Benfica 2-1 Arsenal
Nolito 60 van Persie 33
It started well enough and we tried hard enough. That is the best I can say.
Gervinho looked good and went close twice before Arshavin played Gibbs in, who found van Persie for a cool finish. It is a goal Arsenal wouldn’t have scored with Clichy overlapping on the left.
In the second half Gibbs failed to clear and Squillaci went a wandering before Vermaelen got brushed aside by little Aimar. I am sure Alan Hansen would be sitting at home uttering his trademark phrase.
Shortly afterwards the lively Nolito cut in from the left and Squillaci got mugged again, 2-1.
The look Ramsey gave him and what he appeared to say was telling.
Benfica have played competitive games and that sharpness gave them the edge. The performance in itself isn’t that much of a worry but the last week has been.
I don’t care about pre season results, they don’t matter. What does matter is that you get to your first game with 90% of your first team fit and on form and we are not anywhere near that.
Arsenal were missing many players for various reasons and that does excuse the lack of craft in an under par second half performance but that in itself is an issue seven days away from the big kick off.
We haven’t had a good week since February.
Injuries to Gibbs, Vermaelen, Diaby, Wilshere, Van Persie, Walcott and no win in three this week.
Fabregas, Nasri, Bendtner and Eboue are sitting by the phone.
The fans are fighting amongst themselves.
In the space of a week I have seen two draws, one defeat and more importantly three fairly average performances from patchwork sides. Seen fans turn on each other watching friendlies and training sessions, met some heroes, lost a couple two.
I’ve seen our captain train, smile and give an imperious wave. Mad people could read all kind of things in to that.
Are we together? No.
Are we healthy? No.
Are we ready? No, we are not even close.
There is nothing wrong with being anti-Wenger. If you are, I think you are wrong but you are entitled to your opinions and we shouldn’t make out that it is a crime or that it means you are not a real fan.
It is ok to get angry.
It is ok to doubt.
It is ok to be frustrated that we haven’t spent a pound (net) in five years.
It is ok to question Wenger’s training methods when we are seeming to be starting a season with anywhere up to eight players suffering injuries of some kind.
It is ok to think that if someone had come to you in 1996 and told you that you would win 7 trophies in 15 years when Arsenal had won 6 trophies previous few years, you might have said we will gamble on someone else.
Again, I think you’re wrong but it’s your choice.
It is ok to hold that opinion and you shouldn’t have to say 10 “Hail Arsènes” every time you question the team sheet.
It is ok to be sick of “mental strength” performances and “super quality” players that never seem to materialize.
Question his methods, but don’t question his motives. Do you think he would still be here if he didn’t care? Do you not think there are easier jobs he could do?
You shouldn’t think that those of us pro-Wenger don’t see his flaws.
We see Wenger’s flaws but don’t boo the team, don’t insult your fellow fans, they pay good money too. It doesn’t help anyone.
We don’t sit there in some drug induced haze thinking that Squillaci is the future.
I’ve seen cheap comments from cheap hacks, stories and “inside” knowledge twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools.
I have read Myles “Source” Palmer spreading poison among the masses. Do me a favour!
I wonder how many Arsenal fans regret buying that book.
Arsene Wenger has won three league titles, four FA cups, paid for Arsenal to build a training ground and a stadium by keeping a team in the top four with little money to spend and taking a skip full of flack while he has done it.
This is the man who brought you a season unbeaten and some of the best football you have ever seen.
This week I have seen someone refer to our Captain as Fabretwat, on this very site.
I saw a Gooner make comments about Arsène Wenger, the kind that are usually reserved for nights at the Lane. At the time the drunken slob was getting a free tour of the Stadium. His kids must be very proud of him.
It is ok to disagree, but stop the hate. It’s pathetic.
Arsene Wenger, any team he picks, and captain he chooses, deserve a little more respect.
The fans need to get on the same page, for the good of the team.
Wenger needs to do his bit and get a centre back, patch up the walking wounded and get three points.
The board need to tell Barcelona and Man City to do one.
We all have a part to play.
Don’t blow it or this might just start feeling like an ending.
Written by Jamie