelen, will iron out and see him cut out the crap.

  123. glad thats over..
    hate it when the seasons over and theres no footy but that was getting silly, our form went to shit and we needed to call time on this season..

    too many big babies at this club…we got quite a few unhappy lads on our books, we need to get rid of a few and try restore some harmony to the place first, then we reinforce with the money we have available..

  124. Borges Spinelli

    Djourou, i would give benefit of the doubt. Afterall he did well to return back to action after suffering 2 horrible injuries in the space of 3 months. Given further recuperation time, i’m sure he’d be back to his early season’s best.

  125. goonerton:

    I hope Johan come good but we don’t know which is the real Johan. Maybe we should add another CB. If it turns out we have the good player next year then we have plenty to cover for the inevitable injuries and rotation etc. If we get the car crash then at least we have done our best to cover our bases. If we assume that a good preseason will solve his inconsistency and do nothing in the transfer window and it turns out Johan does a Senderos we are hosed again.

  126. agree with the post as well
    cl qualifier means we start early and we have to start with a bang so we need everything sorted quickly regarding the squad..

  127. Agree with Bill. I wouldn’t mind seeing TV playing left back, even if Clichy doesn’t leave. He could be rotated with Clichy for the more high profile games while Gibbs feature in the ‘easier’ cup and pl games.

  128. LimparAssist | May 23, 2011 at 2:42 pm |

    No, it wasn’t me, but sounds like another wise gal out there!

    JBH | May 23, 2011 at 3:14 pm |

    Good points

    It may be down to a little immaturity, but it must be really hard to raise yourself for games when you feel like the world is against you. Jack politely referred to it on Twitter as ‘inconsistent’ refereeing after the Newcastle game. Bac also came as close to saying it as someone in his position could in an interview after the game. The players are not stupid. They have played enough games to know when the dice are loaded against them and it ate away at their confidence. It must be soul destroying.

    I agree with YW re the Cesc thing. It wouldn’t be such an issue if it wasn’t for the way our season died off at the end. It was probably not a good idea for him to post about it on Twitter as it doesn’t take much for an Arsenal player to attract criticism at the moment.

  129. henristic
    on the clichy thing…
    as well as nasri why have they been allowed to get into their final year when 17 players got new ones only last year…with nasri and clichy both being regarded as first teamers why wasnt those two part of that renewing of everyones contracts process we had…would have thought they were priorities of that list…

    seems not the case though..

  130. Bill,

    I agree with you, the position of Jupiter with respect to Saturn indeed played an enormous part in our collapse towards the latter stages of the season. I think it calls for a new formation of our stars and the removal of uranus .

  131. Arsene Baggins:

    Touche’, LOL.

  132. I would also state the Barca tie in the case for shit referee-ing. Within two minutes Xavi was laying on the floor because Song came within a foot of him. How can a team try and make tackles when the player is literally waiting for the first sign of contact to go down? Once Barca established that they will flail to the ground upon the slightest contact, and get a foul or even yellow card called, our squad is shit out of luck. We also need to look no further than that cunt on Newcastle or Lucas at Liverpool

  133. Jon Jon:

    No way to know for sure but based on what has happened at the club I suspect significant contract extensions have been offered but they are both looking to explore their options and have not been willing to sign anything yet.

  134. Bill

    Djourou has been outstanding this season. What is this bollocks about “oh is he a good player or not?” Vidic gets way with dragging players down every single game, yet Djourou isnt allowed a fuck up every now and again. The fact he has played a lot of football after a long lay off would, for me at least, be a reason behind his slip ups of late.

    He has already shown what a top class player he is. he doesnt have to prove himself to anyone.

  135. Goonerton at about 6.15pm;

    “This project needs tweaking not wholesome changes…”

    I agree we need completely seazy, tacky nasty changes due! 😀

  136. Borges Spinelli

    LOL! Glad to see humor still exists on this blog after such a tumultuous season. @Arse Baggins

  137. JBH. Thank you for your comments.

    However, although I do accept that y research, which was from the Arsenal website, was a bit rushed, I do not think that it was that inaccurate.

    Please remember that I said that he was available for the first 3 games, which is true, as you will see.

    I will list the gamses, and his role. This information is taken mainly from the Liverpool programme.

    Liverpool sub
    Blackpool sub
    Blackburn start
    Bolton to West Ham neither
    Newcastle sub
    Wolves unused sub
    Everton ditto
    Spurs sub
    AVilla unused sub
    Fulham sub
    Manure sub
    Chelsea started
    Wigan neither
    Brum started
    Man City started
    West Ham started
    Wigan started
    Everton started
    Newcastle started
    Wolves started
    Stoke neither
    Sunderlandneither
    WBA started
    Blackburn started
    Blackpool started
    I believe that he started the last 7 games of the season.

    He was, therefore, involved in one way or another in 29 league matches.

    My apologies, as I was 2 matches out, having mentioned a figure of 31.

    The point I was making is that he has actually been available for 3 quarters of the season and, excpetd for 3 league games he has been availabel to play in every league game since 7th November.

  138. george rodger

    Available is not the same as ready for a full 90 minutes

  139. What the fuck? Someone having a go at RvP now? What the fucking hell is wrong with you, man? Woman? Person?

  140. One of our players who can hold his head up this season is RvP. He gave it his all, and scored plenty.

  141. RVP player of the season – no contest

  142. RVP is magic. fire a pass up to him. doesn’t matter if it is rolling or bouncing. he WILL control it.

  143. RVP………..Click Click Click
    RVP………..Click Click Click
    RVP………..Click Click Click

  144. Borges Spinelli

    Here’s a video i found of Ricky Alvarez. I like his directness.

  145. It will be a big mistake to let Bendtner leave the club.

  146. Unless we change our formation he has no chance in being a starter for us. We can do better than him, I won’t shed too many tears if he leaves.

  147. agreed colney, for how “shite” Bendtner is, he scored a fair amount of goals this campaign, with limited playing time and playing on the RW. I can understand using him as a winger, but surely he is more effective cutting in from the left wing and executing his favorite curled effort into the top right corner. Miscontrolling that pass against cuntalona also didn’t help his status among the fanbase.

  148. Dexter:

    The point about JD is that we need to cover ourselves just in case. How many times does it have to be proven that playing well for a run of 10 – 12 games only proves you capable of a run of good form. His recent form has been poor. We have all seen several players who lose confidence and never get it back.

    We also have a lot to worry about TV5 returning and staying fit after missing a full year. Hope your right about JD as a player and he can shake the injury bug which has plagued his career. If your wrong about JD and/or TV5 has niggles etc we are in big trouble if we don’t cover ourselves.

  149. goonerandy,
    I disagree, i think Bendtner is more direct than Chamakh. It’s not his fault he’s being played out of position. The only way to solve this issue is by switching formations, (i agree with you on that), but i fear if we let him leave he will flourish somewhere else.

    We can shift RVP into the hole and play Bendtner or Chamakh as a direct striker.

  150. Colney – Yeah, maybe so. With Chamakh just having signed, I can’t see him leaving. And he and Bendtner are too similar, so if ones leaves it will be Bendtner. Personally I think he is a lazy player, so I have found it hard to like him if I am being honest. Decent scoring record mind.

  151. I am not having a go at RVP. What I am suggesting is that the formation that we have been playing this season with him as the lead stariker seems to have inhibited the rest of the team, so that the goals have dried up from them. Please look at my original post.

    I prefer and I am sure you agree that he plays behind a main striker, rather than as the main striker himself. That way he can use his great skills not obnnly for scoring, but for also assisting other to score.

    I agree he has been our best player this season overall, but feel that the way we play does not suit either his best skills, and those of the rest of the squad.

  152. Borges, are we really falling for the Ricky Alvarez story? Last time an Argentinian was linked it was a wind up by an Arsenal blogger. I wonder how true it is given that he is 23 (so hardly the experienced player people are calling for) and Argentinian, who rarely travel well to the UK. He would probably need a season to acclimatize as well. I’m not convinced.

  153. I think you could be right colney @ 9.59pm. He is more direct than Chamakh, who has frustrated me with his desire to pass instead of going for goal. Bendtner has more of a strikers instinct, but his inconsistency has been frustrating. Missing ‘that’ opportunity in the Nou Camp, was unbelievable for a player with his ambitions and could have cemented his position in the team. But it clearly wasn’t to be. He will get there one day, but I don’t think Arsenal can afford to wait any longer for him to deliver.

  154. Bill

    I didnt have an isse with you suggesting we sign a CB. I think that is going to happen. My point was that I dont think JD needs to prove himself any more. he camein this season, plyed about 10 times as many games as he thought he would ad, bar a couple of games, played very very well; dominan in the air, good at bringing the ball out and tackling like a demon. His malaise of late is part of whatever the fuck was wrong with the whole blummin squad! He will be a great defender.

  155. The other issue with Bendtner is his contract status. Don’t know how long his current contract runs. His production to this point does not warrant a long term relatively big money extension and I doubt he would sign unless we blew him away with an offer that would make little sense for the club. Best for both sides if we can get some real money for him now.

  156. I agree with the comments about RVP’s best position. He likes to play with the ball at his feet rather than with his back to goal and when defences play a high line he struggles a bit in that lone striker role, he would prefer to be dropping deeper to pick up the ball in the space in front of defence with a striker ahead of him. In a lone striker role he does not have that option, but when we play two upfront he can go looking for the ball. Its interesting that Man U appear to get more out of Rooney when they play with him alongside Hernandez, Rooney can drop back to get the ball and provide a supply to his strike partner.

  157. 1 loose cannon

    jjgsol- RVP very rarely miss clear cut chances- he is not wasteful.if every player is orderred to pass to him then you have a case but from what I have seen they all had a pop but the finishing is lacking and that has nothing to do with RVP just look at fulham game and you will how many shots Arshavin had.. every game Arshavin will have few shots, Theo hit the post few times this season. people say RVP’s sending off against Barcelona did not make a diffence but If I wanted anyone to take that Bendtner last minute chance it would be RVP. he is simply lethal. 18 goals in 20 games is amazing. you simply cannot link Diaby’s stupidity at Newcastle or Eboue’s panic defending against liverpool and many other silly errors at the back to RVP. The man is doing his job perfectly but the defensive side of things have been poor. every game we score 2- 3 goals but you need to keep clean sheets to win games not blame the formation around RVP.

  158. Dexter:

    I hope your right and I think JD will be a long term player with us. For a while I really got excited about him and thought he was our answer to Terry or Puyol as the undisputed first defender on the team sheet for years to come. Right now we don’t know what we have. His injury history is also a big concern. He will get chances to play next year if he starts 3rd or 4th on the pecking order and if plays the way he did for that run of games and stays consistent he can still be our John Terry. He is still very young for a defender.

  159. “Arsenal join Liverpool in chase to sign Aston Villa winger Stewart Downing. (Daily Mail)”

    Now it is silly season.

  160. Thats some daft ass shit there dupsff!

  161. I agree JD is likely to be a long term player for us, although he does appear to make some daft mistakes – sometimes allowing the ball to bounce, sometimes not closing down the player on the ball quickly enough.
    We currently have 4 CBs to choose from; TV5 just coming back from a long injury, Kos still young and in his first season, JD been with the team for a while now but had more than his fair share of injuries and therefore not that many first team games and finally Squillaci. I think Squillaci has struggled this season and, whilst I accept this is his first season in the Prem, I think it is not going to get much better for him. Squillaci has had one hell of a season which included such memorable events as knocking out your CB partner and in the process allowing the other team to score. Maybe Squillaci could have done with an old hand beside him to teach him the Premiership ropes, but unfortunately he was partnered with rookies when he was in his rookie season himself. I feel a bit sorry for Squillaci, but maybe Wenger thought that an experienced player from another league would be able to settle in easily, but the Premiership is a hard place to learn “on the job”.

  162. What do some of you people do? Wait for every single mistake and make a note of it? As I said before Vidic has made numerous mistakes this season, yet is preceived as the leagues best CB.

    You must think CBs dont make mistakes for other teams!

  163. Really? JD is suddenly becoming a scape goat? He has had a couple of sub-par games these last weeks, but is really no one able to draw the line to his injury? He was injured, rushed back and did not have the proper time to recover and I think that is more than anything the reason why he struggled. I am really curious who’s supposed to be better than JD. Ferdinand? Yes. Terry? Maybe. Cahill? Are you having a laugh? Samba?

  164. Djourou’s form dipped in the second half of the season, maybe it’s because he played so many games, maybe because of his injury record i can’t quite pinpoint what the cause was. Either way he did make some mistakes that can easily be fixed. Ball watching, not pressing the attacker, dwelling on the ball too long, not being decisive enough, these are all things that can be corrected. I do have high hopes for JD, hope he can be a consistent defender for us.

  165. i wouldn’t say we are making Djourou a scapegoat, but all you have to do is watch the first 15 or so minutes of the fulham game to see where the doubt comes from. On the other hand, Tim at 7amkickoff put up some data which showed we conceded the least amount of goals with Djourou on the pitch. Kos, DJ, and Thomas will make quite a kick ass central defense. PLEASE DONT GET HURT.

  166. Djourou came back too quick from his injury.

    I dont see how any doubt can come in regarding him as his was great in most matches apart from maybe the last 3 he has played in.

    I am not sure about anyone else but surely a player cannot be judged by a few matches in which the team didnt play well after returning from injury.

    We do over think a few things sometimes.

    This team is close. Imagine no mess up at the CC, no idiot ref in the Barca and Newcastle matches. Its much closer than it seems, the team will have to learn how to stay confident. If they can do that, even with this current squad the sky would be the limit.

    I am all for signings but talent is not the real issue.

  167. Paul N
    Maybe the club needs to sign a sports psychologist.

  168. Maybe Colney

  169. Maybe Arsenal fans need a psychologist?

  170. Don’t we already have a psychologist? Isn’t he the guy reported as saying Bendtner scored higher than 100% in some psychological test for confidence.

  171. Psychologist? Shrink? No, you need Cap’n Consolsbob. Never fear, he’s here to rescue you from the depths of despair. Well, not here, but there:

    https://aculturedleftfoot.wordpress.com/2011/05/24/a-season-in-review-all-or-nothing/

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