From the 10th biggest football blog… What should be Arsenal’s target this season and what we have to do

A little note from the Ed before you start. Last time around the Wikio rankings of blogs of a footballing nature had Untold at number 88 in the world.  A derisory number and one that caused much gnashing of the teeth.

This time (in figures about to be released) we have risen to number 10 – a number far more in keeping with the high quality writing, exquisite insight, deep rooted moral judgements and plain stupidity that is regularly found on this site.

I’m sorry to butt into Dark Prince’s article in this unseemly manner, but I am just about to break out a celebratory cup of tea, and thought I would like to offer you a cup.

Milk?  Sugar?

Anyway, back to reality – Ed

Don’t be daft.  This is Untold.  Reality is on hold –  Ed’s subconscious.

Oh shut up – Ed

And you shut up too – Dark Prince.


What should be our target this season and what we have to do!!

By Dark Prince

After the loss against Chelsea, most of us would be wondering on how we could close the 7 point gap or more importantly whether we could win the title this year. It’s too early in the season to answer this question but its always in the beginning of the season where we set our targets.

So what should be our target to win the league?? Is it that beating Chelsea and United is good enough to make us win the title?? Bcoz I remember couple of season ago where we beat both United and Chelsea but still could not win the title. Certainly, we have to beat both of them atleast once to show our true title credentials but with the constant injury troubles hovering over our team, we shouldn’t expect our reserve team to beat an always fit Chelsea or United team.

So can we win the title even if we cant beat Chelsea or United?? And I believe the answer is ‘Yes’. It will certainly be difficult but its highly possible. A league championship is more like a marathon race, instead sprint. It doesn’t matter how you perform against specific teams or how good our start is. Its all about ‘Consistency’. And I’ve heard Lord Wenger advocate this word more than anyone else.

So what is it that should be done?? We as fans always look at the points and numbers on the table to see how we stand, so I think its important to keep a certain number of points as our target.

So how many points would be sufficient to win this league?? 80?? 90?? 100?? We have won the league with points as low as 78. Our Invincible season saw us winning the league with 90 points. And the Mourinho season for Chelsea have saw them winning by 95 points. But if we look at past decade of the league, you’ll see the the average points for winning the title has been 88. But overall, to be on the safe side, I believe that the target has to be 90 points. And the most logical and realistic way to achieve this is by the following numbers:

28  6  4  90

This is what we should aim for this season when we look at the league table.

28 wins, 6 draws, 4 losses, 90 points!!

Now that’s something I’d like to see beside Arsenal’s name on the table, regardless we win the league or not. Speaking of which, every time a team has reached 90 points in EPL, that team has won the title.

Now, technically speaking, it is still quite possible to do this even though we had a bad start. But we do have some hard work and I think its time we start winning big against teams that we never thought we would lose against.

First, talking about our losses. Having only 4 losses seems tough, especially when we are playing in the toughest league in the universe. But we have the history with us to go through the entire season without a defeat. So its possible by our standards. Looking at our current season, it is just 7 games in and we already have 2 losses – Chelsea and West Brom. So who can we expect to lose against in the remaining fixtures?? United at old Trafford perhaps and maybe even Man City at Eastlands. So that would fill up our quota for the loss for this season.

Then coming on to the 6 draws. We already have 2 draws – Liverpool and Sunderland. It would have been nice if we had beaten Sunderland. But its still acceptable. Now whom can be draw against? The obvious ones that come in my mind are Chelsea at Emirates and United too at Emirates?

I know many fans, at this point, will think that I”m being an idiot suggesting that we cant beat Chelsea or United at home. But just think what will happen if we have another string of injuries and then again face Chelsea or United with our reserve team. I really believe that even with our reserve team we can draw against Chelsea and United at home.

That leads to the last 2 games to draw. Who do you think it could be? It certainly has to be some away fixture. We do have some pretty tough away fixtures left – Fulham, Spurs, Stoke, Everton, Birmingham, Bolton. Maybe even include Wolves in this list (you can never know what would be the injury list after this match). But we can only allow 2 of them to get a draw and looking at last year’s and this year’s performances, I’d say that the 2 teams would be Spurs and maybe Fulham.

So what can we conclude from this? I’m not saying that we will lose against United at Old Trafford or that we cant beat Chelsea or United this year. All I’m trying to say is that we don’t lose our title hopes just because we cant beat these guys with our half of 1st team injured. We don’t need to beat them to win the league.

As Lord Wenger would say, the match against Chelsea is never decisive in the title race. But what we need is ‘Consistency’. Its not the matches against United Or Chelsea that determines our title hopes, but rather its our matches against other teams that will decide. The way we will be remembered to win the league by beating Chelsea and United, the same way we’ll be remembered for losing the title by losing against teams like West Brom or Wigan or Blackburn.

This makes me feel more bad that we lost one game to West Brom because these teams, however well they play, should never be allowed to beat us. I believe that even our reserve team have enough of quality to beat West Brom or any team from the bottom half of the table. We can’t do much about that result now but we have to learn from our mistakes. We had the easiest run in for the final 7-8 games for last season and yet we lost a couple of games in them.

Now is the time for us to show our dominance against these weaker teams. I think we should perform in the same way as we performed against Blackpool. No-nonsense game, full domination and full control from start to finish, taking our chances and making quick decisions when it comes to passes and shots. We cant expect the team to open up their defences to let us in, instead we have to force open their defence. And we already know that playing neatly or dominating the whole game doesn’t mean that we win. We have to score goals to win. When I say we win the game by scoring, it should be that we win with a margin of a least 2 or 3 goals. Because I really don’t want our team to soak up all the pressure in the final 10 minutes when we are 1-0 up.

Coming back to our targets, i think our team has to step up a level now. Looking in to our future fixtures, I can see the Man City away game in on Oct 24 as a game which we have to win even though I put this game as loss in our targets. Also the November fixtures also look like a headache because we have 7 games in the span of 22 days, out of which 5 are away games including Everton, Wolves and Villa and 1 home game is against Spurs. We can’t afford to lose any games from this. In fact we cant even afford to draw against any of them. All these games have to be won if we want to win the league.

On a more positive note, we can expect Cesc, Van Persie, Walcott and Vermaelen back by then. Hopefully they’ll be back by the City game because we can win against any team with our actual 1st team. More importantly, we showed that our reserves too can match up against a team like Chelsea at Stamford bridge, though they came up short. So overall I still have lots of confidence in our team. What we have to avoid is to drop points against anyone below us in the league and also put a stop on our injury list. For many years we’ve seen our best players getting injured for a massive part of the season. Now its has to stop. We’ve already suffered the impact of injuries this season. Hopefully, this should end soon and then I can see our team play with the same flair and finishing that we started this season with.

Keep the faith fellow Gooners!! 🙂

62 Replies to “From the 10th biggest football blog… What should be Arsenal’s target this season and what we have to do”

  1. If we can manage to pull this through it would be a remarkable achievement. In my eyes, every single away game is a tough away game. We can’t just turn up and take the three points then head home anymore. Every point is harder to get than in previous years.

    It is better to draw against our rivals than letting them win, they gain a three point advantage to us if we lose. I think it would be more sensible to go for a cup this year. FA or CL, although the FA-cup would be “easier” to win. Instead of down prioritising cups before an important league game as we have failed on numerous occasions (Other way around in CL). We should have one priority instead of 3.

  2. We just must try to win each game and hope that we have enough players fit and at their best.

    I do think that winning the league becomes more difficult each year and that even winning “easy” games is not that easy anymore. I think we will be going back to the times when losing more than 6 games and still win the title was normal.

  3. I think that this is a tall order…but whats the point in not aiming for the sky?

    I think this is a superb way to look at things actually. I honestly think Chelsea could well do another 95 pointer this season but I am very interested to see how they will cope if Essien/Drogba, Malouda get injured. Alex is already out for a bit.

    Essentially though I don’t have much faith in maintaining a fit squad if and when they all get back at the same time. It is possible; RVP managed a full season 2 seasons ago so why not the remainder of this one? Cesc will hopefully not become an RVP and things look up when Aaron gets back. We need Theo’s niggling injuries to halt though.

  4. 1st of all – HURRAY!!!!!!
    It feels nice to have our beloved ‘Untold Arsenal’ in top 10 blogs. Congratulations to Tony and the Untold team!!
    With the help of all toe readers and contributors, this site can challenge for top honours!! 🙂

    Now gettin back to the topic

    @FEDDA- Why should we just aim for the cup competitions if we have a squad good enough to win the league?? Also i think all the home games from now has to be won in any case. We cannot even afford to draw any home games now. And regarding the toughness to the away games, you are right that all the teams are tough to beat away from home. But that is what has to be done and we have the squad to do it. Our team just have to roll up their sleeves and think of playin every team as if they are playin Chelsea. And we have to improve as each game goes.

  5. @walter- it would nice if we come back to those days where teams can win the league even after losing 6 games. But lookin at Chelsea’s form, i doubt they’ll lose much points. If we cant beat them with our reserve team, then atleast beat all the other teams. Chelsea will drop points eventually, but we should not. Their game play wont let them go too ahead in the league, but our game play can.

  6. @soulrebel – i doubt that Chelsea will suffer much even if Drogba, essien, Kalou dont play. Remember last season? During african cup nations qualification in jan? Chelsea were missing Drogba, Essien, Kalou, Mikel for a whole month but still they won each of their games that month. So we cant expect them to stop winning bcoz of injuries. All we can do is improve ourselves.

  7. Firstly, congratulations to Tony on a fantastic achievement in just 2 years. I would dearly love to see a breakdown of how we placed in relation to other Arsenal blogs.
    Much credit goes to Walter and Phil for their regular features giving a very solid structure to the offering here. It is very gratifying to have made occassional contributions to the content and I am sure others feel as I do.
    Thanks for the article DP. Personally I feel that yes we have hit a bad patch with 1 out of 9 points achieved. The bottom line is that we have to go on a run. If our players return on schedule I believe that we can do this. Forget points and look to results. we need to get that winning habit started again.
    What will be key is the attitude of the players, making sure that any opposition is taken dealy seriously so we never have a repeat of the WBA debacle.
    I would also hope that regardless of anything, we send out a full strength side at Newcastle for the CC. If we do not we will lose an easy opportunity for a trophy, even if it is one that I do not particularly value.
    A win at St. James’ park may just put that trophy in tasting distance for them and they will finally understand what it is like to drive themselves in to a position to lift one and how addictive the experience is.

  8. I still do not think we have enough in our locker to still win the league.Even if we had a world class goalie, this was not the problem area against Chelsea (though we still need one )though I know Fabianski will not be consistent in every game. Tactically I believe Wenger said that if we had defended Chelsea would have still scored. Then the problem still remains the defence. Spending £12m on 2 defenders will not exactly give you a defence powerful enough to stop Drogba. We have now made profits of over £50m. Is it possible to get a talented powerful defender in January ? We can no longer say we dont have the money. If we are not serious about winning then we should not waste our time blogging – best talk about something else.

  9. Congrats, Team Untold, tenth is a superb achievement. (Untold now ranks higher than BBC Sports’s chief football writer!)

    And to have done it all without a Man City-style spending spree, cough*backhanders*cough to Blatter and the FIFA boys, or Gillett & Hicks levels of indebtedness, well done!

    Glad to see the other “big guns” up there too, Goonerholic, Young Guns, Arseblog. (I have officially stopped readying ANR since he called our players “tossers” a couple of weeks back, and lo, he ranks NOWHERE, same as Le Moan.)

    Re: what our final points tally will be this season, I suspect we can beat Chelski at home after that showing at the Bridge on Sunday, and with any (injury) luck (surely we’ve had our season’s quota by now?), our bright young things will carry us through to May against the ageing squads of ManIOU and Chelski.

    Man City are the unknown quantity, how fast can they gel as a unit, while the Spuds can’t possibly last the course, competing on the European stage and in the PL.

    Confidence is high.

  10. Gunner 71 – your post reveals the problem that many Arsenal fans have right now. You say “Spending £12m on 2 defenders will not exactly give you a defence powerful enough to stop Drogba.” and I would say “name me 5 defenders in the entire world who are good anough and powerful enough to stop Drogba”.

    Go ahead.

    Name me 5 defenders in the world good enough to stop Drogba. You make it sound so easy. You make it sound like there are defenders all over the place that we could buy who could stop Drogba.

    Drogba is one of the best players in the world!!!!

    And 12million is not a small amount of money. It is in fact a huge amount to spend on a defender.

  11. first priority should be carling cup it is the first piece of silverware and can make or break a season.

    Arsenals team is just too technical for prem lg and the trips up north and lack of protection means we are going to be making up the numbers where as champions lge we are equipped for this, the amount of fouls chelsea made against us and the ref didnt blow once and i dont think it is cos I am biased.

    I think Aw should focus on the trophies he has never one in both we stand a good chance

  12. @Terence McGovern- I think we should use the same squad that we used against Spurs in CC against Newcastle. And infact, we should use that squad for all the CC matches.

  13. @Dark Prince. Clichy is the only one who has gotten a medal at Arenal. I believe it’s an important benefactor for the rest of the squad to win something. We should always be aiming for the league, but my point is when those cup games comes crawling AW tends to rest players for the league, like last year at Stoke. Then he rests players for the CL (Barca). It is kinda contradicting. We should be aiming for one thing instead of all three so the players will stay and learn how to win. I genuinly believe if we win any competition this year, we will win something nearly every year. AW has rebuilt the whole squad, but we have learnt every year that we lack experience in the final third of the season. We just need to start with one medal and they will keep coming.

  14. @gunner 71- i think Koscielny and Squillaci are excellant defenders. And i dont think there are much better defenders in the market availabale. If you can give some names then perhaps we can debate on them.

  15. @Paul C- i disagree with you. though Drogba is a goal scoring machine, even he can be stopped. If the likes of Kompany and Toure can handle him then even Squillaci and Koscielny can stop him. I think the best way to stop drogba is by controlling Ashley cole.

  16. I agree dark prince the goals we conceeded against chelsea were hard for any defence to stop, and the two centre backs bossed drogba contrary to reports that drogba terrorised us

  17. DP – Dont get me wrong, ANYONE can be stopped. My point was more about the type of comment that gunner71 made, i.e. “let’s just go out and spend money and buy someone who can stop him”.

    You make the perfect point, by mentioning Toure AND Kompany. Defending is about working as a unit. There is no one player that is going to wave a magic wand. We have to work better as a unit and I have seen some very encouraging signs so far this year, even in the Chelsea game.

    But let’s face it, you can stop Drogba and Messi and Ronaldo some of the time (and some players have great luck against them, for years Carragher was the ultimate Drogba-killer) but you cannot do it all the time. I actually thought we defended Drogba pretty well on Sunday. But that finish of his was absolutely sublime!!!!

    And when you say “I think the best way to stop drogba is by controlling Ashley cole.” I think you are spot-on again. But again, I think Ashley (as much as I hate the guy!!!) is STILL the best left-back in the world.

    Chelsea are just a great team right now. As I said in a previous thread, I think the League Championship destiny is far more about how many points they drop than about how many us, or City, or Utd, win. They have the best striker (Drogba), winger (Malouda), attacking midfielder (Lampard), all-around midfielder (Essien), left-back (Cole), ‘keeper (Cech) and central defense (Terry and Alex) in the League right now. But of those players mentioned, all are approaching or past 30. Their time is now. Ours is still to come.

  18. @FEDDA- You have a valid point. But there’s no way we can only concentrate on only one competition because even qualifying for the champions league position is a tough task. So we have to win badly in the league also. Just think, since last 4 years, though we have been a contender for title, we have always been in fight to finish 4th. So we cant simply put all our efforts in one cup competition and risk something else.

    But you do have a valid point and i’d like to see Wenger fielding a stronger side in the Carling Cup and Fa cup matches. I’d be pretty happy if we field the same side that we did against Spurs in CC few weeks back, for all the remaining cup matches.

  19. I think the days of AW playing a League Cup team with an average age of 19 are gone. That was necessity. We will still see the very best kids used in home matches, but our squad is now deep enough to play an outstanding 2nd team in the League and FA Cups and still have a chance of winning.

  20. 10th! Well done Tony, Walter, Paul, Phil and the Dog. It also says a lot for the consistency of the forum contributors. Mainly intelligent, considered and rational. Well done all.

  21. Paul C – You’re right about Sunday’s game. We actually did pretty well to control drogba. Also that goal which he scored, i think it was more of luck for him. He tried to use the inside of his leg to flick it in and he was lucky that neither Squillaci, who was behind him, nor fabianski got a touch to it. Now how many times do we see drogba tryin to score like that?? Not much i suppose. I think drogba knew after the majority of the 1st half that its hard to crack open our defence and hence tried his luck with that shot. And he got lucky. That ball hit the post, even drogba was searchin for the ball after that flick.

    Regarding their team, i agree that they have some of the best individuals in each position but i dont think they are as good as a team collectively as we are. I think if we have our actual 1st team against theirs then we will win it with a fair margin.

    Also a word for our defence, i think our problem in defence still lies in the full backs. No doubt they defend well but they are still poor while delivering crosses in the final third. Plus whenever they fail to deliver a cross, they lose possession and leave a big open space behind them for the opponents to counter attack. Also, according to me, clichy and arshavin partnership is not workin on the left flank. I’d love to see Gibbs replacing Clichy. Clichy, sometimes, looks too desperate to score and makes silly mistakes when he tries too hard.

  22. You seriously think that we actually CAN reach 90 points playing THAT kind of football? (pretty, super offensive, no cutting edge in front of goal). Well I don’t think so. Ok, I’ll be honest. I don’t believe this team can deliver and I also don’t see the reason why the injuries are going to stop if nothing changes. After 12 years that I support Arsenal, my faith in Wenger and his methods is wavering for the first time. For many reasons. I’ll make a prediction right now. You say we can draw six times and lose four and still win the championship. Well, I don’t know about the draws but looking at the fixtures, I think that by New Year we will already have no less than four losses. I’m absolutely sure of it. If that is not the case, I will admit right here that I was wrong and I renew my faith to “Le prof”. If that IS the case, I will look forward to see some changes in Mr. Wenger’s philosophy in the near future, if we ever are to be a successful club again… and not just wait for City, United and co to go bankrupt.
    P.S. Sorry for my bad English, I am a foreigner. Great blog, reading you for a few months now, keep up the good work.

  23. Mike-Greece – I do disagree about no cutting edge. We are playing without Van Persie, Bendtner and Cesc all of whom would be expected to contribute goals. We are the second highest goal scorers in the EPL as far as I remember, and averaging 3 or more a game.

    How can that be no cutting edge?

  24. DP – Ah, you again hit it on the head with “I think if we have our actual 1st team against theirs then we will win it with a fair margin.”. Although I dont think we would win “with a fair margin” I would agree that I would put our first 11 against anyones.

    The difference is that players like Lampard and Drogba have proved themselves in the heat of a Championship battle. Ours havent. I would put RvP and Cesc up against ANYONE in terms of talent, but they keep getting these darn injuries. They have to show that they can do it in February and March and April when the Championship is on the line. Until then, they are like Torres, great talents but……….

    I would agree with Gibbs. I also think he looks terrific. He is big and strong and seems to play with more control than Clichy.

    I think this Chelsea team is one of the best I have seen in my life, alongside Everton 1985, Liverpool 1988, Utd 1996-01 and Arsenal 2002-04. I hate them with a passion, but they have proved that they are a great side. I think it is hard to say that any other team works better collectively than they do. They work furiously, they pass superbly, finish clinically, and have a passionate desire to win. The only question they have is age.

  25. I find it extremely interesting that Blog ranking list is top heavy not just with Arsenal related blogs but with POSITIVE Arsenal related blogs. It would seem that we are turning the tide in that war and also that most fans of other clubs can’t write lol!
    I seem to recall some denizens of Lewhinge doing alot of big talking about their own blog and belittling this one. There it is in Black & White folks. The true pecking order! I suppose that is the differnce between knuckle dragging moaning and genuine debate with varied, unedited and unaltered input.

    We have 9 more places to climb and with some effort and continued contribution from everybody we can do it.

  26. Tony – can I make a suggestion? The traffic to this site is increasing all the time, as are the comments, and more and more it takes a long time to scroll down through all the comments, and sometimes they are even going over to a second page. Is it possible to reduce the font size on the comments to make the scrolling process easier?

    Just a suggestion. Otherwise fantastic news and well deserved.

  27. Mike_Greece- I believe that if we have Cesc, Van persie and Walcott fit for the rest of the season then we wont even lose one more match. Also looking at our fixtures before the new year, only the City and United away games looks to be the fixtures that we can lose. And i’ve counted both these games as a loss in my prediction. But still i think we can win these games if we have our squad fully fit. I dont think we can afford any more injury news, especially to our best players.

  28. Paul C – You are right that this Chelsea team does look quite exceptional. But our team are no pushovers either. Even with our reserve team, we dominated that game at stamford bridge. I dont think any other team in europe can perform like we did at Chelsea’s own backyard. And thats why i still believe that we can win against Chelsea by a fair margin with our 1st team. It all comes down to whether we are able to stop this injury curse on our team. If we can then we might even go the rest of the season unbeaten.

  29. DP – you will get absolutely no disagreement from me on that. I thought that last season as well. Injuries have crippled us. We MUST get Cesc, RvP, Vermalen etc fit for an extended period of time before we can pass any judgement on this side. I dont know about going unbeaten (I think the League is much more balanced now than when we went unbeaten) but we should be in the mix. I certainly would fancy our chances at beating Chelsea at home, and Chelsea still have to play Utd twice and are sure to drop at least one stupid match (like Wigan last year), as everyone has at least one stupid result. Hopefully WBA was ours!!!!!! This interlull has come at a good time. The rumour is that Cesc could have played last weekend but they didnt want a repeat of what happened last season (when he was rushed back). We need to get a run of results together. I am not worried about the 7 point deficit at all. It is too early in the season to worry about that.

    It is the WBA result that pissed me off, not the Chelsea result at all. I was actually very encouraged by how we played against Chelsea. If we play like that every week we will win more than we lose without any question, especially when our “stars” get fit.

  30. there is a few things us Arsenal fans need to come to terms with especially in the immediate to near future.

    We have been top dogs in the premiership and london for a long time this is not the case NOW, it has taken chelsea 100s of millions to move above us but they are the number one team the benchmark

    although chelsea have stopped spending a new power has started and the competition is so much more fierce than when it was us and man u, you could afford to take your foot off the gas but now even at home to west brom you cant do these things

    we are never going to have a small injury list, simply because the way we play,arsenal move the ball at pace and direction and with the ruff and tumble of the prem tackles are going to go in late and our players are going to get caught, the pitches are much harder and some teams wont water the pitch much in the hope of slowing up the ball, combine this with lack of protection and our players are going to end up on the treatment table. in addition to this we play a possession game so more tackles are going to come in because we have more of the ball so we will receive more of the tackles

    the league is probably out of reach already this year, our best hope is to improve on third from last year

    RVP will be lucky to see 25 games a season

  31. and to add to this we can not compete in all four competitions and would do better to concentrate on two

  32. gooner80 – we can compete in 4 competitions if we get good Cup draws (i.e. home matches) and other teams dont play their strongest side in Cup competitions as well. The League Cup is wide open this year already.

  33. 1) congrats u guys truly deserved it.
    2) some1 rightly pointed out that injuries will be consistent throughout the arsenal’s season mainly because of our style of play. Against smaller teams we keep 60-70% possession, imagine how frustrating it wud be for them to keep chasing our shadows for the longer part of the game. In such case, hotheaded people like karl, robinson, shawcross might just cross the limit. Their will be sign of that frustration but ref won’t control it and we just have to pray that our players avoid such injury.

    That will linger on players mind that in case of ref don’t protect them they have to lookafter themselves. As a result they might play with some handbrake.

    Add to this fact their bound to be some late challenges due to our high speed of passing. Plus such style demand and tests physical and mental limits of players if we r unable to take a lead of 2-3 goals for prolonged period of time as will be the case in away games. Plus add to all of the above that freak injuries will keep happening.

    So thinking we will have whole squad available at a given point of time is wishful thinking.

    3) Getting rvp, fab etc back is not important what is important is that they return back to their best which might take another 2-3 weeks after they comeback from injury.

    we can win title but it will need an herculean effort from the team which had thrown away the leads in past and not have won anything for 5 years.

  34. @Paul and Dark Prince
    You’ve both made some excellent points.

    I think you just have to doff your cap to Chelsea and accept they have a fantastic team right now. I don’t know about the rest of you, but they remind me a lot of our Invincibles side – big and powerful, but also technically excellent. They play with incredible belief and confidence, they are lightning-quick and ruthless on the counter attack.

    The ‘old’ Arsenal (’02-’04) dominated Chelsea for a period, and now the shoe is on the other foot. It doesn’t feel great, but it won’t last forever. As has been said, the spine of the Chelsea team are 30+ and their time will soon come to an end. We can take a lot of positives from the game – even when bereft of our star players we gave this Chelsea team a great game, we did not allow ourselves to be dominated, and the result came down to two great goals that you can’t really pin on ‘mistakes’ unless you really want to nit-pick.

    Put RVP, Cesc, Walcott and Vermaelen back in the team, and we can take them in our own backyard.

  35. Gooner80- I agree with you on your points regarding arsenal’s injury. You have stated some truth regarding arsenal’s injury reasons. But i think that as our players get older and more experienced, the whole team gets better and better. If you compare this with chelsea, then you can see that even though they currently are the best team out there, they only wil get weaker and weaken as they age bcoz most of their best players are 30 yrs old. And chelsea now would not be able to spend £100 million on buying players anymore bcoz of the coming financial regulations. Plus they too are switchin over to our youth policy method. So expect them to be like us when we had started our youth policy.

  36. Wrenny- Yes, Chelsea are superb now but i dont think they are at the Invincibles standard. Even in this season, the 1st tough match they faced, against city, and they lost. Even in our match, we dominated them for most of the match. Kudos to them for being clinical in their shots but that match could have easily ended in the 1st few minutes itself. I think Chelsea are attacking in Ancelloti’s style but they are still defending in Mourinho’s way. The way Chelsea defended on sunday reminded me of how inter milan defended against barca at nou camp in champions league semi finals last season.

    But still they are very vulnerable to our attack. Plus with the inclusion of Cesc, Persie and Walcot, we can easily solve our finishing problems.

  37. If Martin Keown with our whole defence out the year we went to champions league final could produce great results

    It is clear who ever looks after that side of things now is not up to the job. why was he released after a year did teaching defence interfere with our attacking style and he was released ?

    Im confused but the answer looks simple compairing that season to the last 4

  38. In the Keown season we let in 31 goals and 2 seasons after that when we were robbed of the title by some very very strange ref decisions and the Eduardo tackle we also only let in 31 goals.

  39. Dark Prince I agree chelsea are getting older and our team can only get better but there is man city and the owners are spending money for fun who is to say that they wont just replace Chelsea.

    A commentator on the sunday sport programme on sky said “arsenal always the bridesmaid, never the bride”

    we just need to win the carling cup and build from there,once you get the taste for it and know what it takes it is so much easier. I stand by my points on the injuries, the injuries are not going to stop, and over the past 5 years they have cost us dear in terms of silverware.

  40. Gooner80- i think not only the carling cup but also the fa cup should be targeted. If Arsenal come 2nd in the league and win both the carling cup and fa cup and reaches the semi finals of the champions league, then i think it would be a successful season for us. And, as you said, we can take it a step further next season and try winning the league and champions league also.

  41. I agree 100% that would be a good basis what worries remember last year we was going really well in the league and champions league thrashed porto then came fa cup then slowly we crashed out of everything, but I do like your scenario that would be a good season and I think we would go from strength to strength with the confidence it would build

  42. Ya i remember how we crashed out of each of the competitions in the last couple of months. I think it was again the matter of injuries. Plus we didn’t have back up like we do this year. We had only one decent striker- van persie. Plus walcot didn’t perform that well after coming back from the injury. Also our defence was a major problem. But this year our squad has the depth. We have options available and i believe that our options can play a vital role in helping arsenal to win the carling cup and fa cup.

  43. Mr. Attwood, when I say “cutting edge”, I don’t generally mean how many goals we achieve. I mean how easy it is for us to achieve crucial goals that will give us points. There are games that however good we are offensively, we simply can’t produce more than, say, 6 good chances. Can we take the 2 of them and kill the game? If we are 3-0 in front and make it 6-0 waisting another 10 chances (e.g. Blackpool), I don’t call it cutting edge. Cutting edge is to be 1-0 in front in a difficult away game and and clinch a second on a brake (e.g. Sunderland) or having a bad day, but nevertheless taking the most of your chances to take the three points (e.g West Brom). In others words we have to learn how to win playing poorly, because we can’t play every weekend 100%. As I recall the previous 2 Wenger’s teams (1997-98, 2003-04) knew how to do that.
    Dark Prince, I agree with you that having RVP, Fab and Theo uninjured could just win us the EPL. Which, as we all very well know, is not going to happen. We must first solve the injury problem. The only thing we know is that it’s NOT bad luck and it’s NOT the bad challenges of the opponents. Just see how RVP and Fab got their last injuries. It’s almost ridiculous… 🙁 So, I wonder who is to blame… Also, I don’t necessarily mean that we will lose against United or City. It may very well be another “West Brom” game… If it happened in the first games of the season, it can happen again, right?

  44. Well done Tony, your blog deserves the recognition.

    Interesting stuff, DP but you seem to approach it like you expect to win the pools every week. Football is unpredictable thank god so I don’t think you can expect to win here but not there.

    Sadly I don’t see us as a 90 point team yet, because it is really only a mainly defensive team that is likely to achieve that. The ‘Invincibles’ got 90 points but they were at the peak of that generation of players. The good thing is that this current cycle is really only beginning with an average age of 23 so we still have 5 or 6 seasons until we see the very best of this crop.

    What we need is a competitive PL & the signs are that it will be this season. There will be few pushovers for the top teams & there may be some surprise contenders. This would be excellent for the game.

    The old adage ‘play one game at a time’ runs true. Go out to win as many games as you can, then see where you are.

    We know from past experiences that the league is not won in September. Keep within 6 or so points after Christmas, then it is the team that can put in the 8-10 straight wins that is going to have every chance.

  45. There appears to be much better depth def. I would like to see chelsea come to the ems with cech, terry, lampard and drogba all out injured, I would be interested to know what the score would be, I think we have a better squad than, chelsea and man u but god do we need it.

    It would be really interesting to see what kind of performances we would get out of players with major competition for places.

    I think this break will do us good because the last 3 results havent been good

  46. Nice post DP and kudos to Tony and the gang !

    I for one think that this season will be a surprising one, results-wise, for all the so called “big” teams. Man U probably have the weakest team I remember: too reliant on Shrek, Valencia gone, Scholes and Giggs not getting any younger (with no other creative force from the mid); Evra is not the same and to be honest they are just not that good. Aside from the incredible luck they possess (which always has, in my mind, the following: cutting a deal with the devil back in 66, let’s scarifice a team for some ridiculous luck 30 years later. 99, anyone?).

    No need to talk about RBSpool. In my opinion Mancity have too much ego, too little football, and will lose quite a lot of games because of that. It’s just not the right mix.

    The KGB are the obvious threat. But they have trimmed down a lot, and when the season advances, they will feel the strain. The Drog ain’t gettin younger, and they are very depndant on him. Cech is injury prone and Hillarious is quite a clown. So I actually think that come Nov.-Dec. they’ll start losing silly matches, too.

    However, there will be some surprises from other clubs like WBA, Everton, Villa will probably bounce back a bit and can’t stay that crappy for long;

    To sum it all up: I think this year’s champion will actually win with less than last year’s 88. More around 80. And it means that YES we CAN do it – just keep em fingaz crossed for no more injuries to our main guys, and we’ll be fine.

  47. Pete, to repeat a story I’ve told before – in an earlier life I had some modest involvement with writing Blake’s 7 and Doctor Who and during that time also happened to have curly hair in the Tom Baker style. So for a laugh started to imitate him – an actor who I really liked. And occasionally I have come back to the look just for fun.

  48. Mike_Greece- i think the ‘West Brom’ game is the last of this season. It has the served the lesson for our team that not even the weakest team in the EPL should be taken lightly even at home.

    As for injuries, all we can do is pray that our players dont get injured again. Or atleast they dont get all injured together.

  49. Flint McCullough- you are right that our Invincible team had an incredible defence. And at that time only United were commendable opposition. Chelsea, though finished 2nd, were still unsettled that time. Plus there were hardly any other teams which could had given as a fight. Now we have Spurs, City, Everton, United, Chelsea, all looking strong with their teams. I know we have to work defensively better but i think the only way to beat the other teams is to outscore them. We have to admit that our defence has been leaking goals and it might not stop but we also know is that we have one the best attacks in the league. Plus we create more chances than any other team. We have to concentrate on our attacking more and score as many goals as possible. Its expected that we might concede 2 goals every match but to nullify that we have to score 4 goals every match.

    Also though our team still stay for 5-6 season, i believe that we still have enough firepower to win the league. All we have to do is stop the injuries and have a strong 2nd squad as well.

  50. TommieGun- i hope you’re right. Even last year chelsea lost some unexpected matches. And looking how other teams are becoming strong, i can imagine that this year’s 4th place fight will be much more tougher. Even Arsenal has to be aware of this and start performing better. We cant be complacent to any team. Infact we have to crush every team that comes forth from now. I think we lost 5 easy points this season, sunderland and west brom. And i hope thats the last of it.

  51. in an earlier life I had some modest involvement with writing Blake’s 7 and Doctor Who”

    Wow – how cool is that. 🙂

    A word of thanks to Walter for his referee index – really, really interesting; I hope you can keep it up!

  52. It is what I intend to do Pete.
    Its fun for me and I admit I also try to learn from it and hope it can benefit me in my own games.

  53. I see your point, by reviewing other people’s referees performances objectively, that can only help you improve your own. But I must say, you really put a lot of effort in to the referee indexes – good work!!

  54. Don’t get me wrong DP, I think we are equipped to win now, which would be exceptional for a team with such a low average age.

    The exciting thing is that we have been knocking on the door whilst building this team, when normally you would expect to be much lower down the table.

    The best is yet to come & we look set for years to come.

    I don’t however agree that we have any chance of winning anything until we can consistently defend better. Much of winning a league is getting the scrappy 1-0s when not playing well, particularly in the run in.

  55. also another factor that I think contributes to injuries is that the league is so competitive now, players have to put more effort and more strain into every game, at the level they are playing at they cant play two games week in week out for long periods of time,

    also the modern footballer carries a lot more muscle mass resulting in stronger challenges and more mass going into the collision

    I bet arsenal wouldn’t drop so many points if they weren’t competing on so many fronts

    my point is the injuries are going to remain the same

  56. also another factor that I think contributes to injuries is that the league is so competitive now, players have to put more effort and more strain into every game, at the level they are playing at they cant play two games week in week out for long periods of time,

    also the modern footballer carries a lot more muscle mass resulting in stronger challenges and more mass going into the collision

    I bet arsenal wouldn’t drop so many points if they weren’t competing on so many fronts

    my point is the injuries are going to remain the same

  57. Arsenal’s target is simple: get Cesc, Robin, Thomas and Theo fit and keep them fit! Rest them before they get injured and fill in with Jack, JET, Squillaci and just change the system if Theo needs a rest. Theo’s Theo.

    If those four are fit for the last 6 months of the season, there’s a good chance of Arsenal doing really, really well…..

    And if not? Well, Arsenal will just need to get 90 points anyway………

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