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Inside the ground at least, we are beating the Anti-Arsenal gangs

By Tony Attwood

A bad day at the office generally can be put right the next day.  You know you are off-form and the more you try to correct it the worse it gets.  In the end you just have to accept that it was a bad day at the office.

The trouble with football is that the impact of that day lingers for longer.  We had a grotty match and we lost to a team we never imagined we would lose to.  Nothing can be done to salvage that because we don’t play them again.  All we can do is win the next match.

In the end the analysis is simple – almost everyone was having a rotten time.  Passes were going astray from the start, and when it happened again immediately after half time you knew it was just going to go on like that.

And what it proved is that if you take something over half the regular starters out of a team, either because they are injured, or because you have a troublesome game coming up mid-week, in the end, it shows.

Worse, among those missing are the men who would otherwise be the heartbeat of the team: Theo, Cesc, Van Persie – and I would add Bendtner, whom we have seen in the past rescue games like this with a header into the net in the last minute.

Then there was the temptation to put out a strong team in League Cup for a change, to beat Tottenham.   There have been millions of critics telling Wenger that he was wrong not to go for the Diddly Cup – and finally he listened to them.  But maybe a bad Saturday against West Brom was the price to pay.

Of course in a perfect season you don’t get games like this, but perfect seasons are rare – as the KGB in Fulham have just found out with two defeats in a row, and as Man IOU have found out with giving away goals in the last few minutes.

Goodness knows how Wenger can pick the team up after that for a trip to Europe, but then we know he can, because he has done it before.

We had 19 goal attempts, hit the post three times – on another day at least one of those would have gone in, and had it been the first one, the game would have been different.

But we have seen once again how superb Nasri can be, and we have witnessed a clear statement from the EPL and the FA that time wasting is not an offence.   It is a shame that WBA do engage in such flagrant cheating – the lying down, the two physios rushing on to the pitch for a player who is clearly not injured at all, the 40 seconds or more to take a goal kick, the keeper holding the ball for 10 seconds or more. In fact the success of the tactic was so great that in the near future we will see

a) two medics rushing on as standard – with all the extra time it takes to get off again

b) oxygen equipment and a medical trolly on as standard, and ditto the amount of time

In other words, every year another ploy is added by the little teams to beat the big teams.   Throw ins in Shawcross-land now take a minute, injuries (feigned and otherwise) take five minutes, goal kicks take a minute…  And the referees do nothing.

Such is the future of football.

But let’s end with another thought.  We were poor, and although some people walked after the third goal went in, the majority stayed, and at the final whistle, there was applause for Arsenal from Arsenal fans.  The message that we support this team and this club no matter what, has got through and is growing day by day.  In the car on the way back to the Midlands, I switched on Radio 5 and they were saying “text in with which keeper you think Wenger should buy”, and I am sure there were many doing it.  It just shows the divide that has built up between the Anti-Arsenal groups, and the real supporters.

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19 comments to Inside the ground at least, we are beating the Anti-Arsenal gangs

  • Rhys Jaggar

    I do remember Tony saying to a colleague in 2006 when I off to the pub to watch Arsenal kids walk out at the Bernabeu that ‘as we lost the last three games and as it’s Real Madrid, we’ll probably win 1-0……..’

    There are only so many mistakes keepers can make before managers must make decisions though……….

    Diaby’s performance can be forgotten – it was his first back. Perhaps he would be better easing his way back from the bench?

    I don’t know what was wrong with Eboue – usually this year he’s been extremely good.

    Midfield just seemed unbalanced – and Song felt he needed to be doing too much in the absence of Fabregas, Wilshere, Rosicky.

    Ian Botham would just go and get totally pissed then go out and score a century next week.

    I guess in the modern era you need a different way of getting it all out of the system…………

  • goonergerry

    We just came up against a better team on the day-. Good luck to them. The cumulative effect of injuries and poor form had its inevitable effect. Where is the Song of last year? Chamakh worn out?
    As for the rest- injuries, too many games- a keeper that does not perform under pressure- but thats not new. We just have to live with it.
    I believe that it will be some time until we can turn this around. Good luck to West Brom- they deserved it.

    I have no expectation about getting a result against Chelsea- which is probably just as well.

  • Steve D.

    All three players in my opinion have a big role in our team, but I not sure playing Diaby, Song and Eboue in the same midfield is the way to go. Diaby was on his first game back, but he always seems to slow the passing game. He is very good at being direct, but today we needed to control the midfield and we didn’t. Give WBA their due, they were very good and on the day they also got the rub of the green, as everything seemed to go right for them. Well done West Brom – You won’t be anywhere near being relegated at the end of the season with that type of performance.
    Anyway, shit happens and it’s not the end of the world. After all, Chavski lost and that’s another year when they can’t be ‘invincible’. IWWT

  • Dave Highbury

    Champions take their opportunities and above all, respect their opponents!!! This match was of paramount importance. Chelsea just lost, we could have caught up in time for the match against them. I saw Arsenal step it up once we were already down which is unforgivable because we had gears! We had gears! and we didn’t use them until it was too late! This is PROOF that we didn’t give 100% at the start of the match and it WAS THEIR CHOICE. This really gets to me because with our fitness and our style of play, we should be going all out at the very beginning for the first goal in every match anyway! This was a GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY – perfect timing handed on a silver platter. This is a serious problem. I was known as a ‘delusional optimist’ as I “Saw a brilliant squad” coming and didn’t mind the wait. I was happy with the performance against Sunderland despite the draw. Do 3 points against WBA mean less to us than the 3 points against Chelsea? Our dumb ass pride has ****** it all up. ATTITUDE STINKS TO HIGH HEAVEN knowing we could have done better. This is a serious problem. We got suckered by the press – ” our real test is against the big teams” WE FAILED OUR REAL TEST LAST NIGHT! FAILED! AGAIN! ATTITUDE! Of which ARSH (whom is a genius) was the epitome. Champions take their opportunities and NEVER disrespect the opposition. Basic fundamentals.

  • Dark Prince

    I think it is wrong to say that we lost because we played mid week in the carling cup bcoz in that game, only 3 players of ystrday’s team played d whole game in d weekend… I think it was a terrible day when everything went wrong…

  • Mahesh

    I have a feeling that we will win next week; you have to take a step back to jump ahead! 🙂 IMO, a bad performance is just that – a bad performance. Nothing less, nothing more. It’s there to learn from, because no amount of blaming any player will solve the problem. The problem this season seems to be (IMO – not that I am an expert of football) that we are not able to keep the ball when pressed man-to-man in midfield without Fabregas. Controlling midfield is the key to possession game. Somehow, we are not as calm on the ball as we used to be. Maybe we need a Denilson in the midfield… or maybe not, Lord will have the answer in CL surely.

    Tony, good to know that the we applauded the team’s effort, and that Ems is still out of reach for D&G! Regarding the time wasting, it is a becoming a norm, as you pointed out. Maybe we should take a leaf out of this, and try it out. It might have helped us in Sunderland (20×20 hindsight ;)). Since, this tactic is ‘within’ rule, we will get opportunities later this season to apply it (when we are not able to keep the ball), and there is no reason for the team to not learn and use it ;), especially when things are not going our way. IMO, this comes under dark art of match winning, along with small fouls – especially during counter attacks. And a team, apart from knowing all the fair tactics, should probably be adept at handling and using these peripheral approaches also. I just hope we learn from this! [I hope this doesn’t sound like a rant!]

  • Mr. Nobody

    It’s not a problem to support Arsenal after some bad performances, which can be caused by millions of reasons. But if we keep losing games caused by the same problems for 2,3 years, then I think it’s an issue.

    Koscielny is still finding his feet I can understand that, but will he get 2 seasons to find a decent form like Denilson and Diaby got (and still are getting). There is some serious dead wood in this team that’s ruining all it’s potential. One mistake by Clichy and ruins all the hard work of ten other players. Wenger is, for me, the best coach in the world, no doubt about it, but his approach to player transfers stayed in the nineties. In his mind, Chamakh is worth 20 million, and he said he’s going to give us another dimension in our game. IMO Bendtner is much better than Chamakh and they basically play the same game.

    The bottom line is this. Look at the team from 2006, 2007, 2008 are we a better team now??? I don’t think so.

  • Richard B

    One of the reasons why Song looks as good as he does in the centre of midfield is that the opposition tend not to close him down as quickl;y as they do the other two central midfielders – not least because he plays deepest of the three. Yesterday WBA worked very hard to close everyone down all over the pitch and got sufficient rewards for doing it to encourage them to continue. It remainded me of the Hull game a couple of years ago although WBA have a much better manager and have a much better chance of keeping it going.
    Eboue and Diaby were not match fit and Arshavin was, once a again, a bit peripheral – which doesn’t matter if he pops up with a goal or two, but he didn’t. No one was getting close enough to Chamakh to make use of his hold up play and that made him look out of sorts, which he may have been anyway.
    Sadly there was some booing of Almunia from the Clock End but it didn’t last long and was replaced by encouragement once we started to look like getting something out of the game.
    Nevertheless WHL seemed like a distant memory!

  • walter

    It remended me also of the game against Hull two seasons back. In the same weekend. But if I remember correct we didn’t have the massive injury problems in that part of the season.
    And I don’t want to hide behind the injuries but I think with Cesc, Vermaelen, Van Persie, Bendtner, Ramsey all fit you can change half the team and it would be much stronger.
    So to answer your question mr. Nobody, I do think we have a stronger squad. And in 2008 we challenged for the title untill the injuries kicked in, the same last year.
    I don’t think you can blame the new players. I think it was down to players who have been around a few years and who for some reasons (not 100% fit?) didn’t perform as they can.

  • Uk

    Good but remember they (the anti- arsenalistas) are beating you on the pitch

  • critic

    this defeat means we have to win at places where we are expected to drop pints,,old trafford, stamford emirates against utd liv city charity…and so on…and sure u can drop it after winning those games… :p

  • nicolas

    Yesterday I was really pissed that I paid 380€ for the airfare, 160€ for the hotel and every other whatnot that I had to pay just to see a shambled performance. Off course after the ill feelings I just accepted that losing is part of football.

    The truth of the matter is that yesterday’s performance was really awful. Lapses of concentration and a real lack of consistency must be noted immediatly. I think that our players listen too much of the talk on the press and without having yet won anything they feel the game is won without any effort.

    For me it is clear that having a team as united as we do has as well its weak spots. Maybe the competition of places isn’t tas good as it seems.

    This is why I would like to see few changes to our team from outside thru transfers every year. I’m not saying that we did really badly in the transfer market, because we were without defenders I did’n expect anything else. But generally I would like to see someone brought directly to our first eleven to bring real competition and change of airs.

    For example William Gallas was anywhere near my favourite players, but he had obviously a really big will to win. And apparantly it was too much to our current squad. We have the same problems with Arshavin from time to time. Maybe Arsene could concntrate on this in the future? What do you guys think? But just don’t look for reasons from our injury list, because there were as many international players in the pitch as ever.

  • RedGooner

    I don’t think we can blame WB for time wasting its what every team leading away from home and under pressure does, we have done it ourselves in the past and its part and parcell of getting a result sometimes in difficult circumstances.

    I think the sad thing was a lack of effort by so many. If it was old trafford or any other club under the sun a performance such as yesterdays would have been booed and rightly so we cant go on over protecting them for a lack of effort with the money they earn.

    the sunderland game still was a great result and I have no issues with the late goal they were great but we do deserve to see effort if you can switch on at 3-0 down you could have switched on at 0-0 I feel sorry for AW they let him the club and themselves down.
    We made the right decision playing a better team in the carling cup they need to win something BUT we should have played a stronger team from the start yesterday loosing one difficult away game in europe on tuesday we would still win the group and qualify and could have rested up players for next sunday our priorities were wrong and we gave no respect to WestBrom.

  • Wrenny

    The player who really has me worried is Song, he was terrible against Sunderland and yesterday he once again lacked intelligence and discipline.

    As I understand it his job is to shield the defence, to patrol the space in front of the back four where a ‘no.10’ lurks. He’s meant to sit deep and for the most part just watch what goes on in front of him, picking his moments to chase or tackle a player if they come into that danger zone. I haven’t seen him do this in the last 2 matches, instead he’s trying to press and chase the opposition way too high up the pitch, leaving acres of space behind him to be exploited. Song’s getting attracted to the ball and left chasing shadows. I don’t know whether this is just a lack of experience, or his desire to win that is causing these bad decisions, but it’s really damaging our control of the midfield. It’s a chain reaction – when he moves forward and out of position somebody else is pulled out of their position to cover.

    Diaby and Eboue were also poor, but this was Diaby’s first game back form injury, while Eboue played 120 minutes against the Sp*ds in midweek. I can’t make any such excuses for Song, and this bad patch is really baffling when he was so good last season. At this moment I think we would be better off with Denilson, he might lack the power of Song but at least you can trust him to be disciplined and well positioned.

  • Derrick

    Wasn’t Almunia booed?

    And I can’t believe there was not one mention of how good WBA were? They outplayed us on our own turf without the typical ‘get up em” style that it normally takes to get us off our game.

    Not giving them a mention of how well they played and just focusing on a few ‘cheating’ moments has taken a bit of credibility from this post.

  • Mayur

    Which one of our wins in the league this season was actually convincing?
    Liverpool- we were extremely lucky!!!
    Blackburn- we were defending for our lives in the last half hour!
    Blackpool- one win that is actually convincing
    Bolton- they equalized, we scored again… it was pretty much even till Cahill was sent off
    Sunderland- we “scored a goal” and defended, sunderland were a better team till song was sent off!!!
    W.B.A- Arshavin hit the post at 0-0, W.B.A missed a penalty at 0-0. We all know they were a better team in the first half and most of the second half as well.
    I am not against Arsenal or Wenger. But i seriously feel that Alex Song should stop trying to be CESC and do his own job. Look at the goals and the Alex Song in the context of all the goals and the penalty.

  • Limestonegunner

    Tony, I heard that the applause was actually for the Baggies. And they deserved our recognition.

  • Cape Gooner

    Wrenny – I have also noticed the change in style from Song. Can’t that only come about under instructions from AW?

  • walter

    I think it is no problem that Song goes higher when chasing the opponents. The only thing is that other players who are in midfield should then drop a little bit back.
    Jack Wilshere does this very well most of the time and that for an 18 year old lad!!! The other starters in midfield did not do this and then we got exposed. It is part of the job for other midfielders to see what Song is doing and then to react by taking over his place.
    I think Wenger has chosen to put pressure on the opposition as much as possible and as high as possible. If this means that Song is taken forward by his pressure one of the other sould drop back.