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It is over for Arsenal, Man City and Chelsea? Actually it’s just beginning

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by Walter Broeckx

After a sleepless night I was waiting for the sun to come up again. I was sure this was not going to happen again. This was the ultimate doomsday. The end of the world.

And when my alarm clock told me it was time to go to work I had been living the game over and over and over again. Still the same final score at the end and still not the best of performances during the game.

But when I look at the league table for the moment I see:

Pos Team P W D L F A +/- Pts
1 Manchester United 16 9 7 0 36 16 20 34
2 Arsenal 17 10 2 5 34 19 15 32
3 Manchester City 17 9 5 3 24 13 11 32
4 Chelsea 17 9 4 4 31 12 19 31

And this hardly is looking doomsday to me. Oh yes, it could have been better and sweeter. But it always can be better. You can be unhappy with our defeat (I am unhappy) and you can be unhappy with our performance (I am unhappy) but does this now means that it is all over?

Does this means that it is all over for Manchester City also. They haven’t even won the same amount of games as we did. Or is it all over for Chelsea? They even couldn’t get as much points as we did.

Is the title decided and can we stop playing football until the next season? When I hear some people we could. But those are the people who stop with every set back in their life, sit on the floor and moan and cry a bit and tell how unfair live is to them and then just wait for things to get better.

Well let us take a look at how things stood last season around this time. Last season after 17 games we were 8 (eight) points behind the league leaders. And now we are 2 points behind.  I know United have a game in hand but unless they have played it and won it they haven’t got the points.  And remember last season we were in the title race until the whole team (well almost the whole team) got injured at the same time and we dropped out in April.  So should we stop playing and forget it like some suggested?

And let us look at our players.  We all had high hopes of players like Vermaelen (our best defender last year AND a notorious goal scorer as a defender), Cesc (one of the best midfielders in the world) and Robin Van Persie (when fit one of the best attackers around). We all expected them to be the spine of the team.

Vermaelen has started 3 of our 17 games. And he will be missing a few before he can come back. And note that we do not only miss his defending but also the fact that he scored 8 goals in his 45 appearances last season is something we must not forget. He can defend and score and we don’t have this for the moment.

Cesc has started 9 games of our 17 games. Just more than half of our games. But as he had to be taken off with an injury he hasn’t finished them all. And every time when he looked like getting back to his better playing levels he got injured again and had to start all over again. And last season he was our provider and goal scorer and got us through some tough games.

And then Robin Van Persie. Last season at the start of the EPL he was on fire. Distributing assists and scoring goals. And now he has had 1 (one) start in the season and had to be replaced after half an hour.

And yet with those important players who have only played 13 of the possible 51 starts between them we find ourselves in second place.  Who would have thought this would be possible before the start of the season when we didn’t know that they would be out injured for such a long period?

And yes other teams have had their injured players. And did it affect them? Hell yes,  it did affect them. Just look at Chelsea with not as many players out compared to us they struggled without some key players. For the moment we have been delivering results depending on the game of a young lad like Jack Wilshere. And he has done exceptionally well so far but you can’t expect that he can carry the team the whole season long. This is not possible for a young player like him. But he and we will benefit from his many starts in this season in the future. He has been having a master class education in a few weeks time and he did very well.

So for all these shouting like morons about lack of this, lack of that, managers that should be fired or that has lost it I would just suggest to take a step back and look at it again.

And things can only get better if you ask me. Cesc will become the player we knew and will  deliver again. Van Persie has had his half year out with injury by now and will come back to his level. And if God allows it the mystery injury from Thomas Vermaelen will go away and he will be back firing on all cylinders and be important in defence and attack starting from January.

And hell, let us not forget Diaby is coming back and will add something to the team and will produce another option in midfield and attack. And if there is a good God somewhere around he will bring us back Aaron Ramsey and he will fill in the gap and become as good as he promised to be  when he got kicked off the field.

We have had our fair share of injury bad luck so far this season and are still in second position at the half of the season. So those who want to give: just give up and sit back and feel sorry for yourself.

Those who will not give up: just join me in our support for our Gunners. After all, that is the only thing I can do. It is the only thing I will do. It is the only thing we can do.  I will be there, in victory and in defeat. That is why I am a Gooner.  No way will I give up until the final whistle, so should all of you.  There still is too much to look forward to.

Making the Arsenal: the third edition is now out.

Woolwich Arsenal: the index

Untold Arsenal

62 comments to It is over for Arsenal, Man City and Chelsea? Actually it’s just beginning

  • Ken

    Refreshing article. There is is so much to fight for.

  • Ndenga Mulonga

    hmmmm if you think of it in this way yeah were doing pretty great but i don’t think we should think of it in this way think of it in the way that we no longer have kids in the team apart from wilshere if your above 20 these days in football your not a child any more and we have an awesome team even without those three just that rosicky needs to learn a calmness lesson in front of goal from nasri and i think arshavin is not lazy i think he is scared if you look at the manchester game he made very harmless shots when he had space, instead he could have run at vidic and ferdinand cause he looks capable of beating them and if not the more you run at defenders the more shaken they get and the more mistakes they made, rosicky also looks capable of running at defenders but no he choose to make harmless shots from a distance when he had space and chamakh is just not fit for this game just yet just beacuse he’s scoring doesn’t mean he’s really good when we put bendtner upfront last season he scored didn’t he?….. i think if his confidence escapes his mouth and comes into his game he is better than chamakh in finshing and in stregnth and at the back koscielny is not bad he is very good in fact but we need to have two very defensive midfielders in front of the defenders because even I a 16 yr old striker knows that if you keep running and bullying defenders when you get the space they’re bound to make an error in 1 in four of your runs at them so we need denilson and song at the back and make sure song doesn’t go ahead and we will see the difference wilshere could be a player to come on in the 60th minute if we lack attackers which i doubt we will and if walcott begins to regain form i think he will add about 35% to our game because he loves to run at defenders which shakens them instead of making vidic and ferdinand look like kings at the back am waiting to see how they’ll cope with kalou drogba malouda and anleka running at them cause they love to do that!!!

  • Gilles

    Walter, I always feel happy that you find a way to tell and to express your opinion in a way that is special. I feel that I would never give up on my beloved gunners, just like you. It’s the path I chose the moment I decided Arsenal would be my team, forever no matter what. I began to be a real fan when the Invincibles became invicibles. It’s not long ago, only six years. But I have been with my team in every defeat, every sent off, every critisism, every 3-0, every every joyful moment, anything. I never doubted that, so should people who really believe in the team because I do. Walter does too.

    Reading comments where people say that Wenger should buy Puyol, hangeland and Cahill, and get rid of Denilson and Bendtner and every nonsence, is really pathetic and is that opinion is entitled to people who play XBOX and PS, where they make the game easy, medium or hard, where they make every repalcement they want.

    I’m not gonna hide that the Man U defeat was painful, and at one moment I really lost faith in the boys, adding on the previous comments by Evra, I became faithless, but I really said it’s a little setback and we can come back stronger since in this league everyone has been beating everyone. So just be behind the boys.

  • Gooner Gal

    Walter I agree and like the optimism in this article, but I can also understand (some) of the views being expressed by upset fans. The season is far from over and anything can happen, but we can’t pine after players that are not fit or weren’t selected for the previous matches, constantly saying ‘if only’.
    .

    I expect every player that puts on an Arsenal shirt to bust a gut for the club and to have the desire to want to cause Arsene a selection headache, when their counterparts return to full fitness. The manor of the losses to Newcastle and Tottenham this season still rankle, which make the ‘celebration’ of second place a bit difficult.

    The players that are fully fit at any given time are the ones that I expect to be able to win the game they have been selected to play. Win, lose or draw I want to see desire, hard work and a never say die attitude from every player. If could say that I have seen that in all the losses we have suffered recently, then I would very happy with our position as I never expected us to go unbeaten this season.
    .

    Anyway going forward its necessary real Arsenal fans get behind and support the team, because it affects the players. Nothing good will come from ripping apart the players and manager. Some people need to learn how to deal with disappointment and anxiety, without lashing out all the time. Even with the odds stacked against us, I really believe we will win silverware this season.

  • Kinggunn

    God bless “Untold Arsenal” unlike some arsenal blogs out there who are always trying 2 cause commotion between our fans nd our beloved arsenal. They just manipulate d fans nd make them think they are better than Wenger… No doubt we obviously av d worst fans nd av decided not 2 b like them cos i always luk @ d bright side, av also seen something in our team which these bunch of whiners wud neva c.

  • Byo

    Walter- From an Arsenal follower and fan for over 3 decades, I say touche.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Nice one Walter. Agree on all this, with our first choice spine back, things could be good – and as you say, those who have filled in will have learned alot.
    Agree on Diaby, think in some games, we miss him more than he is sometimes given credit for

  • slugboy

    hmm. It’s good that we are still in all competitions, have an excellent balance sheet and have a great manager…..but…..if i’m permitted to have a winge……we are not very convincing this year. We do not look like a team which cannot be beaten.

    So I can, to a certain degree understand the complaining.

    There is something wrong. Can’t put my finger on it, but something.

    If I was to critically analyse the team, it is not sharp, not probing, not pressing as it should be. Maybe we need to change tactics once in a while to stop other teams just parking the bus. Maybe we should try two big fellas up front and hit long balls every now and then just to change it. We are very predictable.

    I think I am the only gooner not to like RVP. He slows it down and flatters to deceive. He has flashes of inspiration, but not frequently enough. He is a free kick expert who hasn’t actually scored a freekick in 5 years (check if you wish).

    Does anyone else agree (hides behind sofa for backlash)?

  • Andrei

    I understand the sentiment but the point is that unlike Arsenal City and Chelsea are able to at least not loose to United with Chelsea is the likeliest team to beat them. Arsenal WILL lose their remaining game against MU – the most depressing thing about Monday loss is that Arsenal is not capable to salvage at least a point against MU in their current crappy form. And as history shows United tend to improve towards the end of the season… What it means in practical terms that in addition to current 2(5 actually) point gap Arsenal would have to compensate for additional 3 point gap. Which means they will have to go near perfect until the end of the season and that is not very realistic to expect. For starters, they are likely to lose to Chelsea in two weeks.

  • Ronnie Brown

    Anyone who thinks the season is over is a complete idiot, we are 2 points behind currently in the league and are in all competitions. We weren’t good enough against Manchester United with our performance, I think overall they were better than us, Nani was a very big threat and caused us problems and I don’t think the neccessary drive, work rate, and passion was there, we hardly seemed to close down properly and are attacks rarely looked dangerous too, disapointing performance. However, we could of easily drawn the game as, Chamakh was very close to getting a touch on a rebound, had that went in we could of got a draw or pushed on. Before the match of course I was hoping for a win but I thought a draw would be a good result, I just didn’t want us to loose, unfortunetly we did. Personally I would of liked to of seen Theo get some more time, he is a goal threat and could have offered a different option, Bendtner could of helped too, my team selection would of been different personally but I can understand and respect Arsene’s but I felt the team bar a few players let him down. If we want to win the league though we must improve, if we play with that kind of lack of drive and passion then there’s is no way we will win the league, I hope it’s an area Arsene and the coaches critque and urge improvement, cause we have great potential but we needed more effort, we were lackluster for such a big game, however there is still time for improvement and as of now we are very much in the race, Man U play Chelsea next which means they could loose and we could potentially go top again if we win I think.

  • Ronnie Brown

    I honestly don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion Man U will beat us in our next game against them, although our performance was not great remember it was only 1-0 through a goal that was made possible through an unlucky deflection, we can beat them I feel, but I think to give us a better chance we need a much better attitude and performance and possibly a few selection changes.

  • Ronnie Brown

    Also sites like Le Grove and the like are an absoloute disgrace, they faked supporting the team in the pre match post (to cover themselves incase of a victory) then went back to their usual hate and overeaction after a 1-0 defeat. Geoff is a complete scumbag and the lowest of the low and Pedro is just his lapdog, I remember I think we won a match in Europe recently and they called for Arsene’s sacking then too, they clearly have an agenda and are a complete joke. Anti Arsenal is the perfect name for them cause they seem to hate nearly everything about Arsenal, they literally do appear to be a Spurs blog sometimes. What they do isn’t support, supporters are meant to offer support and offer constructive critism, not constantly write hateful material regarding practically everything to do with the club. Some of there readers/posters are ok though, I’d reccommend they come and post here where they could have discussion and debate, not just complete childish sensationalism regarding everything, they need to grow up.

    What Arsene said is true, the most consistant team will win the league, at the moment that is Man U so they deserve their lead however there is a long way to go. I hope we beat Stoke and play a lot better than the last match.

  • Andrei

    @Ronnie Brown We’ve had “we can beat them this time” expectations in the last 10 games with the same result. What makes you believe in any different outcome? Unless you are counting on pure probability math. Which reminds of the detective from Sheckley’s Mindswap:

    “One hundred and fifty eight failures! It is a fantastic record an unbelievable record, especially if you grant my incorruptibility, good faith, and skill. A run like that simply has to break! I could probably sit here in my office and do nothing, and the criminal would find his way to me. That’s how strong the probabilities are in my favor…”

  • dxb_gooner

    i thought clichy was excellent against nani. szczeny was aweseom as well .. we just lacked attacking thrust .. our defence was good.. as we all know the goal resulted from a deflected cross.
    we are still in all competitions .. well have a good season 🙂
    go gunners !

  • Gooner Gal

    Ronnie Brown – I completely agree with your comments about Theo Walcott. In my opinion he always turns up and puts in a good shift in the high pressure matches, I don’t know why he has so many detractors. I consider him a big game player, who is not easily phased. I remember his first ever goal for Arsenal against Chelski at Wembley and in a cup final. Not to mention some of his other contributions against Liverpool, Farca and last week Partizan. I don’t have a strong opinion on whether he should start or not, but I would like to see him introduced sooner if he is a sub to allow him time to settle into the game.

  • Mike_greece

    You are putting too much faith in “God”. Everything depends on people. And at Arsenal FC we DO NOT have the right people to get the job done. At least, not any more…

  • arsene-al

    walter as always your articles always make the world seem better, and it was the case until i started reading the impact cesc, vp, and vermaelen have on our performance. it seems like year after year we keep playing this what if game. i mean we’re doing so well now (but yet again) imagine we had them playing. each player is an integral part of their section of the pitch and there is no doubt in my mind that if they were there and fully fit we would have beaten man u. vermaelen holding the helm at defense, cesc opening up the manc defense, and vp simply working his magic up front. this injury situation is really getting annoying, but at the same time you have to admire how well this team has adjusted to important players missing from the team. look at manu, rooney is unfit and all of a sudden theyr nothing like their past selves, chelsea lose a guy or two and they drop all those points. youv got to hand it to this team, they are very resilient

  • St. Louis Gooner

    Well, here in the U.S., what it looked like at club that couldn’t even produce a threat. Edwin should have brought along something to read.
    It was a greatly troubling performance. This could be corrected in time for EPL, Champions’ League, FA and Carling glory, but it needs to start.
    On and individual basis, the defense looked okay, but as I always say, the best a defense can do it give you a nil-nil tie. Or, as Gen. Stonewall Jackson said, ‘The best defense is a good offense.’
    The midfield seemed disintrested in providing any service to the strikers, or not enough anyway.
    The strikers seemed to be along for the ride.
    Mostly, everyone in a yellow jersey didn’t seem to know whether to shit or wind their watch.
    I know our talent is good; better even than the Mancs or CSKA London. But they need to start acting that way, and soon.

  • T2T

    To all those negative supporters out there:
    1. Arsenal has won the most games so far this season, more than manU, Chelsea, ManC, Spurs,…
    2. We’re still the only top EPL team still in CL, FA Cup and CC…
    3. We’re one game away from being in a final
    4. Our injured spine is returning from injuries
    5. We’re 2nd in EPL

    To all those positive supporters out there:
    a. We’re 2 points behind ManU and they have a game in hand.
    b. We’ve conceded more goals than even Sunderland
    c. We finished only 2nd in CL Group Stage
    d. We always have our best players injured
    e. We always lose against the other top teams in EPL

  • Ronnie Brown

    Andrei, don’t you remember a few years ago we were winning most of the big games? We had the best record out of the top 4 in the big games infact but we were loosing the smaller games. This game was close against Man U, they didn’t destroy us, if Van Persie was fully fit and able to start, if Theo was 100 percent ready, we had Diaby and some of the other options available it could of been a very different game, there will come a time when we are fully prepared, ultimately we don’t HAVE to beat them to win the league but of course we must strive to beat them, I think right now we have the squad CAPABLE of beating them, I thought some of our wing play was a little samey, as I said it would of been nice in my opinion if we had Theo up there with Nasri, would of been two different options, even RVP could of offered something, Arshavin has improved recently but I still do feel he is quite hit and miss, I think maybe we should consider playing the form players instead of off their status and potential ability, Arshavin on his day can be incredible, but in the last game he wasn’t really effective in my opinion, I would of considered a half time sub for Theo personally, but I understand why that decsion was not taken. I do believe Arsene is a winner though and loves Arsenal so he is going to be thinking and anaylising and looking for ways to beat them. I think the difference is slight rather than extreme which means we can beat them, I wouldn’t rule us out personally but I can understand why you would feel them as favourites, I thought they were favourites going into the last game but I believed we did have a chance and had a few things been different we could of got something from the game, they are not infinetly better than us where they will inevitably win, any team in this league can beat anyone I think.

  • Ronnie Brown

    I think Cliche tried very hard and his passion was admirable, I wish all are players played with that kind of heart, sometimes he got beat but you can’t deny he really tried hard.

  • Ronnie Brown

    Gonner Gal, it’s so freshing to here you say that, I’ve been defending Theo for a long time, when he first came I didn’t feel he was that good but was willing to watch his development, but I think it was the season before last he had what I thought was his breakthrough season and from then I knew he’d make it. And he’s been getting better, he is a big goal threat and he frightens people with his pace (just ask the whole Barca team). And before his injury he was arguably our most valuable player at that particular time, so I think a gamble of playing Walcott in the Man U game or at least bringing him on earlier would of been worth it, but Arsene knows more than me and he obviously has other players to keep happy, but to me Walcott is a big player for us and I think he could be an incredible player, a world class asset for us, cause I think he is capable of maintaining his form pre the last injury, his only issue has been injuries. I think he does have a football brain, I think people are far to picky on him, yes he makes mistakes but he has intelligent runs, can put through a good cross, is a very good finsher, he has the potential to be a big big player for us, time will show that bar any terrible injuries but I believe in Theo greatly. And what you said about being a big game player I agree with too, Chelsea cup final… Barca games…. Liverpool game (that run), he can do it, he’s the type of player that could be THE difference in a tight game, especially when others are tense or it’s open. Oh I just seen you mentioned the Chelsea game too lol, I remember that very well to, excellent turn and finish. Arsene has always said he sees Theo as a starter and not an impact sub too and he is very right about that. Definetly I would like to see him played sooner, it’s hard for any player to make an impact in the last 15 mins, Theo is a big talent and I forsee him having an extremely bright future here.

  • Ronnie Brown

    *Refreshing

  • Lancer

    I would like to add that we have played the other top 4 sides all away thus far. 1 win, 2 losses, big deal. I know at the moment it seems our away form is just as good if not better than our home form, but that is surely an anomaly. We will have all of the other top 4 at the Emirates, and I think that if we take 5 points from those 3 games, we will be in a strong position.

    Man U has 1 win away out of 7 this season. Not only is that very poor, but they have only played 7 of their 16 games away. The rest of their fixtures will be harder than ours.

    Of all the traditional top teams (Man U, Man City, Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Everton) we only have Tottenham away from home. I must say, the more I look at it, with such a favorable second half fixture list, and hopefully the return of some of our best players from injury, how can anyone be so negative with us in 2nd right now?

    I guess one would have to be very short sided to think so negatively. Such fickle supporters, you people only remember the last few matches. If we beat Chelsea and go unbeaten for the next 4 or so matches, the same doubters will be shouting that they believed in Arsenal all along.

  • Dark Prince

    I think its high time, our players start taking responsibilities for their results. Its sad to see that every time Arsenal loses a match, Wenger is targeted. I think he has done almost all he can to create this team from scratch, now its time that the players deliver consistent performances (which i think no1 has given except Nasri). Consistency is the only thing that can save us. As i had said earlier, the loss to United and Chelsea is not as painful as the loss to West Brom and Newcastle. Jus think, if we had won those games, we’d still be on top.

  • Ronnie Brown

    Dark Prince, I think that is a very valid point, if we had beaten Newcastle and West Brom we would still be top, loosing those games really weren’t acceptable because the effort just wasn’t there, particlarly the West Brom game, it is time some of the players step up in terms of their effort, some of them seem to only put the neccessary effort in occassionaly, I can accept loosing, even the odd poor performance, but not a lack of effort. Personally the changes I’d make currently are starting Theo instead of Arshavin (Arshavin is a great player on his day, but he has to be more consistant with his performances I feel to justify starting ahead of Theo and others), Djoure in for Squillaci, and I wouldn’t be oppossed to playing Bendtner up front as he’s a goalscorer and has a good goal record, also RVP could possibly do well in one of the side foward roles if someone isn’t playing well, I’d like to see our great squad utilised a bit more when some players are underperforming, I think JET could add something aswel, I think we have a fantastic squad, I disagree with those whose philosphy is to continuously buy buy buy, infact I’d like to see the squad used more, we have some great players, I look foward to Diaby coming back soon aswel as he’s a player I rate extremely highly, I am sometimes astounded by some of the critism he recieves, I think on his day he is absoloutly amazing, I am excited about his return and hope he doesn’t take that long to get into his stride, we could of done with someone like Diaby against Man U, a little turn or bit of power could have created a goal. But yes, while Arsene is not perfect, which he would readily admit, it’s not right he’s getting calls to be sacked when he has us in a great position currently, let’s just push on, cause we are very much in everything so far. I love Arsenal so much and am just waiting for the next match, I think we have a great squad and I am thankful we are in the position we are in, but am always looking for ways to progress further as that’s part of a winning mentality, but we are in a good position so far.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Thank you Walter for another fine article.This season has been topsy -turvy with a lots of unexpected twists and turns and I expect it to continue right up to the end.
    While we are not consistant ,the others are no better.Arsenal have won the most games as pointed out.Internal problems are troubling them – ie Tavez at Man Arab ;Ancelloti at Chelski, and is everything really rosy between Vain Loonie and Man Ure ?I think not.
    As for Arsenal,we just have to buck up and keep trying harder and hopefully the the other results will go our way.Keep the faith !

  • C4

    I’m optimistic about the chelski game. I think if we can defend like we did against manure, and add offense to our game, we’ll beat them. And I’m sure our manager knows this, he’ll be looking to add that to our next performance. I agree that Theo should have probably started the manure match (I really expected him to, from a tactical perspective). It would be difficult for them to put 2 players on Theo AND 2 players on Nasri. Theo would have been able to get behind their defense and put the ball in their box time and again, and that’s what we didn’t do. We specialize in scoring from inside the box. But I’m sure our manager has seen all this, and will adjust accordingly for Chelski.

  • C4

    Oh, and I’m sorry for spelling chelski with a capital C in my last post just now, it won’t happen again…

  • JohnW

    Any way, ManU has not lost a game in 16 EPL matches and is only 5 points clear of Arsenal (if like some people do, count the other match). Had it been Arsenal in that situation, still people would have been mourning why we’re unbeated and still get only those points. I say, the new year will be good to us, if only we can survive December, and find ourselves only around 5 points behind, then I will start to believe.

  • Dark Prince

    Ronnie Brown- completly agree with you. Basically, i’d really like to have the same squad that we started the season with, except for Almunia ofcourse. We’re still haven’t come to the form we started the season with. For that to happen, Van Persie and Walcot and Cesc have to be fully fit and sharp alongwith Vermaelen, which i think is the most missed in our team.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    ‘Is the title decided and can we stop playing football until the next season? When I hear some people we could. But those are the people who stop with every set back in their life, sit on the floor and moan and cry a bit and tell how unfair live is to them and then just wait for things to get better.’

    Walter, one of the things you learn if you work on the cusp of human knowledge, however imperfectly, is that experience brings with it judgement. It brings diagnostic capability. And it brings knowledge of when something’s time is past.

    I had an MD student discussing a problem with a technical issue over coffee years ago. I let him say his piece, let the group say their piece, then I asked him one simple question: ‘did you make up fresh XXXXX recently?’ He looked at me gobsmacked and said: ‘Yes, how did you know?’ I said: ‘Figures. Go weigh 1ml and if it’s less than 1.7g, there’s your problem.’ Then I explained why. He did and it was sorted. He’d tried his guts out, he’d sought support from others who put their best efforts in, we all wanted him to succeed. But I was the only one there with the knowledge, the insight and the 10 years of struggle at the coalface to know what was wrong. Trust me, when I started, I was far more incompetent than him……..

    So if there are folks who watched Arsenal for decades saying ‘this team won’t do it’, there are two possibilities: they have lost the faith; or they know enough about football to make that judgement.

    I’m not going to say which it is as I don’t know the whingers personally.

    But I suspect that quite a bit of it is to do with not realising that 2002 – 2005 wasn’t normal, it wasn’t just special, it was one of the most privileged existences that Arsenal fans lucky enough to see it live will ever get.

    I suspect those folks just don’t realise that you don’t get teams like that every year.

    And perhaps they are not yet emotionally ready to face that fact……….

  • afo

    We need a change of tactics to play better against United. They always play against us with 3 central midfielders and 3 attacking forwards in a 4-3-3 formation. They close up the midfield, and allow us to play a bit on the flanks…knowing fully well that we wont commit more players in thier box. They have done this to us over and over, I think we need to be more tactically sound to be able to get a result against them.

  • lego

    Another positive spin eh Walter? Tring to cover the cracks with sugar coating will not make the problems go away.

    The refusal to analyse opposition formation and the continuance of half time team talks with “Just go out there and play to your best abilities” is just plain caveman. That used to work when we have super individuals who have football brains like Vieira, Henry, Bergkamp, Pires. When you are stuck with players like Denilson, Clichy, headless chickens like Walcott, unproven egos like Bendtner, fragile glass-like RvP, confused as heck CBs, you don’t tell them to play to their best abilities simply because they have no idea what the word ability means. You sit them down one by one; tell them when to stick out their leg; when to start running; when to boot the ball out when in doubt; when not to concede stupid dangerous fouls; when to shoot when clear as sky; when to pass; when to stick to your man and not roam about uselessly. It’s funny that we have the manager once nicknamed the Professor when all he does is more towards the Nutty Professor by Eddie Murphy. Get the fricking laptop out and work out the numbers the opposition has conjured in the past 10 matches.

    Don’t just say you’ll learn and move on; fricking play the DVD match again and again and again and scruntinse every individual where they have done wrong at which specific video frame! We are NOT playing eye-candy football mind you, so what in the world am I trading for all these years at the expense of trophies? Get ugly get stuck in, bring in the cups and give us bragging rights!

  • Mandy Dodd

    Lego – from your last post, sounds like you want to turn us into Birmingham City?
    Bragging rights? The refuge of the insecure and self loathing

  • lego

    @Mandy – whether you like it or not everyone brags! We brag about our glory days to the spuds, we brag about having one of the most majestic players to have graced our club (Bergkamp) and we brag about our unbeaten season – wow just thinking about those days and those players makes me think what the hell has it come to?

    To see the dross like Denilson, Diaby, Eboue, Clichy, Koselny (i mean what is this guy) – we have been innundated with B rate Johnny foriegners who want to make their bob by sitting on the bench and turning up half heartedly for performances.

    The tide is certainly turning against wenger and i am so hoping that if he doesnt win anything at the end of this season (carling cup dosnt count) then he should be sacked.

  • lego

    To be honest despite what the league table might read at the present time, I have to say we are not capable of challenging for the title. We can’t defend at the back and we won’t shoot at goal when a clear chance presents itself. There’s just this continual desire to walk the ball into the net, after you, no after you. Chelsea and Man Utd have sussed us out for quite a while now and the other teams in the League are on to us as well.

    There will come a time – maybe sooner than we think – when Wenger will either wake up and see the light and spend big or on the other hand finally tire of defending his overpaid underachievers and decide to call it a day. And I know which one my money’s on.

    So here’s a topic of debate, if we get beaten by Chelsea (again) and torn apart by Real Madrid or Barca and Arsene calls it a day at Arsenal who would Gooners want to succeed him?

  • lego

    @Tony in reply to your post yesterday, I didn’t expect you to agree, it’s just how I feel, yes, you’re correct we were top prior to the Manure game, but why was that? I personally feel it was more down to our rival’s deficiencies than to our own improvement, in any other season, we’d be trailing several points behind in 3rd place.

    Yes, it’s good that Wenger is finally taking the League cup seriously, but then perhaps if he had done this a few seasons ago and won the thing, then the reward from actually winning something (apart from the E****** cup) would have been benefical to this squad, and given them the hunger for more.

    The knock out of the Euro’s, so due to Wenger’s team selection in Shahktar, and then Braga when qualification wasn’t guaranteed, we end up in 2nd place, this is down to Wenger again..

    I used to enjoy watching us, but I don’t no more, the football we play now is light years behind what used to be served up only a few seasons ago, our whole play is far too slow now.

    Yes, it’s great to be finanancially secure, especially in the present climate, but then perhaps Wenger and the board should start putting towards the playing staff, and not just on paying off debt, paying mega-pay for inferior player’s salary.

  • lego

    Chorus:

    We’re begging, begging you
    Get the chequebook out now Wenger,
    Begging, begging you
    Spend some fecking cash now Arsene.

    Verse:

    Riding high, when we were kings
    Played it hard and fast
    the team had everything,

    You sold away, great players then,
    Well easy come and easy go,
    success would end.

    Chorus:

    So we’re begging, begging you
    Get the chequebook out now Wenger.
    Begging, begging you
    Spend some fecking cash now Arsene.

    Bridge:

    We need you to understand,
    There’s something wrong with your master plan,
    Team needs men, who want to defend,
    Only then can we begin to win again.

    Verse:

    An empty shell, of what used to be
    To think you once bought us in-vin-ci-bi-li-ty.
    It’s broken now, still you won’t go
    And get the guys to give us back our Ars-e-nal.

    Chorus:

    So we’re begging, begging you
    Get the chequebook out now Wenger.
    Begging, begging you
    Spend some fecking cash now Arsene.

  • gandiv

    @lego – i think you are psychotic

  • A Casual Observer

    Why isn’t there an ‘ignore’ button on this site so we can filter out all the shit?

  • Mandy Dodd

    The tide is turning against Wenger – where? Maybe the English media or Spuds driven blogosphere but not among true supporters

  • Dark Prince

    lego- i dont think sacking Wenger is an option. But i think Wenger should start being more strict with his players. The team we have now is good enough to win the league, even the defence is good only if Vermaelen, Cesc, Van Persie and Walcott come back to their full fitness.
    I’d rather have a look on our fitness coach, i’d really like to know from him as to why our best players get injured all the time??
    Its really frustrating to see our best players unavailable for the big games. Yea sure we can win against the average teams but against the top teams, we need our best players!!
    Since how many years are we’re facing injury and fitness problems!! Really this is not acceptable…

  • walter

    I really do think it is time for some people to realise that the invincibles was a team with a very high average age. It is now some 6 years ago and most players of that team are retired from the game or are in their last part of their career getting a few extra quid before really calling it a day.

    The invincibles are gone. Period. No way could we have kept them until now. And don’t forget the season after the invincibles we came second and we were 12 (twelve) points behind Chelsea who had bought the league with the money from Abramovitch.

    And the year after that we dame in 4th place and that was the last season of the invincbles.

    So for anyone with a little bit of perspective could see that this was the end of period. A golden period.

    So don’t go telling that Wenger has sold the invicibles. They just were to old and couldn’t repeat it anymore.

  • Mandy Dodd

    “Carling Cup doesn’t count” I guess you mean we cannot celebrate it like Mancs on some sites did last year, or Spuds with their open top bus parades and DVD? Judging by some of those aforementioned types, winning the CC was almost like winning…well what Cesc won last summer!

  • gandiv

    Sounds like Almunia and Bendtner are very close to leaving, which I think is great. They only problem I see is that Wenger is not likely to replace them with top class players. My guess would be that Fabianski will become number 1, and Szcesny no. 2, and the rumours about the young Steel kid (I think thats his name) seem quite reasonable and very Wenger. Also Mannone is only on loan so I guess he could be called up if necessary. As far as strikers go, JET may be brought in to the 25 squad, and as far as bringing in new players im fairly sure that Wenger would bring in another youngster (Wickham maybe? Or the young Japanese striker? Although neither would make the first team yet). With RVP returning to fitness and Chamakh, Vela and JET ready to go, I dont think it likely to see any new faces if Bendtner goes, and im not too concerned about that because I would much prefer Vela as 3rd choice and Arshavin or Theo to come central if necessary. However, I dont have so much faith between the sticks. Fabianski has proven that he can be very inconsistent and hes weak in the air and not very dominant in his box, and although Szczesny is looking good, he is still very young and inexperienced, and he is definately not ready for full time keeping. Although I believe the squad would benefit from the departures of Bendtner and Almunia, Im quite sure that we wont be getting the experienced players we need to reinforce our weak spots, and although I hate to say it, I can see us trailing off again and finishing 2nd at best

  • lego

    Well as we get closer to the half way point we have to admit that although we are right in their we have shown weakness lately.

    Losing to spurs was a real shot to our credibility and we have dropped our fair share of points at home too. I think that the ‘straight talking’ Arshavin deserves a short ride on the bench as he has not been in the best of form. I think that Theo should get a chance as he has improved the pace we play at. Nasri should be deployed where he will get most touches on the ball when Cesc is not playing and thats the centre of the park. Also why cant him and Fabs take that position in turns? He is sometimes wasted on the wing because against the better teams he gets less touches.

    I really think that Nasri has been our star player so far and we need to ride the wave he is making to the fullest if we want to win anything. Clichy needs to be taught how to stop a situation in defence. He just seems to always need to make one or two more moves to kill a move when if he made his first move quicker there would be no danger.

    Also he needs to learn to cross a ball and how to shoot. he literally has one string to his bow in attack and its run run run and no end product. I dont hate the guy just think he can do more with the skills he has. Overall we are hanging in there and the Carling cup has been good to us but we need to be more ruthless. We are starting to look like the vulnerable elite club thats not the tag we want. We need to strike fear into the league again by dishing out a few spankings. An to do that we need to play our best at all times no more soft under belly business.

    I think by now, Wenger ought to sit down and study the videos of the last 4 games against Man Utd and Chelsea and see how to beat them;at some point, we just have to find a way, at all costs, to beat them! Its more than just 3 points;its about a ‘psychological advantage’ more than anything else. Because, we are careless about these type of games, the Dumber One of Manchester United, after explaining to Nasri that his pre-match comments were ‘misconstrued’ s now come out again to say ‘he was right about those comments’ that Arsenal is a training ground, UNLESS someone in the media, for lack of what to write, is being ‘mischievous’ just to rile Arsenal players and fans.

    My take on these big games is that I ‘ll rather we play out a dull, drab, tight 0-0 draw against Man Utd and Chelsea home and away than lose to them again! No more! Sort it out with your players Wenger! Ferguson knows the psychology of playing against his title rivals and would rather play a drab, defensive formation than lose to any of them as he did against Man City and will do against Chelsea again. In contrast, even though he adjusted it in the last game against Man Utd, Wenger often sets his team up to play ‘our game’ and this error, repeated over and over in the last three seasons, has made Arsenal players ‘freeze’ when playing these teams.

    The way to it, is to have a ‘Bullish Formation and Lineup’ for these games, knowing that they will be physical, tight and keenly contested from start to finish with the winners claiming more than just 3 points! I think a formation set up to defend first, and counterattack will help. To do this, we need to close down our flanks first by playing Eboue in front of Sagna on the right, Nasri in front of Clichy on the left, with the specific instruction to both ‘flank-men’ to ensure that no one is allowed to put crosses into the box or get past the Left Back. Secondly, play Song and Diaby as holding players behind Fabregas(and keep Rosicky, Denilson and Jack out of such matches!). Ensure that Song and Diaby to keep to their defensive midfield roles of covering the back four and battling for control of the midfield for the 90 minutes. Then play Chamakh as CF with the instruction that he should never stop harrying the CBs and dropping back into the midfield to hassle for the ball. As CBs, play Djourou and Vermaelen or DJ and Squlliaci to give us physical presence and aerial prowess.

    Right now, a wrong mentality is being formed that seems to suggest that we are no longer as good as Man Utd and Chelsea and as long as we keep losing to them, that mentality will continue to affect the players and even at their worst and at our best, we may still not be able to beat them! These losses have got to stop!

  • lego

    @mandy you mean the wenger worshippers?

  • Gooner Gal

    Lego – you had me laughing out loud with your posts! Please tell me if this is all of your own material?

  • Dark Prince

    Lego- i think the best solution is still to have Cesc, Van Persie and Walcott fit to really make us look dangerous. If you look at the United match, they closed down and gave absolutely no room to Nasri, who was the only threat in our starting 11. They gambled to give space to Arshavin and that gamble paid off as Arshavin was poor on that day. He had a few good chances to test Van Der Sar but his shots were very weak. United knew that if they were able to keep Nasri quiet then it wud be easy for them and they did it.

    But jus think, wat would happen if we had a fully fit Cesc, Van Persie and Walcott starting that match!! Then it would be very risky for United to concentrate only on Nasri as Cesc, Van Persie and Walcott are as consistently dangerous.

    Thats why i’d really want Wenger to solve this injury crisis which we’re having for so many years. Our whole backbone (Vermaelen-Cesc-Van persie) is missing. Its the same as Chelsea missing Terry-Lampard-Drogba or United missing Ferdinand-Nani-Rooney.

    And i’m shocked that we’re stil missing our best players for the big matches. Why cant Arsenal keep its injuries to a minimum?? I dont think its bad luck or coincidence, its has to be something which is going wrong from within.

  • A Casual Observer

    Are you called lego because you’re plastic?

    🙂

  • Ronnie Brown

    I remember some times in the past when we beat Man U playing 4-5-1.

  • Ronnie Brown

    I realy hope Bendtner isn’t leaving, I think a choice between him, RVP, Chamakh & JET is excellent as we could rotate and still be quality.

  • I wonder if the same fans will also moan when Arsenal will fail to beat the elements on december 21, 2012 ? 🙂
    DO they know that this why football is so interesting? Arsenal have up and down, 3 years ago, we managed to be the top team in the top 4 on results against the very same teams but as said, they were loosing games against smaller sides. Now we are not that strong against the top4 (or I would say top 5) but our results against smaller teams are far better than Chelsea or Manure (remember both setbacks against Everton and Fulham).
    They group is still young, sure, they a couple of years of exeperience together and even then I would not say so as we aacn count in our hands how many time the wenger’s preferred 11 have started together.
    2nd in the EPL and being in all competitions is something that have not happened much in the last 6 years and as for today, it’s a great achievment.

    Proud to be a goonner

  • Mandy Dodd

    I cannot speak for individuals on here but the funny thing is, a lot of the Wenger out brigade are, as we know bitter Spurs fans in disguise.
    Five years without a trophy the AAA say – and the Carling Cup does not count.Fair enough. The thing is, if you take out the CC, Spurs have won nothing meaningful for nearly 20 years and have not won a the league for nearly 50 years, 10 times what they want us rid of Wenger for!
    That is a huge well of festering bitterness, mountng inferiority complexes, years of envy combined with self loathing….I must say in some cases but not all…but with certain individuals, this self fulfilling negativity breeds those who commit substantial time to blogs in a destined to fail attempt to rid us of an infinitely more successful manager than they have ever had or ever will have in the near future. And whatsmore, they know it!
    Anyway – Stoke this weekend, onwards and upwards!

  • Mohamed

    i swear that i lost hope after man utd game but this article is…..just amazing

  • RedGooner

    lol @ Casual well said. Plastic though is probably more useful than him.

  • GoonerTerry

    Look United beat us – we didn’t play well…that about sums it up! All well meaning Gooners would have been depressed this week – as we should – but on Saturday we have our favorite hate figures coming to the Home of Football. So let’s give them a spanking so we can all feel better…

    I don’t know what people are on about sometimes…maybe its because I am far away in Jamaica…but I don’t understand the mindset of some so-called Arsenal fans…I don’t understand the hate they feel for our team and the Manager. I don’t understand how they can hate any of our players…Talk about sacrilege! Maybe its different nowadays…but growing up in North London and going to Holloway School you pretty much had to fight every single day for the Arsenal…I mean carnage every Monday morning…so when you said you supported Arsenal you didn’t come to that decision lightly…traveling to places like Carlisle and Newcastle in January was no fun either…and the absolutely worst place was the old Maine Road because the stadium was so far from the train station – and a Manc can spot a Cockney from 1/2 mile in a blizzard! I had to run for my life on more occasions than I care to remember. And Highbury was no safe haven either because the favorite game for West Ham and Millwall supporters was to “take” the North Bank all dressed up in Red & White until Kick off…So when I read some of these negative comments I ask myself: “has this prat ever had to face down the F-Troop just for the right to watch a game in our own stadium?” Question to those of you who are old enough: what do you think? Watch this team week in week out at the Emirates..or go back 30-years?

  • GoonerTerry

    …and I feel compelled to repeat that the multi-leveled operation that Arsenal are running as a club is by far the most amazing that any club, any where in the world. We are building for the long term. And if the daft prats can’t see the game then they should bugger off and find another team to hate…

  • Tone

    I love Arsenal and Arsene and the fact he gave us the invincibles and set new standards.

    Does anyone remember how the story ended for Brian Clough at Forrest though in the 1992-93?

    Alcohol is not the only thing you can get drunk on.

    Greatness has a shadow side that must be honoured somehow but prevented from destroying clear vision.

  • Ronnie Brown

    True, Arsenal have a fantastic structure, this group of youth players is the best I have ever seen, with Lansbury, JET, Wellington if he counts, Afobe, Aneke, Wilshere of course, and plenty of others, we are gonna benefit greatly from this youth system, most players that don’t make it will be able to be sold cause there still a good level, just imagine for a second JET doesn’t make it (I think he will) he would probably demand a decent trasfer fee due to his successful previous loan spells and obviously ability, Lansbury would aswel, and the ones who do make it can integrate into our team and save us money, ultimately in the future this means if neccessary we could compete for some big expensive transfers if there’s someone we really wanted that would greatly improve the team because we’d be saving so much money cause of the youths being promoted and making money with the ones who don’t make it sales too. How much would someone like Wilshere cost? With his whole career infront of him, I’d guess around 15 million, though I wouldn’t sell him for that amount personally, so that’s a big saving, and I think he will develop into an even more valuable player, well bar any injuries he certainly will. The future is incredibly bright for Arsenal and we owe a lot of that to Arsene.

  • goonergerry

    Is our belief in the quality of our team to be evidenced based or purely based on faith?-on what we wish to be the case? If I had a car that broke down on the last 15 times I took it out do you think I should get it fixed or just carry on driving it ?
    We have lost every time we have played either United or Chelsea on the last 15 occasions and have barely scored. This is a very strong and consistent pattern of failure. Each of those 3 key players have played and been part of a losing side. Both of these sides are very confident against us-they both play the same way-sitting deep and aggressively over powering us in most areas of the pitch-knowing they can comfortably contain us and hit us on the break.
    Until we can keep a clean sheet against these teams these results wont change-because they will not have to vary their tactics.
    I live for the day when we beat either of these two-because even one victory would give the teams confidence a huge boost. However if I am honest, I cannot see it happening in the near future.