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We simply can’t go on like this

You would think that with the team scoring a fair number of goals, winning almost every game, going 20 unbeaten, regularly putting out half a reserve side, being in the semifinal of the Euro Thing, and all with a very young team, people might be ok about that.

You would think that as the records start to tumble again, people would like that too.  I am not at Attwood Mansions at the moment of writing, so don’t have access to my great library of Arsenal stats, but I have heard whispers that we have just equalled a 19th century record for home games without letting in a goal, and we have also beaten the EPL record for home games without letting in a goal.

You would think that…

But if you start reading some of the blogs, there are comments around that say that “next season is going to be as bad as this,” and that “all Wenger can do is promise more of the same – and that is not good enough”.

The fact is we had a not very good start to the season, and then had the midfield torn apart by injuries.  We had a team that is getting better and better (compare Song, Denilson, Theo, Cesc, Nasri with how they were before).  We have Eduardo and Arshavin who were missing earlier – ok I know Eduardo is not playing at the moment, but when we have seen bits of him it has looked brilliant.

We will have one or two come up through the ranks.  We might even have a purchase or two.

What the Lord Wenger did this season was sort out the defence.  He then sorted out the attack.   Now we can have matches like today’s in which we don’t have Eduardo, Ade or VP (at least two of whom must be considered first choice), we don’t have Gallas, Clichy or Sagna.  We’ve never had Rosicky.  We didn’t have Song (although I find it amusing now that this is being commented on, when it was not that long ago that he was top of the “must sell” list.  Such is life.

Anyway once again we have a shut out and stroll in the park.

Of course everyone to their own opinion, but for what it is worth, I thought today’s display was brilliant.  OK, no one was going at it big time because of some little thing or other on Wednesday, and Middlesboro are not up to much, but even so.   The style, the approach… it was all good stuff.

And if I am offered more of the same next year I will say, yup, please, here’s my money.

Incidentally, today’s outing in the park reminded me what a good full back Eboue is.  And after Liverpool it was good to be reminded that Arshavin can also kick the air and hit the corner flag otherwise we might think him invincible.

Anyone know about these records, ancient and modern?

(c) Tony Attwood 2009.

12 comments to We simply can’t go on like this

  • Consolsbob

    I agree Tony. First class performance today. Wenger will never satisfy those who want to see ‘big’ signings because that is what they believe give them bragging rights with their Chav chums. They just can’t see the pleasure of watching a side develop before their eyes.

    I can’t see Arsene making any signings this summer unless Willy leaves, or Ade.I can’t se the latter going anywhere and believe that Gallas wil probably stay. So. No money on big names. The Wenger haters will be out again in force with their believe that Arsene is some kind of ‘traitor’ for not spending money to give them their ‘rights’, reinforced.

    I just do not understand this hatred that many so called Arsenal fans have for the greatest manager that this club could ever have.

    God Bless You Arsene.

  • konda

    may i ask something?

    “2. Fiszman and Gazidis bought Arshavin, who has shown us just how mediocre Diaby, Song and Denilson are.”

    http://www.arsenalnewsreview.co.uk/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=1245&cntnt01origid=30&cntnt01returnid=42

    maybe you could enlighten me with some knowledge. does arshavin is wenger’s signing or not?

    thnks.

  • Cape Gooner

    & Consolsbob – “I can’t see Arsene making any signings this summer unless Willy leaves, or Ade.”

    Agree 100%

    Fabianski, Eboue, Djourou, Silvestre, Gibbs

    2 from Theo, Rosicky, Nasri, Arshavin

    Diaby, Denilson, Ramsey

    Bentner, Eduardo, Vela

    plus out first 11 gives a squad of 24. Add Wilshere, Bischoff, Merida, Nordtveit, Hoyte, Barazite, Coquelin, Simpson and a whole buch of other youngsters. Did I mention Senderos & Traore?

    Why on earth would we buy? I don’t like Silvestre, but as 4th choice CB and LB (Sagna to LB) he is good enough.

    If he bought Huth (a good buy imo) where would he fit in? What about Barry? What a downer for our midfielders!

    I think we are a good bet for the EPL next year and a very good bet for the following year. At 7-2 I am having a piece of the CL this year!

  • simon

    The Sun Gave Nasri A 6 …and the official summary of his performance was ‘not his best game in an Arsenal shirt’. What a complete load of tosh. I cannot believe these football philistines get paid to do what ‘most’ knowledgeable readers could do better for free. Very assured performance from Nasri, kept things tight and simple, as Keown outlined yesterday evening. Would like him and Song holding so Cesc can roam forward at Old Trafford.

  • Terenec McGovern

    I also think that we are a very good bet for the League Title next season.
    Everybody likes to be an armchair manager but watching Nasri on sunday really tends to dispell the ever decreasing mutterings of needing another defensive midfielder. The way he tracked back and never gave up was excellent.
    At the other end, Most of you who post on this site will know that I do believe that we should bite the hand off anybody who offers 20 mil for ADE. He just doesn’t fit in with the way we play. Besides, we know that Wenger is a big fan of Bentner which means that if ADE stays, Carlos Vela is wasting his time at Arsenal. Given that we turned down 8 million from Juventus last summer for Vela, we have to assume that Wenger has plans for him.
    Eduardo and Van Persie when fit should always be first choice.That doesn’t leave many options for ADE but to go
    Of course, that’s only what I think.

  • NYmarcus

    So in your world the only gooner critics of our season are those demanding “big signings”? Nice, convenient straw man there — so easy to dismiss, requiring no genuine attempt at debate. There are a lot of idiots out there demanding AW’s head, trashing certain players. But it’s incredibly lazy to lump all gooners into 2 camps: those who hate Wenger and those who worship him unquestioningly.

    I think that the population of goonerdom–like humanity itself–is made up of a wide variety of people who can’t be lumped into two cheap, simplistic, lazy categories, but hey, I guess I’m strange in that I view the world a little more realistically, and with a bit more complexity. I certainly refuse to bow down to shutting down my brain just for the sake of tribal loyalty.

    It’s a complete lie that those of us with doubts and concerns about this season have all demanded “big signings.” This can be very easily proven if you just take the time to read some of the more thoughtful, informed voices of debate on the various Arsenal blogs—and not simply accuse everyone who dares to voice some informed criticism as someone who hates Wenger.

    My idea of a “big signing” is Sagna and Eduardo. Of course Nasri and Arshavin are big signings but I am not the only one who simply asked for a strong, credible presence in the defensive midfield position to replace Flamini. Why that is such an extreme position is beyond me. Whoever it was, didn’t have to be a big name, just someone to partner Cesc in Flamini’s absence.

    “The fact is we had a not very good start to the season, and then had the midfield torn apart by injuries.” — Wrong. We first had a midfield torn apart by key players leaving.

    Did you even pay attention to the number of times Wenger said he felt the most important thing at the end of last season was TO KEEP THE SQUAD TOGETHER?

    Or was he wrong about that?

    Did you read how many times Cesc said “we need him!” re Flamini? Or how many times Wenger said he wanted Flamini and Hleb to stay?

    Or were they lying?

    Or how about the many times Wenger said in the summer he’d like to get “1 or 2” players in midfield?

    Or was he wrong to think that?

    So we started with a very weak, inexperienced midfield that needed time to mature and develop.

    During the first half of our season when we lost 5 games (2 at home) and drew against the likes of Sunderland (and to Spurs at home), WE HAD ALL OUR FIRST TEAM PLAYERS — except of course Eduardo and Rosicky.

    So there were no injuries to use as an excuse.

    Your timeline is simply WRONG.

    “We had a team that is getting better and better (compare Song, Denilson, Theo, Cesc, Nasri with how they were before).” — of course, anyone who doubts this is an idiot. What AW wound up doing this season, as a result of losing key midfielders from last season, was use it to let these young players develop. In other words, an extended pre-season.

    Which is why we had those losses and so much inconsistency. And that’s why we would never challenged for the title the way did last season. There’s simply no way such a team could launch a credible challenge for the league.

    Notice that Arsene has wound up trying different things in midfield this season with Denilson, Diaby and Song–now he’s trying Nasri in a more defensive role, and Cesc further up front. This tells you that AW has been experimenting all season long, that he still doesn’t know his best midfield formation.

    “What the Lord Wenger did this season was sort out the defence. He then sorted out the attack.” — again, your timeline is shaky.

    He started to sort the defence ONLY AFTER THOSE LOSSES AND DRAWS–in other words, he was FORCED to sort out the defence because of those horrible results.

    “We didn’t have Song (although I find it amusing now that this is being commented on, when it was not that long ago that he was top of the “must sell” list.” — actually, no, as early as last February gooners all over the blogs were praising Song for his performance at the ANC. THAT’s when sentiment toward him started to change. It’s very convenient of you to block that out.

    By the time the summer ended, most gooners on the blogs had high hopes for Song precisely because of that tournament. Gooners all over the blogs were talking about him as a possible candidate for a DM, whereas some gooners (like me) kept pointing out that AW had repeatedly said that he did not think Song was strong enuf to be a regular starter for that role, he saw him as a CB.

    Obviously, given Song’s performances as a DM this season, AW has changed his mind on that.

    BTW, Tony, I note that you paid no attention to Arsene’s L’Equipe interview in which he talks about the doubts and regrets he had this season after that very bad period in the fall. The News of the World picked it up but they lifted it from L’Equipe. It was part of whole magazine insert L’Equipe issue dedicated to Wenger. Here’s the front cover (Arsene as a child):

    http://www.lequipe.fr/EquipeMag/Mag/flip/flip_20090321.html

    I’m always dubious about English translations of foreign language interviews so I went directly to the source. I read the French press regularly. The translation is actually a good reflection of what he said.

    What I find incredibly amusing and ironic is how some gooners now trash Flamini and Hleb as crap when last season they were hailed as among our best players. Had they both stayed, these same gooners would now be praising them as brilliant talents. The fact that they now call them worthless, crap players is only due to departure of those 2 players — nothing else, certainly no football reasons to speak of. (Flamini had another very good game v. Palermo on Sunday, btw–again, he and Senderos started and played full games).

    I’m sure that the same gooners who today hail Denilson as a brilliant talent (and I like him very much, I’m not trashing him at all) would immediately turn on him if he behaved like Flamini did. This brilliant midfielder who some call “the league’s best DM” because he has great stats would suddenly become just another worthless, crap player who we don’t need at all. (BTW, the stats also show that Kevin Davies is the lead striker in the PL–hardly an advertisement for using stats as the best criteria for judging a player).

    So who’s the plastic football fan? Those who hail our players as all world class geniuses and then suddenly call them average when they leave us? Or those who express skepticism about young, developing players but then become convinced once those players show they are in fact good enuf for Arsenal? One fan bases his judgment on who’s wearing the red-and-white shirt — and nothing else.

    The other fan bases his judgment on FOOTBALL REASONS — free of tribal-tinted vision.

    Here’s the NOTW page with Arsene’s L’Equipe interview: http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/sport/260365/ARSENE-WENGER-HIS-MOST-REVEALING-INTERVIEW.html

    On another front, here’s a nice BBC interview with Arsene:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/8017520.stm

    And here’s a great talk by Arsene about languages:

    http://www.ukgermanconnection.org/cms/?location_id=705

    See, I’m a great admirer of Arsene Wenger and I try to catch every interview and video I can of him, as well as read every book about him that I can find. But I don’t worship him, I do dare to question him.

    I guess that makes me a hater.

  • Nhan Le

    On Wednesday I think Theo will make the difference in the quality of our game. His job is two-fold.

    On the one hand he’ll need to make runs across the park to open up space. Usual task but at a higher standard and more persistent basis than usual. The quality of our passing will rely crucially on this factor as Cesc will have more options and Ade can receive the ball in more advanced positions. In MU we will deal with one of the best defensive lines in the land.

    On the other hand he’ll need to roll up his sleeves and deal with Rooney/Evra defensively as they will pass the ball to this flank and Sagna/Eboue will need help if we are playing attack as promised. This second task is as important as the first because teams have identify Theo’s upfield runs as also our weakness in at the back and challenged our exposed right backs. Both chances Boro got on Sunday were from the right wing. Also, he isn’t the dribbling type like Nasri/Arshavin to buy time for the fullbacks when we are in possession.

    I think the quicker Theo gets strong and challenges for a striking spot the better for the team because he won’t need to worry as much about the defensive work of a wingers, which by no means he is specialized in. It will also suit his daring runs better and give him more opportunities to shoot. He has always been intended for that position.

  • viper

    Tricky test on Wednesday, a smart football fan would understand that although Man Utd are the favourites to go through, any tie when the top 4 play each other can go either way (especially this season!). Tough to pick our best tactical approach and therefore our best line up. Old Trafford will be a difficult place either way but i think considerin the weak nature of our defense that trying to get that away goal has to be the priority. Im so glad Almunia is back for this one, and id also be quite tempted to stick with Eboue at RB as he is currently linking up better with Theo going forward compared to Sagna who although a much better player than Eboue is a looking a little jaded. Hmm Gibbs or Sagna at LB? its a tough one, ones young and inexperienced but playin well while the other has just recovered from a virus and never played there for us. Either one will be a risk against CR7. With Cesc and Walcott flying, its a real pity we cant field Arshavin as then i would be a lot more confident of gettin a result. Does anyone know the situation with Eduardo? We really are missin a forward who will just takes his simple chances at the moment. After a great return from injury Adebayor has slipped back into Diva mode where his workrate drops as he expects others to just put the chances on a plate for him. Bendtner links up well but doesnt take his chances and RVP is injured. Do we play with 5 in midfield with Cesc advanced or go for 2 strikers and Cesc deeper? Its goin to be fascinatin and my thinkin will change over the next two days but today my line up would be Almunia, Gibbs, Djourou, Toure, Eboue, Nasri, Song, Cesc, Walcott, Eduardo and Bendtner. Not sure whether it should be Nic or Ade and whether to drop Eduardo to bring in a 5th Midfielder either Denilson or Diaby depending on whether Cesc plays deeper (Diaby advanced) or Cesc more advanced (Denilson deeper) thoughts?

  • nigel

    Correct me if I’m wrong but when Andrey decided he wanted to leave ZSP, didn’t he say he only wanted to join Barcelona in a clear ‘come & get me’ plea to the catalans? Correct me if I am again misinformed but, in having 1st refusal on the player, did they not take up the offer due to having already secured the services of a certain Zander Hleb & also not wanting to pay the 20 – 25 million asking price? That ZSP did not want to lose their best player is understandable & in having given his preferred choice the chance to take him, it was hoped that Barca declining the offer would persuade him to stay and prove them wrong. For those who are now squealing ‘if we’d of got ‘im @ the start ov the season we’d be right up there now’, was it not a defensive midfielder that was deemed essential, closely followed by a centre-back? Only in the mad world of football would your looking to do a deal with a player who has said he wanted to go elsewhere fall thru’ due to the excessive fee, see u monitor the situation & seal the deal 4mths later for 15 million and have your own fans saying you’d lost the plot & treated the clubs money like your own (a bit mixed up with GG me thinks)! That Wenger is not lauded for not having spent his wad on who he didn’t really want but biding his time, is all but disgraceful. Like I said earlier in the season, if he belives Zapata & whoever (forgot name) are the right players for AFC but aren’t available right now, why buy the next best if the raw talent we have can do a job until then & might prove that the need has been addressed. This is not an exact science you know! Not gonna name all the players @ MUFC, CFC or LFC who cost a similar amount as AA or more but I wonder if our rival fans think AW has lost the plot?

  • Flint McCullough

    NYmarcus

    You are still a bit touchy. We all feel that we are the realists.

    What Tony has done here is counter the extreme negativity from many so called Arsenal supporters (the anti-support)that continues to prevalent on too many blogs, fed by the vacuous media.

    Your understanding of the English is very good but sometimes the use of extreme irony escapes your comprehension.

    I can agree with much of what you say & indeed predicted it myself elsewhere. There was a high chance of a young side slipping back before bursting forwards.

    The key to the season was the form of the central defenders & Cesc.

    Cesc had virtually no break, started the season injured & for him, in poor form. I think he carried that knee from the start.

    When people were accusing Denilson of not supporting Cesc it was, in fact the other way round.

    Even so the crucial reason for our inconsistency was the absence of or the poor form of Kolo, who is so important for his energy.

    It is no coincidence that the team has looked sharper since Kolo has become himself again – mentally & physically right for the 1st time since the ACN.

    The fact still remains that too many AFC fans are too trophy & new signing orientated, combined with a complete blindness for the talent we have & the time spent getting it right will give us dividends for years to come.

    The gloom around such promise needed to be broken by supporters of faith in AW & his young team. Yes we all had doubts, but that extreme nonsensical negativity, which still continues after any defeat or below par performance, needs to be fought off, by ridicule or whatever means, to get some real support back into the club.

    Frankly, at this particular time, I think it is still a matter of them or us. The word “supporter” is quite simple in its meaning.

  • Consolsbob

    Flint. That was a first class dissection of the ‘supporter’ debate that has been rumbling on all season across the Arsenal ‘Blogosphere’. Excellent.

  • don't believe the hype

    Excellent post Flint, you can always be relied upon to post something sensible! The more prevalent the negativity, the more important it is for the positive supporters to keep backing the team. It really is about them and us and I prefer to save my vitriol for them rather than for us!