Bobs Two Arsenal One

It was an event-filled North London Derby and I’m not going to be able to get to everything. In those cases I typically like to focus on one or two items but today I’m feeling like I need to get all these thoughts out so here goes.

Adebayor

Before the game Szczesny bragged that he had Adebayor’s number and that during practice he would shut him down time and again. Something to the effect of “there’s a reason I’m here and he’s not.” And I have to say that it sure looked like he knew what he was doing.

Song and Perm had a good match against the former Arsenal man as well with just one exception: when he looked clearly offside and yet there was no call. Ade slipped through and had a one-on-one with the keeper.

But it was Szczesny who played Adebayor like a fiddle; feinting a dive to one side and thus forcing Adebayor to his right which Szczesny saved. It was a great bit of gamesmanship and all the proof you need that despite the one moment of poor keeping that let in the goal, Szczesny is something special.

Walker smells like a Rose

Remember Danny Rose? Yeah, well, all the journalists were lauding him as the next in a long like of great Spurs products after he hit a goal against Arsenal back in April of 2010. Bentley has hit one of those goals too. But if I was Walker I might be looking at the new found love-in with the press with a jaundiced eye.

Since then, Rose has been on loan to Bristol City and Bentley’s career has come up craps time and again.

The chants

Tim Stillman confirmed on his twitter account that the traveling Arsenal supporters sang the Angola chant that the press are now using to beat all Arsenal supporters with. Basically, the chants wishes that Adebayor had been shot to death when the bus he was on was attacked last year.

Sorry but that chant is indefensible. Though, if you were there, sang along, and would like to explain why, please have at it.

I don’t know what to say except that now we are going to be subjected to every possible terrible chant imaginable and if we complain, the press will criticize us as hypocrites. Of course doing that is unfair because it’s saying that a few thousand supporters represent the Arsenal majority but it’s an argument that people like Oliver Holt are already making.

Clive of Allen

Clive Allen, Clive of India, Clive Cussler, Clive Barker, there is literally no one named Clive who I like. Though I am open to suggestions. So, if you’re named Clive and want to change my mind please, tell me why. And if your name is Clive and you sang the Angola chant I would love to hear from you.

As for Clive of Allen, this whole handshake flap is exactly what you would expect from a small-time club like Tottenham Hotspur. I’m not even going to explain why Arsene Wenger doesn’t have to shake his hand, Martin Keown has done that for us. Instead, let’s just concentrate on what this supposed man did after Wenger refused his hand: publicly called one of the greatest managers in the history of the Premier League “two-bob” and at least one reporter claims that he called Wenger a cunt.

I’m going to sit here an hold my breath waiting for their club to issue an apology and announce that they have fined Clive Allen for his boorish behavior.

Internationals and then Sunderland

For once I’m actually looking forward to the next two weeks. On their current form almost none of this Arsenal team deserve to be chosen for their nationalism teams and I expect that many of them won’t.

Is Capello really going to play Theo Walcott when his biggest contribution to the North London Derby yesterday was leading his team in disparaging looks at his teammates?

Meanwhile those who aren’t in poor form are ravaged by injuries. Sagna is out with a broken leg. Squillaci and Koscielny are both returning from injury. Djourou is out with a muscular problem. Vermaelen is out for another two weeks after the international break. Wilshere isn’t back until January. And Diaby hasn’t played at all for Arsenal this season.

Perm will probably be picked, Gibbs might get a call up, Robin van Persie will almost certainly be chosen, Szczesny is probably going to be chosen, Gervinho too, and Chamakh is a fixture. I would guess that Arshavin and Rosicky will also be chosen along with Benayoun but if you look down the list of Arsenal players whereas once we had just Denilson left behind for internationals we now probably have: Jenkinson, Santos, Song, Arteta, Diaby, Djourou, Squillaci, and Koscielny.

Hm… defensive drills anyone?

Oh wait, there was a match? How did Arsenal play?

Bad.

As I pointed out in my By The Numbers column on Arseblog News it wasn’t that Arsenal had a slew of turnovers, it was more the type of turnovers that was the problem. Arsenal dominated possession with 62%, they dominated passing numbers, dominated passing percentage, and yet Spurs created more chances: 18 shots and 6 on goal, compared to Arsenal’s 13 and 5.

Time and again Ramsey hesitated or made a poor pass that led to a scoring chance for the opposition. This started early in the game and continued for much of the match with but a brief spell in the start of the second half where he and Arsenal looked bright. If we have learned anything about Arsenal’s style, they need to move the ball quicker if they are going to break down teams who sit back and try to hit on the counter.

It’s no coincidence that Arsenal had their best bit of the game when Ramsey was playing at his best. All totaled Arsenal ended the game with a respectable 13 shots and 5 on goal but after Walker’s wonder goal, Arsenal looked like they didn’t know what to do.

For a bizarre last 10 minutes of the game Perm went up front and won exactly zero balls. In fact, Arsenal had zero shots in the last 10 minutes. It’s kind of hard to mount a comeback if you don’t get yourself in a position to shoot the ball.

Szczesny has been singled out for praise above and I’d also like to tip my cap to Coquelin.

Coquelin looked very good and you can see why he started over Frimpong yesterday. He’s a much more mature player, his passing is excellent (fewer poor passes than Ramsey, tackled well, and hunted down the opposition) which isn’t a knock on Frimpong, that’s what happens when you spend a year on loan rather than a year in the treatment room.

Some people are suggesting that Coquelin should start at right back over Jenkinson and on form I’d have to agree. But it’s a tricky situation because Jenkinson has had a very shaky start to his Arsenal career and Coquelin is an unknown quantity at right back. Whatever Wenger chooses it’s going to be a long three months (plus) of balls targeted in to that place on the pitch. UGH.

Oh and for Mike Dean: van der Vaart handled the ball. Not only that but he should have seen yellow for excessive celebration. Yep. And Arsenal will never ever get the benefit of either call, football will never ever introduce technology, and we can write to whomever we wish to complain but it’s not getting Arsenal any points out of yesterday’s match.

Handbreak, Belief, Likeanewsigning

After the match Wenger said that the team played with the handbreak on which has variously sparked mirth or anger depending on how the writer is feeling at the moment. I am not going to get worked up over what Wenger says in press conferences or interviews after a match.

Did Arsenal play with the handbrake? No, because that would imply that they had another gear that they could hit and I don’t think they do at the moment.

Now that Cesc is gone, Jack Wilshere was supposed to be the player who could change the team’s thrust with his vision and power. Unfortunately, guys like Ramsey, Arteta,  Coquelin, Frimpong, Rosicky, and Benayoun while hard working players don’t really have that ability. Jack is a big game player and it looks like Arsenal are missing that quality at the moment.

This isn’t to say that the entire season depends on Jack but rather to just highlight the fact that Arsenal didn’t play with the handbrake on. Looking at the results, I have to say that’s this team’s normal speed.

The alternative to saying that, is that this team played at less than full pace in a North London Derby. That would be truly depressing, wouldn’t it?

Qq

81 thoughts on “Bobs Two Arsenal One

  1. -18 Vote -1 Vote +1ari

    Tim,

    Great blog as always blah blah .. But Im sorry but you defending Wenger all the time – even when he’s clearly wrong – is a bit daft. If Wenger didnt shake the man’s hand, he should stop sounding like a broken record and stop using his standard ‘oh I didnt see it’ excuse.

    The time for excuses was up last season. 6 months ago. We’re in a total shitter is where we are now. A 100 feet deep in a pile of utter human, horse, pig, cow faeces is where this club is.

    ‘Top 4 youre ‘avin a laugh!’ More like ‘top 10 you’re ‘avin a laugh’ is what its more like.

    1. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Masterba...ker

      Even ‘arry has agreed with Wenger – how many hands do you need to shake? Plus the dude is a known cunt. End of story. Get lost asshole.

    2. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1London Calling

      @ari, ‘Arry should have prepared a special podium with his assemble of uncouth backroom mob to kiss AW hand. Clive Allen is not a gentleman, and besides you can tell the mark of a man that when you have just won a game, the local derby, and yet act so uncivilised and aggressive.

      By the way: WHO IS CLIVE ALLEN AND WHO CARES?

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1jax

        @London Calling, Do you remember when we signed him from QPR for 1.2 million & sold him to Palace (without him playing a competitive match for us) for the same amount & got Kenny Sansom as part of the deal? Good bit of business that was.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

        @jax, I remember when I looked him up on Wikipedia and saw that you’re right, he was part of some shady deal that Arsenal made back in the day.

  2. +3 Vote -1 Vote +11NilToTheArsenal

    Well, I got the scoreline right, anyway. David Pleat in The Guardian offers a more balanced view (http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2011/oct/02/arsene-wenger-arsenal-tottenham) but this was pretty ugly all around, from the vile chants by both fans to a decidedly mediocre on-pitch performance by Arsenal to the handshaking flap. From the sublime to the ridiculous, minus the sublime.

    I still believe this group can gel eventually and put together a decent run, but injuries and more dropped points make that 4th place in May look a faint hope right now. We are a long way from good, but we are also a long way from the end. The combining factors of lack of consistency, the usual injuries, and the terrible way we did our business this summer are exposing Arsenal’s weakest season in decades.

    I said it before – this year is one for true Gooners and not for the faint of heart. Looking forward to everyone’s comments – this is a great community of bloggers – but I am looking forward to the break even more.

    1NTTA

  3. +9 Vote -1 Vote +1GOONER FOREVER

    An open letter to the Gods Of Football

    For Christ’s sake ! Enough is enough ! When are you going to get tired of having your fun with the Arsenal ?

    Oh, how you must have chuckled last season when you took us to within touching distance of all that silverware. What fun when you dropped the ball on to the foot of that Birmingham player in front of goal at the end of the CC final, gave us a winning position in the Nou Camp and a ref whose whistle moved quicker than a bolt of lightning.

    You must have been wetting yourselves when you gave us most of the shots on goal at Manure in the cup but gave them the goals and you must have been in hysterics during the end of the last season’s league games.

    The incidents have been endless and to numerous to mention here during the last couple of seasons but recently it has been getting beyond a joke and now I say go and pick on somebody else.

    By the way, is it really necessary to always add (long term) injury to insult ?

    You were at it again yesterday at the s**hole. Not content with having us being beaten by a crap Spuds side you had to throw in another broken leg !

    I am therefore giving you notice that if you don’t move on and go and shaft somebody else (Manure preferably) I am going to call in the Winchester brothers and their mate Castiel to send you back into the hole *

    Yours insincerely

    Gooner Forever

    * (Supernatural, cracking show)

    1. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1gsco

      @GOONER FOREVER, Nice post. I was thinking along the same lines. I can take the loss in what was a bit of a toss up. But Sagna’s broken leg is just freaking cruel. On top of Verm, Wilshere, and the many other long timers, this sucks.

    2. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1London Calling

      @GOONER FOREVER,

      I loved what you wrote above

      A little more:

      Heavenly father, I pray for courage for my football team at this present time
      Let them always play well, help each use their skills and talent to win
      Let their opponent be fair, and the Referee notice injustice.
      Help us to find the resolve to reach our potential very soon
      Grant the team he vision to see the pass that scores the goal
      Grant them moments to rejoice, but not in the adversity of others.
      And release my team from this continuous SPELL OF BAD LUCK AND MISFORTUNE
      I thank you. Amen

  4. Vote -1 Vote +1Teampossible

    I’m actually against the excessive celebration card rule, to be honest. I fail to see how that merits a yellow card because in my mind the player is neither provoking the opposing players nor the opposing fans. The handball was a different issue, but I didn’t manage to see it in real time, and I guess that could happen to the linesman as well.
    My point is these things happen, although to Arsenal apparently twice as much.
    But the thing is, we didn’t deserve to win yesterday.

    Like Tim said, zero shots on target in the last ten minutes?
    I remember seeing them in extra time passing the ball around and I couldn’t believe my eyes, I was swearing like crazy when they were passing back to Sceszcny.

    And I wish I could find some of my comments from a couple of years ago on Tim’s blog, because I fucking swear they would probably sound just like this. Injuries to key players (again and again and fucking again), an awful game from a midfield player (Denilson=Ramsey), bad luck, obvious strategy etc.

    The optimist in me thinks that losing at WHL and Old Trafford is not so bad, losing at home to Liverpool was also not so nightmarish, and maybe only the loss against Blackburn shouldn’t have happened, so probably we will pick up some points in the coming months.

    The pessimist in me thinks that a 5mil Scott Parker would have been a good addition to Song and Arteta in the middle. The pessimist in me also thinks that VDV for 7 mil is a steal.
    Still, I believe that there is absolutely no point in moaning and that even Arsenal play FC Plovdiv in the Inter Toto Cup next season, I will support them.

    So, in regards to yesterday’s result, I can only add this: http://twitpic.com/6um4uy

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1gsco

      @Teampossible, I don’t think Scott Parker looked any good at all yesterday. I’d take Coquelin’s performance over his. Yes – VdV was a good purchase by them.

      1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Metalhead

        @gsco, Parker had an excellent game yesterday. If it wasn’t for him Spurs would have got completely run over in midfield. I’d say both Parker and Coquelin were on par with each. That’s exactly what the stats say as well

        Parker – Tackes – 8 Interceptions – 3 Clearances : 2 Blocks:0
        Coquelin – Tackles -6 Interceptions – 2 Clearances- 3 Blocs:1

        The great thing about Coquelin is that he is 19(?) and he can only improve from here. Can’t say the same about Parker though.

  5. -3 Vote -1 Vote +1critic

    Arsene should reinvent himself for post-match interviews, he sounds like a broken record at the moment.

  6. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Masterba...ker

    I have a solution to your Jenkinson/Coquelin quandry; play them both. Coquelin has shown (for me at least) that he has the engine to play a true backtracking flank midfielder (I believe he played right mid for Lorient). Play a 4-4-2, and play Jenkinson with Coquelin in front of him.

  7. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1ArseChicago

    1) My expectation for this squad after United, after the transfer window closed was a 6th place finish. I hate to say it but w/o Jack, Sagna, TV, and all the guys we’ve sold recently, Sp*rs are somehow the better team (as much as it makes me incredulous to contemplate). Sixth place, now, will be a huge accomplishment.
    2) I think Coquelin played a few games at right back at Lorient, so it shouldn’t be new to him. Regardless, he spent most of his time there on the right side of the pitch. There’s just no way in hell we can have Jenkinson out there starting.
    3) There’s no chemistry whatsoever on this squad. If there’s ever been an Arsenal squad that’s been less than the sum of its parts, this is the squad.
    4) Having both Arteta and Ramsey out there together is awkward. We’d be better off playing a 442, with Theo up front, Robin behind him, and the Ox starting out on the wing. At this point, why the f&ck not? At least Chamberlain gives a sh*t.
    5) Speaking of Theo, there’s just no conceivable way I see him staying with this club. He’s a very frustrating player, yes, but I think with the right players, he can get better. Was he not a Pool supporter growing up? Dalglish is likely salivating at the thought of him out on the right side of the pitch there.
    6) Last thought – now that Sagna’s out, the only remaining member of the starting 11 from 07-08 is RvP (Theo was still a sub back then, really). Since then, it’s safe to say the only area we’ve improved is GK. How is it that we moved to the cavernous Emirates, the move that was supposed to stuff the coffers full of cash, and allowed the squad to get weaker and weaker at each position, each successive season?
    7) I thought things like football were supposed to serve as effective distractions in the face of all of our inevitable mortality. However, this team is killing me prematurely and being a distraction in the wrong way.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

      @ArseChicago, That’s all very well said.

      I’m also very interested in the idea of Coquelin at RB, though I can’t see Wenger doing it. He’ll play Jenkinson.

      I have a lot of time for this young player, but not a lot of PL or CL time for him. I found it baffling at the time, and still do, that Wenger bought this player as our RB back-up. Jenkinson was a part-timer in League One. Surely even the disaster that is Eboue was a better option for back-up than Jenkinson?

      Can you think of another top Prem team with a part-time League One recruit as their immediate back-up to any position? I can’t. This sort of thing is systemic, and that’s why we’re no longer considered a top Prem team.

      Oh well.

      Come on you Gunners!

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Bull

        @Bunburyist, Agreed Eboue would be a better option, I’m all in favour of bringing players through but to leave ourselves with Jenkinson as a replacement right back with a full season ahead was short-sighted to say the least.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1Tino

        @Bull, I was thinking the same thing about Eboue, but it’s really easy to look at him in a positive light now that he has left. There is a reason Eboue hardly played last season. He just couldn’t concentrate for 90min.

        I am not saying Eboue was a disaster every time he played. In fact I think he was directly at fault for 1 or 2 goals. The problem with Eboue is that you never knew what how he was going to perform when he got on the field.

        We also need to remember that he was ready to leave Summer ’10 because he wasn’t happy at being on the bench. He probably felt he would like to play more.

      3. Vote -1 Vote +1lordgunner

        @Bull, well lot of fan want eboue out,now they have been served.
        eboue is not the greatest RB in the world but i would trust him right now more than a talented young player who pass from non league football to top footy in 6 month

        the eboue curse is now on ;) why do you think some of our player left because we sold someone him he was bringing joy to everyone

  8. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1gsco

    I can’t get that worked about the loss or analyzing the team much more than I already have this season. It doesn’t take much to decide a match like yesterday’s. Looking at the stats, Tottenham had a slight advantage in chances as Tim pointed out. Ramsey did really have some bad moments to hand them several of them. But we also had several bright moments. It was great how we applied a lot of pressure in that one spell and converted it into a goal. I’ve seen us apply lots of pressure and come up empty handed a lot even when we had Cesc and Nasri playing. Lots of things could have turned that match in our favor. Gerv should have buried that chance. VdV’s over the shoulder catch for the touchdown would have made any NFL receiver proud. When will Kyle Walker ever score again? Seriously – a broken leg (let’s watch as this is blamed on our medical team)?
    It’s going to be a rough year, but I figure the only way to make it better (and keep sane) is to cheer them on, look for positives, and hope others do the same. Allowing the media or anyone else to foster a poisonous atmosphere isn’t going to help us in the near or long term.
    Tim pointed them out above, but there some great positives:
    - Coquelin was impressive. I’ll give him time since he is still young like Frimpomg but we really could have a great midfield in the making.
    - SZCZ – WOW! It is great to have an awesome keeper at the back.
    - Song played another great game
    We lost the game but we can’t let that lot affect us anymore than the 3 points not gained.

  9. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Yan

    Well, as London Calling put it yesterday and I agree, we are playing pre season due to our disastrous summer negotiations. At some point we will catch up. The question is: Will it be too late when it happens?

  10. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1joakal

    SZCZ used the exact same feint the weekend before as well, brilliant stuff, bet it will take years for strikers to pick up on it and adjust.

    I suppose I’m trying to look at the season like a 90min game, if we get to half time(jan) in the top 10, we still have a chance to come out for the second half and still make 4th. I honestly don’t think the competition for 4th is actually better then we are and over the course of the season we will have better runs, and they will have their bad patchs, and I suspect the end of the season we will be right there where we always are.

  11. Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

    We are this year’s Liverpool of last season.

    Let’s entertain the thought for a minute that we won’t finish in the top four this season. It’s possible. On current form, it’s inevitable. Should this occur, would you rather finish in a Europa Cup position, or below?

    I rather like the idea of using the Europa Cup to field our Carling Cup squad. More competitions in which they can develop / regain some form (i.e., imagine Chamakh getting more games…cause he needs them, badly, but we just can’t afford to use PL and CL games for this purpose).

    On the other hand, the Europa Cup involves a lot of travel and extra games that will inevitably use/tire/risk some senior players for games mostly considered meaningless (I don’t even know why UEFA bothers with this competition). There’s also the risk that we take the competition seriously for some reason and burn out senior players on it.

    What’s your view?

      1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

        @London Calling, I want to believe. I do. We desperately need our treatment room to empty out, and fast. Trouble is, we’re talking season-enders and three-monthers here, not niggles and knocks.

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +11NilToTheArsenal

      @Bunburyist, There’s always the school of thought that if we crash and burn this season, it will be “good” for the club as that may “wake up” AW and the board to spend a load of money to get us on the right track. I think we need European play regardless.

      It’s impossible to predict this club – it’s too unstable a squad with half our starts gone injured again, and the new boys not gelling at all. You’re right however, that if the current form continues, we may even face a relegation battle, and who thought that would even be within shouting distance of reality last season? Wow.

      1NTTA

    2. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Masterba...ker

      It’s not like North American sports where you crash for a few years to get good draft picks and rebuild from there.

      I think if we finish out of the top 4 it’ll be a huge blow to Wenger’s ego. But if we fail to get even Europa qualification, that’ll be the end of Wenger. He will resign. That is too dramatic and too far a fall from grace.

      To rebuild when you are not in Champions League, and not even in Europa league, without massive financial backing, is unfortunately without precedent in the EPL.

      I, for one, want Wenger to stay. So I will desperately be hoping for 5th place minimum. But really… Liverpool I might be able to see sneaking past us for 4th, but Tottenham? Stoke? Newcastle? Aston Villa? No fucking way.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

        @Masterba…ker, You wrote:

        “To rebuild when you are not in Champions League, and not even in Europa league, without massive financial backing, is unfortunately without precedent in the EPL.”

        ===

        Very true, and I appreciate the distinction between a draft system and the PL richest takes all mode. Without a doubt, we wouldn’t be able to claw our way back into the top four without financial backing, though I feel we’re already in that position. We can’t compete financially, and haven’t been able to for some time, and this situation is bearing fruit on the pitch. Sour fruit. Grapes, even.

        I wonder, though, if we did fall out of the top four, whether Kroenke would break habit and dump some serious investment on players?

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

        @Bunburyist, He’s pretty extensively leveraged at the moment and I can’t see him putting a penny of his own money into this team.

        But here’s some thoughts I can’t figure out and I’m sure will have me labeled a Glom and Dumber:

        The team just made enough profits to swell the bank accounts to £160m in cash, which was before all the player trading this Summer. Their payroll has to have been reduced by dropping Cesc and Nasri. And there’s a new influx of cash coming from the international television rights that were just sold. Add in the small coin they made in China for the tour. Then they raised ticket prices, which is another small amount to their bottom line. And starting this year are expecting to start turning a profit on the Queensland road project. They’ve also reduced the size of the payment for the stadium from £20m a year to £14m.

        And we know that they made net profit in player sales this Summer.

        It seems like this story should be told to me by a dame with a great pair of gams who comes into my office on a dark and stormy night asking for me to investigate why things have gone wrong. In the end, I’m set up as a patsy and take the fall for a Russian Mob boss who is smuggling onions in his speedo.

        Or something.

        It’s really weird and makes no fucking sense.

      3. Vote -1 Vote +1Aman Dhaliwal

        @Tim, Yeah this and we can not keep on saying how to compete with big spenders when we do not even spend what we have. No one asked Club to spend what we do not have but everyone wanted Club to at least make sure we can buy best available quality with the money we already have.
        I think we could have been in better shape and would not need a owner to invest just to stay in top 4 but thing is this summer was like a nightmare in management.

      4. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

        @Tim, Love the film noir rendering of Arsenal’s thrift.

        I really don’t expect Kroenke to put in his money. I also know nothing about club finances. But I am curious. Do the Glazers put money in for United? What about Liverpool’s owners? Or is it the case that when they buy, say, a £25m player, that it just gets added to their existing debt?

        Should we consider increasing our debt by buying (read: investing in) world-class players? It doesn’t seem to be hurting United that their debt has now increased to half a billion or something, because their results on the pitch mean the club is valued at more than their debt. Sometimes I feel we’ve gone about things backwards to backwards effect. We could be a self-sustaining club in League Two, but who would care?

        Also, how do Spurs outspend us every year? HOW?

        So many questions.

      5. Vote -1 Vote +11NilToTheArsenal

        @Masterba…ker, The other aspect in North American sports is the playoff post-season which each year gives a team a real chance if they click at the right time. 1NTTA. BTW, Henry still has it – he ended Toronto FCs’ hope of a playoff spot this weekend in classic fashion with the NY Red Bulls. It’s on You Tube.

    3. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1nycgunner

      @Bunburyist, The Europa Cup is to Europe what the Carling Cup is to he Premier League. If we end up playing in the Europa Cup – and I agree with you that on current form it’s inevitable – then we should play a team somewhat similar to our Carling Cup team. At least this way our 2nd team will get more action while our 1st team are spending time in the infirmary and recuperating. However, I am hopeful that we will spend in January. Like LC pointed out, May 12th is far away. What is obvious is we are lacking quality and as Tim said, this is the probably our top gear at the moment. So as long as the club recognizes that, I think we will see at least one new face in attack come January and it will be a marquee signing. Remember the 08-09 season when we looked like we were going to struggle to finish 4th and then we bought Arshavin? So let’s see what happens.

  12. Vote -1 Vote +1Metalhead

    “If we have learned anything about Arsenal’s style, they need to move the ball quicker if they are going to break down teams who sit back and try to hit on the counter.”

    Tim, I think you make an excellent point about moving the ball quicker. I don’t think Arsenal’s overall performance was bad, per se. What we are missing is a linkman; someone who can link the midfield with the forwards. Fabregas did that brilliantly. Unfortunately, with the likes of Arteta and Ramsey we can’t seem to link up well enough. One of the key elements is tracking the run of forward moving player and you need to do that quickly or the defense will have enough time to reorganize. Yesterday there were ample opportunities for Ramsey to send that incisive through ball or a lob, hut he refrained most of the times. Someone earlier made an observation that Ramsey slows our game down and I totally agree. It does not make Ramsey a bad player. It’s just that he still hasn’t efficiently adapted to our playing style. I think one player who has come leaps and bounds as far as the creativity is concerned is Song. I think Arsene should rule out the possibility of playing Song in Arteta or Ramsey’s role with Coquelin sweeping.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Tino

      @Metalhead, Song in Ramsey’s role would be interesting to say the least. It may or may not work, but I would remind you of what happened when we played Wilshire in Cesc’s position last season. It lasted 45 before Wenger restored him.

      What I think needs to happen is that the three midfielders need to share responsibility and rotate their positions. If Ramsey plays 90min in an advanced position and can’t pick out a throughball and plays sideways passes, the team will suffer. However if Ramsey does the same for 15min, but rotates with Song for the next 15min who seems more likely to play an incisive pass we can get by.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Eurazian

        Song’s greater creativity in the last couple of seasons means that the potential is there to play a double-pivot with either Coquelin or Frimpong. Arteta could then push forward more,or possibly Wilshere when he returns.

        I think Song has shown he is indispensible to us. He wasn’t great as a CB against Spurs, but he looks better than Arteta and Ramsey at creating chances at the moment.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

      Clive Staples Lewis: A learned Oxford and later Cambridge professor who wrote inspired children’s literature while also publishing scholarly books that significantly shaped the field of Renaissance studies for many generations.

      Clive James: Easily the best essayist alive.

      1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

        @ESM, You know, it’s funny, because I’m a Canadian transplanted in America just like Teal Bunbury, but I only realized this connection a few months ago. My reference is to Algernon’s fictional Uncle Bunbury in Wilde’s play, where the constantly ill Bunbury is the excuse which gets Algernon out of various social obligations. I.e., Bunburyist gets me out all work responsibilities!

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

        @ESM, That’s good to hear (about Teal). His father (Alex Bunbury) was a decent player for Canada.

        Did you know Canada has only ever featured once in a World Cup? 1986. Didn’t score a single goal. Ah, proud days. I remember watching that World Cup and just feeling this immense pride as we held France until almost the last minute, only to lose 1-0. The rest of the games, I felt only pity. My “team” at the time was Italy (largely because my first real memory of watching a World Cup was 1982 when Italy won it, and ever since I’ve just always rooted for them in international tournaments…this method of fandom also explains why so many children in North America follow United, Chelsea, Barca, Real Madrid, and often all three).

  13. Vote -1 Vote +1les

    Tim. First off good write up and love the picture. How we all felt yesterday. The good thing was we at least played well. But one of my main concerns is this. 6 to 10 years ago Arsene and Sir Alex games were seen as the one’s with the best subplot.
    They disliked each other (note pizzagate), there teams had different styles and there was some classic games (excluding 2005 fa cup final). Now we’re so far behind the new ‘sub-plot’ is wenger and harry the twitch. The media have this love in with car salesman harry having wengers number (one point in 12 i suppose). Have we fallen so far, that we need to fight for scraps with ‘them’?

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1JV Mauer

      @les, You could also read it that the media has a love in with whomever Wenger is up against, period. Whether we’re doing well or not, the story is always about us in one way or another. That’s why we’re the greatest team the world has ever seen. ;)

  14. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1The Red and White Observer

    Subject Change:

    Amanda Knox: I guess the famous CSI teams were not on call in Perugia Italy four years ago.

  15. Vote -1 Vote +1marek

    My impression from the game was that RvP was not involved enough, for whatever reason. I checked with the guardian’s chalkboards, and RvP had fewer passes than any of our midfielders or defenders (except for the subs). Of the starters, only Theo and Gervinho had fewer passes (and both were subbed). This surprised me because RvP is often found not only behind the wide players, but also behind one or two midfielders. I don’t know how that could’ve been fixed tactically, but other than the pass to Gervinho, I don’t remember RvP contributing much.

    I also think that the injury to Sagna was a serious blow, as it cost us two substitutions (one to replace Sagna, one to provide more defensive help in the person of Benayoun). This was, sadly, after Spurs had put on Sandro, which to me indicated that they were prepared to accept a 1-1 draw at home – which means that they were there for the taking. With an extra sub, who knows?

    So between a handball goal, a sending off that should’ve been but wasn’t (VdV) and a particularly costly injury, Arsenal still managed to put the Spurs on the back foot in their own house. If the Walker goal hadn’t happened and the game ended 1-1, I would even have reason for optimism.

  16. Vote -1 Vote +1Caribkid

    Re: Coquelin played an entire season at RB for the reserves before going on loan to L’orient. Eastmond was switched to DM at the time.

    He also played substantial time in the RB position at L’orient.

    Since Wilkinson hasn’t recovered from the shellacking at Manu, it would be more prudent to play Le Coq at RB.

  17. Vote -1 Vote +1Gooneryank

    Dead on write up and insightful comments means I really have only one thing to add: What the fucking fuck?!? Thank you.

    Oh, and I loathe you Mike Dean. Maybe if you actually ran on the pitch sometimes you would have seen the VdV handball. Prat.

  18. Vote -1 Vote +1Gooner

    Was at the game with many loyal fans and we all sung our hearts out. Football songs are nasty but where do you draw the line? How are fans supposed to know what is acceptable and what isn’t? We’ve had 10 plus years of Wenger being called a peadofile without any consequences. They make it clear that racism is not acceptable and rightly so, but does mean the peadofile songs are? I didn’t take part in the Adebayor songs but a lot of fans did. When Cesc had a car crash spurs fans were writing on twitter wishing he was dead should they be banned from matches? Heck even on the Charlie Sheen Roast one of the acts was joking that she wished it was Jono from Jackass who had died. There were stewards all around us. If Tottenham football club had such a problem with this song they should have taken action during the game to stop the chants. I’m worried that a few scapegoats will be brandished as Evil football hooligans in the newspapers for something that in my opinion most the fans were singing.

  19. Vote -1 Vote +1Gooner

    Adebayor got a 2 match ban and 25k fine celebrating in front of the Arsenal fans. In the past fans have had £1000 fines and 3 year bans. Relative to what the average football fan earns the fan cones out a lot worse. Let’s not forget his stamp on our captain. I think it’s a tough one to call, but if I truly thought about the content of the majority of football songs and the morality of each. I’d be silent the whole game.

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      @Gooner, really appreciate your candor and the tone of your messages.

      I’ve been to several matches at the Emirates and Highbury and I can honestly say I’ve never heard a song that I wouldn’t be proud to sing along with. And I’ve sat in the stands next to the opposition fans so it’s not like there wasn’t a chance that a terrible song would come up.

      What do we think of Tottenham? I suppose screaming “shite” is bad and there are always kids around though I grow up in a family that says shit, fuck and piss every ten seconds. I don’t even have a problem with people saying cunt, which is ironic given what I’m about to say.

      What I don’t get is the ones where we call someone’s mom a whore or we are publicly racist or wish death on someone. When I first started following the Arsenal I used to think things like “good, I hope his career is done” when I’d see someone like Wayne Rooney on the ground. I stopped doing that. I stopped joking, on the blog,. about wishing the whole team would die in a fiery cataclysm.

      Maybe I’m making too much of it, but I guess I yearn for something positive and creative to come out of these songs instead of something violent, racist, sexist, and base.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Gooner

        I go to home and away games and there are many away fans who won’t go to the emirates anymore because of the lack of atmosphere. It’s very easy to get caught up in singing something you don’t necessarily agree with when your a the away fans and therefore the minority and b singing every other song. The point of heckling is to put players off and it can be seen in all sports. I think the premier league has done a fantastic Job in tackling racism and we really set the standard for European leagues. I think this whole thing is being blown massively out of context.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

        @Gooner, I never understood that whole thing about not having “atmosphere.” With few exceptions, American sporting events are just people pounding on drums or screaming for 90 minutes. Anyone who sings a song with words seems amazingly cool to me.

        We also heckle, but it’s different. Even real hate figures didn’t have racist songs sung about them. No one would ever sing “Lebron’s dad washes elephants, and Gloria is a whore” and he switched teams in a way that was way worse than even what Sol Campbell did. They will boo, and I’m sure people say evil shit, but it’s individuals, there’s no song that the Cavs faithful sing en masse like the ones I hear some times.

        Also, that pedo chant is seriously fucking vile.

        By the way, why is it that I can’t give someone the middle finger at a game but I can sing “fuck you?”

        Also, why is “wanker” and making the wank sign ok but middle fingers are out and I’ve seen people tossed out of a game for the vick sign?

        I don’t get it.

    2. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1nycgunner

      @Gooner, I see where you are coming from but for some weird reason I always felt like we should be taking the higher ground here. I guess something to do with my indelible belief that we are the classier club. There are so many other things we can make fun of and still have a great atmosphere – he didn’t make the grade at City or Madrid, City is paying for him to be somewhere else, he is constantly offside, his ego is bigger than the lane – I just don’t think we need to talk about events concerning his life or death. Would rather not sink down to their level if you know what I mean.

      1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Gooner

        @nycgunner, The Spurs fans were singing “Wenger’s got madeleine” which further illustrates my point. I am not saying the Arsenal fans were right to sing this song, but I don’t think their pathetic attack on the fans after the game will do anything to change these types of chants from happening. I watched the game on TV last night and you can quite clearly hear what the Arsenal fans were saying which would suggest a large proportion were singing it. There were Stewards everywhere, if they are taking such a stance why isn’t the messaged passed on to the stewards and let them take action during the game? Or they could make an annoucement at half time. It seems that in this age we live in people get more satisfaction from publicly shaming people then actually addressing a problem. The football culture in England is full of foul language from the players to the managers to the fans.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1JV Mauer

        @Gooner, I’m with nycgunner regarding a preference for the higher ground and more intelligent put-downs. Perhaps we could raise Dave Allen up from the dead and get some pointers from him? But your point about people being more interested in public shaming than fixing actual problems is spot on, so +1 for that.

  20. Vote -1 Vote +1Eurazian

    Let’s get real about VDV’s handball and celebration for a sec folks.

    It was handball – it dropped too neatly for VDV to be just chest – but we can’t complain about it too much really. It was not an clear-cut call to make in real time. If refs can’t spot that Rodwell’s tackle wasn’t a red, don’t expect them to spot VDV’s handball without the benefit of slo-mo and different camera angles.

    Even if the ref blows for it, it’s not necessarily a yellow. I don’t think it’s deliberate at all, as he’s trying to take it on his chest. It’s mostly chest and a bit of arm.

    The correct call would have been to disallow the goal and nothing more.

    Regarding his celebration, do we really want a yellow card for that? To have someone sent off for a celebration would be a disgrace, akin to when Tim Cahill was sent off for taking off his shirt in celebration. VDV only went up to the crowd, not into it anyway.

    Some of FIFA’s rules are fucked, and we shouldn’t be wishing for them to be applied, even when it’s the Sp*rs.

    Btw, in hindsight VDV is exactly the type of player missing from our starting lineup.

  21. Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

    Does anyone else think Arteta should be played deeper, kind of like Pirlo? I’d almost rather have Song in the advanced midfield role, with Arteta and Coquelin behind. I don’t know. I’m just desperate for our midfield to click. And attack. And defense.

  22. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1ChennaiGooner

    @Tim, Thanks for the lovely site. My first comment after 2 years of reading your blog regularly. This is one place where even in hard times such as now, we can find reason, optimism & share the joy in supporting arsenal. Please keep it up

    About the game – to my untrained eye, looked like we were very nervous, very careful not to make a mistake, not to lose the game. I believe only Gibbs, Coquelin kind of relished the challenge & wanted to prove a thing or two. Mike Arteta is definitely tired and should welcome the two week rest. We were not that bad.

    Not sure whether anyone else feels this way, RVP & Theo are not in sync with the team when pressing. Most of RVP’s pressing seems not very effective. With Theo looks like he wants the CF role more to avoid defensive work. Hardly have seen him track down to our third like last year.

    Szczesny has pulled out of the poland squad, Gibbs not in England squad, Santos not in Brazil squad. Almost the entire back 4 along available for training. Time to rest & work on improving understanding & roles.

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1pat

      @ChennaiGooner, definately on to something discussing defensive pressing – the team should do what Coq did – he chased down great…. Walcott is not old enough to realise that instead of dirty looks etc he should be looking for work – use his pace for fs sake, work together with RVP to give the defenders no time on the ball..

  23. Vote -1 Vote +1Cliffy

    Interesting Stat to ponder..

    Theo Walcott made 12 passes the whole game for 72 mins 7+5
    Benayoun made 11 passes in the remaining 18 mins 8+3.
    In terms of quality of passes/attacking threat both were almost similar.. but Theo’s unsuccessful three of 5 came when
    he tried to crossed it in his customary (to whom so ever it may concern) fashion.

    One way of looking at it..is that most moves from behind inveriably ran through Song/Gibbs/Gervinho through the left, while Per/Bac/Walcott..were more busy containing Bale.

    Theo for his good part was never direct and mostly passed the mantle to someone beside him, because he couldnt get either pace or power to drive past Bennoit Ass. In fact the Ass marked Theo much better than his recent rivals.

    May be Theo was looking forward to get out injury free for the England Call up…(not accusing him per say). But one part remains the same, the guy shirks a bit from responsibility.. Should have taken the game upto spurs..But didnt. Want the central striker role, but given a one on one scuffs wide.

    He needs to Man up soon…may be this season is his last chance..

  24. Vote -1 Vote +1Arsenalistul

    Quite frustrating to see the complete transformation of a winning football club into a strictly money generating enterprise. This board, and its main member, are testing really hard the fans’ love for AFC, it will be interesting to see how this whole saga will develop.
    How long are the fans going to be content in making the rich even richer, without getting much in return?
    The same story is being repeated every year: we compete for everything because we have a very good team, we have too many injured right now but just wait until they all become new signings, the defensive errors are very easy to fix, etc.
    We really need a major change, will they give us one(many)?

  25. Vote -1 Vote +1Arsenalistul

    Now that Arsene admits that we can only compete for the 4th place, does it mean that realistically we can only hope for the Europa League?
    Wake up Gooners!!!!

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