Sunderland 1 Arsenal 2

That’s how close it was – we had two shots on target, they had one.

So it goes – we did an experiment with an experimental line up, and it didn’t deliver.   If it had, Wenger would have been the greatest genius of all time, the wonder kid, the inspiration of a generation of managers – at least until tuesday.

It didn’t result in a victory.  But it wasn’t a flop or a major set-back as some of the blogs are saying this sunday.  “Massive Setback to Title Hopes”.  Oh come on.

It was just one of those things that someone did not quite come off. The ball never got to Eduardo, Rosicky and Nasri together didn’t quite look right, and because of previous evils done upon our team Denilson, Vela and Theo were not quite ready.

If you really want to know who beat us, it was UEFA and FIFA with Van Persie crocked, Gibbs crocked, Arshavin tired.  And evil Birmingham.

But let’s look on the positive side.

Denilson had another few days rest.  Vela and Theo had a quick run out, and they can see how they reacted and perhaps have another bash on Tuesday before meeting the Evil Empire of the KGB next weekend.

I had hoped for more – but shit happens, so we move on.

We ended the game with a record identical to Manchester United after the same number of game…. except for two things – a better goal difference, and a better financial position.  They also have internal rumblings we don’t.

Sometimes I think I should stop writing my history site ( and write a future of football site instead in which Man U are playing FC United in the Conference and Liverpool have become the focus of the import of baseball into the UK.  (Actually there is a bit about the future of football in MAKING THE ARSENAL, in which Jacko invents a story in which 12 separate countries invade Britain at once and the local population go out and sell the grounds and supporters to the invaders.)

So we move on to Tuesday night, and the Lord Wenger will shuffle the pack a little, and work out who what where and why.  Maybe the whole game was just that.  Maybe he was trying to get Eduardo to do something new.

Certainly it was a shame that Arshavin was not ready – but now that the total and utter insanity of playing fixed international matches under the guidance of the most bent and corrupt organisation since Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Party, is over for a while, we can have our players play for us.

Sadly some of our top men will be in South Africa for the world cup, but at least Arshavin won’t be, so he can have a break, and with a bit of luck Mexico might get knocked out early so Carlos can come home early.  Theo might be deemed to have had too many injuries (caused for the most part through the insanity of England playing him in the under 21 and full team at the same time), so maybe he’ll miss out and hopefully that Cole fellow will go at left back, leaving Gibbs at home to rest and watch TV.

That must seem harsh to anyone who supports the world cup and the corrupt Taliban-FIFA.  (OK I’ll be fair, FIFA don’t indulge in suicide bombings and that comment was totally over the top, but I’ve got a stinking cold, a load of work to do, and my brain won’t function properly).

If you do support that event (the world cup, not suicide bombing), then we are simply of different opinions here.  You support Arsenal and the World Cup as an institution (or perhaps whatever country by chance you were born in or ended up in) while I support Arsenal.  I was born and brought in north London of English parents and grandparents and don’t support England.  So it goes.

That’s not quite all for Sunderland though.

Floods willing Arsenal play Sunderland again in the women’s league today (Sunday).  Now I know this is considered an irrelevance to many – and the best the women can hope for is a round of applause when they do their tour of the ground on the last day of the season having won four trophies as usual.

If this is your view, I would beg you to take a little more notice.  Not least because in a year and a bit, women’s football is going to become a summer game, and you will be able to see Arsenal play during the summer break – which is rather nice and really ought to get more people watching.

Here’s the situation.  Because of some dozy set of internationals in which Germany beat us (yup those bastards get everywhere – and by that I mean FIFA not the Germans) we started our season about a month after everyone else.  We have played six and won six.  Scored 29 and let in five.

But despite that we are only third – with obviously 18 points.  On 19 points is Sunderland who we play on Sunday, who have played 12 (yup 12) and have 19 points) and the KGB in Fulham who have played 9 and have 22 points.

So it is looking good.  If you ever get a chance to go to a women’s game, you really should.  They play on Sundays, and apart from the Women’s Prem League they play in the FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup.  Take a look at their European results if you want to be impress.

There are 12 teams in their league, from Sunderland in the north to Bristol in the west.

And if that ain’t enough take a look at the under 18 men’s league table.  We’re top.  And motoring.

It really isn’t as bad as you think.

Couple of PS bit now.  First please buy a copy of MAKING THE ARSENAL for someone you know who has got everything Arsenal – because they almost certainly won’t have that. or else Amazon.

Second, thank you to our friends in India who wrote the piece about supporting Arsenal in their country.  A great range of responses – including from many people who don’t normally write to the blog.   If you live outside of England and would like to contribute an article about supporting from your country, please do write in.  Send the article to as a Word document (please as a Word document, not as part of the email) and I will try and run it.

This blog was read by over 100,000 in October, and looks like November will be our biggest ever month for readership, and I believe it is because of the positive nature of the blog in general, and the great way we are able (through the contributions of others) to bring Arsenal supporters from around the world, together.

(c) Tony Attwood 2009

PS: Did I mention MAKING THE ARSENAL?  We’ve had one order from Norway, and one from New Zealand, so we are indeed reaching out across the multiverse.  As it were.

18 Replies to “Sunderland 1 Arsenal 2”

  1. Last night was a dull game indeed…I do think Nasri and Tomas playing at the same time on the wings does not look very good. Maybe it’s the case of too much of the same, they offer almost the same attribute we lacked variety. Apart from that our players who went to play 1,000 minutes during the break looked very tired, Sagna looked exhausted…

    But we will win next week, yes we will.

  2. One of the most shocking events yesterday was the fact that Wenger panicked and removed Eduardo,the one natural predator fit in the team.Edu wasn’t that bad,there was simply no service to the young man. I think Ramsey was catastrophic,i believe we would have donew better this way

    Eboue gallas verma traore

    Fabregas Song Asharvin

    Theo Eduardo Vela

    These guys should start and take on any team anyday, Nasri and Rosicky to come in after 65.

  3. There is no doubt in my mind that Arsenal will fly “Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky”. The stars themselves will announce the Bloom of the Arsenal. The whole world will see it, without a doubt.

    Our women team, at the moment, are as sunny bright as the height of the summer. Our men’s team will soon outshine that. You wait and see.

    I need a double dose of ‘Jacko Jones’!!!

  4. It’s a disappointment, on a good day we would have scored 3 or 4, but it’s not a disaster. The key thing is for team morale to survive, and for the players to show character and determination in the next game, as they did after previous setbacks this season.

    The referee’s approach to managing the game also played a significant part, allowing some highly physical play, and disregarding at least one incident that might have led many referees to award a penalty. This favoured Sunderland’s game plan, which was to defend in depth and disrupt our attack with ‘robust’ tackling.

    Not that I am alleging deliberate favouritism. We should have the ability to deal with teams using these tactics. However, I was slightly sickened to see the overt level of chummy familiarity shown by the referee towards one of the Sunderland players when the teams left the field at half time. I feel that to be fair and objective requires referees to show detachment, and this was not evident in the referee’s behaviour.

    What was also demonstrated is that our attacking style of play relies for its success on scoring several more than we concede. When we are unable to field our best attacking side, we become vulnerable to teams who are set up to defend in depth, and who can hold onto a single goal lead.

    So for most of the match we looked composed and had much of the posession, but didn’t show our usual level of enegy, and couldn’t sufficiently disrupt their defence to score. When, in the last 10 minutes or so, we had a more actively attacking lineup, the chances came much more frequently, and we were denied a very credible appeal for a penalty.

    As for World Cup football, not really interested. See you at the Standard Liege game, but probably not at the Chelsea match because I cant get a ticket. Stu

  5. ive been surprised by the reaction to the game in arsenal blogs. yes it was a loss and yes we need to beat teams like sunderland. but i agree with you in that i think we learned alot. why is everyone always so quick to freak out?!?

    i think that with rosicky and nasri out wide, we looked alot like we did much of last season. lots of passing and not enough penetrating. when vela, shava and theo came on we looked alot more dangerous.

    i really like both rosicky and nasri. but they arent wingers. they are offensive playmakers. arshavin seems to lose the ball alot but hes trying to do the unexpected all the time, i dont see nasri and rosicky being those kind of players.

    the problem is, if they are best in the middle…will we ever see the best of them? with song as the anchor, and cesc guaranteed his place that leaves alot of players fighting for one spot. denilson, diaby and ramsey seem to be preferred by wenger.

    rosicky and nasri can both play up front for us. but not at the same time. we need to balance the team with someone more direct or inventive.

    they are both awesome players but im not sure they will ever get a chance to shine in their natural positions.

  6. ive been watching eduardo very closely lately. i think he is one of the most intelligent players ive seen in a long time.

    -his movement is sharp and clinical.
    -his anticipation is brilliant.
    -he moves his body in relation to the ball and defender extremely well. one of those players that when you defend, your always thinking ‘i can get that ball’, but never can cuz its always just out of reach or his body is just where it would force a foul.
    -he knows what he wants to do well before he receives the ball.

    however, ive been watching the way he runs and the way he shoots. i even browsed through some old games and highlights….

    it makes me so sad that he was mauled as he was. im not sure that he will ever be the player he should have become, a true great of the game. i think that because of his mental qualities he is still a very good player, and as he gets games and the team gets used to him up front, hell start getting goals.

    but when i watch him shoot, it seems a little unnatural. its not that natural softness of foot, and easy swing of the leg.

    i really hope im just trippin, has anyone else noticed this?

  7. After the whole day removing the autumn leaves in my garden and rethinking what went wrong yesterday I could summarize it like this.
    The first 15 minutes we were on top and Sunderland created nothing. The ref had a decent game, Sunderland defended deep but not on the edge. Then for some reason the crowd raised their voice and the Sunderland players began to chase down our players, fouling them in various ways (pulling players by the arm is still a foul Mr. Wiley) and when our players tried to respond to this physical play… they got punished all the time by the ref. No I don’t mind that the game is played physical but than as a ref you got to let both teams use this approach and not one team only. After 5 minutes playing like this the Sunderland players knew they could do almost what they wanted. From then on we began to lose a bit of the battle.

    Sunderland had only one shot on goal and they scored from it. So in the whole we had a good defensive performance just one unlucky fluke where the ball should have gone out by the cornerflag, came of the knee back to the player who scored. If you speak of unlucky goals….

    I also would have left Eduardo on the field. He just didn’t get the service that RVP usaully gets. The absence of Diaby could explain a bit, the rather cautious approach from Song to avoid a yellow card (still had a good game) another bit.

    And then something that should not be forgotten. With Rosicky, Eduardo and Nasr we had 3 players in attack who have sufferend long and serious injury the past years or months. The first 15 minutes the game was not venomous and they played without fear. Then I saw tackles, unpunished and dangerous form behind, that gave me goosebumps. I must say I have ended my, not so impressive, football career after a leg breaking tackle and I know a bit of how a human being reacts to playing football after such a thing. If you see possible leg breaking tackles flying in, without the ref doing someting, you may think in your head: safety first. A normal human reaction. So our 3 attackers with maybe one percent caution in mind is a big difference.
    Maybe this was also the reason that Wenger decided to take Eduardo off the field at the end. Better a healthy Eduardo over the next months in stead of anotheer leg breaking incident that shatters the whole team ?

    The penalty…. well if even the MOTD pundits said ‘it was a strong call” says it all. They couldn’t say any more because they hate the Arsenal. If it was Liverpool they would have said: it was a clear penalty. And it was. But like I said earlier, or was it on the Benelux site, even if a defender would take the ball in his hands and walk with it half a minute in his own penalty area the ref still wouldn’t give us a penalty. He would punish an arsenal player and book him for claiming a penalty instead.

  8. I think we must be objective. Will Chelsea and Man U win this game at the Stadium of Light? i think they will. ( or have they, already). And that is bad for us. As others have said, this does not spell doom. But you each know in your heart of hearts that this is the kind of game that we must win, not so much for the points as for the confidence it would give the team.

  9. When are you going to realise…..

    The rest of this was cut because it is a direct cut and paste job from Online Gooner. What sort of self-regarding idiot goes around cutting articles out of one publication and putting them in another?

  10. Considering how far we were last season, winning the prem is an unrealistic target. We haven’t finished in the top 2 for around 5 years so I think that should be our goal. The minimum should be to finish in the top 3. the result is a terrible one. I know some will say i’m being too dramatic but Chelsea look really strong and also we have only played 1 match against the top 4 whilst utd have played 3 and 2 of them were away from home. Lets finish in the top 2 before we talk about winning the title.

  11. Gerald,

    I wouldn’t say they will win this game for sure mate. Sunderland have shown that they’re no pushovers this season and it will always be tough to play at Stadium of Light.

    Plus, we could ask ourselves too: will we beat Wigan or Burnley away? I’d say we got a great chance playing those teams while manu and chelski lost there.

    It’s a disappointment but it’s one that we can at least get it over quickly.

  12. One of the most worrying things for me about yesterdays game was AW post match comments. I have never seen him so deflated and he actually criticised the some of the players. For a man who can call black, white and night, day to not say we still have the best players in the world, we were robbed, it was penalty, we rule the world suggests the great master might be feeling a little world weary.

    Eduardo was not removed cos he was not playing well he was removed cos we have at least 6 games to play before RVP might return.

  13. i m getting a feeling that we have to win title against chelsea, mou, and finally……….refrees…yes refrees…….now players shoud be mentally prepared that they won’t get any penalty and any kind of favour from refs….that’s it if fans and players and manager accept it it will be a lot easier…and plz guys stop blaming circumstances iam sick of it…its team and wenger who’s responsible for our losss and wins…thats it…no excuses….

  14. Interesting post… and in case anyone’s interested, the scoreline was exactly reversed in the Arsenal-Sunderland WOMEN’S game yesterday.

    Arsenal 1 – 2 Sunderland

    That’s quite a departure from ALFC’s usual form, so it’s looking as though the usual 4 trophies might not be a dead cert this year. Bring on the summer league!

  15. “Will Man U and Chelsea win this game? yes” – lets be honest WE DON’T KNOW!

    Maybe if they were in the condition we was for this game, they would have lost too, Liverpool did din’t they, oh and didn’t Sunderland go to OT and draw (nearly beat) Man U? So we got edged out by this Sunderland team – it happens.

    Oh and by the way, Wigan beat Chelsea handsomely remember, the same Wigan that just earned itself a name in the history books by getting spanked 9-1 by an average team (Tottenham).

    So all those critics, just calm down down OK.

  16. Agree AK. I think it’s gonna be a season of many surprises still to come. I think it is better to lose to Sunderland then to Wigan or Burnley.

  17. Well i’ve now watched the match and must say it was not as bad as i was lead to believe by reading the various blogs, while it is true that young Ramsey was all at sea with missplaced passes and Rosicky along with Nasri was not realy at the races, with all the openings we made it should have been at least 3-1 to us.
    Song was just great, god knows what were going to do when he goes the the ACN, the attempted pass to Arshavin was realy out of this world along with his surging run to set up Eduardo was maybe the two moments of the match that will live ong in the mind.

    Seeing Theo back in action reminded us what a great squad of players we have and if they can all stay fit we will not be far away come May.

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