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A bad result, but also some positives thoughts

Untold Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal


By Walter Broeckx

Because of some articles in our ref review series still waiting to be published from the previous game day I haven’t found the time to write about our dreadful day at Blackburn.

Now because of all the negative has been said before by others I thought I would have a look at the good things I saw against Blackburn.

A good thing should be that by now we surely should have had all our bad luck and all things going against us dealt with for the rest of the season.

I think on average each team gets some 3 or 4 own goals over a season. Well 2 in one game is something I never have seen before or cannot remember happening before. And I sure would think I will never see it again. So if this means that from now one we will be spared of such freak own goals for the rest of the season, and certainly more than one in one game, then fine with me.

An offside goal given against you can happen. In fact it happens also around 2 or 3  times in a season. So that is already two offside goals this season. So if all goes according to the big plan we should only have one or two if we are being very unlucky offside goals going against us for the rest of the season.

Don’t know yet about the not giving us a penalty when we should get one. The refs are seemingly not really going to give us much. But that is something we are used to for a while. I wonder how the new players will react when they find out that in their previous club they did get more decisions going their way.

And surely we will not have another team having 5 shots on our goal and scoring 4 goals this season. An amazing number. But we did lend them a helping knee and leg in those 4 goals.

But I was talking about positive things that I noticed. I think we played a great first half. We controlled the ball well, we played it well and in fact we kept Blackburn far away from our goal. Apart the one moment which lead to a goal.

We created enough chances to deserve our lead. So creating chances and producing shots on goal was not the problem. And I cannot help but think that this is a good sign. In the previous games we didn’t do this enough I think but it looks that attacking wise our players are getting back to a higher level.

Arteta played a good game and looks like a good addition to the team. And Gervinho made some great runs with the ball. If one does want to be critical one could say that in the first half with the score at 1-2 he should have passed the ball to Van Persie who could have scored the 1-3. Gervinho decided to take the shot himself which was blocked. So we could be critical on Gervinho for this. But how many times have we been shouting “shooooooooot” at our TV or in the Emirates in the last seasons. And asked to our neighbours after not taking the shot on: “why didn’t he shoot himself, why did he gave another pass?”.  So maybe it is a good thing that Gervinho tried to shoot himself. All though a pass would have been the better option this time. Oh well, I think whatever they do, if they don’t score we will complain.

What I also liked was the reaction after the game had turned in such a dramatic way. Yes some players lost it for a while. I’m not going to deny this. I think Song was visible shocked by his own goal. And I think it drained him and his confidence went away. Also maybe his strength after being so dominant at Dortmund  where he had covered a lot of ground. Making two own goals is a very freak thing to happen and so players will feel down for a moment. Replacing our most experienced defender in Arsenal colours was also not helpful for coming back.

But we did came back at them. And we created enough chances to still win the game comfortably. Robinson is the keeper who conceded most Arsenal goals in his career but he sure was determined to stop this negative number for him. And he did produced a few stunning stops. The Van Persie header from one or two yards out was a great reflex stop. On other days it would have gone in.

And maybe we will see Chamakh returning to his opening form of last season. When he scored a lot of  goals. I think his finish for our 3rd goal was a good one. Hope he can build on it for the next weeks.  I don’t know if you noticed it but in those final 10 minutes we actually threw in some crosses. Chamakh scored one and Mertesacker just headed over. In a way it looked a bit like a plan B.  So with Mertesacker and possibly Chamakh we have a few big players that we can launch some crosses at when we need something different?

After going 4-2 down in the most strange and bizarre circumstances we somehow got back up and tried to get something from the game. Only we didn’t were lucky with our finishing (at least not in the right goal) and well the old familiar ref who refuses to do what he should do came back to haunt us.

We almost had one shot on goal every 3,5 minutes in this game. And then to think that for some 15 minutes we were down on the floor and couldn’t get anything going in the second half. But still we fought and nearly came back to clinch what would have been only a fair result: us taking a point and us winning would be the only real fair result.

But if you score 2 own goals you make life difficult for yourself. If you are on the receiving end of an offside goal you can feel hard done by. Nothing more can be done about the result. But we just must avoid shooting ourselves in the foot or better said in our own goal. But attacking wise we looked good enough to win this game.

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61 comments to A bad result, but also some positives thoughts

  • steww

    Thank God Walter. The only sane write up about this bizarre game.

  • sean

    Walter I have to agree with your points, but I still believe the fact that our weakness has not been fully addressed. I am completely perplexed to watch Koz’s display against blackburn after the stellar afternoon against Dortmund, as well as mertsacker’s. We tend to always create chances and always will to a point, but our jeckl and hyde performances in the back have to be addressed. I reckon that we need the same attention wenger applys to his style of attacking to the defence. We need someone (coach) who has gone through the trenches to take these lads under their wing and demonstrate to them how to play as a collective unit. Only then will we see consistant results. I say Wenger goes out and hands the reign over to Keown, Adams or any of the lot who made the famous “1 nil to the Gunners” ring true today..

    cheers!

  • Chowdhury

    Thank you Walter. The result alone shouldn’t take away all the positive signs that we all saw. And we shouldn’t forget the fact that we are playing with guys for whom this is the 2nd Away game in Arsenal shirt. It will only get better once they gain more understanding. The signs are there.

  • Mandy Dodd

    nice to see a bit of perspective. There is not a lot out there at the moment, some of our more brittle fans are even scared of Spurs at the moment – and these are the ones calling our players brittle! Reports this morning suggest senoir players are requesting a specialist coach. We all know what we think of the media but hopefully this one is true. Sort out the defence and this team can really move on.

  • stuartlondon

    Thanks Walter. Your positive viewpoint really has made me feel better. Bad things do happen in the course of any season, and in fact its amazing how well the new signings have fitted into the team. Let’s hope the players read your article, they must be feeling really bad today.

  • UMOH EKWO

    Well, good article. Let us take the positive things and improve on them. I will still insist that we need to do something about our defense. Find the best options to cope till January and buy proven good defenders during the transfer window in January.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I think some of the problem is down to the fact that our midfielders sometimes don’t help out the defence enough. All our players are ball players. We play on technical ability and we also try to defend that way.
    But to defend we need to pressure more. We sometimes just look at the other players and don’t pressure them. This is something that needs to change in the mind of the players. ALL the players. Also the forwards. More pressure on the opponents would help a lot. Because at the moments we do pressure them they lose the ball very easy because they are less technical than our players.

    I think being able to run those few extra yards by closing down the opponents would improve our defense a lot.

    Is this something that you can drill in to the players mind? It sure would help if we could implement this in their head as a natural reaction to the opponents having the ball.

    But this is something that costs a lot of energy and then we could miss that freshness in attack at times.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Am I the only one that has been noticing this? An arsenal game plan looks a bit like this over the last seasons.
    We usually start very bright. Our opponents are pressurized and don’t have much time and space at the start of games. We try to score a goal and we create a lot of chances. But after half an hour we drop back. And then we have a vulnerable 5-10 minutes around the half our mark. It usually starts around minute 25 (when it happens I see it and can put my watch on it). This is a first moment when the players suddenly stop the chasing. Is it down to fatigue? Or to a misplaced superiority feeling?
    Most of the time in the last 5 minutes of the first half we have recovered we create a few chances.

    Then we come out at half time and we just go missing. Does someone puts sleeping tablets in the water at half time? We just don’t turn up at the start of the second half in many games. Is it something in the mindset of the players? We then have again a spell of some 10 sometimes 15 minutes when we don’t put enough pressure on the other team.

    Later on in the game we start warming up again and play better.

    I’m not saying this is the same every game but a pattern I have seen on many occasions.

    But in those two spells of in total 20-25 minutes we are vulnerable and mostly concede our goals.

    Find the answer to this and I think we are fine.

  • Bexxy

    There were positives, there is no doubt, but really they only paper over the cracks. Should we celebrate only conceding 4 after the 8 at OT?!! This was Blackburn, bottom of the table Blackburn. A club in turmoil, with supporters demonstrating against their manager, but hey!, don’t forget the positives

  • para

    It seems to me that our whole coaching setup is ineficient, so it really does not matter who comes into the team, they seem to be stifled and end up making mistakes, or they miss too many sure goals, plus the formation we play needs to be changed to fit the strengths of the players, not change the players to fit the formation.
    All in all, i am so low now, that until i see AFC visibly improve in these areas, i will be watching every game with trepidation until the final whistle.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Maybe stating the obvious but I think some players are too used to having a Cecs or a Nasri to set the tempo. Jack can do it as well, Rambo and Arteta need more time on this, although both are putting in some encouraging performances. I think Wenger knew this and was why he was prepared to take a £20+m loss on Nasri before the board intervened.
    But you are right Walter, we do seem to have problems pacing games, new players some from different leagues will need time on this.
    But one of our biggest problems is the goals per chance ratio against us, some teams seem to score against us just about every attack, then we get a Dortmund performance. Very strange

  • werewolf

    How much longer can you ignore the problems though and just ‘concentrate on the positives’? Bad luck shouldnt always be the excuse, this season has been a disaster so far, and if obvious problems had been adressed in the summer, things might have been better.

  • Mandy Dodd

    One thing, I have been one of those banging on about specialist coaches, only fair to mention that this zonal marking – apparently Steve Bould has become a bit fond of it and has been coaching this with his youngsters so maybe, possibly, hopefully we are already starting to utilise Mr Boulds renowned defensive organisational experience, and the Blackburn game represented teething problems as ZM beds in. Having said that, I Would like to see someone like him at games alongside Wenger to give team talks if things are going wrong though, and unfortunately, even Steve Bould can not be at 2 games at once though

  • RedGooner

    Walter the only positive I see in all this is probably if anyone can turn it around Arsene Wenger probably is the man.

    However 3 wins in 18 matches says it needs to start happening soon a re think perhaps on his behalf on how we move forward from here.

    And if we arent financialy competitive with other clubs on paying wages to keep top players etc Ivan Gazadis needs to get off his ass and find ways for the club the make more revenue.
    Id love to know what he has done so far for Arsenal as its very transparent what the manager and players do it should be with the others also.

  • Mike Collins

    Lets be honest there were no good points. George Graham took some pretty average (apart from Tony Adams) players and drilled them into possibly the best back line Arsenal have ever had. The problem now is not lack of ability from the players but a total lack of coaching. This is down to the manager who I have always supported but surely enough is enough

  • Arvind

    Thanks Walter for a positive article.

    It was not a ‘bad’ defensive performance if I may say. It was one which had terrible spurts of concentration lapses.

    One might say.. WTF is the difference? We conceded 4 goals..right? We lost..right? Yes of course. All that is True.

    I am only saying, look at the whole game. The ManU game was an abysmal defensive performance bar Koscielny because we were ripped multiple times even when they did not score. Yesterday that was NOT the case.

    So yes.. the lapses were costly and lost us the game but to say that the defending is crap and we need to sell and buy more defenders is not the answer.

    They say that identifying the problem is a big step towards solving it. We know what the problem is, AW knows what it is, the players also know what it is. We have problems concentrating for 90 minutes.

    Now, if we know that this is the problem…when you know you have the ability, surely concentrating is the easier(relatively) part? So I really wonder, what can be told to the players, irrespective of who they are – apart from ‘Make sure you concentrate all game?’. What would a new defensive coach tell them? What would even AW tell them? Or whoever..

    Is it maybe a psychological problem? A coach is needed when there is a deficiency in the skill of a person. Here it isn’t even a skill problem, its more mental IMO.

    I’m all for Martin Keown or whoever to take that role up if needed.. but I don’t think that is the problem. Its all in the mind…all in the mind..

  • Mandy Dodd

    Who knows Arvind, psychology works with some, coaching with others, putting the fear of God into them with others. I think an area we lag behind rivals is squad size. If a defensive MF were to regularly lose shape at Utd, City or Chelsea, the chances are they would be dropped and a quality replacement bought in. Nasri has allegedly stated that he felt a lack of competition at Arsenal hindered him, if you believe any reports associated with Nasri. At least until Frimpong comes good, the likes of Song does not really have that threat hanging over him. Also, some of these players have come through the ranks without a top quality experienced mentor, imagine how Paddy could have helped Song or Sol could have helped Kos.
    Still think another coach would be the quickest and most effective solution though. Someone like Keown or Bould could provide a coaching platform whereby – hopefuly – confidence would not be lost so easily.

  • sean

    WALTER! The wifey made the same comment as you did! She asked why they allow so much space and do not close down faster. If my better half can blindly see this, how cannot wenger? Other teams we come against seem to always have the ability to at least close down quickly and give us a rough time. I too see other players just watching instead of collectively closing down a player or players.

    There is no magic to this, close down your play, put him under pressure and make calculated tackles to get the ball back. Sometimes I truly believe we lack the needed heart and aggression to close down apponents. we have a couple players, Song, frimpong when he is in there, RVP does it on top at times but the others seem to stroll around and it makes it easy for the other team to overload and attack our weaknesses. i agree it all develops from the midfiled and which then puts tremedous pressure and isolated situations on the defenders..

  • Chowdhury

    Another point on the matter of defending, we also had to cope with an out of place Right Back for a major part of the 2nd half. The moment JD stepped in to replace Sagna, you just knew he would get burnt for pace. And that is exactly what happened. We simply couldn’t cope with both TV and Sagna out of the same game, just like in the game at OT.
    But apart from all this, anyone who says there were not positives to take from this game, is simply being dishonest. I request you to go and see the game again. It will take time for our new players to gel before we can score a goal after stringing 20 or so touches on the ball. It just doesn’t happen overnight. Anyone who has played football beyond their school ground or backyard will tell you the same. Patience fellow Gooners. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Set aside your feelings for once and please go and see the game again. I’m sure you will see the positives.

  • willybilly

    One thing that we have this year that we don’t usually have during our collapses, is TIME to change it around. We are so used to starting well and falling away. Maybe this year we could do a united and kick in around christmas.

    I believe the route of all this is the Eduardo leg break and the gallas incident and more recently the carling cuo final. If we had suck a couple of trophies in the last 6 years NONE of this uncertainty would be here. This is beyond debate. Winning is a habit, so is losing.

    It makes me physically sad that none of the incredible footy ball we have witnessed over the last 6 years was rewarded, and that is the key to what is happening. We have consistently been the best most flamboyant most technical side in England, and we have seen no reward for this. So the players are used to playing well and losing and this is a dangerous situation mentally to be in. I will support Wenger always for what he has done, but it is getting hard to filter out the doom now, blogs like le grove are getting more and more hits a day as the negativity around us continue. What i’ve noticed is the people I can rely on to back me up when I am defending Arsene are not backing me up anymore.

    Can I ask the people of untold something and get an honest from the heart answer.

    A) do you think the Boss will be here next year?

    B)do you think Arsenal can survive this blip without significant investment?

    c) do you think Arsenal can survive this blip without changes the wage structure? ( I appreciate why we have paid youngsters a lot, in order to develop the best in the world, and turn them into a family who love the club), but as Nasri proved the money is too big in the game to do this. We need to pay less to young kids and more to the top players. It’s a shame, because I’m sure it helps to get the best young players like bellerin and Toral, but unless we have a “suga daddy”, we can’t do both

    D) Would you be happy for Usmanov to come in and offer a cheeky 200 mil to the club for a pLace on the board?

    E) do you think Arsene would spend 200 million , if the board said spend it or leave? Would wenger like to spend the last years of his career fighting a moral battle against the petrodollar, or would he just say ” well i’ve tried to make my point, now if our rivals can spend what they want, so should we! if not only just to bring some confidence in to a damaged but talented team”

    Ofcourse there would be casualties but so what. Djourou can go. I liked him more last season, but we can’t carry on being so supportive of our players mistakes, it is admirable but flawed. I think Arsene’s wish not to “kill” players and criticise them is now damaging the players in the team who are ready to fight.

    I have utter faith in Wenger and I hope his pride won’t stop him making the changes we and he need to get back to where we and he belong.

  • Mandy Dodd

    imho,
    A/ Not sure but I certainly hope so. Depends on what is really going on with Wenger and the board
    B/ Yes, players just need to bed in ,and we have real quality coming through. If required, we can invest in jan
    c/ We may survive blip but not sure we will keep top players on our wage structure. Everyone will be after Jack. RVP is a worry. Would love to know exactly what happened on Nasris negotiations last year
    D/Personally – No but I have a feeling it may well happen if Stan does not think he can realise his investment, or if he is easily tempted, because Usmanov is not going away. Spending way above means on the strength of a sugar daddy is soon going to cost someone dear and I do not want it to be us
    E / No

  • Stevie E

    Unfortunately, most of the people who comment on football blogs (like me) have never played anywhere near professional level in their lives (like me), so are about as qualified to tell a pro footballer about positioning and pressure play as I am telling a professional racing driver what the best racing line in Spa is cos I’ve done it 100’s of times on Gran Turismo and I passed my driving test 1st time at 17.

    The problem as I see it is simple, we haven’t had a great start to the season. We took a hiding at Old Trafford but we’ve come back stronger. We were robbed on Saturday, we should have had a nailed on Pen but we didn’t. We’ve got new players bedding in, some who’ve never played in the epl before. But, instead of a section of the “fans” getting behind the team, what happens? They start bumping their gums, telling players how to play, managers how to manage. I never thought I’d say this but part of me hopes we don’t do well this season. I hope that all the glory supporters who joined after the Invincibles will finally realise that supporting a team isn’t about how many trophies we win, or goals we score, it’s about getting behind the team no matter what happens. A friend of mine is a Pompey supporter (bless im). He told me that since they went down, attendance has dropped but the people who still go are the real fans, not the “we’re gonna win the FA Cup” glory boys. We need less of the “told you so, even my wife can see it” wannabies and more of the true supporters.

    All this negativity is having an effect on the team, it’s effecting the performance on the pitch. The players read this shit, it effects them, they’re not robots, they’re just normal people like you and me. Get down from your ivory tower and put yourselves in their position, imagine thousands of people who can’t do your job telling you how to do it and that you’re shit. Feel good? Now put up with that day in, day out and let’s see how your performance drops. Stick to your playstation, you know fuck all.

  • “D) Would you be happy for Usmanov to come in and offer a cheeky 200 mil to the club for a pLace on the board?” – No, NO and NO!!! Usmanov can take his cheeky 200 million (or whatever) and ram it firmly up his fat arse.

  • willybilly

    Why dog face? As amusing as your description is, don’t you think the money could find a better place to reside, like in our player fund!!!

    I’m just playing devils advocate here. What are your reasons?

  • Hmmm… because he’s a ruthless psycopath gangster maybe? What do you suppose he might like in return for his proposed [by you] ‘gift’ of 200 million?

    http://www.atlanticfreepress.com/content/view/2474/32/

  • JohnW

    I think Arsene should have brought on Frimpong ate 2-1. He would have hussled Blackburn, he would have run harder, we would have won. When you’re leading in the second half, the onus is on the opposing team to score, so you set out your team to counterattack. See ManUre against Chelsea or against any team whenever they take the lead. So why we were still playing to Balckburn’s temple is still beyond me. I also realised that we still lack a leader, who would have organised things, cooled down play, encouraged the team to grind out the win. For had we won on Saturday, it would have been the biggest boost, not the Swansea win. The loss is going to cost us from now. Tomorrow the Carling cup team will be bombarded by the League II team, why? because they know if they have a real go at Arsenal they can score, or even nick it. On Saturday, whowever much we score against Bolton, they will have a real go at us, why? Because Arsenal is weak mentally, if you increase the temple and have a real go, you can always win. Yes, this season will be very difficult, should Arsene manage to steer the Arsenal to a top FOUR, it will be the greatest achievement since the unbeaten year.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Very true Dogface, no such thing as a free lunch!

  • willybilly

    Mandy

    I agree with your surmise to an extent. I think this new team has plenty of potential but if we are languishing in jan then spending could give the team a mental boost. Re the wages, we simply must start to pay our top players top wages, but to keep our youth policy as it has been, we will need external funds in order to do this.

    You really don’t think Wenger would spend if he had to? Do you think he would resign out of principle?

  • WillyBilly – Or maybe we just need to lower our expectations rather than hawking our soul out to the highest bidder?

    This is a well written article on the current situation:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/sam-wallace-in-footballs-long-cyclical-game-arsenals-present-lack-of-success-is-scarcely-a-drop-in-the-ocean-2356894.html

  • Mandy Dodd

    WillyBilly, I would not wish to second guess Arsene Wenger as I know only a fraction of what goes on in his world, if that but on past form, I do not think he would spend for the sake of it, just not his way. As he says, spending money is no guarantee of quality, football is littered with highly expensive flops.He is a developmental manager, not a spend thrift and by and large, this policy has served him well.
    In the event you mention, I would imagine he would spend what he wanted and let them get on with it, I cannot see him resigning in that event either. If he players imposed on him, I believe he loves the club and its players to the extent, he may be put out and not agree with the signings fully but maybe he would work with them to the best of his abilities for the greater aim of the club but only he knows

  • willybilly

    Dog face, lower our expectations?! Are you serious? ( haven’t read the article yet btw)

    We may never recover from accepting we are not a big club, all the years of work will be lost. We won’t be able to attract the best players, and in 5 years we’ll have forgotten what it is like to have a quality squad and respected global brand.

    This world is dog eat dog as you know and as shocked as i am reading that piece on Usmanov, it doesn’t get away from the fact that other teams have unlimited funds and we need to keep up. What wenger has done is AMAZING over the last six years, but losing is now becoming a habit. Nobody would think badly of Arsenal or Arsene for going out and doing what every other top team does. We are just putting to much pressure on our team and management. The question is would he spend it?

    I’d be interested to see how many on here would chose lowering their expectation for the club over external investment.(usmanov or other)

  • willybilly

    I agree Mandy, but there must be an absolute pile of players wenger would love, but not even be able to consider for his team. Do you think Arsene would not like a sneijder or Neymar in his team? of course he would. I love Arsene’s ability to find bargains but in this day and age of everyone knowing everything it is harder to keep potential targets secret from richer clubs. He needs to be able to compete regardless of how good he is at finding a bargain.

  • Yup – I’m serious. A lot of Arsenal fans think it’s their god-given right to win tin, well it isn’t – money rules at the moment and it’s not right. What I want from Arsenal is not a trophy tomorrow it’s a club that I can be proud to take my kids to a match and support… quaint and old fashioned I know, but that’s just the way I am.

    Also:

    “This world is dog eat dog as you know and as shocked as i am reading that piece on Usmanov, it doesn’t get away from the fact that other teams have unlimited funds and we need to keep up.”

    Does this mean that to ‘keep up’ you would still welcome a short term investment from Usmanov despite his documented ‘character’ [or lack of]?

  • Dark Prince

    Positives?? Maybe a hint of our fluent passing system comin back again…but that was only in the first half…but for every positive point you take out there will be 2 negatives that get added. Its kinda like we are taking one step forward but 2 steps backwards….

  • Stevie E

    Willybilly
    “losing is now becoming a habit”? That really is just middle-management speak, I don’t know where you’ve picked it up from but it really is a load of bollocks. It sounds like something Hanson would say after telling us about his football brain. If it were true, how did Birmingham win the Carling Cup? They’ve lost in that competition forever but somehow managed to win it, overcoming their losing habit. Did their habit suddenly become one of winning? No, cos they lost all their other games and went down. How does any team who are on a losing streak turn things around? Are they doomed after, say 10 losses to forever lose?

    This world is dog eat dog, but when the chips are down, you’ve gotta grab the bull by the horns, think outside of the box, try to put some meat on the bones, think outside the box, blah blah blah…

  • Mandy Dodd

    Assuming Usmanov would eve get through the FAs fit and proper vetting procedure….come to think of it, of course he would.
    If we are going to go down that route, I think I would rather have the Camorra own us, many of them are doubtless football fanatics, combined asset wise, they are probably richer than Usmanov, assuming you could get a united front from even a few of them, and from what I saw in recent games at City and against AC, their home town team do not really need their help at the moment

  • Arvind

    @All: It will take time..yes. This is “mostly” a transitional season without trophies. The team will learn a lot this year, and the newer experienced players will teach them a lot as well. There will be a cleansing of the squad again next summer.. a couple of players maybe bought again.. and THAT will be the squad which will challenge.

    The year where Eduardo’s leg broke..was the year. The rest ..while we have been close and challenged all the time…its been a huge effort. And that’s what this year will be too..99%. So brace yourselves, get behind the team and quit moaning about how your school/college/playground buddies/bar mates/office colleagues support a team which won more.

    Criticize by all means..but be respectful about the same and don’t insult the players that try and give their all day after day. They are in a much much harder place than you, I and all the other keyboard warriors will ever ever be. Respect that.

    To sign off.. and its not the first time I’ve put this on an Arsenal forum:

    “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

  • Arvind

    I second Dogface 100%. No external investment.

  • El Gringo

    @willybilly
    You say “Nobody would think badly of Arsenal or Arsene for going out and doing what every other top team does.” That is ridiculous. I would think very badly of Arsenal or Arsene for doing that. Arsenal is one of the few English clubs left that at least attempts to do some things right. That is why I support them. Anyhow, where’s your sense of ethics? The “everyone else does it” argument is a terrible, absolutely illogical way of justifying unsound actions. And haven’t you read your Faustus? Those who sell their soul to the devil get an emptily successful existence for a little while, then the devil takes their soul. A bit like Man City and Chelsea. I want a club that keeps its soul even if it ends up out of the top four.

  • Paul "the Gooner"

    Am i missing something!Why from any free kicks or corners were our 2 tallest defenders not marking Dann,or Samba.These are basic things and why was the new left back having to start behind Ashavin,a very,very lazy player.I am a supporter of AW,but i do think over the past 3years he believed the premier league was going to go more technical,clearly he was wrong.He needs to change and quickly.Having said all that,we are making many chances in matches so lets all keep the faith

  • Laundryender

    @Dogface

    Re external Investment

    What is the difference between moral money and immoral money, every capitalist has blood on his hands, through polluting petro dollars and repressive regimes, or gangster Oligarchs, the diamond trade, or exploiting child labour. Kroenkes wife comes from the Walmart family; they deny union rights to their workers in America. Anyone with that sort of funding has shit on somebody somewhere; it is a sad fact of life that wealth goes to the ruthless and the greedy. The only way to run a club is through member ownership, and that aint going to happen for as long as there is a buck to be had.

    I don’t see the difference between Usimov and Kroenke; they are part of the problem polluting our game, not part of the solution.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Yes Paul I do think you are missing that we don’t mark players but changed to zonal defending at corners and free kicks

  • El Gringo

    @Laundryender,

    I certainly don’t want to be seen as a defender of big business or Walmart’s business practice, which I think is pretty often abominable. At the same time, there is a clear difference in kind between Kroenke and Usimov, namely that Usimov is allegedly directly responsible for all sorts of crimes (whether he is or not I don’t know), whereas Kroenke is married to someone who is at some level responsible, at one or two removes between owner, board of directors, and CEOs, for dodgy business practice (which, as awful as some of them are, seem to be legal for the most part). I am not suggesting that legal actions equal ethical actions; it’s clear that many people are both legal and highly unethical. I am suggesting, however, that there is a significant difference between personal responsibility and familial connections.

    For what it’s worth, I’m not a big fan of Kroenke. I would have preferred if it he never got involved. But it behooves us to be fair and logical in our judgments. I’m sure he’s tainted in all sorts of ways–but (so far as we know) not in the ways that (allegedly) Usimov is.

  • i watched the $50 million chelsea man kick a ball wide of an open goal yesterday and couldn’t help musing that benik afobe would have scored that one. i watched my son’s U16 team get beaten by a team of lesser ability yesterday and couldn’t help thinking somedays it won’t go in.

    most of our fellow gooners feel the end is near but if they had seen the chelsea match, they wouldn’t want our team to look like that. chelsea was able to out-muscle us and buy juan mata but he did nothing on sunday to convince me he’s a better player than ramsay, and surely not jack. chucks aneke may be better still. lukaku playing on the right wing looked like a lost schoolboy. anelka playing on the left wing looked more dangerous but uninvolved.

    my point is, you could buy until you are dizzy, it may not make an ounce of difference. you could train until you are blue in the face, if the ball hits your shin it could go in your own net if you could not take your leg out of the way in time. five hundred other times, it will go outside or bounce off another player.

    we only lost the game because blackburn got a goal due to the continued incompetence of the refereeing staff and we had a penalty denied. you can’t spend that away no matter how you try. if anything, our supporters should tell the referees association to change their ways.

  • Brian

    Walter, Untold, and commenters – thankyou for some sensible, thoughtful and balanced words. Unremitting negativity and the poisonous, despicable stuff found posted elsewhere (even on blogs that I otherwise trust to be fair and positive) are mercifully absent here. Truly supporters of the Arsenal in thought and in deed.

  • bjtgooner

    Good article Walter.

    As I try to consider how we could improve our defense, I do wonder if it is time to back to 442. It seems a more solid system and might prevent the back four from getting as exposed. Also, when we play two strikers it is much more difficult for the opposition to double mark VP. With two strikers we have theoretically more chance of one of them getting onto a cross – as Chamakh did on Saturday. Does anyone else have an opinion on this?

  • willybilly

    El gringo,

    I was playing devils advocate. I am as proud as you are about Arsenal and what they stand for, believe me. Although can we stay a big club against the tide of financial doping?.Before the rise of city I would have said yes, but the world is changing.

    I have read my Faustus and don’t like the idea of selling out to the big D in the ground, but is a quick short term financial boost really that bad?

    If you are looking 20 years down the line then yes I would agree entirely with your stance, but if we want to see the good times return again under Wenger then I believe we must compete to pay top wages, to top stars whilst keeping our own home grown stars. I would quite happily give wenger all the time in the world but in this day and age people will make it impossible to continue unless there is investment. Even RVP is hinting big style about significant investment and he is Arsene’s golden boy.

  • WalterBroeckx

    bjtgooner,
    I would bring Van Persie back in midfield. He can play there, he has played there in the past.
    He has the vision for the perfect pass and can produce that killer pass.
    And still he can come out midfield to support the attack

  • M.V

    Wenger would never wanna spend 200m, if so he could of gone to madrid some years ago…and he probably would of won everything. I’m astounded at todays fotball culture…it’s so bad that people asking for Wenger to go at this stage is normal – “any other manager would of been sacked” and so forth…I wish the club hadn’t done so well last year. Just snuck into forth, 1 point infront of Liverpool…and people wouldn’t be going crazy like this I don’t think.

  • bjtgooner

    @ Walter

    Yes, I can envisage that, but would you have VP playing just behind the striker or, as part of a 3 man or 4 man midfield?

  • Alex

    Good article and i respect that.Having saying that the defence is completely embarassing.
    It is not new to anyone here that any team even the lower ones they try to give a go at our defenders.Simply i do see any striker of the opposition is not afraid to go round and shout at the defence.I rate our defender very high.I do not see phisicality issue nor technical.
    Question is the likes of Djouru they dont have the stamina for the premier league.Looking at the first goal that we conceded at old traford i mean i dont see the high confidence approach as relatively new striker (Wellbeck).I dont see the the “Come in and i can deal with you ” attitude.
    Panick is al i see.Out of panick unnecessary own goal and penalities conceded is the arsenal defence nowdays.

    It is all mental weackness and we have take it on the chin.
    Take a look at the two diminuitive twins of manu.I do not belive they are better in any shape or form from our defenders but they play with full confidence and no nonsense.
    In the midle of any defence if there is one panicker inevitably this things will happen.

  • Notoverthehill

    Again we have someone advertising falsehoods about Alisher B Usmanov, co-owner of Red and White Holdings.

    There are at least 3 Alisher Usmanovs, one of whom is a terrorist so named by the Usbekistan Governmment, and was deported back to Usbekistan. The American and British Embassies in Tashkent got their facts wrong and wrong again and again.

    Those of us who were familiar with the former Central Asian Republics in the old Soviet Union, knew the endemic corruption. Yuri Andropov the head of the old KGB was determined to end this scale of corruption, which led direct to the Kremlin. The “Cotton Business” can explain the scope of this corruption in Usbekistan. With a Yuri Andropov appointee as head of the Soviet Military in Kabul in 1980, the stage was set. Alisher B Usmanov and his friend, a member of the local KGB fell into a trap. The parents of the two culprits were dismissed for their offsprings’ “childish pranks”. Is rape a “childish prank”?

    Each Russian newspaper and journal have had to withdraw and repudiate the printed fabricated stories.

    Alisher B Usmanov and his wife are now both Russian citizens, as they were both preferred or forced to leave Usbekistan in the early 1990s because of the Israeli connection!

    Both Alisher B Usmanov and his wife are highly decorated, prominent and important citizens both in Russia and in world fencing and gymnastics.

    Comment is free of course, but FACTS are sacred.

  • Pat

    Thanks Walter for another balanced and encouraging article. And thanks Arvind for a fantastic quote.

  • willybilly

    I agree that you could spend big and not always succeed or get that good of a player, but if Arsene had free reign he would generally always get right.

  • bob

    El Gringo,
    Have you forgotten somebody, some team?, some personage in diabolizing only Chelski and ManShitty? Or is he who shall not be named in this XXth year perhaps el diablo himself? Is there something angelic about he who is not named in thy posting? What, pray, exempts him from your devil’s brew? Adios mio, porque me has desabandonado?

  • bob

    mike in atlanta,
    you were right in postings some months ago in the same – but more forceful – call for people to demand changes that will rectify the ways of refdumb (I used to call it “ref-shite” until Adam said yesterday that I was being reactionary and repulsive in said usage, so I desist for now.) It’s true ref-dumb they will continue more than ever to be handmaiden to the moneyed string-puller, because 0 by example – no bad call against their wrong team goes unrewarded with promotions to the top. (And, if we could trace it, I’d bet the farm that straight-shooting refs find themselves in charge at the remotest of hamlets.) When fans are so habituated to sticking their heads in the sand by labeling sound analysis of bad calls and non-calls as “whinging” or “making excuses” – as if ONLY bad play on the pitch can be responsible for a defeat or a draw – they are also complicit in enabling the situationally-terrible refereeing to play its ESSENTIAL part in the EPL stage-crafted farce. In the absence of fans’ demanding otherwise, nothing will change the ref’s contributions to our difficulties on the pitch. Just as fans demand root and branch or specialist changes in our defense, they could (indeed should) demand root and branch changes to refereeing (video replay, more refs, post-game press conferences, published ref reports). But, alas, there is never a petition or a scintilla of action mounted toward that end. So such fans get what they allow; and the ref reviews will go on documenting this until they reach a critical mass that finally says enough. (Then I woke up from such a beautiful dream.)

  • bob, this may be our prague spring but one day the referees association wall will come down, hopefully crushing the fogies at FIFA and the sweet FA.

  • steww

    Stieve E – Best comments I’ve read on an Arsenal site for a very long time.

  • Notoverthehill – I believe that Craig Murray has invited Alisher Usmanov to sue him in a court of law over his articles (in fact this is one of his goals as he want’s to question him under oath) – but as far as I’m aware, this hasn’t happened.

  • MoreFire!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I am glad you found time to mention plan B which for should have been the basis of the trasnfer market activities during the summer. Van Persi should not be the target in Plan B he should be the supplier of high quality crosses to Chamack, Mersacker etc in the penalty area which should have as many Arsenal players as the opposition defence. We need Plan B to win the home games against the minnows who will be greatly encouraged by the Blackburn result. The best away record achieved last year needs to be combined with a good home record. PLAN B IS CRICIAL IN ACHIEVEING THIS!