Always Outnumbered, Never Outsung

A trip up to the north west beckons our weary team and our magnificent travelling support.

Some would say we’re a team traumatised by recent setbacks in the league: the loss of a two goal lead last time out, the late, late penalty equaliser against the ‘dippers last weekend and the pair of home nil-nils against Blackburn and Sunderland.

Suffice to say on paper the results don’t suggest a team brimming with confidence. Having said that it can be argued that save for the last thirty minutes of the NLD our attacking and midfield play showed genuine endeavour and self-assurance, even if the defensive frailties continued to persist.

It is fortunate that a feature of previous league campaigns is that most trips to the north west would be in the bleakest portion of the season where a trip to Lancashire would be about as welcome as a cold shower to start the day, however travelling to Bolton will, for the outstanding travelling Gooners, not be an arctic affair on this occasion.

Traditionally most Bolton games have been bruising encounters, who can forget the game where we had player after player stretchered off after the good old British values of “getting stuck in” got their due reward?

Of course this was in the halcyon days of Big Fat Walrus-face Sam, Jose Mourinho’s successor in waiting. It has been said that Owen Coyle has been attempting to get his team to use the grass on the pitch a bit more, rather than the air above it exclusively and in one way Bolton’s last game against a team with a manager that makes Allardyce look like Pep Guardiola, Stoke, showed they couldn’t compete with a “robust” approach as they crashed out of the FA Cup 5-0 to Pullis’ pugilists.

Form wise prior to the FA Cup semi Bolton beat West Ham convincingly at home (3-0) but lost away to Birmingham city (2-1) and before that a narrow loss at Old Toilet to ManUre 1-0.

The Bolton striker to look out for is Chav loan player Daniel Sturridge, who has scored six goals in eight appearances, and the reasoning for the loan is obvious when you look at the performance of Bolton’s other striking options: Elmander (one goal in thirteen) and Kevin “Elbows” Davies (one goal in eighteen).

Just to show that Davies has not changed his ways there is only one player in the Bolton squad with more than his seven yellow cards for the season, namely Paul Robinson, with nine yellows. This constant feature of Bolton’s play at least reassures us that even in a rapidly changing world some things just don’t change, and for that we must be thankful.

League wise, while Bolton sit in eighth place and we are third, they have scored twenty goals less than our sixty six yet have let in nine more than our thirty four so in theory an away win is a formality, right?

Turning to our beleaguered boys in red and white we have, barring the Verminator, pretty much our full complement of first choice players available, so in my opinion the match will hinge on whether the desire of the Trotters to bounce back after their drubbing at Wembley last weekend is greater than our wish to avenge the surrendering of two points to Stratford Spurs.

Not only must we enter the last quintet of fixtures fighting for a win to avoid our season fizzling out but it may well be vital we finish second to avoid the potential need to play a pre qualifier to the Champions League group stages should we stay third, as there are mutterings that that only the winners and runners up of the premier League will automatically go to the group stages.

Selection wise I have a dilemma for midfield as a few weeks ago Jack would have been an automatic pick; however Diaby’s last two performances have made Jack a less obvious pick. Having said that, Cesc must have Song with him if Diaby, less defensive in nature than Jack, is to play.

Up top is the question of whether Nasri should play left wing or Arshavin, with neither player being especially consistent recently. Right wing should be Theo’s place but hopefully with licence to play through the centre to give the Trotters something to think about.

In my opinion a free flowing, flexible formation playing at a high tempo is the best way to approach this Bolton team so for that reason, and reasons of sentiment, my team would be:

On a tenuously related matter, if any Gooners are looking for an IPL (Twenty20 cricket) team to follow can I suggest Kings XI Punjab as their owner is a passionate Gooner and he specifically ensured their jerseys were as close to Arsenal’s home strip as possible, they are even both sponsored by Em****es Airlines.

They also have another owner who is worth attention, Preity Zinta, but that’s just me doing my Cosmo Smallpiece impression.

A final point, listen out for the magnificent away support, they consistently do us proud time after time; always outnumbered, never outsung.

COYRRG !

Charybdis1966

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53 Responses to Always Outnumbered, Never Outsung

  1. SUGA3 says:

    morning,

    good read chary, Allardyce and Guardiola analogy made me chuckle…

    not nitpicking, but Diaby has got his customary injury after playing three games in a row ;)

  2. Morning all

    Thank you chary for a great read. Trips to Bolton have always brought out the negative in me but Owen Coyle does indeed send his team out to play football so I’m hoping our boys will have a good time today.

    Lovely to see the scum drop two points yesterday and although they didn’t ever deserve a place in the Champs Lge, their failure to qualify next season musn’t be the best thing about this season.

    Like I said yesterday, if we finish the season strong, looking like a team, winning our last five games then at least there’s hope for the future.

    Special mention to Gooner in Exile who will be among the travelling singing throng today. Hope you and your missus have a great day.

  3. Morning Suga – a Diaby injury?! now there’s a surprise

  4. SUGA3 says:

    Vela clocked up an assist and almost scored right from the off…

    just saying ;)

  5. I love Carlos Vela, I’m so disappointed that he’s fallen out of favour. I really thought he and Nik made a great combination when they burst onto the scene.

  6. But he’s not really set West Broms late season fight for survival alight has he :(

  7. SUGA3 says:

    well, two cameos, two goals two points – what more can you ask for?

    I firmly believe that all Carlito needs is a bit of love…

    his prozzie antics are the living proof of that :lol:

  8. Gooner in Exile says:

    Just finished hotel brekkie in the heart of enemy territory, looking forward to the day, here’s hoping for three points and six goals would be nice.

    Great pre match Chary as you wrote pre Friday you would not have been aware of the Diaby injury.

    Allardyce line is pure quality.

    COYRRG!

  9. goonermichael says:

    Morning everyone. We need 11 points to match last seasons total. I didn’t really expect much this season. Worse than I thought though. most other teams fans are probably feeling dissapointed as the standards are low this season.

  10. Whoever wins the title this season will be very lucky to do so as the top teams – of which we are one – have basically just handed it over to them.

    If we were still in with a shout I’d feel the same way about us winning it.

  11. Rasp says:

    Afternoon all,

    Thanks for a classt pre-match chary.

    Like most, I think the likely scenario would be 2nd or 3rd in the prem. Hopefully the players will feel the need to finish the season strongly. In terms of tournaments there is a quiet summer ahead so they should be getting plenty of rest in a few weeks time.

  12. goonermichael says:

    I think the players are having a preseason in America Rasp. There’s talk of the far east as well although both would be unlikely.

  13. I don’t a mind a trip to New York to watch them play against Thierry’s team :)

  14. Harry says:

    Chary, great pre-match and your apologies for writing it before you went away was good foresight as Diaby is injured, you at the time were not to know….

    Its a shame, as Diaby I felt was playing well, I so wish he could stay fit for a sustained period, he has the power, strength and tenacious ability to withstand, hold deny and break through any midfield, I can see why Wenger persists with this enigmatic frustration…….{NB: There are several I cannot understand his persistance with, for another day}

    In way Peaches you are right, in that all the top teams have tried to leave a way open for others and themselves have not forged ahead…..

    The gap that was so large between the top and middle group, is now is not so….So much money at so many clubs levels the playing field, admittedly this should have aided us more, not 100% sure myself, but it is a thought…..

    This title has been close, next year will be even more so, will one team dominate year in year out? unlikely………

    United have been average at best, bar the odd game, but the one thing they have had is their home form which is cemented by the attitude of their team and compounded by their (home) support, this is moulded by a supreme belief which is unyielding, it never holds doubts and holds true throughout the game…

    If they were to win, they will have deserved it, but that holds for any team, the one at the top is the winner and as such deserves accolades and respect…Even if a team grabs it at the death, have we ever doubted our 89 triumph?

    Anyway back to the match today that will hopefully see us, hang in there with a chance to claim the prize, if others fall short…….

    The defence picks itself, although personally I would drop clichy……

    Woijech

    Sags Koz JD Clichy

    Nasri Fabregas Song

    Van Persie Walcott Arshavin

    Bench:
    Ramsey, Bendtner, Wilshere, Gibbs, Toto, Chamakh and Jens……

    We have to use Walcott as to his strengths, the first half at sh*te fart lane, showed where he can be a danger, we need to play the ball through into space to run onto, he can be devastating ala croatia……I have said this so many times, obviously wenger doesnt read AA or other blogs, probably just as well at the moment, he might get the wrong idea about our support……

    I raise a cheer to our away support and GIE, I know you will do us proud,

    Stand together be stronger…….

    Bolton 2 Arsenal 4……..

  15. goonermichael says:

    I think Thierry’s team is in the Emirates cup Peaches

  16. goonermichael says:

    Harry
    United also have some great decisions from the officials at home too.

  17. RockyLives says:

    Great pre-match Chary.
    I’ve a feeling the boys will turn it on today.
    Harry – great comment, but your 2-4 prediction made me smile: none of us expects our lot to keep a clean sheet, do we?

  18. trueg00ner says:

    Part of a very good article in the telegraph interview with Theo

    “The boss is always there for us and he takes a lot of it on his back,” he said. “I know people say there’s a lot of pressure because we are not winning things…There are things he won’t say to you [in the press] that he’ll say to us. He’ll have a go at us when he needs to. We want to win something for him.
    “He has shown so much faith in us for so many years so we need to repay him. People are looking at him but maybe they need to be looking at the players because we are not producing it. He believes so much in this team…he’d die for the team. And that’s probably what we need to get in our system: we need to be prepared to die for each other. I think that’s what we are missing at the moment.

  19. Mickeyk says:

    Wenger may spend next year to keep us in the top four .the same next year just hope we can stay in the top four .we may even get to the carling cup final .but won’t win that if we get man u or Chelsea.we will struggle against Bolton today and may get a draw.

  20. RockyLives says:

    Cheer up Mickeyk

  21. Harry says:

    Quality Rocky, that made me laugh, MickeyK chill…..

  22. Harry says:

    Goonermichael, I agree they do get a lot of decisions, ie that was a stonewall penalty yesterday and everton would have had a good chance of taking something from the match…..

    Rocky, I know, Just the way they play, we might surprise ourselves and keep a clean one, I hope we do and still score the 4…..

  23. goonermichael says:

    Oh dear this is becoming painful.

  24. Rasp says:

    Typically predictable first half that sums up everything that’s wrong with our style of play. Reckless defending, Clichy out of position and the midfield not getting behind the ball when we’re under attack. Fabregas was the only player prepared to have a shot. Sturridge is just the sort of powerful player we need up front.

    Once again, as the post says, our away fans are doing us proud.

  25. Rasp says:

    RvP has been outstanding in the second half.

  26. Rasp says:

    Clichy has been very poor, I’d be happy to see him go.

  27. Wonderman says:

    I am afraid the whole world can see that our attitude to defending is suspect. Two corners , two goals

  28. RB says:

    Fire Wenger. 40 years supporting Arsenal, I’m done. 2-1 at Bolton, 3-3 at THFC (1-3 at half time), enough is enough. Champions dont every play this way. Mr W go now, the world has caught you up and powered on by.

  29. Wonderman says:

    But we were criminally wasteful with our chances !!!!

  30. Wonderman says:

    RB pick your dummy back up, dust it off and go suck it. If you have supported arsenal for 40 years you would have seen worse football for longer than 6 years my friend

  31. It has to be said that sadly we just don’t finish enough of our chances ………..

  32. Rasp says:

    Hi peaches, I share your disappointment. I think the stats generally show that the goals per shot are in line with most prem clubs, its the passes when we should shoot that are the problem.

    I have to seriously question why we invariablyput the ball out wide when passing it to death round the periphery of the box, our crosses weren’t great and too often were in the air and easy of Knight and Cahill to deal with.

    I thought that the subs were ok today. Sadly Nasri has gone off the boil a bit and Clichy was too ‘Clichy’ for my liking.

    I don’t think the Song of this season is a patch on last year’s version.

  33. Gooner in Exile says:

    That was painful, oh well four hour miserable drive to look forward to.

    I’m afraid the away support was injected with some negativity I had to have a word with the prick behind me who when the pen was given away said “what has Wenger told them at half time”…..”useless blah blah blah. I explained to him that obviously Wenger had told them to keep giving the ball away and give away penalties. He shut up quite quickly.

    He also moaned at Sz in the first half for not wearing a cap and for fumbling two balls…despite the ball coming from the opposite side to where the sun was.

    Not impressed with first half, or defending, as a team, yet again.

    Ref was abysmal tho.

  34. johnQ says:

    Oh my Oh my!

    I hate the players not because of their inability to win the game, or the bad defending, or for having one of those days.

    I hate them because they will make the doom-mongers came out from their shells and spreading out their shits, and they will left the faithful one alone in the war, fighting with the outside and also from the inside.

    It’s a tough time right now, really2 tough time. The most painful thing is, the players didn’t paid the trust that Wenger gave to them. I feel sorry for him.

    Me? I will be as optimistic as ever. They will learn something this season, and hopefully they came back stronger than ever next season.

    Some will go, and I don’t want to involve in any transfer talk because I trust Wenger 100% on that one.

  35. Wonderman says:

    GIE, we can’t complain about that result mate. We get done on corners by a bit of movement and do not defend with enough conviction in my opinion . I really feel for the away supporters like yourself . But as we have said in the past it was results way before this that has left us where we are now. I only hope we don’t completely disintegrate !!!

  36. 26may1989 says:

    There’s a lot of sense being spoken here this evening. I particularly identify with johnQ’s disdain for the players for the way they have failed all of us, Wenger included. As Theo observed in the interview quoted by trueg00ner at 3.17pm, the players have been shown huge belief by Wenger, who has taken a lot of shit over the past few years for this generation. And, with Chelsea’s implosion before Christmas, this season was their chance to prove that that belief was well-founded.

    Even with the slip-ups in the first half of the season, most of which were part of what happens to any successful team, by the end of February we were nicely positioned, and just needed to stay focussed. Instead of that, we screwed up the League Cup Final and the players’ confidence collapsed. Our seven league games since then have seen us pick up just 8 points from 21, disastrous form whatever end of the table you’re at.

    We can all talk about having different players, but no-one can tell me that this squad, which decimated Chelsea, beat Barca, and beat Spurs and City by three goals away from home, couldn’t have beaten Sunderland, Blackburn, West Brom and Bolton over the past few weeks. Had they achieved that pretty modest task for players of their technical talents, even without beating either Spurs or Liverpool, we would be a point behind United and still well placed to claim the title.

    It hurts for the players to have failed this way, to have shown themselves to be so mentally lame; we believed in them, Wenger believed in them, but in the final equation they’ve embarrassed us. The likes of Fabregas, Nasri, van Persie, Song, Clichy, Walcott, Sagna and Arshavin, as the senior members of the squad, all need to look at themselves and ask how they’ve managed to hand the title over in such an easy way. It really is pathetic.

    My main criticisms are reserved for the players, but there’s some reserved for Wenger, a man for whom I have enormous respect, and us, the fans. Wenger has, in the final analysis, shown too much trust in this group of players. He recruited a generation of players in the same way he built the Invincibles and expected that they would love up to their talents the way the generation of Henry, Vieira and Pires did. Wenger will have to deal with the mental failings of the squad with some serious pruning and reshaping this summer, however painful it’s going to be. As for us, the failure to provide proper support at home games has become a real problem – I don’t know what the solution is, but it’s depressing to see many Arsenal fans miss the point of being supporters.

    All in all, a depressing day.

  37. Wonderman says:

    26, Spot on !!! The Carling Cup final debacle was the beginning of the end of this particular chapter, and we cannot use the excuse of injuries this season , as we are even leaving fit players at home. On a positive note this season has seen the emergence of Wilshere, Szczesny, and Kosielny as first teamers for years to come

  38. Carlito11 says:

    Brief login from italy shatters hope.
    Bollox! :-(

  39. Harry says:

    Very depressing, normally I would now hide under my quilt for 2 or 3 days and not venture in the land of the press or blogosphere, but in haste agreed to do some sort of match report…..

    To some comments above: RB 40years really?

    Rasp: Dont get me started on clichy, note my pre match comments…….And Rasp remember my conversation with you about what could happen if we lost in CC Final………..

    JohnQ: Fair play mate…….

    26M……Agreed the players have let Wenger down, although Wenger has made mistakes as well…..

    Wonderman…..Lets hope all together…..What a game to have next though?

  40. 26may1989 says:

    Agreed Wonderman, there are definitely some silver linings!

    For all of the issues around our defence, the defining failures of our season, such as that terrible day at Wembley, have been more about the lack of bite in attack when it was really needed. That’s where we should spend our cash, along with getting in a real character like Scott Parker.

  41. Gooner in Exile says:

    Home now, I feel for Harry having to write up that match. I also promised to add a view from the away end which I will do in the morning.

    Have just completed my round Britain tour and bed is calling.

    My view not having had a chance of replays etc was that we pushed hard second half, first half was lacklustre after initial brightness. Yet again we failed to maximise early chances and Bolton grew in confidence and culminated with a goal.

    The penalty save sparked us into life.

    The build up to RvPs goal made me laugh as when he first had the ball the crowd screamed shoot, then groaned as he passed, then groaned again when Cesc passed again, then cheered when RvP buried it.

    Later on screams of shoot were ridiculous as the path to goal was blocked most times by four or five white shirts and to place a shot through the crowd would have been impossible, the goal shows why we pass. JWs lack of right foot, Nasris lack of left foot and RvPs lack of right foot were reasons why they didn’t shoot at other times.

    For me the most threatening players were Theo, RvP, Nasri and AA23. Clichy had a very bad day at the office and Bac was not hurtling forward like we know he can, I think because Theo was tucking in if Sagna had gone forward his winger could have cheated and allowed him on to the full back who wasn’t being occupied by a wide man.

    To be honest I can’t believe we didn’t get a second, but the game slipped away, and yet again we failed to defend unordinary set piece, perhaps it’s time to go back to zonal?

    I have some more impressions to add tomorrow.

  42. Ebouédidit11 says:

    You all know what has to happen now don’t you ;)

  43. Harry says:

    Yeah GIE I feel sorry for me as well, I have finished the write up and emailed it to Peaches, I hope it matches the normal high standards on here….

    Ebouedidit11…..Yeah I know, regroup and go again next season…..

  44. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    bang on re the fans Harry….”regroup & go again next season”, but minus one self centred manager who will never listen to reasoning.

    Tomorrow the sun will rise again, & their is life after Wenger.

  45. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Ha! Ha! Yes its your old mate from down under. Do u think I was going to just walk away when things got tough :twisted: & leave you all to fight the battle without me.

    I maybe 20,000kms away but some how this thing called Arsenal keeps nagging @ me.

    I know what has to happen, but is The Club brave enough to take the necessary measures?

    I stuck by the old french bloke, coz its the Arsenal thing to do, until the Liverpoo/Eboue debarcle but then that was the final straw. Arsene Wenger has to go. Nice fella and everything but his time is up.

  46. mickydidit89 says:

    Morning all,
    Firstly, I ditto the collective “Oh dear”.
    Secondly, I always said I would respect Arsene’s “Judge me in May”, and so I will wait until the end of the season to give my full verdict and proposals.
    Thirdly, I am now looking over our shoulders and looking at the fourth spot. On the distant horizon I see those cretins from down the road, and note that should they win all their remaining games, we will need five points. Right now I cannot see where those will come from as I feel it is implosion time, but then see that the Scuzzers have both sets of Chavs away as well as Pool away, so feel relatively comfortable.
    GiE,
    Well done for your away day loyalties.

  47. Gooner in Exile says:

    Micky I can only hope that with the final nail in the title coffin we will play with a little more freedom.

    Also as we now have the chance to try a few different things before the end of the season.

  48. mickydidit89 says:

    Morgen GiE,
    I am afraid that we will plug away with the same gang, same tactics with the same end result. Problem being, they will have almost no incentive. Hopefully we can bag the two or three points which should be enough.
    Back out into the trees for me now.
    Looking forward to the Barca Madrid Semi!
    Bye bye.

  49. Rasp says:

    Morning,

    Our problems lie in the type of players we recruit but more significantly in the coaching. We lack balance and fail to do the simple things well. We overcomplicate a very simple game.

  50. Wonderman says:

    Morning, in my opinion we lack the following

    1. A leader on the pitch who can galvanise the team at key moments
    2. More respect for defence . We have consistently conceded more goals than the other top 4 teams year after year. That is no accident
    3. A clinical finisher
    4. We need to realise that we cannot attack at the same tempo in the perm as we do in the champs league

  51. Gooner in Exile says:

    Interesting point Wonderman comparing CL attacking tempo to PL. Hadn’t thought about that before.

    The same is true of the striker role. In the CL ability to be composed and have guile are much needed but in the PL ability to hold up the ball and smash through barn doors are more important.

  52. Morning all

    New Post

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