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We knew it would happen…

By Walter Broeckx

Pos Team P W D L F A +/- Pts
1 Manchester United 31 19 9 3 68 32 36 66
2 Arsenal 30 17 8 5 59 29 30 59

This is the way the table stands  for the moment. And this is what many gooners call total failure. They start again with the name calling of our players and the managers.

I can understand supporters are frustrated. And disappointed.  Because that is what I feel also for the moment. Because now we don’t have things in our own hands. We depend on slips of United to come closer. Not the ideal situation.

But for all those who now proclaim that they knew it would happen at the start of the season I cannot understand that they are angry. Because they knew it would happen. And it is more for us believers in our manager and team a moment to be disappointed.

For some reason we just can’t seem to score a goal for the moment.  And this is a bad time to have such a moment. We had almost all our players back who we have when it comes to attacking and it didn’t work out. Is it to still being a bit rusty in some cases? Is it because Cesc and Walcott haven’t played in around 5-6 weeks that they still are not as sharp as they can be?  Well if that is the case they will get better.

Is it that Van Persie got a knock in midweek why he didn’t look as good as he can be? Well he will get back to his best and start scoring again.

Was it the knock and big bruise on the head of Nasri that made him play a flat game? Well I sure wouldn’t want to wake up next to him tomorrow morning because it looked a nasty bump on his head.

So the frustrating thing is that with all our players on the field we couldn’t create the opening.  And we have again a game at the Emirates in which we couldn’t score.  We had the early chances and if we score one of them we would have won the game. But we just didn’t and then it is hard to take at the end of the game.

But now to say that we are a total failure and speaking about foreign mercenaries looks a bit strange if you look at the league table. We still are in second place. And at the start of the season the pundits and those who now say they knew this would happen never predicted us to be there. United would be there, Chelsea would be there, Manchester City would be there. Liverpool would be there.  Even Tottenham would be there. They all would be there and we would be nowhere to be seen. But we still are second in the league.  So how can you be disappointed if some of you predicted we would be happy if we would qualify for the CL.

Yes things could have been better. In fact things should have been better. We could have won all our games if you just look at the chances we had. But that is part of football. Creating chances is fine but you must score them and if you don’t you end up with games like this.

But to see our team in second place at this stage of the season is not the ideal situation but still better than others.  You could be supporting a team that has spend 80M in the last transfer window and are in third place, 4 points behind us. And that team has spend a lot of money on players even before this transfer window.  Or you could be supporting a team that has spent an obscene  amount of money in the last two seasons and are only in fourth place like City.  Or you could support a team that tells its fans each year they will end in front of us and who are still far behind us in fifth place. You know all those teams that would overtake us. Well they are behind us in the league table.

So if we are useless, how useless are they?  For the moment United look like they have the upper hand. If they win it, of which I still am not that sure, they will have deserved it. And then we have to see at the things that went wrong. And take measures. And see how we can improve things. And to answer the mercenaries name calling we then have two options: use what we have coming through our youth system or… bring in more mercenaries.

I still support my Gunners! Till the final whistle. Some of you have deserted our Gunners today. How disappointed I am for the moment I still will back them and support them.

Match Fixing: How did we do under each ref this season?

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146 comments to We knew it would happen…

  • Melvin

    This will be the worst ever Man U team to win the PL. Our failure yesterday had an all too familiar feel about it. We start and finish the game well. After the promising start, the crowd knew they were in for another anxious wait as the boys gave us another impotent display.

  • serbia

    Excuses, excuses, excuses, it’s all we get from our all-knowing manager, he should strart from himself, it’s enough, the most expensive tickets in the universe, and no results for 6 years. 6 YEARS!!!
    Come on, we’ve had enough of this same old boring football. Yes, for me this is utmost boring football, when something is same for 6 years, and there is no change, i call it boring. And it looks that it’s going to continue for years to come.

  • Dark Prince

    Walter- Really wondering how many more poor excuses you’ll be giving out. You heard those supporters booing?? And as i’ve said before, turnin a blind eye towards Arsenal’s obvious problems is the biggest mistake you guys are making. And the end result of your own ignorance would be that Wenger will get sacked.

    Also its shameful to see that a supporter as yourself comparing Arsenal’s performance to what the pundits expected. I mean, do you really want Arsenal to become a ‘has been’ team?? If Arsenal dont win titles, its called failure. And again if Arsenal dont win anything this year, it would be a total failure. We seem to be threadin on the paths of Liverpool, leeds united and Nottingham forest. We’ll vanish into oblivion if we dont start learnin from our mistakes.

    Also look at the warning signs:
    – Increasing number of fans calling for the sacking of Wenger,
    – Supporters at stadium booing the players
    – Waiting list for season tickets dropping sharply
    – 6 years without a trophy
    – Our best player wanting to leave the club and some not ready to sign new contracts

  • Dark Prince

    If you’re turning a blind eye towards the obvious warning signs as well then one day you’ll get up in the morning and will be hit with a very hard news in the front page of every newspaper – ‘Arsenal sacks Wenger’

    Remember, the club doesn’t belong to the players or managers or any other executive. It belongs to only one – The Fans.

    And believe me, the fans are not desperate for profitable business, they are not desperate for young players to come from the academy. They are certainly not desperate for free flowing football. They are only desperate for one thing – Trophies.

    Thats where Wenger has overlooked. If he thinks, the fans will be happy to hav a young side playing beautiful football and running Arsenal as a profitable business without any trophies, then He’s wrong.

  • Dark Prince

    As for what happened in ystrday’s match, actually it was not surprising at all. We all knew what was going to happen, but we still hoped that the players and manager will learn from their past mistakes. Unfortunately they haven’t and even after all these years, i doubt they will. We are the ultimate chokers in football. When it matters, we fail. Our team simply cant handle pressure. Its ultimately proves why you need experienced players in the squad to help promote the younger players. Our players still look around for leadership when the going gets tough, and honestly, they keep on looking till the game is over. Today even the young players in ManU’s squad are more confident than us. And we say we have the best young squad? What a joke…

  • ak47

    hope youve got tissues depressed prince. one look at the table should tell you how hard the league is this year, yet you choose to avoid this obvious fact along with us actually being in second! you bang on about warning signs and mistake but overlook the odds on and of field.

    like manures game changing should of bin a red card yesterday along with many other similar events that have helped them out.

    you know what…desi was right. its pointless trying to rationalise with em.

    everything you said was right p hope your our next manager.

  • dele

    you make me laugh. I stand by arsenal and will never leave. But its time we call a spade a spade. The french contingent at arsenal is just to much. I am a Nigerian and i can tell you if we have more english players on the field the story would be different. Wenger should forget this french team and build a tougher and stronger team. By the way what is pat rice doing does he have no say at all. Well pat if you are reading this i believe its time you call your boss to order and tell him the truth for Gods sakewhat are you scared of at your age.

  • Dark Prince

    ak47- as i said b4, be more blind to d obvious, and u’ll never know what is goin to hit you right in d face. Yes, we’re 2nd in the table, behind a team who dont even hav a proper midfield. Also, would u believe that Arsenal had more points and a better goal difference last year b4 their last 8 games?? That shows a lot how much we have improved… Maybe we should just all wear dark glasses and pretend we dont see the issues….certainly u could still hear d fans booing around u?

  • Joel

    Walter, as much as I love your blog, I feel something needs to be brought to your attention. Untold Arsenal used to be a sanctuary for the Arsenal fans who genuinely support the club and the genius that is Wenger. It was a place where you could get away from the fickle negativity and plain stupidity of much of the Arsenal blogosphere. However, now it seems you spend more time bashing those ignorant few rather than writing the intelligent and considered remarks that people come on here to see. At the end of this post you even refer to these moronic fans as “you”, as you say “Some of YOU have deserted our Gunners today. How disappointed I am”. It’s as if you’re having a rant at me. I would urge you to totally ignore the ignorant “fans” such as “Dark Prince”. You give them way more time than they deserve. If you simply write what you believe and didn’t bash the beliefs of others (regardless of how absurd the beliefs of others are) then reading this blog would be a far more pleasant experience. Less hate for ignorant fans and more love for Arsenal is all I’m asking for. PS NEVER again make the mistake of referring to these people as “you”.

  • Dan

    Well Walter, while I applaud your commitment, I have a nice seat reserved for you on the Sack Wenger Bus (not a bandwagon)!

    Look, you’re questioning our inability to find the back of the net, but to me and fellow Gooners who’ve had enough of ARSEne FC, it’s been fairly obvious: playing a 4-5-1/4-6-0 formation at home. It’s the biggest joke ever and 60,000 fans are not laughing. Van Persie is a fantastic player, but he should not be utilised as a lone striker. He’s in desperate need of a partner (I believe Walcott could be that). Countlessly yesterday he dropped deep and then we had to rely on Nasri and Arshavin pushing up… then when Wenger brings on another two strikers (albeit terrible ones) he plays them as wingers.

    Switching to having a strike partnership up front rather than this poor man’s Barcelona would help us greatly. Will Wenger listen? No.

    Oh and Walter, may I ask what you thought of Wenger (the Loser) essentially calling the paying and attending Arsenal fans yesterday irrelevant?

    Wenger must GO!!!

  • nicolas

    The result is also due to a strong minded opponent, but as a fan for me the real shame was the way we played yesterday; it was an insult. It would be nice to see some earned confidence, proper gameplan, sharpness and the real will to win. Nobody minds losing points when it comes after a long and well fought battle. And why did we just play crosses for 90 minutes if nobody in our team possesses a decent header?

  • bjtgooner

    While we are all disappointed with the result yesterday all fans incliding Dark Prince should realise that the players will feel even worse. They need support not over the top abuse. All fans should support and encourage the team for the last 8 games. The disappointment comes from the knowledge that we very nearly have a championship team and with a few changes we will be there. Don’t give up so easily!

  • ak47

    united dont have a proper midfield??! did the sun tell you that?
    i thought united have been a top team since adam was a boy yet somehow theyve managed to recruit average players into an average midfield? really? so not only is arsene useless now the scottish dictator is also. forgive me. who have you managed again?
    i can assure you, tis not me with the sight problems.

  • JohnW

    Prince,
    You really are a dark one, I would say! Let’s for one minute agree with you, that Arsenal are flops. Then it would mean that the whole team should be sacked, do you know how much time it would take to build a new team? Or lets assume that only the manager is sacked, the new manager would want to bring in his own players, then mould them in his own philosophy. That would be a few years before we win a trophy again. Why? Because according to you and many others, most of our players are not god enough and therefore should be sold.
    I’m also unhappy about what happened yesterday. What I saw was a team that did not have urgency, they did not want the win enough. But that does not mean that i’m not realistic, Blackburn wanted the draw enough. These things happen. Between the time Sir Alex came to ManU and his first trophy in 1993 is a gap of 7 years. In fact he was almost sacked, but imagine if those who wanted to get rid of him had won, would the club be as successful as it is right now?
    All we need now is experience. Prince, players will always want to go, whether you’re winning trophies or not. So don’t get a heart attack of Cesc, Clichy, etc want to go, because in any case, they are the ones to blame most if they cant lift a single trophy for a long time.
    We need experience, that’s all. I would buy two players in the Summer, 30 year olds like Klose who have won some thing, then promote heavily and do away with those who want to leave.

  • ak47

    dam forgot about klose. good shout. and swine tiger too maybe?

  • Gooner80

    Fighting spirit iS ABOUT NOT GIVING UP, many fans have given up already, it is not impossible to win the title. Im not saying there aint issues but hypothetically if arsenal did win the title where does that leave people wanting him to be sacked. finishing 3rd would have me annoyed but even second is a step in the right direction.

    I would be lying if i dint say how frustrating I am feeling, IMO the 4-3-3 should not be used in every game, we are not barcelona and I have felt for some time sagna and clichy just cannot cross. If I feel this annoyed cant imagine how annoyed AW is feeling, some fans think they dont care, if they win the title the shops are going to run out of humble pie

  • TommieGun

    Walter – there is something wrong, which has nothing to do with fans wanting to buy more players, or people saying “I told you so”. I am not saying that I can even begin to agree with self- appointed-pundits saying they know WHY things are wrong, but fact of the matter is – they are.

    If we cannot beat lowly Blackburn at home when it matters, when they are reduced to 10 men for the last 15 minutes – it’s wrong. And we didn’t give away those 2 crucial points due to some Anti-ref mistakes, or bad luck of not converting chances – we were just not up for it. And it was obvious. It could be seen and felt and heard in the end with the booing.

    The players. It’s not even individual anymore, it’s almost collective. A dispirited group. And even though I think Arsene is a genious, I think – and if you read between Tony Adams’ lines, you get it from him as well – he is NOT a great motivator, thus needing the leadership and belief to grow from within the squad. And when things are tough, and there’s no belief – we fail.

    Will an experienced player solve that ? I don’t know. To me Arshavin and Rosicky are 2 experienced players, and I think that they did not deliver this season. So that’s not it. It’s something that needs to be achieved collectively, some cohesion, that we are lacking.

  • Dark Prince

    bjtgooner- You’ve to be honest to yourselves. Whom are you supporting, the club or the players??
    Bcoz if you are supporting the club, then the awful performances of the players should not be supported. And this isn’t a one-off game. It has happened countless times this season, and the season before, and the season before and the season before.

  • Dark Prince

    ak47- ok, i forgot, manu have the best midfield in the whole world. Sorry i’ve been arguing with you on that front. I simply forgot what a strong midfield they had against us in the fa cup. Clearly Gibson, Fletcher, Carrick, Scholes or Anderson are good enough midfielders to beat us. I mean, how can Wilshere, or Ramsey or Song or The great Fabregas match up to them?? Its insane…

  • IvoryGoonz

    Why play them tired players in first place? Instead of having 20 players loaned out, we could just have 4-5 players and get rid of the useless.
    Always same. Turn to the 3 and 4 and say they did worse.
    We want to be first.
    We can, we should, but we don’t.
    And it will happen again if AW doesn’t push the board to spend. Youth project dies t have to be a failure even if we bring in the players we need.
    Just purely relying on youth is a risky business and is proving to take way too long.
    You need the right

  • Wenger is a curse to Arsenal until is sacked no silverware will come our way. A football club is not managed is Wenger does. I think some average of the fans are not beginning to wake up to the reality. I am a big fan of Arsene but I think and believe he would do much more better in the management.

  • sebjob

    I believe fully in the long term plan written about on this site, with a link not a long time ago; certainly I would not like to switch position with Man Utd or any of the others. Wilshere, Bartley and Thomas are potential leaders, and personalities that can spur on the rest of the team. I don’t fear the Arsenal board will grow impatient, I am just tired of the moaning every transfer window as I am an Arsenal news addict with a belief in the project. I believe we are on the brink of a team like the old Ajax; with other players of similar quality anytime ready to replace the old ones; and a revolutionary system; even the tactic of Wenger is impressive, with the constant pressure in every pressure zone and how there is always a constructive and calm solution; its not much missing

  • sebjob

    though I must say I am impressed of what Ferguson gets out of a player like Darren Fletcher…

  • Robbie

    Would we have this discussion if Bendtner had scored from a late header? A team is obviously not better than its last result. Ok, Arsenal won’t win the league, I realise that. But we are so close! Have faith, Barca wen’t 6 seasons without a trophy and after that you know the story. Maybe we can also turn it around after 6 seasons with no trophy.

  • sebjob

    I think its a big question now how Lansbury, Bartley, Eastmond, Frimpong and Thomas take that last last step…possibly Coquelin…Ramsey I have no doubt that he will pull through, though I had the same belief in Eduardo until I saw him hesitating and pull back in the contact situations

  • wankerwengermustgo

    Screw you Walter!

    This email deleted as it just contains mindless abuse, with no argument.

  • Dark Prince

    JohnW- lets face the obvious here, this team has certain individual players who are exceptional. But as a team, they simply dont click when it matters the most. They’re lacking what we know from the begining – The Mentality. And some fans out there say the truth that our players have never been given the proper competition for them to grow. They simply know that they’ll get their chances even if they fail time and time again. Thats the reason they haven’t grown the fighting spirit which is desperately required. Plus its not about sacking the whole team or manager, its about those important additions that have to be made to make our squad stronger and removing out the dead weight. How many more seasons are you willing to give to the likes of Denilson, Rosicky, Almunia or Squillaci??

    Also to be realistic, what did you expect from blackburn?? Everybody knows that a relegation fighting team will come to Arsenal hoping and planning for a draw. Are we that blind not to see it coming? What do you expect Manu to do when they are coming to Emirates in a month? – it damn obvious that they’ll have a 5 man midfield and will look to hit us on the counter attack. But i can guarantee you that we’ll still not be able o do anything about it like the way we are unsuccessful to penetrate a lowly team at home.

    And yes, you’re right players want to go, but in Arsenal’s case its only bcoz if our club is not successful. Tell me, when we were successful, a decade ago, which good player wanted to leave the team?? I dont remember Henry or Viera or Bergkamp or Campbell or Pires wanting to leave. They simply left bcoz our board of directors wanted them to leave. But today, we have many of youngsters wanting to leave? Why? Bcoz they know they want to be successfull. And i cant blame them, but then if our players start leavin like this then whats the use of wasting our time on them since last half a decade?? Why are we grooming youngsters if they dont want to play for us later on??

  • jayj

    We knew this would happen…
    Is Walter now going back on himself? A few weeks ago it was all Arsenal can do it, why a change of heart.
    Next season Chelsea will be stronger, Man shitty will be stronger, Liverpool will be stronger, Spuds will be stronger and Manu are already looking at potential signings, we will drop out of the top. season after season failure is acceptable the reasons worsen. Arsenal’s rott began many seasons ago, financial stability is thats left, I for one want to see this arsenal team get thrashed at home (not because I’ll love it), the mood will change and reality kicks in. Is this Wenger fault? Maybe, Is this the boards fault? maybe, Is this the players fault? Definately. Our current crop we should rename the team to Chokers FC.

  • ak47

    dude this aint playstation. situations and circumstances.please wake up.

    on a different note… pep wanting to leave barka!? really?
    cesc’s idol. wil they ever get cesc if so? where will he go next? my brain says man u but they are similar to barka behind the scenes. and our footie is similar. dam you 2012. too much happening in that yr. :-S

  • ak47

    jayj-pipe down.

    you sound like a pundit at the start of the season.

    hope we get thrashed at home!!?? are you dumb. or a spud?

    your allowed to be both.

  • jayj

    @ak47
    Ok I’ll calm down but you have admit we aint no fighters, honestly when was the last time this team raised the game when needed?

  • Thanks Walter for your wise words. Always hard to believe after such a disappointment.But you’re right : it can be worst.
    Team spirit (or, may I have to say “lack of team spirit) during yesterday’s game made me remember another game of the current season : the defeat against West Brom at the Emirates. After this game, lot of pundit predicted the worst for Arsenal. Then, what happened ? We won 8 games : Belgrade, Chelsea, Birmingham, Shakhtar, Man City, Newcastle (Cup) et West Ham. May the team can do the same for next games. Everything is possible. Belief.

  • Dark Prince

    ak47- you really dont need to play xbox or playstation to realise a team’s weakness. You can see it on the pitch, you can see it in the performances, and most importantly u can see it in the result.

    Also what jayj said has some truth to it. I remember last year’s game against liverpool where we were trailing by 0-1 and Wenger removed his wrath during the interval. The same team came out and won the game 2-1. Thats what is required. I’d really love Wenger to give the players a hard time. Let the players play for their lives. Thats what every fan wants. Thats what our team doesn’t do. And unfortunately Wenger comes out and defends the performances and say that our players have fighting spirit and a winning mentality. But that is exactly what this team doesn’t have.

  • Samuel

    Diaby and Denilson didn,t even get onto the pitch at the Emirates and Bendtner only got less than fifteen minutes ,so who are the fickle Arsenal fans blaming now as it,s rather obvious where the blame really lies ,with Wilshere,Walcott ,another one of England,s finest who can,t even buy a goal and Arshavin who get,s a handsome salary every week to do the absolute mimimum on the pitch ,amazing isn,t it?

  • jayj

    I’m not saying bring some english steel, to me the english players are the worst when it matters just look at J.Terry/Lampard/Gerrard and I’m hoping Wiltshire doesn’t have his name mentioned in the same breath. Our team has too many flare players what we need is a dog like Essien and I hate to say it even a D.Fletcher. A.Song great player but too nice yes he can rough it up but never in the mold of Essien. Yes Essien has not been himself of late but last season he drove chelsea to the double and looking at Chelsea I dont think defensively chelsea R much different from Arsenal but they have a great cover in Essien.

  • JohnW

    Prince,
    You’re right about the competition though. I saw lowly Sporting Gijon substitute their Captain even before they scored against Real Madrid. During the good years, we always had a bench of Kanu, Edu, Wiltord, some times Parlour. It was a bench of winners which we don’t have now. However, we should not lose hope, soccer is very funny indeed, in a month’s time we could easily be on top.
    Why is it that some times we play better away than at home? Is because the boo boys don’t make it any easier? Just saying.

  • Dan

    It’s Wenger that gets the blame now Samuel, he has for the last few seasons… and he absolutely deserves it!

    Love Arsenal FC, hate ARSEne FC!!!

  • only1

    @dark prince,

    i was wondering if you are a kid to have so much time being “first” to comment in many of the post here.. judging from what you had said alot of times, I believe you are one (just a kid)

    perhaps that you are right that walter is constantly making excuses for Wenger and Arsenal. But let me remind you that Arsenal is 2nd in the league, and the first place is manchester united, who had not been playing well, spend 30 million on 1 player and had the manger who knows how to grin out results when needed.

    Sure, Arsenal is not able to grin out results, but look at it this way, not alot of club or manager can match up to that.

  • Adam

    To excuse what is happening at Arsenal by saying that it could be worse is daft. Yes, it could be worse but this is Arsenal, the team that built one of the finest stadiums in Europe in order to become one of the best clubs in the world. By best I mean most successful. By successful I mean winning things. it just isn’t working and whether you think Wenger should go or if you think he is still absolutely the man for the job I repeat that it isn’t working. This is a very low quality league and we should be leading it by some distance. The reason we are not is because what Arsene is doing in relation to the team including personnel, team selection, substitutions and tactics. And the players themselves must shoulder a large portion of the blame over recent results. I recently saw Matt Holland on TV say that if Arsene had bought the players we needed when he had the chance we would be leading the PL by 10 points. he may or may not be right but I can’t help but agree with the general sentiment. It is the fact at we ARE second that is so disappointing and when you settle for that by saying it could be worse then you will never be a winner.

  • Dan

    Hear hear Adam!

  • Shard

    @Dark Prince

    I agree with you about the mentality. I also agree about a lack of competition for places in some cases.

    The first though, is an intangible. What do you do about it? Get players from outside? Get more homegrown players? Allow that mentality to develop? I don’t think there is any ‘right’ answer to that. It is something for the manager to solve though.

    Regarding the competition for places and lack of experienced players, a lot of that was out of necessity. It’s true the invincibles were broken up too quickly. But people demanding a breaking up of this team are simply asking for a reset. The new players coming in will also not know what it means to play for Arsenal. You could of course pay insane amounts of money and get mercenaries, something strangely our players are called right now, to get the ‘winning mentality’, but is that sustainable? Is that even desirable? I for one would never want my club to become what Chelsea represented especially under Mourinho, but even under Ranieri and Ancelotti..

    Competition for places is coming through our ranks now, and with the 25 man squad rule, it is bound to have an effect. A positive one. We can now afford to let some of the deadwood go because we have replacements available, and our financial situation, though not brilliant yet, has improved.

    And Wenger losing his temper helped the team at Liverpool. But do you really think shouting at them will help if you do it all the time? It had an effect only because it was so rare. Regarding yesterday, Wenger basically came out and said we were shit. It was stronger criticism that we normally hear from him. Hopefully it will help the team.
    (As for the idiot who said that Wenger called the fans irrelevant, well, you can read sinister imports into everything if you so please. But yes, YOU are irrelevant.)

    DP, as an aside, Vieira DID want to leave for quite some time. Edu left because of monetary reasons too.

  • Shard

    @all

    I’d like to know what people think is an acceptable time without a trophy? I mean 6 years we hear is too much. But at what point does it become too much? Would we still be having this discussion if we had won the title in 2008? Or the Champions league in 2006? Which trophy buys a manager how much time?

  • Wrenny

    It’s a terrible result and a big setback but not fatal to our title chances. Not when Utd have two massive matches against Chelsea this month to drain their already stretched resources. Plus a massive game against Citeh in the cup. They’ll drop points without a doubt.

    I would just ignore the emotional ramblings of the doomers, they always react with angry finger-pointing after every setback.

    And great post Shard.

  • Gooner80

    where I would like to see improvement and I dont mean this as a criticism is arsenals square passes and time wasting, I counted numerous times when we won the ball back off blackburn when they attacked and instead of a swift swooping move the ball ends back with the defenders and then balckburn have every one behind the ball and it was going round in circles. aRSENAL have blistering pace and they seem too intent on keeping possession then playing dangerous balls that may result in the loss of possession.

    after watching blackpool today this should be the perfect game to get us back on track, I still believe, The arsenal team seem inhibited at Ems, I dont think it is a coincidence that our home record has been so poor this season

  • Michael

    Wenger is jst being stuborn and doesn’t want 2 accept defeat dat his system isn’t jst workin and he has failed….my point is why sign a squillaci at 30 at u can’t give old players 2yrs extension….what is wrong wit him about french players….he knows his problem but not ready 2 solve it…..people should stop sayin nobody gave arsenal a chance 2 b where dey are utd 2day only spent 10millon & arsenal spent more where are dere 1st with 7points ahead so it’s neva an excuse… For christ sakes arsenal is a big club and has a tradition…..dere’s no way u spend and u won’t get result and spending wisely not players like koscieny & squillaci.

  • RedGooner

    Success or failure, Its a like a double edge sword when looking back at each season for most managers.

    Walter you have made some excellent points, I would not think been a Chelsea supporter after spending 75mill in january feels any better if they dont win the Champs league. ManCity fans probably do feel better than us because they have never been to the Champs league, sadly something we take for granted.

    DarkPrince makes some valid points also just because they differ from this article doesnt make them wrong. The truth is probably somewhere in between.

    Arsen Wenger is undoubtedly the best manager we have ever had and possibly will have because he is leading the club through a time of monumental change through tight financial restrictions and using a youth policy to do it.

    Even if we had won yesterday, what I seen from Almunia yet again I wouldnt have had the faith that he could be relied upon to see us through the remainder of the season and thats just down to bad luck with Woz getting injured at the same time as Fabianski.

    The main concern for me is this, with the article “Next seasons New Players” This year Jack made the break through BUT was playing well in the premiership last season. Only Coquelin is playing well consistently in a top league right now the rest what they are doing in the championship and lower leagues will more than likely not be enough to stack up next season if they get a chance.

    Wenger wont buy the players needed during next summers transfer period because he believes in and wants to work on the youth project. Maybe one player will be purchased ( Eden Hazard )and a few that arent making the mark he seems to struggle with the idea of releasing them.

    This may cause another episode of when flamini and Hleb left.
    We have Cesc wants out and Nasri hasnt signed his contract.
    We cant afford to keep loosing valuable players because we persist with a plan where the previous players who owe him keep walking due to lack of success. I believe thats the reason as Cesc keeps mentioning he wants trophies if hes to stay.

    Next season Arsene needs to change something we all love him and respect him and all realise what he has done for the club.
    But the time for this project to deliver has now come.
    He will either be successful next season or fall on his own sword.

    I hope the former and not the latter.
    We will always support Arsenal regardless its something you cant change but we supported them with the previous 5 managers and will do with the next 5 its over to Wenger now.

  • Carpenacci

    For several seasons up to date I’ve been supporting the way Wenger’s been running the club. Ultimately thinking it’ll pay off. One might argue we’ve been unlucky with injuries and whatnot. this is utter rubbish and it just made me really sad and disappointed to the players efforts yesterday. The winning mentality just doesn’t show when needed. Something needs to be done, I’m not sure whether sacking AW would be beneficial. Somehow the board really needs to tell him to get a couple of experienced and top-class players in. A goalie is number one priority! And plz not Ali Al Habsi. As mentioned, it is getting more and more frustrating and sad to see Arsenal unable to get over the last hurdle. Some1 mentioned that it’s all about the trophies, might not be fully accurate but it’s a major part of the game and AFC will not grow and flourish and be able to attract the best players if the trophies are as absent as in the last 6 years

  • Cape Gooner

    What a bunch of pathetic whingers! Arsenal MUST win, therefore sack Wenger. Trolls! We should get a new manager – look how well Mourinho, Dalglish, Redknapp and Ancelotti did yesterday!

  • Cody

    I wanted to watch the game before I commented, I live in the USA and had to watch on delay this week. I usually just troll this board because it is the most intelligent arsenal discussion out there. After watching this game I had to throw my two cents in. Arsenal as they sit have a few fundamental problems. First and foremost there is no leader on the field. Even when Fabregas is healthy he is no leader. I don’t believe there is a true locker room leader on this team with the possible exception of Vermeleen but he hasn’t played all season for practical purposes. The second major issue I have is that the players need to shoot the ball more instead of looking for the perfect pass. There were many occasions where shots should have been taken from the top of the box. Nasri, arshavin, et all have the skill to score from there. The season isn’t over, will we win the trophy? Probably not. Is the season a disaster? No we did well in all competitions. Does wenger need to go? Definately not. Everyone whines about no silverware in 6 years so he needs to be fired, you individuals need to think about what happens when a coach gets fired. I don’t are what sport you are talking about or how good the team is, it goes into a two to three year rebuilding mode while the coach molds the team in his image. You all are unhappy now, how would you feel about three years at the middle of the table?

    Where to go from here? The squad needs a few tweaks to be more solid. Starting with the coach, he needs to instill in them to shoot more often, I know this is counter to his philosophy to some extent but it will get us more points at the end of the year. I am not sure we need a new keeper. I think Szczensny will be fine. Fabianski and Mannone are fine backups, we can’t have all world players as reserves in every position. I would sell Almunia for a six pack of Guiness and call that a good fee. His confidence is shot he needs a new team. Defensively we do need to buy a tall center back. He needs to have a commanding presence that will make strikers worry if they going to come away with all their parts intact after going for a header over the middle. I would keep what we have, obviously Squilaci isn’t the answer but again we can’t have world breakers as reserves, its too expensive. I wont mention who they should buy, I don’t watch enough football beyond the epl to know. I would not lose any sleep if clichy left, I believe Gibbs is a pretty even swap out. Our midfield is one of the best around. With that being said I would try to buy a player that is dangerous on the wings, we tend to have injury issues every year and need to be deeper. I would also sell Fabregas… Yes I said it. Take the 50 million and let him sit on the bench in sunny Spain. He has checked out mentally, any of you readers that have played sports should recognize that. Take a good chunk of that money and buy what we need. I think nasri while not as good as Fabregas can do the job. I also think a healthy Ramsey with nasri and wilshere would be a great combination with a new impact player. Up front we do need another proven striker. Van persie is great but let’s face it he is made of glass. Chamak started great but lost his confidence when he got benched when van persie came back. It’s also hard to judge anyone after one year on the team. Bendntner to me has the WORST first touch of any striker I have seen. He can go for 8 million. Sell Vela, he can’t handle the rough and tumble of the epl. If we were to buy a household name at striker, that would also mitigate
    the loss of skill level with Fabregas leaving. Those are my thoughts right or wrong. Thanks for reading and back to troll mode…

  • Dark Prince

    JohnW- Soccer is funny game indeed. But in the end, it does not deceive. You are right that Arsenal can end up on top, but its possible that Arsenal may not end up in the top 4 either. In the end its whether we have improved.
    And have we improved? I dont think so…can you believe that we were better both in terms of points and goal difference at this stage last season??
    Have we still learnt to penetrate defensive teams?? I dont think so…can u believe that out of those 30 games, we haven’t been able to score in almost 6/7 games??
    Have we learnt to defend set pieces?? I dont think so….can u believe that more than 50% of our goals conceded have come from set pieces this season??
    Have we learnt how to control our injuries? I dont think so…can u believe that just after this international break our injury list was – Van Persie, Bendtner, Cesc, Song, Denilson, Ramsey, Walcott, Diaby, Djourou, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Szczesny, Fabianski, Mannone and Frimpong?? Thats 15 players injured!! Which team can hav as many injuries as Arsenal every year?? It raises a lot of question of our medical staff and fitness coach and also our training regime.
    Have we ever made good back ups for injured players? I dont think so…can u believe that if we miss any of Van Persie or Nasri or Walcott or Cesc then our whole game plan fails??
    These are the facts and we all know them, but have we done anything about it?? Answer is no

  • Cody

    Also I forgot to mention, the team didn’t play bad. Blackburn was playing for the point. Almunia scared me but that is nothing new. A healthy team with no international duty would have seen a different result. Too many coming off injury and games abroad to be at 100%

  • Shard

    Dark Prince

    We have improved.. The injury situation is better too than last year I think. At least so far.. The points and GD, firstly don’t matter after 30 games, it’s 38 games that count. And secondly, it is not an absolute measure between seasons (It’s actually not an accurate measure b/w teams even in the same season, but that’s another debate). By that regard, since Chelsea won the league with 95 points, all other champions have been unworthy. The league has regressed can be your argument there, though most would say the league has improved.
    Our defense has done better than it is given credit for. In the early part, Koscielny and Squillaci struggled when put together. But they are doing better now. Their first year in English football, I think a certain adjustment period is to be expected.

    I know the injury situation is very frustrating. I don’t know what to do about it though. Did our training and medical staff suddenly become bad in the last 3 years? Did we change something in training, or diets? Is it simply that we have injury prone players. Is the style we play to blame? There can be literally hundreds of factors there. Some avoidable and changeable, some not so. But keep in mind, that when it first happened, it seemed a one off. An unlucky season. When it happened again is when came the realisation that it might be an issue. The club is since looking into it. Of that there can be no doubt. It is something that I feel disinclined to castigate the club for when I don’t see what can be done about it that they aren’t already doing.

  • Naren

    Dark Prince, you either do not know that Petit, Overmars and Anelka left AFC or you think that they were not ‘good’ enough. Those three left after AFC won the Double.
    There were incessant rumours linking Vieira to foreign clubs during the latter part of his career, very similar to Fabregas’s situation today.
    Also, Vieira left AFC immediately after winning the FA Cup in 2005.
    This is incredible, how many less seasons do you want to give Squillaci? Not less than the less-than-one-season that he has spent at AFC, for sure…
    As for defending the team, do you want him to join you in wanton criticism of his own team? Do you seriously expect Wenger to come out in the press conference and say that ‘You see, Almunia is an old bungling fool, but I am presented with no choice, what to do?’ Will doing that endear him more to you? It will destroy the player/s and will be of no use whatsoever.

  • Nice one Red Gooner

  • Wrenny

    @Shard

    Good question! – What I think you’re driving at is how meaningless the ‘years without a trophy’ spiel is. Winning silverware isn’t something that is under an individual manager’s control, there is limits to how much Wenger can influence Arsenal’s success. Financial and competitive factors play a much bigger part in our fortune – factors which are of course trivialised or ignored by most of the media and a thankfully small slice of fans. Sensible and reasoned analysis of these myriad factors doesn’t sell – ignorantly heaping all the blame (or praise) on one individual sells by the bucketload.

    Some fans are stuck in these very shallow media-driven arguments which come down to: Arsenal can’t defend, six years without a trophy, Wenger won’t spend, Wenger’s lost the plot. Expanding the discussion to include financial limitations, our competitors’ superior resources, new squad and finance regulations, etc. is wholly unwelcome – it’s just complicating their shallow argument and is met with howls of “you’re making excuses!!”. They only want to stick to their narrow parameters of discussion.

  • Adam

    The most irritating thing for me is the great divide that seems to have arisen, exemplified by Cape Gooner’s sledgehammer remark above. Any true supporter of our great club are desperate for them to do well and if we have different opinions as to the current state of play and the way forward then that is what they should be, different opinions. I happen to think that Wenger has rather lost control of things and I have my own ideas why. If that makes me a troll to people like Cape Gooner, then fine. I like this site because I don’t read the foul insults that I see elsewhere and the almost sinister vitriol that is poured on a man I believe has always had the best interests of the club at heart. Asenal is close to my heart and I feel deeply and emotionally about it. I was born and raised in Islington and have been going to watch them pay since my Dad took me after his Dad took him. I guess that’s why these last few weeks have been so painful as I know they have for many of you. I feel oddly connected to all of you through our love of the club.

  • Shard

    @redgooner

    I think you make a couple of assumptions there, which aren’t unreasonable assumptions to make, but still are just assumptions.

    You say Wenger won’t buy players we need because he believes in the youth project. Actually that seems reasonable because, for example, he didn’t buy a DM when it seems we could do with one. But I think Wenger still thinks of making do with what we can, because the youth players are coming through, meaning the newly bought player will not be a requirement in the near future.
    Now he does of course believe in the youth. But I really do believe it’s not blind faith. It is mostly out of necessity. The players we had needed time to grow up, grow as a team together. He gave them that time because a) he believed in them, and b)the options with alternatives were severely restricted. Some of them have not shown themselves to be deserving of that faith and I do think now that we have more options, and also because they haven’t justified his faith, he will let them go.

    Regarding contracts. Flamini and Hleb are hardly direct parallels with Cesc and Nasri. Flamini wanted too much money, and Hleb, well he was just an ungrateful ****, but also now regretful since it didn’t work out for him. Cesc’s situation is quite simply unique, and I don’t know what’ll happen in that regard. Nasri will sign a new contract. He’s pretty much said that. Clichy reportedly is unwilling to sign until the season is over. The motivation for that is anybody’s guess. But no one can know for sure.

    We’ll see what happens, but on the whole the club is on the right path, despite there being warning signs, as people have pointed out, that the whole thing could come apart. It’s true. It could.. But the people screaming that the loudest are the ones actually clamouring for it to, and change the direction of the club completely.

  • C4

    Hmmm… A bit of a poor game, I agree. Whether or not this means sack Wenger, I’d easily say no. I for one can see his project coming to fruition, the fans are just impatient. A look at the last 2 seasons should give us a good idea whether we’re moving forward or not. 2 seasons ago, we finished 4th. Last season 3rd. This season looks like 2nd, and a SLIM chance at 1st. Progress may have slowed somewhat, but it’s there to be seen. If you consider that all this progress is becoming increasingly difficult with the advent of sugar daddies and smaller teams getting stronger, I’d say its not so bad. With the current trend, we can expect to finish 1st next year. Players will be older, and more experienced. I’m willing to wait and see. This is probably the worst time to try and get rid of our great manager, he’s almost there. It’s silly to compare the 6 year drought to teams like manure, or chel$ki, they haven’t done a complete rebuild of their teams AND stadiums, and we don’t have rich sugar daddies. 6 years is not bad for a complete rebuild of team AND stadium.
    If we finish 2nd, our great manager will know that the final pieces needed to cross that line to silverware may simply be some experience, and I trust he will do that. He can now tell who he can rely on and who he can’t, as well as what kind of cover is needed and in which positions.
    So, fear not, fellow gooners! Come next season, I expect us to finish 1st, in keeping with the current trend of progress, albeit slow progress… 😀

  • Shard

    @wrenny

    That’s putting it better than I ever could.. Cheers 🙂

    I was basically trying to say that everything, any guage of success or failure, exists in context. Though I genuinely am interested in any answers that people may have.

  • Charlie Munger

    Rightly or wrongly there seem to be enough people content with life as an Arsenal fan at the moment. Would any of those people like to rent my season ticket from me next year?

    That’s a sincere offer. Reply in the comments and we’ll take it from there.

  • Wrenny

    Good post C4.
    I think we will be looking back at this period in a few years’ time and just laugh. Barcelona were in the same situation as we were in 2004 – five years without a trophy. They’ve since won 4 La Ligas (soon to be 5) and 2 Champions Leagues, in six short years. Their trophy drought must feel like it was a lifetime ago now.

  • C4

    A small correction to my post above. I should have written “If you consider that all this progress is becoming increasingly difficult with the advent of the Phil Dowds, sugar daddies and smaller teams getting stronger, I’d say its not so bad.”
    Please excuse the omission.

  • Shard

    @wrenny

    I hope if and when that sort of success follows, we don’t act the way Barca do though. I really really could not take that.

  • Shard

    @c4

    LOL.. Quite a big fat omission at that.

  • jayj

    Why does our team implode? Year in year out come feb/march its like they’re being suffocated, we love Wenger I think the critism is fair but booting him out is wrong. I’m sure he said start of the season that if this season ends without anything then his policy for the last 5 yrs is a failure, I’m pretty positive he said that in an interview. Can someone clarify?

  • Dark Prince

    Shard- Yes, Mentality is intangible, but its not a figment of someone’s imagination. Its there present. And our mentality issues does come down to bad management. Leadership is not always inborn, it can be learnt from experienced players as well. And thats why we needed to retain certain experienced players while changing to our youth policy. Thats where our management made a mistake. Also, its funny to see that we conduct a psychological review of our players before they join our club but how is it that they couldn’t check whether a player has exceptional leadership qualities as well?? Didn’t our manangement think that our players need a captain who can lead??
    And yes, signing an experienced player will bring more leadership qualities into our team. But the problem today is that Wenger will not take away the captaincy from Fabregas. We relied too much on youngsters and forgot that they too need someone to look upto in the squad.

    Also, no one has ever told to hit the reset button. We’re almost there but we still lack some of the basic qualities of fighting spirit and winning mentality. We need to strengthen our squad. We need to replace our underperforming players with proven players rather than another bunch of youngsters who will end up trying to find a leader in the squad.

    And yes, Wenger needs to unleash his wrath time and time again. If he doesn’t then its the fans who will like in the last game. Its upto you to decide whether you want Wenger to be more strict or the fans to be more strict.

  • I deeply agree with C4. Barcelona waited 5 years to win trophies again. And durting this time, they made young players to the best : Iniesta, Messi, Pique.
    Basis of our teamplay is these DM position. Since we lost Vieira, we failed to catch trophies. I think it’s clearly connect. When Flamini left, we lost 3 years since Song be effective as DM. So now, we need a good backup to Song. Our defensive line is better since last season, despite massive injuries, and to my mind, it’s a very positive point.

  • cesc

    what a load of BULL.

    i think you need to wake up. will we be happy for another 5 years of tosh.
    we need to admit we have too many average players in our squad to ever win anything. we need a big clear out and it should start with wenger.
    wenger has misled us for the past 5 years. it is his policies that have failed. he should do the honerable thing and resign.
    how many arsenal fans will believe a wenger team could win anything next season.
    OUT OUT OUT.

  • Wrenny

    @Shard
    That’s exactly what is lacking – context. Criticising Wenger’s choices or Denilson’s performances is acceptable (insulting and abusing them isn’t), but it should be framed within the massive football landscape and the huge outside influences that affect Arsenal to a bigger degree.

    The problem comes when people insulate the argument as if Arsenal’s success is WHOLLY dependent on Wenger’s decisions or the performances of one or two players and trivialise the big issues.

  • Dark Prince

    Shard- sorry to say we haven’t improved. The league has become better? But hasn’t Arsenal become better since last season to cope with it??
    Our defenders need time to adjust?? How many more seasons are you willing to sacrifice till they become adjusted??
    Also you want to kno how many trophyless seasons it takes for us to come to know that we have failed? I say only 1. Now Arsenal is on a 6 year wait.
    If you say its doesn’t matter how many trophyless years it takes then accordingly even a team like Liverpool is not a failure today.

  • Dark Prince

    Also you say that being a Chelsea fan would be frustrating now?? Yea they had one bad season…how many bad seasons are we having?? Its sad to see that you expect an Arsenal fan to be more happy since last 6 years than a Chelsea fan. On what basis you want an Arsenal fan to be more happy?? For d fact that we have supposedly d best youngsters? Or for d fact that we have a profitable business?? Why do you think our fans have started booing players?? Surely we’re having enough profits, right? Then why do they need to boo the players?? Common sense shard – a success of a club is measured by its trophies and not by its financial profits.

  • jayj

    Almunia – Serial offender always the cause
    Denislon – played out of position but still very average
    Diaby – has 1 good game in 10 but by christmas always injured
    Rosicky – Struggling big these days

    Wenger’s analysis he must have an idea next season the 4 players in question simply cant hand Arsenal’s cause. The 4 mentioned are our subs now look at the standard a defo drop, Wenger cant keep faith he needs to do something. Fighter Mentality is not their strengths either.

  • jayj

    Okay its sad its come to this but if we all pitch in I think us the fans can accomplish this.
    A fiver each from the fans and I think we’ll all be happy to do this, get a kitty going and lets present this to our board/wenger and demand a new CB/GK for next season.

    WHAT U RECKON.

  • Denilson

    Dark Prince seems to be in a bad mood today, he should see that his frustrations stem from just how good we are, and the expectations that go with that talent.

  • Shard

    @Dark Prince

    I never said anything about Chelsea other than to say that I do not want my club to become like them..

    How many seasons have our defenders had? you really don’t think Squillaci and Koscielny have been improvements on Campbell and Fishhead?

    Look Dark prince, I’m not denying there are problems, some of them have been a result of wenger’s faults. The lack of trophies is neither here nor there. You say one year w/o a trophy is enough to call it a failure. Really? In any circumstance? For any club? Or only for Arsenal? If the latter then what makes Arsenal so privileged/cursed that we have a different standard for it?

    In the end though, all the talk of improvement or lack of improvement is ONLY based on trophies in your argument. Or will you say we haven’t improved even if we win the league this year? If you do, then what will signify improvement for you? Another unbeaten season? What about that team’s failures in the cup competitions and consistent underachievements in Europe? Nothing is ever perfect Dark Prince. I think the scale of our transition is often overlooked and forgotten mainly because it has been so well managed. On the whole, Wenger has done a very good job. He could have done it better. He COULD have kept some experienced players (I think Pires and Gilberto were the ones I’d argue about, the rest had to go) he could have bought sometimes. But criticising individual decisions w/o saying what the alternatives were, and how they would have impacted on the overall strategy of the CLUB (it is not wenger’s project) serves no purpose.

  • bjtgooner

    Dark Prince – re your 12.33 post. You miss the point, it is unnecessarily destructive to constantly criticize the players, manager and club in an unconstructive way – you can do more harm than good. The players and manager must already be down and don’t need fans making demotivating comments. We do need the team to play better but lets back the guys until the end of the season – the team can’t be changed until then. You have been so critical in your comments that I wonder if you are a Dark Spud!

  • Charlie

    @Dark Prince, you are a worthy foe compared to the normal mindless Wenger Out rabble. You actually make good points about how the injury curse and weakness from set-pieces should be fixed. You say Chelsea fans should be happier because they have won trophies recently but i don’t agree with that, Arsenal have a much brighter future because we are ahead already and don’t have ageing stars. Profits are not just “nice to have” as all of the Wenger Out rabble say,they are necessary for long-term success. In fact it’s not profit, it has now become breaking even if you saw the latest results. If you think this is a bad season you should go back in time to before Wenger was around to any season apart from 70/71, 89/90 or 90/91. I think you’ll find 50 seasons that went worse than this one.

  • paul

    @Walter
    Like you I am the eternal optimist. Even on this site today ( which is sad ) there are people calling for Arsene to be sacked? I don’t get it. Are we better than Man U? at present NO but we are better than the other eighteen teams below us. As you rightly pointed out there are a few teams who have spent a fortune this year alone and may well end up with nothing. How will their fans feel at the end of this season?
    It’s not over yet. I believe and always do that until it’s mathematically impossible to win then we’re still battling for the title. I personally don’t care about what other people think that’s their opinion.
    Mine is Arsene Wenger is the best manager we’ve had for decades and long may that continue.
    Let’s be SUPPORTERS?
    Gooner for life.

  • Charlie

    Sorry 88/89 season not 89/90. Which was the first league title for 18 years !!

  • Shard

    Dark Prince

    Regarding your post on mentality. I really do not believe that leadership is ever an inborn thing. It is circumstances that make a leader. Yes, certain people;s personality is more attuned to certain circumstances, but never without the opportunity to be a leader will a person become one. So you are right there when you say it’s not always inborn.

    Buying players can bring that mentality, but there’s no guarantee. In any case, how does who has the armband matter. If there is a leader he doesn’t need a piece of cloth in order to lead. We did not forget the need of experience. There was no other choice but to break up that team the way we did. Perhaps one or two players could have been kept, but largely they just had to go.

    Also, I think it’s just become axiomatic that we don’t have leaders or like fighting spirit. It is true at times, and sometimes our team just seems to not know what to do. Fans piling needless pressure will not help. It can help certain players in certain situations. Not a team as a whole though. What you are doing is putting pressure of the last 6 years on these players. Forcing them to not only fight against the odds they face on the field, and off it with the media, but also against its own fans. I can understand the frustration sometimes. But there are better ways to show it, than threaten the fans getting ‘strict’.

  • Charlie

    It’s all about expectations. If the result in that match against Liverpool in 1988/89 season had not been the miraculous 2-0 to Arsenal would the fans have been calling for George Graham to be sacked ? No because after 18 years without a trophy it’s nice to even have a chance. Go forward to Wengers’ first league title in 1997/98. Was he up for the sack ? no because it’d been 7 years since the team won the title and a few managers had been and gone. Wenger wins 3 league titles in 6 years and everything changes. Then Chelsea come along with Abramovich and are able to buy whoever they want, including an outstanding manager. It’s no longer a two-horse race but the fans now have this expectation which they never had before because of those 3 league titles. He’s a victim of his own success.

  • supersamsupersam

    there’s still realistic support behind the gunners, i went to my cities new club’s second home game yesterday (the vancouver whitecaps)

    the support hardly dwindled and we drew 3-3, it felt like a win as we were down 3-0 well into the 70th minute. SUPPORT is the word.

    we’ll beat man u and then there will be belief. wenger keeps us competitive. my vancouver football team is playing now with a record of 1-1-1. we probably won’t hit a top 8 seed in the league this year. so sack up arsenal fans, stop being so prissy, and support a team who actually has it all there to become champions.

  • RedGooner

    @Shard I think we agree and have the same mind set regarding what AW is trying to do.
    And yes to a point maybe and maybe not Flamini & Hleb are different circumstances to Nasri,Cesc,Clychy.
    But it has to be sortened out we cannot afford another few years waiting for replacements to come through should we loose the players. Either way its neither here nor there.

    The BIG worry is for me when I look at the youth project I see long term success BUT its like still another maybe 4 years away before this conveyor belt is fully working and thats only if we keep the players we have.
    I think only one player will come through and be a success next season and that is Coquelin. The rest either wont get work visas or are still another season or two away with age experience etc.
    We also have a shortage of clinical goal scores like RVP when he is fit. Ronaldo aside there wont be many midfielders as consistent as an out and out goal scorer.
    I think we will buy EdenHazard and add Coquelin BUT we need somehow to keep the rest and then have an injury free run in for once in our lives to lift a trophy next year.
    And thats what we all want to see and Id sooner see it under Arsen Wenger than anyone else. He deserves it.

  • Reg New

    Good article as ever, and as a staunch supporter of Arsene Wenger I agree with a lot of your sentiment.
    But regardless of whatever happens this season- we need a change.
    Fresh impetus if u like, new direction. The manager has been immense and whose to say he wont one day return in some form of capacity.
    Like Ferguson and Moyes they have been in their positions too long.
    Thanks to the forsight of Wenger- we have become the biggest club in the world.( His aim from day one).But in my opinion we should head hunt the best Director of Football out there (Wenger can apply for this new position) and employ Head Coaches on one year deals only!
    My choice for the 2011/12 would be Rapheal Benitez. With his sole job desciption is to improve us tactically and defensively. He should have very little impact on buying players.
    Managers in the UK – have far too much power and their influence. They should bloody coach the players! AND IMPROVE THEM!
    There is far too many hefty contracts handed out in the Uk!
    One year deals and keep people on their toes!

  • Dark Prince

    Shard- lets face it honestly, Koscielny and Squillaci are definately better than last season’s Campbell and Fishhead but tell me, are they good enough to win us the league?? – No!!

    And yes, 1 year without a trophy is a failure for any big team. Even if its Manu or Chelsea or Inter or AC milan or Barcelona or Real Madrid or Munich. Tell me honestly, if Barcelona fail to win a trophy this year, wouldn’t they consider this year as a failure and make amends for next year so that they win?? Thats the mentality of a winning team and club. If big clubs fail to win even a single trophy in a year then questions are asked, amendments are made. But what do we do? We just dont do anything and expect the players will become a year more experienced and will perform better. Either Arsenal’s management has taken its supporters for granted or they have actually think that Arsenal are not a big club and doesn’t need to win a trophy.

    Also, if we were improving then we would have avoided all the same mistakes of last few consecutive years and we would have been leading the table. But we haven’t learnt and thats why we are still facing the same questions as last year. The only difference is that our fans have become more vocal about their opinions, certainly last game wasn’t the first time it happened and it wont be the last. And if we dont learn ahead then remember that Wenger might one day experience the same hostility that Roy Hodgson faced at Anfield.

    Also criticising players might or might not help, but one thing is for sure, not criticising them certainly doesn’t help either and thats what Wenger has to change.

  • Shard

    @charlie

    That is definitely true. Actually I don’t have a problem with that. Judge a person by the standards he set. That’s fair. But as you say, along came Chelsea. Not just that they did. They came exactly at the time that we were entering a period of transition. They made buying players more expensive just at the time that we had to curtail our spending. They pushed up player wages. The rest of the football world followed.. Blindly.. We have enough examples of that.

    Also we have to take into account the sheer cheating that referees have indulged in at times against us. it isn’t errors, it is cheating. But even if someone considers them errors then that still remains a factor. Having three players’ legs smashed didn’t help much either. Actually what was that bit about mental strength? I’d like to see how other teams cope with such a thing year in and year out..

    Anyway, if Wenger is being properly judged all of that would be taken into account.. Plus along with that, you would take into account our results on the pitch. 3 4th place and 2 3rd places in the league. 4 semi finals.. 3 finals.. 0 trophies..

    Now why do trophies come? Is it because of being the best? i’m sorry it’s not. Sport is unfair and open to chance. Thats why we even bother playing and watching after all.. You need to be good, but you also need luck, in order to win. We have challenged in these 6 years,and have been more unlucky than lucky. In fact, a team can be very very good, but just not be better than the best team.

    In my view, the lack of trophies is just a mindless zombie like drone now. It has no context, no meaning to gauge itself with. Any expansion of the argument, and looking for the causes of such a thing is treated as excuses, and hiding from the problems. The only solution seems to be Wenger out.. Which really, is no solution at all. Only the imposition of an agenda, and most likely someone else’s agenda at that, on the argument.

  • Charlie

    @RedGooner Frimpong was in the first team squad this year, i think he’s still only 19. Then he was out for the season with an injury. He’s clearly considered to be the best prospect, ahead of Coquelin if he is already a first-teamer. We lacked an effective back-up for Song all year, i wonder how good this kid is.

  • Shard

    @Dark prince

    They are good enough to win us the league.. What decides whether they are good enough or not? Only that they do.. So until they do, you will always be right that they aren’t good enough. But I think they are. Especially Koscielny. In any case, they are actually our 3rd and 4th choice CB really (though Koscielny has a case to be first choice). Would any other club have dealt with playing their 3rd and 4th choice for as long, as well as we have? I seriously doubt it.

    So what changes need to be made if a big club doesn’t win a trophy one year? Even the brilliant Mourinho said that success will come. If not this year then the next about his Madrid team. In a two team league they aren’t good enough to beat Barcelona, who it has been pointed out before went through a similar phase to us a few years ago.

    Our case is further complicated by the fact that we built a new stadium. Why is that brushed under the carpet as yesterday’s news? It isn’t. We have a home for the next 100 years but to have it we are still paying for it. The only changes that were logical at the time were making the players better. Which we have done in some cases. In fact in most cases. What else could we have done in that period? Unless of course, your argument is that the entire philosophy and direction the club took then is wrong.

  • Dark Prince

    bjtgooner- as i said earlier, For many years we have been waiting and waiting for these youngsters to come good. Today they are no longer teenagers from our academy, they are professionals. And they deserve every bit of criticism if they underperform. Remember, not criticising will only make them complacent. Also for many years, they had it easy. So its better to give them the stick and make them learn it the hard way now.

  • Shard

    @redgooner

    I agree. But I do think that the situation with our club has changed somewhat. Actually in a sense, the criticism the club is facing might even be a catalyst to change, or rather to adjust some things. I don’t think we’ll lose players under contract now, without getting replacements in. And I also don’t think someone like Nasri with his contract running down.

    Regarding the players coming through. I don;t think any of them will come in and take the league by storm, like Wilshere did. They will be the backups to our first 11 (who are quite good), or maybe even first 14 or 15.. Coquelin is someone I have high hopes for too. But I think the likes of Bartley, Lansbury, Frimpong and even JET can do a good job of covering when needed. A better job than some in the current crop. If nothing else, they will challenge our current fringe players to perform better.

    P.S. I wouldn’t be too sure about Hazard though.. I still think we will sign one big name player, but it may not be him.

  • Shard

    @Dark Prince

    I agree with your last post.

  • Dark Prince

    Charlie- firstly, maybe people dont know, but i’m not from the ‘Wenger Out’ category. I’m a stern supporter of Wenger but not a supporter of our board of executives. What i’m stating is that eventually it would be Wenger who will be facing the music for Arsenal’s failures. Also you say we have a bright future, and yes you’re right, we have a very bright future. But does that mean we will win any trophy?? no!! You say Chelsea have an aging team, but why do u think that they will not strengthen their team in summer with players who are in their prime?? Its expected that they as well as Manu will strengthen. But are we?? no again!!

    Also what happened in the past doesn’t matter in present. What Arsenal did in 60s, 70s or 80s doesn’t matter today. What matters today is how Arsenal are performing as of now. Thats all that matters. The present.

  • Charlie

    For those who doubt progress is being made remember matches against Chelsea and United from the lat few seasons, they have been embarassing. This year we have been in command every time we have played them and i believe we were unfortunate to lose in the cup where they had to play defensively at their home ground. Perhaps there was some tactical naiivety in that match but i took some satisfaction from seeing Arsenal dominate the possession. I feel that the club is on the cusp of a great era of domination and changing the manager now will ensure that we will never quite get there.

  • Charlie

    @Dark Prince. The past always matters because it is what expectations are based on, Wigan won’t fire their manager if he fails to qualify for Europe. What hurts is constantly winning the booby prize. We don’t fail completely but we never quite make it, we’re never quite good enough. This season we lost to the best team in the competition away from home on two occasions(Barcelona and United) incidentally being down to 10 men for different reasons in both games. Then we lost shockingly in the final of the other competition and look like coming second in the league. All that coming close hurts because there is only ever one winner. It’s definitely progress from the last 5 years though and it’s almost as close as any team can get to winning something. Yes Chelsea and City will buy in the summer but they need a good manager first. City have already spent big without success, Chelsea soon need to replace Essien, Lampard, Drogba and Terry which won’t be easy no matter how rich you are and they need a good manager. I wouldn’t take Ancelotti or Mancini over Wenger, that’s clear. The only danger i see is if Man City tempt Mourinho or Guardiola with a huge offer.

  • Dark Prince

    Shard- firstly, its not me who has put the pressure of the 6 yr long wait on our players. Its Wenger himself who put that pressure on them. He had expectations that this team will win the title and hence the pressure. He himself comes out every season to say that this team has the mentality and skills to win, thats where pressure is put. If he simply comes out and say that this team is young and will take a couple of years to fulfil their potential then there would have been no pressure.

    Secondly, i agree that Koscielny and Squillaci are our 3rd and 4th choice defenders. And as 3rd and 4th choice defenders, they have done well. But are they good enough to win the title for us – d answer is still no. Also it was the management’s fault that they did not strengthen the defence in Jan when they had the choice. Everybody knew that Vermaelen will be out till March and even then he would be not completely at his best. So why didn’t we just took a risk free path and brought a quality defender rather than expecting that our djourou will not get injured and we’ll be able to cope with only Djourou and Koscielny for the next 5 months when the season is decided?? Is that a risk worth taking, especially when we faced the same problem last year?? That just shows bad management and lack of foresight. Remember, everyone including Wenger admitted they we were short on numbers in defence.

  • nicky

    @Shard. You are quite right about the obsession over trophies and the virtual meaningless of them. All it takes is goodfortune during a KO competition, when rivals you fear are knocked out by others and you draw an embarrassing number of home games. In a league you need your sick list to be minimal, a few wins when you were not the better team and occasions when incorrect referee decisions went your way. Attractive and exciting football will beat any amount of silverware.

  • Dark Prince

    Charlie- you’re right about one thing, barca were the best team in europe and goin past them would not have been expected but i need to know what you think about our loss against West Brom or Newcastle or Shakhtar or Braga or Spurs?? Also what about all those goalless draws against weaker oppositions?? The draws against West Brom, Sunderland, Blackburn, City? It was all those games which ruined our season, not the barca or manu game. Also regarding our Fa cup match against Manu, do u even remember what type of team they had put in?? It was absolutely shameful to have been beaten by a bunch of defenders. Also dont be fooled by our dominating game…on what basis you consider Arsenal more dominating over Manu? Just bcoz we have more possession? Remember, possession means nothing. Football is not won or lost on possession. Its based on goals scored. And to each and every naked eye of every Arsenal supporter, Manu were the more threatening team that night, even though we had more possession.

  • RedGooner

    @ Charlie

    I understand why you rate Frimpong. I just think the difference will be Frimpong has had a whole year out and the basis for the admiration mainly comes from a good pre season last year and a few good reserve games.
    Coquelin on the other hand has a whole year of first team experience in the french top league and I think that might be enough to give him the edge as back up to Song this season with maybe Frimpong going on loan.

  • Gooner80

    I think one way or another fans have formed their opinions long before this game, so why be angry if you knew they were not good enough, some people are self defecting sadist who revel in their team under performing so they can tap on the vein of their dark addictive nature.

    I realise for most you CANNOT change your team and in some ways it is deeper than a marriage because there is no divorce, but like a marriage there is good times and bad, I am frustrated as hell and I even feared blackburn would get a goal yesterday, but I support arsenal to the day I die, if there was quick fixes Im sure Wenger with all his resources and experience would have found them, the next thing I would say which has been said before is Wenger needs fresh back room staff around him, he needs someone to challenge his decisions and I fear no one dares,he needs someone to give him ideas and a different perspective, everyone is wrong from time to time but I dont think anyone tells him so, anyone who thinks there is a better man for the job I really dont know what world you live in

  • RedGooner

    @ Shard

    Im not so sure on the youngsters you mentioned.
    I think Coquelin as mentioned above will steal Frimpongs place.
    Landsbury yes he can make it based on the sp*rs game and the performances on loan with the goals etc.
    But Landsbury only gets that chance if Denilson gets booted I think ? Otherwise why keep Denilson around its getting to a stage were there isnt room for them all.
    JET is an egima BUT to get anywhere near our starting 11 or 15 as you mentioned he would need to not only be starting for Cardiff regularly but also contributing regularly as yet Neither has happened. I cant see him being a factor next season.

    Bartley to many infront of him good player that will have to turn out to be great to even be considered and that wont happen in time for next season sadly.

  • RedGooner

    @Gooner 80 ….Pat rice for Keown might solve that 🙂

  • Charlie

    @Dark Prince. There was no shame in the players selected because Arsenal had 5 who are not first-teamers
    Almunia, Koscielny, Gibbs, Denilson, Diaby

    and so did United
    Brown, Smalling, O’Shea, Gibson and (one or other) da Silva.

    The difference is that they chose to play defenders. It is easier to play on the counter than to control the possession so yes maybe Wenger needs to teach his players more than one way of playing. I would say Wenger has one weakness when it comes to winning games, he asks his team to play the same way no matter what tactics the opposition employs. This is not necessarily a weakness though, he would see it as his philosophy for beautiful football. It is a bit like the Brazilians, we will play this way, it’s up to you to stop us.

  • Dark Prince

    Charlie- its nice to see you admit that Manu, City, Chelsea will become stronger. You fail to realise that only Arsenal will remain as it was. We’ll have the same injury issues, the same lack of quality back up players, the same defensive problems, the same complacency issue, the same lack of leadership. I dont expect Wenger to buy unless the board supports him.

  • Shard

    @Dark Prince

    What I meant about putting pressure about 6 years is that blame this team for the performances they put in. But the last 6 years are not their fault. Most of them weren’t there, or weren’t playing consistently all those years..

    As for Wenger putting pressure on them.. You really expect Wenger to say we aren’t good enough to win? Would the team even finish top 4 if they thought like that?

    Regarding strengthening the defense, firstly it’s not as simple as going to the market and buying a defender. And if march was the date that Vermaelen came back then he’d be back by now. Not an unreasonable gamble, though Wenger’s gambles never seem to pay off.. His statement about needing a defender were when Squillaci seemed like he might be out for at least 3 weeks, if not more. Leaving us just with Djourou and Koscielny.

  • Dark Prince

    Charlie- tactical stubborness is one of Wenger’s major flaws. Its his weak spot, his achilles heels. Just think in how many games this season has he started with a different formation?? 0!!!! Nil!!!!

    And i far from differ from you when you say that we play like the ‘brazilians, we play this way, its upto to you to stop us.’ its infact more like ‘stoke, we only play this way, so pls dont try to stop us.’

  • Shard

    @Redgooner

    I see what your trying to say. I agree with you to an extent. The thing is of course, that we don’t know how good those players are, or indeed can be.. But the fact still remains that they are available should they be ready, and needed. Now I think they are needed, if for no other reason than to shake things up a bit. Some of them seem to be ready to play at least 15 games a season. But we’ll soon find out I guess.

    Specifically, I think you are right when you say Coquelin might have the upper hand when it comes to filling the backup DM slot. But I think there is more than one spot up for grab there. Diaby is one that might need some competition, and with Lansbury there, I do think Denilson will go. His head seems to be gone already. We’ll have a midfield of Cesc, Song, Wilshere, Nasri, Ramsey, Diaby, Lansbury, Coquelin, Frimpong, and even Henderson. (Rosicky will probably go too) That isn’t that many established players, and in fact I think we might see a signing in midfield too. Not him, but someone like an Arteta..Or Mata as I’ve heard mentioned.

    I do agree with your doubts about JET. But I do think he can be a wild card sort of player. Throw him on and see what he does. Regardless though, I think we should buy a striker. I’m not sure it’ll happen of course.

  • Dark Prince

    Shard- you’re failing to see the paradox/irony in your statement. (whatever figure of speech is applicable). On one hand you dont want the players to feel the pressure of the club not winning a trophy for 6yrs when Wenger comes out every season to say they will win and on the other hand, you dont want Wenger to demoralise the players by saying they’re not good enough. Either way, the player or the manager will be the reason for the club’s failure.

  • Shard

    @Dark Prince

    The players should believe they can win in order to win. There is no irony here. One is positive reinforcement, the other is negative (and blaming them for, and doubting them on the basis of something they were not necessarily a part of)

  • Dark Prince

    Shard- also regardless of Vermaelen coming back in March or Squillaci coming back in 3 weeks, we always knew we were short in numbers in defence and that we cant gamble on the fitness of Vermaelen or Squillaci or even an injury prone player like Djourou. We had the opportunity to bring someone in and we had the resources too. But we didn’t by choice.

  • Shard

    @Dark Prince

    I wonder how you know we didn’t try to bring someone in? The fact is though that we didn’t, so you can criticise that, and I’d be inclined to agree with that. At the same time, I can understand why it wasn’t done/didn’t happen..

  • SgtWilGunner

    Dont know what to say to u guys who still believe this team is capable of winning ANYthing for dear life! At this stage of the season what matters is the result, not cute passing. Just get the ball into the net in any way! But did you see anyone trying to do that? And Arsha (who despite all his laid back attitude) is the only player you expect to go for the jugular is taken off! Crazy Wenger. SAF played Giggs at left back for God-sakes and we all had just seen that.

  • Dark Prince

    Shard- thats what i’m saying, eventually Arsenal didn’t sign anyone, though cant believe that they were any valid reasons for it. In the end, we didn’t get one and thats what is going to come back and bite us. And whether it was the board’s decision or not, all the blame will eventually and unfortunately come on Wenger. Even though i believe that its the board of executives that should get the worst of the stick, its eventually Wenger and players who will feel it.

  • Davi

    “they will have deserved it”
    Really? Is that a joke? When the league is a level playing field then perhaps we will be able to judge who really deserves to win the title. How many times have their players avoided red cards and suspensions this year? By my count it’s scholes x2, giggs x1, rooney x1, neville x2 and rafael x1 – but that’s just from what I’ve seen. Avram grant also claimed that vidic deserved to go in their last game as well, but I haven’t seen that.

  • Donnyfan1

    We played like a team who had been bombed out by bad refs too many times this year and had a major rival who -for the umpteenth time this year- was been helped by those same refs. We have been 10 points better than Man U this year- despite bad recent performances and they say ‘the table doesn’t lie’!!
    And it isn’t just refs! Compare how Sunderland played against Citeh today and how they played against us. Where was the 9-man defence and the desperate heroics? Isn’t it funny – no-one plays a weakened side against Arsenal. Finally, as much as I like our little Russian, please AW- no more starts for him this season. And if you are going to keep playing Wally wide- bring him on after 60mins when there is space for him to use his pace.

  • Gord

    Two points, first the more unrelated. There are no end of news articles about Arsenal looking at somebody (XYZ). These are invariably a fabrication of the person writing the article. There was nobody at Arsenal (let alone Arsene Wenger) looking at XYZ. But, if any of these bloggers/journalists making up these stupid stories have lots of money, by all means buy the contract of the player in question and then offer the player to Arsenal for no fee and also pay his salary.

    There are too many variables in football, and even if any coach (including Arsene Wenger) had the perfect team, it is not certain that would win any particular competition. Ideally, a person should not have to adjust play for who is referring, but Untold Arsenal seems to feel this is a problem. Not that referees are necessarily unfair towards Arsenal, but often that they are just not fair. And in some situations, not competent.

    Miracles do happen. It may be that Arsenal wins the league this year. For me, it is unlikely. But, it still means that next year is very likely to win something. There are so many pieces present, and we get runs of things working.

    It would be wonderful to see Arsenal win the league this year. But, I suspect Arsenal has served notice on the better teams in the premier league and elsewhere (CL, …), that they are a force to be reckoned with. Not that many of these teams felt differently at the beginning of this season. But if nothing else, Arsenal goes into the next season without any trading activity, better equipped to win medals than any other premier league team.

    But, a bit of luck is needed to get any of these trophies. And lately, luck has been going elsewhere.

  • jcloud

    I still support my Gunners, as well!

  • Dark Prince

    Its sad to see the people still blame the refs for our poor performance against Blackburn. You can fool yourselves but not everyone.

  • Charlie

    @Dark Prince in response to your response to my message much earlier. When Arsenal are on form you can see the philosophy of “this is the way we play, keep us out if you can” and it is fantastic to watch. When there are players missing or players lacking sharpness Wengers’ achilles heel as you put it is exposed. I think he has been fantastic for this club but dominant football requires exceptional talent and you need to be able to adapt when you can see that the team on the pitch will struggle to win that way. Against United we lost mainly because of naiive defensive tactics. When you see that United lack creativity and your own team isn’t at full strength you ensure that the few players in their team who can create something are always closed down (Rooney). That’s where you start from and if that means pushing less players forward so-be-it. I absolutely want Wenger to stay but in this area of the game he does have a weakness. We saw George Graham become much more defensive after the failure of the 91/92 season, just a pinch of this would do Wenger a lot of good.

  • tiger_shree

    I think we are actually a mid table team which has over achieved for the last 7 years. It is based on the fact the meager price we pay for the players we buy as compared to the top 4 teams.

    We have to wait for another 3 years for renewal of our commercial contracts and to become a debt free club and for the expected retirement of Arsene before we compete with the big league clubs for super stars.

  • Shard

    Actually, Donnyfan1 makes a good point, and one I was thinking of a little earlier.. What effect does it have on the players when week in and week out they see ManU getting the benefit of very dodgy calls, while they themselves are subjected, off and on, to the likes of Mason, Dowd and Webb? Some would suggest it should fire them up even more to win, and I can agree with that. But at some point, it has got to get in their minds that nothing they do will be good enough. We all can see that ManU are being guided to their 19th League title. I’m sure the players see it too. Szczesny’s tweet is just the tip of the iceberg, I feel. I think there’ll be stronger emotions about it.

  • Sharpshooter

    I don’t know, there are so many people complaining about so many different things… We didn’t buy a defender, Wenger is a poor tactician, everybody will improve except us, we have useless players and injury prone players, we need experience and on and on and on…. I’ll try to answer some of these critics.
    1.We didn’t buy a defender. As far as I see, our last results don’t have anything to do with the lack of a defender. With S’land and Blackburn it’s our attack that let us down, and with WBA the culprits are Ramsey and Almunia…
    2. AW is a poor tactician. That’s easy to say, but it’s very difficult to say what’s the right tactics. But I heard that we should bring Rafa Benitez (lol). Please, don’t!
    3.Useless players plus injury prone players. The useless players are backup players. Btw, which world class player will come to Arsenal to be a better backup than Denilson? Maybe Pirlo – he’s at the end of his contract (joking). About injury pronenenss, how injury prone are Lampard (3 months out this season), Rio Ferdinand (when did he play last?), Alex, Gerrard and the list may continue.
    4.Everybody is improving and will improve. Crap. Chelsea went backwards, Liverpool is a horror show without Stevie G, the Spuds are exactly the same as last year (minus 50 millions spent), Man C a bit better (minus how much, 100 millions?) and Man Utd plays pretty much the same.
    5.Experience. Easier to say than done. In what area of the pitch do we need that experience? Which is the player that will come to Arsenal, play as a starter and will improve the team? Neymar (19 or 20 yers old)? Hazard? Cahill (invaluable mid-table PL experience, exactly what we need)? Torres (obviously improved Chesea)? It’s easy to play football manager, but a bit more difficult to be a real manager…
    In the end, it seems that many people just hope that a new manager will bring a trophy, although it’s not clear what Wenger did wrong. I sincerely believe that a new manager will be a disaster (e.g. don’t even think that Nasri will sign an extension without Wenger and Fabregas will be as good as gone).

  • Mandy Dodd

    Wenger has done nothing wrong – the board control his purse strngs but he take the blame David Dein spent all his time trying to make sure Wenger had a transfer kitty, was removed for it. enger would have spent if available – but even now, the board are trying to pay off the debt asap which reduces funds. Wenger put what he did have available into wages – and not all have justified these wages.
    As you say, a new manager would be a disaster. Just who could do better? Jose would want £20m a year and £150m to spend, it will not happen here.
    If the disgruntled need someone to blame, start with the board, they have not been fully truthful on our spending power – probably for very good reasons.
    If we end up potless, a few pllayers will go, some will come in, Wenger must stay but will maybe have to force the hand of the board. It would help if they came out and admitted how little money Wenger has operated on, then many would see our manager in a different light.

  • Sharpshooter

    @Many Dodd
    Let me tell you a secret. I HATE JOSE. He would ruin all what I like in Arsenal – decency, politeness, a good traditional way of doing things (e.g. don’t spend more than you have). And he would (exactly like many other managers) destroy what I like most – the promotion of young players who have been at the club since they were 15-16. I really love the fact that players like Song, Fabregas, Wilshere, Djourou, Fabiansky, Szczesny managed to succeed (despite some lack of confidence from fans and pundits) and I’m waiting for Ramsey, Frimpong and all the others to do the same.

  • Shard

    @sharpshooter

    I don’t know about hate.. But i certainly have no respect for Jose Mourinho.. Firstly I think his results are overstated as being incredible. But that being as it is, I don’t buy into the culture which seems to say that it’s ok being a disrespectful d*** just because you win something.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Completely agree Sharpshooter, Jose is nothing more than an expensive short term silverware solution.
    Cannot wait to see some of these kids coming through. If the Arsenal must buy brigade had their way last summer, Joe Cole could have hindered Wilshere, Schwarzer could have meant Szczesny going out on loan.
    I think there are a few who have been relegated down the pecking order who have become despondant, have lost their hunger and will have to be moved on but we have a new wave chomping at the bit, who have been schooled in the Arsenal way, some of whom are built like Vieira with skill in abundance! The likes of Diaby, past injuries aside may have a rethink over not covering runners with JET or Lansbury breathing down his neck.
    The last month has been dissapointing but the future is bright. As for the weekend, a typical after international week with key players coming back from injury display, nothing more, nothing less. Some fans need to get over themselves.
    This year, looks like outside forces will hand Fergie his 19th, and hopefully last title (I sometimes think the FA and refs actually want him out of the way more than anyone else) If Arsenal end the season potless, the club need to use this year to take stock, revamp a few things in the summer, including maybe some coaching staff, and move on.

  • Shard

    @Mandy Dodd

    Now that’s one way of looking at it. You think the FA have a deal with Fergie that he retires once he wins the 19th title for ManU? I don’t know if that’s the case. I don’t even know if I want it to be.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Not sure on that one Shard – maybe putting jumping to false conclusions but when I look back at the ref rescue acts for Utd, the amount of other managers doing all in their power to make sure Utd win it (witness the likes of Stoke and Birmingham going to OT and not putting in a tackle), when I look at recent pics of Fergie – who lets face it – does not look to well – I do sometimes wonder. I know these things have happened for years but there seems to be something different about this year.
    As for the FA and refs, they have in Fergie and his team, created a monster they are too spineless to put on a level playing field with everyone else, but who continues to embarass them in increasing levels – eg Rooneys elbow, Rooney swearing at the camera, Scholes tackles, Fergies comments etc. If I were them, I would want Fergie gone, but there again, I like to think I possess a measure of integrity, not sure all at the FA / EPL do!
    I think the reason they are so scared of Fergie – he knows where a lot of bones are buried.

  • Sharpshooter

    As a matter of fact, some of you should remember that a certain W.Rooney who, by the way, scored a hat-trick this weekend, didn’t play against Ghana because “he had to prepare for the Champions League”. Strangely, another dude called Jack Wilshere, 19 y.o., played 70 minutes, and than had a less than good display against Blackburn…

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Best comment in the Press this morning:

    ‘AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi believes Mario Balotelli’s off-the-field “behaviour” will prevent him from putting on the Rossoneri shirt in the future. “There is a Milan style of behaviour that I don’t think is very close to that of Balotelli. Every now and then, he has a bit of a distraction,” said Berlusconi of the Manchester City striker, who is an AC Milan fan. (Press Association)’

    Presumably the President of Milan has never had ‘a bit of a distraction’?!

  • Good to be a GOONAH!!

    Very interesting debate since Saturday.

    Many Gooners have claimed that this Arsenal side do not deserve to win the league ‘no matter what happens’ apparently concerned that Arsenal may in fact STILL win the league. What an odd place to find ourselves… hoping NOT to win the league.

    I am as fed up than any of you. Believe me. But while we have a chance to win something we MUST stick with the team. The reckoning will happen in the summer and we will duly say goodbye to Almunia, Rosicky, Denilson and at least one forward. But until then the supporters must SUPPORT.

    We’re in a best position than any other club in the country to catch United.

    The lack of bottle many of you are showing is the exactly equivalent of leaving the Emirates down 1-0 against United at 71 minutes! That you same people call for the manager’s head at 71 minutes is an absolute, utter disgrace. Don’t leave the stadium.

    But if you do please let me know. I’ve got a lot of mates dying to get their hands on season tickets. Enough with the limp support.

    And yes… I’m talking about YOU!

  • Dark Prince

    As i said earlier, its sad to see how we again are trying to sugar coat the cracks. Someone here said that the sunderland and blackburn games were not bcoz of ineffective defenders. But people forget that our attacking players become more cautious when they have a weak defence behind them. Eventually, their concentration levels are not the same going forward. But when you have reliable defence then these same players will start to perform to their best.

    Also another very stupid excuse is of our stadium debt. If you guys are living on a different planet, our stadium debt has been cleared and we have only bonds left to pay for the next 20yrs. Our chief executive Ivan Gazidis has himself said that all the profits are now available for Wenger to strengthen his squad.

  • Dark Prince

    Charlie- even though i think Wenger does have some flaws, i dont think he’s not good enough to solve them. There was no weakness a decade ago. The only difference is that the quality of players we have now is simply not good enough and in some cases, not fit enough to win the league. When was the last time Fabregas played 34-35 epl games a season? When was the last time Van Persie played the same amount of epl games in a season?? Same goes for Djourou who has been with us for half a decade now. The problem is that we have only put out our best squad for only 6-7 epl games this season. And that is not good enough to win a 38 game league.

    So what is the solution for the above problem?? There are 2 solutions – either have quality back up players to replace them when they are injured. Or replace the current players with players of the same quality but who are fitter.

    I thnk the 2nd option is quite tough but the 1st option is absolutely possible.

  • Sharpshooter

    @Dark Prince
    “Somebody said that the sunderland and blackburn games were not bcoz of ineffective defenders”. That would be me. So, you’re trying to say that we didn’t score in those games bcoz the attacking players were covering up for the defenders. And they didn’t concentrate enough bcoz of that. I’m sorry, but that’s laughable. I’d like to remind you that a classic problem of our team is that some attacking players don’t help the defensive (Arshavin, for instance), no matter who the defensive players are. Anyway, I understand you don’t like our defenders, but blaming them for B’burn and S’land, this is a bit over the top…
    I suppose that all the attacking players were afraid of the 10 man B’burn, right?
    I think we should simply accept that RvP, Theo, Nasri, Cesc and even Wilshere had some bad games, that’s all.

  • Dark Prince

    Sharpshooter- ok, let me test your own fear. Be honest when you answer this. Are you sure that you are not more afraid when Squillaci and Almunia plays in defence and gk?? Dont you feel much more safer when Djourou and Szczesny plays?? Just think, the players too would be feeling the same. Haven’t you ever seen how much better our attack plays when we have a good reliable defence and goalkeeper?? Just look at 2 different nil-nil draws – the City game and the Sunderland/Blackburn. You can see the difference…in the City game, we were all over City, though we didn’t score, we still run them ragged. And compare this to Blackburn game. Almost the same set of attackers and they played so poorly. So what was the difference? Did you notice the cautious approach our players take when we have a 2nd string defence and gk??

    The simple point is, as we as well as our players and our managers have expressed before, OUR TEAM IS SCARED OF LOSING. And that fear comes out best when we have players like Squillaci and Almunia in the squad.

  • Sharpshooter

    Come on…in the game Man City game we had some in-form Theo, Samir, Cesc and RvP. With S’land we had no Theo, no Cesc, an average RvP, a perfectly legitimate penalty that the ref didn’t see and a perfectly legitimate goal disallowed. With B’burn we had a tired RvP, a rusty Theo and an even more rusty Cesc. Nasri had that horrible bruise and didn’t look as his usual self. It was not Djourou the one we were missing.
    Don’t think that I keep Almunia in high regard or I believe that Squillaci is a great defender. But this is Almunia’s last season and Squillaci is better than that dude, Silvestre. As far as I’m concerned, Sqiullaci can stay at the club until Bartley or Miquel are ready for the big step, but if TV doesn’t come back we definitely need another defender (I won’t say any name).

  • RedGooner

    @ DarkPrince.
    I think you are right in one part and wrong in the other.
    Correct in saying the performances to win at westbrom and at home to blackburn were NOT good enough on the day.

    Wrong to say the following.
    Dark Prince
    April 4th, 2011 at 3:11 am
    Its sad to see the people still blame the refs for our poor performance against Blackburn. You can fool yourselves but not everyone.

    You only have to stop Arsenal or give Utd unfair advantages to see them break Liverpools record.
    Scholes should have seen red against us
    Rooney for the elbow in the head to that player a few weeks back should have seen red
    Vidic yesterday should have seen RED and westham would have went on to win.
    To many disgraceful decisions wheter its like the newcastle game or letting manutd away with stuff certainly means we CANT win the league they dont want us to.
    There is NOT a fair level playing field and thats all we are asking IF we are not good enough at the end well thats fair enough …..BUT the bullshit thats going is NOT right and should not be ignored.

  • Dark Prince

    Sharpshooter-C’mon, be honest to yourselves, isn’t our team is playing superbly since the chelsea match in december?? I mean, Cesc or Nasri or Theo didn’t need 6 months into the season to come into blistering form. They only reason why we have performed so well since December till the Carling cup final was only because we had a solid defence (djourou) and a solid goalkeeper (szczesny). Thats what made our attackers look more threatening, bcoz they believed in our defence and didn’t have fear in their minds while attacking. Regarding our player’s fitness in blackburn game, other than Cesc, Walcott and Song, every other player were completly fit without a doubt. And even though these 3 players are important, we should have won this game even without them playing. Tell me, if Rosicky was playing in place of Cesc, Ramsey in place of Song and Nasri in place of Walcott, would u still expect our team to come out with a goalless draw against a team who are on a complete free fall and fighting for Relegation??

  • Dark Prince

    RedGooner- you say that i’m wrong when i say “Its sad to see that people still blame the refs for our poor performance against Blackburn. You can fool yourselves but not everyone.”
    Pls lets be honest with each other, i admit that the refs are bent towards ManU. They certainly have a number of decisions favoured towards them and also i admit that there have been games where the refs had cheated on us. But its your time to be honest,…tell me, do you think the ref is the main accused and robbed us of our points in the game against blackburn?? Give me an honest reply and say how i was wrong when i said – “Its sad to see that people still blame the refs for our poor performance against Blackburn. You can fool yourselves but not everyone.”

  • RedGooner

    @DarkPrince.

    I didnt say at any stage that the Ref robbed us of points against Blackburn.I said we played poorly.
    I said we would have closed the gap had the Ref been fair in the ManUtd game and sent Vidic off. because Utd wouldnt have won with 10 men.
    I am sticking to the same point IF the Referees had been fair this season. Utd wouldnt be top of the EPL we would and thats despite the poor displays at times this season.

    I wont watch crap refereeing week in week out and know its making a huge difference and then slate our own teams performances which isnt the full reason we are in second place.

  • Dark Prince

    RedGooner- You’re right on one part that the refs hav been very biased towards ManU, and yes, if we had a fair ref in every game then we would’ve have led the table. But eventually, a ref cant be blamed for a poor performance like Blackburn. Just think, this is not the first time this has happened this season. And if we had performed better in games like West Brom (home and away), Blackburn, Newcastle (home), then we would have led the table.

    Thats the reason why the fans had started booing the players. They know this type of performance is not acceptable so many times in a season.

  • RedGooner

    @DarkPrince
    To be honest I understand what you are saying some of the performances were yes indeed poor.
    I look at Utds and Chelseas and the other rivals performances and I see far worse performances this season.

    I am not suggesting all the players deserve their place or that they shouldnt be immune from criticism.

    Newcastle at home was a strange game for me Waz made an error in goal, I was going to say that he wouldnt normaly make Birmingham aside, I thought if we had gone in 0-0 at half time that we would have worn them down they changed and defended well second half. BUT waz is 19 and I think he will make it at Arsenal so I cant do anything only forgive him those blunders his talent leads me think he has a bright future everyone makes mistakes.
    Almunia against Westbrom well lets just say I wont shed a tear when he moves on in the summer.
    I wont boo our players though I get annoyed because footballs a big part of my weekend but thats about it.

    What do really want though is my question ? as Arsenal fans ?

    Do we want wengers head ? I dont think so. Do we want some experienced players and cut some of the youth ? Do we want to keep at this youth project now providing we can keep the better players we have as it should soon reap rewards.

    My guess is we want a trophy and the media muppets off our backs we want to be able to shut up our friends who support other teams and we want and deserve fair refereeing.

    I would sooner win no league than the way ManUre won this one. Its a joke honestly. I want us to be the best and I think like many we aint far away.

  • Dark Prince

    RedGooner- i think, its a very subjective debate on what we all want from Arsenal. Some wants trophies, some wants Arsenal to be among the top clubs every year. I want Arsenal can give it all in every match. There have been 9-10 matches this season already where i’ve felt that our players had become very complacent or did not perform to what is expected of them. To me thats completly unacceptale. These players are professionals, they cant afford underperforming in so many games. And Wenger always tries to protect them with his unjustifiable excuses. Thats the reason why our fellow fans have started to give them the stick.

  • Paul

    @ RedGooner

    Fabianski was the one who made that awful mistake against Newcastle at home. In terms of Waz as you call him, for me his the best keeper Arsenal had in ages, at only 19 he is very solid and I would love to see him in goal next season, Over the last year I always been telling people that he’s the answer for the gk crisis, no one believed me however. Aside from that, judging on the overall team performance, just look at the past 5 years and you’ll see that there were moments where Arsenal used to trash teams like Blakburn 6:2 easily at the Emirates(happened twice), but then draw or even lose to such teams because they simply ran out of fuel or whatever you can call it. Things like that have been happening over over again, especially at the end of the season, mainly February-April time ( remember 2008? Unlucky spells like the unlawful 2:2 result against Birmingham? 1:1 with Aston Villa at the Emirates?). I can see a slight improvement, at least Arsenal are stikll 2nd and look solid whihc makes me belive that Man C nor Chelsea would be able to overcome us, but the lack of drive and determination is still a factor among Arsenal. Sometimes on days like this (Blackburn) I can actually feel from the start of the game that something is missing and that’s gonna end bad, although I try and believe till the last moment! Believe is important, it drives the team on, just remember Bolton away 2008, Arsenal didn’t require dodgy officiating to come from 2:0 down unlike Man U on Saturday.

  • Paul

    Sorry for the spelling, I’m doing this at work

  • RedGooner

    @ Paul your correct on fabianski my appologies 🙂 I thought it but wasnt sure at the time.

    I look at the results and while I agree to an extent with both yourself and dark prince.

    I also then look at all the other teams and poor performances this season.
    ManUtd 2-2 at fulham
    Manutd 3-3 at everton
    ManUtd 0-0 at sunderland
    ManUtd 2-2 home to westbrom
    ManUtd 2-2 away to Villa
    ManUtd 1-1 away to birmingham
    ManUtd 2-1 away loss away to wolves.

    I could go on but when your saying DarkPrince that we boo them because of 9 or 10 poor performances this season and you look at the only team above us with just as many poor performances.

    It tells me this its like international teams their are no more easy games the EPL has improved and no one even Utd has the right to go and pick up points at these places.

    If we had fair refs we would still be winning the league and YES you are right we have a few dodgy players I hope get moved on over the summer and players that give their all every weekend replace them.
    I just think its unfair those who call for wengers head when its a long way from just been his fault.

  • Dark Prince

    RedGooner- I think its wrong to call for Wenger to resign bcoz he’s still one the best managers in the world. But honestly, he did make mistakes. And if we end up another year trophyless because of the very same reasons, then it would not be just because of Wenger but also because of the players and the Arsenal Board.
    Regarding how ManU have played this season, if we look back during the start of the season, we always believed that ManU were going to be very weak in the midfield area. Plus with their lack of signings in summer, it was expected that they would not be at their best. Infact, this ManU side is the weakest ManU side i’ve ever seen. And yes, they have performed poorly bcoz of this. But what is the reason that we have underperformed in so many games?? We have so many players that have become better than last season but still we never tried to strengthen our weak link – Our defence and gk position. Plus i’m surprised that even after being one of the biggest clubs in europe with the best facilities and expertise, we still haven’t been able to figure out why we have so many players injured. Its more of a collective failure at Arsenal. So dont believe that Wenger alone is at fault. I hope our Board and Players can and must do better than what they are doing now. At the moment, i’m more disappointed with the players and the board than Wenger.