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Self help guide to dealing with defeat

Self Help Guide to dealing with defeat.

By Dr Brian

Right all you whining doom mongers and nay sayers read no further. Just lie back and luxuriate in the masturbatory self deception that you were right all along.

For the rest of us there is another game this week end so we cannot afford to sulk.

Basically we all have seven steps to complete before the next challenge confronts us; the quicker you can complete them the happier you will be.

Or your money back!

Shock and Denial

This is when the reality of the situation hits you square between the eyes. You feel like shit on a stick. You may even think you are dreaming. It can’t have happened!

Well it did. So accept it and move on.

Pain and Guilt

Oh, oh, this is when you reach for the bottle, or vial. Don’t worry you still feel like shit on a stick, but with the added bonus of sick around your toilet, piss in your wardrobe and a hangover.

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When the headache wears off and you stop vomiting, relax in the certain knowledge nothing has changed.

Well it hasn’t. Stop hiding behind your drugs and move on.

Anger

Now you are righteously pissed off and like everyone else you need a target for your rage. Manager, player, referee, all are common choices. Many bloggers get stuck here; it is an unhealthy place to be.

Having expressed your anger please try to relax. Fill out insurance claim forms, attend police station, apologise to partner as appropriate and move on.
Bargaining

Hate to say it but this is where the Whinging part of your nature expresses itself in all of its glory. If” ifs and ands were pots and pans, we’d have no need for tinkers!”

Nobody likes a whinger. Feel free to miss out this stage, but don’t fall foul of the buy a new team, sack the manager, they’re all against me conspiracy.

This tends to be tiresome eventually, the quicker you desist the quicker you may return to full health.

Depression and Sorrow
Now you have fainted, got up, got pissed, kicked the dog, and whined like a bitch, the really nasty feelings kick in. Like shit on a stick but bigger better and smellier. You are cast adrift on an ocean of depression, too demoralised to sink or swim.

Can be tricky to navigate this one. You’ve got the choice of antidepressants or seek the company sane minded people.

Get out and about, but remember to leave your shitty stick at home.
Testing and Reconstruction

Getting back to reality and greeting the sun rise with a happy smile you are almost healed again. You look forward to life and whatever the world may throw at you. Your alcohol intake has returned to normal and the wife/girlfriend just might be thinking about speaking to you again.

Keep on keeping on!
Acceptance

Well that wasn’t so bad was it?  I mean nobody died, did they?

After all we are still in the hunt for (….fill in as appropriate….).

Now who are we playing next?

And so it begins again

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Only Arsenal News

If you think things are up and down now, try the world in 1910, when Arsenal went bust and then arose from the ashes to form the modern club.  Making the Arsenal.  Details here.

Photographic evidence that the ref in the Barca match was utterly bent

Meetings and Greetings, and news of Vermaelen

99 comments to Self help guide to dealing with defeat

  • Ian Trevett

    Sorry to repeat my last post but here goes:

    This has been the worst week since the semi final against Man U when they kicked lumps out of us and knocked us out of the cup.
    Even worse a few days later Chelsea knocked us out of the Champions League at Highbury, with a goal from Wayne Bridge. Possibly the worst result I have ever witnessed.
    In fact that week was much worse than this week.
    The year? 2004. A season that turned out to be perhaps our most glorious ever.
    Fellow gooners – this season ain’t over yet!

  • Ian Trevett

    Man city just scored. If Man U beat Marseille they will have a very intense April, including a massive Wembley semi against City (if Reading don’t equalise).
    We have to beat West Brom and pile on the pressure…

  • Keith

    I think the biggest worry is the loss of Djourou, he’s been our best defender and the squillaci/ Koscielny combination hasn’t impressed – time for them to get their act together or our title challenge will fizzle out.

    Such a shame vermaelen is not back as would be so more confident that we could win the league.

  • Mandy Dodd

    We will beat West Brom – a weeks break for once will do some the power of good.
    Hodgson will park the bus, as he tends to but we shall overcome!

  • ak47

    got gym wit my best mate later. he’s a manure fan. should be fun.

  • walter

    Just what the doctor ordered. Great work Dr. Brian

  • Northbanksy

    We were favourites to win the Carling Cup but a moment of madness prevented this.In that game we weren’t out played & their keeper was man of the match for a reason!!
    We were outright under dogs against Barca & yesterdays game against Man U. Sure I was hoping we’d prove the bookies wrong but to every footie fan other than Arsenal fans wearing rose tinted glasses, losses away to Barca & Man U didn’t come as any surprise.Be disappointed but get real.
    After the Barca refereeing debacle my only genuine surprise is that our team turned up at all yesterday, let alone put in a decent performance, with the man of the match again being the
    opposition keeper.

  • nicky

    The main requirement for we Arsenal supporters,now, is total support for Arsene Wenger and the team for the rest of the season. No more backstabbing or bitter criticism. Look at our achievements
    so far this term. The CC Final, the last 16 in Europe, the last 8 in the FAC and we lie second in the EPL. AND we play the most attractive football in the land. All on a shoestring (at the moment).
    I repeat, total unqualified support is paramount, otherwise the squad, depleted as it is, will be adversely affected and

  • nicky

    un-necessary encouragement given to our opponents.Think on.

  • Mandy Dodd

    If we had won yesterday, we would have faced City at Wembley. City will really go for this one, call me an old defeatist with our depleted squad maybe that is a game we could do without.
    Arsenal vs City in a Wembley semi – the result would be in the balance. If we were to lose such a game on top of the CC defeat, that would surely fatally undermine our EPL challenge, should we choose to mount one from now on.
    We now know what we have to do, the runway is dead ahead. The team will face difficult challenges, not least of which the likes of Pulis and Hughes being instructed to do to our players what Scholes shamefully tries to do yesterday.
    IF we can improve the defence, IF key players remaining stay fit and on the pitch, we really have a great chance of a happy ending to this season, winning or drawing yesterday may have diminished that chance.
    Alot of IFs there I know but back this team1

  • Arsenal28

    “If we had won yesterday, we would have faced City at Wembley. City will really go for this one, call me an old defeatist with our depleted squad maybe that is a game we could do without.”

    loser mentality, reminds me of Wenger

  • I always go straight to Anger. The only Denial I go through is my denial that Diaby and Denilson (a.k.a. Dumb and Dumbest) were ever worth an Arsenal shirt.

    Acceptance? As Vince Lombardi, the greatest of all coaches in that other kind of football, used to say, “Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.” We MUST win the League now. I would have settled for ANY of the 3 major trophies, but now we MUST get that one because it’s the only one left. If that’s Acceptance, well, (screw) all the stages and get that one!

  • Ingo Marchand

    i love that article — but in lord wenger i do not trust anymore, i lost faith and i hate it somehow but there is a feeling that a 60 year old wont adjust and i really feel it is not much missing… sad just sad

  • supersamsupersam

    haven’t whined once. never plan to.

    but with djourou out, it’s pretty clear to me next season, things need to get shaken up. even if we win the league.

    if we win, we won’t have won with very many points, thus other teams will strengthen like mad to challenge next year.

    we’ve got to use the academy, use our recent loanees or buy. we don’t need to buy, but it would probably do a world of good for all fans and supporters.

  • arsene-al

    I dont mean to steer this article off course but I just had a thought based on wengers last comment on things not going our way. Some of the things that happen to us are just ridiculous and without explanation (or the ref), constant injuries, freak occurrences, basically s*** happens A LOT. So how do we explain this? Is it fate, bad luck, a curse, the world turning against us..these are hard things to justify and theyr probably fueled by paranoia, so I would like to pose a question. What could be the cause for these things just happening to us so regularly? Its easy to say the team lacks confidence and etc, but there are some things I just cant explain, anyone have an opinion because I really am starting to believe theres some voodoo going on

  • Gooner80

    On soccer saturday Paul Merson made a very VERY good point, if wenger was sacked or resigned there would be more demand for him then any other manager, then someone questioned him” what even more than mourhinho” yes was the reply, BECAUSE MAUREEN needs loads of money Mr WENGER builds squads on next to nothing budgets, EVERY CLUB in THE WORLD would be trying to gain his signature, so DONT any one forget that, WENGER POURS his heart and soul into arsenal for him to be questioned. IM SORRY everyone needs to get the foresight and see the bigger picture we have a world class manager who turned arsenal into the 5th or 6th I forget biggest CLUB IN THE WORLD on pennies, so we all need to convert to the fact that LE BOSS is giving everything and should be appreciated, on the other hand some of his players have let him down during this 6 years, without arsene and all these players loyal to him we would be IN BIG TROUBLE, DAVID DEIN MEETING AW was the best thing that ever happened to arsenal

  • Mandy Dodd

    Well said Gooner 80

  • Robbie

    My trick is to consider Arsenal as an overachieving small club instead of an underachieving big club. It helps. Only a small club could have a player like Denilson in the squad.

  • black jesus

    The media and some Arsenal supporters tirade of BULLYING ARSENAL and Wenger is insensitive and heartless.
    I aver, wholeheartedly, that ARSENAL are run, second to none. Superlative.
    I FACT that AFC have NOT won silverware for 5 years and counting cannot be denied. But it is not like FC have been inthe doldrums in that period.

    3 times runners up in finals, always in the top 4 is enough to to give creedance for that period in AFC’s history.

    To be rational, the club are trying hard. They are not a Man U, Chelsea or MAn City. They are not trigger happy in the transfer market.

    They will win silverware when they deserve to win silverware. All clubs have the same realistic approach i HOPE. But soem clubs tend to try and buy their silverware. Good luck to them.

    Wenger needs to be admired and respected. Not ridiculed. Note well…..He will end up winning much more more. This is just the new begiining of silverware for AFC.

    ….dare I suggest.

  • Arsenal1Again

    Gooner80 .. That’s brilliant, and Merse himself is speaking as a die-hard Arsenal Supporter. Merse works at the club sometimes and he knows things we don’t, he tries to tell us things he’s not allowed and every Arsenal supporter should listen when Merse speaks.

  • bjtgooner

    When we consider just how bad it is for us as fans when the team gets knocked out of competitions, we need to remember the disappointment is much worse for the manager and players. We can help them pick themselves up by showing our support – as true fans should. Yesterday I thought the team put in a lot of effort and had they taken their chances would have won. The effort was creditable after the tiring match at Barcelona. The frustrating thing is that this team is nearly there – very close but not quite the finished article.

  • jaymin

    Denilson is actually rated as being worth €9,000,000. were he to play for any epl side other than chelsea, man city, or united (and maybe not in united’s case), he would start. he has been affected by being displaced, first by rambo and ultimately by wilshere, and his performances have suffered. i believe he will be sold. but he is quality, enough quality to be what he is: a squad player at a huge club.

  • Everyone leave it out about Denilson. If Song, Fabrigas, Frimpong and Ramsey had been match fit, he wouldn’t have made the bench. Despite all his faults, he’s not bad for 5th choice.

  • Abhishek Kumar

    did any one read an article on bbc today.. It says Wenger had no financial constraints in the last 6 years.. he deliberatley went this way and now he is responsible for everything…

    I would seriously like someone to write an article comparing the recent worst days (2006-2010) of Arsenal with the worst days of Manchester united (1st 6 years of red nose) compared with Barcelona trophy drought from 1999-2004.

    Lets tell everyone how great we are in our bad days compared to these GREAT teams(pun intended). If our worst years include a CL final, top 4 position every year, CL semis once, quarter twice, 2 carling finals, similar in FA cup then i know how my shiny days can look like.

  • Sammy The Snake

    Dear Dr. Brian,

    The problem is repeating the 7 steps once every 3 days or so. Going through the stages 3 times a week can take its toil on the health.

    Can you perscribe any medication (pill, injection or even suppository) for the symptoms?

    The wife, family and friends are getting fed up by now.

    Sincerely yours,
    Sammy The Snake

  • bonggo

    i love this club bcoz we choose the different way to get through our financial difficulties,and most importantly we stick to our own style of play, and this IDENTITY is what makes our club,for me,superior than others. BUT,i can’t lie myself to said that i’ve lost my patience to wait denilson and diaby fullfilled their potential that wenger sees on them..how can this 2 players again and again let wenger down with their performance? pity to wenger,he really believes in this 2 player,but they always disappointed when given chances..
    p/s i’m sorry for my poor english..

  • Askhat

    A manager who is considered to be a genius fails to come up with a tactic to hurt his old rival. Wenger has been playing Man United for 14 years now and SAF knows Arsenal from A-Z while stubborn Wenger fails to adopt any tactics time and time again. Wenger is tactically clueless. With the talents at his disposal he couldn’t beat the weakest MU team in years. SAF would have won all the competitions he was in with this arsenal players because he knows how to build a team according to the plauers’ strengths and weaknesses.

    *Wenger has chosen the way of cheap transfers and it didn’t bring us any trophies and it is high time to try the second variant. Buy established players.Nobody is asking him to spend 60 million on one player, just buy experienced and proven players.

    *Summer transfers (I hope)
    1.Rosicky out (Ramsey)
    2.Eboue out (young right-back in; Sheme Vrsaljko may be)
    3.Arshavin out (Hazard; he is a must buy)
    4.Bendtner out (Vela, Ryo Miyaichi)
    5.Denilson out (Lansbury, Frimpong)

    I think we need only two players coming in and that is realistic. We have to show some ambition by buying Hazard.

    *But this is the time the players need support. We can complain later in May if we don’t win anything but now it is time to get behind our team including Denilson!

  • Andrew Chua

    @Gooner80

    I would like to believe what Merson said but the reality is not often the case. A huge part depends on the owners of the clubs; do they have the patience to wait for team building? 5 years? I doubt so. Instant results, sadly, is the key thing. You seriously believe managers like Mourinho and Guardiola do not know about the benefits of youth development etc? These managers are not given the time to deliver. With instant results being the KPI, they have no choice but to go for the ‘buy’ strategy. Same goes for the many managers. Like I said previously in another post, Arsene is a freaking lucky bloke. The management believes and buy the philosophy. Arsenal CEO himself said that winning is not the main objective.

    Assume Arsene goes to either Real/Barca or one of those high-pressure instant-result orientated clubs. How long would he last if he is bent on youth development Arsenal style? Remember the current England manager didn’t last even when he delivered the title.

    So, please, its not as simple as what Merson would like to believe.

  • Andrew Chua

    I think we can in a crucial stage where all fans need to give their unconditional support for the club.

    That said, I think Arsene should seriously evaluate and re-assess the youth development from the fans’ perspectives, i.e. expectations and deliverables.

    Most sites I trawled are full of emotions, anger and disappointment etc. I believe fans are rational; they are not against youth development and financial prudence. What they wanted, IMO, is a balanced approach of youth development (replacement and continuity etc) and ‘buy’ when players cannot be found internally to mitigate our weaknesses. At times, in fact most times, they vented their anger after every match. In short, they want the best of everything, which in reality is not achievable.

    For me, the balance approach is the best route for success and financial stability.

  • Bexxy

    Wenger was the greatest thing to happen to Arsenal, and remains our greatest asset. He needs help and help now! He is in a comfort zone and somebody needs to have the balls to shake him out of it. We need a radical shake up of the coaching staff, we need fresh faces and fresh ideas. This does not mean the end of the road for Arsene. But does bring him to a cross road with some serious decisions to be made. League champions or not, there is a lot of work to be done this summer. Work that should have taken place last year.

  • gooner80

    @Andrew Chua

    Wenger was offered the earth to go to Madrid last season or so, he would get as much time as any other world class manager and lets not forget that he would have a fairly decent team if he went Real or barca and with only two teams in the league wenger would get the backing of the team very quickly and WOULD DO WELL, wenger took the assets arsenal already had and worked with them until they were past it.

    HONESTLY any club in the world would want WENGER you better believe it, You think chelsea wouldnt take wenger, because he would take what they had and make it work on a budget, ROMAN would love him for that, Capello lost his job at real and he won the title because his football wasnt attractive enough. WENGER IS A WORLD CLASS MANAGER RESPECTED THE WORLD OVER, england have offered him a job and every major club would pay him the earth, even though we havent won anything we have been challenging and like i said before people take opinions as facts

    we have reached champions league final, carling cup final twice, reached semi finals and challenged for the league a couple of times in this drought and if you dont believe what wenger has done as miraculous you are not appreciating him and sometimes it is only until someone leaves that they are appreciated, when someone is slating arsenal only take on board FACTS and leave opinions as that

  • Rhys Jaggar

    ‘arsene-al
    March 13th, 2011 at 9:46 pm
    I dont mean to steer this article off course but I just had a thought based on wengers last comment on things not going our way. Some of the things that happen to us are just ridiculous and without explanation (or the ref), constant injuries, freak occurrences, basically s*** happens A LOT. So how do we explain this? Is it fate, bad luck, a curse, the world turning against us..these are hard things to justify and theyr probably fueled by paranoia, so I would like to pose a question. What could be the cause for these things just happening to us so regularly? Its easy to say the team lacks confidence and etc, but there are some things I just cant explain, anyone have an opinion because I really am starting to believe theres some voodoo going on’

    Ask yourself why Nani was professed ‘out for 6 weeks’, now he’s suddenly back again.

    Sounds awfully poor medical support that Man Utd, the richest club in the world, have, doesn’t it?

    Ask why Theo Walcott said to Capello ‘less than 2 weeks’, when Capello asked ‘two weeks out?’ When he got back to Arsenal, it was six weeks out. Seems awfully strange that a player is so ignorant about their own condition…..after an international match……

    Seems to have happened to van Persie and Vermaelen too. Both after international matches…..

    Ask yourself if there is a global war going on between FIFA and EPL and the effects that has on us lot, the punters, who shell out all the money.

    With Djourou, it’s pretty simple. X-rays taken in the presence of impartial observers to ensure nothing gets substituted, then put the X-ray on the web. If he’s not injured, it’s obvious. Unless Almunia’s a bloody amazing actor, I’d lay huge money that he IS injured……..

    The other ones, who knows? But the conspiracy theory says: ‘feign Arsenal injuries to stop them winning anything. Do it whenever they are really mounting a challenge. Do it to punish people for playing for the national team.’

    You’ll note I’ve said precisely nothing about whether it is true or not, as I have no inside information.

    But if it is, then fans across the country should mount a law suit in the billions of pounds……………

  • gooner80

    @Rhys

    when I saw JD clattered it didnt look that serious to me, I know you have mentioned injuries before, but exactly are you insinuating because im not sure??

    I would just like to know clearly what you are suspicious off because I have been paying close attention since you have been mentioning the injuries in previous posts

  • mehoot

    A season that had, until now, presented the possibility of silverware on four fronts has, in two weeks, been reduced to one fading shot at the Premier League. Arsenal FC is in crisis. With an ever growing list of first choice players on the treatment table, the probability of the season ending trophy-less, again, is all too real. Add to this a squad that is devoid of confidence and in desperate need of a Herculean morale boost from their manager and you have a club in crisis.

    Saturday: Three down, now one to go for
    The picture across the road at White Hart Lane is one that will halt the blood flow of any Arsenal supporter looking on. Tottenham’s Champions league run is no longer an ‘adventure’ but has now materialised to a credible European challenge. Spirits are high for Spurs and the rivalry that has been dominated by Arsenal looks to be slowly shifting in power. Disgruntled fans have endured enough disappointments over the years and the reality of Tottenham becoming the dominating team in North London would be too disheartening for even the most loyal of fans. Tottenham are in the ascendancy and Arsenal are, well, same old Arsenal.

    During the time that Arsenal have endured their silverware drought, both teams have reached the final of the Carling Cup twice. The difference is, Spurs have won it once, a feat Arsenal failed to achieve. After years and years of loitering around the top four teams in England, Tottenham is the team that has shown real progression and development. Wenger’s Arsenal side have on occasion threatened to dominate the Premier League but faltered at every opportunity.

    So what has Wenger done wrong? As a manager the Frenchman’s steadfast belief in his philosophy is a signal of his commitment to developing young talent. Development is a process and this process is one that has taken six years and counting to come to fruition. In modern football big spending does get you results. Manchester City has spent an unprecedented amount on players which in turn has catapulted them to within seven points of the Premier League leaders. Wenger’s refusal of buying any big name players has left his team consistently underperforming on the big stage. Add a fragile, injury prone squad with no outstanding leaders then you have a talented squad that threatens but never performs.

    The Premiership is now the only real means of achieving any kind of glory this season. After a horrific last minute mistake in a cup final. A disappointing performance against ‘the best club side in the world’ and an equally disappointing performance against a depleted Manchester United side. Arsenal will have their fair share of doubters about their ability to win anything at all.

  • mehoot

    To be honest and fair in here. I seriously believe this team needs to be slapped thrice a day so as to inspire them. Firstly, Arsene Wenger and his 5 Years transitional period ends this season. So, come next season, I think EVERYTHING needed must have been put into places. Some players needs to be ejected come summer. DENILSON, DIABY, ROSICKY, EBOUE, ARSHAVIN, BENDTNER all needs to find somewhere else to foster their careers. They are NONE starters and never fit to play for the gunners. A make shift players, YES. Wenger is stubborn, YES but, he is running out of excuses now coz, the 5 years plans ends this season.

  • Adam

    I have read all the above and still feel lousy about loosing. Barca may be understandable but Birmingham and that particular Man Utd team? Often gut feeling and intuition hold more sway than cold reasoning and something doesn’t feel right to me.

  • mehoot

    I used to stick by Wenger non-stop, non-fucking stop and really thought this would be it! Today after the injustice of midweek, I thought we’d batter that 2 bob line-up that Fergie put out, but no. We have no bollox bottle or anything!!

    I’m 25 now, been a season ticket holder since the age of 7, yep 7, and this year I won’t be renewing. I am not even turning up to the next home game! I used to love this club, and have travelled all over the world to see them. When your fans of Blackburns and Bolton go, you’re joking, I’d like to see that every week! What us make up the fucking numbers and get out witted by eveyone in football whilst paying for a ticket what they pay for 10, whilst their clubs spend more money than us??! No chance.

    Think Arsene was very lucky in the beginning now when I look at it! Inherited a great defence, and back bone, Bergkamps etc and David Dein used to make sure he’d spend, now he’s got free reign, we’re absolutely inept! Buy three proper players in Jan and we’d have won the Carling Cup at least and probs been in either the Champs League or FA cup still and gone onto win the Prem. Now we’ll win fuck all!!!

    Fuming! Tada from me Arsenal!!! All you’ll get is my Sky subscription!! So pissed off right now!

  • Mandy Dodd

    You are giving up on your season ticket – great news Mehoot – who needs fans like you?
    Enjoy life at the Lane – after all you claim, against all evidence,Spurs are in the ascendncy over Arsenal?
    Fool……sorry, plastic fool

  • Shard

    @mehoot

    At least your name is apt.. You are a hoot.

  • gooner80

    mehoot you are entitled to your opinion but that doesnt make you right, Voting with your feet is the right thing to do if you are unhappy.

    Personally coming up against Man city is no dead cert in the fa cup, and I would bet money that man city knock out UTD, the way some arsenal fans are talking that if we beat man u we would win the fa cup, going out of the fa cup is the best thing that has happened to us for a while. UTD’s squad is more thread bare than ours and I believe they cant cope with the games

    Arsenal have been UNLUCKY may be it is because we were LUCKY arsenal and are now paying the price, All I can say is the arsenal fans put UNBELIEVABLE PRESSURE on the team

  • Shard

    @gooner80

    I don’t mind that to be honest. They should be able to deal with the pressure. Where some of our fans go wrong is believing the opinions bandied about in the media as the absolute truth. They end up believing we won’t win even before we play because they look at it through the media lens. I think that is actually a dereliction of a fans duty. We need to give our all to the team too before demanding that they do the same.

    It should always be an ‘Us vs Them’ feeling when it gets down to it ,but too many of ‘our fans’ seem to cross over and join the chorus because it is the easier thing to do. Give up and cry foul. Agree with the outsiders rejoicing in our failures (such as they are) because we can’t stand the ‘shame’ of not having won a trophy in x amount of years.

  • mehoot

    @Mandy – only stupid fans like you without any base can come up with dozy arguments like that. We pay in wages rocket hi standards for the absolute dross that adorns my beloved Gunners shirt but the mercenaries that are now donning this shirt need to be shot and removed. This will be 6 seasons now without a trophy and i do not see this changing any time soon – as come the new season the same old bullshit will be fed to the fans and idiots like you will believe it.

    In the last day or two something I’ve read elsewhere and heard from fellow Gooner’s is the oft cited:
    Look at our injuries! No other team could cope like we have!

    And United proved that wrong at the weekend. A combination of a thin squad, injuries (Ferdinand, Nani, Valencia just returning etc) and resting players for the mid-week Champions league game (Scholes, Giggs, Fletcher, Carrick, Berbatov) meant United lined up with 7 defenders. Seven. Playing the Brillo headed chuckle brothers on the fucking wings, whilst Wes Brown dicks about as a full back was/is/will never again be a 1st choice starter. And yet they beat an Arsenal team missing only Walcott, Fabregas and Song (you can’t even count Verm anymore, so long is it since he played). United’s ‘fringe’ fringe beat our mostly full strength team convincingly.

    Other teams can and do manage without key players. It’s not always pretty, but they do – certainly ‘big’ teams still win key games. Or draw, sometimes they draw, but they don’t throw it down the fucking drain, lose, and then blame injuries. They just get on with it.

    Our campaign this year has been hindered by the fringe players unwillingness or inability to perform against lower opposition. That we have had to throw Fabregas on in two legs against Leeds or play key players against Huddersfield and Leyton Orient has meant those key players, who could have been rested entirely have played more games. That only exacerbates the effect of many competitions.

    But we have to ask ourselves – do we want to duck out of those competitions early, do we want to concede our chances of silverware? Do we want to avoid games like those in the San Siro, beating Barca at home or knocking Real Madrid out of Europe? Or do we want to keep those games? If we do, then we need to stop whining about injuries. Injuries happen, and teams like Arsenal should be good enough to absorb the impact – it certainly shouldn’t mean we start losing games and it isn’t a good enough excuse.

    As I’ve mentioned our fringe isn’t good enough at all.

    Denilson hasn’t improved in the last 3-4 years. Diaby (even making allowances for injuries) has not improved in the last 3-4 years. Bendtner has not improved in the last 3-4 years. I don’t mind players making mistakes, or having bad games, as long as they improve and learn from them. Diaby is still conceding possession needlessly as often as he did 4 years ago. Denilson’s positioning has not improved in the last 4 years at all. Bentdner has the worst 1st touch in the squad, and that has not improved for years. These players have limitations that they have not overcome and that is where a large source of my personal frustration lies. They make the same mistakes repeatedly and if they cannot remove them from their game, it’s time to move on.

    Compare and contrast that to Walcott who has addressed his problems well – he’s not perfect but he’s already ironed out a lot of the issues in his game. Samir Nasri, this season in particular has stepped forward again, Djourou has become so indispensable that his shoulder injury at the weekend is a bigger blow that most other injuries. These are players who have all made mistakes but who have learned from them. These are players that are still improving. These are players who you struggle to remain angry with after a mistake because you know it will have a positive impact.

    Finally, we have some outstanding talent on loan currently – Lansbury and Bartley just two that appear to be making a big impact. Those players are currently improving massively whilst out on loan and you can only hope those players return to Arsenal and take any chances that are handed to them – that they take the Jack Wilshere route to the 1st team rather than the Carlos Vela route to West Brom.

    Until we cut loose the players who have stalled in their careers and replace them with the players we have who show the desire to go out and fight for Sheffield United, Norwich and Rangers we will consistently struggle with injuries – the players we have replaced our injured with this season have not been always been good enough.

    Arsenal have an excellent first 11. We have our faults, our inability to get behind defensive teams for example and our inability to beat the keeper when shooting, but these are problems that can be ironed out over time. What worries me is the pool of players beneath who need to perform in order for us to win a trophy.

  • Shard

    @mehoot

    Now that is a more balanced criticism, and one I pretty much agree with. I think Denilson has actually gone backwards. Diaby can still have the odd brilliant game and I still have hopes for him. Bendtner also has the raw tools to become a very good player indeed. But as you say, it is probably more of a mentality issue. I believe, irrespective of where the title ends up, there will be some changes at Arsenal. Much of the deadwood will be cleared.

    But I think, if you look at it more objectively, then Wenger couldn’t have done much more. The squad we have is deep enough, We know that these players have quality. Even Denilson has shown that in the past. But for whatever reason they aren’t performing. Nasri and Walcott have stepped up a level. These players haven’t, and I think as a result, some of them will be shown the exit. Also, what’ll strengthen our hand in that regard is that we’ll have a number of youngsters coming through our ranks. meaning that we do not have to go out and buy out of desperation to replace the players we let go. I dont think we had that option at the start of this season. So I dont think Wenger has stuck by certain players only out of a sense of obstinacy or obligation towards them. He put his faith in them because they COULD have come good, and it wasn’t the right time to get rid of them anyway.

    Oh and as regards injuries, yes we should be able to cope with them, but not all of the injuries are ones that can be legislated for from before. Plus, its again down to certain squad players not stepping up their game when needed.

  • terry

    Well Well WEll, How the tables have turned!!! From huffing and puffing about winning the Quad and glorifying the fluke win ove Barca has weel and truly bitten you in the arse. We showed you on Saturday how to win games and not just keep posession of the ball. Your lot dont have the botle to challenege for one trophy compared to four – I am very happy you have the frog in charge and as long as that continues we’ll happily sit and take the trophies while you do the tippy tappy.

    Oh by the way has the Woolwich Arsenals Captain come back from Spain yet or is he still hugging and kissing his Barcelona mates.

  • Shard

    Aahh.. I missed you Terry.. No seriously, what kept you?

  • terry

    I think by the United VS Arsenal game we can put a couple of things to bed that a lot of rival fans of United seem to think. 1- “SAF is losing it”- wrong, I think we all thought that United would lose that game going by the starting line up, Fergie got his tactics spot on and it shows that all fans do not know better. 2- “Uniteds team is poor”- wrong again, although Arsenal were weakened as well due to injury, so was United, this showed that our fringe players were good enough to beat a decent Arsenal team.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Throwing in the towel when we could still win the league!!!!!
    As for the mythical rise of Spurs due to going further than us in a knockout tournament – one I keep hearing – on such events, I politely point them to the league table,are they going to finish in the top 4 – I am not so sure, I remind them they will soon have to fork out for a new or revamped stadium, and they will soon loose their manager, to England or possibly HMP depending on court outcomes (ok maybe a little drastic there)
    Far too many knee jerk over reactions out there – just what the trolls, haters, media pundits and rivals who seek to undermine Wenger and the club desire.
    Gooners hold your nerve, ask questions after the season, if you cannot do so, you have no right to have a go at the players perceived lack mental strength. And if it is all getting too much for those with weak mentalities, there is always Man City.

  • pires

    swear that some Gooners spit more venom than a King Cobra.

    The abuse that I have seen with my very own eyes towards Arsene Wenger is a sick joke. It sickens me more than Sambuca.

    Here is a man who has provided Arsenal Football Club, our club, with some of the best moments in its history.

    Yet that doesn’t stop people slagging him off with the kind of hate I would say should be reserved for the likes of Tottenham Hotspur or Chelsea though.

    Why has Arsene Wenger become so despised by some sections of Gooners? I really can’t get my head around it.

    Sure the man can frustrate. He has done my head in on more than one occasion but that doesn’t mean I will subject him with the kind of insults and vitriol I see thrown his way on a regular basis.

    Of course Arsene Wenger isn’t above the club, nobody is, so constructive criticism of him is fine in my book.

    However, he deserves a lot more respect from certain Gooners than he is currently getting at the moment.

    Listen, I’m no Wengerite. I don’t have a shrine to the man. But what I will say is be careful what you wish for.

    We are lucky that he doesn’t just walk away. I bet if he read half the shit written about him on the interweb he probably would be tempted.

    Who would blame him?

    I’m telling you now, if Wenger became available every club in the world would love to take him on. Even before the darling Jose Mourinho.

    Arsene has his faults. Even Stevie Wonder can see that but please show the man a bit more courtesy.

    I accept these are frustrating and annoying times. Its been a difficult two weeks but I bet these fans who slate Wenger will be praising him to the hilt if we win the title.

    Just like they did when we beat Barcelona at the Emirates.

    If you don’t think he is doing a good job that is fine. That is your opinion. I think he could do some things better too.

    But don’t slag him off. Don’t insult him. There is no need for that. He deserves so much better

  • Davidinlondon

    Just heard Mr Wenger on radio again talking about, yes you know what. Someone get him a dictionary!!! It’s what we haven’t got obviously but he trots it out every frigging time like it’s an asset of ours! Can he use a sentenec that doesn’t include the ”ms” words!!

  • gooner80

    @Terry

    we lost fair and square and fair play to UTD, Tactics or no tactics you would expect more from the home side, Fergie is petrified to play berbatov against us, all I hope is that arsenal will learn or should I say finally learn UTDs stupid tactics of allowing us to play in front of them but not get in behind them and then hope to hit us on the break, Arsenal need to learn how to deal with this tactic against UTD

  • A Casual Observer

    For those of you who don’t get it yet – mehoot and terry are the same person.

    Feed the troll and he will come back for more!

  • terry

    @mandy – Nonsense – you thre in the towel when you lost in the CC final. As I have mentioned on here before you dont have an adeqauate back up team and are prone to dramatic collapses like no other – from a respectful point of view i sincerely think you are missing the English spine and the french players are whats costing you. But then your manager is french so I am not surprised. I fully expect you to finish out of the top 5 next season if this is the team that stays. Because you will get injuries to your key players like you always do and then the rest is well we all know that story as it has been the script for the past five seasons.

  • terry

    @A Casual Observer- I support Manchester United – not sure who this Mehoot is but I have yet to encounter one person to debate properly.

  • terry

    @Gooner80 – spot on. We know how to play against you – Easy peasy. and thats why it doesnt matter where we play – home or away i do not see a change in result for the forseeable future. Wenger has to be the worst tactcian OF a manager that i Have seen to be quite frank

  • Shard

    A casual observer

    Mehoot= Terry??? Really? A troll with a double role? Sweet..

    A troll can make for a very entertaining pet.. It relies on a diet of annoyance and abuse. But feed it politeness and extra sweetness instead and watch it lose its bearings.

  • terry

    Hey you even got your ex players kicking the boot in to your team! It just doesnt get any better eh!!!

    http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/2896/premier-league/2011/03/14/2393705/emmanuel-petit-arsenals-key-players-are-cracking-up-and-there-is-

  • A Casual Observer

    It’s true Shard, they can be entertaining at times… and sometimes it does your confidence well to have someone around who is so pathetic that their only kick in life is to pretend to support both Manchester United and Arsenal (in order to flame Arsenal discussion boards) when they actually support Tottenham.

    We can’t really blame them though – they are just victims of their own environment.

  • walter

    Thanks for the link Jonny. Very interesting indeed.

  • Shard

    Trolls do not troll on only one site though.. So its never a good idea to call it your pet I guess.

  • A Casual Observer

    Watch them dance for our amusement – desperate for attention, ahhhh – bless.

    🙂

  • terry

    UTD still on the hunt ofr the treble with key players coming back from injuries,
    GOONS – Out of 4 comps with key players getting injured at the wrong time and Spurs getting ahead of you in the Champs Lge. GET IN THERE.

  • A Casual Observer

    @Shard – yes, like a stray cay maybe? You take pity on it and feed it – but it’s never really a member of the family.

  • Shard

    Exactly.. Except cats display more intelligence, and originality.

  • Shard

    Oh and cats do not spray s**t about.

  • A Casual Observer

    But they also like to shit on your lawn.

  • terry

    I think we have multiple personality disorder between two goons – bit like your manager really hahaahha

  • Shard

    You misunderstand cats Casual Observer.. They are simply fulfilling their duty by providing for the circle of life.. Where do you think Trolls spawn from?

  • A Casual Observer

    They usually spawn from the wrong end of Seven Sisters and have a miserable childhood (both at home and school). Their bitterness twists them yet they nurse it because it’s all they have – like Gollom from LOTR.

  • Shard

    Like I said.. From S**t.

    Of course, Trolls are not to be blamed either. That is simply their purpose for existing. They don’t know any better.

  • A Casual Observer

    True dat.

  • gooner80

    @Terry

    UTD always change their team to give us the respect we deserve, and the last time we beat you at the ems we enticed you into a proper game and fergie admitted they were too open, I think the game at the ems could well be the decider, SHARD had it right about us being deeper and against man u we need to play deeper to stop stupid counter attacks

    Wenger is not the best tactician in the game, he prefers to rely on technical ability and believes if we play to our best we should win, he prefers the other team to worry about us then we worry about them, but he can play a shrewd hand when he needs to, are you forgetting that joke of an FA CUP final??? , and I believe the wiley old fox may have played possum in order to de-congest our fixture list, I believe he has got fergie to reveal his hand and with more time will spend ours reviewing what he can do to counteract at the EMS. if we lose at the ems to the same tactic I must say i would be a little annoyed but I don’t believe we will, as SHARD mentions we needed to have invited UTD onto us more and playing around the 18 yard box at OT was getting us nowhere

  • A Casual Observer

    @gooner80 c-c-c-c-combo-breaker!

  • Wing nut

    Terry! nice one. Sorted. Our kid etc etc. Terry is probably the Manc version of the more celebrated “mockney”. They often originate from the Home Counties don’t you know. I love them. Terry is also probably about 15 years old with a crippling inferiority complex mainly derived from his incredibly tiny penis. So remember this and have pity on “little” Terry fellow gooners and mock ye not.

  • Shard

    LOL @ A Casual Observer

    I think we could probably co write a ‘how to’ manual covering the subject of trolls. Now THAT would be the ultimate in trolling. How to out-troll trolls?

    @Gooner80
    Glad you liked my tactical opinion, but it’s Shard, not SHARD. I feel you’re screaming at me 🙂

  • Shard

    Aww man.. Though I still think ours would be better. Or we could just call it the Arsenal fan’s guide to deal with trolls. God knows we probably face the most anyway.

  • A Casual Observer

    Get it written Shard!

  • Shard

    I rely on you to bounce ideas off.. If Terry keeps coming back we could probably just compile stuff from here and publish it. The Untold Troll wars 🙂 Or the Terry massacre if you prefer. I leave it to you 🙂

    The smell of S*** has cleared for now. The troll is off elsewhere in search of its nourishment.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Interesting article Casual.
    Guess these trolls are just people who need to get out more.

  • hainalt

    Trawling the the posts lots of opinions and I share in all your pain. The thing is though our 1st 11 are a match for anyone. When we had our unbeaten run from 1st Jan with the new goalie, Kos and JD clicking, a fully fit Cesc ably assisted by JW & AS add in a confident Theo, and RvP showing just how great he can be, all in the garden was rosy. I bet 90% of you (inc me) for the first time in years actually felt confident going into a game. (Not since our invincibles have i had such a feeling) however injuries started to take their toil and as we have discovered (and in truth known for the past few seasons) our fringe players are simply not good enough. NOT ONE of those that have come in have shown the attitude ‘i’ve got the shirt now try and get it back off me!’ And this is where the fundemental problem lies. We can only have a squad of 25. Lets say AW bought the likes of my fav English player (alongside JW) Parker. Do you think Scott would sign knowing he is to be used sparingly – in case of emergency only when he has been playing and is star man at WHUFC? Same with the CB situation. We get Cahill or whoever then this season we wouldn’t have known if JD or LK could work – and considering its their 1st season imo they have worked. Same with the goalie Scwarz – if he came in Scez would still be waiting. What seasoned senior experienced player would want to join just to be a bit part? In conclusion I agree we need to add experience (not a Utd reject)but at what cost? Who would make way cos as i’ve said when our 1st 11 are all playing together we are a match for anyone.

  • GoonerVance

    “Nobody died” Ah yes!!!! I am great at my job because nobody died today!!!! Manager of the decade, indeed.

  • Shard

    It’s called perspective GoonerVance.. try it sometime.

  • GoonerVance

    It’s called delusion. If we judged everything by the “Did someone die” benchmark then perhaps De Jong didn’t deserve a red in the World Cup Final. I mean, nobody died right?

  • Shard

    To take a sentence like that literally is the basis of your argument?

  • GoonerVance

    Here’s some perspective. When’s the last time we lost 3 consecutive games? 10 years. What’s our record against United the last 10 times we’ve played them? 1W/2D/7L…but no one died…so A OK!!!

  • Shard

    My feet are killing me…

    they are jumping about with a knife and are stabbing me is what that sentence would imply?

    Just an example that words aren’t necessarily meant in the literal sense…

    Also, there is middle ground between A-ok and throwing a strop. Again.. Perspective. Anyway.. I’m not playing anymore.

  • GoonerVance

    It’s not the one sentence out of context, it’s a summation of the entire tone of the article. We should be okay with getting knocked out of 3 competitions because…well…just because. Frankly I don’t see how one can look at these 3 failures and come away feeling optimistic about some of these players and the overall mentality of the team. Even the philosophy at this point.

    For a team that has so much technical ability and possession we make scoring goals look tough, not easy. It is not free flowing, it is stutter-step. I don’t believe defensive frailty is a problem when we are in control of games and can’t create chances against Birmingham. We make football look harder than it actually is. There are no rebounds that are tapped in by long-haired Brazilian fullbacks, there is no pressure exerted on opposing keepers that force mistakes and tap in from Obafemi Martins. It’s all a bit too much work for nothing.

  • Shard

    The point of the article was that now that it has happened, and that we are not in a position to change anything (neither the past, nor personnel), while the season isn’t over, then all you can do is take it on the chin and look ahead.

    I think you should have stopped reading at the first paragraph. You had been warned.

    There are issues with the team, but there is no point bringing that up right now. We have a chance at the title, no matter how slim you may think. If at this point you’d rather wallow in self pity and bring down the team with you, then it doesn’t help. Rather it has the potential to harm. All that will achieve is that your ‘prediction’ would come right.. Would you rather that than Arsenal winning the league?

  • GoonerVance

    We could change the tactics. You’d think with all the injuries there would be a tactical change to compensate for not having our number one striker and our creative master in the midfield. This is the point, people think there is nothing that can be done now. Well, they’re wrong. You’ve all completely forgotten that there is more than one way to play football. We’ve become so enamored with trying to play the beautiful game that we will cut off our nose to spite our chances at winning competitions.

    The worst part is that Fabregas and Van Persie started the Barcelona game and Wenger got cold feet and decided THEN to change his tactics and go with Rosicky to help out defensively in the midfield, instead of starting a second attacking minded player like Arshavin to help keep some possession and create a threat. That game should have been about scoring away goals and even before Van Persie got sent off, we never looked a threat to score.

    If all we have are two aerial targets, in Bendtner and Chamakh, why aren’t we playing a 4-4-2 and sending crosses into the box the entire match? Why must we aspire to something that is unattainable for us at the moment because we are injured? And why can’t you guys see this?

  • Shard

    @GoonerVance

    If that is your contention, then stick to a tactical debate. I love tactical debates anyway as some other posters on this site might well know (you know who you are) 🙂

    But remember as well. We can discuss tactics all we want. It doesn’t mean we are right. It’ll still only be an opinion. And ultimately, our opinion doesn’t have any value. Simply because there is no way of testing the theory we may have.

  • GoonerVance

    Look at Ferguson’s tactics in the United game. He put CBs in the FB position (Wes Brown and O’Shea) because he knows we are not a threat to effectively use the wings and send in crosses into the box. Essentially Man United played 4 narrow CBs to clog up our ability to play passes through the middle and into the box.

    All Arsenal had to do was bring in the big guys and let Nasri work OShea and Arshavin work Wes Brown on the wings and spread the back line of United creating space in the box for crosses. Ferguson knew Wenger wouldn’t change his tactics and he was even comfortable enough to play the twins as advanced wing backs. There was so much space in behind the twins, it is never properly utilized.

  • GoonerVance

    Well tactical debate is fun, even if no one can come out the victor…Just saying, would be nice to see some experimentation when, like Wenger said, “We were supposed to be fighting for a top 4 spot this season”…We never play like a team with nothing to lose.

  • Shard

    The defeat to United was disappointing because we have lost exactly in that fashion to them and Chelsea in seasons past. I agree. that was not good.

    regarding tactics though. You are right. We could do that. Maybe we even should have. But equally, all we had to do was take one of the chances we did create. that would have forced ManU to open up a bit anyway.

    On the whole though, I agree with you about the United match. We didn’t utilise the wings enough.

  • walter

    Shard, we lost at Chelsea 2-0 and also played better than the score line suggested at the time.
    We put that right in the return game and won very convincingly with almost our whole squad fit.
    So if we have the luck to have all our players fit for the return I think we can do it, just like we did against Chelsea

  • Shard

    @walter

    I have no doubt we can do it. Regarding that Chelsea game we lost, I was laughed out of many blogs for saying that we actually dominated the midfield and the game in general.

    Actually, when we lost to ManU 1-0 earlier in the season (our last loss in the league I think), I felt our tactics were good, but the players hadn’t found the right mental balance for the big game. I think since in earlier matches they had been too aggressive and left themselves open to the counter, they decided to be more cautious. Unfortunately, they ended up too laidback. I said at the time that the experience should help them against Chelsea and that that’ll be the real test of whether they’ve learnt. They did.

    However, the manner of this loss to ManU was a return to the same pattern. As you probably know by now Walter, I’m not too negative about this team. I was just unhappy with the fashion we conceded those goals.

  • Gilles

    All I can say is, and you know that too fellow gooners, that there are times when there is no next time, no next season or whatever. This is the perfect time in years we have to win the league. Next season is not ours yet because we are not in next season. I hope the players realise that too. I heard that Wenger is going to offer “Mad Jens” a contract till the end of the season. I find that very encouraging. Maybe he will help the younger players to grow a little bit, and play every game like it was the last. I have faith in the team that they will win the league.

  • anthony

    I understand people have been calling for wengers head, there’s alot of us who are still very hurt from the past couple weeks we’ve had, but lets put things into perspective. The last 5 or six years we’ve been up there in the champions league spots, we may not have been as competitive for title but we’ve been up there, and we’ve come pretty close this year, and we’re still in with a shot of the league title. We’ve had plenty of youth players come to the 1st team, wilshere being our greatest prospect, we have players like the rejuevenated nasri, walcott, we will have these players the likes of djourou, kosc, schzezny, gibbs, frimpong, ramsey, rio, jet all who can play a part next season. In the past few seasons we’ve had to sell players for money, now, we have the financial strength to say no to the sale of fabregas (although the move may come from the players desire to go to spain) but my point is, we can keep our best players, and we can continue selling players who arent contributing like they should, and buying quality players instead, if you cannot look past these past few weeks and realise the future for afc is very very bright, then you shouldnt call yourself a fan. And as for wenger, he created this, he gives the club and our football style its identity and to call for him to leave is a massive mistake.