A game of slips and bounces

By Walter Broeckx

Slip sliding away sang the singer a few years ago. And that is exactly what Sagna did in the first minutes of the game.  Any sensible person who has seen this goal can only say that if Sagna doesn’t slip nothing happens at all.  We can moan all day and all night (better do it on other blogs where they like moaning, so you could stop reading now – and don’t say I didn’t warn you) but how a player slipping up has anything to do with tactics, manager, boardroom is beyond me.

Or do some of you think that Wenger says to Sagna before the game:  “just slip up when you want.” Of course not. Sometimes shit happens as Podolski said earlier this month.  That goal was just a lucky goal. First for the slip and then for the bounce of the foot of Mertesacker that changed the direction of the ball so that Szczesny could do nothing about it anymore. So two lucky breaks (in fact could say 3) for Liverpool for that goal.

We then had chances enough to score a goal ourselves. Everybody thought Theo had scored but Reina made a stunning safe just seconds after we conceded.  Later Reina did the same with a curling effort from Walcott. Meanwhile Szczesny was trying some fancy footwork that made a few hearts skip a beat.  We were lucky that it lead to nothing.

We had to open up and that lead to Liverpool creating a few chances themselves on the counter. They have good players for such a game with Suarez and Sturridge. But the chances for Arsenal were not converted. Giroud, Podolski, Theo, all had a few chances but no end product.

In the mean time Gibbs got injured and had to go off. Santos came in his place. And he is the scapegoat for the fans this season.   Going in 0-1 behind was not the correct reflection of the game. A draw would have been fair but football is not about being fair.

The second half was one way traffic. Liverpool was forced back and Arsenal did the attacking. My match commentator was just saying that Liverpool almost hadn’t been near Szczesny in the second half when disaster struck again. Henderson went past Mertesacker, Santos tussled with Henderson and then came Ramsey with a great block on the attempted shot from Henderson. But Murphy’s law struck again as the ball bounced from Ramsey against the knee of Santos and then fell in front of the feet of Henderson who couldn’t believe his luck and could roll the ball in the empty net.

Many teams would have crumbled. But not Arsenal. No the team picked themselves from the ground,  dusted themselves off and refused to die.

The team responded and how. Wilshere with a perfect free kick and Giroud headed home. 1-2 and we didn’t stop. A flowing move over the ground and Giroud pushed the ball to Theo who fired a rocket past Reina from the right. The ball was in the net before Reina realised what had happened.  2-2 and we still had some 25 minutes to make the winning goal.

And then we just couldn’t produce that winning goal. Again chances enough. Podolski, Walcott, Giroud even Mertesacker all came close to very close.  And only in the extra time when Santos misplaced a ball on the halfway line giving a chance to Liverpool for Suarez.  And Szczesny made a really great save to prevent us losing the game.  That would have been very harsh but we know football is like that sometimes.

So what did we learn today? We must do something about the slipping up of players. We must make sure that when the ball bounces around it doesn’t end up in front of a player of the other team.   Apart from that we were the better team. And we really should have won the game.

But this is the way it goes. Games can be won with brilliant football. Games can be won with great goals. But points can be dropped by one player slipping up. Goals can be scored from an unlucky bounce of the ball.  And sometimes you cannot score enough to make up for those bad things.

That is sometimes how it goes in a football game.  I remember most and for all that the team didn’t lay down when 0-2 down. They fought back against bad luck. They showed character. They fought for what looked a lost cause.  Surely we can’t be that unlucky in each game?

We could have made a big step today but as it is nothing really changes in the league table.  Chelsea and the totts also had a draw today. Only Everton won their game.  So all in all the other results went our way a bit.

Now a last note to the kit man: screw in bigger studs next time please.

84 Replies to “A game of slips and bounces”

  1. It was not just Sagna slipping. it was also Vermelen not hitting an easy pass at his feet and gutless Mertesecker jumping up in the air and turining trying as hard as he could to not be in Suarez path when he shoot and ofcourse he did succeed. We need 4 new defenders and a goalie then we will be ok and a new manager that dares to win games. We did not use all subs when we had players hardly breathing left alone running during the last 15 minutes of the game

  2. You are unreal anyone with any sense can see we are a joke defensively. When u support s team u have to be honest and its quite clear that for a few years wenger teams can not defend keep clean sheets etc this makes it so difficult for our offensive players having to play without a proper base. If you guys were at the game you would appreciate most of the supporters feel the same. we dont need a striker we need a defensive midfielder and centte back

  3. It wasn’t just bad luck, though. There is too much fear in the defence. Wenger’s comments after the game were pretty spot on imo. On the 1st goal, Sagna’s slip was entirely unfortunate but what followed was pretty poor. All Tommy had to do was make half-decent contact and the chance was gone, but he completely fluffed it. He, perhaps more than anyone, looks very nervous at the back, and I don’t find that acceptable in the club captain. Everybody makes mistakes but honestly, he makes far too many.
    The 2nd goal wasn’t entirely bad luck either. The way that Henderson got the ball back; the 3 defenders looked nervy and it was the desperate diving in during/after Ramsey’s block that caused our misfortune.
    Again, everybody makes mistakes, but we make far too many. We don’t really have a terrible defensive record but just how many of the goals we let in are based purely on these individual errors? We’d have the best defence in the league were it not for these little mistakes!
    Of course the way the team fought back was impressive but still it’s a game that really could have been won easily

  4. The defence,imho,is still a big,big problem. Wenger hasn’t fixed in all his years. I tell you what.Forget about the cl and fa trophies. Until the defence can become mean,the gunners will be also rans.

  5. You summed it up just the way I saw it Walter; bad luck more than anything else. It shall come to pass, surely, sooner or later.

  6. Agree with you on the studs, not the first time slips have caused problems. Our comeback was impressive, but why do we always have to come back? Our forwards are impressive, but our defence needs serious work, even if there was bad luck out there, we did a few other crazy things that did not lead to goals luckily. Please, Steve bould, help us out! These are far better defenders than recent games show them to be. But some positives, most rivals drew, we did come back, and best of all piers Morgan has tweeted he will never watch a game while santos wears the shirt. To me, you support a team through thick and thin, good bye forever to this fickle glory hunter who has now forever separated himself from the club, a sort of fan version of rvp.

  7. It’s a shame you have rose tinted glasses, very poor analysis of the defence. What about Mertesacker giving the ball away which we nearly conceded from, his half hearted block & turning his back for the first goal (The Famous Back Four would have bollocked him for that!) and his lack lustre attempt to tackle Henderson for the 2nd goal. How about Szeceny’s mad moment in the 6 yard box, his failure to get anywhere near the ball when Podolski hacked off the line & then rushing out to give Henderson an open goal to chip into. Santos’ misplaced pass in the final minute was calamatious & could have been very costly. The defence needs organising, more leadership, more strength & certainly more drilling. Adams & Co must be shaking their heads at such ineptitude.

    The midfield & attack are coming along nicely, but the good work is often undone by defensive frailties. Just look at the Man City, Chelsea & Liverpool game for evidence. We should be solid & compact in the first 10/15 mins, making sure we don’t concede, but these basic, silly mistakes are costing us. If the defence had as much desire & heart as Wilshere, then maybe improvements would be noticeable. I just wish we’d get Samba & Diame, plus a solid left back like Luke Shaw to cover for Gibbs. We know Wenger loves his attacking brand of football, but as GG & Mourinho once said, football starts from the back & you build from there.

    We all know Wenger has done wonders in the past, but every manager has his time & unlike Ferguson, he no longer challenges for trophies. Bring back the old art of defending but keep our attacking style of football just like Borussia Dortmund.

  8. “but as it is nothing really changes in the league table”
    How many games are left did you say?

  9. We have made 14 defensive mistakes that have led to goals. The highest figure in the Premiership this season!

  10. Hello Walter, Tony and I watched the game (albeit from different tiers of the north bank) but I think we both agreed our defending was shocking, particularly in the first half. Yes, there were ‘accidents’ and bad luck but all too often we switched off ( as we have too many times this season) and we gave Liverpool players far too much time and space. When we close teams down (West Ham, Swansea, Newcastle recently – second half at least) and press the ball we get results. For me the frustration is that going forward we are a match for anyone but we need to score at least 3 to win a game these days! I remain positive,it could have been worse tonight, but Gibbs out for three weeks? No new recruits? Spuds, chelsea and Everton still with clear water? Our faith is certainly being tested to the maximum!
    What did you think of mr Friend? Did he get the Giroud booking right?

  11. I am repeating myself from another thread, but looks to me like wenger is going,for broke, death or glory, all out attack with the defence maybe compromised. Wenger does have a gambler in him, maybe not on transfer fees but in other ways. Does he see all out attack as out best way into the top four….and maybe a fight for a cup? Has the enforced pragmatism of the last couple tough years in terms of possibly panic, sometimes substandard signings halted him this window? Is he going to stick to quality signings like last summer, failing that relying on who he has? Maybe we are getting back the true essence of wenger at the moment, all out attack, youth mixed with experience, is he in a situation and has reverted to type? Has he thought what the hell ? Is this wengers best chance and is he going about it in the extreme? The only way I can make sense of the lack of defensive application……

  12. Blacksheep, know you may be asking for Walter’s opinion but thought Friend didn’t give us anything tonight. I can remember the foul on Sagna from suarez which he waved away, a possible handball in the box from a pool player blocking Theo’s shot, Ramsey being penalized for a 50-50, the nudge on Podolski by wisdom in the pool box, Lucas using both hands to smother Podolski’s free kick, and the booking which in my opinion Giroud was actually to evade a tackle and went down as a result, never a dive. I’m not looking for excuses by the way, just pointing out some decisions which stood out for me. There were more (like the Gerard tackle on Per which might have resulted in a different color on another ground), but I’m not doing a ref review, just trying to back myself up for saying I believe he didn’t give us anything. For me, that was more of a concern as I thought he was going to be fair. If this pattern (of refs not giving us anything unless its a 200% certainty, while giving the other side 50-50 calls) continues for the remainder of the season then I fear for our top 4 finish. I remember willing Santos not to make a clumsy tackle on Henderson as they tussled into our box as I was fearing the ref would definitely punish us if Henderson went down. Maybe its a good thing he didn’t make that tackle, imagine conceding a penalty and a red card, we wouldn’t have come back.

  13. So it has been bad luck in all those games against better opposition where we have 60 – 40 percent possession and we lose or draw

  14. Had to go through a torturous live text that wasn’t updating as it normally should.
    Man o man we got to stop conceding early goals like this. A slip is a slip and mistakes are normal, BUT they come about through pressure from the opposition. We all know that teams know that if they pressure us early we will make mistakes, granted the 2nd half is when we come out much better but we need to stop the early pressure. Will a stronger DM help address this or would some other player do it? I don’t know I am not Wenger or nor do I claim to know (ala aaa) but it needs to be addressed and I dont think our current players can do it before seasons up.
    Dont we have a few (lack of better word) ‘deadwoods’ coming off contract at the end of season? Maybe he is waiting for then to go before buying more?
    If so then in the meantime something needs to be done to resolve the early game pressure we succumb to…

  15. Agree al, thought we got very little from the ref .Ok,maybe missed a tv handball, but equally, Poldi could have had a pen. But what got me, we received bookings and fouls against us for very little….or nothing. yes, the Gerard tackle….but we all know he is kind of left alone and we all know why. Maybe one day, jack will be in a similar position and get similar protection? They did look scared to tackle in the pen area….wonder why? If we are going to finish top four, it will be the hard way…..on many levels

  16. Elkieno, I would recommend shutting up shop for,the first twenty mins for the next few games so they can settle

  17. MLS is not operating due to it being winter. Which is how TH has done some loan duty for us in the past.

    A while ago, I read about some MLS defender that may be as fast, or faster, than Walcott. Well, as near as I can gather, he is a central defender at Colorado Rapids, which I think is one of Kroenke’s teams, and is in some way affiliated with Arsenal. He isn’t tall at 5’9″. Marvell Wynne. And Kroenke owns that team. I wonder if he would like a short loan at Arsenal? Which would still mean pushing TV5 out to leftback, but it does additional provide cover at the back.

    Anthony Wallace and Diego Calderon are leftbacks at the Rapids. Calerdon has made some appearances for Ecuador. Wallace has 1 senior appearance for the USA, and 43 youth appearances.

    But, what do I know? I’m hardly a manager, just a supporter.

  18. Just read another Amy Lawrence piece…..she asks what attack vs defence must be like in arsenal training!

  19. Walter, all,
    After Sagna slipped, there were 3 additional chances to have stopped that goal. The impression you leave is that it is mostly down to Sagna. Look again, anyone, and you will see that it gets far worse (including utter misses of that very ball by a defender and then other culprits). The play was a collective failure. If Sagna lost his footing (he did), 3 others did worse. Clearly I’ve got Sagna’s back in general, for all he’s done; but look at the replay on Arsenal Player and it’s quite evident how many errors there were by our defense on that first ‘pool goal.

  20. Have to say it gave me a laugh to read this from the reader responses to Amy Lawrence’s piece about us as a team of two halves. Indeed, while many fans are calling for new signings, or Eisfeld, or Gnabry, or Miquel, etc, one wag expresses his wonderment over AW’s choice of Santos this way: “It’s a Wenger ego thing. He prides himself on his talent spotting. He’d trot Santos out there on a peg leg before he’d admit he got it wrong.” 🙂

  21. Walter, bad luck or not, our defending for both of their goals can’t be excused. It was awful, awful and simply awful.
    as it is nothing really changes in the league table
    Well, actually only 14 matches are left, instead of 15. So, something has changed. We still have a difficult game against Stoke at the weekend to be followed by a visit to Sunderland, remember that we have struggled at Sunderland in the recent years. It was a great chance to cut down the gap to just 2 and might very well end the Liverpool hopes in the process.
    There are 3 big things that can be a huge problem for us.
    First, both Liverpool & Tottenham are out of FA Cup, so their full focus will be on the 4th spot. Liverpool have also signed Coutinho which will give them more options. Though I still doubt whether Everton will be able to make a good run towards the end of the season.
    Second, if we continue defending like we have done against Brighton & Liverpool, it wouldn’t surprise me if Bayern were to smash 5 or 6 past us and they are perfectly capable of doing that.
    Third, there wasn’t a single player available on the bench who could have come and changed the direction of the match which brings us to the point of new signings. As pointed out earlier by Bob and me, we just don’t have enough strength on the bench leading to dropped points like yesterday. Today is our last chance of signing a striker and possibly a left back, due to the injury suffered by Gibbs, and if we don’t do it, we will suffer from positions like these for the rest of the season.

  22. Arun,
    I fully agree. Today’s the last chance saloon, methinks, for this season to be rescued for 4th place. Of course we’re still in striking distance, no doubt. But there will be injuries a la Gibbs and like you say, there’s no bench strength on tap (Arshavin?) to be a semi-reliable difference maker. Nor is Gervinho even on anyone’s radar screen or conversation, unless somehow (other than salary) he’s thought of as an “available” striker, so who needs “yet another.” Well, I’d still bet that Arsene will do something today, but it will be along the lines of cover for injured (only 3 weeks out Gibbs). That’s all well and good, but when that signing (hopefully) comes, let’s not make a big virtue out of necessity. My prayer to the spirit world is for two more – the at long last replacement for Song and another clinical striker. Two good to devastating pieces. Ha!

  23. I watched the game live in Malaysia live at 345 am.After Pool went two goals up,I switched of the tv. I had believed the gunners would in all probability lose. So imagine my pleasant surprise when the BBc reported Walcott sparked the gunners comeback.
    Whta this match shows the defence is still a unit in the works. Frankly I think Wenger shd go for some quality defenders to strengthen it otherwise all the good work of the strikers will come for nought.

  24. Blacksheep he got the booking of Giroud correct.
    Oh and I agree we make too many errors but a defender slipping has nothing to do with tactics or quality. Just the quality/length of the studs maybe.
    And it was that slip that led to the rest of the mistakes and to the first goal.

  25. on UA there is a article called ‘what should be expect form the ref’. i had commented that article should read as ‘what should we expect from our defence’. considering last nights horror show, i suggest that we leave the ref alone and concentrate on our teams performance. stop trying to blame every1 else. as an experienced CB surely TV should know that never try to put the cross back in the playing area considering his position. just a kick towarwds the corner area would be been sufficent. whatever happened to old fashioned defending. the 2nd goal was a gem, henderson walking through, 1, 2 3 defenders and none of them could take the ball. God only help us for the stoke game.
    the only consolation is that we came back. but that’s always the case. make it difficult for ourselves. yes its a point, that’s the positive spin.

  26. Oh poor us, bad luck our friend was around today.
    Oh well on to the next season, sori season after next. Arrrgh, who am i kidding, next two decades, we’ll be back. Goodluck will be baaaaackkkk! Bla bla bla

  27. Bob and arun,
    I think whatever the case this transfer window opportunity has been lost due to d’lateness of deals if any. Even if we sign 50new players including messi and cr7. 1st, we lost sufficient points already. 2nd, if they eventually come, we’l have for another 3months UA make excuses for their inability to hit the ground running, telling us hw they have to adapt to the weather, the food,the language, the grass, the supporters, the woman, the toilets, the roadsigns, the clubs, the cost of living, and especially the AAA. Each of those takes about a month to adapt, except the AAA which takes a minimum of 6months(park is still in this phase, squillacci has specific dyslexia in this phase). So u see, whatever happens, d’window is wasted on us. No wonder the boss will rather scrap it

  28. Guys, if we think the injury to Gibbs last night can be resolved by making a purchase in the remaining 12 or so hours then I’m afraid we are simplifying things way too much. For all we know the manager might not even have been looking for cover in this department, and for him to instruct the scouts to identify a suitable leftback, put a bid and get things sewn up before midnight tonight is akin to comparing this to buying milk from the shop. If that was ppossible then that would be called nothing but a panic buy. I don’t know much about how transfers work but I can say that that doesn’t sound like how to do things, and is very likely to backfire. We can shift players to compensate for Gibbs’ loss meantime, its only 3 weeks anyway from what we know.

  29. I think we lost an opportunity yesterday. Look at Chelsea and Spurs, losing points when it wasn’t expected. Had we won, we might have put enough pressure on both to make further mistakes. The problem is captancy, we don’t have a proper leader to guide the defence and midfield, someone who acts as an on field ‘Director of operations’ as Steffen Effenberg liked to call himself at Bayern Muchen. I wish little Jack was older, he might have taken over even before getting the armband.

  30. @Uk, funniest post I’ve read for some time. My main concern is for the woman. Does AFC employ one woman to soothe the new recruits and surely she must be rather tired by now although she has had a quiet month? Perhaps Wenger should transfer in a new woman to help her out if he can find a few spare £50 notes in that big coat of his.

    Didn’t see the game but it appears the defence let us down again. How many years has that been the case now?

    On a positive note it looks like our season could be rescued by the twin strike force of Giroud and Walcott. Long may they keep scoring.

  31. oh thanks Walter, it looked harsh from where I was but I trust your more informed opinion. Hope to see you at the Grove before too long!

  32. Blacksheep63,
    If all goes well in March. Possibly Everton game but same day FA cup game so not 100% sure yet. If not another game shortly after that

  33. Walter,

    You are right in that luck seemed to be against Arsenal yesterday. Not just for the goal(s), but a lot of the bounces seemed to just fall for Liverpool. The referee too gave them some questionable calls. For example, Podolski fouled in the box (i thought that was a penalty), and when the foul was given against Podolski when he had skinned their RB/CB and was through on goal, while Ramsey was penalised for a lot less. Yes, all these things went for Liverpool.

    But Sagan didn’t ‘slip’. He lost balance and fell. A mitigating factor is that Suarez’s pass was actually mishit. Sagna had perfectly read the intended pass, but because Suarez messed it up, Sagna had to try and change direction quickly. It still was Sagna’s error, but by far the biggest error came from Vermaelen. Followed by semi errors by Ramsey and Mertesacker. Per had a very poor game, including giving the ball away needlessly, and allowing Henderson to get past too easily. Szczesny too had a poor game. Although he made some very important saves. He could have cost us with us stupid dribble. He came out on a corner and didn’t get the ball, needing Podolski to clear off the line, and he went on a walkabout and was lucky to get away with it.

    There clearly are some issues in the defense. The problem is how to get rid of them. I don’t think it is really an issue with the system. And the players themselves have the ability to not commit such basic errors. Which makes it a mental problem. ANd the problem with mental problems is that sometime focusing on them can make them worse. There’s no easy fix for this, but if we can stop it being an issue for 3-4 matches in a row, we might find it affecting us less even after that. So, a few clean sheets please Arsenal.

  34. In the heady pre-war days of my youth, the cry often went up “Lucky Arsenal”. I don’t hear it now.
    Whether we buy or train, we simply have to eliminate the bizarre goals against, which are blighting our season. Or cancel out the bad luck which is having the same result.
    A number of folk are blaming Steve Bould and his control (or lack of it) over the performance of the back division. With the best will in the world, there is little he can do once his stalwarts are on the field of play.
    Last night’s game in many ways reminded me of an old saying
    “You can’t fart against thunder”. The ball had so many twists and turns about it that a point was all we were ever going to get out of the game.
    That doesn’t mean we can sit back and await our share of good luck. It doesn’t work like that.
    There are 7 players who presently form our defence

  35. and the basic 4 virtually pick themselves, not an ideal situation. Steve must earn his corn, schoolboy errors must disappear and the good luck times are sure arrive.

  36. To put things even more in perspective, here are a few nice facts:
    Of the 4 teams in the race for the 4th spot (slam me doomers), Arsenal has the fewest matches left to play with teams in top 7:
    Arsenal – Totts A, Everton H, ManU H
    Totts – Arsenal H, Liver*ool A, Everton H, Chelski A, ManC H
    Everton – ManU A, Arsenal A, ManC H, Totts A, Liver*ool A, Chelski A
    Liver*ool – ManC A, Totts H, Chelski H, Everton H

    We are actually in a reasonably good position – played most of the tough games, the opponents left besides the above ones are quite accessible, so no reason to panic. A draw with the Totts is the bare minimum required though.

    Totts are interesting – they look like they might give us a run for the money, but those 2 games with RA’s toys and the mancs 5-6 games from the end of the campaign will be horrendous for them. Not that we’re awaiting ManU with joy.

    I pity Everton – even with their known resilience, it’s difficult to believe that they’ll pick up many points from these away games.

    Finally Pool have noticeably improved, but even with their best game they couldn’t beat a top 10 opponent. And they still look like they won’t.

  37. You had me hanging on there Nicky.

    Tim Payton of the AST claims that a senior exec told him that Wenger puts the long term potential of a player ahead of points. Says Wenger is obsessed with being a developmental manager.

  38. …but lets face facts it was the first time the defence were ever really like that, OK OK the famous four-that’s gone, but even so Szczęsny has never played that badly before, nor has Per.TV5 hasn’t really commanded for a while now.Those guys all lost their nerve exactly the same as the Chelsea game.Thats the worrying point, these guys are great footballers, not kids in the park or some CGI on football manager.
    Sagnas been under confident for a few games now.
    Im sure Ramsey is pretty happy now its Santos whose under the spotlight and not him. Its great to go on the pitch and know everyone hates you’re guts, ignoring everything everything good and concentrating on your faults.Im sure he can share his feelings with Arshavin. Apparently Britain is soon to introduce a telephone number(5 quid a minute) where everyone can vote who plays and is voted out.
    Whats really needed is Wenger to go and be replaced by Piers Morgan.He can Tweet the defence what to do.
    Aside of all the frustrations, I thought it was a great game to watch, Im sure Liverpool went home breathing a sigh of relief.

  39. The obvious catalogue of mistakes / misfortune for the 2 goals conceded have been fully discussed. Apart from these incidents, I felt that the defence looked to be better organised and more effective, especially when defending corners (including the ones which should not have been awarded). I admit that I have been unconvinced about zonal marking, but last night corners did not seem to be as worrying. One notable passage of play was when we defended a corner and mounted an instant counter-attack which nearly ended in a goal.

  40. @Kenneth

    Agree. Liverpool were glad to hear final whistle.

    Liverpool were obviously stung by the FA cup defeat and came out with a point to prove. Fair play to them as they played at very high tempo in the first half, forcing errors from Arsenal although we far too obliging in that department.

    The second half was dominated by Arsenal and as Liverpool’s energy levels dropped they defended deeper and deeper, our impressive attacking combination play tore them apart at times. When we click going forwards we are begging to look the part.

    I believe continuity will eventually be rewarded with the consistency that has plagued our season so far.

  41. @Shard

    Agree with you that the defensive errors were result – apart from bad luck – of a problem in the mind rather than the level of skill, organisation and technique.

    In his post match press conference, Arsene Wenger suggested that the defensive nervousness was a result of the players having previous problems at the back of their minds, and wanting really badly to do well. This combination can indeed make a person nervous.

    So it sounds a convincing explanation to me. Let’s hope they soon get over it.

    Consistent spectator support can help here.

    Arsene Wenger emphasized also what a good game it was, good entertainment. This aspect of our play should not be underestimated – and of course Liverpool played a big part in that too. Somebody on the television contrasted it with the nil – nil draw between Sunderland and Swansea.

  42. Apparently Giroud is now officially the new Allen Smith but Allen Smith is the new Stewart Robson. His co-commentry on last night game was so anti Arsenal.

  43. @jax

    Did Smudger give the MOTM to Jamie Carragher?

    Nothing against the old warhorse but what exactly did he do to deserve Smith’s award?

  44. @Tasos
    Jamie took one in the midriff which laid him out, whilst Per acted like the tart he is by turning away from (Sturridges’?) shot on their first goal.
    I though Carragher was a good choice to tell the truth.

  45. Thought Suarez was more deserving for his first half performance.

    Love him or loathe him, when he concentrates on playing the game Suarez a terrific player.

  46. WalterBroeckx
    January 31, 2013 at 8:04 am
    Blacksheep he got the booking of Giroud correct.

    @Walter – the replay clearly shows Giroud being tripped. I didn’t notice Giroud looking for the trip by dangling a leg,

  47. A|,
    Santos was already known to be thin cover from before Gibbs came back from injury. Now it’s too late and no worries because we can switch around for 3 weeks, we are told (but how many games?) What if it’s more than 3 weeks. Is the defense to your eyes that stable and resilient with interchangeable parts that communicate that well? C’mon, mate. There’s not been a commitment to having quality backup for quite a while – to my eyes since the January transfer window two seasons ago when we were competing for 4 cups, already stretched too thin, and never planning for the predictable normal set (if not rash!) of injuries that AFC has endured. Too often the excuse of, well, how many can you have at any given position; or, well, how can you keep all of them happy. And now it’s, well this was unexpected – you mean Gibbs who already has been injured this and other seasons, and that Santos is, to be charitable, out of shape. A|, I love this side, but it can’t improve via self-deception. There’s still time in this window, and where there’s time there’s hope, however slender.

  48. We actually made a shit Liverpool team look like world beaters in the first half!  The whole back 5 should hang their heads in shame, fucking comedy defending. All this bollocks about “Mert isn’t strong or brave for a big lad”. Fuck that, doesn’t matter what height the twat is, a coward is a coward, a weak bitch is weak bitch. I’d take one Dennis Wise/Scott Parker ahead of 10 Merts any day. PUT YOUR FUCKING HEAD IN WHERE IT HURTS YA FUCKING WIMP!!  You look closely at the eyebrows and foreheads of CH’s at the end of their careers. Covered in scar tissue. Adams, Bouldy, Keown, TerryCunt, all have it. Mert will retire without a mark on his face. Sagna is just appalling. I really don’t give a flying shite what is affecting him. He is playing shite, cannot cross, won’t/can’t take his man on, and looks scared of his own cock! He should NOT be playing. Gibbs is a write off. Chocolate legged. End of. He will spend his career being injured because he has no muscle mass on his legs. Sad, but fucking true. Ramsey was shit. People saying he’s playing better? Yeah, he’s making less stupid high profile mistakes but he still can’t pass the ball where it needs to go. If the guy is running put it a few yards ahead of him, not straight at his feet you idiot!!  Every time I see VanJudas’ groupie SantosCunt in an Arsenal jersey I want to be fucking sick. Add to that the fact he is a fat useless kúnt and I want be sick on his fucking fat face. And nice of him to nearly fuck the result away with his lazy pass in the dying minutes. Horrible useless fuckbag. Enough of the negatives! Oh, no – hang on! Wenger you simply don’t have a fucking clue anymore. Please just fucking leave. PLEASE!  Cazorla and Wilshere were much better in the second half as was Podolski and Walcott. There was a 15 – 20 minute spell where we could have and should have put the game to bed but their George Graham-ish 9 across the back 4 worked hard to hold us out. Giroud played ok, but his first touch often let’s him down. Got a good goal which shows he can deliver to some extent if we can whip a decent ball into him and his assist for Feo’s cracking finish was sublime and is a side of his game the usual doom-mongers don’t like to admit he has. But he does. His dive was appalling and embarrassing though. The miss at the end? It was fired at him and took a deflection off the defender which put the ball in between his feet so a bit stupid to blame him for that one. But yet again he worked hard and won his share in the air so continued improvement. But I still think we need a seriously world class striker in there or play Giroud and Podolski as the 2 in a 4-4-2.MOTM for me was Wilshere by a long shot. Never stopped running, working, trying to create. I just wonder how long before Wilshere gets sick of running his arse off for little or no return and decides “fuck this, I’m off!”? 

  49. Pat,
    You end with saying we shouldn’t underestimate that we can provide good entertainment. World Wide Wrestling Federation says this all the time. Then again, they are hugely rich because people pay their hard earned money knowing that the outcome of every match is fixed in advance. Perhaps Micky R took notes and shared them with Scudmore and Bernstein and Bladder?) C’mon mate, you’re making us sound like a former great boxer who ends up as a wrestler in that mix. Grasping at straws like we give good entertainment on our day is really a sign of our current (and hopefully temporary) downward slide toward mid-table average-ness. Then, again, perhaps we are what our record indicates? (A few more hours – please let the heralded worldwide scouting system come up with a rabbit’s foot. coyg.)

  50. Nannu,
    “Covered in scar tissue”? Wow, a new measure of competency, and a new standard of tough love. But seriously, all your ample testosterone aside, we are in trouble. Now Sigmund Freud had a flat for a few years up in Hampstead. Perhaps the doctor’s famous couch could be put to better, let’s say cerebral use, and resorting to something other than scar tissue could have its impact? Anyway, I don’t disagree with your assessment; just your way of getting around to it. 🙂

  51. Yes, shit happens… Unfortunately, in case of our defense, it happens twice every game!
    There’s no way to sugarcoat it.

  52. Blaming every goal on other factors won’t get us anywhere. Time to take responsibility.

  53. I actually find it very amusing how Arsenal manages to create so much hatred towards this website.

    The “we’re only interested in trophies and don’t care about anything else because we’re the real fans” brigade are really coming out of the wood work at the moment.

  54. Stuart,
    Ramsey’s the new Song? Or would you advocate we buy a new DM in the waning hours? Which is it?

  55. If players are slipping at inopportune times, it may be they have the wrong footwear. A person would hope that the players have access to data about what footwear to use for various conditions, and that teams keep track of how often a player slips.

    In terms of some players not measuring up to any _fan_’s expectations, and especially when one or more _fan_s start to believe the manager’s perceptions are wrong, it is entirely possible that the manager has seen that player in more football situations in the course of a week, than we have in the entire season. This includes practice, and reserve team games.

  56. Gord,

    finally someone picks up what I wrote 😉 Thanks.

    I think watering the pitch at Arsenal is part of the tradition and is important because on a slightly wed underground the ball goes faster when played over the ground. As we do.
    But the negative effect is that players slip over easier.

    One could say that we then should be wearing longer studs but then you have another problem: injuries.
    Because the longer the studs are the more chance of injuries like knee injuries when the foots stays in the grass and the upper body turns and then some ligaments could give in. Or dangerous tackles ending in broken bones.

    So it is a difficult exercise to find the right balance between the two.

    I’m suddenly proud of that last sentence 😉

  57. Breaking news on Talkshite
    Looks like we have/are/maybe signing Spain fullback Nacho Monreal from Malaga. Apparently he is on his way to London for talks.

  58. Hmmmm, a world class loyal International defender like Sagna being slain because he slipped. I don’t remember this happening the two times the slip meister Gibbs, who is not world class or a first choice international, had the team chasing the game. Talk about shallow.

    Yes Walter, the thing the team needs to work on in training is the abolition of accidents. They must reenact every possible scenario of accidents and have a counter-plan for each of them. You are wittier than I thought.

    I’m with Walter on this one, the ref got it right with Giroud’s shocking dive, and this after I told everyone before the game to expect Liverpool to dive their way to 3 points. The team captain is supposed to stand up and be counted when Arsenal players try this crap. Adams Vs Nelson Vivas comes to mind. (Missed opportunity by Wilshere to rubber stamp his credentials too).

    Szczesny has screwed up by being too pally and matey with the defenders. It stops him being aggressive and from commanding/organising his goal area. He needs replacing with somebody who can scare the hell out of our defenders and opposition players whilst being a great stopper too. The guy looks too comfortable in the goal with the wrong attitude for a team at our level with our ambitions.

    “Gibbs Out For 3 Weeks” – An injured Arsenal player is NEVER out for that short period of time, our medical staff will make damn sure of it. Who can recall any instance when a player has come back when forecasted to. Usually it’s 6 weeks after the time they’re expected back, so expect Gibbs back in the first week of April.

  59. Mick, even Sky are talking about this deal too, sounds like he’s on his way to London. Fingers crossed, he’s a Spanish international so he can’t be that bad:)

  60. @Walter

    I’ve never played anywhere, we the groundskeeper waters the grass before a game. Out on the Canadian prairies, we seldom have excess water for that. The ground is always hard, and most people wear multi-studs that are short.

    But, doesn’t the turf at Emirates also have plastic fibres in it? How long? Individual fibres, or some kind of mesh?

  61. Gord,

    QPR and Harry Redknapp seem to be a proper match made in heaven. We know ‘Arry’s propensity to bankrupt clubs (with the owners’ blessing of course) and QPR seem to be going a similar route. Just look at the list of transfers there

    QPR’s 27 signings since May 2011
    •Neil Warnock: Joey Barton, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Jay Bothroyd, Anton Ferdinand, Luke Young, Armand Traore

    •Mark Hughes: Federico Macheda (loan), Taye Taiwo (loan), Nedum Onuoha, Bobby Zamora, Djibril Cisse, Jose Bosingwa, Ryan Nelsen, Park Ji-sung, Robert Green, Andy Johnson, Junior Hoilett, Fabio, Samba Diakite, Esteban Granero, Julio Cesar, Sam Magri, Stephane Mbia

    •Harry Redknapp: Loic Remy, Tal Ben Haim, Yun Suk-Young, Christopher Samba

  62. Qpr is Pompey mark 2. Great news if we do land Monreal apparently Malaga fans devastated

  63. All these players going to qpr sure don’t make sense. Remy, Odemwingie, Samba, all rejecting clubs that are in good shape to join a club that could well be consigned to the championship in a few weeks’ time? Just goes to show that, as we suspected, most transfers are not about football.

  64. Samba, twelve million plus, a hundred grand a week, for what four years? That. Is a thirty three million investment……for samba, a strong stopper good for row z when needed, but not a great example of a modern defender, more of a throwback. Thought he was six million tops in his prime. Hope QPR don’t go down! And people say wenger has lost the plot. Just why does arry pay so much for these players? Look forward to the footballisfixed take on all this. Mark Hughes allegedly had very close relations with an agent, are that club being done over again?

  65. Somewhere in the BBC monologue, is a mention that Samba is taking a pay cut. I have no idea what he was making before, so I have no idea if the 100k is before or after the pay cut. But, I think it was someone quoting Arry, so who knows? 🙂 But I can imagine Arry’s dog gett ing paid for consulting somewhere along the line here.

    Odemwingie looks to have shot himself in the foot tonight. Maybe he owns too many Apple computer products? He probably had SCO shares at one time, and probably still has Oracle.

    I suppose the next 20 or so minutes will be interesting.

  66. Well, we’re still awaiting confirmation of the paperwork being completed but it seems a done deal. We have a new left back, and a Spanish international at that.

    Also worth noting is that apparently we were already in negotiations with Malaga about signing Monreal in the summer. But with Gibbs’ injury, we moved it up. I think it is reasonable to say that we might be looking at a few more targets for the summer. I’d have liked a striker too, but I think when Villa couldn’t happen, the club decided to wait. We have recalled Afobe from his loan at Bolton, so expect to see him get some playing time.

  67. @bob

    Re entertainment – come on, you’re not seriously comparing Arsenal with wrestling! The entertainment value from Arsenal comes from fast moving, slick passing, tremendously skilful football. Football you can admire and wonder at.

  68. Recalled afobe……interesting, would like to see what he can do…..introduced in the right circumstances of course. Hopefully, we will be ok up front okish in mf……as long as we can learn to defend much better.and we can keep certain players fit..and Monreal….do not know much about him, but he has played for Spain so he must be good. Is he purely a lb or can he play elsewhere?

  69. Doesn’t it say something about our media ‘experts’ when for all the 50 odd players they said we were going to sign not a single one of them came up with the one we actually have signed!!!

  70. Very true mick, none of the papers even mentioned this guy, they were all too obsessed with cavani villa diame etc

  71. I don’t know if we needed another LB, I do like the idea that we now have cover at LB. I will live the “need” to people that know more than I do (AW). Someone has said that Monreal is cup tied, which means Santos will be playing left back against Bayern. He now has a wonderful opportunity, he can spend time studying right wing and right defense at Bayern, to prepare for that game. Yes, he probably needs more game time in general, and maybe Arsenal will arrange a closed game or Santos may play in a reserve game or two, to get some more game time under his belt. And we can let Santos and Monreal seek to impress AW for FA Cup and EPL games.

    We seem to have a few of the young gunners who play up front out on loan. Afobe is one. Ryo is not having a good year, but I think he is hurt, or was hurt. But I don’t see him getting much time at Wigan. It was probably a dumb place to loan him to in the first place. Loaning him to Malaga might have been a good thing, Arsenal have done well by Malaga in the last year.

    Arsenal is quite cosmopolitan. Just going downt he first team, then reserves, then on loan at Wikipedia, we have:
    England: 10, 14, 25, 28, 39, 43, 49, 53, 58, 60, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67
    Wales: 16,
    Ireland: 50
    France: 2, 3, 6, 12, (18), 22
    Poland: 1, 21
    Spain: 8, 19, Monreal, 54
    Germany: 4, 9, 47
    Belgium: 5
    Czech: 7
    Brazil: 11, Denilson
    Italy: 24
    Russia: 23
    Switzerland: 38, 48, 55, 20
    Morocco: 41, 29
    Ivory Coast: 27
    Netherlands: 45
    Jamaica: 56
    Ghana: 26
    South Korea: 30
    Japan: 31
    Denmark: 52
    Costa Rica: Campbell
    We have 18 from the home countries. People like to rag about Wenger only having French players. At the moment, either 5 or 6 (depends on how one classifies Squillaci). Northern Europe: 32. Southern Europe: 6.

    People say that living in a multi-lingual environment is a good thing. There is certainly lots of culture and spoken languages at Arsenal. Outside of English and computer languages, I’m hopeless.

    I still think it would have been useful to bring in Wallace from Colorado on loan. Even if he doesn’t play in any games. I think it would be useful for Theo, to learn to play against a defensive person who is probably every bit as fast as he is.

    Hazard just gets the ordinary 3 game suspension for kicking a ball boy. I don’t care if the ball boy had reasons, Hazard should have gotten more than 3 games. I could live with 4.

    I thought any mention of Beckham today was a waste. But then I read he is going to donate his entire 6 month salary to a children’s charity in Paris. Which is a good thing. He doesn’t need the money, and it is going to be a lot of money.

  72. @Mandy

    Wikipedia has very little about him. The Mirror is running an article, which says that he is first and foremost, a defender. He does get forward and has attacking skills. That he has worked with Cazorla is a plus. But it looks like he is “just” a left back.

    But, do you trust Wikipedia or The Mirror to be accurate?

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