GoonerNews

Arsenal News
Arsenal News & Transfers
As featured on NewsNow: Arsenal newsArsenal News 24/7

Arsenal News, Only Arsenal, Blogs, Transfer News

Archives

September 2020
M T W T F S S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930  

Us v Them; the Untold preview with an extra dash of salt and pepper

by Phil Gregory

The usual Untold match preview comes with a twist – United fan Mark Butterworth has given me his thoughts throughout (text in italics). If you want to read my interview with him on general title run-in and United, check the article that was posted on Friday afternoon.

Before launching into the preview I’d like to just mention the awful events overshadowing our FA Cup tie. Japan might be fairly distant from Old Trafford but with such a tragedy unfolding it has certainly put the game into perspective. With Wenger’s close ties to Japan no doubt it will be in his foremost thoughts and win lose or draw I’d hope both sides will be united in their support for the victims.

Coming off the back of a controversial defeat in Barcelona, this FA Cup tie against United is seems to have assumed more importance than ever. Of course, a match against our title rivals was always going to be important psychologically during the title run-in, but now it’s our last remaining cup competition. Talk of another fruitless season seems premature while the Double is still on but for that to happen we need a result at a ground that hasn’t been a very happy hunting ground recently.

For United, long term absentees Hargreaves and Valencia are out with knee and ankle problems respectively. Wide men Park and Nani are missing for at least a few weeks, Park with hamstring trouble and Nani recovering from Carragher’s horror tackle on Sunday which left him needing stitches. Ferdinand isn’t likely to be risked after recovering from a calf strain.

The injuries are back with a vengeance for the Gunners. Fabianski’s long term shoulder problem left us with a precariously light between the sticks and with Szcznesy ruled out for six weeks the words “emergency loan” have been bandied around. Fabregas’ unhappy return to Barcelona saw him have a recurrence of a hamstring problem that has been dogging him all season, on and off. The spell on the sidelines will only lead to him missing two club games, with the international break coming at a good time for Arsenal in that respect.

After coming through the Barcelona game unscathed injury-wise, Van Persie will be available for selection. Walter’s excellent recent article gave us an update on Vermaelen and bar the Belgian’s minor setbacks the situation is much improved. Alex Song is still out which is a concern, while Theo Walcott’s ankle sprain keeps him on the sidelines

What we do know is that Wenger has said he’ll play his strongest side which to me is:

Almunia
Sagna Djourou Koscielny Clichy
Diaby Wilshere
Rosicky
Nasri Van Persie Arshavin

Watch Arsenal Live Streams With StreamFootball.tv

Almunia comes full circle and returns between the sticks for good after injury to Szcznesy ruled the Pole out. The back four is largely unchanged from the last game and is shielded by Diaby and Wilshere. Rosicky comes into the midfield for the injured Cesc Fabregas after playing in attack against Barcelona. That was probably a tactical move (he’s a harder worker than Arshavin), but I imagine we’ll see the Russian restored to attack alongside Nasri and Van Persie. Much however will depend on whether some of the above need a breather after a tiring game on Tuesday night.

Given United’s injuries, we don’t have much flexibility with the line up. Normally against you we would play a 4-3-3 with Rooney spearheading the attack, which tends to favour our counter attacking style we like to adopt against the bigger teams. However without either first choice winger available I imagine we’ll play a fairly rigid 4-4-2. I’d also expect Fergie to play his strongest available 11: firstly because we haven’t won the FA Cup for a fair while; secondly because you’re our biggest title rivals and knocking you out of your second cup in a week would be a huge psychological blow.

Due to the unorthodox team selection, tactics are difficult to call. The key to the game, as always, will be the centre of midfield, so the lack of Fabregas on your side is a huge bonus, especially given Carrick’s recent indifferent form. The team I’ve chosen also isn’t blessed with much pace, so our game will most likely be based on strong possession, attacking using Rooney off Berbatov.

Van Der Sar
Brown Vidic Smalling Evra
Fletcher Carrick Scholes Giggs
Rooney Berbatov

From the Arsenal point of view, United will hopefully be fairly blunt going forwards with a lack of creativity in midfield and poor options on the flanks. We can exploit that by limiting Scholes’ ability to influence the game and then pressing them hard across the pitch. With makeshift wide players, they might not be so comfortable under that sort of pressure and it might force them into errors.

Apart from that, I’d like to see us get at their right back.  A lot of United fans seem to be getting ahead of themselves in regards to Rafael’s progress (I’ve heard him called the best right back in the league – Sagna would disagree), while Wes Brown was exposed at centre back against Liverpool. Regardless of who is selected for United, I feel there is a vulnerability there to be exploited. That aside, their defence will be very solid and it’ll be a matter of controlling the midfield in order to create sufficient chances to find a way through.

The line-up above is certainly good enough to get a result against an injury-hit United coming into the game off of a small run of poor results. Their home record is nearly flawless, and while we should be wary of that we need to take an opportunity to put a dent in it. In the run up to this tie I originally would have been happy with a draw, expecting to be able to win the tie at our ground. Now however I feel there’s an opportunity to put the Barcelona defeat behind us and make United feel a little more vulnerable at Old Trafford during the league run-in. 2-1 to Arsenal for my money, but a draw wouldn’t be a bad thing either.

Mark’s going for 1-0 to United

—————

Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

Untold Arsenal on Facebook here

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.

Man U v Arsenal – the view from Manchester

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

Meetings and Greetings, and news of Vermaelen

175 comments to Us v Them; the Untold preview with an extra dash of salt and pepper

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Arsenal to win 2-1 for me.Hope our midfield get to grips early and feed the fowards to get the required goal.The defence look well settled to keep out the threat of their attack.
    Up the Gunners !

  • Wrenny

    Man Utd’s 4-5-1 has worked so well against us, I don’t see the sense in changing it. Especially when it’s just failed spectacularly at Chelsea and Liverpool. If it ain’t broke…

    Even with Park, Valencia and Nani missing, Fergie can put Rooney and Giggs on the flanks. Then Fletcher can do his usual hatchet job in front of the back four!

    Maybe he thinks that with Cesc and Song missing Utd can handle a 2v3 in midfield, but it’s a risky tactic.

  • Phil

    Wrenny – they need Rooney up front closing down, otherwise I’d agree with you. The 2v3 in midfield won’t be too bad as Rooney will play deep and Fletcher narrow so they’ll play a part in the middle

  • Phil

    Wrenny – they need Rooney up front closing down, otherwise I’d agree with you. The 2v3 in midfield won’t be too bad as Rooney will play deep and Fletcher narrow so they’ll play a part in the middle

  • Wrenny

    @Phil
    If Fergie’s plan is to play 4-4-2 and press our CBs when they have the ball then yes. But in the past he’s always used a 4-5-1 against us and defended deep and narrow, preferring to absorb pressure in their own half and hit us on the counter attack. That has worked *really* well (won 5 out of the last 6 games between us) so why change it so radically?

    Liverpool and Chelsea played 4-4-2 against Utd, so Fergie could afford to match that shape without giving up anything in midfield. I don’t think he was forced into it by the personnel he had available like some have said.

  • Phil

    451 would be the ideal, but without Nani, Park and Valencia they haven’t got the legs out wide to do it. A plan is only good if the have the personnel to implement it, and I don’t feel they do.

    Fletcher on the right but playing fairly narrow would give virtually give them three in the middle anyway. They certainly pressed us in the league game at old trafford this season which is why it wouldn’t surprise me this game, given our weakened midfield

  • lateef

    arsenal 2 man iou 1

  • Wrenny

    If Fletcher plays narrow then Arshavin is left 1v1 to attack the full back, not a good idea. Fletcher played on the right against Chelsea to track Ashley Cole but Fergie has never shown worries over our full backs. He always doubles up on our wide men and lets our full backs have the ball.

    They don’t have the ideal personnel for their usual plan of attack against us, but I think it’s still preferable to going 4-4-2. What I imagine is Rooney on the left flank looking to break when Utd win it back, and Chicarito up front looking to exploit our high line. Very quick and direct. I don’t see them going with a ‘game based on strong possession’ as Mark says.

  • prush

    We were well and truly outclassed against Barcelona, far more so than I had expected to be honest. I knew we were a level below the Spanish giants but f*** me that sure is one big level right now. We were spanked in every department for the full 90 minutes and it became so badly one sided that getting the ball out of our own half felt like an achievement throughout most of the match. When Almunia came on in the first half an hour I cringed in anticipation of what might unfold in front of my very eyes over the next hour or so. But to be fair he was probably our man of the match which says all you need to know about how the game unfolded.

    Jack: Higher standards than many

    Cesc in my opinion looked nowhere near fit so I guess you can excuse him an off day but for me what you can’t excuse is the all round back slapping of every Barcelona player that ‘our captain’ gave in the tunnel before the game. This is an Arsenal player that was tapped up before our very eyes during the summer, one that was filmed in a Barcelona shirt and one that very clearly holds his hometown club in a much higher regard than he does the club he currently captains. I know it is his dream to go back home and play for his hometown club but come on, if you had more respect for the club you currently get paid by after all that had gone on during the summer and the embarrassment of the Barcelona shirt incident, would you not five minutes before the biggest game of the season be more interested in focusing on the game ahead with a steely face on rather than bum licking every Barcelona player insight? The back heel that led to Barcelona’s first goal is easier to forgive than the facts listed above in my eyes.

    The truth is we are Arsenal fans first and foremost, we are not Cesc Fabregas fans. We are merely Cesc fans because he plays for the club we love. The club will live on once he has achieved his ambition of pulling the Barcelona shirt on every week, regardless of his talent. For me you can give the man all the plaudits going but in the real big games he doesn’t always do the things he does against the lesser lights and let us not forget we have won nothing over the past six seasons with him playing week in week out. I for one would take Jack Wilshere’s heart, commitment and drive every time over Cesc’s pure talent. The former man is small in stature but in every other aspect of the game he is proving to be the very standard that others should aim for. Quite simply he has at a tender age become a giant. The latter is a World Cup and European Championship winner but it could also be argued that he didn’t really contribute much to either of those winning campaigns, as let’s face facts he was hardly on the pitch during either tournament and the reasons behind the fact that he hardly featured in either tournament were shown live to the world on Tuesday evening in flashing neon lights. Xavi and Iniesta are a cut above him. This fact may seem harsh but it is factually correct at the time of writing.

    Even though we were well and truly outclassed for the full 90 minutes we still got presented with a very acceptable chance of stealing a route through to the quarter finals in the dying minutes of the tie. Unfortunately for us it was none other than Barry Bender who received this chance and before you could say ‘I am the best forward in the world’ the chance had gone. Some pundits that suggested that RVP getting sent off didn’t alter the game in any way should simply look to the fact that had RVP been on the pitch to accept Jack’s through ball in the same position as Barry Bender did we may well still be in the Champions League this morning.

    If we had taken the late opportunity and progressed to the next phase I guess we would have almost felt a sense of embarrassment at beating such a clearly superior opponent. Would it have been unjust? This attitude goes some way for me to finding out the reason why we currently sit trophyless for the past six years. Do you think Bolton, Stoke or Blackburn give two tosses about that fact every time they turn us over? Do they look back at the video of the game and feel sheepish and embarrassed at the fact that they won the game even though they were dominated in every single stat of the match? Can you imagine Big Sam sitting down and realising we had 17 shots to his team’s one and cringeing at the scoreline of 1-0 to his boys from up north? Football is a game of wins and losses and how they come about is meaningless. You either go through or go out and if we had have nicked victory from the jaws of defeat then we should have felt delighted by it and rejoiced in our good fortune, we shouldn’t feel sheepish about missing that last minute chance of success. We should have taken it with both hands and ran off into the Spanish sunset sticking two fingers up at Alves and the rest of Guardiola’s men.

    Anyway onto more important matters, the ones that we have left on our plate and the ones that we have a realistic chance of success in, the FA Cup and the Premier League. I for one couldn’t give much of a toss about the game at OT on Saturday. If we win great but if we go out then so be it. We need to give ourselves the best possible chance of lifting a trophy come May and that as things stand for me is achieved by focusing 100% right now on the Premier League. The FA Cup is a slightly more alluring version of the League Cup in my eyes these days and that is it. Great if we win it, but is it worth cluttering up your title run-in for? Not in my book it isn’t. That is the reason why I wasn’t too disheartened by our exit from Europe. If we had got through we would have only been in the Quarter Final, sure we would have just knocked out the best team in the tournament, but how many teams that do that actually go on to win the thing? I could have seen us getting the likes of Bayern Munich and going out with more injuries to come and more rested players in important league games because of the added burden on the fixture list. Let us get our priorities sorted out right now and try and lift the biggest and most realistic trophy that we can have a real go at winning.

    I have a funny feeling that we are destined to draw at OT and then face the postponement of the away WBA game due to the replay being pencilled in for that same weekend. I would rather take a defeat first time round and focus 100% on winning the league. That might sound defeatist to a lot of you reading this article but for me it is the right call. With RVP back fit and Theo to come shortly we should be set fair to go pretty damn close over the next couple of months and if we don’t, serious questions would need to be asked at that stage. I can accept getting beaten by the best team on the planet. I can accept one giant cock up losing us the League Cup and I can even accept AW putting out an under strength side at the weekend at OT due to getting our priorities sorted out. One thing I will not take as lightly would be us, from our current position, not at the bare minimum going very close to winning the League against what I see as very mediocre opposition. No team is getting above an average six or seven out of ten this season in the Premier League and it goes without saying that it is there for the taking. If we are not up to that standard then why as supporters are we being asked to cough up a minimum of £1000 per season for our tickets? You only pay top dollar to watch top dollar performers, you don’t pay £100 to eat a Big Mac at the end of the day.

    I will refrain from calling us a team full of gutless chokers for the time being as it simply isn’t called for at this stage of the season. But if we do start to drop points in the upcoming league fixtures against the likes of WBA, Blackburn and Blackpool then this current Arsenal side will have lost my faith and belief in them and then we will need to take a serious look at things in the summer once ‘our captain’ has left for pastures new.

  • Dark Prince

    I’d put nasri in centre and bendtner in the flanks. Rosicky isn’t good enough against good teams. Plus in december game against Manu, they clearly nullified Nasri on the flanks but pressing him with 2 players. Its better to bring him in the centre so as he can have more freedom.

  • gooner80

    I have a feeling we are going to stuff them 3-1, My main concern ia we dont PICK up injuries our players are going to get a little bit more rest.

    I have been doing a lot of research on athletes and in athletics you build up then you peak, and then your level drops down or you get injured because there is a very thin line between being at your peak and getting injured, sometimes while your at your peak you can squeeze one more game before your level drops again IMO we peaked against wolves and then quickly went into the 1st barca game and was able to maintain a level and since then our level had been declining, I feel with the break and more time available we are probably gonna peak around the man u game (the one in the league) but I feel we are on our way back.

    I feel man u peaked a good few weeks ago as well and our at their lowest point

  • Sammy The Snake

    Replay will be on the cards…

  • Flashman71

    Dark Prince is right.
    Rosicky is just not good enough and Nasri should certainly play in the centre. For me Diaby (he needs to take his headphones off whilst out on the pitch) is also not good enough at this level and extremely inconsistent (we get one good performance out of 6 with this player and along with rosicky what does he actually bring to the table – zilch), if both he and the former start we will lose no doubt. Not being overly pessimistic but these two players along with Denilson and Bendtner (as has been proved by many preceding games)are just not the standard Arsenal require, good players yes but top – class no. That wenger continues to have a lot of faith in these 4 players never ceases to amaze me and the fact that they are immediate replacements for the likes of cesc, rvp, song, nasri, wilshere our truly world class players does reveal a lack of depth in the squad. Surely it is no coincidence that these players have been with the club nigh on 5 yrs and in that time is it really a shock we have not secured silveware? It’s not all down to luck and injuries, buck stops with Le boss though, he picks them. Of course as a committed gooner I always hope they play well and give them my full support even in times of great frustration ( sunderland first-half springs to mind, diaby and rosicky in the nou camp two yrs on the trot out of their depth) when they pull on the shirt but I think facts have to be faced, if all four face Man Ure then we will well and truly be buggered.

  • Gf60

    Since the gloom of Tuesday, much of my waking days have been taken up with the question of whether a win for us would suit us better than a win for the revolting Mancs.

    A win…. Confidence. Bragging rights. Maybe one more trip to Wembley to make amends? And get the league as well just to rub it in.

    A loss… given our injuries, no fixture congestion, so time to heal for us? Versus… a lot more games maybe on the MFU slate, more tired/injured players hopefully and too many games in too little time? Maybe easing it for us to grab the league?

    Assuming that neither side lets in a back runner such as City, what’s best for all of us gooners? Bloody hell. Answers on a post card please.

    I do know one thing…a draw would suit me best as we have to go to a bloody wedding next Saturday so no live watching of West Brom. If a replay is needed it will be next Friday evening and the WBA game is postponed. Great for me but will it help Arsenal? Can’t see how, so will just have to hope for a 2-1 win and watch recording of WBA.

  • Wrenny

    Looks like Utd are putting out a lot of defenders! Not sure how they’re lining up but Smalling, Vidic, Brown, O’Shea, Evra, Fabio and Rafael are all apparently in the starting XI…. with Gibson, Rooney and Hernandez the other outfield players and VDS in goal.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Just the ref is not their star player as is usual in this fixture……

  • Mandy Dodd

    above – Just hope the ref is not their star player as is usual in this fixture……

  • Tee Song

    Wow! I figured Fergie would be defensive but that lineup is right of Man City’s handbook of defensive football. Two banks of four with two attacking fullbacks, the da Silva twins as wingers and Rooney and Hernandez foraging up front on their own.

  • slim

    Wow same old fuck from the referee, Herenandez’s shot goes out for a corner after he shot it wide and Rooney’s horror tackle goes unpunished- and I heard something abt them not getting decisions? You’ve gotta hand it to the refs really, you’d think they’d tone down a bit after Sunderland and Barca, but no, they’ve one upped themselves.

  • slim

    And the worst thing is the ref feels the need to push even the smallest and most insignificant of decisions in their favour.

  • A Casual Observer

    I don’t think that Foy is having a bad game today, ok the Man-U corner kick was a shocker but that’s about it (in terms of consistancy).

  • critic

    TREBLE in 2 weeks : Arsenal way. 2007-08 season all over again.

  • critic

    You know, it’s better to watch a movie than arsenals’ players getting injured at crucial juncture. What a pathetic performances in past 2 weeks. I don’t have words to describe how this arsenal team can win anything. Statistically yes they are in pl but mentally they are out of it. Better focus on our 3/4 spot.

    Pl is getting boring, it’s always either utd or chelsea.

  • A Casual Observer

    Horrible injury for Djourou… I don’t mind going out of the fuck all cup but that is a big blow for the title challenge.

  • wen_detta

    lack of tactics..poor arsenal..not much luck with almunia..ramsey still got the touch..why chamakh not starting?persie right nasri left..chamakh can provide some space to others…arshavin looks like arsh & too relax..but overall arsenal is improving….slowly at least..:|

  • Marcus

    Scholes up to his usual shit…referee lame…surprise surpise

    At least we are out the Cup and can concentrate on the league.

  • Marcus

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/forms/

    just made a complaint about the commentators giggling over Scholes foul play

  • Mahesh

    I think its me! Ever since I started following the Arsenal, we haven’t won a single trophy. And every year, we go out around this time of year. I think I should stop watching the matches as I am bringing bad luck to our team. 🙁

  • slim

    Nothing to say- despite the ref we lost fair and square today. But the worrying thing is that there’s a certain lack of intensity in the side- even when we’re down we’re content just to sit back and pass squarely to the easiest option rather than forward- like how Barca did for 20 mins this Tuesday after Busquet’s og. Unless that changes we’re probably not gonna win too many games against the top sides.

  • wen_detta

    btw, gibbs was not on his best days..marking out..

  • walter

    I think Scholes was sent on to injur as much players as he could to give us an extra handicap in the PL.
    I couldn’t see the first half so have to see it again for my review but the fact that the ref didn’t give him a second yellow is unbelievable. It didn’t matter for the final result but it just is another example on how the refs are very scared to do what they should do against Utd.

  • ak47

    concentrate on the league!! after that performance? unless we were told to go out and lose theres no excuses. they had key players missing aswell. can we blame tactics? i dont think so. wenger werent exactly in his seat the entire time!

    i hate criticising but enough is enough. diaby-im starting to think maybe he aint good enough for this level. its like his brain works 6 secs slower.

    and what happened to the pressing!!!!???? i was cussing at the screen way to much. manure gave us no time on the ball, whilst we were ball watching for the most part.

    i remember valencia strolling past shavin, he didnt even attempt any pressure. he just stopped. and the ball was then jogged from their half into ours with no one chasing and the defence in shambles.

    the ref werent bad either. and our attacking? pathetically lethargic. lets walk it in shall we for 70mins. oh thats not working. ok we’l cross it in with only one or none in the box.

    im disgusted if you cant tell.

  • Rich_Fryer

    We lacked a little movement and energy, not a surprise given the Barca game, but VDS had to be at his best and we created plenty of chances. Arshavin looked good first half until he got tired, and Ramsey looked good as well. Just hope Johan isn’t too badly hurt. We lost fair and square, but we could easily have won. Can’t believe Scholes managed to stay on the pitch.

  • Shard

    Well, now THAT is what I call well beaten. We were outplayed here. Not in terms of passes or shots on Goal or possession, but truly outplayed. That is what Barcelona would have been if we had 11 men on the pitch, but never mind..

    The biggest blow is undoubtedly losing Djourou with what looks a season ending injury (and painful too).

    The other disappointing aspect is that it’s a return to passing the ball around well enough, but getting caught on the counter. And I think Denilson is a big part of that. He seems content to amble back into possession rather than sprint to close a man down. He shouldn’t play again this season. That may seem harsh but some harsh measures are needed.

    That was a poor performance, and I know there must have been tired legs out there after Barcelona, but look at Jack Wilshere. If he can put in that much effort then why can’t the others? Disappointing. Not so much the result, but the performance. And yes, very worried about the league with Djourou out.

  • ak47

    and did any one bollock shavin for his lack of effort? hell f**king no!!! does anyone get bollocked?

  • Sean

    I rather think that Arsenal’s problem over the last ‘youth-team’ fixated years has been the one that Marcus has uttered…..i.e. ‘pleased to be out of the cup’.
    Alas, the two domestic cups constitute 50% of the possible competitions (and the most likely) that AFC can win so to write one off so easily is, after 23 competitions without a trophy, strange in the least.
    The worrying thing for AFC is the hunch that a few in the dressing room (including the manager) are also as accommodating to their rivals.

  • RedGoooner

    I didnt expect us to get a result today to many influential players missing the same as last season. We need all our best players available at the business end of the season.

    Scholes was a joke and Foy well I always thought if we were winnning he would change the game anyway and make sure we lost so NO big surprise when Scholes stayed on the field.

    I still think looking at the fixtures and the midweek rests we will get and players to come back from injury we look certainty’s to win the league.

    Chelsea will help us and if we have enough of players back for the manutd game it still looks a good run in for us.

  • Shard

    ak47

    It wasn’t as bad as all that.And Arshavin did put in effort. I’m sure you can find the statistics somewhere online, but he was constantly tracking back, and running infield to find space. No lack of effort from him from what I could see. But why couldn’t he keep it up for 90 mins is the question, considering he came on late against Barcelona.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Yet again injuries seem to strike at the worst possible time.
    Wenger is a good general, but not a lucky general, and not a good gambler.
    Unless Vermaelen gets back after the international break, we are left with Kos and Squil – they do not have a good record together. I would bring in Keown to work on them starting tomorrow. Only Arsenal could be at this stage with 2 out 4 first choice defenders and 3 out of 4 keepers injured. JD was unlucky – but are our injuries down to luck or is there a pattern here?
    Cue the AAA, trolls, media and Wenger critics as never before this summer if we finish trophyless. In that event ,may lose a few plastic fans tho…which is always a good thing…

  • ak47

    @shard- exactly! wilshere is already captain material. these are pro athletes so im not buying the tired legs sh*t.

  • Dark Prince

    I think since past 2 weeks we again learned the one thing that we all know but avoid to say – that is- Arsenal cant play properly without Fabregas. Without him our passes are slow and painfully predictable. Also we have to learn that Arshavin is just not good enough to start, he’s best suited as a substitute.Also where was bendtner today?? Also if Fabregas is not there, then its not useful to play 2 defensive midfielders. Better bring in 2 attacking midfielders and one defensive one if fabregas is not there. And credit goes to ManU, even after playing 7 defenders, they are quite precise at their tactics and very clinical as well. We, on the other hand, again seem to pop up the question marks when we reach the final third. Fabregas is definately missed and without him i cant see any trophy coming in this season.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Bendtner was apparently “under the weather”. Wenger looked furious on the touchline after his Barca miss

  • Shard

    ak47

    We actually played well first half so I can’t castigate the players for that. But it was the same pattern we’ve lost to chelsea and ManU the past few years. Get hit on the counter with a sucker punch. And ManU’s best quality this year has been their defense.

    We started the second half well enough, but the second goal was total crap. Neither Denilson nor Gibbs closed down Valencia which allowed the cross to come in from much deeper. I have totally lost faith in Denilson. More than anything else, he doesn’t seem to care. Lack of effort is inexcusable. I don’t care how much distance he covered. He doesn’t chase back when it matters. The small tippy tappy square passes can be important, but that is literally all he can do. He used to be better at some balls through the defense, but he’s gone backwards, and like I said, I think it’s due to a lack of effort. Out with him next year.

  • ak47

    i think it was that bad. yes his attacking werent that bad but thats only 70% of his job. players shouldnt be allowed to just stroll past you and if they do through skill you chase em down. rooney is a cheating diving smurf but he puts the work in when possession is lost.

  • Shard

    Not exactly ak47.. Rooney just has a kick if he can’t reach the ball and is allowed by the referee to escape any punishment for it. Even today he kicked Wilshere. I’m not making excuses at all, and if you argue Arshavin should have done more, then I won’t disagree. But I thought he put in a fair shift. Except it wasn’t for 90 mins.

  • Marcus

    The problem Sean is that in a long season the less games at the end the better…

    and please keep your youth team fixation to yourself

  • Shard

    Oh, one thing needs to be said. I think we have the best away fans.. We can all learn a bit from them. From what I heard on tv, they were more audible than the Mancs there.

  • Sammy The Snake

    Clumsey! How many times have our own players injured our players? That’s just clumsey.

    With all that’s going on around Japan, you’ve gotte feel happy to be alive. Arsenal melting away once again in the space of two weeks in March, and finishing the year 2nd, 3rd or 4th, should be put in perspective.

    (or that’s what I tell myself to feel a bit less sh!t!).

  • ak47

    to be fair im prolly just looking for a scapegoat and that incident stuck out for me and summed up the performance. im not a manager just a pissed off supporter.

  • Shard

    @Sammy

    I don’t see how Sagna can be blamed for that. We were generally clumsy about our defensive duties though.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Think Denilson has become disillusioned – dropping in the pecking order and will probably be shipped out this summer – the same may even apply to Bendtner unless he starts delivering on his talk. Diaby does not look match fit – he seems to need 6 or 7 games to get back, by that time he is usually injured or sent off!
    Recent games have shown how much we rely on (a match fit Cesc) and Song. Our whole game revolves around what they can do – unfortunately their replacements are lacking in something.
    Just a matter for debate – but with injuries or whatever – we do not do so well this time of year. Does anyone think that to move on, we need a shake up in coaches/techniques/ – and I am not talking about Wenger here, more what is around him?

  • Shard

    ak47

    That can happen, and good on you for realising the possibility of it being the case. I’m not so much pissed off, as let down. We better respond in the league. Everyone has to play out of their skins now. Injuries are not to be used as an excuse. The referees are not to be allowed to decide matches. A tough ask. But one we have to make into reality. At least we have a week off now. Time to clear heads, and maybe bang some heads too. But to come out all guns blazing in every match is the only answer.

  • Shard

    @Mandy Dodd

    I think it’s a little bit of a betrayal by some of the players that Wenger has shown incredible faith in, that also causes that. We do have a squad to cover (though the injuries are truly piling up) but if they simply don;t perform when given time on the pitch then what can be done? Rosicky has had a very poor season too, and I wonder about his future with us. For what it’s worth, I think this summer will see a ‘major’ signing. Whether its just to appease fans or not will depend on the destination of the league title.

    As far as coaching/staff changes are concerned. There is no way of knowing. It can certainly help, but it has potential to harm too..

  • Sammy The Snake

    We only have 3 games in the next 35 days, WBA + B’Burn + B’Pool.

    Can we sort things out by then? I wonder.

  • walter

    Dark Prince, like you said we depend a lot on a Cesc and Song and I mean fully fit Cesc in top matches. He is the one with the eye (Cesc that is) and the vision and the ability to change the game. Helas he is out once again and once again in a top match.

  • Adam

    Far too slow going forward. Utd have employed the same tactics against us for the last few years(drop deep get men behind ball, hit us on counter). Always so hard to take a defeat, but we allowed them time to get back behind the ball. Too many backward passes not enough penetration.

  • Shard

    All 3 games winnable too. But it will be a hell of a battle. The manner of the defeat today would have dented confidence. I just hope it wounds pride too. Though some of our players seem to lack that a bit. The international break might help, but I think it’s time Wenger put the fear of God in these players. Some more so than others.

  • gooner80

    I couldnt see what more we could have done, UTD defended really well and made it hard to break them down we had a few chances.

    @AK47 these players might be pro athletes but they are not made of carbon fibre, playing two games a week is going to be taxing we had TOO many games in FEB.

    UTD had a game plan and it worked perfect when they hit us on the break it was dejavu. if KOS took his chance before the second goal it was very much game on, that is football for you, Apart from the injury I am glad we went out, NO MORE distractions, it must be clear to everyone we don’t have the squad for two games a week, I am also glad to see RAMBO back

  • gooner80

    I couldnt see what more we could have done, UTD defended really well and made it hard to break them down we had a few chances.

    @AK47 these players might be pro athletes but they are not made of carbon fibre, playing two games a week is going to be taxing we had TOO many games in FEB.

    UTD had a game plan and it worked perfect when they hit us on the break it was dejavu. if KOS took his chance before the second goal it was very much game on, that is football for you, Apart from the injury I am glad we went out, NO MORE distractions, it must be clear to everyone we don’t have the squad for two games a week, I am also glad to see RAMBO back

  • Shard

    Regarding Cesc being missed… Of course he is. But Walcott is just as big a miss, if not more. Nasri and now Ramsey can play in the Cesc role. Actually I think Ramsey will be better than Nasri at that. But Walcott gives us an outlet which pushes the defense back, giving more space to our midfield to try and find their passes. Any idea when he’ll be back?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Shard – could be a major signing this summer but I fear only if we lose someone – maybe even more major – guess we will have to wait and see on that one.
    As you say, changing coaches can harm – as it did seem to at Chelsea but sometimes, we just seem a bit too one dimensional, predictable. And I still think overall, our defence could do with a bit of help. Playing Kos and Squill in the run in scares the hell out of me – Almunia has done well since coming back but there is a mistake or two in him. Defensively, things do not look good.
    Our main problem, as always is injuries to key players at key times – but we need to somehow over come this – as it has hit us for the last 5 or so years. We really need proper backup for Song to help stop these sucker punches that are hitting us

  • Shard

    @gooner80

    I’m not so sure. I think if our squad is stretched (which now it most certainly is), then the FA Cup would have represented a better chance at a trophy once we were in the semis. Going to Wembley to try and exorcise some demons might have helped too.

  • Shard

    @Mandy

    Next year we will have cover for Song. Coquelin and Frimpong are the reasons Wenger didn’t buy anyone this year. I think if there is to be any major player leaving, as you say, it would be Fabregas. I hope not. And we can certainly afford a major signing without selling him. Especially because I’m sure some other players would be sold anyway, along with some of our reserves and loanees maybe.

  • gooner80

    @Shard

    I think Arsene does have a go at them just not in public, NO ONE wants to win more than Arsene, I dont know, I kinda of disagree with it denting our confidence,I dont think they are so fragile anymore, IMO all that is missing is recovery time, this year no one has played more games than arsenal

    if we still had JD i would think we had a very good chance in the league without him, I just dont know?

    so much frustration being an arsenal fan

  • Shard

    @gooner80

    I’m sure Arsene has a go at them. I’m not sure they believe him though. I think when they see the injuries piling up they play with less effort rather than more knowing their place is safe. That’s why in my view, a statement has to be made. Drop Denilson (I say Him because in my opinion he’s not showing any desire to win) and do not let him put on the shirt again even if injuries ocur. Call up somebody from the reserves if desperate. Some changes are required. The above is just a suggestion, but of course Arsene knows their mentality better than we ever can.

  • dy

    like Walter says, Fab is the eye with vision for the team, when he has the ball, others can make the run into space and he’ll deliver. But I still insist Arshavin has the same quality but never employed in that role in the middle, at least not for a real try. Total waste !!

  • critic

    I predict Arsenal picking up at max 3 points out of 9 in next 3 games.

    Title will be decided between chelsea and united again.

  • gooner80

    Sometimes to win you just need that bit of luck, good fortune and to rip the hand off anyone who gives you a chance, to me it just seems like fine lines

    What I would say SHARD is that the players must now quickly come to the realisation that ALL they have left is the league, this might get them a bit more focused, I mean if they are true winners they would now have a huge fear of winning nothing and having to listen to all the pundits they must hate it, when I heard adrian chiles and gordan strachan go on about how crap arsenal were I nearly threw my tv, as my philosphy goes when you squeeze someone you see what they are made of, it is easy to act in good times it is the bad times which is the making of champions, doesnt anyone else think that man u needed this cup more than us, they have 8 games in april and there is no guarantee they are going to win the league with their away form

  • critic

    Vision, cesc?? BOLLOCKS. United been blind since ronaldo’s departure. It’s Arsene’s tactical naivety that’s causing arsenal season after season.

  • gooner80

    @critic

    I believe it is INJURIES and silly mistakes most of the time that has cost us

  • gooner80

    Also the spine keeps on slipping a disc

  • Marcus

    Ultimately a great result for us….ManU’s calendar will be chokka.

    Our RECENT league record is WWWDWD

    which of course show a club in total chaos.

    (The two draws incidentally being refogenetically modified)

    Time for a certain Spaniard to step up to the plate and make a name for himself..(the one who is named after a beer)

    All we can do is play our best, and hope that Arsene is a religious man who prays for justice

  • Shard

    @critic

    What are you on about mate?

    @gooner80

    Oh absolutely about United. People call us bottlers or whatever, but you look at what they have done over this season makes a case for them to be even more so. And counting the fact that they have been very very ‘lucky’ with certain decisions then they truly need every thing they can get.
    BUT…. their team selection today didn’t say they wanted it more. The players on the pitch though, put in a determined, if limited performance which was exactly what was required of them. No more.. But no less either.

  • zubeir

    lost faith in Denilson completely. Oh God please give us that ‘luck’ we lack and give us the epl. Glad to see Rambo

  • dy

    as far as tactic for Arsenal is concerned, we did very well against Chelsea and the first leg against Barca and we won both. It proves something. Like the saying ‘horse for course’, there must be more than one way to direct how the game plan is against different opponents. Its naive to think there’s only one way Arsenal plays and it would work every time. Yes, it would work every time if, a big IF, Arsenal really dominates completely over their enemies.

  • critic

    @G80
    Whole utd defense went missing last season, still they lost the title due to an offside decision went wrong, finishing 1 point behind charity.

    After the 2nd goal went in Arsenal players were literally strolling. Is this the hunger Arsene was talking about???? Arsene has put his neck on the line for these players and these shits think they can get away with such kind of performances???

    Why nasri and clichy haven’t signed a contract extension?? It’s clear. These are not arsenal players, these are just money players. Cesc wants to play for barca, diaby wants to play for barca, bendnter wants to play for spanish giants. WHERE’S THE SPIRIT GODDAMN IT!!!

    United won today with sheer spirit. None of their midfield(used in the match) player will get into this arsenal team.

    FUCKING BOLLOCKS.

  • gooner80

    @Shard

    that was their strongest team, they couldnt play the old geezers two times in a week and berbatov NEVER and I repeat NEVER starts or even plays against arsenal, they hoped to hit us on the counter attack.

    EVERYONE has forgot how good UTD’s home record is and how good their home record is against us, their game plan worked perfect, trust me shard they wanted didnt you see SAF cheering like a mad man when they scored, they played defensive because they were fearful, Fergie talked about getting to wembley, and bearing in mind he started berbatov against Liverpool and they got outplayed and HE KNOWS arsenal are better than POOL, UTD have lost two important games in a ROW and rhey NEEDED this win.

    AND the biggest point of all is fergie has revealed his hand for how he intends to set up against us at the emirates and I am sure Arsene will work on something to counter act it. ALSO which game would you rather lose this game our the league fixture??

  • Shard

    dy

    I think tactics are often overrated.. They can help, and sometimes massively so. But most often, its just down to whether the players on the pitch perform. Today, I couldn’t see much wrong with the tactics. We are good enough to dominate possession against them and to carve them open. Both of which we did, though the opportunities came less frequently, and when they did we faced a brilliant keeper on form. We didn’t lose goals on the counter because of poor tactics.. The blame for that lies solely at the door of the players.

  • dy

    another word, those two winning performances against Chelsea and Barca required lots mental and physical strength. I don’t expect Arsenal to produce that every time but there’re games where we need to adapt. So I figure it’s down to how much our manager and the team want the result. Not today.

  • critic

    @Shard

    I am just totally frustrated. It’s not about the defeat, but players earning 80-90k a week strolling in old trafford was pathetic. I can’t digest it.
    WTF sagna was doing? using djorou as a ladder?? Where’s the brain and common sense???and sight??

    you may be drugged above ur neck but iam not!! I predicted season to be over in next fortnight when arsenal lost the CC. And………it came true.

    Jack is the only one bleeding red and white. Rest were pathetic. Jack wilshere I love you.

  • Shard

    @critic

    try not to get carried away with using certain facts out of context in order to fit a theory. I realise you’re upset, but to immediately call Clichy and Nasri money grabbers is just plain wrong. Nasri said that Wenger and he have decided to discuss it in the summer. Let it be. I think that is usually the norm with contract negotiations for us anyway. Many are either right at the start of the season, or just after it ends.

  • gooner80

    @critic

    Diaby,cesc and the others can dream about playing for the spanish giants but the wrong way to do it is by playing badly, Cesc has made it harder on himself playing so poor, Pep already said they have loads of players like jack in their reserves so why are they going to sign cesc they will just bring through a player.

    I have always been a believer of more british players because they dont want to play abroad and when your british and play at arsenal there is very places you can go that are better, Arsene is bringing through a crop of english players but some of the foreign players are delusional if they think the likes of barca will come calling.

    TBH Critic I cant see what more the players could have done, if they could wake up and learn to press like barca we wouldnt have to worry about the opposition again

  • critic

    Shard are u new to this blog??? i didn’t see u say, 2-3 months ago. I meant ur comments.

    It’s ok to defend players. But this time they deserve hot iron in their arses. Only player that was gr8 was JACK. and he is only 18!!!

    By tactics i mean, where’s the imagination in corners and set plays?? when was the last time arsenal scored from out of the box???

    To defend set plays arsene uses 11 players!!! that’s just amazing!!!!

  • Shard

    @critic

    All hail your foresight.. Jeez.. If you take satisfaction in such a prediction then well.. I have no words.. Or no nice words anyway..

    If you do not take satisfaction, then why do you mention it? Just to prove that you know better than all others here? because we are what..drugged above the neck?

    Caring about the team, and being frustrated is well and good. But to take a defeat on the chin is also something a fan should learn. If you see, I am critic-al of the team’s performance too.. But that doesn;t mean I have to act like a spoilt child.

  • gooner80

    also NASRI said he wont leave without winning the league and clichy had his chance last year if he wanted to go it will be more a case when Arsene wants you to go, Gibbs is coming through so he might want to part with clichy,I dare anyone to really name me a player in their PRIMEwho parted from Arsenal on their terms may be Anelka but very few do, they leave when Arsene wants them to leave

  • Marcus

    Looking at the team SAF put out, i think it is clear their strategy was to lose this game.

    I think we did brilliantly to lose it, and we also avoided worst scythes of the Ginger Reaper.

    Man U have a potential 9 extra games more than us now…coupled with a bag of injuries…

    lets see how it all pans out

  • Shard

    Anyway.. I think you have a point Gooner80.. about ManU actually putting out their strongest team. I must admit, I didn’t think about it like that though. So yup.. Good point. Djourou’s injury is the real downer though isn’t it? I must say, I’m edging a little on the side of pessimism now.

  • critic

    Good thing is, utd will be exhausted in april. Bad thing is We won’t be able to take advantage of it. 🙁 🙁

    I predict chelsea storming back to the summit. I just can’t digest it.

    Why on earth we are so unlucky and naive at the same time???

  • Shard

    @critic

    I agree with worries of us being able to take advantage of it. In a sense I think it’s many players’ futures at our club that are at stake. If they can perform and show the fight required of them, then well and good. If not then there’ll be a semi clearout. It’s down to the team now. Every match has to be given everything.

    But Chelsea coming back into it may not be such a bad thing. they do have to play United again, so it’ll be good if they are fired up too.

  • critic

    @shard

    prediction = jinxing. 😉

    and if it comes true, well………i might say i told u so.

    But i wud prefer the former.

  • critic

    @g80

    Yeah, lolz. Very true. That’s the best midfield utd have got(not better).

  • Shard

    Regarding Nasri and contracts.. I would like to point out that before his move to us materialised, he was in the last year of his contract, but chose to sign a four year deal with Marseille, so that they would get a fair price for him. I think he will extend his contract because he wants to stay, but even if he wants to go.

  • dy

    just for discussion, not an argument, Arsenal didn’t stop Manu to get the 2 goals. Our defence failed and seeing too often goals conceded where space being left opened for opponents to get in. When we push high up for an offence, chances of being caught will forever be present. The mids have to be back to defend in numbers. Loads of energy will be required with quick feet and quick thinking. I really don’t fancy Diaby, Denilson, Rocsiky to fulfill this role, definitely not after the battle on Tuesday. So, this lost is expected and not disappointed.
    To pass through Manu defence, Arsenal needs to go the baseline and cut back , not through the middle.

  • gooner80

    I dont mean it in a bad way but why couldnt it have been diaby that got injured or rosicky

    we have some winnable games coming up and if we can have song or miquel covering hopefully tV5 could come back

    fixtures

    west brom
    Black burn
    Black pool

    then

    liverpool
    UTD or stoke next

    by the time the UTD game comes we might be leading and if chelsea truly want to catch up they have to beat UTD after these 3 games I think we will know whether we are going to finish 3rd or 1st

  • Shard

    @gooner80

    Who are ManU facing in the meantime? Our next 3 games I mean.

  • Shard

    @dy

    I agree with that. Though Diaby still does chase back normally. The first goal today, according to me, was because our midfield didn’t come back to cover quickly enough, and then our defenders didn’t follow the ball in.. The second goal was even more infuriating. Denilson jogs beside Valencia on the touchline for 40-50 yards, without closing him down. That is simply unacceptable. I do not want him to play for Arsenal again. He’s done this sort of thing too often. Last season against ManU, the FA cup loss against Stoke being examples..

    I think we can play through the middle against ManU, but only after forcing them to cover the flanks a bit. Which as you say is by putting crosses in and challenging for headers.

  • jayj

    I love the response from some of the supporters, OH going out of the CL or FA cup may not be sooo BAD!
    Well lets see if they change the tone come next week when Arsenal fail @ WBA, and remember I told you 1st. This season is heading the same way as many before it, Wenger wake the fuck up. WBA,Totteham,Newcastle beat us @ the Emirates we even let a 4 goal lead slip, and we haven’t scored in the last 3 games (not counting barca own goal), would Manu or Chelsea do this? Oh and dont forget the Carling/FA cup replays to lower league opposition, and how could I forget the carling cup final, would any of our rivals implode in such famous manner that has become the norm for arsenal and lets remember we failed to even register a shot @ the nou camp, now no team has ever managed that makes me sooo fucking proud. Wearing the Arsenal shirt has become a symbol of accepting failure and that is the reason why Fergie doesn’t bother with the mind games against us because he knows we’ll shoot our selves down instead.How many times has his tactics of flooding the midfield stifaled the Arsenal and Wenger can’t even counter this time and again. Mourinho laughed @ Wenger’s tactics proclaiming he would beat us week in week out given the chance. Time to call it a day Wenger, I’m soo fucking pissed now.

  • gooner80

    UTD face

    Marseille H
    bolton H
    west ham A
    fulham H
    Newcastle A
    everton H

    plus two cup games if they get through in champions league and the other being a Fa cup all in april

    THEN the face arsenal and chelsea then black burn away and then black pool and hopefully blackpool will be gihting for their lives

    we have 5 games in april possibly 4 according to arsenal.com

  • dy

    to play 1-2 inside and around the box, you need great understandings among the players, and constant movement with and without the ball, stretch the play left and right, everybody is looking up for that open space and return ball. Don’t think Arsenal has mastered the technique yet. Don’t think we have the quality in all. Who’s best in this ? Your guess is as good as mine.

  • Shard

    jayj

    Mourinho seems to say a lot though doesn’t he? He’s not laughing much now either..
    Chelsea did much worse than would be expected if they are all you claim.

    Actually, your whole post is too long and senseless to counter. Go and seethe some more at the team, Wenger, the rest of the fans like us. Have fun..

    And jayj.. You didn’t tell us anything first. You’re anything but original.

  • gooner80

    @jayj

    have you seen chelsea this season???, some of their fans are topping themselves, UTD got thrashed against west ham in the carling cup last season they went out of the fac cup against leeds who were in the old 3rd division at the time and they lost a very good league in the champions league against Bayern munich which lost me F*cking £130 because I thought they wouldnt let a “lead slip” UTD and chelsea have had some embarrassing results why do you think fergie has been so stressed and calling for media black outs. Man city have spent £100s millions and they look average, the league has got tighter and tighter this season the winners of the league could be sub 60 points and the biggest fact of all is that the grass always looks greener on the other side

  • Shard

    gooner80

    Hmmm.. It depends on how they do.

    I generally find myself unable to analyse fixture lists too much. There’s just too many variables. refereeing decisions. (even the innocent ones) Injuries. and based on some early good or bad form, the rest of the fixtures can take on a different tone. So, I leave it to you to analyse and draw conclusions and share it with me.

    I still think we have fight left in us. But our injury crisis needs to end.

  • jayj

    OK Shard give me a heads up for next week, I think you’re pleased with our lack of silverware for the last 5yrs. The nothing original about my post but one thing is true come feb/march and we implode why’s that know it all man?

  • gooner80

    sorry should be sub 80 points pressed the wrong key

  • dy

    remember how Arsenal won against Chelsea and Barca ? (sorry, I’ve to keep mentioning those 2 games.) No, forget the tactics or anything, it’s the home court advantage with the fans behind them !!!! That’s it.

  • gooner80

    @jayj

    what do you suggest to fix it??

  • jayj

    gooner80 I fail to see any of the other teams with implode like we have, not one shot in the nou camp even before the RVP seding off, Carling Cup final wow Utd\chelsea have done that in such spectacular fashion, and ys chelsea have been crap this season but their only 6 point behind us, make me wonder how bad have we been at the emirate this season? 9 points dropped to 3rd rate teams.

  • Shard

    Ummm..Because our team is shit?? and Chelsea and ManU are bloody awesome, and because Wenger is a sorry, pathetic stubborn man who is nothing but a loser?? Ya.. I am Mr. Know it all..

  • jayj

    gooner80 what do you suggest to fix it??

    my answer:-
    I love Wenger but the January transfer window he should purchased a CB and me thinks Cahill from bolton, I think Doujoru come short in the big games, our 1st choice goal keeper in too young to handle the pressure tht come wearing the arsenal jersey, we should of got Shwartzer in.

  • gooner80

    Chelsea let a huge lead slip they were running away with the title,

    at the nou camp there was method to the madness, arsene knew barca would tire and the plan was to attack in the final 20 mins,

    UTD were 6 points clear with a game in hand I think but dont quote me on it they were at least 4 points (the BOTTLERS)

    In all honesty our starting 11 is a match for anyone, INJURIES INJURIES BAD LUCK, REFS, SILLY MISTAKES

    and Jayj no matter how angry and mad you are, no matter how frustrated and how much you cant sleep there is ONE MAN who cares MUCH MUCH MUCH MORE than you and that is ARSENE, the man is a workaholic and doesnt rest trying to deliver silverware, so just rest assured that it is not for the want of trying, do you think arsene will let his players not fight for this title

  • jayj

    I repeat we R not a millions miles away from taking a cup/league but its that same old faults we fail to iron out, why do we leak so many goals, why does our back line wobble from crosses, why are our keepers so prone to mistakes? Come it cant be bad luck evey single time

  • dy

    At other games, there’re times when the ball passings are so woeful, I’m not pointing fingers to any particular one, even without pressure. I think the basic skill isn’t there yet with certain players, is it a mentality thing or just a blip.

  • Shard

    @gooner80

    Sigh.. I just hope the players respond to him. I think we have some true winners in there. But some others are content to stroll through and still some others really want to win but don’t know how to. With Djourou’s injury, I fear we’ll be stretched too far. Any idea when Song, and Walcott will be fit?

  • gooner80

    Shwartzer was stopped YES STOPPED from coming and cahill to the best of my knowledge we offered £15 million, very hard to do transfers mid season, chelsea bought £50 million striker and he has done very well.

    Would cahill have stopped us going out against barca dont think so, players in midtable teams often look good and stand out but when they come to the big time they FALL short also.

    TV5 was supposed to have come back, and Arsenal tried to get people in, it is not as easy as you think, and in actual fact our defence has been much better than last year and is around the same as the best in the league

  • gooner80

    I think Theo is like two weeks, song im not sure.

    Our next few games our key win these and hopefully momentum and the finishing line being in sight will get us through.

    i am prayin Man u go into extra time in champions league

  • jayj

    gooner80 Arsenal had the upper hand in the Shwatzer deal he wanted to come the 2.5 asking fee was way too much for Arsenal, Cahill would not of stopped the Arsenal rot in the nou camp but he would added some spine and definite meat in the league. Yes our defence is better than last season, but imagine a commanding GK and CB to fall on and our style of play going forward.

  • Shard

    @gooner80

    0-0 isn’t all that unlikely. But I think our focus should be on ourselves. As you said, the next few games are key. I wonder what hand the referees will play though. It certainly won’t be easy even if the matches are fairly reffed. But I think we must expect more than a few ‘wrong’ calls and prepare accordingly. No option now.

  • jayj

    Why R we so injury prone, I’m not saying other teams are not but in our case its the usual suspects, RVP,Walcott, Diaby, Rosicky – every bloody season the same sick notes.

  • gooner80

    Given wouldnt go to fulham so it was No deal, read mark shcwarzers comments, it wasnt money,

    the thing i agree with is that we should try to recruit some defenders from the prem, with prem experience, if blackburn go down there may be a deal to be done with their captain.

    I also think AW thinks long term and doesnt think of quick fixes, if TV5 was here which is a hypothetical question as good as any, where would we be? a few points clear, a carling cup, who knows, I am glad we dont have silvestre and Gallas. Theo has really improved, so has Nasri, JD has been great, RVP has been exceptional up until birmingham and of course jack, I would take the league over the cups and while we are still in with a great shout I AM A BELIEVER

  • Shard

    Rosicky isn’t really injury prone. He just had a bad injury which took really long to treat and heal.
    Diaby’s injuries are I suspect due to his leg break. Much is made of Eduardo and Ramsey, but Diaby’s misfortune is often forgotten.
    Walcott had some genetic issues and then he had no summer rest due to his involvement with both the England senior team and the U21’s. This season he twisted his ankle playing for England, and now this injury against Stoke.
    RVP is the most frustrating, because he is so valuable, and also because all of his injuries seem to be different. In a way that’s good that there’s no chronic problem. But it’s just frustrating.

    But then you factor in Cesc, and Vermaelen, Djourou even (today, and prior to this season) . Either our medical team isn’t up to scratch, or we’re just unlucky. Or there is truth to the linkage between style of play and injuries.

  • Johnny Deigh

    Didn’t get to see the match except for the first 20 minutes (rain then a local power outage), however I did see Denilson do a pathetic job of defending. I’m talking about him being between the defender and the goal, and then for some reason he goes to the back of the player (between the player and the opposition goal) supposedly to try to take the ball off the attacking player. However the attacking player just runs on goal.
    Like I said, I’ve seen Denilson do this once before this season. It’s the kind of defending that you would get mad at an 8 year old for doing.
    Also, I don’t think Fergie put out a weak team. The Da Silva twins are more than capable on the wings and Fergie had an eye on Marseille next week and he knew we didn’t have Song or Cesc in the midfield. So he had the luxury of playing O’Shea and Gibson in the midfield.
    Djourou has been immense this season. I seriously consider him to perhaps have been the best CB in the league this season. Losing him and Chesney is definitely going to hurt us.
    As to new signings for next season, we should be getting Ryo Miyaichi. Anyone who has seen him play in Holland knows he should be able to walk right into our starting 11.

  • jayj

    I think we need at least one nasty bastard for the EPL, looking back at our past we have been bullied so easily off the ball, Drogba\Vidic come to mind, now we don’t have a player like Ray Palour (not so easy on the eye) but fucking effective or even a Sol Campbell, would Nolan or Barton try that shit if we did?

  • gooner80

    @ SHARD

    I just think UTD are feeling the pressure and some gruelling games like what we had in FEB may just take them over the edge. IMO I feel we are better than UTD and would make better champions and it is there for the taking they just have to grab it. No matter how bad Barca act off the field we could learn so much from them, and ultimately that is my answer, not NEW centre backs, the team just needs a decent work ethic, barca cover on average something like 7.5 miles a game arsenal average around 5.8 miles if we pressed like them we could play Arshavin at the back in a lot of games lol, attack and possession and winning the ball back is the answer

  • jayj

    Ryo Miyaichi been watching him EPL to soon yet but he is classy.

  • Shard

    Johnny Deigh

    I know the incident you’re referring to. I believe Denilson will go in the summer. We have plenty of talent coming through in midfield. There’s Coquelin and Frimpong..Both good enough i feel to cover for Song.. Then there’s Lansbury and even henderson who we saw in the FA Cup. Plus, ramsey will be there from the start. I think it’s time up for Denilson, and perhaps he knows it and has just accepted it.

    regarding Miyaichi.. I just hope he gets a special talent permit. It’s been known to be denied to us before. Then again, we did get in Denilson through that route.

    I’m also unsure about Bendtner’s future. I think he could be a very good striker, but I don;t know if he’ll be patient enough, or indeed if Arsene will want to deal with his attitude. Especially when he doesn’t back that up. I wonder if Vela will come back, and JET will take Bendtner’s spot.

  • jayj

    Chelsea have Essien
    Liverpool have Gerrard/Lucas
    Man u have Fletcher

    We have Song

    Song is good and does the job but my only fault with song is that he does’t know when to be nasty like the other mentioned, Song has got ability but if you take Fletcher he doesn’t have an ounce on Song, however Fletcher knows when to be nasty but maybe because thats all his got.

  • Shard

    @Gooner80

    I do not believe Barcelona’s pressing style is that easy to imitate. They do work very hard, but the way they close the passing lanes is something that is not easy to teach. Most of their team has been playing that way since they were kids and also many of them have been playing together for years. Besides, their passing when they do have the ball is simply out of reach for us right now. We can pass it around in triangles, but they keep those triangles rotating in a triangular pattern (if I make any sense right now)

    In any case, we have seen, or at least concluded (whether rightly or wrongly) that it is impossible to keep that up for 90 mins. I don’t think that we can play an exact pressing game the way Barca do. But the key words are effort and desire. Desire to win and keep the ball and score. And the effort to achieve that desire.

  • gooner80

    you know what has been a huge factor over these 5 years and that is finishing, since Henry we havent really had anyone over 25 goals a season, I thought Vela was gonna make it, we need someone potent, I always rated BEnt that guy sometimes only gets one shot in a game but scores, he does like to be the main main but his ratio is as good as any but not a wenger signing, it seems like we need more options upfront, when you bring on chamkh and B52 they are twins and some of our players need TOO many chances and at the VERY TOP you may only get one chance at the end of the day B52 shoulda put us through against barca even with 10 men, someone like bent would have gone on and scored and IMO if we need signings it is upfront

  • Shard

    @jayj

    All the others you mention, at least Fletcher, get away with a lot more contact and foul play than Song without getting a yellow card. Makes it harder for Song to compete with the same intensity.

  • Johnny Deigh

    Shard, I used to be patient with Denilson. First I just passed him off as a slow learner, thinking he’d come good some day. Then I thought he wasn’t apt for the English league, thinking he’d probably do well in Spain or Italy. Now, I just see him as the worst defender in the league. He’s not good enough for a team like Wolves, let alone Arsenal.

  • jayj

    Shard R you saying the league/ref R prone to making a call based on colour or just biased towards us?

  • Shard

    @gooner80

    I agree with that. RVP could be that guy but he’s never been fit for the length of a season. Eduardo most definitely was that guy. Did you see his goal against Roma? Sigh…. I don’t know if Vela’s loan will help him step up, but so far,he’s been disappointing. The one thing that stands out in that glorious period was that whenever there was a break on,one on one, you never expected anything other than a goal. And not just from Henry either. Pires, Ljungberg, Bergkamp, Vieira. All were good finishers.

  • Shard

    jayj

    Colour??? What?

    I just think that Song gets yellow carded for much less than the others.

  • gooner80

    we did it against chelsea, the problem is pressing like involves the whole team and people like AA walk and once one person doesnt press it doesnt work, barca work their arse off. I know what you are saying about barca being together for years but in the champions league final in 2006 against us they didnt press like that, it since they got rid of lazy b*stards like ronaldinho that Pep has installed this pressing game, it is only since PEP put some work ethic into them, they are relentless, and in the majority of games you dont have to do it for 90 mins the game will be over after 65 mins, Barca cant do it for 90 mins but they dont need to once psychological you have strangled most teams by beating them into submission the game is won, they stop passing like what we did, then no one wants the ball and then like a vicious cycle barca get the ball back quicker and quicker.

    Shard I agree with you on the passing we cant pass like them YET too many missed placed passes, but the more you work at something the better you get at it, BARCA in 2006 wasnt like the team they are now or have been for the last 3 years so they learnt this WAY in 18 months it is doable

  • RedGoooner

    No one stops to think that this is a football club we support well some of us anyway.
    Its been a work in progress that would have been completed earlier only a few jumped ship flamini, hleb etc.

    Wenger probably said to the board build the emirates BUT it would take us 4 to 8 years to rebuild using a youth programme but that he would keep us competetive every year while doing so.

    There is no doubting our first 11 is as good as anyones in the league when all are fit. We can also see that there is huge improvement this season compaired to the last few.

    Give it another 2 years with all the youth thats comming through and one or two shrew buys we will then have a full squad capable of competing, not just a first 11.

    If your not patient enough to understand what Arsenal and Wenger is trying to do without slagging off you’re own players every week go support someone else.

    We still can and I think will win the league.

  • jayj

    I think the problem with Denilson is himself, been watching him over 3 seasons. When Denilson 1st came on the scene he was good/average kind like a rough cut but with a certain sparkle in some games however I have witnessed a decline not just in his ability but also with games, Wenger noticed as well.

  • jayj

    Does anyone think we will sign a CB,GK,DM come the summer?

  • Shard

    Gooner80

    In 18 months.. Sure. But not now. Not while going for the title. Especially because I think we’ll be getting our own academy graduates coming through in that time frame.

    I still think we can’t press in exactly the same way though. Even against Chelsea, we got close to them and basically harried them out of possession. But if they were better on the ball, they could still have punished us. We lack the instinctive understanding of working as a unit to close the passing lanes. Besides, the way the game is played in England, I don’t think it’ll work. So they’ll sit back and hoof it long for a while. Then they’ll resort to kicking or shoving us off the ball, and eventually our shape and organisation will go. What I mean is, in England, even discounting the referees’ bias, a lot more contact is considered legal, as opposed to Spain.

  • Shard

    jayj

    I’m sure no DM..Coquelin and Frimpong are all we need.

    GK probably, because one of Almunia or Fabiansky will leave.

    CB again. I don’t think so. Though that depends on injuries. Bartley will be in the team. He’s done really well on loan.

  • gooner80

    @Shard

    Yes I think our defence gets blamed all too easy but it is the finishing, up until the injury if Eduardo got a chance, he would score, this team wants too many chances, especially in cup finals, you may only get one decent chance and a few half chances, arsenal create more chances than anyone,we need a lethal option, I have been praying that THEO turns into henry but Theo is too nice, Henry had an edge about him, but he wasnt always very lethal, when we had strikers winning the golden boot we were winning stuff, and no offence to B52 or chamkh but they are back up strikers, I want a goal machine, some one doesnt want to pass but just shoot, IAN WRIGHT in his prime would probably get 45 goals a season in this current team,if he went through one on one the ball was in the back of the net, hell if he had 1 yard of space in or around the penalty box the keeper was getting worked

  • gooner80

    FRIMPONG is quality and would have got at least 10 games this season, Im telling you it is upfront we are short

  • jayj

    Frimpong seems stiff and clumsy, I’m really hoping for GK because even though our no.1 is injured we really need another to fall back on, may b Fabiansky could become the one. CB I’m praying because our past seasons at least CB is injured and their goes our 1st choice pairing.

  • Shard

    @gooner80

    But it’s hard to imagine Ian Wright being able to lead the line on his own in this team. The way we set up now was also a factor in Eduardo leaving I think. We need somebody who can be a threat when there are crosses into the box since he’ll be the only man up front, but he also needs to have the close control and lethal instincts of the striker in the box.. Basically, you’re looking for Drogba (without the c***iness I hope)
    And that’s actually why I’m reluctant for Bendtner to go. Drogba isn’t recognisable from when he first came to England. His touch was poor, and his finishing wasn’t very good. He was just a battering ram. But he improved.I think Nicklas is ahead in the developmental curve, and eventually could become just the striker that Drogba is.

  • gooner80

    @Shard

    I agree entirely with what your saying about barcas style not working because of the english mentality, that is the problem and it is a big one, because our players cant play a physical game and can only rely on technical ability so I dont see where we have a choice, all we can do is press as a unit

  • Shard

    I actually rate Coquelin more than Frimpong. I think Frimpong is more of a beast who’ll push people around more and intimidate them, while Coquelin is more assured and laid back. To draw a weak parallel, Frimpong is more Vieira, while Coquelin is more Makelele.

  • Shard

    I disagree gooner80

    We are quite strong. Even somebody like Arshavin, size notwithstanding, is extremely hard to push off the ball. But when you’re pressing, it takes just one person to be pushed over for the entire defense to become instantly vulnerable. Also, I’m sure that if we can’t keep it up for the full 90, then we will lose a lot of points.

  • jayj

    Frimpong/Coquelin may not be bad for the long haul however in the near future I feel would hinder the team, I would think Wenger should allow a season long lone deal in PL may be bolton.

  • gooner80

    Defoe is a poor man Ian wright, probably even a tramps ian wright, wright lead the line when we had 10 men behind the ball that man was exceptional, I admit the game has changed but wright was a finisher and had to feed on A LOT less chances then our strikers, wright was the equivalent of playing in the stoke team of today and leading the line.

    B52 problem is his casual approach, he needs to put some work on finishing, and being consistent like quite a few players

  • Shard

    Just to be clear.. I’m not saying we shouldn’t press. But I don;t think we should press as deep, and as constantly that Barca do. (and they don’t do it in every match to the same extent) We have to be able to sit back a bit and absorb some pressure too. In fact, inviting a team beyond the half way line might be the only way we can unlock some defences.

  • Shard

    Attitude is just it.. I feel Bendtner has all the attributes to be our Drogba. Even though we’ll always need somebody like Van Persie too.. But will he get down and dirty, put in that hard work before demanding a place??I’m not so sure…I don;t know whether Bendtner will stay to be honest.

  • gooner80

    @shard

    I dont mean theyre light weight what I mean is the midfields game is based on being mobile and quick movements not on brute force like the veira era and they are more suited to barcas game the problem is the ref dont give the fouls and make it look like we lose possession when in actual fact they were fouled, where as veira team would often out muscle and foul the other team if the ref wasnt going to protect them and alot of Patrick’s red cards were revenge attacks, but I dont really want to get into that debate, I just feel this teamis more suited to a Barca style then wengers previous versions

  • Shard

    @gooner80

    That is true. But we’re playing in a very different league. The speed of play itself means we can’t quite press with the same intensity. As I said, I think we should press in our own half, while the striker harries them in theirs. If they refuse to come out, then we can push up and win the ball back in their half. Basically, force them to come out a bit so they leave space behind for us to exploit.

  • Shard

    If we keep pushing them back, then I think we will struggle to score. Our passing isn’t quite at Barca’s level, and again, I don;t think it can reach that level because of the speed and power the game is played at in England. It won’t be allowed to suceed because sooner or later some one will just take a player out. Also, Barca with all their passing struggled to break us down too, and our defense isn’t particularly recognised as the best in England. I think we should only press them in their half if they refuse to come out. Sitting in our own half will invite them on, and also cut out the threat of a ball over the top. Which we have been vulnerable to.

  • gooner80

    Agreed but as youre kind of pointing to it a modified version of barcas style, they are trully frightening but to my mind they suffer a lot of the problems we are accused of like trying to walk the ball in the net.

    The thing that frustrates me is when we lose the ball through an unforced error and there is a stroll back, arsenal do the pressing for a few games but then dont bother I am a believer in prevention being better than a cure and if i see players busting a gut to win the ball back then fair enough.

    it is no coincidence that the defence has got better since jack’s been in the team he has hunger and provides protection

    Im sure AW is analyzing the problems and working on the solutions, I think hard work pays off and I hope it all works out, Im so tired of the insults we have endured for so long

  • Shard

    Yes, a modified version. Because I don;t think even Barca would suceed in England. And we are not as good at them.

    Working hard to win the ball back is a must. You’re right. We do it for 2-3 games and then can’t be bothered. But I think that’s because it’s not part of an established plan for the team. It may be for one match, but not as the norm. Whether it’s just by default, or Wenger feels we can’t physically deal with that, I don;t know. But a hunger to get the ball back should be evident. All I’m saying is, that it doesn’t have to come about by necessarily holding a high line and trying to press them in their half.

    I think we actually lose our defensive shape quite easily. We’re so involved in the attack that when we lose the ball, our shape isn’t right. Song is immense in that respect, that he slows down the opposition so that the rest of the team has time to recover. But in his absence we struggle. Our passing the ball about while defences sit back may also play a part in us throwing more and more people forward. Again, why I believe we should try and draw them out a little as opposed to just confine them in their half and play through them. But yes, if a team simply refuses to come forward then we should not let them rest on the ball..

    The insults have always been there. Even when we were winning things we were ungracious, cheats, lucky etc.. they would even try and criticise our football and ironically strength, as being bullies. Now it’s too soft. These things don;t really matter. I want the league because frankly, we deserve it. And it would be a proper vindication of all we have achieved as a club during this dry spell, and the vision that Wenger and the Club have.

  • Adam

    Man u succeded with the exact same set up, that we failed with at Barca.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    The other result today:

    69,000 prawn sandwich eaters 4pts, 6,000 Arsenal Away Supporters 679 pts.

    Seriously, the away support today was different class. The first 25 minutes OT was silent and the away end was rocking. Everyone stood the whole game and you could tell.

    Last 10 minutes an incredible cacophany of ‘We won the League in Manchester’ belted out about 200 times without stopping. Awesome noise………

    The fans couldn’t have done any more. They were awesome.

    The train home was seriously beyond HSE limits – the 1st class carriage stuffed full of 2nd class ticket holders and people were lying in the aisles, we sat on the luggage rack and every carriage was the same.

    A disappointing result and the question Arsenal team must ask is: ‘why are we afraid to be positive, aggressive and clinical in the last third?’

    It’s the question that matters most as they could easily have won that game 4-2 if they had been.

    Might be good for a few Arsenal players not playing to get in the away stand and experience the fervour of supporters. Interesting to know if it made them play better afterwards…….

  • Sean

    To Marcus (about 100 comments above this one)……
    The route that AFC have taken from ‘probables’ to ‘possibles’ can be dated, almost to the date (2007?), when the media, then the club, then the supporters, started believing in the youth team as some kind of fairy godmother.
    My first post on this site (a couple of years ago) was to do with the farce of said, hugely expensive, youth team beating a full strength, cheap-in-comparison, Championship 1st team in the League Cup…..and almost losing that manager his job.
    The media (yeah; the people who ‘hate’ AFC’!) were the first to fall for it……I’m amazed that you have joined them.
    Also, the idea that you’re happy to have less fixtures at the end of the season is ridiculous.
    I think we all know that, in a month’s time, AFC will have ‘NO’ meaningful fixtures at all.
    It’ll save the young players for next season!
    Will you be happy then?

  • Sean

    Sorry, just saw a comment above.
    Rhys.
    I heard about an Arsenal supporting mother and daughter at the League Cup Final (someone from work; not making it up, both of them hated the experience) who had to stand the WHOLE GAME because of this JUVENILE nonsense that somehow you’re a better supporter if you ‘stand’.
    I’ve news for you.
    You’re not.
    Grow up.
    If you support Arsenal (or Chelsea, or Spurs), you sign up for ‘all’ it represents.
    You’re in for the duration, son.
    And that means you’ve signed up for all-seater stadiums.
    And that means you signed up to sit your arse on that over-priced, plastic, seat or get (and this is what should happen, rightly) thrown out.
    Me?
    I stand.
    But, crucially, the games I go to have ‘terraces’ to ‘stand’ on.
    Call yourself an Arsenal supporter?
    You should be ashamed of yourself and should be made to apologize to the Arsenal fans whose enjoyment you, quite obviously, spoil.

  • wen_detta

    on paper arsenal looks good though compare to man.U..but it is an away game..its hard to be an arsenal fan..

  • marcus

    The youth project:

    Sean,the youth project seems to me to be working..contrary to appearances we are having a good season.

    The upside of the youth project is that we have loads of players on loan to other clubs.

    Unlike the clubs with stratospheric debts, we are in the black.
    On the minus side you might say that the crazy debt leveraged by marketability model (e.g. Man U) works…but that is a whole different discussion..

    The youth project would have worked much better if we had had inexperience filtering into a team with experience….

    Man U are closest to this way of doing things, and it seems to work very well for them.

    We had to sell off our experienced players, (Vieira / Henry) and then when we were reconstructing, we lost key personel like Flamini.
    It hasn’t really been as good as it could have been, but the bottom line is that you have a very young team challenging on all fronts.

    To ‘get over the line’ now we need some very young players to show maturity and leadership beyond their years.

    Wilshere is doing it in spades, Ramsey can do it, Cesc has done it.

    Djourou and Koz have been revelations.

    Lets get to the end of the season, and then see where we are…

  • wen_detta

    i try to think of positive comments but none..arsenal now are just bunch of stupid kids that trying to play pretty football..wait another 4 years to get them wiser and arsenal will start winning trophies hahaha

  • marcus

    Put another way Sean,

    I think you are seeing the glass short at the top , and I am seeing it nearly full….

    were it not for the Youth project, I think we would have vanished into mid-table mediocrity long ago.

    Considering the hand he has been given, i.e. resources at his disposal, I still think Wenger has worked absolute miracles.

    His refusal to pay over the odds for players seems to me justified.

    If you analyze the last 3 weeks in the cold light of day, what has happened?

    We have been derailed by poor to atrocious refereeing at Sunderland, Newcastle and Bernebau.

    and
    We have lost at Old Trafford….

    nothing much in any of that.

    The only real negative I see was losing the League Cup, insofar as it was a game we were favourites for. I thought we weren’t particularly great in that match, but we still played some reasonable football, made good chances, and were undone by a clanger at the back.

    All in all, so what really…

    oh, and we took the best team in the world out at the Emirate, and were leading 3-2 on agg three quarters of the way through, when the ref intervened to ‘even up the contest’

    Sean, it will take a lot more than all this to make me gloomy.

    My only gloom is with the atrocious standard of refereeing we see, and the apparent agenda to stop us winning the league. that does depress me….

  • wen_detta

    yes..lets wait for another season…if not another season..if not another season..yes..lets wait for another season…if not another season..if not another season..if God wills

    ref, biase bla bla..too many reasons though this year

  • jayj

    Listening to talksport (I know usually talk rubbish) but someone txt in question which I asked myself.

    Have Arsenal improved over the last 6yrs?

  • Shard

    @wen_detta

    Personally, I’ll wait for as long as it takes.

    @jayj
    That is a bit of a trick question. What is the basis of improvement? Even if we say we’ve improved, all that is pointed to is a lack of silverware. If we point to closing the gap in points then it’s ManU and Chelsea who have dropped. The fact is, we have improved over last year.

    Looking back 6 years,in that time frame we’ve been in a Champions League final, which we lost to two offside goals despite being down to 10 men early. We were literally robbed by the referees from a league title 3 years ago. After that near miss, we had a mini rebuilding to do again, and we’ve had a lot of injuries in that period too.(we’ve also been close in the Carling Cup a few times-though this year was painful in that regard) None of which are excuses, because I think we don’t have any reason to seek excuses anyway. I think we’ve done well in laying the foundation for the future. Yes, it’s true that ultimately it has to be quantified and justified through trophies. But till then, how do you expect anyone to answer about improvement since there is no scale of measure. It’s all relative. In any case, I think more than a lack of trophies, it’s the media gloating that has gotten to fans.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Sean

    You are clearly Arnold Schwarzenegger in disguise.

    I rather enjoy sitting down but I won’t martyr myself, in the second back row, for your strictures.

    I have sat down at every game I have attended in the past 5 years except yesterday, when it would have been pointless. Have you spent £15,000 SITTING DOWN the past 5 years? Well I have.

    My comments were comments OF WHAT HAPPENED, not a call to return to terracing.

    Never tell me who I support. I support football first and Arsenal FC second. And unlike many at this site, England third. And if you tell me I should ever support corruption, no matter where it comes, I will report you to Arsenal FC the FA and anywhere else for supporting criminality.

    And until you have been assaulted in Manchester for watching a game of football peacefully, as I was in 2005, don’t you dare give me lectures about standing up for how to behave at football. I know how to behave and when Man Utd transgress, unlike you, I stand up to them. Using words, not fists.

    Now grow up.

  • Shard

    @Rhys

    All I can say is that the Arsenal support last night was FANTASTIC..Watching on TV, I never heard much of the Mancs.. Almost throughout it was the voices of the Arsenal fans being heard. Well done to all who were there.

  • jayj

    Shard fair enuf.

    but how to think the neutral/fans measure arsenal, 2 carling cup finals, 1 CL final (failures) but we as a team are full of mistakes every single time, so does that mean mentally we are not up to it?

    It’s starting to look that way, the WBA game I’m expecting a draw @ best, honestly supporting arsenal for this long its time to look in them mirror and be honest. A team like Liverpool (average) would of beaten Birmingham, mentally they are stronger than us.
    Honestly we have not closed the gap on chelsea and man u last season we had the easier run at the last hurdle and we ended up 11pnts adrift, the season before was the worst.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Shard

    Thank you. I will now share the comments of a 10 year old boy from Hythe, Kent, who went to his first Man Utd game yesterday with him mum and dad. We were sharing the train home and we talked together like human beings, irrespective of loyalties.

    He told us that he was sitting under the Arsenal supporter in the East Lower and that the Arsenal fans were making one heck of a racket.

    He was a really decent, bright boy who had got up at 7am to drive to London, was getting home at 1.30am last night and was playing for his local team at 1.30pm today.

    As I’m sure many know, there are quite a few MUFC fans in Milton Keynes, Watford and London, so we travelled home with quite a lot of them. There wasn’t any trouble.

    One of the other things that amuses me about the past 5 years is how people complain that the atmosphere at the Emirates have often been flat. Well, the reality is that if you ever sang in a choir as a kid (and I sang things like the Messiah rather than ‘Evra, Evra, you’re a clot!’), you’ll know that to open the diaphragm properly you need to stand up. It doesn’t work sitting down. So people either accept a muted atmosphere with seating or they think about whether it would ever again be safe to have an alcohol-free, adult-only standing area within a ground. I’m not calling one way or the other, I’m merely commenting on the realities.

    I’d suggest all diehard Gooners change one song though:

    ‘Stand up if you hate Tottenham’ should be changed to ‘Sing up if you hate Tottenham!’ as clearly you will be evicting the thouands of corporate clients at Club Level who disobey stewarding orders to sing the former at regular intervals……

    Practical suggestions, not PC lectures, you understand……..

  • Shard

    I don’t think the Carling Cup final loss displays any mental weakness as such. It was a tight game, and whoever won would have deserved it. JUST… In this case it was Birmingham, but I wouldn’t say that that mistake was an example of mental weakness.

    Personally, I feel thats a myth propagated by the media, which through long repetition has become established as fact. If we are mentally weak, then so are ManU. Perhaps more so. They do not very often have to battle against the odds like we do, and still their performances, and even results have hardly been brilliant.

  • Shard

    @Rhys

    I don’t know if there’s any scientific basis to it, as you seem to imply, but OF COURSE standing up leads to the crowd making more noise. Or at least makes it easier to make more noise. Whether it’s physiological, or a result of mental conditioning I don’t know.

    Ya, it’s hard to make a call on whether there should be a return to terracing. I think it’s more fun to stand. Though it can impact viewing. Germany has managed to have terraces and it seems to work for them.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    jayj

    I think there are fairly clear views amongst the many fans I talked to yesterday and after the Carling Cup, but the time to discuss the matter is the end of the season when personnel changes, if necessary, can be made.

    The reality right now is that Arsenal have 10 games to win the league. It’s in their hands but no-one will give it to them. Liverpool are resurgent so won’t be a gimme at home. Nor will Man Utd. Nor will Spurs away.

    If Arsenal deserve to win the league, they’ll get the points they need.

    They lost to Barcelona in the ECL and Man Utd, away, in the FA Cup. It happens. So they aren’t the greatest team in the history of the planet. Who has been? It’s not a failure if in a season you don’t win more than one trophy, it’s one of the most common outcomes of a football season.

    The biggest question is how many players get back fit quickly enough? Walcott? Song?? Fabregas???

    And what is to be done about Central Defence, now that Djourou is out for the season and Vermaelen is still recovering from injury.

    I’m not going to say one single thing until the end of the season. I’ll let all those who know say their bits and we’ll see how what they say measures up at the end of the season. And I’ll hope that Arsenal players speak less to the website before games and limit their comments to what happened. Because the results seem to be better that way. If I were a Chelsea fan, I’d recommend the opposite as I’d say anything to get Arsenal to drop points, which is what they do when all the players come out with big statements before games…….have any of you diehard Gooners noticed that? I have……

    We’ll see how the team selections measure up against performances and salaries, won’t we?

    And I’ll let others comment on who the ‘huge signing’ mentioned by Bob Wilson in today’s Sunday Times will be. Apparently 2 or 3 out, 2 or 3 in is the summer fare. If Bob Wilson knows, that is…..

    I’ll say one final thing to those questioning my loyalty: if Arsenal FC didn’t want my shilling in 2006, they could have said so. Nothing wrong in saying someone is not welcome, we don’t want your shilling.

    Quite a lot wrong with taking the shillings in their tens of thousands whilst trying to force someone out and bugging their PC (trust me, I wish it weren’t true but I’ll lay Arsene Wenger’s transfer budget that it happened), isn’t there? Don’t worry, Mourinho was doing it too, I wouldn’t be surprised if Alan Sugar was at it as well……….

    The way to test it is to write things on your PC which you share with no-one then see what happens in the Press. Including comments live at Press conferences……..

    Ask Arsene Wenger about ‘people who negotiate hard’. Ask him about a skit between Sven Goran Eriksson and Shinawatra. I wrote it. And he knew about it. But I didn’t share it with anyone. So how did he know about it?? Because I didn’t sign up to him bugging my PC when I bought a season ticket, did I?

    DID I????

    I could ask a lot more similar questions if I wanted to you know……..

  • Shard

    Rhys

    You’ve lost me there completely.. What is all that about?

  • 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