WBA 2-2 Arsenal: the 7amkickoff Index + Player Ratings

Preamble

If you’re here to read that the Arsenal season is over, stop reading.

If you’re here to complain about purchases that could’ve, should’ve, or would’ve happened in January stop reading.

If you’re here to have a moan about the keeper, the midfielders, and the defenders stop reading.

If, however, you watched Arsenal come back from the dead and cheered like an away supporter, read on.

If you know that despite Manchester United’s lucky 1-0 win to Bolton, and Arsenal’s unlucky 2-2 draw, Arsenal are still in the title race, read on.

Because the fact remains that Arsenal are in the title race, however improbable that may seem. The Londoners have a game in hand and while it is against Tottenham at Wet Fart Lane there was something special about the comeback today that should give you hope. Five points down, yes, win the game in hand and the game against United and then what? Oh yes, 1 point ahead.

On a day when our keeper nearly cost us 3 points, our much maligned left winger saved Arsenal’s season with a moment of pure brilliance. On a day when our defensive midfielder had a nightmare, our manager showed some steel and yanked him, changed formations, and saved Arsenal’s season. And on a day when West Brom had a mere two shots on goal and both went in, when so many people thought it was going to be “groundhog day” all over again, Arsenal did the improbable and bundled the ball over the line for the tying goal.

Make no mistake, Arsenal could have and perhaps even should have won this game despite missing six of their starting XI in Cesc, Song, Dj Rou, Vermaelen, Walcott, and Szczesny. A late trip on Sagna was as clear a penalty shout as you will see all season and yet somehow it was missed or perhaps Attwell just didn’t want to give it.

Arsenal now have 9 games left and 27 points to get and they need to build on the mental toughness they showed today. Arsene put it this way:

At the moment, the team needs mental toughness and to support each other, that’s what you need. We are not in a disastrous situation and not to feel sorry for ourselves – we are in a position where we have to be attracted by what we can achieve. We went out of cup competitions, but what is at stake is a championship and that means that the team has been the most consistent. When you want to be consistent you have to deal with disappointments.

Some fans could learn a thing or two from that last sentence. I know some of the guys who traveled today and I have to applaud them, they know how to deal with disappointment. Down 2-0, the season seemingly lost, and all they did was sing louder than at any point in the match. Those people are supporters.

It’s easy to sit on your couch, switching players in and out of your fantasy team and vent frustration on twitter about Denilson. It’s easy to complain that Arsene should have bought Joe Hart, Huntelaar, Joke Hole, Gary Cahill, Boaz Myhill, Hugh Manhill, Hillman Halfunicorn, or whomever scores highest in your fantasy football league but the away fans this season have shown me what it really means to be a Gooner.

Next time you hear them shouting the Arsenal boys on as the season is slipping away at some shit ground hundreds of miles from home and you’re tempted to go on twitter and call people delusional who believe in this team. Ask yourself… Are you a Gooner?

The Index

746 — Number of attempted passes by Arsenal (Arsenal’s Premier League season high)
659 — Number of those passes from open play (Arsenal’s League high)
651 — Previous League high for Arsenal (against Stoke)
90 — Number of misplaced passes from open play by Arsenal
87 — Total number of crosses, free kicks, goal kicks, corner kicks, and throw ins Arsenal attempted
80 — Number of misplaced passes from open play by West Bromwich Albion
64 — Percentage of completed passes from open play by WBA
29 — Number of interceptions by WBA
326 — Arsenal passes first half
5 — Arsenal shots first half
295 — Arsenal passes second half
12 — Arsenal shots second half
12 — Number of consecutive League games without a defeat for Arsenal
7 — Number of goals Robin van Persie has scored in his last 7 games
0 — Percent chance that I am going to say something negative about Squillaci, Denilson, or Almunia.

Player Rater

Ground rules: 1-5 = Dr. Clownshoes, 6 = Tiger’s Blood, 7 = Adonis DNA, 8 = Winning, 9 = high priest Vatican assassin warlock, 10+ = a drug called Charlie Sheen.

Almunia: 3 — Unlucky. Tried to spring the offside trap for the second goal, just a little late.

Koscielny: 8 — Didn’t do much except pass at a 95% rate, win all 5 of his tackles, and go 6 for 6 in aerial challenges.

Squillaci: 5 — I’m convinced that Arsene Wenger should buy him a hearing aid so that he can hear the shouts of the players around him.

Clichy: 6 — Got forward for 9 crosses, only completed 2.

Sagna: 6 — Got lost and conceded the first corner. To be fair, I think he expected Denilson to cover that player. To be fairer, he should have known better.

Denilson: 4 — I feel bad for him because he’s clearly lacking in any sort of confidence at the moment. I’ll be surprised if Wenger plays him again this year.

Ramsey: 6 — Despite an obvious lack of fitness showed plenty of drive forward culminating in a near goal off the rebounded van Persie header.  Kept possession exceptionally well and completed 37 of 39 passes but looked a bit tired at times. Will benefit from two weeks more training.

Wilshere: 8 — Ran the midfield but just couldn’t quite find that incisive pass to open WBA’s defense. Would have scored a 7 but being that he’s the England captain (in the future) he gets an extra point.

Arshavin: 8 — Scored a goal that only Arshavin could score, switching the ball quickly from the right and lashing it home with the left. Worked hard but showed some fatigue toward the end when some crosses went horribly wrong. Would have scored a 9 but had a point deducted for previous games where he appeared to not try enough.

van Persie: 9 — Arsenal’s most constant threat. Had several great shots that were just saved or just missed. Had one comedy moment where his free kick went into row Z.

Nasri: 6 — Was isolated when he played on the right, got more involved when moved centrally but played a lot of covering and couldn’t get forward enough to be dangerous in the second half.

Wenger: 7 — 5 for the first half, 9 for the second. Started with Denilson because Arsenal need bodies in the run-in. Rightly abandoned the project at half time and brought in the hard working Chamakh. I suspect his patience with certain players has worn thin. Don’t be at all surprised to see several guys pick up “injuries” after the Nationalism break.

Chamakh: 8 — Worked hard, had a good chance in the air saved, and set Arshavin up for the first goal.

Bendtner: 5 — Brought on to change the game in the 58th minute, didn’t do much of anything.

Away Support: 10 — You’re not as fucking punk as these fans, poseur. In fact, if you even tried to go to a game with them your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body.

68 thoughts on “WBA 2-2 Arsenal: the 7amkickoff Index + Player Ratings

  1. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1gsco

    Rock on! Glad to see you fired up behind the team. Good to see them bounce back. Still pissed about almunia, but not much we can do but get behind him and hope they keep going.
    Pissed that Manu nicked that goal at the end and we couldn’t get our winner. Shocked that a ref actually gave a red card to a Manu player at old trafford. That Fergie touchline ban must actually be having an effect.
    Up the Arse!!!

  2. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1fourstar

    Hear, hear.

    I got a load of shit on Twitter after the game for telling people not to give up, to get behind the team because it is still in our hands (5 points, game in hand, United to play). If they want to throw in the towel, admit defeat and claim there is no way in hell we will do it then fine – but if we go on to win the League, however absurd that might sound, then they *don’t* get to celebrate at the end of the season. Only those who stick with it, back the team, support The Arsenal, for the next 9 games, get to celebrate if we win the title at the end of the season. It’s a big if, but I’m on board.

    You lot?

  3. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1ArseChicago

    Well on, Tim. I feel better after reading this. I feel better after the run I just had. I feel better after telling this United c*nt at the pub to f*ck himself.

  4. -6 Vote -1 Vote +1Walter Arrowsmith

    Mental strength,great fighting spirit,etcetc.As usual the gunners had 80% possession but goals matter.I remember in one game the gunners had 90% of the ball and yet ended losing the match.
    The title is as good as gone no matter what Wenger says.He better prepare for next season now and get real quality and not kids and 2nd rate guys from the continent.
    How many times did were the passes mis directed?Againsta better team,the gunners would have been severely punished.
    Tactically Wenger has lost it.He may disagree but results speak for themselevs.
    I would be over the moon if Wenger wins the title in spite of what we have seen.

  5. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Kevin

    I Love This Blog.

    A few questions came up while I was reading this, maybe you could clarify…

    Does criticism of any kind lead one to not be a “true gooner”, or is it merely the criticism which you would deem unacceptable?

    If we don’t score to bring the game level, does your opinion of Almunia or Denilson change in today’s post? Neither had anything to do with bringing the score level, nor keeping it there. Quite the opposite.

    “0 — Percent chance that I am going to say something negative about Squillaci, Denilson, or Almunia.” – You didn’t specifically say anything negative about any, but does that mean that you don’t feel anything negative about either of these three? I’ve read this blog for years, and completely understand everything you write to be genuine. I sincerely hope it continues to be…..

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

      @Kevin,

      1. Do what you want.
      2. No.
      3. Oh Kev… I’m always genuine. I genuinely don’t feel like ripping them. I genuinely feel bad for them. I genuinely wonder why you would think anything else?

      1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Kevin

        @Tim, Classic, I wouldn’t expect anything less.

        I appreciate your answer to question number 1, because although I can’t play fantasy football (because I suck at it and don’t care to root for players which I genuinely hate), I seriously do hate watching that keeper come out of the box today. Criticism or not. If that doesn’t make me a “true gooner”, so be it, I can live with that. I still love the Arsenal.

  6. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1sadiq

    great post..well you brought a smile on my face for almunia’s ratings……(Almunia: 3 — Unlucky. Tried to spring the offside trap for the second goal, just a little late.)this stuff is great..hahaha..come on gooners..

  7. -7 Vote -1 Vote +1Walter Arrowsmith

    The problem with Arsenal is Wenger. He had failed to buy the necessary players. Enough time has been given to him.
    The board better get rid of him before Arsenal goes into terminal decay.

    1. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1lordgunner

      @Walter Arrowsmith, on terminal decay.ok we have the shittest 2 and half week but decay . we are second not 20 th.

      and i love the way you talk about the most successful arsenal manager EVER yes EVER,get rid of him.So much respect for some so call arsenal fan.
      even if i decide i want him out i would never want arsenal football club to get rid of him,if the board decide to listen to you ( i doubt)they would ask him to step down in his own term

  8. +2 Vote -1 Vote +11NilToTheArsenal

    Another fantastic post – thanks Tim. Too many Gooners have absorbed the ostensible character of the squad, which I myself have moaned and groaned about: a lack of spirit and self-belief. Not today! Should we gave gotten all three points? Absolutely – it would be crazy to suggest otherwise.

    But on a day when the season was circling the drain late into the 2nd half we showed something. We actually demonstrated a smidgen of that rabid, cornered animal, never-say-die attitude that Man U seem to be able to conjure up when they need it most (as they did again today). THIS is what we need for the run in. Except that now it needs to be turned to 11.

    All the way…Come ON you Gunners!

    1NTTA

    1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1jaymin

      if we fired wenger, he would be more sought after than mourinho. keeping a club in sight of the top without spendind ANY money. chairmen get boners when they hear his voice.

  9. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1tomNW5

    travelling support superb today. team dug in for the result. encouraging. expect a shit-storm in the papers and more hysteria from tea party.

    eie

  10. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Yan

    I feel for Denilson too. But what’s wrong with him? Even the simple things he manages to do wrong. Now on to the big fat allardyce in the room that no one talks about: will we see Lehman starting the next match?

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Teampossible

      @Yan, At this point, that would be like leaving your old Seat Ibiza with shitty brakes in the garage to take out your uncle’s old BMW bike that was laying in the garage for years for a ride to the hospital. Wow, I couldn’t have been more subtle with the metaphors.
      But I wouldn’t drop Almunia now, because there is no guarantee that Lehman will do a better job, and I honestly pray poor Manuel can’t mess up more than this.

  11. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1Sad Man

    What I hate more than anything else is that the moment you complain about recurring problems with our team you are labelled as some form of traitor. Well we have had this shit for six seasons – are we really going to say when we win the league cup next season it was worth the wait? I’ve supported Arsenal for over 35 years and I was spoilt by the good times and I cannot see anything good happening again until the current management leave. I’ve had enough. And yes, I don’t beleive in Wenger any more. Time to go…

    1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Chief Gooner

      @Sad Man, thats an honest opinion. if wenger doesn’t address the glaring issues with the squad this summer then i’ve had enough too

  12. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1NJGunner

    “@eduardo, there was no assist for the second goal.”

    Not sure why there is no assist as B52 headed/handballed across the goal for RVP to scrap it in. Agree with Sadman. Gunner for 30 years and I am getting pretty fed up. Some of the current squad are simply not good enough for the Arsenal (or probably the premier league).

  13. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1VolsnCards5

    Of course I’m happy we came back from 2-0 down….but the fact remains title winning sides should not put themselves in that position….Tim, i seem to remember you saying we would beat WBA and it seemed that you were almost sure of it….i wonder if the arsenal side out there felt that way today, even after going down 1-0….we have some serious defensive deficiencies that have gone unsorted for years now…hopefully we have enough to pull out the title…but regardless if we do or not, wenger has to make some tough changes this summer….change in defensive tactics? maybe…different personel (especially bench players) hopefully

    I know that some of believe that if we criticize a nice fightback draw, then we aren’t true supporters…please, kindly fuck off….i bleed arsenal red, and that causes me to be even more pissed off by wasted chances and consistently juvenile defending

    And Tim, if fans who at times can be realistically pessimistic (like me) are unwelcome on your blog, please let me know…i will stop commenting if it is what you want

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1tomNW5

      All opinions should be welocome, mate. I’m pretty certain all Arsenal fans can agree there are some issues with the team. Some feel they are serious and insurmountable under Wenger,others like me, feel that he’ll make the necessary corrections and we’re on the verge of something great. The venom that’s spewing out of some factions of the anti-Wenger camp is out of order and has a polarizing effect. It discredits us in my opinion. Dessent is ok, but Wenger deserves respect regardless. I’m sure you agree. It’s a shame that we are so divided. After all, we all love Arsenal.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1VolsnCards5

        Well good, i am most certainly pro-wenger….i am just anti-shit defense…and it had not been corrected in 3-4 seasons…granted, it is no easy task, but it must be done if arsenal is to go on the run of greatness we all know the side is on the verge of

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1richiegooner

        please name me one team, that could lose its first two centre backs, number one and two goalies and defensive midfielder,and backup(frimpong)all to injuries(is that wengers fault?)and not struggle with defensive issues.

  14. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1Eric the wiking

    Thank you ! You can be so tired about all the shit about Arsenal on the Internett – but not you.
    A draw away isent that bad. And look at the Arsenalseson and compare them whit anyone with the same problems with missing players. First of all the leading defenser – the leading meadfilder – the leading attacker, har been out for the most of the seson. Look to ex Liverpool and see what result it can give. Arsenal have been strugling – and are still strugling, but we have after all achived å lot. Not any silverware but look at the result and its in fact very good.
    Fuck of you morans !

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Teampossible

      @Eric the wiking,”First of all the leading defender – the leading midfielder – the leading attacker, have been out for most of the season.”
      Is this a post from last season?

  15. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Gerard

    Again good article, you yank gooners have such an accurate view of the situation, which is frightening. I still we can win the league, esp with Manures mounting injury crisis.

  16. -7 Vote -1 Vote +1bangbang

    lost 3 point again f’ucking sad about to puke out squilash’it frensh’it hope mansh’it collapse

  17. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim

    1) say what you want as long as it’s not racist, xenophobic, or consistently irrationally angry

    2) If the majority of this Arsenal team aren’t fit to play in the PL, what does it say about how good Wenger is that we are 2nd?

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1VolsnCards5

      thank you…i needed the reassurance…the vitriol directed toward the section of the fanbase that are not drinking the full serving of the koolaid has starting to be a turnoff around here

      Up the ARSE!!!

  18. Vote -1 Vote +1Zohaib Ijaz

    all the people posting here n Doubting MY Arsenal….well all i can say is just wait till the end of the season n then u will eat your words as Wenger will get all the Gooners the much awaited title this season….just wait….n despite Denilson and Almunia being shit i still love em as long as they wear the Red n White of ARSENAL…GUNNERS ROCK

  19. -6 Vote -1 Vote +1XX

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion and not their own facts. Here are the facts: (1) Arsenal have not won a trophy in six years. Arsenal are out of Europe, the FA cup and lost the Carling cup to a side struggling to survive in the premier league.(2) Arsenal are now 5 points behind in the league.(3) Arsene Wenger’s knowledge of the defensive side of the game is poor. Since that is 50% of the game. He is only a half decent coach. (4) Arsenal players always get injured around this time of the season. This raises questions about the manager’s training methods and his ability to discipline the players (5) If Arsene was manager of a top European club (Real, Barca, Milan, Inter, Bayern, ManU,Juve, or Liverpool)he would have been fired 4 years ago and noone would be showing up with the “Arsene Knows/ In Arsene we Trust” garbage. True Arsenal Supporters are saying enough is enough. Time for Wenger. We are tired of the heartache!!

    1. +7 Vote -1 Vote +1Tee Song

      @XX, Here’s some facts. Wenger has won more League titles, three, and more FA Cups, four, than any other manager in Arsenal’s history. He’s won two of Arsenal’s three League and Cup doubles. He’s the only Arsenal manager ever to reach the finals of the UEFA Cup/Eruopa League and the Champions League/European Cup. Arsenal have reached the group stages of the Champions League 13 straight years, a streak surpassed only by Real Madrid, and have reached the knockout phase 11 consecutive years, currently the longest in European club football. The statements “Arsene’s knowledge of the defensive side of the game is poor” and “If Arsene was manager of a top European club he would have been fired 4 years ago” are not facts but your opinion which I do not necessarily share. Arsenal are in fact 5 points behind in the League. Our injury record speaks for itself and frustrates me greatly but it is my opinion that the staff are trying to correct it.

      The fact is that in terms of trophies won, Wenger is the most successful Arsenal manager ever. It’s my opinion that you shouldn’t take his record for granted. Do I have opinions about players, tactics, and transfer activity which differ from Arsene’s? Absolutely. Do I truly believe that my knowledge of the game, players, transfer shenanigans, and club finances exceed that of Wenger’s? Absolutely not. If I were somehow able to have a private conversation with the manager do I believe that he would admit he made some mistakes this year? Yes. And do I want Wenger to continue as manager? Yes.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Alex

      Its stupid how many fans talk as if their support is conditional on whether we win the PL this year. I dont care if we finish second and I dont care about the media garbage about 6 years. Wish some so called fans would find another club to support and rid us of their support.

      1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1geraldinho

        @Alex,

        i’ve seen very few people post saying their support is conditional in any way. more so they are posting about what is frustrating them and most supporters to no end.

        do you really not care where we finish in the table? that makes me wonder what kind of supporter you are.

        supporting a team has to be to some degree a two way street. watching the team/management make the same mistakes year after year and fail to take steps to correct them, while charging among the highest ticket prices anywhere, has to make any thinking person’s support waver to some extent.

        i haven’t seen very many people say they will no longer support arsenal if they don’t win this year. but i have seen many who say it is time for a change in philosophy if we don’t win this year. and this is a sentiment i agree with completely.

  20. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Howard

    My wife and I have been Gooners since 1971 – Yanks attending university in London. This past Feb 12th we saw our first match since 1979, beating Wolves 2-0. The entire experience was breathtaking; the stadium is most impressive and the players entering the pitch was electric. Whether you’re pro or con, you have to admit, it’s a helluva club to support!

  21. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Chief Gooner

    of course we have to back the team. but what if we don’t win the league. and then what if we go into next season with all the same problems being ignored by wenger? what happens then? are you prepared for another season of failure? are you happy with champions league qualification? has that become the limit of our ambitions now?

  22. Vote -1 Vote +1Aziz

    I think for Arsenal to win the title will be a miracle. That is it is not impossible. To make it possibel,Lehman must return as gk and keep a clean sheet for five games. Of course it’s due to the defence aroundhim.
    The gunners slow speed in building up the attack with short passes to retain possession while admirable,gives time for defenders to regroup. Watch how other team s score.
    Wenger better note his opposing managers have sussed him tactically.The gunners one dimensional style is easy to counter. Just play anti soccer. Even the redfaced is playing this style against Arsenal.Wenger is the high priest of pure attacking soccer. That’s why the gunners are suckers and will continue to lose.
    These game losse will stop when he is fired or he changes hisi scoccer beliefs ie winning is everything.

  23. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Connollys'agent

    Pugnacious post, Tim. But I don’t think it’s a betrayal of the Arsenal to say that Almunia and Denilson and Squillaci had poor games which cost us the match. You admit as much when you rate them poorly compared to the others.

    5 points behind with one game in hand.

  24. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Eurazian

    Listening to the “Wenger out” brigade is tiring. We are blessed to have a coach of such class and quality. HOWEVER, Arsene is not above reproach and he really needs someone who can give him some good advice when necessary. Someone who is not totally blinded by the aesthetics of football and who knows what it means to knuckle down and grind out victory with power and guts as well as pretty passing.

  25. Vote -1 Vote +1Dean Thomas

    This is the first time ive read this website speak what is needed(maybe ive misseed the other articles).

    I was there at the OT game when Arsenal lost 2-1(2 or 3 years ago). Virtually knocked us out of the title. We still stayed behind and sung we love you Arsenal. I think this is down to many things, most of the fans at the away game are season arsenal fans (i.e. not new (Recent)). They have seen this team win trophies, and support this team win lose or draw. You can only have admiration for the away supporters.

  26. Vote -1 Vote +1Chris

    Brilliant post, it’s nice to see that someone is being more realistic about what to conclude from yesterdays result. Arshavin looks to be regaining some form, van persie continues an incredible goal-game ratio, there were some credible performances from one recovering prospect and an on goingly consistent 19 year old, and the supposed absent fighting spirit of the team reared it’s head. Promising stuff considering how emotionally battered the team must be!
    As for the season; so what if we finish second? Is that not achievement enough? To out compete start of season expectations in this manner would be satisfactory in the least, especially if you consider that the team has been competing against 6 other possible contenders for the title. I know it would be great if we finished first, and i think we have a good chance (anyone thinking united are guaranteed to win every game from now until the end of the season is fooling themselves – they will slip up too) but nevertheless, finishing second is a very credible outcome.
    How you can possibly call for wengers head for possibly finishing second, after all he has done, is mind boggling to say the least! I swear that some of our ‘fans’ honestly wish we were more like man city, firing managers on a whim and spending over the odds on mediocrity.

    1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Chief Gooner

      @Chris,
      I don’t know how anyone can be happy with finishing second.
      Most of the frustration comes from the fact that wenger has blatantly ignored the problems or made poor attempts to solve them.
      Last year we had washed-up silvestre and this year we have washed up squillaci.
      His efforts to solve the goalkeeping issue last summer? washed-up schwarzer.
      At what point are we going to show some ambition in the transfer market. At what point will wenger stop persisting with poor players or players that don’t perform and players that make regular errors.
      Many people mention einsteins quote that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
      6 seasons of failing and not addressing the problems. Where is the cut-off point where we say enough is enough. It seems many fans have reached that point.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Akash

        @Chief Gooner, “His efforts to solve the goalkeeping issue last summer? washed-up schwarzer.”
        Question: How many games did fabianski/Szczesny cost between them? Alumnia is our 3rd choice keeper this season.
        Squillaci was supposed to be our Fourth Choice defender.
        You can’t hedge against your first/second choice keepers and First/Second choice defender being out.
        And what do you mean by show some ambition in the transfer market? Do you mean buying Balotelli or Dzeko or Barry or Milner?
        Or buying Ramires or Torres or Luiz? Or buying Khedira or Ozil or Adebayor or Carvalho? Where do you think these teams are in their league?
        Majority of Arsenal fns are just plain angry but dont have a solution that will guarantee results.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1Chris

        @Akash, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Injuries by their chaotic nature are so hard to take into account, unless you’d have wenger break the bank – with wages as well as fees – for cover we probably wouldn’t have needed? Unless of course we should be expecting wenger to predict djourou’s shoulder injury, or quite how prophetic vermaelens Achilles injury would become. Personally, I’d rather we continue playing the long game and remain financially sane instead of “doing a Portsmouth”. And get some perspective here; second is better then last year, which was in turn better then the year before – all while other teams have been improving. This is the real world, not football manager.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1VolsnCards5

      @ctpa, I was hoping arsene would sign him last summer to guard against the inevitable van persie injury…chamackh worked out though

  27. Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

    A couple of things stood out for me in yesterday’s game.

    Arsenal showed the grit and determination to turn a dire situation into a point. That’s what teams trying to win championships do. They did all on their own without the ‘help’ of Stuart (phantom goal) Atwell. Can Man U say that. I think not. Man U while a good team, can not deny they have been ‘bottle fed’ by the FA and the referees.

    I’ve been thinking about why Denilson made as many passes to WBA players as he did to his team mates. I can identify with why that happened. When i started out playing hockey, I too made a lot of passes to opposition players much to my chagrin. I had such tunnel vision from trying so hard to do the right thing that I didn’t see the opponents or the possibility of interceptions. When I gained more experience, became more relaxed so that I could see what was going on around me, understood the passing angles better, I cut down on my giveaways much to my line mates delight.

    Let’s look at the flaws in Denilson’s defensive game. It is easy enough to say he woeful but why is that so? He doesn’t know where he is suppose to be when defending attacks. I will make the assumption that a defensive coach has told him where he needs to be and how to react to situations as they develop. Nasri, Wilshere, Fabregas and Song all know where they need to be. Denilson needed Squillaci yesterday (yes, that Squillaci) to point him to where he needed to be and who to cover because he was absolutely at a loss. To make the situation worse, Denilson was then not resolute in sticking to his man. He clearly shows that he doesn’t know how to ‘body’ up to his man, how to use leverage and how to be clever at winning defensive battles. He is contact adverse. He does do that lazy stick out your leg and trip the attacker move Senderos made so famous for his numerous yellow and red cards. Denilson has given away a PK with that (L) leg move so you know he knows it can cause dire consequences.

    I then turned my thoughts to Almunia’s attempt at trying to play a high line at the back. Almunia was excellent against Barcelona yet shaky against WBA who you must admit don’t have a Villa or a Messi. Almunia had confidence in Djourou but he doesn’t have any confidence in Squillaci. Can you blame him?

  28. Vote -1 Vote +1Akash

    Watching the Chelsea – ManCity game. Wow ManCity cant play football to save their lives..

  29. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1dave

    Think you need to go to a few away games and local pubs before you start spouting bullshit about who are true fans. Lots of moaning yesterday in the ground, several people left at 2-0, denilson substitution cheered[not something that has really happened so far] and the disgust with having to watch Squillaci and Almunia was almost universal.
    LOTS of true fans have had enough of this squad with the exception of a few players. We go to these games because we always have. We go to see our mates, have a beer, get away from the wife and watch the team that we have supported for since we were boys 35+ years ago. We complained in the 70′s, 80′s not much of the 90′s and now it is shite again.
    Now we are told that the cost of a season ticket is going up again, mortgages going up, petrol going up, beer going up and wages for dross like eboue, denilson, almunia,diaby, rosicky go up. No Tim, not many people are happy or positive around North London at the moment except for Scum fans

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      @dave, I was at Wembley for the loss to Birmingham, and I’ve been writing a daily blog for nearly three years. I’m fully aware of the people who are angry.

      Maybe Arsenal supporters would be happy if we won an occasional Carling Cup but spent the last 40 years out of the title race and out of Europe, you know, like Spurs.

  30. Vote -1 Vote +1DF

    A supporter is someone who always finds the positive of a team’s play, unless it is utterly poor. Same as Wenger after the WBA game.

    In a way, I am a supporter of Wenger, despite my criticism of him. His achievement at Arsenal is second to none; and under the present circumstances, I see no chance for him to go, unless the AMG stir up a campaign and make life difficult for him.

    However, on the other hand, I see no chance that Wenger will abandon his philosophy and change his style or transfer policy, or the way he spends his money.

    I have to be stoical to accept that this team will always be ‘partly angel partly devil’–meaning they can produce exquisitely beautiful football at times; but just when you expect them to produce it day in day out, they will disappoint. Either players get injured; or they tire out; or their lose their sharpness.

    I thought Arshavin has played out of his dip in form in the game against Barca at the Emirates; then he disappointed for the following games. However, when you think that is the end of him, he dug us out of a defeat against WBA all by himself.

    Last season I had said Wenger would not change–even after 5 years without a trophy; What had he bought during the summer? Kos/Squil/Chamakh…he did not even expect Wilshere to play so many games. Imagine if Wilshere is not available now, we will have to stick with Denilson, Rosciky…etc in midfield….

    What Wenger wants is to vindicate his youth policy. No one in his right mind will abandon a project after working upon it for 5 years/next season 6 years and admit failure–buying will not guarantee a trophy. What if he splashes out the money and ends up not winning a trophy? Then the clamour for his head will be louder.

    So I will expect Wenger to continue his buying policy this summer. Bring in 2-3 players at cheap price–most likely unknown young players. Some young players may step up to be put in the first team, like Bartley, Coquelin…etc…if Wenger is brave. Otherwise, he will stick with Denilson and Diaby and play them until they recapture their form, like Arshavin…

    Perhaps he will buy ONE big name–but that will be all.
    As Vieira says, among this generation of players, it is hard to find a cheap gem–players like David Luiz who costs €25 million, which is beyond Wenger’s range.
    When Ramsay, Smalling ..etc costs near to 10M it is almost impossible for Wenger to have another gem like Bobby Pires…when the French Ligue stops producing big players like Henry, Vieira, it is more difficult for Wenger and Grimandi to buy ready made good players. When even Koscielny costs around £8million, I have my sympathy upon Wenger.

    So, I believe so long as Wenger is still at Arsenal, he will continue to ‘grow’ this team, adding a player or two every season, pray to the heavens his starting XI won’t get too many injuries, or that the second string players will play out of their dip in form. What else can he do? When you pay that much money for Arshavin, you have to play him, right?

    Ask yourself: if you are Wenger, with Chesny growing and Fabianski a capable substitute, why buy another goalkeeper?
    Nobody can foresee that both will suffer long term injuries, though both of them had suffered long term injuries before.

    Don’t blame Squillaci. Almunia is a good shot stopper when he does not have to think and has his reflexes to rely upon to make saves. But he cannot organize his defence; playing most of his time as second fiddle in Spain, he is not good in defending high balls into the box; he is not mad enough to make his opponents fear him. Anyway, why blame him–he is who he is; and he is on the way out of Arsenal, and wont stand between the post if not for Chesny’s bizarre injury!!!!

    When last season Wenger brought in Sol Campbell and the season before last, brought in Silvestre, I began to sense that Wenger is at his wits’ end. all I can do is to lower my expectation and cheer when the Arsenal perform well, then stoically accept its failure (despite frustrated and angry at times, mostly during a match) I have learnt from the Japanese people at Sendai that one can and must retain one’s dignity even at the worst of times.

    These players who are venomously attacked by AMG fans, like Denilson, are poor by our standards, but not rubbish. Even Muamba, Bentley, Pennant…and other players who dont make it at Arsenal are earning their pay in the EPL. They are not as bad as those AMG portray them to be.

    However, I am not angry with the AMGs. They have their right to be angry, especially those who pay a fortune to watch the Arsenal. Looking from another angle, they may be functional in exerting some pressure on Wenger to find
    another Pires, another Gilberto, or even Vieira….

    At least this season the Arsenal have played some wonderful football, which is more than the Manutd fans can speak of their team. Has Manutd played any memorable games this season? None that can compare with our demolition of Porto, Braga or Barca at the Emirates!

    However, SAF knows that if Manutd wins a trophy, all will be forgotten; he is determined to win,if necessary, to win ugly. And he might–watching ManCity played tonight, Manutd will probably win the FA cup this season, if not the EPL championship.

    Wenger cannot; he does not have the players to do so.

    Support the team; cheer the boys; but don’t hope.

  31. Vote -1 Vote +1richiegooner

    we are shite, that makes 18 teams BELOW us even worse then, not to mention all the teams in the other leagues BELOW us…..reality check please

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