We are all flesh and blood, just like the players

By Walter Broeckx

Some fans  are obviously unhappy with the team performance last Saturday. And yes we were not as good as we can be. Now you can jump off the cliffs after every setback and call for heads of players, managers, boardroom, stewards, policeman, ball boys, and the person who serves you a pint during half time. Well it usually doesn’t change a lot to the final result to do this.

But what does help sometimes is to see the game again (like I always do for my ref review) and try to look at things with a less passionate point of view. (again like I do for my ref review)

For those who are allergic for excuses they can stop reading now as I don’t want to make someone sick. Other people who believe that football in real live is completely different from the version you play on your computer and where you just by starting your computer you can have your players at full fitness, can carry on reading and see if there can be some things that could give a partially explanation to some things that happened in the game against Blackburn.

So when I did my review I also noticed a few things in the way some players performed. Now I am not going to give ratings for the players you know on the scale of 0-10 but some observations I made during my reviewing of the game.

Almunia had not much to do. Had 2 scary moments one on a diverted shot and the other when he failed to make contact with a long punt from Robinson. But for the rest rather solid. This season Almunia has played 8 league games and no international games.

Sagna played his usual game. Solid in the back against a fast player so had to be a bit careful at times. Attacked a lot but his crosses found nobody in the box.  He didn’t look tired towards the end of the game. Sagna has played 27 league games so far (3 missed because of a red card) and played only last weekend in the international break.

Squilacci played a solid game in defence. He did what he had to do, we didn’t conceded a goal so not that bad I would think and he kept his focus for the whole 90 minutes without looking to get tired.. Squilacci has played 19 league games so far and no international games in this break.

Koscielny also did what he had to do and that is stop the opponents scoring. He also looked sharp till the end and not tired. Koscielny played 24 games in the league and no international games in this break.

Clichy also kept the opponents away from our goal. So our back four had a good game in total. At the end of the game he looked more tired than Sagna as the attacks mostly went over the right. Was he getting more tired than Sagna because of the international games? Clichy has played 28 games in the league so far and played for France on Tuesday night.

Alex Song. Made his first start after being out for 5 weeks. He looked very energetic apart from the last 10 minutes. After a header he came down on his knee and was in pain. Was it the knee he sustained his former injury on? But he looked less mobile after that. Song has played 25 games so far this season and no international games in this break. But it was his first start in 5 weeks. So being a bit rusty can be expected.

Wilshere. Very lively for a very big part of the game. Energetic, aggressive overall a good game. But after some 70 minutes he disappeared. Maybe it was with all those big body’s surrounding him but he became a bit invisible. Or was there another reason?  Wilshere played in 27 league games so far (missed 3 after a red card) and he has played almost 2 complete games for England in this international break. Was it fatigue at the end?

Nasri started very lively. But then he got that head clash with Nelson and for us at home we could see what an egg he had on his head. That must have been painful. After that he disappeared out of the game and we had a bit more difficulty in keeping our game alive. Nasri played in 24 league games so far this weekend and he played 2 games for France in the international break. A combination of a head ache and fatigue?

Walcott also made his return after an absence of 6 weeks. Started good early on and looked sharp and fast. But as time went by he slowed down. But I think this is down to not being fully match fit after his injury. So again this is something that can be expected when you have been out for a while. Walcott played in 20 league games so far and was because not fit, not on international duty this break.

Robin Van Persie looked to be the pale version of himself in this game. He did tried to force a few things but he wasn’t at his best. As he was doubtful before the game because of his injury sustained with the Dutch national team it might have something to do with his silent performance. Van Persie played in 17 league games so far and he played in the two qualifying games for Holland until he was kicked off the field by some Hungarian butcher. So not just fatigue but also get rid of a knee injury?

Arshavin also looked very lively in the opening half. I think he had a good game. But after being brought down by the Blackburn players without Dowd even giving fouls he was substituted by Fabregas. Arshavin played in 29 games in the league so far and he has played in two international games in the break.

Fabregas came on as our first substitute. And he also has been out since the Stoke game. I know he played against Barcelona but well it was just being on the pitch in that game as his hamstring had gone early on in that game. So a first comeback after some 6 weeks out. He didn’t look at this best at all. He reminded me like when he came back against Manchester United in December when we were trailing with 1-0. He couldn’t change the game like he can. Maybe still some fear in the back of his head at occasions to get a recurrence? Despite some great balls due to his great vision but not the Fabregas who runs the game we could see in this game. Fabregas has played in 21 league games so far and because of his injury didn’t play in the international break.

Chamakh was rather invisible after he came on. So not much to say about his performance except that he played in 25 league games so far and had two international games with Morocco in the international break.

And finally Bendtner. He was more visible than Chamakh almost scored a goal which was saved on the line by Salgado. Bendtner has played a part in 13 league games so far and was doubtful before the game because he got an ankle injury last week when training with Danmark. It didn’t stop the Danes from playing him twice for Denmark in the international break.

So when looking back at it all I had the impression that the players who didn’t play at the international break or those who only played one game looked fitter during the whole game. Sagna, Squillacci, Koscielny and Clichy spring to mind.

The players coming back from injury looked rusty apart from Song. But Walcott, Van Persie, Cesc Fabregas didn’t have their best game of the season one could say.

Then you had several players who have played 2 games for their country and they looked more tired the longer the game went on. Players like Wilshere, Nasri, Arshavin, Van Persie come to mind.

Now some of you might say: well the other teams face the same problems…and ….  But then again Arsenal has so far played far more games than the other teams. So fatigue can creep in and certainly when half of the team has played 2 international games. And when the other half of the team (okay 1/3 in fact) comes back from a lengthy spell being injured you can have a lot of players who are not really match fit.

And we also have to include the travelling times for these international breaks. Players coming back on Wednesday or Thursday and then you can start preparing the next game. But you have to look after the players coming back with a knock so you have to be careful with them.

So not an ideal combination to get a good result. And despite all that we could and we should have won the game. We had the best chances (well almost all of the chances in fact) and we just didn’t put the ball in the net.

And then it comes to being sharp and fit. To finish things off you must be fit. A bit like that nice kid from Liverpool who likes to swear a bit when he scores a hattrick. Because as we all know Rooney was sent home after the first international game against Wales and could have a nice and calm week of preparation for the United game. A preparation our players didn’t have. Did you Jack?

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51 Replies to “We are all flesh and blood, just like the players”

  1. Dont want to be a party crasher, but lets face the facts.

    You say we had a half tired, half fresh team last saturday. So basically, we’re still not good enough players to beat a free falling team with the worst form and fighting for relegation. So much for having the world’s strongest squad.

    Also you’re clearly forgetting why we already had so many games this season – because of our poor performances in cup competitions. How many replays did we have this season?? Even thats bcoz of our underperforming squad.

  2. I thought that was a decent analysis to be fair. We have been drained a bit physically, and mentally the dissapointments of carling cup and then the barca drama/injustices followed by dominating yet losing @old trafford has taken a lot of wind out of the sails of the squad. then the international break didnt help esp as our rivals players played less minutes than us. Teams like blackburn are v hard physical games and are capable of a result anywhere in their day. Its all about whether we can recover now, and find the spirit again starting this wknd.

    Im also sick of being told how rubbish this team is by the entire media in the uk. Isnt our defense 3rd best in the league?

  3. NO !

    the players just arnt good enough … the sale and reinvestment like for like in the team hasn’t happened …. wenger is tactically clueless and mentally weak…

    we are only 2nd because the other major teams f**ked up so royally !

    after the last 5 seasons of the same rubbish STOP with the excuses.

    enough already !

  4. Oh I do love these tightly argued and fully researched comments Rick. Makes me feel that the world ticks along in the same way as always, and nothing will ever change.

  5. Defence 3rd best in the league, so third place a liklihood? definitely not 1st place.

    You could see the tiredness out there last week. But please contrast that to previous seasons when we were the ‘last 10 minutes team’

    hate criticising the team, but some things do need sorting out:

    1) Goalie doesn’t give any confidence – things improved with Sczesney in goal.
    2) Left back no attacking threat
    3) Useless at dead balls both offensively and defensively – need to add height to the team and need a free kick taker (RVP is not that person!)
    4) Need a change in tactics so that we take more chances offensively – the keep possession at all costs tactic is so easy to defend

    Still think Wenger is the man for the job and we only need slight tweaks, but there are one or two fundamental issues to overcome. Don’t think you can put it all down to fatigue!

  6. lame excuse

    they are all still young..no aspiration..bit disagree with old player policy

  7. Very good analysis Walter, thank you. Rick what is your problem – we have never been outside the top with Arsene in charge. That is excellent!

  8. Slugboy.

    If the defense being 3rd best indicates finishing 3rd (definitely not 1st as you say ) then the mancs would be 4th behind us. What major overhaul does their team need? seeing as your the expert.
    These weak plastic fans make me laugh, panicking when where 2nd and in with a great chance to win the league. in that case every team below us needs to sell their entire squad , board and start again! Yes we fucked up in the cup final, we were winning in barca until the latest ref catastrophe. We basically got 3 new centerbacks this season and verm out so doing v well at the back. In my opinion our biggest problem is the doom-mongers who continually hover over our team waitng for an average result to use as a reason to pour there anger out on the team, who need our support till the end of the season

  9. marcus says:
    April 6, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Yeah that’s right – it’s the fans’ fault that our attack is inefficient, it’s the fans’ fault that Wenger substitutes our best player, it’s the fans’ fault that our players collapse every spring, it’s the fans’ fault that our defenders & keepers make comedy errors, it’s the fans’ fault that we concede the most goals to set pieces in the league, it’s the fans’ fault that our players can’t be motivated enuf to fight like hell to keep the team in contention for the league in a game against a very poor team with a mediocre manager. It’s all the fans’ fault. By that logic then United fans are the best in the world since their team keeps winning trophies. Chelsea fans too.

    I love these clowns who blame the FANS for the team’s performances and lack of trophies. From 2004-2007 United struggled to win trophies (winning only the CC in 2006) — there were fan petitions to get rid of Ferguson, the crowd at OT would abuse players & Ferguson routinely. That didn’t stop Ferguson and his players from re-building and starting to win trophies again.

    Barca didn’t win trophies for 6 yrs – have you ever heard how the fans behave at the Nou Camp as well as the Bernabeu when thing aren’t going well? They make gooners at the Emirates look like saints. That didn’t stop Barca from going on to start winning trophies again. And they are very quiet in regular league games just like gooners are.

    Spare me this CRAP about it being all the fans’ fault. If our players are so fragile and sensitive that they’re so affected by the fans then they’re not fighters and battlers, and certainly not winners. You don’t think Adams, Keown et al had to deal with a quiet crowd, or fans that threw them insults?

    No question we have a terrible home crowd – so do a LOT of other clubs, Arsenal are in no way unique around the world. Anyone who blames the fans for that display on Saturday doesn’t know anything about football.

    Read more: http://goonertalk.com/2011/04/05/spirit-signings-ambition-and-disappointment/#ixzz1IqLAtbCg

  10. Yes , all those teams gave us the points because they felt sorry for us Rick.
    They all see how inept , weak and tactically clueles wenger is and took pity on us buy letting us get to the carling cup final, 2nd in the league, and finish in the champions league positions for the last 14 yrs.
    Enough of fighting at the top for 14 yrs already!

  11. excuses,excuses,excuses…thing is many of our plaayers dont give a flying shit if we win or not..they just care about their big fat cheques

  12. and if you still think we are winning the league then wake up and stop deluding yourself..we couldnt beat sunderland(who were on a run of 4 defeats in a row),westbrom and blackburn(who havent kept an away cleansheet before saturday) what makes you think we will beat the likes of liverpool,united(who always beat us in the same way using the same tactics) or even spuddies? we dont deserve to win this league for the bottlers we are…we decided to put on self destructing mode in a crucial period…..AGAIN

  13. Did I directly blame any of those things on the fans?
    I didnt blame the poor performance or any of the things in your juvenile list on the fans.
    What im saying is that weak plastics like you mope about bringing a cloud of depression around the club when we actually are doing amazingly well especially considering what we’re up against.
    Look how much more teams below us spend to overtake us but they dont succeed.
    And we are still the youngest squad in the league.
    To your comment ‘Anyone who blames the fans for that display on Saturday doesn’t know anything about football’ well i didnt do that but after reading your comments, I think people like you have an idea of football , but its different to mine , because i remember going to highbury and watching us loose to teams like watford and wimbledon. people like You are just a bunch of spoilt brats who spit the dummy whenever we have a dip in form. But thats life, sometimes your the best, most of the time its the struggle to get there that can be dissapointing, but to be as negative as you is abit sad really. Good job your not a liverpool fan

  14. The world is a funny place.

    Bad results cannot be explained except when you say: the whole team is useless, the manager is clueless, the board is sh*t….

    Some people come here after a bad result and say against us writers at untold: “Now you explain me this”. And then continue their mantra that the whole team is …. well you know.

    But when a person who has seen the game 3 times (I must have a bit of a hidden SM part in my brain…) notices some things and when all the players who were out on international duty and who played games faded away in the game then this is for them a lame excuse. It is just what I noticed.

    Now people can disagree on this but then I ask them if they tell me why Nasri who is one of the best players in the PL this season suddenly has gone to rubbish overnight? Why Jack Wilshere, the saviour of English football ran out of steam on Saturday?

    Why our players coming back from injury didn’t perform as we know they can?

    Are they all suddenly shit and useless? Because it is them that has brought us where we were at the start of the game. So have they been useless all season? How come we are 2nd? If they are useless since a few weeks: well why don’t you tell me why ?

    The manager? The same manager that has brought us within touching distance of United 2 weeks ago? Suddenly he has lost it?

    For god sake, just try to read and try to understand the meaning of the words that they are human and made of flesh and bones. They are no robots who we can turn on and off when we like.

    Humans can make mistakes, humans can have bad days. We all have. If we have a bad day at work no one will notice. A football player with a bad day will be noticed and for some …….. (don’t call them supporters) this is enough to kick them out.

    Do you kick yourself out of your job when you have a bad day? Or do you try to do better next time? Well that is what is happening to football players you know.

  15. Oh, I do hope the world changes in some way, because if not, we will target the next period’s Champions League year after year after year.

    You can’t just isolate this game Walter. This game is the last in a series of games (each one actually a game of life and death) that our team just WAS NOT GOOD ENOUGH and you were writing about referees, fixing and I don’t know what else. Well, welcome to the real world, because guess what! We are not really sharp and fit for three seasons now! For three whole seasons this team had had ONE (1) big result. This year’s victory against Barcelona. You ‘d think that we are not sharp and fit enough (or good enough as I prefer to put it) for a hell of a long time now. And I don’t think any of us is to blame for this.

    Nonetheless, I’d really like to get from you an analysis like that for every game we play.

  16. if you said you are going to win something this year then last saturday match should not be looks like that..draw at home against blackburn? it is not a bad day..it is just not good enough given the expectation. if you said so then why other team is winning? why mancs win?do they all not involve with the international.. u notice players faded away but i notice they just take it too lightly..no urgency in the 1st half if player are known to be faded out..stupid cross etc

    btw venger, i just posting marcus’s comment..not intend to reply your comment but it just seems like that..me spoilt brat? my nephew laugh at me..haha

  17. Wendetta, just look at Rooney.
    Got released from the England team after the game against Wales and scores a hattrick.
    Wilshere had to play on Tuesday also and faded away in his game for Arsenal.

    No one will know if Rooney would have scored his hattrick if he had been with the England squad like Jack and no one will know if Jack would have been fresher if he had been sent home.

    But if you don’t see the difference between those two and which player had the hardest week, then I don’t know what to say anymore.

    And add to this that United played its 46th game of the campaign and we played our 50th on the same day. So again this could help in more players being tired.

  18. Can any one of the “open eyes” explain me how on earth we ever got even in second place after 30 games?

  19. I find it interesting that no matter what blog I go to, no matter what the topic is, the comments always end up turning into am argument between fans. I think we need to stop throwing allegations at each other and realize we support the same club. Personally I’m with wenger and I wouldnt want to see him leave. Those who believe otherwise are free to do so, but I think what fans like me dislike more than asking for him to leave is the way in which the team is insulted. Respectful constructive criticism is what we should all just agree on. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and to say those who dislike wenger and the team arent fans is a little unfair because we dont know them personally. But for them to go out and abuse our team online isnt right either. If we all just tune it down we could all be a little happier

  20. From Quadruple to One-uple in 2 weeks….thats what i say an ‘eye-opener’ but even our open eyes cant see that One-uple now…

  21. Tottenham played 43 games so far until this weekend. And Chelsea 41 games in this season so far.
    So we played almost 20% more games than Chelsea this season.
    And then we moan about our players not being fit enough?

  22. Our players played 20% more than others??
    Lets get some hardcore facts,
    Which lead striker has played the least number of games this season??
    Answer- RVP
    We played 20% more than any other team?? Would like to know how many games did Fabregas feature in??
    How many games did Walcott play this season that he feels so tired of??
    And yet, we think they will be tired of this season already??

    Sad to see such an excuse being put out. Professional players being paid competitive wages and they complain about fatigue bcoz they have only 5 days to prepare for their next match?? Ridiculous

  23. it is interesting that where the focus of most people is, i for one had written off this season after the Barcelona away leg because i thought it was obvious to all watching that for once we had come across a real challenge and the strengths or weakness in the team were exposed. If you believe that human beings can learn from experiences, then it was vitally important for these players to see what to aspire to- that is the vision of the club- total football. comparing the two teams on the pitch all i could think was with this group possibly next year or the year after, and don’t think they don’t know it, they will have seen that match over and over again. noted their short comings and looked forward to pre-season to go again.
    So doomers, if you want it all today, it wont happen. if you want to scream so the board/ mummy knows you matter, feel free but remember there is no substitute for patience when it comes to gelling a team, most of the Barcelona players had played together under the same system for much longer than ours had and it showed in their possession and ability to move as a team, but there was that extra dimension that you can only get when you know and trust your team mates.
    so cretins, is it really your contention this team of talented youngsters should be disbanded and ‘experienced’ mercenaries should be brought in? to start the whole process over again?
    Dark Prince, take all your friends and that stuck record of yours and come back when you want to talk to grown ups about football esp. the Arsenal. The comments page is becoming so banal with the same old shite repeated by the same old posters, take a break, mate. there is a lot of work to do but at this point in the season i think it may be a little too late to expect instant results.
    i have faith and unlike some, i know that the team has improved from last year and the year before without the massive buys that some people were crying for, that surely means the players are getting older and the youth project is working.
    So as Walter says we are all flesh and blood so lets not expect our fellow humans to behave like their avatars on your Psp!

  24. Ugandon Goon- sorry to break your heart mate, but the truth is laid bare on the pitch.
    You dont see fans booing the players, if it wasn’t a lack of effort.
    And what type of excuse do we get? Fatigue?? Seriously, whats gonna be the next excuse??
    Regarding our performance gettin better this year, you are trully disillusioned.




    These above were the issues we talked about when the season began, and we’re still talking about it as this season is ending. What type of progress you see?? That we moved one place ahead, virtue of some injury crises a Chelsea?? That for you is improvement??

    You wanna see improvement?…just look at the blackburn game again…atleast you’ll see some real improvements from the fans.

  25. fans booing is an improvement is it?- all stats can be fitted to make any kind of argument, i am not following you down that particular rabbit hole, mate.
    were there any positives from saturday’s game for you at all?
    i thought songs passing was better in it’s crispness and accuracy.
    the two French pantomime villains at the back played well, we held the ball very well and were patient with it.
    we were not beaten by a ridiculous margin, so we didn’t win but the sky is not falling in, we still have our health and thankfully a few arsenal games left to watch this season. the whole chicken little thing is mad.

  26. Ah, correct me if I’m wrong, but before the start of each campaign the manager of the team certainly knows how many games the team will probably have to play? A team with so many international players? Well, maybe not exactly how many but at least approximately? I mean the fixture list is basically known from before the start of the season, right? So, is it not his job to ensure that he has the necessary personnel (players) in his dispositon to cope with the heavy fixture list?

    What does the manager mean at the end of each transfer period when he declares himself perfectly happy with what he has and that it is enough to pursue and achieve the club’s goals? He speaks English, right? Does he mean something else that what we, fans, understand? Does he mean that he is happy with the players he has AS LONG AS the fixture list keeps itself short?

    So, if these goals are not reached season after season, who is to blame? The players? The board? The fans? The fixture list? None of them, I think. It’s just somebody who does not do his job well enough because he does not reach the targets he himself sets. It’s that simple.

    And referring to the article’s title, I know that the players and the manager are humans like us. They make mistakes in their jobs, they can have a bad day just like everyone. But in the world I live, when one makes mistakes in his job again and again and he gets bad results because of them, then he recieves some kind of sanction, right? Something like a pay cut? Or a move to a lower responsibility position? Words of reprimand maybe? Threat of sacking? What sanction have our players and coaching staff recieved for the last three seasons’ consecutive failures? I will tell you; contract re-signs and higher wages.

    I have listened to you many times asking for the FA to punish the incompetent referees. Why should they do such a thing? Does a thing like that happen in our club? I don’t see it happen. Maybe it will happen this summer? Let’s wait and see. Better late than never.

  27. Thanks for the stats about the number of games, fatigue could be a factor, as we rarely get the 3 points after an international week or the champions league week. But i think it is also the MENTAL fatigue, losing the C.Cup final affected us more than we thought! Let’s hope we win against Blackpool, (after a whole week), the players themselves said no more excuses! I hope Danny Murphy and Fulham beat United or get a draw at least. Chelsea made it very hard for United yesterday, Fulham should beat them, especially now that Rooney is suspended

  28. Mr Venger

    You used the ‘3rd best’ statistic first. I was just pointing out that 3rd best is, well, 3rd best. Same parallel with best attack (man u have scored 9 more goals). So in combination we have the 3rd best defence and the 2nd best attack, which leaves us second. Not a great point you have made really.

    Also really can’t believe that you are arguing Referee injustice for the barca game. We were completely played off the park by that team.

    I agree that our centre backs have done ok, and arguably if verm had been fit, we would now be top of the league, with a trophy in the bag and another final to look forward to.

    If you actually read my comment, I said a few tweaks were necessary for our team to be winners, not wholesale changes. Do you actually disagree with my observations or do you just like attacking people with opinions which are different to yours?

    On the man Utd issue, seeing as you ask, i think they have an age problem – next year will not be so good for them with scholes, giggs, van der saar and possibly ferdinand hanging up their boots. I think carrick (great pass last night) and fletcher are fairly average players and if they didn’t have rooney and vidic, they would not have won so much this year. where they really differ from us is that they have a fairly solid defence (they are good in the air), they are extremely quick on the break and they have one or two players who can score from nothing (Nasri, RVP and Arshavin do this, but less frequently). They also score from set-pieces, which is lost to us. Both of their full backs can get forward and put in decent crosses.

    Obviously the above is being hypercritical – we are second (by default in my opinion) and we came close in most competitions. But i don’t think i should be faulted in giving my opinion on where we can improve.

  29. ill go with dark prince on this one..for the past 3 weeks we have been playing like a midtable team at best and not a team who is cyhasing the tittle..the players body language says it all..where is the commitment? where is the urgency? where is the passion? these players seem to not give a rats ass over the shirt they are playing for…they dont put on a winning display on the pitch and come up with excuses after the game on twitter…seriously? these players bar few are nothing but a bunch of spoiled brats…i have said it once and ill say it again we need adams in some kind of a coaching role…he needs to tell these brats what it means to play for Arsenal

  30. Ugandon Goon- the positives of Saturday’s game? Only one – We didn’t see anyone taken off on a stretcher.

    Yes, we were patient with the ball, so patient as if we were leading the game 4-0. We didn’t lose by a ridiculous margin, but we lost 2 vital points at home against a totally out of form team on a free fall and fighting for relegation. Ridiculous enough for me. We still have our health, but what about the frustration building in the minds? Cant see it now, can we? Thankfully we still hav some Arsenal games left, including, stoke away, bolton away, ManU at home, liverpool at home and Spurs away. More disasters yet to come??

  31. As far as I’m concerned, I prefer even Arsenal disasters to no football at all.. Even if we are in a pathetic run of form, I always look forward to matches. I pretty much hate the summer break. Makes me disoriented on weekends.. But, I do have a feeling this summer is going to be quite interesting and full of Arsenal goodness.. or badness, and most definitely a lot of madness 🙂

  32. So how come we are in 2nd place with this spoiled brats, those pathetic bunch of players?
    Shit happens, bad performance happens. It happens to everyone. Utd losing at Wolves who was last in the table, remember? And every team have spells when things dont work.
    I think it just some part of the Arsenal fans who respond in such a pathetic (sorry couldn’t find another word in English) way. We suddenly have to throw everything and everyone away and start saying we aint no good at all.

    And no I’m not happy with the last results but I still love my Gunners.

  33. @walter

    I think the ones calling us useless, are actually deluding themselves. I think what has gotten to them is coming close so many times. They are afraid to hope now because it hurt so much last time. A bit like a broken heart, I suppose.. Except, for me at least, there’s no moving on from Arsenal.

  34. slugboy

    Its obvious no-one will be printing any tee-shirts up with ‘3rd best defense 2010-11’ on, but if you listen to the doom brigade our defense is a joke and Im’m sick of hearing it from them and the media when in truth its 3rd best without verm, and with 3 new center backs ( 2 of them a really shit), plus goalie injuries.
    re barca, yes it was an injustice ( how can you stand by that decision as a neutral, let alone an arsenal fan?)as until the sending off we were winning the tie and defending pretty calmly. yes they had the ball as expected but we looked in a good position to make a game of it, especially later in the game when they tire like in the first leg.
    re manutd , yousay where they need improving but compared to us have a solid defense , which infact has let more goals in than ours? even with freak goals against us like newcastle and everton plus others to allow for our against column.
    The point is every team can be improved, even the team in first place, so if you choose to be a constant doom monger you will moan the majority of the time. Unless you find a team that wins every game without conceding a goal, then you’ll be fine. Also , if what you say about man utd decline nxt season is true, then we will win the league. Oh, but only by default of course in your opinion. sounds good to me!

  35. You can also be dubious about 7 goals at old trafford against fat sams blackburn in man utds goals for tally, lets be honest about it , that game was a joke. the owners thought the same as he was sacked 5 minutes later. so thery dont score much more than us either to be fair

  36. The ‘problem’ with arsenal is that the UK media/fanbase interpret their strengths and weaknesses from a very British-centric perspective:

    – They don’t run far and hard enough.
    – They are lazy / or rely too much on skill and technique
    – They’re not big and strong enough.
    – They have no plan B (i.e. they refuse to play the English long ball game! How dare they!) and shock horror, their players pass sideways and even backwards!
    – They aren’t strong on set pieces. What is wrong with them? Why don’t they think this is important enough to practice this?
    – their players are sooks and can’t take it! (where I’m from englishmen are well known for resorting to trying to break peoples legs if a result is beyond them).
    – They’re defense is weak! We need some big, strong, thick, ugly, mean panel beaters at the back with ‘ticka’.
    – Spend! That’s what ManUtd do and they are amazing. They have Rooney! I want Rooney! Buy Rooney!
    – Their manager refuses to drink pints, chew gum, throw objects and generally abuse his players!
    – Wenger is not Mourinho. He is tactically naive because he doesn’t sit back, stay compact and seek to exploit the weaknesses of his opponents. I’m not sure what he does, but it involves playing attacking football, passing backwards and makes his team more susceptible to conceding from the aforementioned tactic. He is stubborn, because he remains true to his principles and refuses to play this way.

    Please excuse my parodies and grossly unfair characterisations, they’re not really fair. But, to my mind, Arsenal are a European team playing in a very English league. What you guys over there seem to interpret as weaknesses, the well-educated fans ‘outside’ of England see as strengths. In my opinion, Arsenal (and by extension Arsene) are very brave for playing the way they do. Most of the teams perceived weaknesses reflect their refusal to conform to the traditional English interpretation of football. Arsene will be very well remembered in the years to come.

  37. The ‘faults’ or ‘problems’ with Arsenal are actually why I love and support the club.

  38. Whether we win or lose, no excuses can be made. No matter what kind of tactics you use, a loss is a loss and a win is a win.

  39. Its really sad and funny (i think the right english word is -Ironic). So i say again, its really ironic to see the the same fans who boasted about Quadruples a month back and were giving guarantees of ending our trophy drought this year, are now quite happy for another trophyless season. Just wait… if, God forbid, we finish 4th this season, these same people will say we had a superb season and that Arsenal has taken a step forward towards ending their trophy drought.
    Yeah right…

    And if, again God forbid, players like Cesc, Nasri or Clichy leave us, then these same people will have another excuse for next season – Our players are young and are developing and will take few years to settle…etc, etc, etc
    Again ironic i say.

    And yes, shit happens…. In Arsenal’s case Shit happens for a whole month…especially the November and Feb/March period. I’d have believed that in the Carling cup, shit happened…one very bad moment of time. Fine, i can live with that…
    Then shit happened against Barca when RVP got sent off…fine i can live with that too…afterall it was the best team on the planet.
    Then came the ManU game, got beaten by a bunch of defenders?? Sorry to say, a really disappointing performance to say the least. Yes, i kno the routine excuse – We dominated possession, we had more shots on target, we had more passes, etc, etc, etc. In that sense we have dominated every game in last 5 years other than the 4 barca games, we have passed more times than any other team except barca…but it doesn’t mean anything if we cant score goals and win games.

    I dont think i need to talk about the West Brom and Blackburn games any further…we all know what happened.

  40. I have to say I always expected the home game against Blackburn to be a difficult match, we always seem to suffer after international breaks. But i still thought we would have enough to get a hard fought 3 points in that game, but it just didnt happen for us on the night. As dissapointed i was after the game, i am just as sure that we will get a comfortable victory on sunday against Blackpool. 8 days rest should do wonders for our squad, and like RvP has said i a couple of interviews we have no excuses anymore, we have to win. I cannot see any good reason why we should not get a win on sunday, we are on a good run in the league 13 matches unbeaten, a win on sunday will give us the confidence we need to take on a poor Liverpool side a week later, and if we win those 2 things should be in our own hands again, I cannot see United winning all their remaining games, if they do they will be worthy champions.

  41. To waffling Wenger

    Couldnt have put it better myself. I totally agree with al your points

  42. @WafflingWenger exactly my thought, and if you remember Wenger’s comments at Stoke after the Stoke vs Arsenal back in 2008/9 (when Adebayor and Walcot sustained injuries to bad tackle and van Persie sent off), those were / are (I believe)his exact thoughts. I sometimes wander, many Arsenal fans keep talking about having wingers who put lots of crosses in the box; have they been watching Wenger’s teams since 1996? If so,do they understand him or are they still stuck in the British football thinking? Since when has Wenger played with such wingers? At least not at Arsenal. That is not his style, all his strikers have not been very good with their heads, exclude Chamackh. You will see this even in the young teams i.e. reserve and under 18, 16 etc.

  43. Ugandan Goon: Thanks for your intervention. Shard, Mr Venger and a few other of the optimists like myself thanks you. Its funny reading the comments because most show a complete lack of knowledge when it comes to football yet they are the most venomous in their criticism of the manager & the team. Barcelona is surely the benchmark we should aspire to – their pressing games against were the stuff which dreams are made of. But their game would not work in the EPL week in, week out! Team here are much, much fitter than teams in Spain. Also in Spain there are only around 3 to 4 teams than can beat Barca or Real and they include each other. So they have a much easier league than ours. Another thing that pisses me off is the accusation that our players don’t give a shite about winning: where do people get that idea? I know for a fact that a large part of Wenger’s methods rely on his players being relaxed on the ball. It can sometimes appear that players are a little too casual but that’s our game. That’s how we are able to play those blinding passes in tight places and speeds that can be a blur to our opponents when it all clicking…But its no excuse to say that players get tired and that the international break can affect performance. The travel, the different training methods, the game itself, the travel back and the time away from your own set up must have an impact. I agree with those who say we need fresh blood in the squad. I will go as far to say we need to lose a few players who seem to have run out of time. But I disagree that we need wholesale changes. For the most part we can promote from within. We have potentially good youngsters out on loan. Lets bring them back next season. Lerts bring in the Belgian CB to partner TV. Lets do something radical like try Kocs as the DM cover: he has the potential to be our best man-marker / tackler. Lets get a proper wide player (like the Gooner Young) and bring Nasri back into the middle. Let’s play RVP as the second striker and put Chamackh as our target man. Its clear we need more GK cover. But bringing in a good player for this position is the most difficult of all. Bringing in a world-class GK will undoubtedly retard the development of Fab and Chesney. What to do? I don’t know because I see great potential with both keepers and if they stay fit they can secure this position between them for years to come…but if we bring in someone else then it would be an admission that one or both of them is just not good enough. This is for me where the Boss has to earn his salary this summer..

  44. I really used to love coming to this site and reading the comments to see what all the true gooners had to say, but now that is a different story. The articles are still great reads and often reflect exactly how I feel, but it looks like all the “le grovians” have come here now to spread their pessimistic AAA views. They say that half the players should leave the club and that Wenger should be sacked, but the people who should really leave the club are them, they are giving the mighty Arsenal a bad name.

  45. We’re a very good side which isn’t good enough to finish first. We can’t grind out games when it matters. We don’t have depth in quality, and our depth gets exposed because our first teamers are injured very often. We have players who can’t motivate themselves to play at their best in every game. We concede a lot of soft goals and we can’t feel safe even 2-0 or 3-0 up.

    Whether you think this is acceptable is a matter of opinion.

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