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  

Defeats: who is to blame and who not?

By Walter Broeckx

The victory has many fathers, defeat is an orphan is a well know idiom in my part of the world.

So to pass the time a bit I thought it could be interesting to see with which team we started when we lost our 5 games in the league so far. So here they come:

Ars – Wba Che-Ars Ars-Newc Ars – Tot MU – Ars
Almunia Fabianski Fabianski Fabianski Szczesny
Sagna Sagna Sagna Sagna Sagna
Koscielny Koscielny Koscielny Koscielny Koscielny
Squillaci Squillaci Squillaci Squillaci Squillaci
Clichy Clichy Clichy Clichy Clichy
Eboue Wilshere Fabregas Fabregas Wilshere
Diaby Diaby Wilshere Denilson Rosicky
Nasri Nasri Nasri Nasri Nasri
Song Song Song Song Song
Arshavin Arshavin Walcott Arshavin Arshavin
Chamakh Chamakh Chamakh Chamakh Chamakh

Now these are the starting teams in those games. So we can imagine that at the time the game started those were not just the best available but also the fittest players to start. I remember the game at MU when we had Cesc and Van Persie on the bench just recovered from injury but not fully fit.

I then made a little table of some of the players missing the same games which would or could start any game when they are fully fit and then I came up with this

Djourou Djourou Djourou Djourou Djourou
Fabregas Fabregas Fabregas
Walcott Walcott Walcott Walcott
Van Persie Van Persie Van Persie Van Persie Van Persie

If we look at our keepers we had 3 different keepers in our defeats. On two occasions I can remember a bit of dodgy goalkeeping costing us. Almunia at home against WBA and Fabianski against Newcastle.

In defence we always had the same 4 players. And maybe this is a bit worrying.  Because the player that is missing (apart from Vermaelen) is Djourou. And let it just be Djourou with whom we never lost a league game for a while now.  So his injury is a big blow for Arsenal.

Now most will point at Squillaci and say that he is the weak link in the back 4. And in a way this could be right. But when we look at Squillaci his career he has played in top teams in France and in Spain, won a few trophies in those years.  He still has cost a little bit of money, has experience. You know all those things people wanted Wenger to spend his money on.

So has Squillaci lost it? I think it is more down to the fact that Squillaci and Koscielny are not an ideal combination. Are they too similar? I think this is what is happening because when both of them play next to Djourou they seem to play better. So I will not go down the road of saying Squillaci is rubbish or is a waste of money. I think it is just down to the fact that to have a good partnership at centre back you need 2 different players. And this isn’t the case with both Frenchman for the moment.

In midfield we have lost 3 of the 5 games when Cesc was not available or not fit.  Not a big surprise I think. The best midfielder of the world is a player we need and certainly in big games.

Watch Arsenal Live Streams With StreamFootball.tv

But when we look at our attack it seems that missing Walcott and Van Persie at the same time is also a big loss.  And the absence of Van Persie is almost the same as with Djourou. In the 5 games we lost Van Persie was not starting or not fit enough to start. I think this underlines once more his importance for our team.

Also the fact that Walcott was not starting in 4 of  those games can be significant to underline the step forward Theo has made this season.  His goal scoring record has very much improved. His overall game has improved and his passing has also improved.   And he still is as fast as lightning. So let us hope he comes back after the break and can play the remaining games.

So if football would be maths we just had to make sure we put Djourou and Van Persie on the field at the start of the game to avoid defeat.

But football isn’t maths and we can have other factors involved in our games that can change the outcome of games.

But when we look at players we must have in the starting line up to avoid defeat the names of Djourou, Fabregas, Walcott and Van Persie stand out above the rest.  So it will be vital to get them back in the team or to keep them fit. Fabregas and Walcott should be coming back after the international break. If Van Persie remains fit we have 3 of those players we seemed to be missing in our defeats back in the team.

And finally I would like to say another word about Djourou. How many times I have heard fans proclaiming that Djourou will never be good enough. After his serious injury which made him lose a complete season many said he would never come good and he was injury prone. But since he returned to full fitness he was our main and strong player in defence.  He looked like the rock that Wenger saw in him all those years ago. So being patient can be a good thing at times. Don’t write some players off before you have given them a decent run in the team.

And now that he has proven himself to be a very good defender we know we have a very good and still young defender at our disposal for many years to come.

Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

Untold Arsenal on Facebook here

Untold Arsenal Index

Making the Arsenal (when it was Arsenal’s turn to be totally bust)

You are very welcome to comment on Untold, but we do have a few rules on this site.  Most importantly your comments must be related to the post – if you go onto another topic you might be removed from the site.  If we don’t carry the topic you want to write about, submit an article to Tony.Attwood@aisa.org.uk and I’ll have a look.

Second, we like debate here, so a couple of lines saying “you don’t get it do you, Wenger can’t motivate players and that’s why we are useless” is likely not to be posted.  If you supply some analysis or reasoned argument, considering both points of view etc, then you increase your chance of getting on the site.

Tony

39 comments to Defeats: who is to blame and who not?

  • Adam

    @ Mr Broeckx, For me, Djourou has caught the eye recently as an outstanding performer, And i remember a past comment from yourself stating that maybe it was Djourou that made his defensive partner play better (probably just more educated in the way wenger wants his team to play). However his stats for the league are outstanding. p 16, won 13, lost 0, drawn 3, GF 31, GA 4. Of the 48 points available to us when he has played we have amassed 42. If he keeps that up he will soon be a legend in his own right. When he plays on average we only concede 1 goal every four games (Chelsea or Utd at their best cant match that).

  • walter

    Adam, I must say that those stats are amazing. This is really unbelievable and even I didn’t realize that he made such a difference in the league. 8)

  • T2T

    Without looking at stats, I’ve always liked Djourou as he is a “ball playing” CB. I believe he can be a very good DM as well, different to Song but he can fulfill that role.

    Arsenal have a very strong squad. Even with all the injuries we’re right up there…

  • Adam

    I dont normally pay much attention to stats but when there as one sided as that, there has to be something in it? Maybe familiarity? (I do think that is why Wenger said “Djourou is a big loss”). If you look at his league stats over his EPL carreer then the only dip was with Birmingham but even then their fans loved him. I think we have to remember that Koscielny & Squillaci have only known each other for 6 months. Plus our last league defeat was againt Utd 3 months ago when the two new center backs only knew each other for 3 months.

  • embryo

    Excellent article, the international break has it’s benefits. JD has been emmense this season, as has Kozzer, GC and BS have also been brilliant (although Clichy hasn’t hit the hieghts of a couple of seasons ago) Chezney is the keeper we’ve been waiting for. All we need is Steve Bould to be given the job of first team coach and we couls rule the world!
    AW has made mistakes this season, but i beleive in him still and i think the quality of our defence will come good.

  • Dark Prince

    I dont think its right to blame a single player for the losses. Also the way in which this article is trying to put a blame is not accurate. I’d rather like to know how all the individual goals were conceded in this season. Also we have to take into account of the matches which we have drawn bcoz we have lost points there as well. Games like West brom away and Wigan away have shown some individual errors as well.

  • Samuel

    You can,t blame Squillacci when he has to cover for the inept Sagna who continually is caught out of position game after that,s why we can,t win games or keep clean sheets without Alex Song who does this cover job on Sagna very effectively ,game in and out ,the sooner he,s back the better Arsenal,s chances of winning the Premiership ?

  • Phoenix Gunner

    Interesting, but not surprising. Take away 4 of our best players and we start losing matches…

  • Adam

    @ samuel, Song has played in all 5 league defeats with Sagna, I do not understand the point you are making?

  • john

    if we had purchased just one CB we would not be in this psn. also why didnt we call back some of our players that are on loan, most of them are scoring for fun, but not for us! however it is still in our hand and with the int break lets hope some of our best players will be back and those injured have then next 2 week to regain full fitness oh for TV to be fit!

  • Northbanksy

    Interesting stats but can we please have the same kind of break down for games where we won convincingly & see if a pattern emerges?

  • Lusekelo

    How much is Wenger paying you to be an apologist just like him. Excuses after excuses. We are fed up with you lot.Fans like you are the ones who are making Wenger feel comfortable with under performance every year. The majority of fans called for a defender and a defensive medfielder to be signed up in January and Wenger did nothing about it and you now know the consequences. SHAME ON YOU.

  • RedGooner

    I think the reason for defeats and the way each of the past few seasons has worked out is simply down to age.

    We needed to build a young team and focus on a long term youth plan while paying off new stadium debt.

    But young bodies just cant cope with the rigours of premier football and playing somewhere between 38 and 60 games a season.
    Each year the situation is improving as we have less youngsters they get older etc.
    I think thats the difference between all the other top teams and us. They can cope with X ammount of youngsters per game and rest them.
    The who’s available and who’s not is just a knock on factor.
    My guess and hope is next season they all can cope even better and perhaps the season wont look like falling apart at the business end again.

  • walter

    Hmm, I didn’t want to blame anyone although the title maybe a bit suggestive…

    In fact I thought it would in fact be a bit of highlighting the (positive)impact from Djourou in the league so far.

    And Van Persie, and Theo… and Cesc…

  • Wrenny

    Those are some amazing stats about Djourou. Such a shame about his injury, Djourou said in an interview during his recovery that Wenger had told him he would have been in the first team reckoning. And now we’ve seen what he’s capable of, it’s quite easy to imagine how he (and we) could have fared if partnered with Gallas or Vermaelen.

    There’s a parallel between Song and Djourou. At one time Song was meant to be, and I heard this being said quite a few times, “the worst player to ever put on the shirt” and “the worst signing Wenger’s ever made”! A year or so later and the same ‘fans’ were now whinging that we didn’t have cover for Song. From worthless to irreplaceable in 12 months 😀

    Djourou was meant to be rubbish, never would be good enough, now they’re weeping how we can’t win without him! They never learn though, they just keep on writing off different players.

  • Frank Rizzo

    It’s worth listening to the Footastically Arsenal podcast because a good story is told about how three years ago at a Q&A session Wenger got asked by a fan why he refuses to buy a CB. He replied that you are asking me to kill Johann Djourou and I will not kill Djourou. Djourou has proved this season that Wengers vision and faith was right.

  • Wrenny

    RedGooner,

    Speaking of age, our team this season is actually considerably younger than last’s.

    Almunia(33), Gallas(32), Diaby(25) and Arshavin(29) have lost their places to Fabianski(25)/Szczesny(20), Djourou(24), Wilshere(19) and Walcott(21).

    Despite those changes and the experience level going down, we’re on course to improve on last season’s league finish and points total (barring another injury-ravaged end of season collapse).

  • mike_greece

    At last an article which is about football itself (not the referees, the FA etc). More of that please, because there lie all the answers.
    I completely agree with you about Djourou. Not only he IS good enough, but also he is fast improving and he can be much better. In my opinion, one of the most talented individuals in this team. Shame that he was so unlucky with injuries so far (big ones not the frustrating muscular ones that Cesc and co tend to get). Fortunately, he seems to be… how you Englishmen say it… “strong as an ox”? Something like that.
    About, Squillaci, well he is not exactly brilliant but let us see what role he was purchased to have. He was meant to be our 4th central defender, and hell, as such, he is not bad. Definitely better than Silvestre who had the same role the two previous years so no complaints there.
    My big worry is Koscielny and I’d like you to write a separate article about him because he is a most interesting player. He is one of the smartest defenders I have seen for a very long time (remember back when there was the role of the “sweeper” in football?). The trouble is that he just isn’t physical enough to be a “zone” CB and that sadly isn’t gonna change because that’s how he is built. He tries to nullify that by getting to the ball first (and most times he succeeds) but he has not the body to cope with forwards like Rooney, Drogba or Djeko when they recieve the ball. It’s no wonder that he made his best games against Barcelona a team that if you want to have her stopped you need to be quick and smart more than strong and good in the air. The thing is that most games we play in a season are against the Blackburns and Stokes of the world and there I haven’t seen proof that Kos can cope. Far from it. I have heard that he played as side back too back in Lorient. Come to think of it, if he improves a little on the ball, he could easily play this role, at least in the big games where Clichy is most times a defensive liability. It would be a really interesting thing to see.
    Anyway, I believe that it is shame and really bad luck we haven’t seen yet the Vermaelen-Djourou combination because it is the best we have. It is certainly a thing to blame for our sometimes shaky defensive displays…

  • Jonny

    Playing devil’s avocado here; but does this perhaps lend credence to the notion that our back-up is simply not good enough/ or if it is, that they have failed to raise their game and create competition for places?

  • RedGooner

    Wrenny interesting point there. I was suggesting that each player as they now get older will be less likely to in future fingers crossed pick up as many injuries as their bodies cope better with the rigours of the game.

    Jonny oddly enough I thought our back up this year was a lot better than last year and allowed us to field better strength teams in the carling cup etc. Also it pushed more youngsters out on loan for that valuable experience.

    I think we are getting closer and better each season, there probably will be casualties soon to players like eboue or denilson because of the progress of coquellin henri landsbury and others and eventualy we will reach a point were the conveyor belt is in full flow.

    I think the main thing is hang on to our best players for now that includes cesc we should risk running his contract down if we believe our philosophy is working. Cesc in 2 years time if we have finaly won the champs league and premier league would in my opinion then stay regardless because he wants trophys and there may not be much point in then joining an ageing barca side that will probably have some of its best players in decline.

  • RedGooner

    The players I referred to were Poyul 31 Xavi 29 Busquetts 30 Kieta 29 Joquera 30, I know a lot of the Braca squad are young BUT it will still be hard to replace that kind of quality.

  • Busch

    What it suggests to me is that Koscielny and Squillaci just aren’t a good duo. CB success is so often a matter of the partnership. 2 “good” CB’s can be a wonderfully successful pairing and 2 “world class” CB’s can just not fit together.

    I don’t know if it is a matter of the 2 of them getting their first taste of English football this season and not adjusting well, poor communication with the goalie/other teammates, that they just need more time together, but those 2 together, have not looked (or performed) that well.

  • mike_greece

    At last an article which is about football itself (not the referees, the FA etc). More of that please, because there lie all the answers.

    I completely agree with you about Djourou. Not only he IS good enough, but also he is fast improving and he can be much better. In my opinion, one of the most talented individuals in this team. Shame that he was so unlucky with injuries so far (big ones not the frustrating muscular ones that Cesc and co tend to get). Fortunately, he seems to be… how you Englishmen say it… “strong as an ox”? Something like that.
    About, Squillaci, well he is not exactly brilliant but let us see what role he was purchased to have. He was meant to be our 4th central defender, and hell, as such, he is not bad. Definitely better than Silvestre who had the same role the two previous years so no complaints there.

    My big worry is Koscielny and I’d like you to write a separate article about him because he is a most interesting player. He is one of the smartest defenders I have seen for a very long time (remember back when there was the role of the “sweeper” in football?). The trouble is that he just isn’t physical enough to be a “zone” CB and that sadly isn’t gonna change because that’s how he is built. He tries to nullify that by getting to the ball first (and most times he succeeds) but he has not the body to cope with forwards like Rooney, Drogba or Djeko when they recieve the ball. It’s no wonder that he made his best games against Barcelona a team that if you want to have her stopped you need to be quick and smart more than strong and good in the air. The thing is that most games we play in a season are against the Blackburns and Stokes of the world and there I haven’t seen proof that Kos can cope. Far from it. I have heard that he played as side back too back in Lorient. Come to think of it, if he improves a little on the ball, he could easily play this role, at least in the big games where Clichy is most times a defensive liability. It would be a really interesting thing to see.

    Anyway, I believe that it is shame and really bad luck we haven’t seen yet the Vermaelen-Djourou combination because it is the best we have. It is certainly a thing to blame for our sometimes shaky defensive displays…

  • Cosmojon

    @ADAM
    How did you get your stats?
    I had –
    Djourou Stats in the Prem :
    P-16, W-13,L-0,D-3. GF – 33, GA – 11.
    Now I know that he was taken off in the Newcastle Game and thats when hell broke loose..but what of the others?
    Total Games played this season :
    P-31, W-21,L-6,D-4. GF-63, GA-28….Please correct me if i’m wrong..
    p.s not saying he’s rubbish, really like the player…just wanted to get facts right coz my mate keeps saying djourou is a ball watcher and doesn’t improve our defence…I want to shut him up 🙂

  • Cosmojon

    My mate is trying to compare with Vidic total
    P-35,W22,L-2,D-11. GF – 74, GA – 28
    Prem only:
    P-28,L-2,D-9,GF-63,GA-26

  • Adam

    @Cosmojon. I got the stats from the Premier leagues official website, http://www.premierleague.com/page/PlayerProfile/0,,12306~32102,00.html
    They appear to me, and this is a presumption, that they only count a players time on the field, which is probably why our stats differ (if so then it is a true representation of a players worth). Like i stated above, I don’t usually indulge in the stats game, But when there as definitive as Johan’s there must be something in it. Baresi & Maldini would be proud of them. Other than that he was on the bench when we lost to spurs and Chelsea so our stats may differ there.

  • Adam

    @cosmojon, The closest i have found is Rio Ferdinand

  • gooner80

    Not in a gay way but I feel safe when JD is around LOL

    I looked at the recovery time in between games and believe this is a factor too

  • mike_greece

    Walter, Tony thank you for erasing my posts (which by the way are perfectly related to the post). Glad to see you really like debate here…

  • WalterBroeckx

    Lusekelo,
    Millions it must be… I just think they have lost my bank account… And I lost Wengers phone number so I cant reach him… complete disaster. Jeezes….

  • WalterBroeckx

    Mike_greece, sorry to have kept you waiting.

    But unlike some people might suggest Tony and I have to do something in live that brings some money on our bank account and so we are not full time busy with the site.

  • mike_greece

    Thank you, Walter…

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Thanks for the fine post ,Walter .I would love the full team back and fit at the final tilt to the title.While the back up players are good individually ,somehow or rather they just don’t seem to gel with the others .
    I still feel that its the abscence of leadership on the pitch and lack of communication .I ‘d like them to be more vocal – to cajole and encourage each other and not to let their heads to drop at every minor setback.
    Get angry ,rage at every injustice but channel it in a positive way to fight for every ball , to overcome any adversity and yet win,and win well.

  • Cosmojon

    @ADAM
    Thanks for the link… i guessed as much as my we’re based on just appearances. Thanks dude!

  • nigel

    Ok folks this is not related to the topic – well it is slightly as I want to talk about our hunt for trophies. We have appeared in nine cup finals under Arsene Wenger and probably underperformed in at least five of those. We don’t seem to approach them as a one-off game and merely try to play our normal game. It is of course not a normal match and the opposition raise their game while we seem to lack real passion on most of those occasions. We have shown that passion in home games against Chelsea and Barcelona this season but it was sadly lacking when we visited Wembley in late February.

    We performed well in two FA Cup finals, against Newcastle and Chelsea. Two of Arsene’s finals – in the FA Cup against Liverpool and League Cup against Chelsea – we had periods of dominating the game before surrendering leads and losing. Galatasaray was a poor performance in which we could not raise our game against poor opposition. The FA Cup win against Southampton was laboured and the win against Man U was fortunate to say the least. Facing Barcelona of course we were handicapped with Lehmann’s early sending off but fought gallantly until succumbing to defeat late in the game. We must have been favourites in all those games bar Barcelona and been at least evens with Man U. Won four, lost five, not a good return considering if we had played to 75% of our ability we would have won at least three more of those finals, a statistic which should have reflected our ability. I certainly felt Wenger was over cautious in some of those early finals but not in the later ones.

    It is pretty obvious we are not going to win by just passing the opposition to death. You use your superior ability but mix that with urgency and passion. Nasri is a world class player but clearly did not fancy mixing it with the opposition in the Carling Cup Final. I am not picking on Nasri but merely using that as an example to illustrate how opposing teams raise their game and find that extra determination. We have the skill but need to add determination to be first to every ball. To give the opposition that feeling that there will be two or three Arsenal players breathing down their neck every time they have the ball. That is how Birmingham managed to stay with us so long when on ability we should have been out of sight.

    We cannot have any real complaint about the result in that final. It is our fault for leaving the game in the balance for so long. Once again we knew that a shot out of the blue or in this case a massive error could beat us. Szczesny clearly shouted for the ball and should take the lion’s share of the blame. Had he stayed on his line for the first goal I don’t think Birmingham would have scored. As he came out he should have cleared but got nowhere near the ball. Great goalkeepers are measured by how few mistakes they make rather than the saves. I still think he can be Arsenal’s number 1, but there are not many mistakes bigger than one which loses a final. It is all irrelevant now but Birmingham were looking out on their feet. Several of their players were clearly tired suffering from cramp but of course we did not reach extra time.

    Just a couple of footnotes which irritated me, being such a bad loser. Bowyer feigning injury and getting Koscielny booked. He clearly did not make contact with Bowyer who held his shins as though he had been caught with an over the top tackle. Why can’t retrospective action be taken against players when the evidence is conclusive? Also the Birmingham player who slapped Koscielny on the head after their winner. Totally out of order. Again why can’t action be taken? If it had happened in normal play off the ball and the referee had seen it he would have been sent off.

    And then there’s the thousands of Arsenal fans who left when Birmingham scored. I was as sick as a parrot, but when you support your team there are more disappointments than victories. There were still four minutes to go. Support means that – win or lose not just in good times.

  • goonergerry

    This is a good post Walter and agree largely about Squillacci and Kos not being a good combination in that they do not seem to complement one another. I still think we need additional defensive options even if all are fit-we do play in England-where no team has won the EPL without an British centre-half-and when we have 3 small guys in midfield-and Clichy at left back-we are vulnerable to simple cross balls to a big centre forward-and the Birmingham game showed us that even with Djourou we can struggle at the back against a determined big guy . If Vermaelen regains his fitness-we could do worse than play him at full back-before you laugh-this is exactly what TA suggested we do 2 years ago. We need 2 full backs who know how to defend not just one.
    Agree with what you write about RVP and TW. Personally I would like to see AW play RVP in the DB10 role-and to have a genuine striker playing alongside him-and I dont know who that might be from our current squad – Chamakh or Bendtner perhaps.

  • steven

    when Arsenal win nothing for the sixth consecutive season I would like to read your excuses as to why this has happened – I am not pro or anti Wenger at all. In truth could not give a toss about the man but I will look forward to reading your take in it – you seem so much more informed than the rest of the world (in your own mind that is). Hopefully what ever you write will be more interesting than the usual diarhoea you post on here.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Steven, the way you put it you have already surrendered.
    I don’t know what will happen and if we don’t win it, I don’t know now why it would happen.
    But I will not surrender until we are really out of it.
    And then I will try to analyze it.

    And please don’t feel obligate to read it. I surely wouldn’t want to go that far. 😉

  • steven

    @walter Let’s get this clear. No one not even me doubts Wenger’s contribution and yes leadership to give us those wonderful times from 1998 to 2005. The point I make and history has proven it is that it was not his Wenger-ship alone that got us success. Wenger was fortunate to inherit a unique spirit (and players) that has always been part of the club and many of the players in the 2004 squad had it passed on to them. Wenger was lucky to have inherited a team of leaders and without that he would not have succeeded. I dont know what your posts are about sometimes and you share Wenger’s quality to speak jibba jabba. Its plain to anyone that our team whilst talented are tactically clueless and leaderless. Wenger is to blame for this. Please explain without girly comments to prove me wrong. Sorry mate but you know its the truth! Glad to know you saw Brady and are as knowledgable as me. My point to Al was the link to our fighting spirit and our heritage. My respect for Arsenal goes back beyond Wenger. If you are a kid and Wenger is all you know then you dont know much about Arsenal and that is just tough!