The EPL is the worst league in the world. After Arsenal/Fulham it must be

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By Walter Broeckx and Tony Attwood

Just look at the facts.

We are supposed to be team that according to the pundits is really a bad team. We don’t know how to defend, we don’t know how to score, we don’t know how to deal with set pieces, we don’t know how to deal with the physical game. Those are all facts as most of you will know.

As the UK Sunday newspaper the Observer said this morning (5 December 2010)

“If Arsenal are top of the table despite another demonstration of defensive ineptitude, the Premier League may well be succumbing to a form of “leadership by the worst”.  It is difficult to remember when the title has ever been won by a team with a defence as ramshackle as Arsenal’s again showed itself to be, at least in the continued absence of Thomas Vermaelen…”

These “facts” are confirmed by a lot of Arsenal fans. They tell us how bad we are each day. They tell us how our manager should have been sacked 5 years ago. They repeat the mantras that are being said day and night by the pundits. Those pundits who we know cannot stand Arsenal, their manager and their lightweight players.

But in passing we might note that the same edition of the same British paper today says this of Chelsea’s game:

“The London club have slipped to third in the table and, judging by today’s performance, may falter further as the December fixtures pit them against a series of high-calibre opposition: Tottenham, Manchester United, Arsenal and Bolton.”

And yet  this team, our beloved Arsenal is top of the league. So the only explanation can be that the EPL is the worst league in the world. How can such a bad team be first after 16 games?  How on earth can this be possible. Are the pundits that bad? And are some of our fans so blind? No, we must acknowledge that the pundits and their repeating fans know it all. After all, it is what they tell us whenever you even dare to question them.

We must ignore the fact that we have let in two more goals than Manchester United who sit in second place in the league.  Yes they have a game in hand – a chance to leapfrog us again – but also a chance to let in two more goals.  In fact the only team that has a notably better defence than us is Chelsea who have let in 11 goals – that is half a goal a game less than us (and we are after all two points ahead of them).

But if they are right and we are a weak team it can only mean that the EPL has turned in to the worst league on earth. I think just slightly better than the Jamaican league (sorry Jamaican Gooners but really no pun intended – we could have taken the Belgium league). How else can this bunch of losers, lightweight players be top of the league?

Well maybe we are not as bad as they try to make us believe?  Maybe we can defend set pieces just that bit better than they make us believe. (Another goal in open play yesterday if I may add). As  yesterday again we defended 7 corners and some free kicks successfully. And if the collision between Koscielny and Squillaci hadn’t happened Fulham would not have scored a goal. But when you see the replay you can see that Koscielny didn’t know what was going on around him in those first seconds. You could see the typical person who gets a knock on the head who still knows what he should be doing and trying to do it but who in fact doesn’t know what he is doing and where he is standing.

Let us just hope that his injury is not too bad and that he recovers quickly and well. And for those moaners out there who are focusing on this incident and are using this to “prove” that both players are not good enough I would just suggest to moan about the weather but please do stop moaning about our players.

It was great to see both our defenders being so eager to win the ball that the collided. How long has it been that those same people were questioning them because they were too passive and didn’t attack the ball enough. Ah, this is just another example of how people will say anything as long as they can moan about something.

For me things look clear, and on this we can note one point from the Observer report.   We have been for long periods of the season without our main defender, Vermaelen.

We have been for long periods of the season without our most important and probably best player, Fabregas.

We have been for most of the season without our main striker, Van Persie.

We had one player who was tearing defences apart at the start of the season, who went to play an international, got injured and has never been the same since: Theo.

When any other team faces these problems they also have troubles.  Just look at Chelsea who even have their best strikers available most of the time. And yet we face these problems and we find ourselves top of the league now. Just imagine if we would have had these players fit the whole season?

And now let us turn an eye at our manager who has lost if for some 5 years. Let us just look and admire that he brought Nasri to the Emirates. Another young and unproven player was the cry from some quarters.  New Zidane?  Rubbish!  Worse, Wenger put him in places where he was not accustomed to play.  He showed glimpses of huge talent but not on a constant level.  And then he got his leg broken on training and lost half a season. And then we saw the first glimpses of his talent when he scored that amazing goal against Porto.

And then came the best moment of his career, for us Arsenal fans anyway: he was left out the French squad for the world cup. A big blow for Samir but a blessing in disguise for Arsenal and us Gooners.

And now we see the amazing step he has made since the start of this season. 16 competitive  games started this season and 11 goals. He was out to prove something and my God, has he proven something!

So we should be grateful to our manager for getting Nasri to Arsenal and to work with him and turn him in to the player he is right now. So here is one who is sitting back, enjoying what is going on and thankful for the manager for doing it his way. Be thankful for Samir Nasri to prove the world what France had been missing in the world cup. But most of all, be thankful for Arsenal, the players and the manager for giving us this wonderful ride on the waves.

Fourteen days ago we were doomed and now we are top of the league and we are going to defend this league in Manchester in some 9 days.

Now isn’t that something to look forward too? And hey, who knows even by then maybe Cesc could be back.

The facts:

  • Arsenal had 13 attempts at goal to Fulham’s 10, 7 attempts on target, Fulham 4  (Chelsea had 10 goal attempts to Everton’s 14, four each on target).  Birmingham and Tottenham drew 4-4 in terms of goal attempts on target.
  • Manchester City yesterday scored their first home goal in two months.  In the Man City report the Observer says, “Like one of Tevez’s goal attempts, the title could go anywhere.”
  • Arsenal are the first team in the league to have got to ten wins
  • Arsenal have now reached more league cup semi-finals than any other team
  • Before this game Arsenal had won 9 and drawn 2, Fulham had won 2 and drawn 9 (which must say something about Fulham)
  • M Schwarzer took around 14 seconds to take each goal kick (apart from during the period after Arsenal scored the second)
  • Theirry Henry was at the match (although didn’t play)
  • The price for a ticket at Arsenal for the cup semi final against Ipswich is £20 throughout the ground.  Season tickets don’t apply so all  the tickets will be on sale.

And all that proves what?  Well, that we have scored four more goals than Chelsea this season, and that in an era of high ticket prices there is still a chance to see Arsenal at a discount.

Buy an Arsenal fan a unique Xmas present.

One of the great early shocks in FA Cup History

If you want something that no one else would ever dream of publishing, then just maybe it is here.  Or perhaps not.

89 Replies to “The EPL is the worst league in the world. After Arsenal/Fulham it must be”

  1. i feel very heart broken when the media gets un fair. i am convinced they are paid underhand. they have some thing against arsenal. they never appreciate the vision of arsenal / wenger.

    and even when we are good we are only good its not good enough for them. all we can do is be happy by ourselves and appreciate the hard work that the board and wenger has put into. the nasri goals make me cry!

  2. I think the only way for Arsenal to prove a point to the media is to go ahead and beat both United and Chelsea this month. That would be the best way surely…

  3. Great Article, I must say. I still remember the season when Nasri was brought on as a replacement for Hleb. Most of the fans were yelling for Arsene’s blood. But today, had it not been for him and his skills, which Arsene clearly spotted) Man Utd will be top of the table with a game to spare. And whilst the 29 year Hleb is in Brimingham City, we have a 23 year old Nasri in our squad. To all those who complain, let the people who know about managing football, do their work and let us all not try to become managers. And let me tell you something, we have one of the best managers ever known in the world of football. In Arsene we trust!

  4. What you can’t deny, and it’s been like this for ever, ARSENAL ARE NEWS and the club has always provided valuable fodder for the media.
    Long may it continue.

  5. I really do believe that there is a media bias against Arsenal. The is most apparent on Sky and MOTD,
    nothing seems to be good enough for these pundits. I thank my lucky stars for having
    found this website that puts things into perspective do keep up the good work!!!
    Many thanks a Gunner from Portugal!!

  6. the truth is our defence is fragile, but not tooo bad too be unworthy of being on top of the table especially given our attacking play and goal scoring!! To say arsenal is top bse epl has become a weak league is envious or ignorant if not both, if we went into the analysis of it, you realise its so far the most competitive among the best leagues not the two horse race you have in spain. But lets just enjoy our game, the players our coach and our club, no body shd define for us when to feel good about ourselves.

  7. Thanks for continuing to be the sanest Arsenal site around. I for one am getting so sick of the constant negativity – how many times have I heard that the difference between us and Chelsea and Man U is that they win when they don’t play very well … funnily enough when we do it the world is about to end. Coming out of the stadium yesterday you’d have thought we’d just dropped into the bottom three, not just gone top !!! Keep up the good work boys …

  8. I live in Norway and in the Matchday show here we always have a english guest. This time it was sport phycologist who sat there and talked about Arsenal defensive frailties, lack of leadership and how man utd is going to win the league because of their squad depth.

    4-0 to west ham with second string. Just sayin

  9. Thank you Samir for having scored 2 brilliant goals! I am grateful for them because we won – and I can gloat over the Chelski and Devils fans at work for at least a week.

    But oh, the article spews such gratitude (to Wenger?) and optimism! Its all that sun shining out of Wenger’s a**e that’s blinding Wenger himself to our team’s obvious frailties. There are those who are prepared to overlook mediocrity, and accept and praise it even, allegedly in some warped sense of “fairness”. Hey Tony, could you possibly be on the Prof’s payroll? Just a thought!

  10. If only Song could not maraud all match and cover the defence a bit, we would improve on the leaked goals. Otherwise, i have long since given up on the press and the pundits, I prefer to switch the tv on and reduce the volume. With a little luck, we can come out of December with a good report, and use it as a springboard to win the league. I’m also happy Arsene mentioned the fact that the hard work starts now. By the way, has any one noticed how Samir Nasri is shaping to replace Cesc as our most important player?

  11. The media were singing the same song last season, when we were top of the league after losing to both Manure and Chavski – they were saying: “It’s a big disgrace that a team like Arsenal can win the league when they lost to their 2 main rivals. It’s disgusting. We should enact a new regulation saying that if you didn’t win against your main title rivals, then it doesn’t count”. I think this year’s version is even more ridiculous. Not that i’m saying that our defence is fragile (in my humble opinion. though, it needs to improve but it will take some time) – my argument is WHO F****N CARES!!

    In football, may we remind the media, the winning team is the team that scored MORE goals – not the team who kept a clean sheet, or defended well, or made nice hanuka donuts with strawberry jam.

    No. If your opponent scored X, you need to score X+1 (at least) to win. Simple. So really, it’s just getting old – there is no shame in leading the league, bad defence or not, when we clearly score more than we concede. End of story.

  12. wonderful post!thanks tony and walter for all your sanity,positivity and hard work .wheather arsenal are top of the league or not you guys are always there beside arsenal and us,gooners.throughout all the negativity and vitriol from the media,the doomers we’ve always got a place to speak our mind,our dream and our hope.

    for arsenal’s current ranking i am only grateful to the almighty Allah(god).in this market of big spenders we are punching way above our weight.i hope we win anything this year.

    God bless arsenal.god bless untold and gooners.

  13. I’ve followed The Arsenal since 1965 (and my Father before me from the 1930’s) and I can’t remember the media EVER giving us real credit.Even when we win trophies we are begrudgingly creditted for our feats.
    Sour grapes on the part of a bunch of overpaid losers.
    The Arsenal have always been at the forefront of the game therefore must bear the brunt of ignorance and lack of vision.
    Unfortunately, many of our supporters are also unable to grasp the greatness of our endeavours and are easily influenced by the “media of the moment”.
    The role of supporter is exactly that,especially when we sit above all others – Top of the League!!

  14. Bill from Oz

    If we had a more disciplined SONG as defensive midfielder, then you would find our defence would not be so leaky. The reason why Manu and Chelski are so strong in defence is that they have disciplined DM’s. Did anyone notice Jack calling for Song to come back to cover in the middle. Reason for Jack not having such a good game was because he was left to mark two or three fulham players.

  15. Just to emphasise the importance of that head clash and ask Walter the question – if Kosceilny had gone to ground with the head injury immediately should the ref have blown his whistle straight away, thereby ‘preventing’ the Fulham goal?

  16. if we do manage to win the league this year you can bet we will receive little or no credit. we will just have to listen to stories of how it was just that manu and chelsea threw the title away, we didnt really win it. The silly thing is surely this is the result of the financial doping that eufa tried to break the big boys hold on things. no one wants to say as soon as man u and chelsea cant spend bags full of money they cant have these huge squads because they need to balance there books. (what do u think the chances of AW getting the credit for what he has managed over the last 5/6 years on a shoe string)

  17. I love it when the media are biased against us – shows we are doing something right. The bias will only increase as we start to win things again – bring it on!
    On the subject of defence – I actually believe there is room for improvement here, not always to do with the CBs but with MFs tracking back, this fits in with your comments on us letting most goals in through open play.
    I would like to see Song a bit more disciplined at times but who cares, we are top of the league!

  18. great post, nothing new for regular readers but great all the same.
    can i just add that cheski wouldnt have even got a penalty if anelka wasnt a cheating prat!
    i saw the the behide view of the challenge on manipulation and he changed his direction to collide with the keeper! after seeing the defenders covering. did any pundits notice? most likely.

  19. and it’s about to get worse when we rip through very old trafford without our 1st choice defensive partnership.
    hopefully djorou and squillaci can survive cl night.

  20. if we don’t have them then maybe observer will suggest epl to play with 12 players…. 😛

  21. This article is so rubbish…

    So what we are top of the league, it is something so easy to achieve. Just ask SAF and Joes!

    and if you look at our defense, they are the worst in BPL! Many of the arsenal fans like le-grove and many arsenal blogs have given you a long list of players that wenger should buy, just open up 70million chequebook and you will get 3 top top class center back. Recently, I have been looking at the entire 18 goals that we have conceded so far, I have watch replay after replay, it is either the keeper is too slow to react, or he just miss the ball. It is all his fault!

    And i don’t understand the hype about Nasir, he was not even good enough for france. It is obvious that wenger can only spot players who are only good enough for ARsenal. We should have brought Messi and Ronaldo in the wings, and perhaps buy another Ribery to sit in the bench as backup! he is professional and he won’t mind! A winning club needs 25 world class players to win the League, just ask Man city~~

    And screw the youth policy. It is always about the future! I want trophies now!! We fans are angry!! We should just splash our cheque book everytime we need a player!! the banks is always open anyway and Wenger is too stingy to do this smart way!

    Thus, I conclude that we need to sack our manager!!infact, We should sack our manager whenever we didn’t win the league, to let them know who is the boss!! look at Chelsea and Spurs, they won the league by sacking manager almost every season.. Our chairman should learn from them!!

  22. Critic- i hope cesc plays…the only way to beat united is to out score them bcoz lookin at their attack vs our defence, it wud be highly improbable that we can keep a clean sheet…but all we can do is hope that we come out as winners!!

  23. @only1
    agree with every single sentence you wrote, I think we should even sack them before we hire them, just to taught them lesson. And we should maybe invest buying time machine so we can see what potential manager can achieve.

  24. Great article! Hahaha @ “just better than the Jamaican league” so you have been watching…lol. Anyway sometimes I get so frustrated with these commentators bias I just mute my television, we are top of the table so I don’t care what they say

  25. Nice win! Let’s not read too much into it for now, and let’s take it one game at a time.

  26. Dark Prince wrote:

    “…the only way to beat united is to out score them bcoz lookin at their attack vs our defence, it wud be highly improbable that we can keep a clean sheet…”

    But DP, a few days ago, you were adamant in an argument with myself and Armin that out-scoring your opponent is not the most important thing but rather keeping a clean sheet! You are welcome to the new reality after your apostacy! I have always been more worried about our inability to take our many chances than us conceding. Assuming all the chances were taken yesterday by both teams, we would have won by 7-3 and not 2-1. I’ll happily take 7-3 over 2-1 anyday!

    I don’t care if the Mancs score, I only hope we out-score them. That is ALWAYS how games are won.

  27. in fairness to the media arsenal have been the pretenders for so long a bit like how spain were!!! pundits used to tip spain all the time but they under delivered so much that people stopped tipping them

    some journalists dont like taking back what they said about chelsea because a few weeks ago chelsea were the best team in the universe

    last season liverpool were tipped to win the title so who cares what the media think, as long as the focus stays on chelsea we can keep going silently

    if arsenal beat manu and chelsea the media goes the other way, it is a fickle creature

  28. yes,only1 you are right.i have news that many people are giving up their season are angry.we need to sack wenger because he is doing things the wrong way!we need jose as manager and hiddink as assistant manager and buy every expensive and overhyped player we can get.come on gazidis!we don’t need a manager who can keep us invincible for 49 games!

  29. I proposed anyone who used newsnow feed to start hiding bad sites from their feeds, thus denying them those valuable clicks.

    I leave only quite a few sites on my feed now that it felt much better reading them. Most of them only parroting each other anyway, so you not gonna lose much.

  30. Top of the league? BAH!

    Clean sheets are far more important than being top of the league.

  31. @Bootoomee

    I think what the dark prince was getting at in regards to clean sheets is that if say you are winning 2-0 the othervteam has lesser belief that they will get any points than say if the score is 2-1 or say 3-1 football is very psychological and has a lot to do with belief, if the the other team believes they wont score more often they wont: however if they still cling to a glimmer of hope they will fight tooth and nail to gt back invit it, just look at us against everton we were cruising and everton werent going anywhere until they scored, I would say clean sheets are more important in close games when playing decent opposition

  32. people love to hate arsenal, objectively, its easy to, we do almost everything differently. we dont use many english players at all, our style of play reminds me more of la liga insteadof premier league, we tend towards youth rather than experience, and we have gone undefeated recently. big surprise the pundits want us to fail. the best slap in the face we can give them is to win the league this season, which i think we have the capability to do, wenger was right in his interview the other day, it’ll come down to consistency

  33. a latest article that meets my expert point of view:

    wakakakaka!!! Many arsenal fans are experts in management and in soccer. we just need to buy this and that, sell this and that, wa la, we will win the champions league!!! And i agree with the sunday paper the Observer, we are rubbish in defense. its actually, very simple not to let in goals, just put 11 people around the goal post and wala we will break all records!! imm smarter than wenger :p

  34. Gooner80,

    Of course I agree that clean sheets are good. Would I have been happier with Fulham not scoring yesterday? The obvious answer is yes! However, I abhor the obsession with clean sheets and the denigration of other achievements of the team in favour of clean sheets. Other than the psychological effect it has (which I totally agree with you on), clean sheets are ultimately insignificant in the long run, provided the team continues to take its chances and keep out-scoring the opposition.

    Also based on how we play, I think we’ll continue to have difficulty keeping clean sheets but that is not worth moaning about in my opinion. What is more worrying is our conversion rate. Let’s be more clinical in front of goal and the odd goals we concede will not be so significant. We lost at OT last season to a dubious penalty (it OT so no surprises) and an own goal (a free header without any pressure from the opposition). But it wouldn’t have matter if we had converted our various chances. I am hoping that we out-score the Mancs next week.

  35. Only1,

    Thanks for that link. It is a poor and cheap attempt at getting hits. And the author is sadly ignorant – saying that Arsenal lack depth this season is just ignorant.

  36. @Bootoomee- “ofcourse i agree that clean sheets are good”. I think few days ago you said that clean sheets mean nothing to you. lol

    Anyways i hope Gooner80’s comment r good enough to satisfy u why we need clean sheets. And yes, i really dont think we can keep clean sheets against a powerful attack bcoz as i’ve said earlier that our defence is not as good to deal with continuous pressure. Obviously, i kno u’ll still try to prove that squillaci-djourou combo is as good as rio-vidic or terry-alex, so i dont think u’ll get wat i’m tryin to tell. Also yes, as i said in my previous post, the only way arsenal can win against United is to outscore them. Its not the best way i’d like, bcoz i’d more prefer only arsenal to score and make united realise that they cant score against us at their own turf. But i dont think thats gonna happen, atleast not without Vermaelen. So yes, i’d want Arsenal to out score them…but can Arsenal do that? Only time will tell…but i hope they do

  37. Dark Prince,

    It is unfair to deliberately misquote other people to win arguments. My actual statement was: “To me clean sheets are good to have but not worth going crazy over”. Out-scoring your opponents by as many goals as possible (from obviously taking your chances) is more important.

    You may recall me posting that I’ll take a hypothetical 100-99 over a 0-0 or a 100-98 over 1-0. BTW, 2-1 win takes you above another team with a 1-0 win.

    The rules of the game makes keeping clean sheets totally insignificant, it’s all about how many goals you can score. Scoring more than your opponent is the ideal situation. Moaning about clean sheets is what professional moaners do when they have nothing else to complain about.

  38. @bootoomee- as i’ve said earlier, not accepting a fact about arsenal’s defence is just plain ignorance….period. Winning with clean sheets only prove how good a team’s defence is. Maybe you think Football is only about attacking, thats shows how narrow minded u are. If you had the chance you’ll not even have a gk in arsenal’s team and put out 11 strikers thinking we can outscore everyone. Then when Arsenal lose to team like West brom and Newcastle or Spurs or Shakhtar or Braga, then you’ll moan on how the opponent wasted time, or our very own usual target- the ref. Then i guess, u too are a professional moaner…

    Anyways just think what is it that the whole Media doesn’t give us respect?? Its a simple answer, its bcoz most of the big teams dont respect Arsenal today. And respect comes out of fear. We have to intimidating in what we do, having clean sheets which convey a no non-sense defence is a part of it.

  39. Dark Prince, what good were clean sheets to Liverpool in 1999-2000?

    They only conceded 30 goals. Man United (45 goals conceded), Arsenal (43) and Leeds (43) all finished above them and let in significantly more goals.

    In 2001-02, Liverpool again conceded only 30 goals but finished 2nd to Arsenal who conceded 36 goals.

    And in 1998-99 conceding only 17 goals was a fine achievement for Arsenal. But it wasn’t good enough to win the title.

  40. @Andy Kelly- You’re picking out the exceptions. Can you tell me wat happened all the other years?? Its most of the other years, the team conceding the least goals won the title. That means atleast 90% of the time the team conceding the least number of goals won the title.

  41. Dark Prince,

    It is hilarious to read your post accusing ANYONE of being: “narrow minded”, “ignorant”. You are the footballing genius who suggested putting a player by each post to defend free kicks before being roundly condemned for your lack of football knowledge by virtually all the posters here:)

    And talk of being narrow minded, you only want Arsenal to score. You are one funny dude and your naivity knows no bound. Of course other teams will always score, especially against us because of the style of football we play. I never advocated us conceding like it is a good thing. Of course it is not but as long as we score more than we let in, we’ll be fine.

    Narrow mindedness is epitomised by always wanting to have the last say in an argument no matter how illogical you may sound!

    BTW, with Arsenal fans like you perpetually moaning at and denigrating Arsenal, why would ANYBODY respect us? To remove any doubt, I don’t care whether other teams and the media respect us. I don’t respect any of them and I expect no reciprocation of that sentiment.

    It is good you agree about out-scoring the Mancs though! It’s a positive start…

  42. Ok to bring out a fact after some research….

    In the last 10 years, the team conceding the least number of goals have won the epl title 7 times…

    Thats a massive 70%winning margin!!!!!!!!

    Maybe this should make few people here know whether clean sheets are important or not.

  43. Andy Kelly,

    You see what I mean? Those examples you gave to prove that clean sheets will not necessarily win you championships are not enough for DP, unless you can prove that it happens all the time. What you forgot to add, my friend, is that the teams who won on all those occasions and most other occasions (when the winning team conceded less goals) are the ones who score more goals than the other teams.

  44. @Bootoomee- jus read filip’s comments…maybe u’ll kno wat i’m talkin about. Though still cant believe that you dont consider clean sheets important. That statement makes you a super genious in football!! lol

    Also i remember many people like you who used to tell about a year ago, at this very own site, that our defense is good enough to handle united and chelsea and that we dont need to buy any defenders. Maybe Wenger himself proved you all wrong by signing 3 defenders since… Also he himself said after ystrday’s game that he expects us to concede through set-pieces, thats another thing that people like you dont care about, but atleast our beloved manager does.

  45. Also another important fact after some research!!

    In last 10 yrs, the team who scored the most goals have won the title only 5 times…thats just 50% success rate against the 70% success rate when the least goals are conceded!!!!!!

    I think this discussion ends with this important statistic.

  46. Sorry Filip,

    Everybody used to ‘know’ that the earth was flat! Now let’s put your cliche to the test: You play 0-0 throghout the season, you have a phenomenal defence and is unbeaten with 38 points and 0 goal difference. Sorry dude but you’ll only be lucky to escape relegation! On the other hand, win all your games 7-6 and you have 114 poins and +38 goal difference, definitely winning you the championship! Offence wins games and championships! Having a good defence helps though:-)

  47. Also another important fact after some research!!

    In last 10 yrs, the team who scored the most goals have won the title only 5 times…thats just 50% success rate against the 70% success rate when the least goals are conceded!!!!!!

    Bootoomee- I think this discussion ends with this important statistic.

    You can go on saying how much unimportant the defence is but the fact is that the most important part in the game is still the defence.

  48. I do not understand why people here make fun of the anti-Arsenal brigade. What they say basically is we can not beat Man Utd and Chelsea and most importantly we can not win the Premier League.None of it has happened and I dont think the Carling Cup will be enough for them. Being top of the league now does not mean much.People get too excited about it.Before the season began , I said the champion will be Arsenal or Man City and my prediction certainly does not look bad these days. In the beginning of last season , I predicted correctly that Chelsea would become the champions.

  49. And as filip rightly said, offence wins the match but its the defence that will eventually win you the championship!!!!

    Also to be honest, almost all the title winning teams have had a superb defence….even our very own invincibles, the chelsea’s and the united’s.

  50. I’m really not sure what to make of this article. I found it a bit odd and makes us sound a bit “precious”. Still on a high after yesterday and really not bothered about today’s press.

    Say, say we, say we are, say we are top of the league

  51. “offence wins the match but its the defence that will eventually win you the championship!!!!”

    That doesn’t even make any sense. To win a championship you MUST win matches, so if offence wins matches then OFFENCE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS.

  52. @Wrenny- for me both offense and defence are important. There should be a balance between both of them. If you are exceptional in attacking terms but the defence is not as exceptional then there is a problem. What i’m being tryin to tell is that we should make our defence as good as our attack is. And presently our only problem is the lack of exceptional quality in defence. We need 2 Vermaelens…or atleast 1 Vermaelen to have a hope.

    Also remember, scoring many goals doesn’t guarantee you points, for eg, we scored 2 goals against west brom at home but still didn’t win…. but not conceding any goals will atleast guarantee u 1 point.

  53. “scoring many goals doesn’t guarantee you points, but not conceding any goals will atleast guarantee u 1 point.”

    That’s the logic of a loser.

    You don’t win games by playing for clean sheets. You sound more concerned about not losing, not about winning.

    If you want to win games (and Arsenal always wants to win games, for there is no other way of winning trophies) you have to score goals, you have to go forwards, you have to take risks. Sometimes those risks don’t pay off and you lose a match that you might have drawn had you been more conservative.

    But one win and one defeat is worth more points than two draws! Being conservative and putting defence first does NOT win games, it only prevents defeats – ie. you end up drawing a lot games. Clean sheets do NOT win games, GOALS win games.

  54. @wrenny- i think you, like bootoomee, dont kno wat is the meaning of a ‘clean sheet’…

    A clean sheet doesn’t mean that both teams dont score…it simply means that you dont let the opponent score. When i say we should have a clean sheet, it doesn’t mean that we should end up wit 0-0 result…its means we should score goals without conceding. Eg,1-0, 2-0, 3-0, 4-0 etc…

    Maybe you, again like booboo, would rather like Arsenal winning 7-6 rather than 7-0…so i guess its just ur choice. Bcoz i’d really prefer Arsenal to win 7-0 rather than 7-6.

    Also i guess winning all games 7-0 will ‘mathematically’ make u in a better winning position than 7-6…so its upto what u prefer.

  55. I think you have a valid point Wrenny and breaking down defences is what has become difficult these days. Especially with half the teams parking the bus in front of goal because its so finacially rewarding to stay in the prem league.

    They will park the bus against all the top teams and chance playing football against teams of their own level.

    As for the press lets keep on sickening them with more good performances.

  56. Dark Prince,

    This is not about what you or I ‘want’ or prefer, it’s about what will ensure we win the most games. Your claim that I might actually want Arsenal to concede goals is a childish and pathetic attempt to change the subject.

    What you don’t seem to understand is that clean sheets are not something a top team AIMS to achieve. I can’t believe this actually needs to be explained, but a team goes out to WIN a game, and that requires scoring goals. Therefore the team’s priority is to score, not to keep a clean sheet.

    You want Arsenal to actually target clean sheets, which is a ludicrous philosophy. And you believe that it’s as simple as “winning 7-6 rather than 7-0”, which is laughable.

  57. Dark Princess,

    There you go lying about me again. I said 7-6 is better than 0-0, you wrote 7-6 better than 7-0.

    Come on dude……

    You also want 2 Vermaelens – are you into cloning? Better leave team set up to AW. That’s his job and I know that he is eternally more qualified than you at it.

  58. Typeface,

    Dark Princess is always unhappy. Methink he is a professional moaner. And the Mancs and the Chavs scare him shitless!

  59. I admit clean sheet is important, but right now, in XXI century I cant see Arsenal building game on keeping clean sheet. I don’t say it wont work for some teams, but for Arsenal, as it is now, it is impossible. I think there is more chances for us to win double and CL, than to keep clean sheets. Its mater of stile of play. We defend attacking and we have 30 players who are taught and shaped to play that way. To change it, to make us be “defending” team we need much more than cloning Vermaelen. Wee need to buy at last 5 players, and nor I would like to see Arsenal play that way, nor there is anyone in Arsenal right now wiling to do it.

  60. @ Walter: To be fair to Paul Doyle, his Observer article did go on to say “but the flip side of that is that if Arsène Wenger’s team do triumph this season it will be because of sumptuous forward play, exemplified here by two superb goals from Samir Nasri, who must surely be the Premier League’s player of the season so far”.

    I don’t think that the article was saying that we are the worst team in the world (although my initial reaction was basically a lot of swearing into my screen when I read the first part of the article which you quoted)…I believe that he was a bit clumsy in his opening paragraph and what he tried did not really come off…But in essence its the same discussion that we Gooners have been having for years(exemplified by Dark Prince and Wrenny above)…and to me its a glass half-empty vs. glass half-full discussion. There is merit in both discussion but I don’t think that you would get 60,000 people drooling over a tight defense! As I have said recently I was ever-present during the creation of the “1-0 to the Gunners” Gunners era – where you could go to the toilet safe in the knowledge that the opposition would not score against us once we scored first..but I would be prepared to bet that many present day Gooners piss themselves rather than go to the toilet whilst the game is going on…I am just saying that there is more to the game than than just avoiding defeat….But I understand what you are saying Dark Prince 90;

  61. Gooner Terry – the bits from the Observer were my input into the article, and yes they were selective. I fully admit it.

    But hell, we are still top of the league (I just checked on the BBC)

  62. Sir Tony you are not going to get much of an argument from me! Not today anyway…I will just ask that in your exuberance please don’t screw up Walter’s articles which are always so carefully constructed – my apologies Walter…naughty Sir Tony!

    Come on you Gunners!

  63. We have a right to make fun of the AAA because they have said things like Nasri is shit and should be sold….. and a million other reasons but that’s enough. This league is extremely difficult, to be top at this point is not easy and is an achievemnt and proves we are a good team, if we win we could be a great team…. we have room for improvement and issues to be addressed but we are not hopeless like many make out, and we also gave a very strong squad.

  64. @Wrenny and Bootoomee- again, you guys are just ignorant to Arsenal’s defensive frailties. Obviously i know the most the supporters here belong to category, i dont mind it really. But the fact remains that Arsenal’s defence is fragile. And having clean sheets has nothing to do with Arsenal’s attacking strategies. Barcelona has a more attacking style than Arsenal but they can still have enough defensive strength to keep a clean sheet. When i say we need to be more strong defensively, it doesn’t mean we have to change our style of play into a defensive one. It simply means that our quality of defence is not exceptional. You guys can moan about refs and time wasting like professional AAAs.

    Lol cant believe that none of the supporters here think that clean sheets are of any importance. It just shows plain ignorance and arrogance for arsenal’s attack. Arsenal’s attack will not always be able to break down defences quickly, that is where our defence should show its character and not let the opponent concede.

    Anyways i kno none of you will understand this, you just are too over-confident about everything. I guess it gets transmitted to Arsenal’s players and hence we can see how in between they get complacent and lose the easiest of games. Even our very own manager-Wenger, has admitted and has brought in 2 defenders. Even in the post match interview, Wenger conceded that he was worried about Set-pieces. And still you dont even respect your manager’s thoughts. Shame on u AAA!!!!

  65. Attack and defence are coupled and should be discussed holistically, rather than in isolation.

    People exalt about winning, but winning depends on both scoring goals and keeping clean sheets.

    Win = (Goals scored) – (clean sheets)


  66. i hate to say but, darkprince latest post do make some sense. I am pro wenger, but i agree with darkprince that there are rooms for improvement in defense which is important! but unlike AAA, for those of us who has experience in management will understands that for every decision made will have an affect in other departments. I.E, if wenger has been changing players all the time and not giving them chance, we will not have seen many of the players playing for Arsenal today.

    to me its about winning, not focus on defense nor focus on attack. Its all about strategy!!

    I still remember that last season, Wenger defensive tactics is to play withdrawl football whenever we lose the ball, but if you look at this season, whenever the opponent receives the ball, there will be at least one player attacking him. Our defense had already improves alot!! Lastly We don’t really have to tell him what to do, wenger knows best!! You can watch it here

  67. As the Arsenal moved up the table I’ve noticed that Untold too has moved up 3 places .Riding on coattails ,Tony ?

  68. Not taking any sides here, I just think that some of the discussions deteriorate into personal, uncalled for posts.

    It’s ok to have difference of opinions, and it’s important to respect other opinions. I do think DP’s view is a bit pessimistic, but hey, otherwise he wouldn’t be wearing them “dark” spectacles. However, the people who constantly take shots at him (and at other more-half-empty-glass kindov guys) seem eager to try and take those posts apart into small fragments and try to ridicule them, instead of trying to see the point (which in turn creates a counter-post, which is not too productive either, etc.)

    I can’t believe even the most optimistic supporter would not agree that there is room for improvement; as I can’t believe that even the most pessimistic supporter (not talking about AAA and other fake ass spurs lovers) would not agree that we are in a great position, commanding amazing offence and for the first time in maybe 4 years don’t look like injuries are killing us.

  69. The problem is that Dark Prince cannot stop himself from veering off the point and making silly statements.

    The discussion is meant to be about importance of clean sheets, and how much of a priority it should be for Arsenal to achieve them.

    I don’t feel that racking up clean sheets is a necessity for a championship-chasing side, as a team of that calibre ought to have enough firepower to win games without needing to keep a lot of clean sheets.

    Dark Prince’s reasoned response: You are ignorant, arrogant, a “professional AAA” and you like it when Arsenal concede goals…

  70. Ok. So there are some supporters here who think the the defence is as important as the offence. Nice to see that. 🙂

    I maybe am a little pessimistic, i admit, i kinda prefer prevention rather than cure. For me its always, safety first. I guess there are many supporters who kinda believe in that cliche. And i’m in no way denying the great football we’re having, afterall we’re on top of the league!! And neither do i want Arsenal to change its attacking style. But in no way, can we continue to ignore our defensive frailties. We cant always depend on just our attack to win the games, as we saw in our last game that it wasn’t just Nasri who won the game for us by those 2 superb goals but also Fabianski who was involved in those two vital saves. Though, only Nasri’s goals will be remembered. I think the defence is the true ‘UNTOLD’ part of our team.

    It kinda reminds me of how last year we were too dependent on Cesc to win us the games, but today we still have a good attack to win games even without Walcot, Cesc or Van Persie. In the same way, we cant be too dependent on our attack to win us games, our defence too is important to save us in bad times.

    Also dont think that we cant improvise our defence. Maybe we’re all forgetting how exceptional our offence and defence was during the invincibles era. It means we can achieve both. And i believe we all want that.

    Though its a good time for us that our beautiful attack is winning us games!!!! We are The Arsenal!!!! Keep the faith fellow Gooners!! 🙂

  71. For me, we have been criticized so much so that we have become defensive thinkers. We feel like we need to defend our win as much as our loss. The fact is the media constantly wants to talk about Arsenal, whether it is negative or positive depends on a lot of factors. There is no new angle or perspective to the criticism we face everyday. If we win, it is not because we were good, but the opposition didn’t turn up for the game. If we lose, it reinforces the same deficiency they have been telling us about the last five years.

    The funny thing is that we are top of the table. Now the only way they can beat us down is by pointing out that the competition is rubbish, as we have been told many many times. Therefore, I have a suggestion. Why don’t we just start writing that Chelsea, ManU, ManC, and all the teams that are pushing for the championship are just rubbish. That way, if they feel the worse team is on top, the only conclusion you can arive at is that the teams below us are even worse. Does that make sense?

  72. Getty – that is exactly what most of us have been saying on this board for ages. You can only say “Arsenal are crap” if you are then willing to also say “Chelsea, Utd etc are crap” and the media do not want to do that, so it renders their objections moot. People say “well, those teams aren’t playing well” but I dont think we are playing particularly well at the moment either and yet we are top. We are winning games when not playing our best and isnt that what Champions do? People say “well, those teams have injuries” and we have hardly had TV, RvP, Cesc and Diaby all season.

    The next few weeks are huge. We dont need to win every game but we need to come out of this patch of games within a point or two of the top. If we enter 2011 top of the League

  73. I hit post too soon….

    If we enter 2011 top of the League then things will be looking great.

  74. Paul C. I completely agree about the importance of the next few weeks, but I don’t believe it is the end of the championship if we slip here and there. One difference I noticed this season is the fact that at least the first 11 of many midtable and promoted teams are really have improved. That means there is no guarantee the team that comes out of this holiday season on top will be picking up all the points on offer the rest of the season.

    Unless Arsenal run away with it at some point, we probably still talk about who will win it this season all the way to the end. That’s how much believe I have in this team this season! Our players have been more resilient than they are given credit to so far. If you think you are perfect in life, you don’t impove. But the weight of negativity is a burden that will errode your confidence. I still believe the difference between home and away form has something to do with this.

  75. Just as comment on media coverage of our games and things around Arsenal.
    International War Tribunal in Den Hag recognized media as potentially dangerous factor which can directly or indirectly be responsible for war crimes.

    Understanding it we can assume that anti-Arsenal propaganda also can have deeper, and we are witnesses, it have, as it last already for years, impact on media picture.
    And we know teen times repeated lie instantly became truth.

  76. Getty – absolutely, that is why I say that we dont need to win these games. I just dont think we can lose to both Utd and Chelsea and still hope to win the League, unless those teams fall apart completely in the 2nd half of the season. I would be quite happy with a couple of draws to be honest.

    At some point we have to beat Chelsea or Utd to really be taken seriously. As much for our own confidence as a team as anything else. Draws wouldnt hurt that confidence. A couple of losses when those teams seem ripe for the taking would be devastating. I dont think you have to beat your direct rivals to win the League, but you can’t lose every match against them and hope to win (as we did last year).

  77. Boy this discussion has been one of the best on Untold for a long time. I will appoint myself judge & jury as I am completely unbiased and can see both points of view. As I have said its a discussion that Gooners have been having since I started following the Gunners 4 1/2 decades ago..Its a discussion that can’t be won: DP is correct, we do need to improve our defensive game…But Wrenny and others are correct too when they say that its goals that wins games and that as long as we score more than our opponents all will be well..What both sides are missing is that the quality of the teams in the Prem have improved significantly over the past 2-years to the point where none of the top teams can expect easy games: on any given day – as we have already seen this season – any team can beat any other team. So that is what is happening – matches have become more competitive and not, as some on this site have asserted, that the Arsenal is somehow getting worse. AW have been saying this from the beginning of the season…we need to pay attention to the evidence and what out great manager is saying. He is giving us – the supported – the benefit of his experience during his interviews a but only some of us are really thinking about what he has been saying…

  78. GoonerTerry – great post. I liken it to the debate some are now having about Song after AW admitted he was giving him license to roam. Some are taking that as meaning that Song will now be flying forward at every opportunity but miss the wider context of AW’s statement, which was about how to break down teams that come to our place and park the bus behind the ball, ESPECIALLY WHEN WE ARE WITHOUT CESC.

    Another example was criticism of AW’s statement that he wouldnt buy in January, missing out the vital part of the statement which was “unless we get more injuries”. That makes it clear that it is dependent upon TV and Cesc’s recovery.

    Balance isnt only needed between defense and attack. Balance is also needed as fans when looking at our team, i.e. avoiding ridiculous comparisons to the Henry/Vieira/Pires/Bergkamp team and acknowledging that we cannot win every match. We challenged for the Title in 07/08, we challenged for the Title last season. It looks like we will be challenging again this season. We are hardly in crisis.

  79. Good point you guys, some of the difficulty of buying and buying is what happens when all the injured players are available. Now you are set to 25 players that excludes youngsters. You will get many unhappy players plus the youngsters trying to break into the first team with luck of opportunity. That is a recipie for disharmony. You see this happening in other teams often. ManC and Tots are a good example of what happens when you buy everything in sight.

    The other thing is that a few years of harrassment from your own buddies who support other teams can be really unnerving. You hear their BS for awhile and start believing them. I say let’s take a deep breath and enjoy the fresh air at the summit!

  80. What it comes down to is that with 10 minutes left in the game you have to decide whether you are happy with dropping 2 points or risk dropping 3 points while going for the extra goal which which will mean 0 dropped points. During a cup tie, it makes sense to settle for a draw but over the course of a season too many draws will surely sink you. If you play 3 games and with the score equal with 10 minutes left you can afford to lose 2 as long as you win 1 to equal the 3 draws. Of course you could win more than the 1

  81. Paul C I think what we Gooners appreciate most about AW is that he’s not reactionary and will not flip-flop when his tactics does not immediately work..On the subject of Song: It makes perfect sense for Song to be given a roaming DM role – especially at home – to counter the long ball out of our opponents defense. As our best player at breaking up opponents moves Song can press high up when we have successfully compressed play in and around opponents 18-yard box. Of course this is risky but to a great degree our game is built on taking calculated risks. What we need to do better is when Song is foraging forward our CB’s need to keep tight and not push too forward also. I would also like our forwards to start being more decisive in and around the opponents penalty area: we see great results RVP is in the team as his layoffs invites his team mates to push on behind the opposition. Whereas sometimes we can get over-elaborate wanting to take too many touches instead of shooting…overall though our game is developing all the time and one day it will click into place..

  82. The league is tighter but weaker at the top. The top teams in the league are certainly weaker than in the past. There really can be no question that ManU, Chelsea, and Liverpool don’t have the same quality and depth as in past years. Meanwhile ManCity has spent enormous sums to build a side that has yet to gel together as a team with so many new players and Tottenham has made some improvement with the development of Bale and acquisition of Van der Vaart.

    The mid-table teams seem to be about the same overall–Aston Villa worse but Sunderland better and so on.

    The lower table sides is where I see the big difference and improvement. Even West Ham and Wolves play fairly well. The newly promoted sides have done quite well. Bolton is a major example of progress. The question is why? Better young players developing, good purchases of players, good coaching? I don’t watch these teams really except when they play Arsenal.

    But overall, it is possible to say that the top teams are not as strong (yet–Man City will grow stronger over time and especially if they qualify for the CL they’ll attract an even better class of player).

    The issue for me as an Arsenal supporter is that we should really have improved enough to defeat our rivals. Unlike those rivals, We’ve been developing our squad for the past several years with many young players who should (like Nasri, Walcott, …) come into their own now and improve. This is why it was unfortunate to lose at Chelsea and lose to Spurs. This next month will really tell us where we are as we face ManU, Chelsea and ManCity. I think we need 6 of 9 points from these encounters to build our own confidence and achieve our potential. Sure, winning against lower table sides has become tougher, but we should be able to seize the advantage and win this year when our rivals have worsened and we have improved. If ManCity gets its act together and manages to win the league, well we can acknowledge that their spending has thrown a wrench into the system and derailed our more patient efforts. I don’t think we should lose the league to Chelsea or ManU (or God forbid, the Spuds!)–this should be our time.

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