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Arsenal v the Tinies. The tricks, the tally, those terrified turns as traumatised Totts troop tunnelwards.

Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

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by Phil Gregory

Tottenham head to the Emirates on Saturday for a game that has more than a few sub-plots to it. Struggling somewhat in the league off the back of their Champions League commitments, Spurs are in a position where they need to get points on the board in order to keep their top-four hopes alive, with City raising the bar over the summer.

Having lost their first league game against Spurs in donkeys years last season, Arsenal will be a team out for revenge, while Spurs too may feel aggrieved, given the 4-1 spanking they were subject to in their favourite trophy earlier in the season. And then there is the small matter of William Gallas having joined Tottenham after the expiry of his Arsenal contract over the summer.

Plenty to be getting on with, then.

In terms of injuries, we’re still without Diaby, Vermaelen and Almunia, so not much change on that front.  Wilshere picked up the obligatory knock on international duty but has recovered and is fit to play, while Van Persie will be all the sharper after 45 minutes for the Dutch national team. With Clichy an unused substitute, Gibbs getting some valuable game time and Nasri impressing, whisper it, but it was a good international break for Arsenal FC.

So onto the line-up. I think we’ll see

Fabianksi

Sagna Squillaci Koscielny Clichy

Song Wilshere

Cesc

Nasri  Chamakh Arshavin

Fabianksi continues between the sticks knowing that Almunia is back in training, so the battle for the number one jersey is back on. Given Lukasz’s performances, the Spaniard may well struggle to get a look in. Sagna continues at right back, fresh from an assist for France in midweek, while Squillaci and Koscielny continue at centre back. Clichy completes what is proving to be a fairly common unit at the back, with Vermaelen’s injury troubles showing no sign of abating.

Song and Wilshere play the deep midfield roles, with Cesc pushing further up the pitch. I settled for Nasri wide right as his recent performances make him hard to leave out of the line-up, even if he prefers to play centrally. Arshavin goes wide left, with Chamakh at centre forward. Robin Van Persie may have something to say about that, but unless Wenger was particularly impressed by Van Persie’s 45 minutes in midweek I can’t see him putting Van Persie in for such a key game. Certainly not a bad option to have on the bench though

As for Spurs, they certainly haven’t seemed to have much luck in regards to injuries. They’re particularly struggling at centre back, with Dawson, Woodgate and King all out. Huddlestone too has succumbed to injury recently, which Redknapp described as a blow. That means he’ll have to change things around in midfield, with new signing Sandro likely to be tasked with shielding the back four.

Naturally the big talking point is Bale. He destroyed Maicon recently, but in Sagna I feel we have the best right back in the league, and he’ll be up to the task. With Van Der Vaart likely to play off Crouch, Song is going to be busy tracking the Dutch playmaker, meaning there’s no obvious source of support for Sagna against Bale except Nasri, who doesn’t shirk from putting a defensive shift in.

One weakness we may be able to exploit is the space left by Bale when he moves forward. If we can work a 2 v 1 situation against Ekotto on the counter, either by Sagna supporting Nasri or Cesc moving wider, we  can do some real damage and get some dangerous balls into the box.

Van Der Vaart will look to win the second ball off Crouch’s headers, so it’s important out centre backs remain alert and try to cut off the aerial route for Tottenham. With the respective personnel, they shouldn’t be able to pass through midfield so as long as we keep Crouch quiet I’m fairly confident we won’t struggle much.

I’m expecting 3-1 to us for this game. At home, and given Spurs have arguably the worse of the two injury lists (as well as a weaker squad and first eleven to begin with) I can see this game being fairly comfortable.

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The most exciting pre-match analysis of the Tiny Totts ever seen in the history of the multiverse….

How will the ref behave?  Read it all

ESPN up their anti-Arsenal propaganda ahead of Tottenham game

Tottenham fans prepare for major celebrations of their anniversary

Did Tottenham bribe their way into the Football League?

Making the Arsenal – the story of Norris and Arsenal

49 comments to Arsenal v the Tinies. The tricks, the tally, those terrified turns as traumatised Totts troop tunnelwards.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Hope the boys are up for it and start the game in a high tempo and keep at them to the end.Hopefully the midfield will take bite and maintain a high line in their half and distrupt their attempts at attack.
    I hope for a 2-0 win.

  • Nitesh

    come on Arsenal…we gotta give it to the spuds!!!
    no question of our players not being up for it.
    its a north london derby for heavens sake!!!
    this is where legends are made, and the players know that!!
    😀

  • I am afraid we cant count on Koscielny in this one as he still has one more game on ice because of red card. But what we sow from Djurou in last 2 games, I believe he is more than capable to do the job today. I tend to believe it is not key in stopping Bale, than rather, stopping Tottenham. There were games in which we managed to stop even better players, but lost by goals of some anonymous players.

  • Shard

    Tony, here’s another bit of ESPN/spurs’ propaganda.

    http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=844270&sec=england&cc=4716

    Did Arsenal really draw public funds for building the stadium? This is the first I’ve ever heard of it. Could you in ,what was it?, ahh, your sage like wisdom, please clarify this too.
    Thanks

  • Never trust to Premier league site, which say that Koscielny still have one game to serve his ban, while Wenger said he is in squad for today…
    Thanks Almighty, Premier league doesn’t do weather forecast.

  • Paul C.

    Unbelievable. What an awful 2nd half.

    I must say, I thought the decision to play Kos ahead of Djourou was absolutely mystifying.

    Why?

  • wen_detta

    frustrated at maximum.grrr..

  • dreamz

    This result today just shows that we have learnt nothing in the last 5 seasons, despite all Wenger’s claims about our qualities and mental strength. All lies, just like Wenger’s management a lie.This is without doubt the most embarrassing defeat of Wenger’s era, and I struggle to find a worse one in my lifetime.This should be Wenger’s last game as Arsenal manager, and I call on him now to resign, this is not a knee jerk reaction, merely final recognition that time is up for this arrogant lying man.I felt really sorry for Thierry Henry. He was so passionate about beating Spuds, and on his DVD states just how much it means to him that he never lost to them in his time at Arsenal.Fast forward to now, and you’ve got c**ts like Sagna saying that ‘It doesn’t matter more if we beat Spuds’ during the week, and a second-rate team throwing away a two-goal lead as if it doesn’t really matter.Fans say that foreigners can’t understand the passion of a local rivalry, but TH14 (and his co-horts) proved that utterly wrong. We’ve just educated players from the Wenger academy the wrong way.I’d be very happy if AW resigned tonight, as we’ve been treading water for the past five (maybe six) years.The sad truth is we are seemingly powerless to do anything about it, and there are those who will make excuses and accept those given by Wenger himself.This reign will end eventually, though I fear by then we will be in an even far worse state than we are now.There are no words to express the pain, anger and disgust we are all feeling right now. But those feelings will count for nothing if the fans turn up again next week and sing Wenger’s name. He must be made to see how we feel, through banners and hear how we feel by calling for him to resign or by calling on the board to sack him

  • goonergerry

    Looked a very lucky win for Spurs to be honest-I always had concerns about Gallas going to Spurs- a blinder played by that mercenary scumbag. Cant get away from the fact that we let in 3 goals at home. I have to agree with Paul C- the one area where they are a threat is in the air- the very area where Djourou is strongest. Taking Chamakh off as well is nieve.
    Obvious really but we were not good enough in the second half.

  • goonergerry

    Dreamz-dont be juvenile- get over it lets see haw we go in a few games- we were the better team- one player inexplicably handles the ball out of the blue never done it before- come on its Harrys lucky day- and he’s had a lot of them recently

  • dreamz

    Me being juvenile or you following the blind man baaa.. The warning signs were loud & clear last week. Not for the first time either. Two goals up, let complacency kick in & gift them a foothold back into the game & then find it impossible to switch back on again. Last week we got away with it… West Ham, Wigan away last season & the 4-4 scum game, to name but a few, we didn’t. In all those cases we didn’t learn a single fucking lesson.First half we were brilliant, pretty much to a man. Outclassed them all over the pitch. But you just knew we were gonna come out second half with the slippers on & they’d score first. Was just a question of whether we’d hold on from there. How can it be that blindingly obvious to a pub full of drunks still celebrating and yet the GIC cant see it?Not fucking good enough. What’s the point in throwing your water bottle all over the shop & your hands up in the air like a retarded village people when it’s too late? Where’s that passion & fervour when/where it’s needed in the changing room? How many times can we fall into the same self-imposed trap from winning positions before somebody somewhere gets the fucking message?!! Cos either he’s not telling them what needs to be said or he is but they aint listening. Either way he’s lost it. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me… fool yourself every couple of weeks, fuck the fuck off and take your fucking goldfish memory & your fucking mental strength with you!

  • Mandy Dodd

    Terrible second half. Maybe, just maybe Wenger will get in a specialist defence coach after this?
    Jesus dreamz – you sound like you might as well just end it all!

  • Is there life after defeat from Tottenham? Yes there is… Keep going

  • dreamz

    what a joke!how can we go from absolutely dominating one half to complete self destruction in the second?watching us in the first half I would have said no team in the league could have lived with us,never mind bloody Tottenham!second half were shocking.what was bales goal all about?a hoof over the top and our defence all taken out in one go.the second was an even bigger farce.why the hell couldn’t cesc just head the thing.we should have been out of sight by then.what kind of striker is chamakh?what is his problem.twice he was played clean through and he had no intention of going for goal.work rate is all well and good and being able to put it in from 3 yards but if he is going to lead the line he needs to have a proper strikers instinct.sure enough if we give away enough stupid free kicks then the opposition will score because we cant defend and thats exactly what happened.we’ll be winning nothing unless we buy some players with spines and balls.getting beat to 2 newly promoted teams and spurs at home.way to let chelsea off the hook fellas.what did wenger say yesterday…’best squad ive ever had….we are men now!’ thats an insult to the invincibles
    Wenger, once again you manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. How many times do I have to say this. WE CAN’T DEFEND THE BALL IN THE AIR. It’s not rocket science SIX ******* YEARS same problem. So what does Wenger do? He drops Djourou our best defender in the past 2 games and brings back that useless **** Koscielny. He can’t head the ball no matter which end of the pitch he’s at, how did he miss that sitter. Useless Wenger, you bottled it, complacency and arrogance, your speciality.
    i just cant believe what ive just witnessed… arsene wenger should resign! what a crappy defence! that showed every one whos claiming that wenger is a genius- that he’s nothing but a cheap old imposter who ran out of magic! i say again, thank you arsene for the invincibles time, and good bye! the most loser-full team in the premier league gave us a lesson today. just press arsenal, send high balls throw the center, and throw yourself every time an arsenal player is next to you so you could get a FK and that’s it! that’s what chelskea, west brom, and now after 17 years the spuds! until mr wenger wont resign, or atleast buys one decent high center back, a new keeper and another DM were doomed. i just can’t believe how many chances weve had! chamakh is a player who can play in the highest level and RVP is rusted, were nothing but idiots! can you even imagine what would have happend if man utd or chelskea had the same amount of chances? they’d probably win 6,7,8-0. thats it im done with this team, this is the lowest it could get! losing to the spuds 3-2 after we were in a 2-0 lead? if wenger a tiny bit of respect, he should leave!

  • dreamz

    At 2-1, I feared the worst. To the point where I’d literally accepted we’d draw, or lose.I’ve seen it happen so many times before in recent years, that I refuse to allow myself to get too carried away – which is a shame.I’m not generally a negative person, but when it comes to Arsenal – in the current climate – I’m very cautious. I’d given up all hope as soon as the second went it, and am used to this feeling now (see: Birmingham 2-2 Arsenal, Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham, Birmingham 1-1 Arsenal, Wigan 3-2 Arsenal, Sunderland 1-1 Arsenal, etc etc).I had mild breakdowns as a result of the above – especially the early ones – but am pretty much used to this bullshit now. Normal service is resumed, apparently.

  • RedGooner

    Result was hard to take. Cant believe Fabregas put the hand up in the wall the same as against liverpool we alowed Sp*rs sadly back into this match.

    Cant blame fabianski really for any of the goals we should have defended the free kick better.

    But the results more or less went our way again Chelski loosing.
    Good to see the vocal support at the ems today FUNNY how its not like that every week it should be.

  • Gooner Gal

    I am pretty peeved with the situation today. I thought Arsharvin should of come off around the 50th min and been replaced with Theo, this would of stretched the defense. I thought Chamakh should of been told to be more defensively minded, i.e not necessarily lead the attack and then around the 65th minute RVP should of replaced him to lead the attacking line, which should of confused them as I saw the Spuds start to organise themselves and finally Rosicky should of come on around 60 – 75 for Nasri as he is really good at keeping hold of the ball. I agree with the subs, but not the timimg. There were alot of tired legs out there today.

    .
    I can’t really single out one player as having a stinker of a game, I might need to see the game again(if I can stomach it) and as far I am concerned it was a hugely disappointing capituation by the team.
    .

    The North London derby is a live and kicking – Arsenal got a bloody nose today. This loss was worse than loosing to Chelsea.
    I hope this team turns this around quickly.

  • Filip

    We stopped playing but it does not mean we are a bad team.I am so frustrated that I cant believe I am saying this but there is no need for stupid words.The arrogance and complacency of the players is just unbelievable.After this performance, there could be no bigger wake-up call for them.We can still turn it around.

  • RedGooner

    Dreamz you are an idiot. I suppose if you were a chelsea fan you would want the manager sacked also.

    The fact you say the first half no team in the league could have lived with us ? to the total opposite in the second half.
    There is no middle ground no common sense.

    We were good and no more in the first half we were poor defensively as a team in the second.

    The fact your mentioning quote “you had mild break downs during previous other games” Just shows how irrational your whole thinking is.

    We are still frikken 2 points off the top of the league and Manure and Chelski aint doing anything to suggest they will run away with the league.

    we are still competitive in europe and all the cups.

    We loose to newcastle theres an over reaction by everyone
    we win to wolves and everton and there is equally an over reaction. when the frig did Everton and Wolves become the benchmark ? what have they done in the last 10 years.

    This team is still a great team and yes sure they have their flaws but so does all the competition.

    You calling for wengers head is like a child throwing his toys out of the pram ….If you dont want to follow a team 2points of the lead still in europe and the carling cup etc.

    Frig off and support someone else you wont be missed trust me your a plastic fan wants to be behind us when doing well mouthing even though we are still doing well despite todays loss.

    You should have been supporting us years back or man utd when they were 20 years without a league.
    No one is winning the league before May and that includes chelsea man utd and who ever else you want to throw in the mix.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Calling for Wengers head – as I have heard time and time again on phone ins today is a stupid response to this.
    The opposition would love us to lose Wenger, they know we will be there or thereabouts with him.
    But I can see the frustration some fans feel – why oh why will he not coach the team to defend properly. I know I keep banging on about this but we need a proper defence coach – we improved hugely in this ares during Martin Keowns brief spell helping out.
    Until we learn to defend properly we are always in danger of losing leads. Spurs had what -4 or so chances, scored 3 of them. Newcastle only had one and as we know…..And why was Djourou dropped? Kos will be good but he is currently a work in progress prone to lapses. We really need Verm back!
    Still – we have a habit of bouncing back the next game from these setbacks so victory in Braga!
    I just hope the team are not building up a fear at playing at home – such things can take a while to get rid of

  • C4

    I’d say we just plain gave it away, through 2nd half complacency, and what I can only describe as foolishness on the part of Cesc and Koscielny. It’s a problem that our manager needs to eradicate in the mentality of the team. The penalty was unnecessary, and how Kos missed that header is beyond me. Minus those 2 screw ups, we’d have put the game out of sight. It’s tough, I know, but the last thing I’d be calling for is Wenger’s resignation. Not off 1 bad game, derby or not.
    @ dreams: I’d like to know, who do you propose succeeds Wenger, were he to resign? Give us a realistic answer, not some emotional pipe dream (no pun intended).
    I only ask this because I can think of very few managers who can build on what Wenger has done, and make that next evolutionary leap forward. Most EPL managers would surely sink us in an ugly way, they’re just not on Wenger’s level.
    With Wenger in charge, I can see the team evolving. It’s NOT the same bunch of guys as last season, there’s a definite improvement from 1 season to the next with just about every player, as well as team work. Simply put, we’re moving forward, and of course there’ll be some disappointments along the way, some painful, like today’s. But let’s not lose sight of the bigger picture. Get your emotions in check.

  • Gooner Gal

    Can we all just ignore Dreamz, which is the current name he is going by, he was called Munaf, and before that some other silly name. I suspect he had a mental breakdown long before watching an Arsenal match. I have no idea why he keeps posting his rubbish on here when other sites would love and value his jibberish!

  • WalterBroeckx

    As Tony would be home late I wrote my thoughts on this day and game in an article which can be read now.

    And to think I have to see the game in its whole again for my ref review. It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. 🙁 Really not looking forward to it, must say.

  • Byo

    “Dreamz”- It is still a game of football. Pls dont kill yourself. And to go as far as blaming the “damn foreigners”! And Wenger to resign? Pls get a grip. I perfectly understand where Sagna was coming from-it was to take the pressure off. Your diatribe sounds very petulant and juvenile.

    Yes, the second half was abysmal. I could not believe it. I really expected Sagna, after mastering Bale all morning to attack that ball without the hesitation. And how in heaven did Fabregas have his arm up on the free-kick? I hate for us to lose any match any day, but this loss was harder because of how we dominated the first 45 mins. Was there fatigue, complacency or just the gods of football were not just on our side today?

  • Nitesh

    will someone please remind arsenal players that they are supposed to jump up in the air while in the wall instead of raising their hands to make themselves feel bigger!!!!!!
    :'(

  • Andrew Chua

    Objectively, we are in a healthy position on the table, 2 points off the top. But it was the manner that we lost that blew our tops off. We were so dominant in the first half, so much so that the Spurs players looked frustrated and perplexed. So what happened in the second half? You can’t see a better adaptation of Jekyl and Hyde. To Rednapp’s credit, he introduced several players that eventually turned the game around. But up until the first goal, Spurs were still manageable. Any manager who watched their opponents would realised that Spurs were capable of unbelievable comebacks with this team… ala Inter Milan… and they had never kept a clean sheet since their drawn match with MC.

    AW spoke about the dangers of VDV and Bale. Did we do anything to contain them? Nope, as the end result showed.

    To call for AW’s head is way off but AW has to be accountable for the same old freaking weaknesses we had. We don’t seemed to be able to counter anything, from Drogba, Rooney, setplays and God knows what.

    Anyone Gooner fan who says he/she is confident when we play is without doubt a dying breed of extremely optimistic fans. In place, at least for me, is this ‘cross-your-finger’ feeling whenever we play. Gone is the ‘invincible’ swagger that I exuded… those were the Happy Days.

    I am a superstitious guy when it comes to Arsenal. And historically, there were/are coincidences:

    1. don’t let any player come out blasting to the press that we will win/be title contenders etc. before a game. You know who I refer to before this game. Just shut the fxxk up
    2. Don’t let RVP and Walcott on when we are chasing games…
    3. Don’t belittle your opponents… respect them or they will come back to haunt you. Just look at all the comments from the Arsenal sites prior to this game

    What a freaking weekend.

  • Andrew Chua

    Seriously, we need to consider an out-and-out striker. With the number of chances we created, we should be comfortably putting away games and not subject ourselves to unnecessary threats, anciety and frustrations. Look at Gyan, Bent and Carroll… how many chances do their teams create for them? And just look at their conversion rates from those chances. Compare that to Chamakh. Work rate and link up is one thing. But his CV states he is a striker and that is his main role. And what did he do with clean chances? He looked around to pass the responsibility. He don’t show confidence to take on defenders, especially when they are not aerial.

    And forget about RVP. He is too unreliable with his injuries and I don’t see that sparkle that he used to exude… hope I am proven wrong but I had been watching him during the WC and the last few matches that he played. Let’s not get too sentimental… sell him and get a better striker, not necessary a world class striker, but one that suits the EPL play. Let Chamakh be our ‘continental’ striker and the backup for EPL. Walcott… well.. I tend to agree, reluctantly though, that he is a runner than a footballer. Often anonymous and … enuf said.

  • Andrew Chua

    Midfield… Nasri is currently on form and for some reason, Fab is still hogging the creative department. As an experienced manager, AW must be aware of that and I am frustrated, more than surprise, that AW is not playing Nasri in that role. The game between France and England.. Nasri was so incisive with his runs and intelligent passing.

    There has to be a plan B for rotating this creative role, without taking either of them off. Nasri is fit and on-form, Cesc is recovering from his injury and sluggish. As a result, Cesc is often late with his tackles and numerous stray passes.

  • mandy dodd

    I think a solution to our glaring defensive problems is close to home and staring us in the face. Promote Steve Bould to first team defence coach. Who knows – he may even one day be the man to succeed Wenger.
    Yes, this may be disrespectful to an Arsenal legend in our coaching set up – but there should be no room for sentiment after some of our mistakes this season. And it is not only the back 4 that could do with this coaching, we need to defend as a team, as we do when we attack

  • dreamz

    Gooner Gal – Ignore me – why? Because you have your head stuffed so high up wengers arse you can’t see through the think shit of lies he’s been boolocking to us. everyone can see we are too complacent too arrogant and just assuming the win is there. its the same with newcastle and west brom at home. at half time we thought the game was sin the bag. cescs little raising of the arm is a testament to the sheer arrogence we show. as for wenger. again reactive instead of proactive. chamakh wa splayed through twic eon goal and instead of going for it he holds th eball up, the guy had no confidence in the game and his passing was poor. wenger waits till 2-2 to make the change. another missed opportunity by a team that thinks they are better than they are. please wenger stop insulting our greatest ever sqaud by claiming this lot are better than the 04 team. the 04 team would beat this team 3 or 4 nil.For Wenger to suggest that this is the best squad he has ever had is an insult to yours and my intelligence. It’s not an insult to truegoon, arsene_al, brownz or gunnersaurus, they believe this guff. Arsenal poor discipline and attitude on the pitch stem directly from Wenger’s amazing arrogance and complacency. The club has no ambition, all the BofD care about is making the top4 and as I have maintained all season that will be a struggle. Anyone who thinks Wenger can win the PL witth this lot is demented. The_Real_Sydney, it’s good to see more and more fans coming around to my way of thinking. We will never win the PL with this washed up has been in charge

  • dreamz

    the situation now is that the relationship between Arsenal’s manager and a growing number of the club’s fans is like a marriage gone stale. There are still good times, but not many. The magic has gone. And there is an acknowledgement that it will never return. Eyes are cast elsewhere and thoughts of what a fresh love would be like become more frequent. Perhaps this echoes Le Boss’s personal life. For those that know the Joy Division song Love Will Tear Us Apart, the lyrics capture such a situation between two long term partners. One of the lines is, ‘Yet there’s still this appeal that we’ve kept through our lives’. The comfort of familiarity, the uncertainty of the unknown, stops us making the break, stops those such as myself calling for the manager’s head. But the arguments are more frequent now. The mistakes repeated. It is a slow downward spiral of tortuous decline. But in truth, if you gave me a straight choice between having Gus Hiddink and Arsene Wenger as the manager in charge of Arsenal next weekend, I would take the former. Nothing lasts forever. Djourou, given a run of games, has improved significantly and was winning everything in the air against Everton last Sunday. Given Tottenham’s propensity to play high balls into the area, dropping him for the physically weaker Koscielny seemed a very strange decision. What followed pretty much summarized Arsenal in a nutshell. Both sides of the coin in 90 minutes. An impressive first half had everyone relaxed at the interval. And then the collapse, the Dr Jekyll Gunners came out for the second half. Spurs put Jermaine Defoe on to change their formation and Arsenal failed to adapt. Wenger claims he takes account of the opposition in setting his side up, but there seems little evidence of this, especially when things change during the course of a match. That is why, in terms of winning football games, Jose Mourinho is a far better manager than Arsene Wenger. And that is not down to an unlimited chequebook. He achieved success at Porto without it and won Inter their first European Cup for 45 years where many had failed at that club with similar resources.The manager believes this is his strongest ever squad in his time at the club. The conclusion has to be that he has become delusional. Either that or he is speaking blatant untruths with the aim of continuing to sell what some would label his vanity project to the masses. Either way, it is totally unacceptable. Arsenal have played seven home Premier League matches so far this season. They have performed convincingly in two of those, and not once in the last five domestic home fixtures. Away form has kept them, theoretically, in contention for the title. On paper, two points behind the leaders looks good, but if Dr Wenger’s experiment was ever going to come good, he will never get a better chance than this season, when the top two are falling over themselves leaking points. And yet still, everyone can see that this group of players lacks the consistency to put a string of results together and go unbeaten for any stretch of time. It is an insult to those that won trophies under this manager to call the current squad better.As things have gone stale between many fans and Wenger, so it is behind the scenes at London Colney. Pat Rice and Boro Primorac are not going to be imparting anything fresh after over a decade in the job. No-one is challenging them to produce anything but qualification for Champions League football. It is same old same old and the end of each season sees exactly the same. Close, but no cigar. The players are encouraged to play tidy and attractive football, but no-one is being taught how to win matches. It is widely acknowledged that Martin Keown is the reason Arsenal made the Champions League final in 2006. But here was a voice strong enough to challenge the manager and actually coach the defenders to – sometimes – do things that don’t look so pretty, like utilising row Z when the need arises. No points for artistic merit, but progress into a final where poor officiating denied Arsenal a trophy.Wenger often talks about the mental strength of his players. Google ‘Wenger mental strength’ and check out the range of dates that he has used this phrase. It’s a load of bollocks. What struck me this morning was how often his sides have chucked away winning positions. And this includes the players that won trophies. Think about it. The FA Cup semi-final replay in 1999. The FA Cup final in 2001. Several key matches in the 2002-03 league campaign, a trophy Arsenal should have won by a street. That season ended in an FA Cup final with the players taking the ball to the corner flag against Southampton, cognisant of the fact that too often, leads had been sacrificed. The Champions League was there for the taking in the Unbeatables season, but, 2-1 up in the tie, with 45 minutes to see out against Chelsea, it all fell apart. Even in winning the title at the Lane that season, the Spurs fans had something to cheer about with a late equaliser saving some face. And that is just the trophy-winning players. What did win the pots then was that the squads were actually better and contained enough experienced players to win enough of the big games that mattered to ensure some return for their efforts. There were winners there who had learned how to win things before Arsene got hold of them. The current bunch aren’t that good, the captain knows it and cannot wait to join a team where he will win the medals his talent deserves.I won’t bother listing the many leads thrown away since Paris 2006 in full, but those that still haunt include Anfield in the Champions League quarter-final 2008, and the 4-4 draw at home to Spurs the following season. Once Arsenal establish a lead, they continue playing the open attacking football, but fail to kill off the game. They got away with it at Everton last weekend, they did not yesterday. Tottenham had few chances, but critically, when presented with the opportunity, they converted them. Sometimes, the reluctance to shoot, such as Chamakh’s when clean through on goal with (from memory, I might be wrong) the score at 2-2, is bewildering. It doesn’t have to be passed every time. Too often the player with the best opportunity to score shirks the responsibility to get an attempt on goal. Mental strength?I do actually believe that this group of players are capable of winning trophies. They just need to be coached to do it. Individual weaknesses can be worked on and the team play can be addressed. They are technically skilful, but do not have the right mental approach to win football matches week-in, week-out. They are inconsistent, sometimes appearing unmotivated. They exist in a comfort bubble that does not challenge them, a womb created by the manager. No-one gets near his precious babies. That would include a coach that might tell them to do something that makes their game a little less beautiful. Things need shaking up badly at the club if Arsenal are to win trophies again. Home defeats to West Brom, Newcastle and now Spurs are not flukes. They are indicative of a team in need of guidance.Arsenal are two points off the lead, but please let us not kid ourselves that things are in a good situation. The team lost three at home in 2001-02 but won the title because they were unbeaten away all season. Arsenal still have to play Manchester United twice and Chelsea will ruin Christmas for a good number on December 27th. And the Gunners can’t be relied upon to beat anybody, never mind the top two. United haven’t played well all season but are unbeaten and Chelsea will lift themselves out of this malaise once Drogba fully recovers and Essien returns. The chance was there, but the current regime are not able to exploit opportunities, just throw away promising situations, frustrating the fans.The culture of complacency at Arsenal when it comes to football matters thrives. It means nothing is going to change soon. The team will get enough points to make the top four and next season’s Champions League. They will be eliminated in the last eight or sixteen in Europe by a team better equipped to win two-legged football ties. It will be déjà-vu. There is no wisdom in these pronouncements. Everyone knows it, including those in charge of hiring and firing the manager. The players will not be sat down in front of a commemorative DVD of yesterday’s game and ordered to watch the second half three times over to analyse their mistakes. Arsene Wenger will spout more delusional bullshit in press conferences. Love will tear us apart, sure enough. However, to finish on another musical reference from the days when I had hair, in our heart of hearts, I think that today, the majority of Gooners will agree, something better change

  • dreamz

    lets be frank Nothing has improved at Arsenal and we have not moved forward at all. The ONLY reason we are two points ahead is because Chelsea have lost three of the last four games and Man Utd are a shadow of their former selves. Arsenal are not a very good side at all and our defence is the poorest i have seen in my life time. We will never win anything like this and we need to rebuild our defence around english players simply because they understand the english game – i would keep clichy who could do a good job on the left wing a la gareth bale and i would keep vermaelin but the others simply have got to go – you have to wonder why we even considered buying squillaci and koscelny because they are not anywhere near good enough – koscelny is hopeless. I just think Arsenal need to look at Wenger and realise that he has taken the club as far as he can – i would like to see a new face at Arsenal and a few less foreign faces – they just have no concept or loyalty at all.

  • Gooner Gal

    Because you consistantly make stupid nonsensical unfactual comments.
    .

    Because you often make idiot assumptions in your posts that say things like ‘everyone can see or its obvious that Wenger doens’know what he is doing’.
    .

    Because you don’t know how to support.
    .

    Because you brain dump every rabid thought and confirm that there isn’t much rattling around in there that will enrich any intellectual conversation taking place on this blog.
    .

    Because when we return to winning ways this week you will go quiet.
    .

    Because when we win silverware this season you won’t be ashamed to join in the celebrations.
    .
    Because reading your posts take minutes off my and anyone else’s life that could be put to better use.
    .

    Because surely you must be a Spurs fan in disguise.

  • Gooner Gal

    Oh and lastly, because you seem to have an irrational fear of using the space bar on your keyboard.

  • dreamz

    I can honestly say (and no, this isn’t a knee-jerk reaction, it’s a nagging thought I’ve had in the back of my mind ever since we’ve moved to the Grove) that I feel myself falling out of love with Arsenal. That isn’t to say, however, that it’s all because of the foreigners. After all, look back to the Invincibles – TH14, DB10, PV4, Jens, Ralph, Bobby etc. These were all players who rose the big occasions and, with relevance to yesterday, used to love beating that lot.Funnily enough, I was talking to a mate the other week about the state of our squad and I thought back to the teams of years gone by. Over the years we’ve had players I’ve worshiped, and if I didn’t worship them, I at the very least, held most of them in very high regard (with few exceptions). However, I struggle to find members of our current squad that I like – let alone worship! Vermalen? I guess. Nasri, yeah. Cesc, yeah. RvP, yeah. Jack, yeah – and that’s about it. The majority of the rest of the squad I either feel no affection towards or, in some cases, actually dislike.I could rant long, long in to the night about this, but I’ll stop before I start boring people too much. I’ve been embarrassed with Arsenal performances and results many times in the past, but I don’t ever remember a time where I felt so disillusioned with them as I do now. If a chance to go top of the league, to give a good hiding to your fiercest rivals and a huge salary isn’t enough motivation for these players to remain professional and focused for ninety fucking minutes, then what will motivate them?Time for the club that I love to move in a different direction, I think (although, admittedly, I’m not sure what direction that should be). I think we all have to admit that the days of players like Adams and Co. are long gone, not just at Arsenal. There are few remaining loyal players who do genuinely have a strong feeling for their club….Gerrard for example is one. The big problem at Arsenal is actually a double edged sword….on one hand, we have attracted some very good young talented players but often it’s because we offer a pay packet equal to an established player at a mid-table Premiership club. It’s no secret that some of our youngsters earn up to £20k or so a week, without even appearing regularly in the first team or on the bench even. Some of our ‘squad’ players…the likes of Denilson, Diaby, Eboue etc were all given IMPROVED extended contracts in the last 12 months or so. 20 years ago you had to EARN an improved contract as a player!!Wenger has created such a bubble around these pampered babies, they don’t have a clue what goes on in the real world so why would they realise what a NLD means? Arsenal football club actually employ someone to take care of the players council tax bills…..seriously they do, to take the worry away from them, someone is paid to sort it out!This all comes back to Wenger making himself the ‘Tsar’ of Arsenal. By giving the players all they need, by playing them when they are not playing well, by never criticising them, by giving them more money for failing…..they love him!! Shock horror! This chain has to be broken and the only way to do it is to remove the cause of it…..the tsar himself

  • dreamz

    First shouldnt you be in the kitchen or something? Learn how to read….And Dont tell  me how or who to support you dimwit, you want facts umm how many shall i start with? the fact that we havent won anything for 6 years? The fact that we have mercenaries at our club, An embarrassment. Cesc can stomp around all he likes but that handball was stupidity, whether he is sulking or just in a continuous bad mood he needs to get a grip and lead. It is what he gets paid for. It is his job as captain. He is flying into tackles like the type of player he has seen do graphic damage to a players limb, and yesterday he hand balled a free-kick that would have missed or been saved, in his own penalty area at 2-1 up. What a dumb arsed thing to do, stupid, inexplicable, reckless.. And more.You are captain. LEAD. Not just by performance, that isn’t enough – talk, shout and rally your troops at 2-1. He had his head down and just wandered back towards halfway, where was his fight? Where was the player that took a penalty against Barcelona with a broken leg? Most of all, where was your pride and passion? This season right from the off Cesc has been on a hiding to nothing, I realise that and its a lose-lose situation for him but his performances haven’t matched up to last season, be it injuries or being stifled by other players in the side. He could be a lot more vocal though. I have one memory that sticks… when England lost to France at Euro 2004, after England scored Beckham was trying to keep them calm, keep their heads, here was a player who wasn’t the most vocal on the pitch but he wanted to get his teams heads right. It didn’t work but its just something that has always come back to me. It was leadership.There wasn’t any from Cesc, from most of the players on that pitch.van Persie showed it, as did Samir Nasri. The others? They just don’t understand, it is by all means probably just another game to them. They won’t understand how much this will hurt the fans, the 60,000 passionate fans inside the Emirates stadium that can do nothing about the final result – the eleven on the pitch can do everything for the final result but they miss that extra spark that is created in these games. In some cases, as I show above, players can identify with the fans, get that spark and extra bit of passion. What really gets me though is that the majority of those players won’t be feeling like we are now. They need to feel that.There was no guts yesterday, they didn’t have the balls to finish the job off. Tottenham didn’t win that game, I will always maintain that – they deserve a lot of credit for pulling off a comeback this team wouldn’t – but we handed it to them on a plate. You have to now say they have made their statement, they have arrived as a force and now we have to respect them. They look a hungry team, something we haven’t replicated. Arsenal have epitomised everything I have ever stated and more about their lack of ability to win matches that they dominate. The bragging rights today belong to Arsenal’s shadow club  after a pathetic tactical display from Wenger. I was specifically waiting for today’s match praying I would be eating humble pie, writing an article about Arsenal called “Are we going to do it now?” The answer based on today’s performance is simply NO. I was jumping for joy as many of you were in the first half at a masterclass of typical Arsenal play. Slick passing oozing with sheer flair were making Spurs look like true spuds; rooted to the ground stuck watching! This is the biggest game for true Arsenal fans as this is the match on the fixture list we care about the most.Nasri was immense as ever showing his promise of developing into one of the finest midfielders on the planet. I look at this squad I say how are we not dominating this league. Chelsea were poor against Sunderland and Birmingham; yet again we fail to take top spot. Those 3 home defeats to West Brom, Newcastle and Spurs are a kick in the teeth to any Arsenal fan.If Arsenal put displays like this on at home again they should refund all season ticket holders for their lack of ability to win matches that they should. In the second half it was typical Arsene Wenger and typical Arsenal. 2 – 0 and comfortable then the tempo drops, inviting pressure from the opposition which they get luck on and capitalise. Wenger should have never taken Samir Nasri off which was a massive mistake. Chamakh was awful and woeful in that second half along with Denilson and Song. The defence was poor and overall is a miserable day for true Arsenal fans. I hope all of you finally can agree that changes need to happen in either the squad, manager, backroom staff and coaching, if we are to finally win that silverware that we as fans have been more than patient in waiting for. I firmly stand by the notion that Wenger must move upstairs and we need a better tactical manager in with a completely new backroom team. Yesterday was a dark day for all of us and I hope Wenger apologises to fans for that disgraceful showing

  • trevor

    Im sick and tired of watching the team come out for a 2nd half looking lethargic and blatantly “not up for it”!! Instead of geeing them up he must relax them and calm them down, Sperz came out with a rocket up their arses and looking like they badly wanted it, a different formation trying to get back into the game, we came out looking like we had spent 15 mins in a relaxation room!!! Surely he knew they would come out for the 1st 10 all guns blazing? surely he knew we had to keep it tight for the 1st 15 mins? Wenger sits their refusing to change anything hoping something will just happen! This is shite management along with dropping Djourou who was our best player against Wolves and Everton!! SOMETHING NEEDS TO CHANGE! Thought i would feel better this morning but im even more frustrared!!!!!! FUCK

  • insideright

    Sh*t happens and it certainly happened yesterday.
    It feels worse because of who it was agaianst and the order the goals were scored in.
    The same scoreline against WBA didn’t feel anything like as bad because of those two factors. Plus the fact that WBA deserved the win and Spurs looked, for the majority of the game, not that good.
    Some of our players looked pretty tired in the second half and you only need to look at their midweek commitments to understand why. Of that had been a Sunday or Monday game who knows what we might have achieved?
    At half time you would not have criticised anyone in a red shirt or doubted anyone’s ability to cope with even a revitalised opposition. Even in the air, defensively, we looked good although I have to admit to being concerned that Djourou wasn’t there given his excellence at Everton last week performing that very duty.
    All teams miss players in ways that sometimes they don’t expect to. A midfield with Diaby in it would have been less likely to have conceded either the second or third goals, but Spurs had players missing as well so what conclusions can you come to on that one? As Harry himself admitted Spurs got their tactics very wrong in the first half and ‘rode their luck’ to not be much further behind.
    On balance we had a bad 45 mins at the office but we’re still trying to assimilate three players who had not even played in this country until the beginning of this season – one of them having already missed three games due to quite ridiculous suspensions.
    Maybe the Premiership is ‘evening out’ – it’s certainly less predictable than it has been. The much reviled Stoke City have won three games in a row in the top flight for the first time in their history!
    But ask yourself – looking at the whole piece and taking into account the age of squads and the finances that are likely to be applicable in the future – who would you bet on to win the EPL most often in the next five years if you had to bet now?

  • mandy dodd

    dreamz, please at least have the grace acknowledge your source for your rants – your earlier post – the one whereby Joy Division lyrics are mentioned was taken directly from Online Gooner

    http://www.onlinegooner.com/article.php?section=editorial&id=269

  • dreamz

    Cesc was holding on to the ball too much and everything now seems to have to go through him. I think we were lucky to be 2-0 up as we were hardly trying to score in the 1st half. At half time you just knew it was going to go wrong unless we came out fighting in the 2nd half as the Spuds could not play any worse. The stats will show we had all the possession but other teams now know how to counter this. How many time did we see Cesc running across the Spuds box with no options (or is it nous) for a killer pass or shot. It happens in so many games. Only when we are up against it in the dying moments do we see any urgency and shooting and by then its usual desperate attempts like Walcotts shot. Losing a 2-0 lead is unprofessional and criminal. We should have been hungry in the 1st to get a third and then really killed it off. However, once again the defence let us down. It starts in DM. Song likes to go forward but is not a good as he thinks. Nothing he tried came off yesterday. Song going forward leaves the hapless Denilson who is just not good enough. This leaves our defence exposed. Kos, Squashy and Clicy were poor yesterday. The icing on the cake is still Flappy. Despite a few decent saves in other games he causes panic. Did you see him and Kos nearly mess up that back pass? Would a better GK saved that 3rd goal? We are going around in circles with the same problems and only doing well in the PL cos others are messing up. Wenger needs to fix this. Its all too predictable and not good enough. I dont know how Wenger can say he doesnt know how we lost. It was obvious in the 1st half we were playing like it didnt matter. I really cant stand watching a team that doesnt have strength and urgency. I was in the Clock End yesterday right next to the Spuds fans- it was not a good day to be a Gooner.

  • Gooner Gal

    Honestly Dreamz, how have you managed to function so long with out a brain? You clearly need your sleeves lengthened by a couple of inches so that they can be tied at the back!

  • dreamz

    @gonnergal is that your clever reply – dimwit.  I’ve been a fan of this club for 40 years, I have seen the good and the bad. Wenger has been our best ever manager without doubt, but something has gone seriously wrong with him and most people have their own opinions on why. He was never tactically good, but the way the team performed with World Class talent like Henry, Vieira, Bergkamp and Pires, it didn’t matter most of the time. But now we don’t have that talent except for maybe Cesc and we also lack motivational players like Keown, Adams, Winterburn and Toure. I so want this team to be successful but feel 5 years of making the same mistakes is too much. And yesterday was probably one of the most stomach churning results I’ve had to endure in 40 years, even worse than losing to Nayim’s halfway line goal and losing at Wrexham in 92. At least in both those games we felt they were flukes and one-offs. Yesterday wasn’t. This could all have been avoided if Arsene had done his job properly and listened to people over the years, but he hasn’t. I would so love to be proved wrong, but I really can’t see any mileage in Wenger’s reign anymore. Its a sad and horrible way for him to go, but I feel its for the best for both parties. Arsenal continue to drop points at home. There is know way Arsenal can win the league untill Wenger swallows his his pride and goes to the transfer market. Its all very well developing young talent but this has been his approach for the past 4 years and where has this got him. No-where. Wenger needs to bring in some ‘hard nose’ players who know how to perform on a consistant basis. They don’t need to be the most fashionable players but they know how to win and never take a backward step. Its about getting a balance between flair and ‘hard nose’ mentality. Because at the moment Arsenal is totally lop-sided towards flair, yet a weak mentality. One point that was again demonstrated for me yeaterday was how Nasri on his own made and got that first goal. Not one of our players thought for a moment it was worth running into the box to get on the end of anything that may have come off from Nasri’s efforts. They all decided to watch almost as spectators to see what would happen. I have seen this far too often in this team. For me its an indication of the arrogance and laziness in the team. The players are only interested in passy-passy and ball watching. Fix it Wenger – LIKE THATS GONNA HAPPEN – You can expect the usual drivel IF we win against Braga. ‘mental strength bla bla bullshit

  • Gooner Gal

    Ha Ha Dreamz – I really am not bothered to read your entire posts, like I said before they all make as much sense as your first. But I do see that you have called me a dim wit, which I find hilarious when clearly you were front of the queue when they were handing out brains, but ended up holding the door open the door for everyone else and ended up missing out.

  • dreamz

    Another smart answer from someone who doesn’t have a iota of a clue about football. One word – clueless – bit like the daft manager of ours

  • Gooner Gal

    Dreamz, that was a pretty short post there, have you forgotten how to copy and paste?

  • Arsenal_stevie

    Arsenal no longer know how to win

    Such is their inability to hold on to a lead, you would not trust Arsenal to walk your dog, let alone win the Premier League. 2-0 down at half-time, Tottenham Hotspur were helpless, hopeless and beaten. Against any other side. For 45 minutes, a swaggering Arsenal had held the proverbial gun to the back of their rivals’ head. Tottenham winced, waiting for the trigger to be pulled to end it all, but it never happened. It rarely does. Like a James Bond villain, they got complacent, bored even, spending too much time telling their victim what they were going to do them rather than actually doing it. It was hardly surprising that Tottenham managed to escape their clutches. Arsenal were brilliant in the first half, with Cesc Fábregas and Samir Nasri foolishly granted the freedom to strut their stuff as and when they pleased. At the interval, they were headed for the top of the league, which is where they would have stayed all weekend due to Chelsea’s defeat at Birmingham City.

    And then they imploded, as they so often do. Already this season, they have relinquished leads against Sunderland and Shakhtar Donetsk. Last year they drew 2-2 with West Ham after leading 2-0 with 16 minutes to go, and lost 3-2 to Wigan Athletic after leading 2-0 with 10 minutes left. This is a side that once contrived to draw 4-4 with Tottenham when they were 4-2 up in the 89th minute. It’s not surprising, because it keeps on happening.

    While there is much to admire about Arsenal’s football, they no longer know how to win and Arsène Wenger is incapable of instilling a maturity in the side. Surely Wenger would have drummed home the importance of retaining their lead for as long as possible; within minutes of the restart, though, Tottenham were back in the game. Arsenal are too open, unable to shut up shop as champions must, lack leadership and concede too many soft goals. Credit must be given to Harry Redknapp’s brave tactical changes that prompted Tottenham’s revival – his introduction of Jermain Defoe and redeployment of Rafael van der Vaart at half-time was inspired – but this game was all about Arsenal’s fragility in defence. Tottenham’s goals came from a long punt, a foolish handball by Fábregas that conceded a penalty and, finally, a header from a free-kick. All were eminently preventable, yet Arsenal’s creaking back four only requires the slightest push for it to collapse. The mistakes made by Laurent Koscielny and Sébastien Squillaci were placed into sharper focus by the imperious display by William Gallas for Tottenham. For all his foibles – at one point he appeared to be close to tears – Arsenal could have done with him on Saturday.

    Guardian Sport.

  • Gooner Gal

    Dreamz, are finally warming to Wenger after 16 years? Its just that you called him daft and not the usual expletives? Also I was wondering if you have ever thought of starting your own blog, since you have so much to say?

  • Gooner Gal

    Okay Dreamz I take it you are:-

    a) deeply engrossed in a conversation with one of the many voices in your head.
    .
    b) taking timeout to have your medication.
    .
    c) busy cutting and pasting every anti Arsenal comment you can find on the internet.
    .
    d) aware that some things are best left unsaid.

  • swikrath

    Oh dreamz : 40 years of supporting the club and you need to copy paste to put your dissappointment from yesterdays result in words 😉 LOL..Why don’t you pop a pill and dream on a bit more till we march on and become champions maybe then you can come come out and try copy pasting from some other blog
    @gooner gal : Well said. What a moron!

    Whilst its a very vvery disappointing result and i don’t know how good excuses are 🙁 but still there’s hope!Braga and Villa coming up!! Up the gunners
    On a side note i was expecting a little more composure from Wenger,after al this is the third one at home.Rant and scream at the players later where there’s no media to highlight that we are still kids and spineless and blah blah..
    There are a few things to be ironed out and hopefully it’ll be done soon..