Arsenal on the up or just floundering?

Arsenal on the up or just floundering?

by Tony Attwood

As we all know, there are two types of Arsenal supporters.  Those who think that everything that Arsène Wenger does is a disaster, and those who feel that he is very much on the right track.

Which camp you are in depends to some degree on emotions.  But spare a thought for the online betting community who have to try and set their emotions aside and instead come up with a logical approach which gives them a clue as to where to put the bets.   Are Arsenal on the up, as Robin van Persie recently announced (no cups to worry about) or in a desperate state (having run out of goal keepers, been knocked out of all three cups, and with the central defense missing.)

From Birmingham to Old Trafford via Barcelona, does that mean “ok guys let’s go and prove we can do it” or does it mean, “OK we lost it, let’s think about next season.”

Injury crises have of course been part and parcel of Arsenal’s seasons for the past few years.  And it is not just the number of injuries – it is the way they all get focused on certain positions.  A few seasons back we had the “Year of the Seven Left Backs” where everyone from junior players, who have long since left the club and are now finding it hard to make a living in football (like Gilbert) to midfielders (such as Flamini), were pulled into the team to play totally out of position.  We’ve had the entire back four and keeper out, we’ve been so hit in the forward line we had Arshavin playing in the classic number 9 role.

Now we have Wojciech Szczesny and Vito Mannone both out for six weeks and Lukasz Fabianski out for the season.   Which leaves  Almunia and our old pal Jens.  Will Jens turn out to be a sensation all over again, or is that it for Arsenal?  If it is money you are putting on the issue, then you really ought to know.   Leaving your heart to one side (as it were), how does that affect the way you bet on or against Arsenal?

And all this rumination comes before we start thinking about Theo Walcott, Cesc Fabregas and anyone else who has picked up an injury while I wasn’t looking.   Or on the other hand Aaron Ramsey.  Could he come back and rescue us?

The latest injury chart on Untold shows us as being at the very top of the chart for injuries on the clubs we track each week, with the likes of Chelsea and Man C having only two injuries each, and only Man U at eight injuries coming close to our nine.  (The full list being Fabianski (8 weeks out), Szczesny (1),  Vermaelen (26), Djourou (2), Frimpong (28), Fabregas (8), Song (3), Diaby (15), Walcott (6).

Thus it’s a mental game.  Do the last few standing stand up and throw everything at whichever evil bunch of hopeless no-gooders who we come up against, or do they throw in the towel and get walked over?

As a season ticket holder I know that the solid Arsenal support give their lungs, hearts and souls to whatever players we have left to put out on the field.   The “Wenger out” lobby say the whole thing is a clear sign that Wenger can’t plan the proverbial in a brewery.   Which takes us back to the start: only the on line gamblers set all that aside and try to make sense of it all.

30 Replies to “Arsenal on the up or just floundering?”

  1. So what are odds that the gamblers are giving for Arsenal to win the league??

    These are the same gamblers who will make an odds on favour for Wenger to be sacked if Arsenal ends the year trophyless. But then, from your point of view, that wont be making any sense, would it??

    On a serious note, Our club needs to rectify its mistakes as soon as possible. I still cant believe that we again have almost a whole starting 11 injured. And guess what, most of these injuries are not bcoz of any bad tackles. This injury issue is the first thing we need to solve after this season gets over. Its no coincidence or bad luck that we’re facing injury problems for so many consecutive years.

  2. Actually Tony, it would be interesting to see which direction the odds went in after we went out of the cups..

  3. Injuries can be co-incidence or bad luck. eg no-one can plan against the injuries currently sidelining Fabianski, Walcott, Szczesny or Djourou. All have impact injuries which cannot be legislated against.
    The muscular injuries are different and may in part have been caused by our long run of consecutive weekend and midweek games. Note Man Utd have a similar list of injuries and they have had FA Cup games plus a fairly tricky Champions League tie. A good example is their game against Marseille when two left backs pulled hamstrings under no pressure.
    Chelsea went out of both cups and played the poorest team in the Champions League and their squad is looking fit and well.
    There is a big possibility that Man Utd’s squad will come under severe pressure in April and at the same time our squad will return to strength.
    You never know…

  4. “As we all know, there are two types of Arsenal supporters”

    Its not all black and white as you like it to be

    1) the AKB (decreasing in numbers)
    2) the AMGB (rising in numbers)
    3) and those in between (like me),

    A trophyless season could lead to a civil war, winning the title will shut down the AMGB

  5. 1 thing : their are not 2 types of fans – white and black, light and dark. No. There are grey areas in arsene’s system and management, which some intelligent fans acknowledge. These fans are called realistic fans.

    Rest of the article i didn’t read because author has shown his ignorance through his beginning lines.

  6. A survey, in depth, of injuries sustained in the EPL, by a medically based body would be of some benefit. Perhaps by Loughborough? For instance, it would be interesting to discover whether Spain’s Primera Liga experience fewer long-term injuries, due to less cold winters.Either way, it seems to me that Arsenal’s 2010/11 season has been grievously affected by injuries, however caused. Dare I hope that the coming close season might provide some answers?

  7. I’ve been a lurker on this site for a while now and I really enjoy reading it. But a certain recurring theme has finally gotten to me.

    Please stop stratifying Arsenal supporters into a dichotomy of “us vs. them.” I love the Arsenal, and I love them under Arsene Wenger. But that doesn’t mean I agree with every single decision he makes; he is not without flaws of judgment. Does that put me in the “Wenger out” lobby? Apparently according to the writers on this site, yes.

    There are not two types of Arsenal supporters as this article claims “we all know”, and characterizing the entire fan base as falling into two disparate camps does a disservice to many fans who are confident and steadfast enough in their support of the team and the manager to be critical and unsatisfied without calling for the manager’s head after a bad run of results.

    So please stop. It doesn’t have to be us vs. them. It doesn’t have to be true, devote Wenger acolytes vs. pseudo-Arsenal supporters. Sorry that’s just my two cents.

    Now let’s go out, get behind our team and win the league!

  8. While you are consulting the bookies, I am packing my bags for an holiday in Africa. The first thing I will do is to consult a juju doctor who is at one with the Oracle of the Hills and Caves. He will have solution for our injury woes and some idea about the title run-in.

  9. True. Nobody can prevent the kind of injuries that we have sustained this year, but we could’ve certainly prevented the kind off slide we took recently. Yes, Man U had a similarly brutal fixtue, but they have not unfolded the way we have. Why? Their second string squad is much better than ours.

    I vividly remember all those posts that were screaming out aloud about the quality of the likes of Denilson, Diaby, Rosick, Squillaci, Almunia etc. People were begging Wenger to bring in some solid reinforcement and buy some established players like Van der Vart and Gary Cahil and especially, a solid goalkeeper. But Wenger, stubborn as he is refused to listen.

    I am still hopefull about our chances of winning the EPL, though like Tony Adams I too am facing a similar battle between my head and heart.

    I sincerely hope Wenger guides the team to the EPL glory this year and makes necessary adjustments to his polices for the next year. No doubt he is stubborn, yet he is still the best manager around.

  10. For a (thankfully small) group of fans, whatever Wenger does will never be good enough. They’ve decided that he’s no good and that’s that.

    For those people, what matters to them now is not that Arsenal comes out on top, but that THEY come out on top. They would rather be proved right and see Arsenal fail than being proved wrong and see Wenger’s team win the league. These are not supporters, they are glory hunters and hangers-on.

  11. Wrenny
    If you really beleive that there is a set of Arsenal fans who want the club to fail simply to justify their position, then you have not truely supported Arsenal yourself. Why? Because as an Arsenal fan, conjuring this ridiculous senerio would not have entered your thought so easily. Doubts about a manager comes as a result of percieve or actual failings which are detrimental to the team. Granted there are people who are AW fans rather than Arsenal fans. You must be one of them!

  12. I don’t think Tony means to say it’s black and white.

    It’s black – the view that Wenger is always wrong and must be gotten rid of – and then there’s the rest of the spectrum – which includes all the mistakes and faults of Wenger but the conclusion mostly is “okay, overall we’re on the right track.”

  13. Bah..Who cares..Bring on the football. I miss it already. Hellish as it can be to support this team, I miss it. How will I wait for the next game, especially with all the critics out in force proclaiming we are doomed..

  14. Arsenal chances of winning the PL at present are roughly 3-1. This equates to a 25% chance of claiming top spot this season.
    Man U are roughly 1-2, which equates to a 66.67% chance of topping the list. These odds fluctuate after each game, depending on the results, obviously.

    After the recent trauma of exiting each Cup competition, one by one and in such a short space of time, Arsenals odds for winning the Premier League, remained almost unchanged.

    Although injuries have once again reared their ugly head at a most un-fortunate time, it would appear that the astute odds compilers still believe Arsenal have a good opportunity of gaining some silverware this season, unlike some of our over-emotional supporters.

    The fact Arsenal now have only the PL to concentrate on has clearly affected the way bookmakers view our chances. Regroup, re-charge and regain some much needed form and I think Arsenal still have a good chance to end this season on a high.

  15. We are The Arsenal,
    Super Arsenal,
    No one likes us,
    We don’t care,
    We hate tottnam,
    Jelous bastards,
    And well chase them everywhere!!!!
    Mon you Gunners!!!!

  16. I don’t know how many shades of Gunners fans there are but this fan bleeds red and will remain faithful to them no matter where they end up.
    Just like life is a journey with many twists and turns ,so too is supporting your club .I waited 18 years for Arsenal to win the league in 1989 and have never waivered in my commitment to them since 1971.
    I ‘ve come across many know-it-all-Johnny-come-latelys who have found “the formula “,”the recipe “,”the secret” and/or “the only true path”. Many now ask “why” or why me “?
    Someone once remarked that coincidennce traced back far enough becomes the inevitable.
    So sit back and enjoy this ride – I know Iam.

  17. Dear Tony,

    Why has it got to be so “black” and “white”? There are also sincere Arsenal supporters who feel that Wenger has taken his “creation” as far as it can go. I am one such fan and I honestly believe that something must change in order for the club to start winning again. Are we all clamoring for trophies at any cost? No we aren’t. We don’t want Arsenal to buy success. But that does not mean that it is wrong for us to want Arsenal to win and not be just content with top 4. Loyalty is a virtue but so is honesty.

  18. Brickfields Gunnersyou are a legend!!!
    I am an Aussie fro sydney and grew up supporting my rugby league team until they were kicked out in 98. In 20 years they only ever made a semi final once, but I love them and still do. I started watching football around 97 and picked my team admittedly cos they could beat utd (we had utd rammed down our throats especially wen they got the treble) but over the years ithas grown into an obsession late late nights against teams we should beat but don’t (so frustrating) or early morning games daylight saving helps. Anyway I want to be a long time fan for years and years to come. I also realize how good AW is and that he is the best manager u could ask for to be successful and play entertaining footy…
    All hai AW, if he spent some on qlty, then he can bring them together to play great stuff. Keep him as long as possible, he is not replaceable…
    Bring on Blackburn Rovers!!!

  19. Tony,

    On the nail again. It is disappointing – with this recent bad run and injuries mean that it will be difficult to win the league.

    But I would rather have honest success any day not paid for on the back of heavy borrowing.

    Dito to those who remember the 18 years gap and the great feeling when we won in 89. I’m happy to wait for that honesty and that feeling too.
    There is only one Arsene Wenger!

  20. I usually really like ur articles but the odds dont usually lie. ManUre is 1.65 for the title and we are something like 4.2 even before the Sunderland game when we are 3 points back but with a game in hand. Now we are 5 behind with a game in hand

  21. The odds often lie Gooner, that is where the concept of value can come in I would call those odds compared with Utd value – they are based on recent events, and do not seem to reflect players we have coming back nor Utds run in.
    One game could drastically change those odds. I would have Utd as clear favorites but not by that margin at the moment. Are these from Betfair?

  22. Why dont you wait until Arsenal actually win something before gloating about other fans who do not worship at the alter of Wenger who you claim have got it badly wrong. At the moment it looks like AW has misjudged the strength of his squad yet again- and I have to say that it gives me no pleasure to state this is a recurrent pattern over the past 4 years. But there are none so blind as those that do not want to see- and that goes for those who are pro as well as anti Wenger.

  23. @goonergerry

    Gloating is for the glory hunters. We don’t need trophies to tell us that our club is very much on the up, rather than in decline as is suggested. Trophies should follow eventually. But we are moving in the right direction. Of course, a blind man won’t thank anyone for a looking glass either 🙂

  24. @ Eikieno – Thanks mate -do keep following your heart – life is more fun that way.I’m sure AW will continue to strengthen the team by buying quality at the right price or unearth another gem or two to complete the jigsaw.
    @ Shard – well said !

  25. When you think about it, we have both first choice centre backs out, 1st and 2nd choice goalkeepers, plus other injuries, and a defence which everyone says is weak anyway. There is a definite refereeing bias against us which prevents us winning matches (even with a near full strength team out sometimes) which we comfortably dominate.
    While on the other hand Manu, although they too have injuries at present, seem to have a greater will to win (or is this just given to them by the refereeing bias) and a five point lead.
    As well of course as a – good as – goal start in games refereed by Webb, Dean, Bennett etc.
    Even as an Arsenal fan I can see that it makes sense to bet big on Manu for the title, even with these current odds.
    I think if a lot more people (gamblers) were aware of what’s going on there is a lot of money to be made out of this knowledge.
    Although, of course, if this was to happen I am sure the bookies would quickly call for an investigation.

  26. Shard I hope you are right.
    But you have not offered a shred of evidence in support of your point.
    If football results are based on belief alone- well Wigan will win the league next year- or even Spurs.

  27. @goonergerry

    Evidence hasn’t been offered by you either. It is just opinions.. But of course, I’ll be more than willing to discuss, empirically and otherwise, anything about our club.

    In my above comment I just meant to point out that there is no gloating involved (or worshipping at anyone’s altar for that matter), and that trophies are not the ONLY evidence we need to show progress. Trophies are only the confirmation of the progress, but not the only indicator of it by any means.

  28. even so with the injuries, ManU are still able to grind out results. this is down to the kick asre attitude of fergusson and the players who want to win. also tactical game plan to match the opponents.
    arsene needs to change his approach as you cannot play the same style [at least not in the UK] or get a new no-nonsense assistance who can whip the boys who don’t put their full shifts. also get player who want to win….

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