Mixed emotions after an avoidable defeat

By Walter Broeckx

Now that was a fine example of shooting oneself in the foot.  What looked to be a rather very dull affair was suddenly a mountain to climb after some 26 minutes.

It was as if both teams didn’t really wanted to go out for it. Both teams contented with holding each other at arm’s length like you see sometimes in a Judo fight at the Olympics.

And then the most important thing is to not make a mistake. I think a certain Carl will have nightmares this night. He of all people. I feel a bit sorry for him. His back header was too short and the onrushing  Aspilicueta could put the ball in the net with a little help from the post. Nothing seemed really on in the counter attack that was broken up by an Arsenal player. So it came out of nothing really.  But they all count.

To be honest about the team there was a lacking fluidity from Arsenal in this game. Ryo worked hard but couldn’t do anything and I hate to say it but it looks to me that his time is up. I think Gnabry who is younger is a far better player and will be taking whatever place Ryo was hoping for. Certainly now when we are out of the league cup.

Bendtner couldn’t show anything as he got no service at all. The balance wasn’t there in the team. Some players trying to play other positions but then not being in the positions they usually could be helping in attack.  Our play was a bit like my internet stream: not very fluent at times.

And I know that not many on Untold have anything against Bacary Sagna but some Gooners out there are moaning about him constantly but forgive me but Jenkinson is not really a Bacary.  On the left flank Monreal was having a good game I thought. His shot just wide deserved maybe better, but that is how it goes.

Not many chances for either side for the rest in the first half. Dowd could have given a penalty that he would have given against Arsenal in favour of Newcastle,  a few years ago when Luiz was pulling the shirt of Koscielny at a free kick so he couldn’t run towards the ball.

In the second half we tried harder to get level and we had a few promising attacks but the Chelsea defensive line up with 2 defensive midfielders didn’t gave much away.  Chelsea speculated on the counter and then my stream jammed. Maybe also the Arsenal team as suddenly I saw a replay of Mata making it 0-2.  Oh well that’s it for this year in the league cup.

We still tried and should have scored at least one goal. We did have a few chances now but didn’t have what was needed.

We now could sit here and moan all night. Some will of course. But I will not be that sad. Of course I’m sad as we lost a game and I don’t like us to lose a game.  But losing in the Milk cup is not the worst thing that can happen.  It is apart from a day at Wembley a not very attractive competition. And it takes a lot of energy from teams in the semi finals (played in two games) and the final played on a regular PL match day and then the catching up to do afterwards.  So in January we will be happy about losing it and will have more time between matches.

So it could in fact be beneficial in the long run.  Chelsea and MU go further and will have to play more midweek matches. I could even hope that the spuds would go further for the same reason. Without winning it in the end if you don’t mind of course.  And semi finals between those 3 teams and Manchester City could be fun.

In a way we are now a bit more in the comfortable Liverpool situation. They can sit back and enjoy the others getting more tired while they have a week to prepare the next game. We now only have to worry about the CL matches apart from the PL matches till January.

For the moment we don’t have the squad  yet to play in 4 competitions.  We might have if it, if  all our players would be fit but as that isn’t the case we have to see that we don’t get too much overload on the players who are still fit.  Maybe in a few years time we will have the options to have a few world champions on the bench or to have half a dozen of CL winners in the B-line up.  Not for now however.

So not happy as we lost a game but as it is in the league cup I’m not heartbroken.  In a way I even wouldn’t have minded us going out in the penalty shoot out at WBA a month ago. At the end I was happy with the outcome at the time but a few minutes afterwards I felt that we could miss those extra games. Well they are out of the way now.

More important things are awaiting us. And like the club has said a few weeks ago: the PL is the most important thing they aim at this season. So let us focus on next Saturday when the team who is  right behind is will pay a visit to North London.  That is a far more important game than a league cup game.

Take it on the chin and move on.

144 Replies to “Mixed emotions after an avoidable defeat”

  1. QF Capitol one cup is played on 17 or 18 December.
    We play MC the week before and Chelsea the week after. Enjoy the rest that week very much.

  2. I have to agree with you Walter that it was not a great performance and that is not something you want to see. However, Chelsea is not Accrington Stanley (or any small side). Losing to them is not the same as losing to a Sunday Football side. Of course, some will start bleating about the wheels coming off, blah, blah, but we don’t, at this moment, have a very big squad and we couldn’t play our starting XI. That will come. One league cup game will not ruin season nor will one league loss either.

    Congratulations to Chelsea, good luck and I am looking forward to Liverpool at the weekend.

  3. You need a bit of luck in cup comps and we haven’t had any, apart from bad luck with injuries. We don’t even have enough fit under18s at the moment!

    Given the choice between winning tonight or Saturday, I’ll take three points from the scousers thanks all the same!

    Up the Arse!

  4. We were not in the game in the first half. Looks are minds were on the weekend game. Very disappointed as we did not show any disaere. To many miss passes and too many times our players we isolated. No 1 helping out. Now how many times should one tell defender NEVER EVER, EVER EVER allow the ball to bounce. No 1 seems to learn. Lets hope we get our act together for the weekend game as pool are playing well.

  5. Reasonable fans would not be downcast. I am happy we recorded no injury. The team Chelsea fielded was 3 times as costly as what we fielded for a valueless cup. Happy we ended a useless and unnecessary cup chase. Teams should have the power to opt out of this type of cup. Good luck to the teams that progress. Thank God we did not add to our injury list.

  6. Hi Walter, i agree overall with your article. It’s a tournament that Arsenal does not hold in high priority and it will be great to have that rest between City and Chelsea games.

    The only thing I disagree with is that Ryo’s time might be done at Arsenal since he is only 20 yo and capable of playing both wing positions. He is also getting his game back after the season ending injury last year. Maybe a loan spell and some regular football can help him build his confidence back up.

  7. Agree Walter, this competition can be something of a curse, but….and this is a big but, we really really have to do something about this defensive nativity after set pieces and counter attacks , I hate to get all alan Hansen, but it is costing us, and should be dealt with at all levels within the club.
    Wenger has never beaten Jose, that grates, the cold calculated NFL data driven guy against the free spirited cavalier…I know which I prefer, and I know about the finances, and I do not worry too much about this competition ….at all, but FFS, let’s be just a little but smarter against such teams, that is stupid and costly mistakes against Chelsea, Dortmund and even palace, the coaching staff have work to do as pressure ups, this performance saddened, but also annoyed me in equal measures I’m afraid, but beat Pool , and all a different complexion

  8. It is a shame that performances, and goals let in like that give so much ammunition to the teams critics, as someone who always tries to defend them, really wish they would cut all that out!

  9. ‘Avoidable defeat?!!!’ How many times has Wenger beaten Mourinho ? Pathetic record. Mourinho OWNS Wenger. Tactical naivety once again. Everyone knows Mourinho will put an organised defense that Wenger’s team won’t be able to break down with a disorganised team and predictable game.
    Horrible tactics with full backs playing high up the pitch, offering Chelsea all the space in the world to do whatever they please.
    Mourinho loved the fact that his team didn’t have to put much effort to win . After all, it’s Arsene Clueless Wenger we’re talking about. Mourinho wipes the floor with him.
    Wenger and his poor record against top teams…Embarrassing!
    Wengerites will make lame excuses about money as per usual but when you just offer the same sh!tty tactics to your opponents this is what happen.
    Klopp can beat Mourinho with far less resources. Basel can do the trick too but Wenger is totally inept.

  10. Sperez, look forward to hearing from you when we win games…but that really will be a first

  11. Win games against who? Mid-table teams and relegation fodder?
    Wenger’s record against top teams in the past few years really tells a lot…

  12. @ Sperez
    We don’t hear from you when AFC win, you have Notting constructive to offer anyone regarding debate and I for one question your authenticity as an Gooner, so do us all a favour and sliver back down the slimy hole you came from.

  13. Sperez, piss off man, what kind of an annoying guy are u? Why dont u show up when we win? Or u just dont like that?

    I believe we were better than Chelsea today ( that doesnt mean we were good) and we deserved the win. They got two chances which they didnt even creat, they were lucky balls bouncing to their players legs…. Lucky win.

    I dont like to criticize, even park ran more than Bendtner did in that little time he got.

    Today we tried to play with little efforts and our minds were on saturday game, the team were missing a lot of key players, against a chelsea lucky team, if it wasnt for that mistake, and lucky ball, chelsea deserve not anything from this game, they just parked the bus, and held our shirts.

    As for Dowd, the first goal was a counter after am Arsenal corner where kosienly was held in the box, now i want a clarificatio , why would it be a foul/ penalty if kosilenly did that foul, which cost us the game i believe.

    I didnt care about this cup, and neither will I. Am just sad cause this will make lucky morinheo look like a genius, and start his own stupid show, and it will give food for those waiting for our loss, which may affect our players moral.

  14. I think we are now seeing the effects of misallocated capital.

    AW caved in to the calls from the pit, but in truth, Ozil is just an embellished version of several other players.

    The team is starting to look unbalanced. Rosicky looks ineffectual. If Jack is that good, I’ve yet to see it. Giroud is carrying too much expectation. Ozil looks like he’s been press-ganged into playing wing.

    Without the much maligned Theo, we lose a vital dimension.

    At the moment AFC look like a top 5 team; if we are to win something I think AW needs to get radical. How many ‘creative midfielders cum vaguely an attacker’ does he need?

    He ought to jettison a couple of surplus players over the winter and go for the jugular. Would like to see AFC offer substantial money for Suarez.

  15. Phone typing mistake.

    I meant:
    I dont like to criticize out players, but even park ran more than bendtner did in his little time he got. Sorry Bendtner, just like santos, arshavin, and others before u, u dont have enough passion to be where u r, u dont deserve to play there…. I believe park deserve that spot more, we need passionate players, no matter what they do i will still be behind them, i dont care about mistake jenks did as much as others do, as long as he tries hard, and he does, he ll be there. But some players dont give it their all, although they have great qualities.

  16. Good write up Walter. The result was disappointing and especially to make unnecessary errors. However, at times we played some nice football but unfortunately without the final product.

    The Chelski teams, organised by the Poisonous One, always defend in numbers and get behind the ball very quickly, perhaps more so than any other team, after which they try to catch us on the break. We were nearly able to break them down tonight, but not quite, the return of Walcott with his extra pace should help make a difference.

    Walter – do we really have to tolerate sperez?

  17. Come on, not u Walter, why are u down? The optimistic u are shouldnt be down by such a game, with a team like that.

    Our players will bounce back look at giroud determination in this game, and u ll know we have it, this spirit, next game, we shall kick some ****

    Now come on we need untold to raise our spirit high so it is transferred to the fiels through the fans. So please i wish tomorrow i read a brilliant article that shows ur optimism, again.

  18. @ btjgooner,
    Agree but look at what Chelsea create, even before the goal, nothing, they did nothing except to defend, and wait for their luck to help them. they didnt even counter in a good way, regarding their costs, that is a failure.

    And yes Walter, Tony, …..
    Do u have to tolerate sperez?

  19. Yassin,
    You should vent your anger and frustrations on Wenger, not me. Had he been a good manager, with tactical knowledge, motivation skill and a good game plan, I would be here praising him and you lot wouldn’t think I’m ‘annoying’.

    You should worry about Wenger. It’s him you have to tolerate making a mockery of Arsenal.

  20. @sperez

    Opportunistic backstabbing AAA scum like you contribute nothing. Your only purpose is self gratification on the thought that you may be able to spread unrest, despair, disruption and wrongly sully the good reputation of AW and anyone who supports him. In short you are a very average AAA troll, not even an interesting one.

  21. No, you wrong bjtgooner.
    Wenger is the one responsible for his own downfall. And he has been doing a pretty good job pressing the self-destruct button.
    Chelsea fans singing during the game “Wenger we want you to stay”.
    Maybe you are a chelski fan trolling Arsenal blogs by blindly and unconditionally supporting Wenger and his outdated methods.
    You know very well Arsenal will never be competitive enough under Wenger to cause trouble for your beloved chelski (as it has been the case for years).

  22. @ Sperez,

    you need to calm down bro, this was a game of our back ups vs their 1A team (I refuse to call them back ups because most of those players would be starters on other teams).

    And you probably didn’t even know Wenger vs. Mourinho’s record until they mentioned it multiple times throughout the game. He faced Wenger as Chelsea manager, during the start of our frugal years. Just wait til the games that count when we actually play our starters in the game.

    Mourinho, the tactical genius you say can’t win without spending more money than other managers. He’s like a little kid that needs cheat codes to have an advantage to win playing a video game.

  23. I rated many managers higher than Mourinho but he won the UCL with two teams that were nowhere near to win that competition.
    Ironically, he failed to win the UCL with Chelsea and Real Madrid. Two of the richest clubs around.
    Porto never was one of the richest club of Europe and Inter was always a disgrace compared to AC Milan. If you saw the Italian team under Mancini in the UCL, you know what I am talking about.
    Mourinho even changed the way Internazionale played in Serie A. The Italian media was fascinated by how Mourinho constantly changed his tactical approach in many games.
    No, it was not all about defense. In many games he deployed a very attack minded team. Something you didn’t see in Mancini’s tenure.
    Many people complain about ‘il muro di gloria’ at Nou Camp but they forget about the 1st leg in Giuseppe Meazza (I’d rather call it San Siro).
    Anyway, do I think Mourinho can build a team, nurture young talents and make them champions? No, I don’t. But I know he is a competent manager with players ready to deliver, not prospects. He understands tactics and can identify what signings will make a team better. He did this at Inter when they sold Ibra to Barça and brought Eto’o, Milito and Madrid’s reject, Sneijder. The rest, you know. After more than 40 years, Inter finally won the UCL trophy.

  24. It hurts. I have an important meeting this morning, how can I be alert when my heart hurts?

  25. Every time we loose or draw a game, Sperez is out. Such an astute understanding of the game/tactics……..Why is he not employed by ARSENAL??

    We all know where Capital-one cup stands in Mr Wengers/ARSENALs priorities…..Thats why 8 changes to the team.

    Jenkinson……I’ve played the game as a goalie and I was surprised that Chelsea managed to score there. I consider this a Fabianski mistake…….He should have done better there, and claimed the ball from Jenkinson back pass. Jenkinson had a poor game though.

    The rest had a decent game, Nick was isolated and he did nothing to get involved. But then we had a decent game (not fluidic at our best), and the star studded Chelsea side needed a couple of mistakes to score says a lot about the squad we have…and that before we consider who is to return the coming weeks….

  26. People got hyper about it because its a game against the oilers. Like it or not, they have more quality players at the moment taking injury into account.

    It used to be a minor event in Wenger’s regime especially when the team was relying heavily on the so called “youth project”.

  27. I’m never happy when we lose but not really feeling down for the moment. The league cup is not my cup of tea unless we get to the final. Mostly costing a lot of energy and with only a place in Europe at stake. A place we should get based on the league results anyway. But I still don’t like us losing a game.

    About Sperez. And the fact he never has anything good to say. And never be around when we win a game. I think it is good to have a reminder of plastics like him from time to time.

    My message to him is: if you cannot enjoy a win with us, no need to come over when we lose. Just stay where you are when we win, when we lose a game.

  28. I agree too about Fabianski guilt share in goal, it look as he was to scared to repeat Hart mistake, so he decided to do nothing.
    It was a bit frustrating inability to penetrate Chavs defense, and number of incorrect passes.
    About number of creative midfielders we have, well I see no problem, what suit to World and European Champions, I don’t see why it would be problem to us.
    It is to early to asses situation, and what ever happen, there would be always someone to complain, if we won it would be said “See, Arsene don’t give f..k for Premier League, he still only want to reach CL and earn money and Cup is just throwing dust in eyes of supporters”.
    Lets be honest to ourselves we would not (or at least, I would not) be happy with winning Capital One or FA Cup. Come on I am not Latics or Scousers supporter, Arsenal is bigger than that. So lets move on, and concentrate on what is really important.

  29. Arsenal 13
    It’s a Jenkinson’s mistake.
    You never attempt to play a risky ball back to your keeper unless there’s much understanding between defenders and the keeper.
    In a situation where the defender and the keeper hardly ever play together it’s always advisable to head it away.
    I realize Jenkinson is still very young and will improve but outside of his speed he’s still very raw as a defender

  30. Sperez
    Would you care to elaborate how it’s Wenger’s tactical mistake that Jenkinson made a blunder.
    How do you legislate against that if you’re Wenger?
    After Chelsea scored first it was always going to be difficult to come back.
    I don’t think Arsenal got outplayed, do you?

  31. I’m not too disappointed but will be if we play like that against Liverpool. The Jenkinson/Fabianski cock-up was unforgiveable but shoudn’t happen with a Sagna/Szczesny combination. Also the ineptness of Bendtner up front showed just how we are getting spoilt by Giroud and his bustling involved style. Bendtner was his usual lazy self waiting for the ball to be put on a plate rather than making it happen as Giroud would have.
    We will sorely miss the Flamster and unless Arsene gets that role sorted quickly we may well be in trouble. Maybe it’s time for Frimpong? It’s a shame he called in sick for last night, I would have liked to see him and his battling style out there.
    Now on to Saturday. I’ll be there as usual cheering them on and the atmosphere will be fantastic especially when we win and cement our place at the top of the league.
    Up the Gunners!

  32. Armin
    Heading the ball back to your keeper from outside of the penalty box when there are attacking players around is one of the riskiest defensive plays around . If it were routine we wouldn’t be talking about it now .

  33. I watch every Arsenal game and I cannot remember a time when either Santi or Jack misplaced so many passes. And they weren’t alone! Perhaps we tried too many “eye of a needle” passes, but attack after attack broke down because of a pass straight to a Chelsea player.

    I’m not sure that our opponents were Chelsea made much of a difference. We have seen many lesser teams flood forward on the counter from our corners in similar manner, and although Mata’s shot was excellent, there are many players capable of duplicating it. I thought the otherwise good Monreal didn’t put in a good enough attempted block.

    We always seem to get bullied by Chelsea. Last season Ramires made MotM when he should have received many yellows; this time Essien didn’t get a yellow for a professional foul on Jack in the first few minutes. It would have been a yellow 95% of the time – why was this one of the exceptions? Luiz too got away with many pushes and pulls. The one mentioned in the article was obvious because the TV showed a replay, but in the first few seconds Luiz pushed Rosicky in the back, giving possession to Chelsea and setting the trend.

  34. I am so forstrated and don’t even know how to start my day.I expected a lot from my team(ARSENAL)but I was really dissapointed with jenkenson’s very poor performance.This is not his first time and think he should be let for him to improve himself.If arsenal doesn’t win any trophe and winger is still allow to stay,trust me I will say bye bye to Arsenal.

  35. I think we should dust ourselves and be ready for the next game. Success will be defined by how resilient we are. We can not win all the games in a season. Defeats will come and they will hurt either the opponent is a big team or a small one.

    I think we have to look at Ramsey to see that fans should not get on the back of players. We are only doing the team harm. We disrupt the unity of the team if we single out Bendtner and Ryo. They had difficult game but they were playing against Chelsea. Game is over. We should leave it that.

    The media, who wants to sell you articles, make quick harsh conclusions to buy your attention. We cant start to think like them. Agreeing with the media never won us a trophy right? Supporting our players might!

  36. I don’t feel sorry for Jenkinson. I was very annoyed with him. He basically lost us the game. Ok, everyone can make a mistake. Jenkinson makes the same sort of mistake again and again. He seems to mess up his defensive headers, either heading them straight up and back towards goal when trying to clear, or as we saw yesterday, getting caught under the ball and not having enough power to head it to the keeper. He has to show a willingness and ability to improve. That he hasn’t is why I’m so angry with him.

    For the rest, it’s only annoying because it’s an obnoxious club like Chelsea and some people like sperez take pleasure in slitting their own wrists and want to start a cult which welcomes any opportunity to deny Wenger’s greatness. I’m reminded of how atheists work hard to deny God without realising that by doing it, they are actually reinforcing the notion that God exists. But at the end of the day, a defeat in this competition is not really important. Just as long as we don’t allow it to derail us in the league. No reason it should, although I’m worried about the fitness of players like Ramsey.

    I also think we need to stop thinking about the run-in and just take it one game at a time. Liverpool next. That’s all. Beat them and then worry about what comes next.

  37. “Wenger has never beaten Jose, that grates, the cold calculated NFL data driven guy against the free spirited cavalier…I know which I prefer”

    I get that Wenger and Mourinho probably typify completely dfferent philosophies on football, but that was a poor example. Wenger is among the most obsessed with data. That’s the reason Arsenal also bought a data analytics company recently.

    And yes. It grates that Wenger hasn’t beaten a Mourinho team yet, but is that really a stat that would be in anyone’s mind if the media hadn’t made an issue of it? While some naysayers can revel in it, it really isn’t the important issue. It’s a sideshow at best.

    Agree with you about the mistakes though. Recent weeks have seen us return to the habit of making silly errors, including at Crystal Palace, which thankfully didn’t cost us. We need to cut that out. We also desperately need Podolski and Walcott to come back. And then to do some business in January if at all possible.

  38. Ok I see the game from a Chelsea perspective but I along with just about every journalist, commentator, pundit etc saw the lack of depth in your squad.
    Players get injured, get suspended, loose form that’s why you need a deep squad.
    As far AW suggestion that the game was close which some sort of echo quite simple the score or the stats suggest that was not the case and in truth Chelsea were playing well within themselves once they went one up.

  39. Looks like I watched a pretty different game. Don’t think it was that bad. Against Chelsea, in a cup game: 50/50 chance for me. Still some lovely passes at times and pretty good (but not enough)chances. Really sorry for Rosi and Monreal, they did fight hard, play well.

    Looking forward to the important weekend game!! many hopes for our team.

  40. @leany – good points, I agree.

    @sperez – if we and our manager are such rubbish, how come we are top of the premier league on points SINCE JANUARY 2013?

  41. Brima, I think you should say bye bye to Arsenal now. Support is about standing with your team no matter what. Saying farewell to a club when they are top of the league because of a poor showing by one player in one match isn’t support.

  42. Second loss at the Ems in as many games. That is the one that grates. However, I shall be happy and completely recovered if the team comes through with a win over Liverpool and over Borrusia Dorthmund. That, to me, will count for getting the focus right at this stage of re-establishing ourselves as an ambitious, top-tier team after many years as pretenders.

  43. Easy, Wenger out, he is not a good coach… How could he not understand he should train his players just like morinho does… To hold other team shirts, foul them, only defend and wait ur luck to help u, take 30 seconds to play a throw, have a joke with dowd, and waste time at 80 min by having 3 players all together on the ground….. Isnt this football, and Wenger keeps comcentrating on passing and technicality, what does that have to do with football?

    when football rules are applied, and bias are gone, then we will win the league.

    we were the better team yesterday, and chelsea were s***, they were lucky with that first goal, and then parked thr bus.

    and jenkinson, he is too young and played one of the best football considering his age, and for only one bad game, all are on him, come on he made get off him he wasnt good yesterday sick or somethinh i dont know but we know he got quality.

    We were the better side yesterday and we werent outplayed by dortmund, that with injuries and unrested players, we can win the league. Just give ur all fans, u are responsible for gaining the league, dont give up just now cause some idiot pundits with hidden agenda is trying to gain advantage in our bad form. We will bounce again and we will win Liverpool.

  44. I personally was a bit disappointed we fielded such a strong team as it is always good to see the younger players do their bit. I don’t care if we win or lose this cup, the importance is gaining experience and for the younger players to meet Chelsea would have been a fantastic learning experience. As I’ve said before, these players need to learn how to bounce back after a loss in order to become winners and this competition is the perfect opportunity for that.

  45. I think that it was not a good game by both teams, but obviously KGB has a deeper bench and it helped them. To me the problem is based on 2 pivots: (1) we have no width due to injuries and are forced to play thru the middle (2) without Flamini we basically don’t have anyone to do the gritty work that Essien and Obi Mikel did for the KGB last night.

    To me (coupled with a very frustrating and lazy performance from Bendtner) that is why we lost. The good news is that our wide players AND Flamini are due back soon.

  46. Pat,
    Please be real, mate. With respect, if you inspect our actual record against the top 3 since last season (at any point) we don’t compete with them. I want us able to compete with them; and that takes acquiring quality depth as well as another top striker. The mantra about having disgruntled players on the bench doesn’t see that they can play with hunger when they get their chance, to try to impress the coach in pursuit of more time. Our top players (like every and anyone’s) need time to revitalize; and our second team is not yet (repeat yet) good enough to sustain a multi-cup pursuit. Walter (otherwise brilliant) may bang on here about how less is more, but that’s making the best of what we can muster right now. Fine. But when those out injured come back, who’s to say that there won’t be further attrition (or dip in form) because of overuse now? It’s folly to assume that all things just stay exactly the same in waiting for the injured to return. Yes, we do have really quality coming back from injury and hopefully it will be in time to add dimensionality that we currently lack; and, as important, give genuine respite to those who have been overused in their absence.

    As for Nicky B., he’s not first-rate, but didn’t get first-rate service either. But he’s not the first class striker that we should have for both rotation and perhaps tandem appearances with Giroud (witness Suarez/Sturridge). Chelski (detestable in so very many ways) were able to do some effective smothering with their two DMs pitted vs our offense. Is this just down to money, or something tactical? I’m out of my depth to analyze it, but found an interesting analysis by an Arsenal lover who cares enough to constructively criticize and ask important question, right about here:

  47. Am I the only one who noticed Jack indicate to Carl to head the ball back to Fabianski.
    Carl did look a bit uncertain and I think Jack made his mind up for him. Fabianski should have seen this and come earlier.
    I think the blame lies with 3 players not one.
    Get off Carl’s back !

  48. Allan,
    Wasn’t Jack right? In fairness, maybe Jenks didn’t hear/see him? Where is Jack culpable here?

  49. Allan C

    Jenkinson has shown a consistent weakness in his defensive heading ability. And yes.. Jack might have told him to deal with it..Isn’t that his job? Fabianski too did the right thing. Trusting his defender to head it back to him rather than charging out when quite clearly Jenkinson was favourite to the ball. That was definitely Jenksinson’s mistake and that quite clearly had a huge effect on the result yesterday. If it were a one off mistake, I wouldn’t care so much.

    But imagine Ramsey making the same sort of error he made against Dortmund. Now THAT was a collctive mistake..No one made themselves available for the pass. Everyone hid. But all the same, Ramsey should have cleared it. If he repeats the same mistake 4 or 5 times, regardless of whether it leads to a goal, it needs to be said. It’s not about climbing on Jenkinson’s back. It’s just what it is. His fault, and he needs to work to improve on what is a weakness in his game.

  50. Please don’t start on Jenkinson, he is not a Bac but he has his own qualities, which are getting better all the time.
    Concerning Mou and Chelsea, his tactical setup is good, if you watch Chelsea playing, watch the positioning of his players, and even in this “second” team still the same as his first team.
    Arsenal do also have this, but only in our first team at the moment, our second string will get there, but it does need games with one another.
    Don’t forget, even though we are riding high atm, we are not completely there yet, and the team is constantly improving, and there will be more additions as soon as AW finds players or the players he wants become available.
    AW always knows which players he wants to complete the team, but they are not always available at that moment, AND now we have the ability to get any player that is available and suitable for Arsenal.
    We will beat Liverpool and i know our players are going to be ready for them. Sad about Flamini, but we just have to concentrate that much harder, which we should really be doing even when Flam is playing,(to save his voice).
    Come on Gunners, lets beat Liverpool and dampen their spirits a little.

  51. How many more of the same do you need to see Wenger is tactically inept? How many more times Arsenal need to succumb to counter attacks with opponents having acres of space ?
    Tactical naivety at best.
    Many years have past but the examples stayed for all to see. ManU with C.Ronaldo, then Rooney. Chelsea and even spuds at The Emirates. Remember? Pathetic. Arsenal winning 2×0 but coulnd’t stop bombing forward, offering all the space possible to spuds attack. How that game ended? 2X3 SPUDS VICTORY.
    Only this season and you already have seen that happen against Dortmund, Crystal Palace and now Chelsea. Fullbacks that play like wingers. Centre backs bombing forward and a midfield that it’s not compact and organised.
    Schollboy errors.
    Wenger doesn’t do tactics as he doesn’t study opponents. Fabregas said that in the WC 2010. ‘We focus on the quality of our game’. It’s good that you know your own team but it’s terrible you just forget your opponents.
    I think Wenger never read The Art of War. You don’t win wars and football trophies if you don’t care your opposition.
    How many more years of Wenger’s neglecting do you need? He can’t even do the basics right.
    I can understand the likes of bjtgooner defending Wenger and wanting him to stay forever (he’s a chelski fan trolling) but you’d better open your eyes.
    Walter, my dear. Again that tiresome excuse ‘sperez never be around when we win’. I have many comments when Arsenal won games if you care to check all those posts from past months.
    I wanted to comment about the WIN against Palace. Yes, the schoolboy error again. But that was so obvious that I thought unnecessary. But it seems you lot didn’t pay attention.
    When your centre backs are bombing forward, your fullbacks have to stay behind. You never leave only one midfielder to cover (especially someone as slows as Arteta) This is the basics and not even that Arsenal can do under Wenger.

  52. Sperez,
    For a man who watches about 3 football games per day, Wenger does very well to not study opponents.

  53. @sperez

    If you think I am a Chelski fan you are an even bigger imbecile than you initially appeared to be.

    It is quite pathetic when a second rate AAA troll like you crawls out from under a stone to try to opportunistically sully the name of AW and anyone who supports him.

  54. People like sperez don’t live in the real world. Why is being pessimistic considered more realistic btw?

    The fact is that every manager and every team has weaknesses. Because no one is, nor can be perfect. (Not even Mourinho and his overblown ego refer to him as perfect)So each manager decides on a method to extract the maximum from their resources. They don’t always succeed, and they all have different methods of doing it.

    Wenger’s strength obviously lies in his attacking game. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t understand or know the importance of defense. But somehow defense is seen as involving ‘tactics’, while attacking isn’t..Why? Because Wenger’s teams are generally well recognised as good at attacking. As if that just happens on its own. The fact that his teams make it look so easy actually means he’s good at tactics, just different ones to where Mourinho’s strength lies.

    The truth is that Mourinho has won more in recent years. The truth is also that he’s done it playing defensive football, which is mostly considered ‘boring’, although that is subjective. The fact is also that he’s had a few hundred million more to spend to achieve this, and that he’s only concerned with the short term and not the long term health of the club where he is. To simply compare the achievements, leave alone the ‘tactics’, of the two is idiocy.

    If…if Wenger doesn’t focus on certain ‘tactics’ as much as some other managers, that too is a deliberate tactic, calculated to bring a longer term advantage in terms of establishing a playing style and which leads to better results long term, without needing infinite resources. These real world scenarios don’t mean anything to simple minds of course, whose only redeeming qualities are that they provide us a test of our patience, and a basis to marvel at the wide variance in human capability.

  55. It’s not about being perfect. It’s about being incapable (or unwilling) of sorting out problems that keeps happening season after season.
    If Wenger can’t solve these problems and improve Arsenal game then it’s time to give another manager a chance to prove himself.
    A team that plays in a suicidal way has nothing to do with tactics. And tactical knowledge is important to win games (especially against top teams).
    Klopp is no Mourinho but he understands tactics. Dortmund has less resources than Bayern or Arsenal but this doesn’t stop Klopp from trying to win trophies.
    Wenger just put a team to defend deep and counter attack against Dortmund despite the fact that he didn’t have the players to do that. Terrible game plan. And you think it’s all about money. Sigh!!!
    Dortmund on the other hand were not playing at their best but they knew how to defend, play without the ball and counter attack.

  56. ‘It is quite pathetic when a second rate AAA troll like you crawls out from under a stone to try to opportunistically sully the name of AW and anyone who supports him.’

    Top trolling, bjtgooner. If I were a chelski fan, I’d also want Wenger to stay for many more years. It means no trophies and you lot in blue will have one less team to worry about.

  57. @Sperez

    I just think that you are unrefined. Your comments are mean spirited and negative. Sadly, anything of value that you contribute is overshadowed by your attitude and thus not listened to by the majority on this board.

  58. I have rarely read as much complete bollocks as the reaction to that game last night. Yes we lost against a team who parked the bus as they do best and let us shoot ourselves in the foot, as we sometimes do too much for all of our liking. But a bit of perspective. The masochistic self flagellationists amongst our fan base, the ones who lack a bit of mental strength it must be said are exhaulting this Chelsea side to what seems a combination of the greatest sides that ever lived. They are not. They are essentially a defensive team who have been gifted the last two wins who stand below us in the league. Our team last night consisted of fringe players, some not really good enough, other players needing time to play themselves back into form, and a couple of regulars. Don’t mention the money, FFS, we have until recently kept to a negative transfer spend, they have been over indulged to the point of 1.3 billion since their benefactor arrived…..and some are indignant their squad is stronger than ours? They have outspent what they have made for years. And As pointed out, why does tactics in this country, which lets face it, is lacking on the international stage…have to focus on defence? Yes we were naive and repeated mistakes, the coaching staff should be taken to task for that, but look at the mistakes the supposedly tactically aware man city and man Utd have made recently? And the tactically aware spuds….ok good defensive record, but as another site has suggested, is penalty the new bale for the spuds?

  59. Sp*r*z,

    I find it really tough to explain the way you comment. You seem like a man who has a brain, hence potential, but sadly you make an absolutely lousy use of it. How do you expect your negative comments to have a positive effect on Arsenal? Did you ever improve when somebody yelled at you that you’re not good enough? My friendly advice is to go and spend a couple of hours with a psychologist, and maybe you’ll see what the hell I’m talking about.

  60. I see a lot of hypocritical comments attacking Sperez. He has a right to be negative just as we all have a right to be positive. He is allowed to voice his opinion on the team, and you are allowed to disagree with it. But when I see people saying he needs a psychologist, or that he has a problem, or is lousy, etc. – those are personal attacks, and that is a level that you are dropping to. For all of your complaining about the team Sperez, so far on this article you have not lowered yourself to the level of others by making personal, insulting comments – and you deserve more respect from these fellow supporters claiming to be ‘positive’ while throwing insults at you. For the record, I don’t agree with a lot of what Sperez writes, and maybe he is just trying to wind people up, but what is it that everyone else is trying to prove or hopes to achieve by lashing out at him personally? You should be ashamed if your response to someone complaining about the team is a personal attack, all of you.

  61. Sometimes baiters get their due …

    A married couple walk past a gorilla enclosure, at the Zoo.
    Says the woman: ‘Mark, do you know that gorillas are the only animals which resemble men in their behaviour? Look, seeing that no one is looking, I’ll expose one of my breasts & see how excited it gets, just as men do.’

    Mary then exposes one of her breasts and sure enough the gorilla gets excited and grabs the bars of the enclosure as if it wanted to break free.

    ‘See,’ says the woman, ‘Now, I know why you react the way you do. Men can’t control their animal instincts, just like gorillas can’t.’

    Says Mark: ‘Now expose both breasts & let’s see what happens’.

    The woman exposes both breasts to the gorilla. It gets very excited & is now desperately trying to escape from the enclosure.

    Says Mark: ‘This is incredible!! Now, pull your skirt up, turn around and expose your bum & let us see what happens!’

    The woman pulls her skirt up, turns around with her bum to the gorilla, which by now, is extremely aroused, breaks free from the enclosure, grabs the woman & starts ripping the clothes off her.

    The woman yells: ‘Mark, what do I do now? Help me!’

    Mark replies: ‘Now, tell him you have a headache & you are not in the mood… Let us see if Gorillas & Men are the same.

  62. AND STILL Sperez does not answer why he only comes here when we lose? doesn’t realise a question has been asked of him, bit special he is..

    I am happy this cup is out the way, we have not the squad to compete on all fronts so EPL and CL games only till FA Cup starts.

  63. Heck we are vulnerable to counter attacks? Gee, really? I thought we were vulnerable on Jenks mistake? If the football would be played in way, as our friend Sperez thinks it should be, at end of game we would have 3 to 5 refs who would give evaluation for technical and artistic performance, as all games would end 0-0, and would be called Figure passing, or Artistic Defending (I guess).
    As mentioned before, team weaknesses are part of the game, and that’s what makes other teams score, same as it helps us score. If AW is such tactical dumb probably we would not have positive goal difference.

  64. spurz,

    I did check your comments and we have missed you most of the time in the last weeks. Mostly because we were winning games I think.
    You did comment after beating the spuds. A very negative comment it was.

    And even after the Sunderland game. Again with nothing but talking bad about players. Apart from acknowledging that Ramsey improved. But that was only the start to start mentioning others that should improve.

    Oh no sorry, at 26/08/2013 you said that Ramsey still was useless. Actually this is really getting funny now you know. Really showing “your wisdom”. 🙂

    and what about this coming from someone claiming to be a supporter of Arsenal : “Villa ‘the young team’ has taught Wenger a lesson. I hope Wenger’s ego trip continues and he doesn’t sign any player”

    So hoping for the worst case scenario for our club. Surely you are a great fan.

    But reading back through these comments I notice a somewhat very very negative feeling against Wenger. So tell me what is your real problem with Wenger, spurz. Has your mother told you that you were his love child and Wenger doesn’t want to know you? Or did Wenger turn you down once yourself?

    Looking back at your comments you do seem to hate him deeply.

    Oh how it must hurt you to see the league table these past weeks…

  65. Hahaha brilliant Walter!
    Spurz, we know what you are! Your name says it all really. My username is very close to my actual name, almost same letters and I did this because its close to my name with out giving it out.
    ‘Sperez’ just says it all really, no life soo very miserable and probably angry his team have scored 10 goals in 10 games mostly coming from pens, I would be pissed too!

  66. Btw while on spurs, I read a spud player (dembele?) said the pitch at the lane is one of smallest in league and smaller teams can park bus much easier.
    We know all about bus parking, it comes when your a great team with respect from other clubs (not media, pundits) BuT are the pitches all meant to be all the same?

  67. It’s about being incapable (or unwilling) of sorting out problems that keeps happening season after season.


    Problems happen because in the real world, there are trade offs. Mourinho can’t get his teams to play attacking football like Wenger does, but his teams set up better defensively. That is a trade off. You can argue Mourinho’s trade off is better, but it also relies on having players worth hundreds of millions in reserve. SO it’s hard to say objectively whether, all things being equal, Mourinho’s tactics are better. (Some might say that the only thing separating Allardyce from Mourinho is the half a billion pounds of budget) The fact that the most successful teams over a long period of time are generally attack oriented teams might suggest that it isn’t the better tactic to take. In the long run at least.

    So you see, it is not an unwillingness or an inability. Even our defensive record over the past 2 seasons has improved a lot, including on set plays. So it’s not like Wenger ignores it. But certain weaknesses are just part and parcel of the way we play football. That will remain under any manager. Just different weaknesses.

    Stop acting the fool please. I know you do it as a wind-up more than anything, but still. It just makes you look foolish and mean spirited. There is an alternate explanation, and the idea that Wenger doesn’t understand tactics (whatever that means) is laughable indeed. You don’t get to be a professional football manager at the top level for a quarter of a century without understanding football comprehensively.

  68. Walter, nice comment at 8.17 am.

    @Sam – so it is ok for sperez (or any other AAA type) to unfairly slag off the manager or team or individual players – but he should not be subject to retaliation?

    I don’t think it is hypocritical to retaliate. Sperez’s comments are designed to be hurtful to the players or manager. If his comments showed constructive criticism then you may have a point, but being constructive is not his motivation. Having noted the type of comments sperez repeatedly regurgitates I don’t see any point in engaging him in debate.

    However, I am pleased to note that you do not agree with a lot of what sperez writes.

  69. So we lost. No surprise as Mourinho has had Wenger sussed for years. Chelsea defend well and Arsenal huff and puff and get nowhere. Chelsea score on a break and then we huff and puff and get nowhere. Rather like the Dortmund game. The depth of the Chelsea squad is staggering. Even our best team would struggle to beat tuesday’s team.

    We had one shot on target. At home! We still don’t know how to break down a good defence.

    We lack penetration and we lack a world class striker. We also have too many players like Bendtner, Park, Jenkinson and Ryo who wouldn’t even get a sniff of football at Chelsea. And Marcus made a good point about Ozil being an embellished version of several other players. We are now informed that we have the resources to compete with teams that win trophies. Really? I’d say that it would take about 200 million for us to compete with Chelsea, Barca, Bayern and get us the CL trophy. It’s fine having a couple of world class players but you need about seven or eight to win a major trophy. That isn’t cheap. Of course you can be lucky and win the tournament but that only happens about once in every twenty years. Alternatively you can win a major trophy by a team that’s grown together, a bit like the 1971 double team which really wasn’t as good as the then Leeds Utd. team but still accelerated past people’s expectations. Let’s hope we get lucky because we’ve had precious little luck in years.

    Anyway the Capital One Cup or whatever it is is not that important. I’m glad we don’t have to concentrate on it any more as we don’t have the squad depth to commit to four competitions.

    @Shard, are you suggesting Wenger is god? In reference to your comment about Sperez trying to start a cult against Wenger and linking it with atheists working hard to deny the existence of a god which only reinforces the notion there is one, are you implying Wenger is god? LOL Anyway I’m an atheist but I don’t work hard to prove god exists, that’s for him to convince me and so far he’s failing miserably (letting Chelsea win so many trophies in so few years isn’t helping his case).

  70. We’ve lost 2 out of 2 without Flamini so I fear, as with every season, November disappointment will follow. Sorry to be a pessimist. Just goes to show where we’re really lacking in our squad. 1) A prolific striker to support Giroud (dont know what will happen if he got injured), maybe Podolski is key here if he’s played more central. 2) defensive midfielder if Flamini gets injured – Arteta is great but more of a passer than a gritty workhorse. Diaby is finished. Too little too late seeing we have Liverpool, Dortmund and Utd in the coming 10 days or so. Fingers-crossed gooners!! November is never a good time for us! On another note it really annoyed me when we decided to bring on Ozil and Giroud last night – thankfully they didn’t get injured but Wenger’s ego got in his way there and took a massive gamble on a second rate tournament against a physical side like Chelsea. But then he’s always prone to taking silly risks like this, hence the size of our injury list.

  71. Rupert

    You caught me 🙂 I was being cheeky there, because implying that Wenger is God is what I’ve been accused of in the past. I just thought it was funny. For the record, I don’t believe in God either, at least not in the traditional religious form. All the same, I usually dislike labels, so wouldn’t classify myself as an atheist or agnostic either.

    As for the game. Yes, it followed a frustrating pattern which was largely down to Jenkinson’s mistake as far as I’m concerned. It’s tough enough anyway against Chelsea without gifting them the opening goal. But, although we didn’t create too many clear cut opportunities, neither did Chelsea. They didn’t need to I suppose, but they also had more space as we attacked and didn’t really use it to trouble us.

    We had plenty of shots, and although they weren’t on target, I venture that Monreal’s, Cazorla’s and Ramsey’s efforts were better chances at goal than some shots that would go straight into the keeper’s arms and count as a shot on target. There was a while when Chelsea looked worried about us scoring. What we lacked, and they had in Mata, was the efficient finisher. No surprise when you consider that Podolski and Walcott are probably our best finishers, and that Bendtner and Miyaichi had poor games.

    So, I have no problem saying the better team won on the night. I just don;t think it came down to tactics, or that Chelsea dominated us. It was a game of fine margins, with the error leading to the first goal playing a big part.

  72. “Say we are top of the league”
    The font,
    Huzzah! Huzzah! So said first class passengers on the launch of the Titanic. 🙂 Yeah it’s great to be king; but there’s icebergs to melt in the January window via a top striker, a DM and quality depth. We can’t and don’t need to replicate chel$ki but do need these upgrades, or, imo, face the mad end of season contortions to achieve a 3/4 finish.

  73. Yop of the league…phhhhh by two points, with trips to chlsea, man u and pool…you’re havin a larf

  74. magaon

    We’re generally better from home, so it shouldn’t be that much of an issue. Especially with our home support not really pulling its weight.

    Plus, we ARE top of the league. It’s a better position to be in than not, regardless of any games coming up. It’s funny how qualifying remarks are ok to make about anything good about Arsenal, but are not worthy of consideration when anything not so good is concerned. Then they are just excuses.

  75. bob

    I agree with you about the signings, but while the comparison with Titanic and icebergs was witty, it just evoked memories of The Sun using the Titanic imagery for Arsenal.

    We need a DM more than a striker I feel, if Ox, Walcott and Podolski can come back fit. The Ozil signing changed the level of the need there. Just a difference in priorities I think. A top class striker is tough to buy in January, especially when you need someone who offers something different to Giroud. So Llorente isn’t really an option, unless its on loan.

    Lewandowski. I think he’s a very good striker and would take him given the chance, but I can’t shake the feeling he might be overrated slightly. We might be better off going for a winger who is pacy, tricky and can cross the ball well, and moving Podolski to the centre, than having luck in buying a quality striker. I’d be happy enough with that.

  76. @Shard, but that’s Chelsea’s tactics with us, sit back and wait for a defensive error which we’re prone to. Too often when we play Chelsea, especially under Mourinho, we are too cavalier. You may not think they’re dominating us but they are by just letting us huff and puff because they know we have very few creative players who can penetrate a well drilled defence. Chelsea are a physically strong team, something we used to be until Wenger decided he wanted loads of technical lightweights. True he’s not as committed to that any more as he’s realized it’s got us nowhere but it doesn’t help that we had some players who looked totally out of their depth, Ryo and Jenkinson and a completely indifferent Bendtner spring to mind and why is Park anywhere near the Emirates?

    Now we’re supposedly flush with cash I hope we see upgrades on those players I’ve mentioned. It’s all very well buying one world class player in Ozil but unless you start building on that he’ll get as fed up with Arsenal as RVP and Fabs did. And I have to politely disagree with you and suggest we do need a world class striker. And a pacy winger who can pass and a really top class dm so we have cover for all our full backs and midfield who surge forward recklessly in an attacking frenzy as they so frequently do.

    Have to agree that it’s better sitting at the top of the league than residing in 6th or 7th like we usually are at this time of the season. Stiff challenges to come and we’ll have a good idea what we’re made of by the end of the year.

  77. Rupert

    We don’t disagree on the need for a striker, although we might differ on the terminology of ‘top class’. I think we need a striker who offers us something different to Giroud. Not to replace him, but to give an added option.

    What I meant with my comment to bob was that it’s not going to be easy to find someone with the requisite ability and qualities, and even more so in January. So I’d be satisfied if we approached adding to our attack through adding on the wings if it came to that.

    I’m sorry but waiting for a mistake from the opposition doesn’t qualify as anything tactical in my book. The goal came because Jenkinson made an error that he shouldn’t have. Sometimes it can come from the referee making an error he shouldn’t have either, like the foul on Coquelin that led to our goal sometime in the past against Chelsea. That isn’t anything tactical.

    Yes, Chelsea’s tactics depend on sitting deep and absorbing pressure, and they are good at it. Which is why giving them the first goal was the defining moment of the game for me. It allowed Chelsea to do exactly what they are good at. Our tactics were fine, even after conceding. The execution wasn’t great, especially by our reserve players (which is why we need some added depth and relief from injuries affecting players of the same positions all at once) but that is to be expected to a degree. Jenkinson, apart from the error on the goal, was alright in my opinion.

    Park is near the first team because we have multiple injuries. Ryo wouldn’t have played if Gnabry were fit I would guess. Definitely not if Walcott and Ox were. Podolski would be an option instead of Bendtner. Team building is a process, not an event. Let’s see this team for what it is. A work in progress, with some of its previous disadvantages removed or reduced, especially related to money. Chelsea took 3 years to win the title after Abramovich’s money infusion. You can’t bemoan Arsenal’s team building process when the infusion isn’t even comparable, related to other teams. Well, you can, but it seems churlish.

    Anyway..Rambled enough.

  78. @Shard: This situation we face now is so familiar. Every season we enter a series of games that are decision makers on our progress and Wenger dithers and messes the entire lot up. Wenger looked clearly upset the Chavs beat us but he then pretends he doesn’t care by saying the Lpool game is more important- and if we lose that will he say the Dortmund game is more important and when we lose that the Manure game will be more important. Wenger believes he can choose when we win. Well it doesn’t work like that – winning is a habit and we do not have it. Over flattering performances against the likes of Norwich don’t hide that we cannot win when it matters. I know many people believe it is our lack of squad depth and talent that hinders progress and some of this is true (again we have to question the quality of players Wenger has brought in as much as blaming the board for not spending) but I believe Wenger has hit the glass ceiling with us because he is tactically clueless when we have to play big teams like the Chavs. Our defending and positional play is terrible – Dortmund and Chavs exposed that. They also exposed the lack of work-rate in our team. Dortmund were like Barca – there were 3 or 4 players on to any of our players who had the ball. In that game and the Chavs game we had players who just ball watch and do not get stuck in. Also how many times on Tuesday could have our players just had a shot on goal instead of another fancy unneeded pass? Wenger is a very rich man and we have shown him great loyalty. He has to look hard and see that he cannot take us forward ¿ it is the same story now for nearly 10 years. It is time for a change. Wenger needs a new challenge and we need a manager who is a winner. It is a shame the Dortmund manager has today signed a new 4 yr contract.

  79. Oh well that clueless manager did kept us in the top 4 all those years…and that with bad players…that same clueless manager bought…

  80. magaon

    Winning is a habit and so is moaning. No matter what the evidence says, it must always be interpreted to show a predetermined thought. Our defending for one. Take an isolated few examples and build a theory around them, while discounting the larger facts of Arsenal having good defensive numbers.

    Use a prejudiced view of what ‘tactics’ mean by focusing on Arsenal’s perceived weakness and then say it’s self evident that we are poor at tactics.

    The workrate thing, against Dortmund, I grant you that they outran us. Although I know this because the numbers bear it out. But a lack of squad depth and injuries could explain that too. Still, it’s not nice to see that happen. All the same, a couple of mistakes for both their goals led even Wenger (who normally doesn’t criticise his team in public) to talk about naivety. Is it your contention that no player ever commits mistakes unless there is a tactical issue?

    Is it familiar? Yes, but only because the brain accesses memories based on some trigger. It doesn’t mean it’s a major problem all the time. Just that we remember when it happened, but forget the other times it hasn’t happened and what we gain from our style of play (or tactics, if you prefer)

    It is absolutely not the same story for 10 years. Not at all. The fact that you feel it has been is again just how the brain perceives things. Objectively, the Arsenal story has been different a lot of times in the past 10 years. Sure, there are similarities. But that isn’t enough to say it’s the same thing every year.

    How many times could our players have had shots instead of a pass? That’s weird. I thought the problem was that our shots were from distance and off target and we couldn’t create much. You claim that we skipped shots in an attempt to create? Only Bendtner, and maybe once Cazorla declined an opportunity to shoot. So I guess the answer is 2. This is yet another example of Arsenal’s perception of ‘walking the ball into the net’. Either 2 years ago, or last season (I forget which) we had the most goals from outside the box. Yet that idea about Arsenal remained as a gripe.

    Do you have anything apart from anecdotal evidence to show exactly how Wenger gets the same things wrong? Because Wenger actually fixes what faults there are in a team. Just that a) it doesn’t happen overnight. and b) even when it does, people jump on an isolated example of the flaw and claim it’s still a problem.

  81. @Shard: Wenger can bemoan defensive lapses, can make promises that they won’t recur, can tell us how great our record is this calendar year – all of it BS in the context of actually WINNING a trophy. The fact is – as everyone with a grain of football judgement saw – Chelsea have better players and far more of them. Wenger’s best-ever squad? If he truly believes that then he should be shown the door immediately. But of course he doesn’t, it’s merely more BS. For several years now we have started each season with a worse squad than the season before. Not rocket science then to predict from Day One that it would be another barren season. Day One this time was different: this season the squad seemed improved. But, again, it didn’t take rocket science to judge that in terms of quality and depth, the squad was still some distance short of the best. Let’s hope we can still hang in there till the January window.

  82. The game against Liverpool now carries even more importance than it already did. For 2 reasons, 1. to maintain our position at the top of the table, and 2. so as to maintain and rebuild the confidence and belief in the team and fans. We’re 3 games into this very publicised test of character period, where many pundits and fans believe we’ll find out if this team has what it takes to lift a trophy. We’ve lost the 2 big ones against Dortmund and Chelski, the later knocking us out of one potential trophy race. So its fair to say we’re not doing much to convince others of our ability to win anything. If we lose to Liverpool on Saturday that’ll be a hatrick of big game defeats and the players confidence will hit the floor as will the fans, and any pundits that may have given us a chance of winning some silverware will quickly write us off. We have to beat Liverpool! We can beat Liverpool!

  83. Last season we lost against Bayern Munich 1-3 at home and lost to the spuds 2-1.
    AVB said at that time: ‘Arsenal are in a negative spiral and to get out of that is extremely difficult’. Since he said that we lost 3 competitive games. 2 in the last week.

    Even when we would lose against Liverpool I don’t believe it will be the end of our season.
    And I don’t believe we will lose by the way.

    Having lost those two games now, might be the turning stone just as it was last year and spur the players and the team on to a higher level.
    and some players returning might help us on that

  84. Of course, nor winning those two games mean we “have season”, there is still… how many? 40-50 games till end of season in all competitions? So it is a bit premature to write us in or write us off. I just cant understand why we cant enjoy in moment we have, we are on top, and I really couldnt care less is that because we only played Stoke, Sunderland, Fullham, etc etc and not Chav, Manure, Citeh or Scousers.
    It is important to beat “big” clubs, but it is getting less and less important in world in which there is no real difference between “big” and “small”. Let me put it this way, loosing from all “big” clubs away, and drawing home while beating all “small” clubs would be enough (talking in points) to be champion at end of season.

  85. @Walter, your response in the other article this morning about us having the second best defence in the League last season is another astonishingly, naive statement that means absolutely zilch. What’s your point- we had the third best attack- so what? Do you ever stop to read what you write? Are there runner’s up or bronze medals for attack and defence- how many points were we behind United and how about this for a stat for you to chew on- 7 points out of 30 against teams from the top six last season? Wenger keeps going on about our great run since March and one defeat in the League since then. How many top six sides have we played in that time- United, Everton and Spurs- one victory against a rival team in 19 matches since we lost to Spurs away. What does that tell you- in big matches our famed defence concedes bad goals and our attack, with few chances presented, misses them and we don’t win. So, stop this “great defence” nonsense and understand that when it matters, we struggle to keep a clean sheet. I fear the worst without a proper shield for our defence- Arteta is not that man.

  86. @Shard: Thanks for the cod psychology. There is a clear pattern to our performance in these situations – it has just come earlier than usual this season. The wheels come off when Wenger has to cope with different competitions in a short space of time.

    The valid point I make is that Wenger cannot take us to the next stage ie winning something. If having the second best defence last season is your definition of success then I am sorry for you cos we still ended up with nothing.

    Wenger has shown consistently since 2005 he has not been able to win the big games – or even small ones if you count a dreadful League Cup final against Birmingham and the shambles in last season League and FA cup games? There is something empty in the team – not just the trophy room – and it is the winning mentality.

    In these situations Wenger is lost because he tinkers with hybrid teams for these games. If he wanted to beat the Chavs he should have put out his best team from the start.

    Instead all the first choice make appearances in the second half and experience a demoralising defeat. You appear to contend my point is based on selective memory so please remind me how many cups we have won since 2005? How many times have we got top 4 by the skin of our teeth and a lasagna? The Chav GK was hardly troubled the other night and our players could not shoot when they had opportunities. If you are happy with a continuation of frustration every season then Wenger is your man.

    I just don’t believe Wenger can do anything different and it’s time for a change. Achieving 4th spot is not remarkable because we have for a very long time always been in a 4 horse race. With the resources Wenger has top 4 is a minimum – so Wenger has been giving us the minimum for many years.

  87. last attempt so Magoan you say: “Wenger has shown consistently since 2005 he has not been able to win the big games”

    So what changed then? Enlighten us. Why before yes, afterwards no.

  88. @Rupert

    ‘Arsenal huff and puff and get nowhere.’

    Is that what you really think about our team? A bit of a give away, don’t you think?

  89. Ahh..but you conveniently ignore that before 2005 Wenger won us 3 league titles and 4 FA Cups. So, what else changed? You don’t get to make sweeping statements by using just the facts that fit your theory. The 2nd best defense was only brought up because we got the cliches of Arsenal can’t defend and Wenger doesn’t know tactics. Now you decide to shift the goalposts of the discussion to the one indisputable fact you have. Arsenal haven’t won a trophy in x years. That isn’t much of an analysis I’m afraid as to why this should indisputably show that Wenger can’t win and that any other manager would have and will do better.

    Wenger has been outperforming his spend every year. He’s not giving the ‘minimum’ as you put it. Who said that? An article by ‘sporting intelligence’ which was actually commissioned by the good people of AST, who were no doubt hoping to get a verdict to the contrary. Even the AST couldn’t prove Wenger being bad or giving bare minimum. So sorry. Try again.

    But yes. Can he take us to the next level is a different question. That remains to be seen. But having steered the club through the tough financial period, he certainly deserves a chance to try. And preferably without having to bear sniping for the sake of having a snipe. (eg doesn’t know tactics) Constructive criticism is welcome. I criticise him and the players on occasion. But I have faith in his ability because of his track record. It is not time for a change yet. But that’s just my opinion.

  90. Another attempt:

    “Wenger has shown consistently since 2005 he has not been able to win the big games”

    I counted from the season 2006/2007 in the PL

    We had 42 games against the top 4 teams (MU, MC, Chelsea).
    Of those 42 games we won 15 games or 35,71%
    We had 8 draws or 19.05%
    and we had 19 defeats or 45,24%.

    So we didn’t even lose more than 50% of your games. If people would read your words they would say that we have won 0% of those games.
    I like to say we didn’t lose 54,76% of the big games. Still a positive result.
    Not a great result but in fact it would be interesting to see how this would be for the other teams.
    Be my guest to do that calculation for me if you like to do it. I don’t know if there would be much difference.

    And at least on 2 occasions I know that if you would have made a mini league table of only the top 4 games since 2005 we would have been top. I’m not 100 % sure it could have been 3 seasons.

    Which shows that winning the league is more about beating the little teams than being the best amongst the games of the top 4.

  91. Talking about having no basis of a debate…a comment I missed while I was proving your “mindset” is wrong. Based on facts.

  92. I took a sabbatical from UA on Tuesday night after seeing sperez coming out of the woodwork, alongside Rupert and Sam. This was barely a few minutes after the ref had blown the final whistle. Here I am, back a few days and the same lot are still here banging on about how useless the team is. Really?? You lot amaze me, honestly. This is the team with the best record in 2013, and yes, that includes playing all the big sides you mention, and the eventual champions league winners too. Look, if you want to believe Arsenal are rubbish then that’s up to you, go ahead. No amount of facts we throw your way are going to make you think otherwise coz you lot are clearly beyond that. After all this wasn’t our first 11 that lost to the chavs, and even then we played better than the chavs(check the stats out if in doubt), just that luck wasn’t on our side.

    Yes we are out, so what. Its a useless cup as far as I’m concerned, and many teams show this by the way they treat it(fielding their fringe players). I said it before the game and i’ll say it again; I feel this cup has cost us dearly in the last few years, and not just us but to most teams that have done well in this competition it has come at a cost to them. So I’m rather relieved its now out of the way. The only gripe is losing out to a team managed by a classless clown like maureen; I would’ve happily accepted losing to WBA away in the last round. And anyone who thinks maureen is a tactical genius I say that says more about what you know about football. What matters is how we handle the games that matter, the league games. Even if we fail to win against the so-called top sides it wouldn’t really matter if we eventually end as champions. I recall utd coming out last in a mini league involving the sides finishing in the top four for about two seasons running not so long ago. But each time they were crowned champions when the rest of the teams were included because they would win against the wigans and blackburns convincingly. And that’s what we have been doing and doing well so far.

    To anyone saying we need a world class striker to add to Giroud, I agree. But I also admit its easier said than done. Can you name any world class strikers that are available for us to sign, lets have some names in the hat please. Names of strikers that are actually better than what we currently have. Its so easy to just say buy buy buy, but without identifying who we can actually buy, who is is available, and whose club is actually willing to sell.

  93. AL, if I may add:

    And who is willing to come knowing that they might end up at the bench and that in the months before a world cup….

  94. Exactly Walter. We have had players come out publicly (this past summer – e.g, Gustavo) admitting choosing ‘lesser’ teams than us because they would be more assured of playing time with the other teams as they would find it easier to break into the 1st team there, because of the reason you bring up Walter.

  95. The general perception world wide of wenger is he is a genius which most of us agree with. so why do we give credence to pond life who come on here Whose only objective is to destabilise the club
    This is the facts we are top of the league top of the champs league group of death no ifs no buts fact
    We have just about made every club in the premier league jealous by signing one of the worlds best players we have an emerging talent in Ramsey who is looking world class we have poldy theo flamini on the way back we have gnarby we are above spurs and we are totally embarrassing the ginger tosser from talk sport what a mug he is COYG

  96. Imagine how happy Magaon and sperez etc would have been at the beginning of the season if, following their advice regarding our defensive frailities we had raided Man City and signed Joe Hart to replace Szczesny, our suspect, error prone keeper. And then imagine what they would be thinking now!

  97. @Pat, they did against Chelsea, huff and puff and with no reward. This team looks very good when it plays weaker teams but for some time now they very rarely beat the better teams. Well we’ve yet to play any in the league this season so we’ll have to wait and see if that’s changed.

    @Shard, I do think we need a top top striker but getting one in January will be hard. As for Chelsea’s tactics, well I think Mourinho has found Wenger out. That record against Mourinho is dire and I do think it makes a difference. It’s a psychological hurdle which gets harder to leap every time we lose. But as Chelsea have a far superior squad you could argue we’re always going to be on the back foot.

    @Al, we’re not rubbish, we’re a decent side that’ll probably finish third or fourth. If you really think we were better than Chelsea then I suggest you get down to Spec Savers.

  98. Mick

    They’d just be blaming Wenger for ruining a great player with his lack of coaching.. or something..

  99. Rupert
    We were better than Chelsea, we had 53% possession. The shots are almost the same, they had two more than us but that includes the mistakes we gifted them. So I’m not sure who needs to go to spec savers, me or you. But from your obvious failings in seeing how well this team has performed, not just this season, but from early this year, I think you are the one that needs to head off to spec savers quick. Good luck finding it.

  100. The entity which huffs and puffs the most is the depressive rupert cook show.


    We must remember that rupert has previously commented here on a match that he did not watch. His comments were based on the report written on another blog. He may have repeated this once again concerning the Chelski match.

  101. Al

    I wonder if you really believe what you said in your last post.

    The only stat that matters in football is the score line to look at % possession and from that reach a conclusion who is the better team is a somewhat strange thing to do. Just as looking at the number of shots and reaching the same conclusion is likewise strange.

    Back to the game Chelsea’s game plan wasn’t about trying to match up like for like it was about allowing Arsenal to have the ball let them pass till they made a mistake and then break at pace.

    With the exception of a Giroud shot nothing really troubled the Chelsea keeper the vast bulk of Arsenals efforts were from outside the box. Quite simply Arsenal were choked of space in the last 25 yards and didn’t have the ability to play through a very well organised and disciplined Chelsea.

    Chelsea were far better on the night and the result and in truth just about every reporter, commentator and neutral agrees with that conclusion.

  102. Mike T

    Like I said before, the better team on the night won. I disagree that they were far better. I also disagree that Chelsea came with a plan to consciously let Arsenal have the ball. In the first ten minutes or so Chelsea had almost all of the ball. Arsenal gradually began to assert control and as a result Chelsea began dropping back. The goal came just when Arsenal were starting to find some rhythm. Yes you did well to break from the corner but it was just a defensive lapse which got you the goal. After that, Arsenal struggled to break the Chelsea defense down, who are very good at sitting really deep and without the likes of Podolski and Walcott, we had neither the finishing, nor the pace to hurt you. Chelsea didn’t create much either. I realise they didn’t need to, but still. My point is just that it wasn’t as much a domination as the ‘neutrals’ love to make out. But you can’t argue with them because the result trumps all and hence it’s easy to say Chelsea dominated. Anyhoo..Not that it matters. Arsenal have always been underestimated. We’ll see how good Arsenal are as the season progresses.

  103. Shrad

    Going to have to agree to differ in terms of Chelsea’s game plan but if you watch Chelsea as often as I do you will see that they always try to dominate play in the first 15 minutes or so and are quite happy to let teams come on to then.
    We will indeed see how good Arsenal are as the season progresses particularly up to Christmas.

    From what I see is that you have 2 very difficult away CL games and 8 EPL games which are far from easy which will mean that AW will have no choice but to rotate your squad and the point that so many have tried to make is that there doesn’t appear to be enough depth to your squad.

  104. @Al, seriously you don’t actually think we played better? We lost 2-0, barely had a shot on target and their goalkeeper had very little to do. I wonder if Wenger has hoodwinked some fans into believing possession wins games. It doesn’t matter if we have 90% possession if we don’t put the ball in the net. At times it was men versus boys.

    As I said this is a decent team but I don’t think it’s capable of winning any trophies. If you want to finish top four every season and that’s all Wenger’s your man but to win trophies I think this team needs a few experienced players who have actually won something and a lot more poise in defence and a lot more penetration in the final third.

    Shard may be right when he says that Wenger needs time to build a successful team and now he has the finances to do it it may well happen in the next few years. I hope so.

  105. Mike T
    I dont understand the conclusion that the team that won necessarily played better, since when did that become the rule? You say to look at possession and number of shots and reach the conclusion that one team played better is strange, actually I say to just look at the score and reach that conclusion is more strange. I have seen teams that dominated possession in the regions of 80% and had many shots on target lose to a team that scored from one corner, set piece or counter. Does that mean that the winner in such a game played better? I agree with you though when you say Chelsea are happy to let teams come to them, I’d go on to add that another term for that is known in footballing circles as parking the bus. And yes, you’re the masters, I give that to you.

    You’re showing yourself for what you really are, a closet chav-cum-spud AAA. I find your comment of men against boys unacceptable, from someone who calls himself a supporter. You should be ashamed of yourself. And I don’t think we played better than chelsea, I know we played better. Stats back me up. You want to lambast a team that lost through some mix-up, goodness knows what you would be saying had we been outclassed.

  106. Just one last thing about the stat thing.

    On talk sport the other day a Spuds supporter was quoting the fact that in games that Gerrard hasn’t played in the last few years Liverpool have a better win ratio. The supporters conclusion was that Liverpool were a better team without Gerrard.

    Ray Houghton wiped the floor with the caller and he was right to. quite simply you have to look behind the stats and at the circumstances such as was Gerrard rested against the lesser teams but irrespective to even float the notion is pure madness.
    Its a bit like when Walter quotes AW results against the top 4(MU, Chelsea & MC) since 2007 and draws a conclusion as to AWs ability to get the better of top 4 contenders but for quite a few years Man City weren’t in the top 4 or come to that anywhere near it.

  107. Those are different kind of stats mike, and can’t be used in this type or argument. Are you trying to say chelsea have never lost a match they were the better team? Thats what i’m talking about.

  108. Al

    I suggest you read my post again. What I said was the only stat that matters in football is the score. No where did I say not that the score means the best team won. I also said that to look at the % possession or the number of shots and use that to say who were the better team is strange and in truth it is just as it is strange when anyone tries to compare players in terms of the successful number of passes made by them.
    Football is all about opinions. Who is a good player, who is better who plays the better football but the one thing in football that isn’t based on opinion is the result as that is fact!

  109. Al

    Many times have we lost when we were the better team had more chances etc. Just as in truth we have won several where we clearly weren’t the best team
    I thought we were the better team when we lost to Everton earlier in the season the trouble is that history will only ever reflect the final score.

  110. Al, you will have to direct me to the comment where I called out the team, as I cannot remember ever doing that. I wrote that personal attacks are an unfair response to someone who may be critical of the team. And my points about Bendter are mostly in a joking tone (but seriously, he’s not our 2nd best striker, is he??!?!). I praise the team when the do well, criticize when they perform poorly, and support them always. Do not make accusations of people for which you cannot provide supporting evidence.

  111. Sam
    Apologies, I misread your lighthearted poking fun at Bendtner as an attack. Not trying to sound defensive but I suspect I felt you were having a go at the team after you expressed your disappointment with Ryo,Jenkinson and Rosicky too. But looking back I can see this is perfectly normal to say how this or that player was disappointing after a loss, we all do it at some point.

    Mike T
    I’m afraid we can’t pluck stats which we think are important(score) while overlooking others(possession,shots,passes,etc). Stats are the closest thing we can have to settle arguments about football, otherwise everything else, like you say, is based on personal preference/opinions. I loved the last line of your 11:47pm post, that IS a stat that noone can argue with.

  112. @Al, stupid insults won’t cloud the truth. On this occasion I’ll respond to you because I think you’re a decent guy most of the time but petty and unwarranted abuse I usually ignore. You’re bias is making you blind. Here’s a stat or two: Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal, Chelsea two shots on target that went in, Arsenal one that didn’t. If you can’t see the discrepancy in your conclusion about the game you really are so bias your point is invalid.

    And yes at times it was men versus boys. That’s what Chelsea look like, men. They have the confidence of a team who knows how to win things. We look very naive in comparison. When we have that confidence of winners we’ll surely grow in stature. I await that day with my usual frustrated patience.

  113. Al

    Ok you like stats so here’s one make of it what you want.

    Comparing the results of the 9 game played by Arsenal so far this season against the results achieved in the same game last year (compare the Palace result this against the WHU last season as they both came up through the pay offs) and Arsenal at this point in time are this season 5 points worse off with an inferior goal difference

  114. @Mike T. Mourinho as usual outsmarted Wenger. Nobody who is objective can seriously believe we were the better team. Mourinho knows how to counteract any threat Arsenal have because Wenger’s tactics are predictable. It’s quite simple to nullify Arsenal because we use the same approach, pass endlessly side to side while the opposition regroup and defend in numbers. Wasteful crosses because we’re not very good at crossing and there’s too frequently only one player in the box, on this occasion the absolutely average Bendtner. Pointless passing, even Ozils catching the disease, no creative flair or penetrative passing in the final third. But that’s against Chelsea who are loaded with talent. We can win playing that way against Norwich and more open teams because eventually all that possession will pay off and most defences aren’t as well drilled as Chelsea’s.

  115. @Mike T. ha,ha. Only goes to show that there’s some truth in that saying, there’s lies, damned lies and statistics. In the end the only statistic is Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal.

  116. @Rupert
    The best stat I like is the one that goes something like 14% of all road traffic accidents are caused by drivers under the influence of either drink or drugs .

    So based on some peoples view of stats does that mean that as 86% aren’t alcohol related its wise to get drunk before you drive as you stand less chance of being killed?

    As I said earlier on paper you have a horrible run of fixtures up to Christmas and if you are still top come 24/12 and have qualified for the CL knock out stages then yes you really will be in with a shout.

  117. Stats can be valuable to have a better understanding of the game. While possession stats or shots on target themselves aren’t enough, and are definitely not a substitute for watching the game, value can be extracted from statistics. Trouble is, this isn’t an easy thing to do because the context of the stats also matters.

    So while we may have had more possession, that was because Chelsea, especially once they had the goal, were playing on the counter. Also, because Chelsea had 2 more shots on target, doesn’t mean they were the better team, because the circumstances leading to one goal were beyond their control, and also because they could then play on the counter and have more space. Also because a few of Arsenal shot were off target but were arguably better shots than going straight at the keeper.

    In the end, I’d say Chelsea were the better team (hardly a surprise with the sort of team they could put out, and our injuries) and they won, but ‘men against boys’ is an unfair statement probably borne out of frustration/desire for self flagellation.

    As for Arsenal. There need not be any doubt that Arsenal are much improved. We also have much more potential to improve once our injured players come back and hopefully through the transfer market. Where we finish, we’ll find out at the end of the season. At this moment, I’m just enjoying watching the team play some great football (although the return to silly errors in recent weeks is annoying), and hopefully the results will follow. Starting against Liverpool.

  118. @Shard, self flagellation, ha, ha. I love a bit of masochism me. Some of our players looked liked boys in comparison, not all of them, but really why on earth is Park even featuring in anything Arsenal related? Ryo, Jenkinson and Bendtner look dead ordinary, maybe it’s just that they are completely overwhelmed by their opponents. I remember the days when we had really tough physical players in the mould of Vieira or Campbell and then for some reason Wenger developed a fascination for technical midgets, which I’m sure was influenced by Barca. Trouble is Barca had a trump card in Messi. Oh and also about eight or nine world class players.

    Now we’re focusing on German players it seems. Very wise as they’re probably the best in the world right now. Trouble is most of them are quite happy in Germany. But getting Ozil was a very smart move. If you want to lure Reus or Lewandowski (agree Shard I think he’s a bit overrated but still better than our back up strikers), Hummels or Draxler you get one of the best Germans and then you’ve got something to sell to the likes of those players.

    Anyway let’s move on. Pool at the weekend and nothing less than 3pts will do.

  119. I can see this stats thing being twisted to the point I’m not even sure what got us talking about this in the first place.
    Rupert, just to clarify, I said Arsenal had more possession, and the shots were almost 50/50, and if you take away the gifts we gave them we are even, but with Arsenal having more possession. Does that make me blind to conclude Arsenal played better? I watched the game, and can categorically state that the match I saw was played almost entirely in Chelsea’s half, bar the first 15 minutes of the game, another reason I will say we played better. I also saw some fizzing shots that narrowly missed the Chelsea goal that could easily have changed the whole picture had they been on target. Because Chelsea won doesn’t mean they played better than us, they won down to mistakes that we made, and not because they outclassed us. Unfortunately football, unlike boxing, will be decided on the final result rather than the performance. And in this case chelsea won, but I refuse to use that as a basis of saying this team is useless because of that loss which was down to mix-ups between defence and keeper. And you can praise mourinho as much as you like, but in my mind I have no doubt mourinho only ‘outsmarts’ anyone by employing negative tactics. You could see how the chelsea players(ba & essien) were going to ground and remaining there motionless as if they had been shot at the faintest hint of contact. He’s famous for this, thats’ about the only way he started to get wins against Guardiola in la liga by sending thugs like Pepe to kick lumps out of Messi or trying to gouge eyes out of the other clubs’ coaching staff, hiding in laundry baskets, etc, so don’t go defending him. The last time I checked he was the only manager to be ever labelled an enemy of football by Europe’s highest footballing authority. That’s a damning verdict that. Yes, it works for him, but that win at any cost attitude isn’t pleasing to the eye, and certainly not welcome to people who want to win fairly like we do at Arsenal. I get more satisfaction in a hard fought win, that’s won fairly, than some through some lousy dive or con. That’s the reason why Suarez to Arsenal would have split the fan base right down the middle. So I disagree with you that he’s outsmarted Wenger; he’s clever enough to realise how the media and the refs work in the premiership, and to also know that Wenger refuses to resort to dirty tactics, and he uses them each time to maximum effect whenever we meet his sides.

  120. Anyway, Rupert and Mike, I don’t have any hunger of spending my day on here arguing about mourinho, chelsea and stats. You believe what you like, and i’ll do likewise, and lets move on.

  121. Shard

    I think your first paragraph sums up (far better than I could) what I have been trying say.
    Whilst every manager will be interested in the stats that we see such as shots on target the clubs own stats such as distance, covered tackles achieved, etc will be of more of an interest to them in respect of certain players
    I too thought the comment re men v boys was a bit harsh but I understand why it was used as AWs approach seems to be based on damm if you score but not to worryas we will go all out to score one more than you whereas when you had the likes of Adams& Bould in your defence they knew the importance of a truly effective defence is . What did you all used to sing about 1-0 to the Arsenal?.
    Tuesday demonstrated in one just how important it is to keep a clean sheet against the very top teams.
    I will be interested how your game on Saturday goes because in my view both you and Liverpool are very good at the top end but I am far from convinced about either teams ability to defend well against the leagues very top fast and skilful midfielders an or forwards and both teams seem to
    players that fit that bill.
    So my prediction for your game on Saturday is the winner will by the odd goal in a 5 goal thriller

  122. Mike T

    Haha.. That might be entertaining to watch (just as long as we get the 3)

    I think Arsenal’s defensive problems are overstated, and I think it’s because they are over-analysed. You could probably pick holes in any team’s defense if you spent a whole match (if not seasons) doing it. But I suppose people need to look for reasons to explain the ‘trophy drought’, so a few examples of poor defending helps explain it and also sets up an echo chamber where it becomes conventional wisdom.

    For the record, the way Chelsea defend, it works for them, but I would be terrified if Arsenal did it. Chelsea seem to rely on getting those last ditch tackles and blocks because they just sit so deep. I suppose it is a question of personnel and focus. Arsenal’s focus will always be a little different to Chelsea’s. So while Chelsea aren’t exactly parking the bus all the time, Arsenal aren’t exactly of the score one more than you cavalier philosophy either. That is just a caricature.

    We’d cut out the individual errors since the second half of last season. That it’s made a comeback of sorts since the Dortmund game is worrying. It might be down to overconfidence, fatigue, lack of confidence against the big sides (although Palace aren’t a big side), or whatever. It’s near impossible to know. But I think we can cut those out, and if we do, we are a better defensive team than many neutrals realise.

  123. Walter, this arrogant attitude some of you have is a tale in itself. In your excitement, you haven’t actually addressed this post to anyone, but would it be fair to say that the “attempt” you talk of is actually someone’s opinion? Your percentages/stats etc are all pretty meaningless if come the end of the season, we’ve underperformed yet again.

  124. Yes! morgroan,
    Define “underperformed”.
    The funny thing is, predictably, i think i know what his definition would be……

  125. I can understand Mike T. He’s a Chelsea fan and he’s defending his team. Fair enough.

    What I can’t understand is Rupert, who claims to be an Arsenal fan. The evidence would indicate otherwise.

  126. Agreed Pat.

    There are times I think there is something strange about rupert. We have his ongoing claim to be a fan and yet almost every comment contains an anti Arsenal or anti Wenger comment – it is a form of cunning propaganda. On its own that would just represent duplicity, but there seems to be a compulsion to continue with his comments, even when he must realise he has made an idiot of himself.

    At times I have wondered if he was being paid to disrupt/spread disarray or spread AAA propaganda. At other times I think he is just being a prat or even someone who enjoys winding everyone up.

    Having studied his comments and phraseology over quite some time I do suspect there is enough reason to believe he would provide much interest to the medical profession.

  127. Magoan,
    damn as you can predict the future please give me the winning numbers of the Euromillions if you would be so kind.

  128. Not sure what’s happening, posted a comment and it keeps disappearing. When I try to re-post I get the message duplicate comment detected but I still can’t see my comment.

  129. Bjtgooner, Pat
    I’ve been trying to post my response to your comments regarding Rupert with no success. Basically I was saying I agree and been wondering the same too. You can see his posts around 10 that he seems to be laughing and joking with Mike while laying into Arsenal. He waxes lyrical about Mourinho and even has the cheek to criticise Ozil, a first I should say as I hadn’t heard anyone, even from the obnoxious media, being critical of Ozil.

    Sperez is another one. I recall last season Rupert announcing that van persie had just scored in a tone that barely concealed his glee. Sperez meanwhile was giving a running commentary about who the spuds had signed. Sperez is more direct in his attacks and praise for the spuds, while Rupert’s attacks are more disguised, in a cunning sort of way. Could we have been infiltrated by some spuds? I certainly think it’s possible, esp with regards to sperez. After all most spuds are low-lifes, so this isn’t beyond them. I’m still trying to work Rupert out though, but I can’t say I can detect any disappointment in his comments when we dont do so well. I think it’s time we outed some people for who they really are.

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