An Even Bigger Miracle Please.

We needed a miracle before Birmingham we still need a miracle now the only thing that has changed is that we need an even bigger one.

I would like to try and put a positive spin on the match but I can’t, the nausea in the pit of my stomach won’t let me. It feels like I have woken up with the mother of all hangovers and no matter how hard I try and remind myself what a good time I had at the party we call our season, enjoying exquisite football of the highest calibre — it doesn’t help, I still feel absolutely awful.

Wenger’s gamble failed, I am not about to launch into an anti Wenger tirade, I am fully aware just how easy it is to get things right with hindsight but Wenger stressed the importance of ignoring the Barcelona game and being fully focussed on Birmingham which surely included playing our strongest team – well he didn’t, and it cost us.

Playing Theo on a bowling green of a surface such as the Emirates when the play is tight is usually unproductive but playing him on a bobblely pitch like St Andrews and he is more than likely to go AWOL, which is exactly what happened, for seventy minutes he was anonymous — it was equivalent of playing with 10 men.

In normal circumstances playing with ten men against eleven does not deter the spirit of this team as they showed so admirably last week against West Ham but with Howard Webb so blatantly making it twelve against ten, things were tough, throw in an injury that reduced Fabrégas to a passenger and the odds were really stacked against us.

Still the nine men battled on with Rosicky mustering all the enthusiasm he possessed, Diaby was putting on a magic show in the middle, while Denilson albeit light weight was doing what he could but no matter how much they tried this midfield triumvirate just could not get the game under control and it remained deadlocked.

Then on seventy minutes Wenger decided to unwrap the big guns from Wednesday’s cotton wool; Arshavin and Nasri replaced Walcott and Rosicky, the difference was immediate, for the first time in the match there was eleven against eleven, well almost, they still had Webb but it certainly helped.

The two late arrivals were cutting through the Birmingham defence like a hot knife through butter, this galvanised the back line, lifted Denilson’s confidence and gave even more impetus to the Diaby show. It seemed like only a question of time before we scored and so it proved: our saviour was Nasri, a low drive through a sea of legs found its way into the far corner leaving Heart stranded — cue unbridled joy in the 12 Pins pub, Finsbury Park the place went absolutely mental.

Arsenal immediately took their foot off of the paddle and dropped a gear but with only ten minutes to go all seemed fine — wrong — out of the blue in injury time someone thrust their hand down my throat, ripped out my beating heart, throw it into the air and Almunia, instead of catching it, tried to push it over the bar which he pathetically failed to do — it hurts, it really hurts.

By London

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48 Responses to An Even Bigger Miracle Please.

  1. London says:

    Morning all

    That was difficult, but at least there is something up there.

  2. Rasputin says:

    Morning London,

    A fine post and thankyou for ‘playing through the pain’ and having the stomach to write a post!

    I’m still very angry. AW got it completely wrong, he lacked the courage that Harry Redknapp had when he made 2 subs at half time in the FA cup last week when players were underperforming. Arsène definitely had Barça on his mind. By leaving out Nasri and AA, it meant that Cesc had 3 men on him and was persistenty fouled (as usual) and that resulted in an injury which may well keep him out on wednesday – so that tactic failed miserably.

    The only thing I will say about Almunia is that he is probably the worst GK in the prem. He cost us 2 points, he was dodgy throughout the game. He may have lost us the league, he may well yet cost us the CL. He has no guts – punching a lob that a junior would have caught. He is not good enough for us, he is not good enough for Spain, he is barely good enough as a back-up keeper.

  3. London says:

    Morning Peaches

    Have you noticed the related post?

  4. Morning London – that must have been the saddest one of the lot to write. Wheres the related post?

    I feel so sorry for Cesc – the persistent fouling will surely drive him away if its not AW’s lack of ability to see that Almunia is costing us almost every week or starting with a weakened team.

    Very upsetting ……….

  5. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Ras

    One of the least expensive postions on the field is goalkeeper, so why would you not just go out & spend on a ready made stopper instead of experimenting with kids. Who is thegoalie coach, not Bob Wilson still is it. Times have changed, as have the type of projectile they have to keep out.

  6. We’ve been here so many times in the past – important run of games in the PL and the cup competitions and instead of our positivity spreading to the team our manager who is the ultimate spin doctor fails us in his negative team selection.

    Why Theo? What has Theo done to deserve being in the starting eleven? Nasri and Eboue have been so important in recent weeks and when Theo is anonymous why leave him on the pitch?

    Of course, Diaby’s goal should have stood and Carr should have been off the pitch AND CESC SHOULD HAVE HAD MORE PROTECTION.

  7. Rasputin says:

    Morning GG,

    Bob Wilson left some years ago. He was unhappy that Stuart Taylor was let go. He described Taylor as the best young english goalkeeping prospect he’d ever worked with – Taylor has not achieved much since he left so maybe it was the right decision. Having said that, I’d back Bob Wilson’s knowledge of goalkeeping over Arsène’s any day. I don’t think it matters how good your coaching staff are if the player does not have the potential to improve – and I think that sums up Almunia.

  8. Alfa says:

    Morning all. Good post London, summed it up today. Think what is possible if Man U and Chelsea slip up again though – we’re down but not out.

  9. Alfa says:

    By the way, Almunia is the 13th best keeper in the EPL according to the Castrol index – well short of what we need by any measure.

  10. tommystout says:

    Well it was only a matter of time before Almunia cost us again. I will be bewildered if he is not replaced in the summer, Fabianski needs another year or 2 in the wings, but hey we need a strong spine and we will never have it if we have Manuel in goal.
    I dont think we are out of it yet, but i’ll be cheering chelsea next week.

  11. tommystout says:

    Sunday supplement was interesting this morning, martin samuel (friend of arsenal)!was on and bigging up the arsenal way. None of the panel today thought arsenal were out of it but favour utd/chelsea.

  12. tommystout says:

    Clocks went forward, sort it out, i keep thinking i should go back to bed:-)

  13. Oops, thanks tommy just noticed that…….

  14. Rasputin says:

    Morning Alfa,

    I don’t care what the stats say – I don’t believe Almunia is 13th best keeper in the prem, I’d take at least half of those rated worse over him any day………. He is the weakest link … it’s well past the time when we should have said “Goodbye”

  15. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Ras

    Is AW the goalkeeper coach. Oh shitski ;)

  16. Rasputin says:

    Who knows GG, I’ve ranted before about how numerous and seemingly ineffective our legions of so-called ‘training staff’ are.

  17. dandan says:

    morning all
    Hi London nice post We can feel your hurt and Anger.
    But seriously all is not lost yet. We have been here before and come through it smiling.
    Don’t rubbish Wenger for the changes he made. If you look at it logically he actually got it right only a mistake by our errant goalkeeper denied us the points.
    AA has taken much stick on here in recent weeks for his attitude, so maybe a rest was necessary. Agreed the side perked up when they came on but that is the point of substitutions, fresh legs being chased by tired legs. Even so both those players missed chances they would normally have scored, due mainly to the pitch.
    we have a game on Wednesday when the tables are likely to be turned on us and we will be the side doing as much chasing as PL sides normally do against us. So a tired AA then would be a disaster we need him and Nasri fit.
    Cesc is made of sterner stuff and even he is now a doubt, what price AA and Nasri lasting 90 minutes in those conditions. Wenger knew that and did the right thing. How often have you all written on here it is a squad game. This run in will have a big influence on who Wenger releases at the end of the season and who comes in.
    So be calm gooners, how will pillorying Arsene help the side at this stage. Oh and say a little prayer to the god of footballers that our our tapas waiter turns into a goalkeeper before Wednesday.
    What we need is a Man u. Chelsea draw next week provided we win at home all reverts to where it was.

    Keep the faith my friends

    It is all part of the rich tapestry that is a Gooners life.

  18. Rasputin says:

    Morning dandan, I knew you’d put a positive gloss on things … good on ya :P

    I’m afraid I have to disagree with “We have been here before and come through smiling”… we have been here before and that’s why I’m so despondent, because I don’t remember smiling afterwards.

  19. dandan says:

    Rasp: Memories a great things, Look at 1971, 3 games left, We had been going like a train, then we draw 2.2 with West Brom from the other end of the league on Tue night, Sat we were away to Leeds our title rivals and lost 1.0, leaving us 1 point behind with a final game on Monday at Spuds. the rest as they say is history.

    If that doesn’t make you smile nothing will

  20. A little confused here guys/gals

    How was the team selection wrong?

    Arshavin and Nasri are derided fortnightly for not being as good away from home, with the barca game around the corner, rosicky and theo were more than able bodies to step in and do a job.

    Theo is just hit and miss, tomas done fine.

    The subs came on, and done the job, they were wonderful subs, as they came on and made chances and tucked away what would have been the winning goal.

    Both nas/arsh had 4 chances between them to wrap it up.. so how were they late?

    Are we suggesting if they had come on 10 minutes earlier… that would have helped them bury chances?

    I think not.

    Almunia and Webb cost us the 3 points, and that is the truth of it.

    We certainly need a new goalie, but we have to just put faith in almunia till the season end as there is not a chance in hell he will be dropped now.

    100% he will not be our number 1 next season, you will see that at barnet on and around 15th july.

    Lets just chill and wait for easter weekend.. think about it

    either way, we WILL make up 2 points on both or 3 points on one.

    unless you think wolves will turn us over at THOF?

  21. dandan says:

    It would seem Hawke we sing from the same hymnbook

  22. we certainly do, dandan ;)

    we are proper in this chase, chelski have got old trafford, the lane, and anfield to go to yet.

    chelski won’t win this leauge, if that i am sure.

    utd are doing better than i ever believed to be fair.

    the spuds will have to do us a favour with them.

  23. fat sam will roll over for red nose

    away day at city has draw all over it

    and the spuds at OT.

    that could be the 4 points there.

  24. Rasputin says:

    Hi SFH,

    I wasn’t being wise with hindsight. If you read my comments on here during the game, you will see that I was calling for subs before he made changes. I think he should have started with Eboue instead of Theo, or replaced Theo with Eboue at an early stage in the second half. The other teams in the prem have decided that if you stop Cesc, you stop Arsenal – therefore he gets closed down very quickly by the opposition midfield and comes in for a lot of physical challenges. If say Nasri had been on the pitch earlier, he can also be the playmaker and they’d have had to split their resources. The chances we missed are simply the average number of chances Arsenal miss in any game – we have to accept that we create a lot and we miss a lot. Having said all that, we had a perfectly good goal disallowed.

  25. looking at the fixtures, we have to root for chelski next weekend, a united win would be bad.

  26. Rasp – true in all you say… but we made chances, and should have been safely out of sight..

    was just not meant to be our day.. adn we have had plenty of those in recent times

    but nothing ever stays the same, luck comes and goes.

    we are due to some almighty good fortune, and utd for sure are due some rotten, rotten luck

    unreal these OG’s they get

  27. Rasputin says:

    True, one or t’other were obviously going to drop points in that game – if we’d have secured all 3 yesterday, we’d have been favourites to land at least 2nd in the prem which would have been our highest finish in 6 years.

    Don’t take any notice of me, I’m getting all my angst out of the way today and then it’s all positivity for Barça….

  28. I’m impressed that both of you, dandan and SFH can still feel positive – and you’re both right that this time next weekend the positive juices may be flowing through me too but today I just can’t see it.

    Its all part of the roller coaster of being a gooner – I just wish that sometimes it could be a bit easier.

    Its not a case of ‘you’re right’ or ‘I told you so’ its just how it feels today :(

  29. Rasputin says:

    We have been an unlucky side since the Invincibles – and that’s not just me viewing history through red tinted specs. Manu and Pool are the 2 luckiest teams in the prem. Weren’t OG’s the second highest scorer for manu up until yesterday?

  30. dandan says:

    Peaches, I wonder how you would feel if you were a appy ammer today, all these things are relative, so I suppose we are relatively peed off.LOL

    If you have a cat try kicking it, will do you the world of good.

    !!! Loads of gooner Hugs!!!

  31. Berbatov scored his 11th goal and thats the same number of OG’s the mancs have had.

    The worst part about my evening was that a spud friend couldn’t help herself from asking what the scores were yesterday ALL BLOODY EVENING and I’d cooked her and her daughter dinner. She kept droning on about how they just want to get into Europe and go for the title in 2 to 3 years. You have to laugh don’t you, only I didn’t feel like it last night :lol:

  32. yup peaches, we all deal with things differently.

    what is keeping me going, and will help keep you going:

    1. Easter weekend, we will 100% make up 2 points on both ( if they draw ) or 3 points on one ( if one wins )

    2. Chelski have VERY tough away days against top sides fighting for 4th

    3. Karma is real, and exists for sure… it is coming around our way, believe me.

  33. dandan says:

    Did you point out Harry could be managing the “Ive ad me collar felt Rovers” by then Peaches

  34. Thanks dandan – obviously I feel worse cos I had to spend the evening with a spud

  35. Rasputin says:

    The word is that Iniesta is out for wednesday – maybe some of SFH’s karma is already heading our way :P

  36. London says:

    RSD

    Have you got a ticket for the Barça away yet? I don’t have one but I was wondering what is happening.

  37. all but the ticket have paid and await it

  38. are you going with club or have paid a tout i mean ticket events company?

  39. to get a ticket in the barca end for the away leg, will cost a max of 50 euros off a tout out there apparently.

    the top layers of the camp nou only cost something like 9 euros a ticket face value.

    get a cheap flight over, which is what i am planning with some buddies, and have a day out and hopefully blag a cheap ticket

    bonus if it is in the gooner end

    not so bad if its with the barca mob as there is a healthy respect between the sides/fans.

    got my seat in a box for wednesday night 8)

  40. xavi, and iniesta out for the first leg!

    btw

  41. wow, craig gordon just made one of the saves of the season

    watch it on motd2 tonight

  42. kelsey says:

    I thought it was British Airways that was on strike ;) or is everyone still shell shocked.

  43. Rasputin says:

    Hi kelsey,

    We are a pro-everything Arsenal site so I suspect that most of our regulars (myself excluded :oops: ) have chosen to say nothing rather than appear negative. Tomorrow will be different, we have a rallying post in the pipeline.

  44. charybdis1966 says:

    Hi Rapsers, the despondency of 4.50pm yesterday is slowly lifting with the news that 2 of the 3 cogs in the Barca midfield won’t be playing on Wednesday.

    As for the league, well if there is a draw between the Chavs & the manks(and of course we beat Wolves @ home) it’ll be as you were before this weekend.

    Yes, I know it’s tough, but as many wags have said, it’s a funny old game.

  45. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    evo

    If you are there, good win by CFC the other night. The game had “almost” everything, from a bit of biffo, to actually quite good umpiring, but I did say almost, & that obviously means we didn’t win :(

    Anyway, moving right along. Do you still think The Arsenal can win the PL?

  46. Morning all

    There is a NEW POST

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