So our reserves still can’t beat the KGB in Fulham. What now?

By Tony Attwood

And so what do we know?   Now in our fourth year of the never-ending injuries we are trying and trying to beat Chelsea with six or more key players missing, and once again we have failed.  The manager can’t rotate properly and can’t pick the best players for each occasion simply because so many top men are not in the side.

For me, there’s no doubt that if we had had this level of injury in the early years of the Wengerian revolution we would not have been able to achieve everything we did achieve.  Likewise if we didn’t have the crisis we have now, we would have won against WBA and at least got a draw against Chelsea.

In fact even with the injuries we weren’t that far off, and were certainly a lot closer than last year.  And I would also say, despite two defeats in the league this early we’re still not done for.

But let’s look forward a little.

Let’s imagine (and I know this is a flight of fancy but let’s do it anyway) that the internationals in the coming days don’t generate any more injuries.

And let’s imagine also that the team who are injured start to come back by their proposed return dates:

  • Bendtner 16 October
  • Vermaelen 16 October
  • Fabregas 16 October
  • Almunia 16 October
  • Walcott 23 October
  • Van Persie 23 October
  • Gibbs 23 October
  • Ramsey mid-November

And let’s hope and pray that none of those 16 October players is picked up by his country who declare him fit, and play him, and put him out for another three months.

OK, I know, this is so much to ask for, but for once just let it happen.  And what then.

Our first team for our next home match would be

  • Goal: a choice of keepers – actually I thought we were ok in this  department but still a choice is always good.
  • Defence: Vermaelen comes back in. Squiallci has done well, but I would sooner have Vermaelen
  • Midfield: Add Fabregas to the mix, maybe giving Wilshere a break and letting him come on as a sub in the second half to allow Cesc to play his way in
  • Bendtner maybe comes on a sub either to replace Chamakh or if needs be to play alongside him thus causing havoc in the opposition’s defence.

Suddenly the picture looks different.  We don’t change the squad but we have options and possibilities depending on the way the game is going.  Arsenal playing with two big centre forwards?  Well, if that is what it takes to break down a 10 man defence, why not?  (If by any chance you caught a glimpse of Wigan v Wolverhampton you’ll know just how nasty football is getting at the moment.  When Henry of Wolverhampton was sent of no one even said “he’s not that sort of player, and we just had a keeper with nine defenders in front of him).

And then, let’s assume, against all the odds I know, but just have this flight of fancy, that no one new is injured that first week back after the internationals, and the following week we really do have Theo and Van Persie back as well plus Gibbs too.   As the Little Cup and the Champs League matches pour in we have a chance to rotate.  When we find ourselves up against the Wolverhampton style team bus we have ways of changing the game by changing the personnel.

Would we have won against The KGB in Fulham with Cesc, Vermaelen and Bendtner available?  I think we could have got a draw out of it.   With Van Persie and Theo as well?  Possibly yes.   As it was we seemed to have a huge amount of possession in that game, and that means that we were not at all far off.

Of course I know we lost, and of course I know we have slipped for fourth, and that is disappointing.  But the fact that we could put up such a good performance with so many players out gives me enormous hope for the future.  We are, in my view, still moving in the right direction.

But let me add one other point, if I may.  There is another issue that we have covered in this blog for the past three years and which is now top news: the demise of Liverpool.  In the summer there was speculation in the media that Liverpool would spend £35m on new players – and that plus whatever they got from a clear out of those players left over from the old regime and deemed to be not good enough to maintain Liverpool’s standards.  (Untold on the other hand was predicting the demise of the club… maybe the media should take more notice).

The argument put here was that RBS (the bank that runs Liverpool) would never allow any net spending when it was surcharging Liverpool £2.5m a week because of the failure to repay the loans.  To allow such spending would leave the bank open to claims of mis-management since spending on players would reduce the likelihood of the club being able to repay the loan.

That point is generally lost in the debate about Liverpool, and now attention is focussed on the fact that they are in the relegation places.   But it remains as valid as ever.  The club can only spend new money on players if it can be shown that doing so will enable those owed money by the club to get their money back.   Ending the season higher or lower in the league won’t make any difference to the income this season, and so the bank doesn’t care about players.

The six bids that the press were so full of just a month or so ago have all vanished.  The Chinese Government has not expressed an interest, and all the people who were supposedly doing “due diligence” have vanished in the wind.   In the coming weeks the bank will make its next move and we’ll see exactly how it is going to get its money back, and what fight the current owners will put up, as a way of recovering some or all of their investment.  The whole situation could go to court, which would leave Liverpool in no-man’s-land

Whatever happens it is going to be a dreadful mess.   Meanwhile the finances at Arsenal are the reverse: our profits are enormous and the club is stable.  Of course everyone wanted victories against WBA and Chelsea, and we got two defeats.   But we are a stable club, pushing forward with only one major problem – the four year injury crisis.  And even with that we seem to be getting closer and closer to finding a way through.  We are, in my view, a lot closer than we were last year.  The journey does not have far to run.

46 Replies to “So our reserves still can’t beat the KGB in Fulham. What now?”

  1. It was a good performance today, considering the number of players we had missing. The result was disappointing but that’s life – we had superiority over Chelsea for many, many years and now the dominance lies with them. Everyone has a ‘bogey’ team, for us it used to be Bolton and now it’s Chelsea, who themselves have a terrible recent record against Man City.

    But it’s still very early in the season, we’ve played 7 league games and there’s 31 to go! The international break comes at a good time for us, we can regroup and get some very important players back to fitness. As you’ve pointed out Tony, when we have a full, or nearly full squad, it’s a very strong one with a lot of depth and tactical options.

  2. I’m with on this one.
    We are very very close. The doommongers will say we lost but losing always teaches some lessons and what we learned today was that we will not be intimdated. Our new boys Chamakh, Kos and Scally were awesome. Some heart thumpin moments from scally but overall not the panic we have witnessed before.
    There was commitment from all areas of the pitch.
    This all bodes well on all fronts this year.

  3. Thank god for this post. I was beginning to think I’d been watching a different natch from all the negativity I have read on other blogs. one thing is for certain, we will hit Chelsea inthe return fixture and when we meet in the chmps lg semis.

  4. That was by far FaBIANSKIS BEST PERFORMANCE, we couldnt break them down paid the price.

    I think our defence was decent and dealt very well with chelseas attack, you cant let chelsea score first because they shut up shop.

    Arshavin was Very poor, gave the ball away too many times and was our worst player.

    the difference between arsenal and chelsea is they know how to defend a slender lead and i cant remember the last time we won 1-0 i hope it wasnt agAINST FULHAM because that would be sad . the invincibles knew how to win by narrow margins

  5. I don’t understand Arsenal fans excitement over a 56 million pound profit. Obviously clubs should be aiming for sustainability, but breaking even year in an year out is sustainable. The Pittsburgh Pirates have been making Tens of millions in profits every year, I can’t say there are many fans who are excited about it.

    How much better would this team have looked by adding Yaya Toure? How about David Silva? Even Ramires would have fit well. With 56 million in profit to work with, Arsene could have had his choice of any two players who were transferred this window (unless Villa was one of them) and still turned a profit. It’s pretty clear the way he has operated that Arsene will barely touch that money if he uses any of it, and that’s likely a large part of the reason Cesc wants to leave for greener pastures. If Arsenal won’t dip into their profits to supplement an excellent squad that is a borderline contender, I don’t see any reason to believe they will when the new rules take effect.
    I think the 2010/2011 financials for Chelsea will be very revealing. They’ve trimmed a huge chunk of payroll out of their squad this summer by leaving the depth to their youth. If they make a deep run in the champions league, I’d be surprised if their figures really look bad at the end of the year.

  6. I was very pleased by our performance today, we outplayed Chelsea in their own backyard for large parts of the game. What we lacked perhaps was efficiency upfront. Someone like RVP or Theo to put away some of the numerous chances we created. I think Clichy and Fabianski in particular showed tremendous progress and Diaby was a powerhouse in the first half. Defensively, we were pretty strong except maybe in the last 10 minutes when we were playing with 3 strikers and had thrown everybody forward.
    All in all, a good game and one that bears good signs for the rest of the season. Yes, we have to play catch-up but it’s been done before and no reason why it can’t be done again!

  7. I think there were lot of positives in that match even when we lost. I feel awful about losing but DID NOT LOSE THE FAITH! (I know I shouted that but that is fofr those AA guys who come here every now and again).
    I am looking forward to see what happens for Liverpool. Being really happy that Hyypia left the club before it got in trouble 😉

  8. Not too down hearted after the result, as, if we play like that for the rest of the season we will beat the majority of the league. Its just so frustrating to be turned over by them once again. I am an advocate of the collective pressing game and it was a good shift by the selected 11, they just need to take that next step. I remember when i was 15/16 we played a chelsea side that we turned over 5 nil. we was a bigger side than them but to be honest they played better football than us, we was just more direct than them and took our chances. I do feel history has turned upside down for me. FRUSTRATING.

  9. Lots of possession and Chelsea win again. Just like last year, and the year before, and the year before … Does our lot ever talk about how to beat an opposition they lose to constantly in the same way year after year? Of course not.

    Forget all that possession, Chelsea were happy for us to have the ball mostly, knowing we wouldn’t score and that they’d overpower a Wenger’s weakling to break out and at least get a shot on goal.

    Same old same old.

  10. Of course I will take a full-strength Arsenal team over any team in the EPL, but are these players suffering freak injuries or are these players just not durable? Sadly, I think it’s the latter on most of them. Theo, Fab, Bendtner, and RVP all have a history of picking up injuries and hoping to get all of them back healthy, at the same time, for a long duration, seems like wishful thinking.

  11. SchmidtXC,

    chelsea have taken a risk, they hope it pays off. they trimmed alot of the first team, if their current (ageing) squad get hurt they will hurt. if some of their stars slow down in the next few years, and the money isnt there, is their youth ready to step up?

    arsenal have taken a risk, we hope it pays off. we have chosen to develop players, run a profitable club in order to pay off debts and save for the future (since who knows?) part of this is because the people of arsenal think the squad is good enough.

    if you dont believe in the club, and you dont believe in the squad…what are you doing? many clubs adopt that approach, i love arsenal for the approach we take, sometimes its hard but in my opinion the righteous path is always harder.

    ps. who cares about the pittsburgh pirates? i mean, really?

    pss. if yaya had come or any one of the other trillion players linked, would we have seen wilshere today? that loss hurts, its ruined my day and possibly my week, but as a fan (of club and game) i really enjoyed his performance today. it gave me that little bit to keep going, keep believing and keep enjoying the gunners!

    chelsea may report good financial results and god bless em (bastards!) but i dont like that approach. its not me. i support arsenal for deeper reason than a weekend win, so for me in this economy yeah 60 odd million makes me proud!

  12. I still believe that if Wenger would’ve choosen to make a profit of £50m instead of £54m in the year just ended, and used the £4m necessary to sign a goalkeeper, we would’ve beaten Blackpool, and who knows, even possibly Liverpool away, and the gap wouldn’ve had been as much as it is currently.

  13. John L.,

    Wasn’t there a story in the Bible that dealt with burying talons? How did that work out? This is why Fabregas is leaving. Why should he waste his prime playing for a team that is saving for a rainy day that won’t come until he is 30 years old.

  14. I tot u guys wil discus d isue on ground, instead of consolin urselves wit d isues of injury & makin profit. Moreso, is it Ars ur busines or Liv ? Why using panadol 4 another man’s headache ? If Liv go on relegation or not, ave another owner or not dat shudnt be our excuse 4 not winnin d matches we shud ave won.

  15. We did ok today. They just box clever. soak up all we give them and hit us on the break. alex’s goal was unstoppable especially with alex song getting out of the way. i’d take a ball in the mug for 40k a week, but then again that’s just me.

  16. Alex’s goal was not unstoppable the wall was a disgrace we played great football apart from that without offcourse finding the back of the net.
    When was the last time we played Chelsea with a full first 11 ?
    I hope we meet them in the champions league final with our full squad and show those commentators and Chelsea fans exactly what the real Arsenal is like.

    Im so frikken annoyed that everyones alweays injured when we play Barca in europe or the top 4 in EPL …Always the same our squad is good enough to beat the rest but always injured when its an important game.

    Personaly I would sell VanPersie he is never fit any year when we need him, buy another chamak its better than having a ghost in our squad year in year out.

  17. Yes we lost but that is the only negative point I see. We played very well put them with their backs against the wall for large periods. But we just didn’t score and we paid for that.

    Things can only get better when we have the core of our team back in action. The good thing is the injured players will not go out the next two weeks and can get ready for us and so we should see them back in 14 days ready to go.

    The ref report coming up tomorrow and rather an interesting one as I saw some strange things. But it was Mr. Dean as the ref and then we know anything can happen.

  18. I’ve stopped playing that “if all our player were fit” game Tony. They never are. We just have to except we weren’t terrible. Better than last year. Improving. But the KGB were better at putting the ball in the back of the net. Somebody famous once said “football is a simple game”.

  19. A spirited performance especially with the number of players out injured but same old Arsenal against one the bigger teams…lots of midfield posession but not sharp enough at the front & leaky at the back.Lets not kid ourselves here…a fine performance by Fabianski & a gift of a miss by Anelka saved our blushes.

  20. yup good display for the most,. chelski were lucky with the first and lucky song got shook but some say you create your own luck?
    with hindsight i think wenger made the right choice with the keepers and defence though personally i would have chucked another like vertonghen in, but going into the forth year of injuries to our top players is starting to grate ever so slightly!! does van persies passion for our club partly down to our willingness to keep a crock?
    maybe that was a little harsh, he has done wonders and has tremendous ability.
    but surely buying a few more quality additions wouldnt hurt? would similar signings such as vertonghen, hazard or gourcuff have made any difference in the games recently lost?
    i think they would have, would shavin be as sloppy if he had competition? the same for song. i thought project youth before the start of the season were at a stage where adding quality to 1st squad wouldnt hamper their progress. i really thought he’d spend a little not only as a sign of intent but as a sign he’s prepared for the injury problem. oh well…. my seat belt is well and truley tightened.

  21. I don’t know if the injury crisis will ever truly abate for this squad. According to reports a few weeks ago, Arsenal are the lightest team in the premier league. Arsene also runs a possesion oriented style that involves dribbling at the defense commiting them and then passing is going to cause more tackle attempts to end up making contact with Arsenal players. Most teams also pack the box against them and look to close down hard in the final third because of Arsenals skill in space. These three factors combined are likely going to cause any team to endure a larger than usual number of injuries. After 4 years, this trend really can’t be looked at as just bad luck anymore.

  22. I expected Chelsea to win. But i think its the loss against West Brom that i’m still upset about. We should had won that game and if we had we would be in 2nd position in the league just 4 points behind chelsea. That wouldn’t had felt so bad. But now we are at 4th, 7 points behind chelsea. And thats sounds really bad. Its a long gap to recover.

    Also a word for our defence. I kno our defence is quite good now. But still we are conceding goals. We have conceded goals for 13 CONSECUTIVE AWAY games. Also in our home games, we hav just kept 1 clean sheet till now!! Ystrday I heard a commentator say that Chelsea haven’t conceded for 7 whole home games!! We have to keep clean sheets. There’s no excuse to concede so many goals. We have already conceded 9 goals. I dont know whats the problem bcoz i think we have a good defence but still we are conceding consistently.

  23. I think DarkPrince the issue is defending as a team, The defence is great but we dont defend well enough as a team in front of them.
    AW doesnt teach a lot of defence as a team or doesnt teach it well enough maybe.
    The year we had was keown back helping them defend with flamini at left back we reached the champions league final.
    We should have kept him with Arsenal.

  24. @RedGooner- you have a valid point. There was a time when we were rock solid in defence. We use to keep so many clean sheets. I dont kno whether its that Wenger cant teach the team to improve the defence collectively or whether Ancelloti was better to break down our defences or that our youngsters aren’t good enough. I’m still clueless. But whatever be the problem, we have to fix it and start to keep clean sheets. I dont think our team can ever win 1-0. We become too nervous to defend a 1 goal lead. The only way Arsenal can win a game is to out-score their opponents. We have to score 3 or 4 goals every match to ensure victory.

  25. We now have better options defensively, but what does Alex Song think he’s doing going on marauding runs? The times he found himself in their penalty box was just unbelievable. You are/should be a defensive midfielder. He needs to curb that.

  26. Nigel de Jong tackle takes out a promising young star ben arfa whom i liked watching.. is now gone for the entire year with 2 broken bones… thanks de jong.. you are now in par with karl henry and shawcross..

  27. rename ur blog “whining arsenal” it will suit more. Ur so called whining about reserves is so tiring…arsenal won’t have their full team ever…
    any given sunday you can either win or lose but can u win or lose like a man???and arsenal lost like mens….be proud and don’t whine…

  28. @Dark Prince I agree it is the West Brom game that has caused the pain, but if you look carefully we make the same mistakes in every game.

    1. In attack – One or both of our full backs raid the oppositions half ( leaving a big wide gap to be exploited)
    1.1 They either fail to complete a cross (Clichy and Sagna) or lose the ball, leaving us vulnerable to counter attack

    2. Whilst being called a holding midfielder Song is often part of the attack and is more often than not found running back to his own goal rather than towards the ball with his back to our goal
    3. In defence- Clichy and Sagna have a very bad record in stopping crosses

    Against the lesser teams these issues dont tend to hurt us, in the Champions League and against the top 4 we get punished everytime. It is time for us to learn isnt it ?

    I was very pleased with the performance but we must wiseup

  29. Does anyone have a link somewhere to the Dejong tackle? I haven’t seen it so I cannot say anything about it.

  30. Me and the guy sitting next to me in the pub (watching an Italian stream with italian commentary which had no anti-Arsenal bias so far as I could tell) both thought Arsenal played well but didn’t take their chances. The second goal was broadly the result of Arsenal pushing up for an equaliser, being caught on the break from which a free kick resulted. If it were 1-1 at that stage, Arsenal would be less stretched…..

    My take was that the midfield did extremely well, Fabianski was fine, the defence was fine in the first half but poor in the second but the cutting edge up front was not quite there. But, as usual, we didn’t take our chances. Koscielny, Chamakh in particular had headers which need to go in if you’re to get something from a match like that.

    I don’t know the training regimens at Colney, but it’s clear at other top clubs in Europe that there are specialist coaches for all parts of the game. There’s an argument to be had that Wenger needs special training on the final third, the back 5 unit and the midfield defending as a unit.

    If you enjoy Bergkamp and Henry in their pomp, you can maybe get away with a dodgy defence. But if you no longer enjoy that, best to get the defence sorted, eh??

  31. @walter October 4th, 2010 at 9:43 am

    @SchmidtXC October 4th, 2010 at 1:34 am

    I’m sorry to say that you make too much sense. I’m not sure how relevant the size issue is: of the injured, only Theo is small. However, tackles like the Essien tackle on Diaby’s ankle will lead to serious injury from time to time, and I am sure will have some cumulative effect. Cesc gets fouled many times per game – we can expect him to be injured half the time. If he is worth 80m in Spain, perhaps he is only worth 40m in England?

  32. I was desperately hoping for a win against Chelsea which will do a world of good for the young lads and can change the way they think of themselves for ever.
    But that didn’t happen. The thing that worries me is what will be the players thinking by now. No matter how good they play they cant beat Chelsea. This is no good for their confidence.
    On what i saw, Chelsea were comfortable in the first half, got a great first goal, simply sat back watching us play and one more great goal and that killed the game.
    If u take that name ‘chelsea’ away, this is just one of those games where we lost playing well which can happen to any title winning team during the course of the season. 3 points lost here can be covered through a healthy run in the long season. But the question is real question is CAN we finish at the TOP come the end of may THIS SEASON. There is no way anyone can rule this out(barring the TV pudits). But how much the players are believing this after this result. Hope they dont take this result to their head like I do.

  33. @Wonderman- i completely agree with your points.

    Clichy and Sagna aren’t good with their crosses. And when eventually lose the ball to allow the opponents to create a good counter attack play. Almost all of our goals conceded till now have been due to counter attacks.

    I think its time we replace Clichy with Gibbs. I dont think we have a anyone else other than Sagna in right back. Even Song has to learn that when one of our Left or Right backs go in offence, he shud stay back to cover them. I hardly see him do that.

    Also did you see how many long shots we had on Chelsea. Clichy had about 3 shots on them. I seriously believe Clichy should stop shootin if he cant shoot the target. Also we have to teach Song to make those long shots like Essien does. There are many places we can still improve. Also i’d love to see the old 4-4-2 combination used back once van persie is back. Having 2 strikers helps a lot.

  34. Yes there were positives for us- the biggest being that Wilshere can compete with them and he’s only 18. However there are not nearly enough positives. Arsenal have not got close to beating Chelsea since November 2008. It was same old- Drogba again, even Alex has done that before against us. Sorry but this is a pattern- its like a re-run of the same game played over and over- albeit with a different defence. We lose the same way each time. I beg to differ with your view-once Chelsea scored we were not close to getting anything out of the game at all.
    Can we beat them? I am not convinced that a full fit team would beat them. Not until we can keep a clean sheet and stop them over-powering us in midfield. When in recent seasons have we even scored against them? Yes I’d love to see a fairer match up- but I fear the result will be the same. This is a wall we’ve hit- both with Chelsea and Man U and they are both very comfortable against us. Its not good enough and no we are not on the right lines. If we want to win anything we have to beat them – and it is going to take something special.

  35. I have to say that I went into the game expecting us to be beaten but hoping we would give them a game and in fairness we did.
    dark Prince is right it is the late concession at sunderland and the silly loss to west Brom that hurt about this.
    Fabianski had a good solid game. I was amazed the he got a hand to that free kick. Blame for both the goals can be laid to an extent at Nasri’s feet. Song needs to have a leash attached to him that doesn’t let him pass the halfway line. Wilshere had to drop back to cover him too often.
    Song also could have been braver on the free kick and Arshavin should never be allowed in a wall again, especially on the end of one.

    Essien’s challenge on Diaby was nasty but I don’t think it was intentional. DeJong’s challenge on Ben arfa was ludicrous and yet again it sickened me that the ref didn’t even give a free kick and the MOTD pundits just glossed over it saying it was fair. FAIR!!? Was I the only person that heard the inpact? He went through his tibia and fibula to get the ball for Chrissake!

    Anyway, we have time to reflect and reboot the team. the result itslef is not that bad as long as we return the favour at the emirates although we need to work on many things in the meantime.
    In a day where the European team took 5.5 out of 6 points available against the Americans, it was always going to be a day for the blues.

    Overall I was pleased that we gave Chelsea a good game even if we were a bit toothless and missed a few that on another day would usually go in.
    It is what it is.

  36. Watching Arsenal V Chelsea is like watching the film Groundhog Day. No matter what line up, formation or tactics we use against them, the result is always the same. Thank god for Fifa 11, lol.

  37. we need to buy a new team of doctors this January , it wud do more good than any signing we make cuz ultimately the new singing will be injured again and again for a long long time until we sell him

  38. Beside it hurt, and it does hurt badly when you lose this was even beyond what many expected, there were stories about trashing. Some were talking about “oh I ll be happy with any defeat just to not be humiliated” and so…
    I am not happy with results but, there is bright side of it, we were match to “Champion”, team which is already given crown and we are all on hold till May.

  39. Tony,

    “By Tony Attwood

    And so what do we know? Now in our fourth year of the never-ending injuries we are trying and trying to beat Chelsea with six or more key players missing, and once again we have failed. The manager can’t rotate properly and can’t pick the best players for each occasion simply because so many top men are not in the side.”

    You asked…

    As supporters what can we do? Suck it up… Why should we complain or find excuses about anything? We have been here before and these are the dark days of being a supporter, a loyalist, a gooner. I am definately in the camp where the injury problem is more than annoying. The prototypical player of great talent and millions is um’ useless if the player is showed to be injury prone year after year. No problem with injury as I and others who have played in the past often struggled with niggling injuries. But, in my career I don’t recall being sidelined frequently and when I was it was for 1 match…Mirrors I think is the solution. RVP, Diaby, Bendtner, Almunia, Cesc, Vermalaen, Gibbs, & Walcott & the rest need to look at them. This often is much better than ice or ibuprofen for weeks at a time. I think we all have stories of playing hurt throughout our careers. We looked for the off-season to get rest and so on. Not these large salaried indi’s. They need to bee 100% before each game so that the investment does not get tainted. The other thing is how about the World Cup & Euro’s. Walcott you ain’t that good yet! Who has given you the world stage? Was it England? Nope! She actually rejected you! So why the pride for the colors?
    Now if you ask what next for the Wengarian philosophy if I were a coach or manager! Well here you have it! It is long term brilliant! Short term patientce!
    If I were a player well practice this and it becomes permanent!

  40. Just a fun fact (re english pundits and the “fair” game) – dutch coach dropped de jong for that challenge, saying that he was fed up with de jong’s fouls.

  41. Not moving in with the doom mongers just yet but recent performances do not fill me with optimism, not so much Chelsea the problem but the way we player West Brom and surrendered 3 points at Sunderland. Just seems so similar to shootings in the foot from the last few years.
    In many ways we played well at Chelsea but the team yet again let themselves down with silly individual errors and naivety, again a feature of the last few years, not to mention a lack of ruthlessness in front of goal.
    At times, our defence is all at sea – you will not win major competitions with a defence functioning in such a way. Wenger may want to emulate Spain / Barca but those teams can defend as well at keep possession and attack.
    Keown spent a few weeks a while back with the defence – why did he not stay longer or come back to help?
    Time and time again, we lose to the better teams, no way to win a title. Some say we are more suited to Europe, but the problem there is we inevitably come up against an English team (or Barca) and out we go.
    Many managers winning things these days seem to send teams out meticulously prepped for the opposition, we seem to be sent out to play our game – sometimes it works, sometimes not. I cannot help wondering if Wenger needs a bit of backup in the coaching team at times, to help him change tactics where needed, and yes as pleasing as our football can be, sometimes a change of approach is needed. I think he genuinely has so much faith in his team, but sometimes it looks misplaced.
    On the injuries – a 4 year injury crisis must mean we are doing something wrong. It has been pointed out that the age of many of them leads to injuries, maybe also their size, a vicious circle of injuries with some, the fact we are targeted due to the way we play. I also cannot help wondering if it is the surfaces we play on – this has cropped up since the stadium move – are the training pitches the same part synthetic surface as the Emirates pitch? I guess the plus of all these injuries is that they provide chances for others, increasing our strength in depth but overall, our injury levels are so costly.
    Hopefully, for once we will get kind draws in the cups and maybe get something out of one of them, but I just do not for the moment see us any nearer winning one of the big 2, please tell me I am wrong!

  42. This “reserves” excuse-making stuff is nonsensical.

    Every single Premier League club has a similar list of injuries. The fact of the matter is that Arsenal’s squad is simply not strong enough. Arsenal are a good side – they are NOT a VERY good side.

    People are expecting far too much from this club – a fatal recipe for frustration.

  43. I thought the game against Chelsea was excellent. It was a high-quality game and we played well. Drogba’s finish was sublime. How on earth will Chelsea replace him? Is there another striker in world football who gives what Drogba does? We missed chances but away from home, without Cesc, Vermaelen and RvP, was always going to be hard. I thought we really missed RvP yesterday because of the cutting edge he gives us. Chamakh isnt up to that level yet. Nothing you could do about their 2nd goal. C’est la vie. Losing away at Chelsea isnt a bad result.

    Losing at home to WBA was the killer. That was an awful result and that is the one we need to rebound from.

  44. I do not think we expect to much from this Arsenal team Macca.

    I think we are very close as Terrence McGovern said Song needs a leash I would fine him every time he goes over that half way line he is leaving what I think is a good defence exposed all day every day by been caught out of position up the field.

    We also need a defensive coach like keown back and to cut our losses on players who never play a full season like van persie I love van persie but he is never available when we need him.

    The last time we beat chelsea I think he scored twice if memory serves right BUT we might be better with 2 chamaks who are available and no van persie.

    The sunderland game you will have games like that we were just unlucky in the end up.Utd took the same ammount of points as us and I wouldnt like to be going to blackburn again either.

    The only bad performance was west brom and those 3 points would be a huge help right now.

  45. Fabianski got a hand to that free kick, amazing!

    In other news, Ambramovich is going head-to-head with the Irish sovereign over the collapse of private sector banking there (market forces, dontcha just luv ’em?), even making threatening noises, viz.

    Finally, we believe that any attempt to force losses on INBS [Irish Nationwide] LT2 debt holders will result in substantial loss of reputation loss, and ultimately, financial costs for Irish and European sovereigns and financial institutions. Wiping out our holdings out will create a precedent not only for Ireland but for the whole European financial sector – this would be the first ever Irish Lower Tier 2 bond to default and this would put negative pressure on existing Lower Tier 2 issues in Ireland and throughout Europe.

    The Daily Telegraph says Millhouse bought some share of £126m of bonds issued in October 2009.

    What does this mean for Chelski? Is the gaffer about to remove his legions of cash from the whole of the Europe in protest?

    I mean, with only estimated wealth of US$11.2bn to play with, can you blame him for throwing a hissy fit?

  46. though we controlled the game well, Im furious with our finishing..had we taken our chances, we would have won. This team was good enough to beat cheslki, because the manager had prepared the team keeping in mind, the fact all our first teamers will never be fit together. So it is invalid to say that we would have beaten the IF we had XYZ fit. Its an absolutely hypothetical statement, when we all know our injury record.

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