Schoolboy Errors Cost Us Once Again.

Last night’s game was crying out for someone to put their foot on the ball and calm the whole thing down. It made no sense to me and seemed totally unnecessary that we played at such break neck speed. Players look to their captain to dictate the pace but Fabrégas was guilty of repeatedly trying the Hollywood pass when a shorter, calmer pass, guaranteeing that we kept possession, would have been the better option. I’m not trying to suggest that he had it easy it was very obvious that he had been singled out by the Portuguese to systematically have his ankles hacked at. But in between that we really needed a clear headed Captain to take control of the game. Nasri was no better, neither was Rosicky in fact most of the play resembled school children running as fast as they could around the playground. Can you name me one passage of Wengerball that took place between Fabrégas, Rosicky and Nasri? You can’t because it didn’t happen; we have got to be the only club in the world who cannot make the collective talent of those three players work.

For some reason I felt less pain after we lost to Manu and Chelsea I remember consoling myself by saying that on the day we lost to a better team but we do not have that excuse last night; Porto were not better, in fact, although both teams looked liked they had built their defences using the Three Little Pigs guide to construction, and I am not referring to the sensible one who opted for bricks, Fabainski aside we were the one that looked like we had opted for the better building material of sticks rather than theirs of straw. They left do much space at the back we should have crucified them.

I don’t remember a recent game in which I was so nervous before the start perhaps it was because ITV were repeatedly showing Sol’s last goal in the Champions League Final in Paris which brought back all that pre match anxiety.  The kick off helped calm me, although, that lasted two minutes before one of the Porto players went flying towards our goal with Sol, looking way out of his depth, in chase. I feared the worst but he recovered with a tackle as good as any other defender in the game, if not better. In fact this tackle calmed the whole game down for a short while; we established our shape and all looked well until that is Clichy got ripped to shreds once again on the left by one Porto player, I don’t remeber his name, before he sent in a pedestrian cross that somehow Fabianski managed to put in his own net. Our confidence viably dropped and was not recovered until they only good thing to happen last night and that as you know was the goal from Sol, if the game had ended there the world would have been a very enjoyable place to be this morning but it didn’t. The night was marred by Fabianski’s school boy error in the second half; it was a perfectly good goal which in the cold light of the day I am sure Wenger will realise but what worries me more is will he realise that we desperately need a goal keeper.

Player ratings:

Fabianski: isn’t there a building site that this man should be on. A career in plumbing or carpentry might be a more appropriate line of work because it sure as hell is not goal keeping. 0

Sagna: the Frenchman is one of those players who so obviously benefits from a break, ran tirelessly tonight but as we are have all come to realise we are never going to get anything from him in the final third of the pitch. 6

Campbell: I felt really sorry for him at the end; he gave everything he possibly could and deserved so much better than to be playing with that idiot in goal. Man of the Match. 8

Vermaelen: not his usual composed self, obviously missed the pace of Gallas but did every thing that was needed well enough. 6

Clichy: am I going mad or do I remember this player being able to patrol the left back position with authority and composure? I must be going mad because he now leaves me worried every time a player runs at him. In fairness he did have a better second half but now as far as I am concerned, he is only keeping the jersey warm until Gibbs returns. 5

Diaby: I was very impressed with his performance in the first half and was getting excited about writing this report as I really felt the comparison with a younger Vieira was justified, his tracking back was superb, his tackling sharp and his driving runs forward were inspirational, unfortunately, he faded in the second half and by the end he was guilty of his most characteristic error: not getting rid of the ball quick enough which lead to us loosing possession. 6

Fabregas: please, please, please walk into Wenger’s office tomorrow and tell him that if he doesn’t get rid of these clowns, your off. Ran his heart out, but compared to his normally high standard of passing he was sloppy. 6

Denilson: I completely disagree with ITV’s half time criticism of him, he put in a decent performance, improving as the game went on, it is worth remembering he was simply cover for Song and he will no longer get in the team ahead of Diaby so he is what he should be at his age and stage of development – squad cover. 6

Rosicky: a few good runs but by now he should having a far greater say on games like this he is the Czech Captain but he has all the authority of Bounced Cheque. 5

Bendtner: he is not a number 9 and I cannot ever see him becoming a number 9, but compared to Arshavin’s recent contribution his height helped as did his presence, that said, unless an opportunity arrives on a plate he aint going to score because he does not have what it takes to create a goal out of nothing. 5

Nasri: the Frenchman ran a lot, gave sneaky little digs in the ribs of the Porto players when the referee wasn’t looking but was ineffectual, in fact, I would say that Eboue contributed more in the five minutes he was on than Nasri did for the whole game. 5

74 Responses to Schoolboy Errors Cost Us Once Again.

  1. London says:

    Morning all

    A little something to read, it is getting more and more difficult to write about these losses.

  2. tommystout says:

    i was bigging up fabianski all day yesterday, gutted for the lad! i think he’ll be a great keeper one day but not for us unfortunately. Maybe wengers policy with bringing through the ranks don’t work for keepers. maybe you have to buy worldclass in that department as any bad mistake generally leads to a goal, where as an outfield starlet generally gets a little more leaway. Should have got Given when we had the chance.
    Gutted for Sol too, i thought he was a monsta last night. Unfortunately he wont be remembered for the solid performance.

  3. tommystout says:

    nice summing up London.
    I thought bendtner did ok last night, i like him in the central role. I thought nasri & cesc were well off their games last night, cesc maybe had good reason
    Lets get our sleeves rolled up for sunderland now.
    I hate watching footy on ITV with the grainy picture terrible commentry and what was that interviewer like? My god i was wanting cesc to deck him!

  4. Well done London – that must have been hard to do. Agree with almost everything except that I thought Denilson was poor first half and much much better in the second half. When Diaby reverted to type – taking too much time on the ball and losing possession – I wondered if they had swapped roles for the second half as Denilson seemed to be attacking the ball more and Diaby was strolling around.

  5. Big Raddy says:

    Fine report London-

    Balanced in a way that I would be incapable of today. I am delighted that your post didn’t descend into the Wenger bashing that has become the norm on other sites.

    Once again the need for a structured defence was SO apparent. Even with the masterful performance from Sol, we looked shaky. What is our Defensive Coach doing?

    As I said in my pre-match, Song was a big loss.

    And I agree entirely about Cesc. He had an average game but his performance as Captain was woeful, as was his post match interview. Definitely not the Arsenal Way – it may be OK for a MOTD talking head to slag off the team, but not our Captain. It was a poor show and I hope AW tells him so.

    Fabianski? What a shame. He showed promise in his performance apart from the 2 shocking mistakes.

    Wengerball. Once again you are correct. Why did we play at such a pace in the opening half of a 2 leg match? We are so much better than we showed in MF yesterday. Could it be the lack of Song again? Or was it to AW’s instruction?

  6. London says:

    Van Persie,Eduardo,Arshavin.

    This, in my opinion, is our best team. We were just missing the seven players.

  7. Just the seven players missing London 😦

    How could Song have made the difference yesterday Raddy?

    Agree about ‘notagoon’leave it on – I hope his team get a rubbish ref for the next 5 games……..

  8. Big Raddy says:


    I would exchange Eduardo for Rosicky. Otherwise that would be my starting 11.

    And with that team we will win the PL 🙂

  9. London – I think ‘any other goalie’ should be our keeper, Alminia when in form doesn’t add anything to the defence – the back four don’t have a clue what hes going to do as he never tells them.

  10. Big Raddy says:


    Song would have held the ball longer than Denilson who looks like a rabbit in the headlights in possession. Thereby allowing the other MF’s to find better positions to pass to etc etc.

    Clichy is a worry though. As London says, what has happened to him? To see such a fine player reduced is very sad. Porto’s winger was average at best and Clichy made him look quality. And as for Nani ……..

  11. London says:

    Morning Peaches

    Yes, I agree I was looking for a way with Alminia but I think you hit it on the head with “Any Other Goalie”

  12. Rasputin says:

    Morning again,

    Excellent summary London. We may have to drop the ongoing ‘we never agree’ joke we share – I concur with 90% of your post.

    I would only differ on the topic of Denilson. I thought he was poor in the first half. He gave the ball away that led to Sol’s ‘wonder tackle’, but more unforgiveably, whenever he lost the ball he didn’t bust a gut to get back and retrieve it, but just trotted back as if defending was not his job and he could leave it to others. In the second half however, I thought he showed us the player he can/should be and hardly put a foot wrong and worked much harder. Maybe Arsene had a stern word at half time.

    I am taking a deep breath before I talk about keepers.


    Thank you for taking the time to comment on this site, we are an open forum and will leave it for all to read. Somehow I doubt from your tone that the site you normally frequent would be so accommodating. For a club that has no affiliation with sportsmanship, we do remarkably well to always finish at or near the top of the fair play league.

  13. London says:

    Or perhaps it should be “Any Other Goalie Except Fabinaski”

  14. Rasputin says:

    SUGA, our polish correspondent, says that Fab2 is seen as bit of a joke figure in Poland whereas Chesney is highly regarded and seen as Poland’s future No.1.

    Where does Almunia rate in the pecking order for Spain’s No.1? – 4th /5th?

    Apparently the stats rate Almunia as the 19th best keeper in the prem – playing for the 3rd best side …. says it all 😦

    If Cesc chooses to go because last night was the final straw, Arsene would have to accept some responsibility. The gk problem has been around since Lehman left and he has failed to sign a top quality keeper.

  15. Rasputin says:

    My first comment on here yesterday during the game was “why are we playing at such breakneck speed?”. You are absolutely right London. We did not play like a team at an away game in the CL, it was like the FA Cup final and we were 1 nil down with 2 minutes to go….. headless chickens everywhere and Sol was the man trying to hold it all together.

    Sagna gave Fab2 a mouthfull for not calling for the ball a few minutes before the backpass. Had Fab2 called and come to the edge of the area there would have been no problem. It seems our No.1 and 2 keepers are mute 😦

  16. Big Raddy says:

    If the whole world can see the GK problem. why can’t AW ??

    And if he has, why has he not addressed it?

  17. Rasputin says:

    He needs the right personnel with expertise in defending/gk’s around him. He then needs to delegate to those individuals. He then has to listen to them. He then must stop being a stubborn b’stard!!!!!

  18. Big Raddy says:

    Should have kept Manninger !

    Just had a Spud call me from England (hope it was an expensive call!) to laugh at our plight. I reminded him of his opinion of Gomez only a season ago.

    SAF has it right. Buy the best GK money can buy, as we will see in summer….

  19. Rasputin says:

    Gomez had proven to be a very good keeper before he joined the spuds, we can’t say the same about Almunia or Fab2.

  20. London says:

    Fabianski is actually very good in the air, he catches everything that comes across; this, I would imagine, looks good in training as does his shot stopping which probably gives an insight as to why Wenger publicly speaks so highly of him but what can never be replicated in training are the pressurised situations of important games and it is in these that the Pole is failing with now alarming regularity.

  21. Big Raddy says:


    The conclusion to be taken from your point is one word….. Confidence.

    How can he get it without pitch time & can we afford to give him that experience?

    Ras- that is my point. Let GK’s get their confidence at other clubs and then buy them. It is such an important position. We have to buy close season. There are plenty of fine GK’s around & we only need one of them. IMO money no object.

  22. Rasputin says:

    Lloris or Akinfeev, £10m’ish. Problem solved. Just do it…..

  23. I agree – buy a keeper or even 2 and send the others out on loan to get experience – keep Almunia as back-up only because he has experience……

  24. Rasputin says:

    Unfortunately ‘confidence’ is not just what the keeper needs, it’s what he can create or destroy in the minds and stability of the defence. Keepers should be shouting at their defenders – not vice versa!

  25. Rasputin says:

    There’s a lot of ref bashing taking place on the radio. If we’d have scored that 2nd goal, we’d be praising the quick thinking of our players.

  26. Not true rasp – that referee gave Porto that goal…..the player didn’t ask to take the free kick quickly in the way we’ve seen Thierry and Cesc do, the referee influenced the game in a way that he shoudn’t – I hope he never works again.

  27. The Porto player acted quickly its true but the ref gave them the ball………….

  28. Rasputin says:

    Au contraire, it is true that we’d be praising our guys quick thinking – we wouldn’t be saying “it’s a travesty, we should never have been allowed that second goal”

    What is true is that the referee was hopeless and should have awarded us an obvious penalty. His involvement in the 2nd goal was clearly to the advantage of Porto and he blocked Campbell from getting back to itercept the pass that led to the goal. Also, he allowed persistent fouling of Cesc.

  29. Rasputin says:

    The ref was a disgrace, but we’ll look like the wingers everyone labels us as if we major on his decision when we have obvious failings amongst our players that need to be addressed.

  30. Anyway its ridiculous us even debating whether we’d be pleased if our players were so quick thinking because a referee would never hand an advantage to us like that 😦

    ITYS no penalties…..ever again……

  31. So if we take the poor refereeing – which includes blatant targeting of Cesc, no penalty and handing the game to Porto out of the equation were we good enough to win the game last night.

    No we weren’t, because when players got into striking distance they DIDN’T SHOOT as per normal. Why be a footballer who has a fine shot – Tomas Rosicky and Abou Diaby and not have a shot……I don’t understand.

    I know that not every shot is going to go in but its not going to go in at all if you don’t even try.

  32. tommystout says:

    does anyone know how many pens we’ve had this season?
    i bet we bottom the league in pens given this season.

  33. tommystout says:

    yeah that drives me up the wall too peaches, shoot on site should be the motto as long as there isn’t a player in a better position.
    And nothing drives me more nuts than people blazing the ball over the bar instead of working the keeper.

  34. Since the Eduardo penalty I think we’ve been given one – I’ll try and confirm that

  35. Both Rosicky and Diaby are likely to test the keeper with their shots – Cesc too of course……

  36. Rasputin says:

    Tomas had one shot that required a good save from their keeper, but on several other occassions opted for the ‘clever pass’ when a shot would have been the better option. Diaby had the opportunity to become a hero when the ball came to him on the edge of the box late on. The box was crowded so it may have ricocheted anywhere, but he lost his bottle and the resultant pass was intercepted.

  37. Alfa says:

    A top goalkeeper would have been shouting at the back four all night keeping them organised and focused. Sol helped a bit but that has never been his strength. His personal performance was top class except for about 5 seconds, I agree with London’s assessment of him.

    As String says on his excellent blog, why isn’t Tony Adams in as defensive coach? Do the back 5 train together, practicing pass back type situations, dead balls etc? It’s hard to believe they do.

    I don’t knock AW much for last night; we played well enough to win, certainly draw, which against a team with their record at home and with so many first choice players missing would have been a decent result. We are still favourites for the tie.

    Players have to step up as well and if they can’t you have to bring in new ones, which I don’t think we can afford to at the moment (unless someone wants to tell me that AW would buy a better goal keeper than Almunia or Fabianksi but that there are none out there).

    Cesc had a poor game for him but that will happen more and more if he is trying to carry the team and do too much.

  38. London says:

    Hello Alfa

    Welcome back I hope you had a good break. Good assessment that, the general reason why people no longer call for Adams to be the defence coach is because of his failure in management. He clearly has trouble articulating his thoughts which is also the reason, on the other hand, why Keown has become the more favoured choice.

  39. irishgunner says:

    My thoughts on the goalkeeping displays of late was too long to put here so its here instead:

  40. Rasputin says:

    Nice report Irish, it felt like I’d written it myself 🙄

  41. irishgunner says:

    You like that rolling eyes icon Rasp 😆

  42. Rasputin says:

    Tony Adams comes across to me as a bit of a fruit loop in the ‘Hoddle’ mode, but he knows about defending and that’s desparately needed.

  43. Rasputin says:

    I tried to do that one Irish and it just came up as 80 – what’s the trick?

  44. irishgunner says:

    Did anyone catch the Bayern match?

    Drogba’s favourite ref was at it again.

    1. Gave Bayern a penalty when he should have left play continue, luckily they scored it.
    2. Didn’t send off Van Bommel.
    3. Sent off Gobbi.
    4. Didn’t send off Klose.
    5. Klose’s “goal” was measured as over 2 metres offside.

    Well 3 & 5 were really the linesman’s fault.

  45. irishgunner says:

    Its an 8 and the letter O (capital) Rasp


  46. irishgunner says:

    Do we have a defensive coach?

    I know we have an…ahem…goalkeeping coach with Poom.

    DB10 may be looking for a job now that he has his badges, some players could do with learning how to score.

  47. Can I play? 😯

    We all know you saw the Bayern game – obviously Arsenal aren’t important in OZ – what you doing about that?

  48. irishgunner says:

    Why are we all surprised? 😯

  49. Rasputin says:

    I’ve sussed it. We have a Trojan in the club. He’s a hypnotist who has infiltrated the training staff and secretly programmed all the players to do the opposite of what they’re told, hence “shout at the defence” = keep schtum, “shoot on site” = pass sideways, “run back and defend” = go for a stroll 😆

  50. 😯 something has to amuse us 😯

    Nothing like overkill eh 😯 😆 🙄

  51. irishgunner says:

    I’m making pickets as we speak.

  52. irishgunner says:

    “Be a goalkeeper” = score goals into your own net

  53. Rasputin says:

    “Win some trophies” = 4th is fine …. he must’ve got to Arsene too 😯

  54. irishgunner says:

    “he must’ve got to Arsene too” -I did not see that 8)

  55. Rasputin says:

    “What do you think we should do Pat?” = sit down and shut the f**k up!

  56. Alfa says:

    “Get the fans to sing a rousing song like ”You’ll never walk alone'” = play some Elvis dirge that no-one likes

  57. Alfa says:

    Irish, as far as I can tell we don’t have a specific defensive coach on the staff, not like e.g. our GK coach. 😮

    London, does Keown actually work regularly with the players? Or is he more of an occasional consultant? Agree he is a lot more articulate, but either or both could surely add something.

    Also Primorac was a decent defender, shouldn’t he be helping straighten things out in that department?

  58. Rasputin says:

    Hi Alfa,

    Keown and Adams don’t get on at all. Adams was conspicuous by his absence from Keown’s testimonial.

  59. Rasputin says:

    I think Arsene failed with his tactics again last night. The players should have gone out with the clear instruction to play the ball about, keep possession, and probe until an opening appears. More importantly, to get as many men as possible behind the ball when we lose possession and hit them on the counter = standard away team tactics in the CL.

  60. Alfa says:

    Rasp, Hi. Does Keown work with the club regularly then do you know?

    You are obviously right about the tactics in that on 2 very obvious occasions at least, we didn’t have players behind the ball. On the other hand more teams seem to be going all out to get the away goal if it is the first leg. Look at Man U, it largely worked for them (although they gave away a silly goal as well). OK it was hardly classic Wengerball but is that down to tactics or is it players without the experience/temperament?

  61. London says:

    Have you managed to up right yet from being kicked in the groin last night?…..ready, well here comes another one: Diaby picked up a medial knee injury and is facing a lengthy lay off.

  62. Collective groan 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦

  63. I think thats probably a medial ligament knee injury London

  64. London says:


    I was hoping that the remedial kind would be less serious 😉

  65. At least its not crucial 😉

  66. London says:

    Vital, maybe 😉

  67. Alfa says:

    London, I think you jinxed him – he won’t be ‘arising’ any time soon now 😦

  68. Morning all

    Theres a NEW POST

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