Nothing is lost, apart from today

By Walter Broeckx

Ouch. I think this sums it up rather nicely.  And maybe I could stop it right here. Go to bed early, pull the blankets over my head and try to forget this day ever existed. As it wouldn’t change a thing I will try to act as a man and accept the most difficult thing in live as an Arsenal fan: accept defeat.

And before I talk about football I would like to start with another sport: tennis. In my country we have been blessed with some good women tennis players. And I remember that my favourite tennis player once played in a grand slam tournament and she won the first set 6-0. She whipped her opponent from the floor and the poor girl at the other side of the court hardly touched a ball. So it seemed that it would be only a matter of time before the game would be completely over.

And then suddenly my favourite tennis player lost her service. Out of the blue. It came from nothing. Two double faults, a foot fault and a ball cannoned of her racket in to the crowd and she lost the first game on her own service. No big deal at the time. But suddenly something changed. And somehow she lost the feeling of the game. She moved slow on the court. She began to make silly mistakes. And before you knew it she lost the second set.

Still no big deal. But in the third set she also couldn’t perform as she normally could and the player at the other side felt the doubt in her mind. And she kept on battling and running after each ball. And the balls my favourite player played weren’t as sharp as before. And at the end of the match she lost the final set and had to accept defeat.

Why? How? Well I bet she still doesn’t know. And I also don’t know. And maybe this is a good thing. Because if some science people could find the answer to these questions it would mean the end of all sports. We would know who would win before the game is over and now we have to wait to see who really comes out with the victory.

On to football. To lose the game you cannot afford to lose is hard. But is part of football.  To lose a home game against them for the first time in 17 years is not nice. It feels bad in fact. But if it means we can go on for another 17 years with us not losing to them at home I can try to live with that. The longer a runs goes on, the nearer it will come to an end. Unfortunately today was the day it came to an end.

For 45 minutes we looked in control and very composed. We passed the ball around and we finished our chances rather well.  Even at the start of the second half we looked the better team.  Just like my favourite tennis player.

And even the first goal from Tottenham came out of the blue. A long ball and suddenly we found ourselves outnumbered and Bale could score.

Then Cesc stuck out an arm in a very needless position and the ref could do nothing else than give a penalty. And then I got the feeling that lady luck had decided to chose the site of the other team.  Cesc will have to take a look in the mirror this evening and I hope he will never ever stick out his arm again when he is in the wall and in the penalty area.

Some of our players looked tired. Nasri couldn’t perform like in the first half and it looked as if he was feeling the consequences of having played to good on Wednesday evening.  Chamakh also looked tired and couldn’t run on goal on a few occasions and didn’t look sharp enough. Also some  fatigue?

And then we finally got beaten in the air after a free kick. We can think that maybe Djourou would have been a better option as he played great in the air at Everton but he also had played in midweek so one can understand the decision to play Koscielny. So the one thing I feared from the internationals and we had almost all our players away on international duty this week did happen.  Some lost it after one hour. Maybe some people will understand my rant against stupid international games a bit better now.   And why I feared our players being tired after travelling around in Europe for hours and hours sitting in planes and waiting at airports and train stations.

But here we find ourselves. And we must learn our lessons from today: keep our hands down when defending a free kick, finish more chances and concede less goals.  And to keep in mind that whatever the lead you have and how comfortable it looks: a game isn’t over until the final whistle is gone.

The only good thing I see (apart from the Chelsea defeat) is that we have another game in 3 days. So the players can pick  themselves up and do what they have done after the Newcastle defeat: start again and try harder, and harder and ven more harder. And by the way Chelsea who a few weeks ago seemed unbeatable has lost the same number of games as we have so far.  So nothing is lost so far.

Sometimes you seem to be in total control of the game and suddenly you lose it. One second and the balance swing the other way round. This time we are on the receiving end. Sh*t happens. As my favourite tennis player found out at the time.

Sometimes you cannot understand what happened. And this is such a time. You just have to accept what happened, turn the page and start all over.

And that is what we should do. Get on with what we do, train harder, work harder, try harder. Just like after the Newcastle defeat we have to get ourselves together real fast. Let us all  get behind the team in the moment they need us most. However our feelings are hurt  after this painful defeat, live still goes on.  I will be back next Tuesday to support my Gunners from afar.  Because I still  believe in my players and my team and the manager.

Let’s just do it.

36 Replies to “Nothing is lost, apart from today”

  1. We lose leads too often to be coincidence but yeah I agree with pretty much everything else.One moment can change everything in tennis.

  2. If we do not learn from our mistakes,how are we going to progress?! I feel so sick!! Am lost for words..smh

  3. i know walter. it’s so saddening to see again though, especially on another day where chelsea drops points

    i fell asleep during intermission because i had pulled an all nighter and by then it was 530, i don’t know how. i didn’t mean to, but still it was TWO FUCKING NOTHING! excuse the swearing guys.

    but this has been one of the most heartbreaking moments i’ve ever had as an arsenal fan. i certainly didn’t mean to fall asleep and to read the team crumble online. what the fuck, spurs didn’t have any quality in the first half. i’m so bemused

  4. We dropped three points not lost the league and my season just as I hope Arsenals season does not revolve around beating Sp*rs it revolves around been competitive in all competitions and having something to look forward to.

    Im still looking forward to qualifying in europe im still looking forward to winning the league cup and I am still looking forward to possibly winning the premiership or least being right there till the end in may.

    well said walter its just one game.

  5. This wasn’t any game it was Spurs at home..& although it’s the same 3 pointer as every other home game, in & around North London this is a “must win” (or at least a “not lose”)fixture.It’s so big a defeat infact that my belief is that both AW & the squad will be sufficiently motivated to raise their game…more so than if they’d won.

    We’re still only 2 points off the top of the table so despite the disappointment I’m upbeat & in agreement with the sentiment of your article…however…we were only “suddenly outnumbered” prior to the first Spurs goal because we’d reverted to “whole team gung-ho” attacking which left us compltely exposed at the back.

  6. Even if it is impossible to take out the ( losing to) Spurs context, where has the feeling gone when WE used to be the favorites of the teams winning at home even when 2-0 down. As against Newcastle, all the fans and the players were hoping the ref would blow the whistle even with 2-1 up at home. Badly miss that feeling which has been lost unfortunately in the past few years.

  7. I agree with your brilliant post except on one and only one issue. Something very big was lost today; and that is THE FAITH IN THE TEAM. It is important for the team to believe in itself andf also for the supporters to believe in the team. west Brom, Newcastle and now Spurs at home were all very winnable matches that the team needlessly lost. Three bad home results unforttunatelt can not be attributed to bad luck or flukes… there is something fundamental…and whatever it is…it is the thing standing between arsenal ands the title. I have watched football matches ever since I was a kid and I know enough about football to humbly opine that no team can stop this arsenal side from taking the title this year. However, and this is very important no one can win it for the players. Wenger can’t, the supporters can’t, the check book can’t…the players will just have to do it themselves. However, my heart is broken because I have seen enough to suggest that the players do not want it badly enough. At least Wenger through the water bottle on the ground to show his passion and Cesc was shaking his head at the end as if to say, “I give up on this team.” It is a very sad day when you can no longer count on a team to win at home. We lost against two promoted side and today against our archi-nemesis.
    One thing pains me and really pains me…No one stood up to be counted.

  8. Maybe we should have played like an away team does after going two goals up. Whatever it may be, this was like a sucker punch in the stomach. And not to sound pessimistic, it somehow seemed like Totts were more likely to score again after the VdV penalty.
    Somedays, its just not meant to be. Once again, all is not lost. :).

  9. I hear what you are saying WD and understand.

    But there have been seasons when we beat Manure home and away and they won the league.

    I dont care if we loose in shyte heart lane also if we are holding the trophies at the end of the season, we already won the league their before and they havent got much to celebrate in terms of silverware either. I would say we are a far more succesfull team.

    Just chalking it down to a bad day at the office a sickner in terms of rivalry but thats about it. Sp*rs still wont win no league BUT we just might.

  10. Red Gooner…my hope is that the bitterness of this pill will be the medicine that the Squad requires to motivate them to concentrate for 95 minutes, rather than the 45 that we’ve seen a few times this season. I’m still positive.

  11. “And we must learn our lessons from today”

    Here in lies the problem. The fact that we seem to keep making the same mistakes, keep lacking maturity, keep doing the same things, yet ever hoping for a different outcome is fast reinforcing the truth that we aren’t learning any of those lessons. Good teams don’t make “basic errors” and they make their own luck.

    We never should have been in the predicament. At 2-0 there was no need for Alex Song or Denilson to venture out of our half. We bang on about 4-5-1 but in reality we seem to play 4-1-5 most times.

    Surely there is no disgrace for Le Boss to have told them at half time to forget Braga till tomorrow, park the bus, and counter attack, win by 2-0 and go to the top of the table. Instead there is an underlying arrogance that we can always score…well here’s a thought, this season is proving that now we can’t score at will! Making replacements to have to play catch up football because we have to score, putting undue pressure on RVP to be the savior of the world first game back, could give way to making changes to protect the score we have! Just a thought!

  12. I totally agree with you Steve of Chiang Mai, we cannot just simply ignore this loss without looking at what went wrong and there were problems. It is the Arsenal style to play attacking football, high up the field, but this can leave us exposed to the counter attack. You must give your opponents some respect, the Premiership is a tough league.

    I love 6-0, 4-1, etc scorelines, but I also like 1-0, 2-0 wins also. A win is a win. The team put out there was good enough to beat Spuds without mentioning a roll call of those player who were injured and not in the team like Vermaelen. I would be very concerned if they weren’t. I’ve already given my views on the other post about what could of been done differently. The players and manager need to know that performances at the Emirates so far are just not good enough, the supporters deserve more. I will probably feel better in the morning, but right now I am still annoyed and not feeling very philosophically upbeat.

  13. Well written piece Walter!
    @Winner & Steve of Chiang Mai; i agree!
    This defeat has to be the most demoralising of the three at home this season and not just because it was to the deluded Spuds but because the match should’ve been long over before the end of the first half had we kept up our intensity!
    The Emirates was really up for it today (even for a lunch-time kick-off). Arsene needs to start picking up on this problem and make the necessary pitch-side noises or substitutions to ensure it doesn’t happen – no team can keep up with our speed of play when we keep pushing forward but when we slow down and play in front of them, it becomes way too easy for them as we get bogged down (this then gives them lots more confidence and our lads begin to feel uncertain of what they are doing). The ease with which away teams are now able to defend against us for long periods of time at home when we’re chasing a result is extremely worrying and I don’t remember many teams being able to do that so easily before this season?! Away from home, we seem to have more cut and thrust and solidity, and had we played this game at Shite-Hart-Lane with the 2-0 lead, we wouldn’t have lost!
    Tottenham didn’t factor in on losing two first half goals so why were we so potent in the first half and impotent in the second with only one shot on target? It’s got nothing to do with the tactical garbage being spouted by that used car salesman Redknapp, and the subsequent homo-erotic loving by all the footballing gurus! Our loss was all of our own making with once again mental fragility and indiscipline being to blame. What’s more, this all seems to be becoming far, far too regular an occurrence.
    Other teams don’t really beat us at home but we just seem to be letting them win for no apparent reason that seems to fundamentally arise from a sense of complacency. In all professional sport, you have to earn the right to play at all times and we sadly haven’t always done that this season at home, and certainly not today in the second half or against West Brom and Newcastle, whilst away from home, the lads earn their right to play! Why do they have this Jekyll and Hyde persona? Could it be we don’t make enough noises of encouragement at home whilst away, the travelling fans make more? I’m struggling to understand!
    With all this said, it’s certainly not all D&G, and with a bit more concentration, application and drive at home, I really believe that at least two trophies will be christening our new stadium this season!
    Strength & Honour lads and laddetes

  14. Philosophically is the only way to deal with this set back. All things considered, apart from bragging rights, we didn’t lose an awful lot against them. In the first half we gave them a comprehensive beating but inexplicably turned off right at the start of the second. I don’t accept that they “fought” back – we just never came out for the second half…I love Cesc to death but this is the kind of game – where things suddenly starts going wrong – where we need a Tony Adams-type Captain…someone has to take charge and say “you Alex, come back here” and “you mark him”…Casc set the tone of how Arsenal plays but when things start going wrong his head is the first to drop! After we conceded the first the look on his face was like he felt we had already lost the game – it was no surprise when he conceded the penalty..Our defense was also MIA in the second half. For me Djourou in combination with either Squillaci or Koscielny looks far more solid than when the French pair plays together.

    This was a rather humbling experience and particularly infuriating because yet again we spurn a chance to leapfrog Chelski to the top of the league – how many more opportunities can we expect? I am not one for condemning my team after a setback: as Walter says S$#t happens in life as well as football – but this team needs to develop the killer-instinct of our great teams of the past and finish teams off when we have the advantage. The Totts are a good team – let’s not be mealy-mouths and say they are not – but we are better. We have a little bit more work to do to be the Lord Wenger would say “at the moment we are a bit short” but I believe that we are nearly there..

  15. dont you think that luck has to play a part in this one…i mean,it was the same thing against newcastle…we could have very well won the match BUT shots hittin the bar,their GK pullin off some gud saves and taking back us to a yesterday when we,well atleast me,were dead for a while(I CUDNT STAND WATCHIN US LOOSE A CHEAP TEAM WHEN HENRY WAS THERE the moment i saw him i jus lost it all!)well back to the matter,so we tak the lead at HT but i still had my concerns we were not focusin as much we should have and yet everyone did their part well(silence bale n vdv-check) but went on to loose a game with THREE MISTAKES….what i reckon is that everytime we have a chance to go top of the table(WBA,NCASTLE,SPUDS)….we jus loose the game…..

  16. Yes we look good going forward- but how can we keep ignoring how bad we are defensively? In big games it isnt getting better. The first thing we need to do is recognise that we do have a problem the second thing is address it. I dont believe many gooners think we have a problem in the first place

  17. Man, it hurts so bad. Please someone tell me that this will go away after a week or a month or a year. Cause right now, everytime i think about last night, i can barely breathe.

    Thats what LOVE does to ya, doesn’t it?

    But then, i am helpless. I cannot do withtout falling in Love over and over and over again with my ARSENAL. Bring on the pain and the disappointment and shame[thats how it felt last night] and all the negatives that you can throw at me, i just don’t care. Come tomorrow, i’ll pick myself up, dust myself down and i’ll wear my red & white and walk proud of being in love with my ARSENAL.



  18. Clnical diagnosis:

    1. First half, Spurs let Arsenal play. So they did. Brilliantly.
    2. Second half, Arsenal let Spurs play but played better themselves than Spurs did first half. But somehow they lost it 3-0.

    If you wanted me to compare the two sides I would say this: at Spurs, there is more of the ‘you can do something I can’t do, but I can do something you can’t do’ than at Arsenal. True teamwork emerges when you know you must trust each other because of that difference in skill sets. If you all have a more similar skill set, there’s always an undercurrent of ‘well if it had been me…….’

    It makes it easier for the manager to say: ‘you’re letting the others down’. Because you are. Because they can’t do what you can do.

    I still think if you put the steel of Vermaelen, the pugnaciousness of Wilshere back into the side, you’re close to winning the title.

    One thing’s for sure. 2001/2 season wasn’t going perfectly up until Christmas……….

  19. It might just be one match, but with 3 home defeats it’s obvious that there’s a pattern.

    What really disappoints me is that we have been playing so well away, yet keep doing this to ourselves in our own backyard. We found ourselves 2-0 up at Everton and closed out the game with intelligence and efficiency, Everton did manage a consolation but it should not have counted. Our control was also obvious at Wolves. When leading Spurs by the same 2-0 scoreline we continued to push forward irresponsibly for a third goal, we allowed the match to become end-to-end by our greed to ‘kill them off’ early rather than allow the match to run its natural course.

    We should have showed some restraint, kept them at a distance. As Spurs made attacking changes to claw back the result they would have left themselves increasingly vulnerable at the back, and we would have probably found our third goal late in the game. We should have denied them the space to work, keeping them at arm’s length until the right opportunity came along.

    We have the ability to absorb pressure as we have shown in our last two away games, but don’t seem willing to do it at home. As if we are too proud to do anything but ‘attack, attack, attack’ in front of the home crowd, even when it’s not the smart thing to do.

  20. wrong decisions cost us the game
    djourou should’ve played (given his recent form) instead of koscielny
    taking off nasri was big mistake as he is one of the most creative players ,also wolcott is only ifluential when opposition try to attack us
    anyways, when are diaby and ramsay gonna come back??

  21. lets focus on braga now
    i would like it if wenger gives all the first teamers a rest
    how about this team against braga?

    eboue squillaci koscielny gibbs
    wilshere eastmond rosicky
    JET vela
    bench: fabianski , clichy , RVP , walcott ,lansbury

  22. This is something what really hurts, but it is more our vanity, than there is some serious damage, as Walter noticed. Some of us live in past (as much as Doom & Gloom accuse us to be those), and they don’t want admit Premiership has changed, Tottenham is (no matter how hard is to admit) team which play Champions league. Team which showed capabilities of coming back in to game (Grasshoppers, Inter, WBA) and also showed quality, beating the team which stopped Barca. So, no this is not defeat from Birmingham or Sunderland….

  23. Didnt see the game and was disgusted at the result especially when I was told we were 2 nil up. As stated this results smacks of inmaturity example the hand ball from Fabregas yes he made a mistake a mistake he got away with last season, he is a smart person what the hell was he thinking???? and us not closing the game out when we lead the game.

    That said we are 2 points from top V Persie is on his way back and with some luck Vermanlen might get back sooner than expected. We just need to cut out the basic mistakes that are costing us so dear.

    I cant see us winning the league this season and it pains me to say Utd are looking good in that they are playing crap but not losing. With Rooney coming back I can see them pushing on. They unlike Arsenal dont need 2 chances when Chelsea wobble the mark of chmapions which we clearly dont have as yet.

    I’ll end by saying I hope I wrong as I love Arsenal and think Wenger is a class act for the position he has brought the club to and if it doesnt happen for us this year, it really is only a matter of time as we will continue to get stronger and stronger in the coming years.

  24. Rhys, I don’t think that Spurs have better teamwork. I think we were never at our best throughout the game (even in the first half when spurs were atrocious). Spurs’ tactical changes brought them back in it but we were still the better team. So this was not a case of the Spurs outplaying us because of better teamwork. Or even the case of them scoring goals out of sheer willpower.

    We gifted 3 very soft goals. I don’t know exactly what is to blame for this. Is it that we’re too confident at home this season and so are more vulnerable to these mistakes?

  25. The more I think about it, the more it becomes clear to me at least, this sort of thing will continue to happen until we get in a proper defence coach. The last time we did – Martin Keown – we got to the CL final.
    Promote Steve Bould for this task, or bring in an Adams or Keown please!
    The fact is – when put under pressure, we do not defend well – and it costs dearly!

  26. Weird season.
    The pain and frustrations don’t tally with our league position.
    Three home defeats including yesterday’s shocker – plus defeat at the team seen by most as the clear favourites.
    Our league season should be all but over, bit it isn’t. We are only two points from the top. The reason is we have won or lost our games but only drawn two.
    The league is wide open for any team that sets off on a winning run.
    It isn’t easy to shake off the anger of losing to Spurs. I haven’t done so yet, but this season is the most unpredictable yet. There is no reason to throw in the towel yet.

  27. As ever the name Tottenham is synonomous with hyperbole. They are a good team who can defend well for the most part and are dangerous in the air especially. Their tactics are not sophisticated- they rely on the power of Bale’s running and high balls and knock downs for the most part. If we had some better defenders in the team I am sure we would beat them- but we don’t. The last time we played them our keeper gifted them a goal.
    They are not a better team- they are a better balanced team and they defend better than we do.
    We lost this game-far more than Spurs won it. Their first goal was preventable- but requires better defensive awareness as a unit. The second goal was a complete gift. The third goal was standard poor defending in the air. Standard for us that is- we have had this weakness for several years now. If Younis Kabaul can do this to our defence pretty much any standard EPL forward line can as well.

  28. all’s not lost for me. what does piss me off is that we lost to them. those scum. we played a brilliant first half. everyone did their job well. song went up front a little too much for my liking…but nothing happened because cesc and denilson could manage to stay back and cover. once defoe came in, it was a different ballgame. song needed to stay back more. i’m surprised that he didnt. cesc’s handball was unfortunate. i wouldve expected him to do better than that. and van persie doesnt defend as good as chamakh. walcott and rosicky came in too late.

    thats my take. unfortunately…i’m not arsene wenger and who’s to say i couldve made better decisions. it was just a bad day of football, which, unfortunately for us, has come too often in the last few months.
    i’m just hopeing we bounce back from this…and soon. we cant count on the fact that chelsea will lose when we do. and doesnt anyone wonder how the worst united line up in a decade still hasnt lost a game?

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