Arsenal …. Why don’t we learn from our mistakes?

Written by Rasp

I’ve had nearly a week to calm down from my anger at our ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory last Saturday. I still feel sick to the pit of my stomach, not so much because we lost, but because of the manner in which we lost.  I wasn’t going to use this post, but after Tuesday’s hopeless performance against Braga, my ‘belief’ in this team/squad has been shot to pieces. This is not a knee-jerk reaction, but the accumulation of a growing frustration over the last few years that I can no longer suppress.

Why is our system so fragile?

Saturday’s game was the perfect example. We played the beautiful controlled football for which we are admired in the first half and then fell apart as soon as they scored their second goal. I can’t believe a single fan wouldn’t sacrifice 65% possession for winning a game. Arsène talks a lot about ‘belief’ but I don’t see that these players have the belief necessary to fight back when under pressure. This is borne from past experience when we’ve capitulated. Just review the final games of last season to illustrate the point.

Against Braga, we lacked ideas, penetration and energy. Most of the players (with the exception of Djourou and Gibbs) seemed to be caricatures of themselves, exhibiting all their worst traits. The Emirates crowd have come in for fair criticism for their inability to lift the team when needed, but the plague of anxiety that spreads through the stands is generated by the players and reflected by the fans – not vice verse.

Why do we have a policy of buying small players?

Let me qualify this; I don’t only mean small only in terms of stature but also in terms of presence, personality, guts and leadership. Of course size doesn’t matter when we’re in possession of the ball and are being allowed to play our way. Our problem is when we’re not in possession. Some players still do not work hard enough to regain position, track back and defend as a team.

We have been vulnerable to set pieces for years. Every opposition manager knows it. Chris Hughton knew it when he told Joey Barton to deliver the ball onto Andy Carrol’s head at every opportunity. Would Tony Adams or Keown have allowed Kaboul the header for the winning goal on Saturday? In hindsight, it would probably have been better to play Djourou rather than Koscielny against totnum – perhaps our CB may not have been out jumped by 5ft 7in Defoe?

The spine of the team is weak. Where are the leaders on the pitch? Who grabs the team by the scruff of the neck when we need to fight back? We don’t have a winning mentality. Vermaelen stands alone in the squad as the one player who has what it takes to be a future captain; he is being sorely missed.

Why do we coach the shooting instinct out of our players?

Once again we saw a player (Chamakh) shun shooting opportunities against totnum. This can’t be a coincidence. Maybe our training regimes are so ingrained in the player’s minds that they are ‘brainwashed’ into passing when shooting is the better option? We bought Tomas Rosicky as a player with a reputation for having a fantastic shot who could find the back of the net from way outside the box – I’ve never seen him do it for Arsenal.

Perhaps we should practice our ‘clever passing triangles’ on the edge of the box and someone has to shoot every 10th pass? Fabregas was the only player seemingly prepared to let loose against Braga and his efforts were as far off the mark as is his form of late. He, not RvP or Song, should have been rested – and rested several weeks ago when it was clear that he was being hampered by what must now be considered to be a long term injury.

Why can’t we motivate the players at half time?

I knew that ‘arry would send his players out fired up for the second half; he’s done it many times. Ours emerged from the tunnel looking relaxed and unconcerned, 20 minutes later they looked scared, unsure and vulnerable. Against Braga, our players needed an ‘arry-type rocket up them, but instead they just continued in the same lame lackadaisical vein in which they had laboured through the first half. No spark. No invention. No leadership. No balls.

We accept that Arsène Wenger is not a ‘hairdryer-style’ manager, but maybe he should transmit some of the venom he wastes on water bottles in the direction of his underperforming players at half time. Just once, I’d like to see him make a substitution at half time when a player is not performing.

Why don’t we ever learn from our mistakes?

For me, this is the most damming question, and it can only be directed at the manager. What will it take to shake him from the conviction that his way of playing and this group of players will eventually prove all the doubters wrong? It’s easy to dismiss the opinions of pundits who revel in our failure, but it would appear that Arsène is becoming an increasingly isolated figure, clinging to his principles whilst all around him shrink away in recognition that ‘it’ isn’t working. It has been said repeatedly and for many years that ‘this Arsenal team’ is only a couple of players short of getting back to the very top – I believe this is still the case.

The balance to the argument.

We’ve not had the luck. The free kick that led to the penalty for totnum should not have been given. The decision to book Vela instead of awarding a nailed on penalty against Braga was incomprehensible, but in both cases our performance for the 90 minutes was not good enough. We continue to suffer from injuries to key players – but don’t most teams? The good news is the emergence of Djourou as a big strong defender who can compete with powerful strikers and Nasri as our most effective midfielder and the imminent return of Vermaelen and Ramsey.

We’re 2 points off the top of the Premiership with 24 games left to play. We’re still in the Carling Cup, the FA Cup and we can still qualify for the knockout stage of the Champions League if we beat Partizan at home or as long as Shaktar beat Braga. Second in the group is the most likely scenario – unfortunately coming second in the group cost us dear last year; had we topped the group there is a good chance we would have made it to the final.

None of this gives me cause for optimism. We play an improving Villa side on Saturday who will be fighting to keep out of the relegation zone. It will be difficult and unless we can play with some fire in our bellies and overcome our fear of defeat, we will drop points and the familiar scenario of struggling to achieve 4th place in the Premiership will become the focus of our season once again.

75 Responses to Arsenal …. Why don’t we learn from our mistakes?

  1. charybdis1966 says:

    Raspers, you are too forgiving with your opinions there, for what our players are paid they aren’t even showing a modicum of professionalism let alone being true to themselves.
    However to answer your question, here is another question: When there is a repeated failure to learn is the pupil innately stupid or the teacher incompetent?

  2. Carlito11 says:

    Incisive analysis Rasp- I find myself in complete agreement with your points and really welcome such an objective and systematic look at what ails us. Hopefully the same process has taken place at HQ and remedial action will follow!

  3. California Gooner says:

    Good analysis, RASP! I think you have nailed the concerns many of us have. It’s not one loss or the other, but the feeling of deja vu (all over again) we have when the opposition breaks and Denilson (not our fastest player!) is left chasing.

    In the Tottenham game, I would like to suggest that far from being unconcerned, our players might have been over-excited and failed to pace themselves. Playing in front of a raucous home crowd with first place at stake, they shot to the lead… so of course there had to be a let down. The maturity would have been in recognizing that, and not spending so much energy stretching the game and going for the third goal.

    The leadership question is an interesting one. You will remember we had Gallas, who seemed to galvanize the team after Henry left, only to loose his top when things started going awry. Now that he is gone, there is a definite sense that Cesc is the Alpha Male in the group, but like Alpha Male’s everywhere, it can lead to some stupid behavior (please cut out the cheating and bitching at the ref and get back to pass-splitting defenses). Now that he is out for a few weeks, I would really like to see who steps up. I can see Nasri bossing the midfield, but who will do the rest?

    that in 2007-08, after Henry left, In terms of leadership, and how might step up, I will just say that football clubs are delicate social systems.

  4. b.b.k says:

    because the manager is a twat.

  5. Rasp says:

    Morning guys,

    Sorry I couldn’t lift your spirits with something more optimistic. I think our recent run of bad results can be traced back to the (poor) decision to play a weakened side against Shakhtar. Had we won that game, the momentum would not have been lost.

    Out of interest, can anyone explain why we wrap RvP in cotton wool but play Cesc and AA when they are clearly not fully fit?

  6. Rasp says:

    Thanks CaliG,

    You make interesting and valid points. I often think that our players return to the pitch after half time looking too relaxed. I’ve never seen them come on fired up. Sol Campbell last season would clap his hands and shout encouragement trying to gee the others up before the 2nd half kicked off – he could see that the players were half asleep, why couldn’t the manager?

  7. Saski says:

    I agree with you. What made our players gave up possession & our lead last week was beyond me. It seems they are too scared to go forward as soon as get conceded. We need more Keowns & Parlours in our squad. I dont know what to expect this Saturday. I still have hopes we can win at Villa Park coz we cant afford to give up too easily this time

  8. Kenneth says:

    Good analysis Rasp,i agree 100% with you especially with the issue of not learning from our mistakes. I have had fans of other clubs laugh at men when we win early games with huge margins. They just laugh and say “thats how they usually start, they will soon exhaust their bullets and start loosing to small teams”

    This has been the case for years now.The question is What is Wenger and his crew doing about this ….. Or can he not see this problem repeating itself season in season out?

  9. Michael Thomas 4 says:

    The tide is turning but will anyone have the nerve to sack Wenger?

    Everybody @ Arsenal, Wenger has had a say in their employment from the top (Gazidis who loves his vision!) to the bottom. He’s actually accomplished what Benitez failed to do @ Liverpool!

  10. Smith14 says:

    I agree about the fragility of our system. We only know one way to play and at times (first half Saturday) it’s incredible. The only problem is that as soon as the other team get involved in the game the passing has to stay 95% accurate or we’re vulnerable again. Similarly, if we play without the energy our style demands, the passing drops and we’re quite easy to shut out (Newcastle, Braga etc).

    Perhaps we need some variation. On Saturday we still had to pour forward, like in the first half, as we don’t have the players to shut out a game. Similarly, when it’s obvious we don’t have the fluency or energy to win well, we need another idea. Hopefully not just the aimless pumpimng balls forward like we saw in the last 20 versus Newcastle.

  11. Big Raddy says:

    Fine post Rasp, and it’s not even Friday!

    Firstly, full respect for not taking the easy option of “Sack the Manager”.

    hy did we let Campbell go? Why did we not re-sign Vieira? Both would have been influential in the dressing room and in Vieira’s case, he would have been a valuable addition to the coaching staff. He is a nailed on future Arsenal manager – if he wants it

  12. guunern5 says:

    Jesus wept it’s like being at a funeral on here today with each on you lining up to throw another shovel of dirt onto the coffin of Arsenal.

    Wait a minute – I thought we were in the Qtr final of the CC, 95% of the way into the knock out stage of the CL, 3rd in the EPL just 2 points behind, and still the FAC to come.

    I would offer that our team get nervous at home because they can anticipate with 100% assurance what will happen when a pass goes astray or a beautiful move breaks down at the final (extra) pass, or we fail to shoot – it’s all too bloody predictable.

    Frankly to blame the team for the abysmal attitude and reaction of our spoiled supporters is pretty damn low. Did any of you hear the supporters at Braga – LOUD, EXCITED, PROUD from start to finish. That,s known as support – we had that as well – once upon a time.

    You all go over the top about a poor result against Tottenham (spurred on by our poor support) as though it’s a personal affront – after all it’s only the 25th time since WW2 that they have beaten us at home – yet you react as though you’ve just lost a child.

    Maybe the years have mellowed me, (73 today by the way) but in this man’s mind support is unconditional. Yea we may have lost the way of late but that’s when the 12th man kicks in and doesn’t kick dirt on the coffin.

  13. Big Raddy says:


    Firstly, Congratulations on your birthday – may you have a year filled with triumph and treasure.

    Secondly, your positivity does you proud.

  14. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Carl Roberton, Carl Roberton. Carl Roberton said: Incisive analysis into #Arsenal and our current malaise […]

  15. Rasp says:

    Hi GN5,

    Thanks for the comment. Many happy returns 😛

    I don’t remember writing at any point that we shouldn’t get behind the team, just suggesting that we should put a rocket up them when they need it. I also acknowledged in the last paras that we are actually in a strong position in all competitions.

    Incidentally, my points are far less damning of our boys than those you posted after the totnum game. I appreciate that, like the rest of us, they were written in anger and disappointment.

  16. California Gooner says:

    Yes, GN5, I didn’t read RASP as doomerish, nor does this post look for easy scapegoats. He is just asking the tough questions.

  17. Jayanta says:

    I don’t understand why every one blaming players,
    ( lack of mental strength, not motivated, not working hard ). Issue is these players are doing what best they can do but thats not good enough for Arsenal and the only person still fails to understand that is Arsene Wenger.

    Does any one believe that Real Madrid or Barcelona will ever take Chamakh in their team even on free transfer then why is he playing for Arsenal, are we competeing on different level.

    Playing 70% possesion and beautifull passing football without a win is wrong football and manager has failed to addressed this issue for too long.

    We urgently need a pair of defensive midfield beast and a pair of striker who are physically strong and knows to score in the mould of Tevez, Roony and even Bent. Arsenal can afford that better than other clubs. Even With the sloppiness from Clichy and Signa, we will be a match for other teams, because no other teams creats so many opportunity which goes beging for scoring.

  18. guunern5 says:

    Rasp: you’re taking my comments way to personally.

    You may want to go back and re-read my responses both during and after the game (as I just did) and you will find that they are very balanced and not the least bit “damning” even considering the high rate of wine consumption.

    Here’s a twist on a famous JFK line.

    “Ask not what your team can do for you – but ask what can you do for your team”

    Season ticket holders should understand that buying a ticket and then going to the game to become judge and jury does not equal support.

    I could go on, and on, and on about our passive support/intellectual support vs my granddad’s in their hob nailed boots shouting and yelling until they were forced to get another pint to lubricate their sore throats – but that may be a whole post one of these day’s – Real vs pseudo supporters.

  19. Rasp says:

    Thanks GN5,

    I’m not taking anything personally, its just that I wrote the post and you commented on it – so I responded.

    You are very lucky to be living away from North London at this time. Apart from the 2 hours I spent deleting unsavoury comments from spuds on saturday night, I have been beseiged with texts and emails and confronted by gloating colleagues and acquaintances everywhere I go since the game. Those of us who go to games and live not far from N London are having a dreadful time at the moment.

    All of my gooner friends are hugely passionate about Arsenal and they go to games and give their full support. We cannot blame the supporters for recent results.

  20. Red Arse says:


    I posted a comment earlier today which seems to have been wiped. (that’s in case you think I am repeating myself, which of course I am). 🙂

    It’s the dearth of shots/goals, following on from our usual fantastic passing/possession that is the problem.

    The solution seems pretty simple. Find another Ian Wright! Self assured, skilful in front of goal and greedy!

    Much tho’ I loved Wrighty, I cannot believe he was unique. With AW’s famed scouting system he must be able to find a successor to IW?

    If money is sgort — blow all the stack on a greedy, cocky goal scorer and we will win the lot!

    Hope you are reading this Arsene, if not, why not, mon ami? 🙂

  21. Red Arse says:

    GN5, Howdy do. 🙂

    Have you changed the spelling of your tag name for any reason?

  22. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Still bleeding obvious. Get Bugner and Whitbread.

  23. Red Arse says:


    Is that Bugner Bunny?

  24. Rasp says:

    Hi RA,

    None of your comments are in pending or spam – it must just have evaporated in the ether!

    I don’t think Arsène’s vision of football accommodates an IW-type player, although many saw Eduardo as his attempt to fill the ‘fox in the box’ void. Certainly Dudu fulfilled that role admirably for Shakhtar against us.

  25. MickyDidIt89 says:

    “Happy, Happy Birthday” Gunner5 in the words of Clare Grogan from Altered Images.

  26. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Red Arse,
    Be serious for one minute, can’t you. Jeepers.

  27. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Sadly, there is no place for a Wrighty in a
    4-3-3/4-5-1. Hence, there was no chance for Eddy and now no chance for Vela.

  28. guunern5 says:

    Rasp; In one of my posts I did in fact say that I would not like to be in North London at this time – it must be absolute torture.

    It’s also more than possible that it helps to mould ones viewpoint and opinions – fairly or unfairly.

    We may not be able to agree on the support issue, even the commentators were
    saying how quiet the ground went when Spurs scored their 1st goal – all you could here on the TV were crazed Spurs supporters. How would you react to that if you were giving your all for the cause on the field?

  29. gunnern5 says:

    RA, No change just a typo.

  30. MickyDidIt89 says:

    “How would you react to that if you were giving your all for the cause on the field?”.
    In their case, the wrong way I think is the answer, and therein lies the root of the problem. One can argue that the team can be crowd led, you can equally argue that the crowd are players led, if you get my drift. Personally, I don’t think the likes of Tony Adams could care less about the crowd, rather that he loved Arsenal and hated losing.

  31. Red Arse says:


    What’s up doc?

    I have to tell you that at least 3 of us, me, myself and I, always take seriously your every word. Certainly Fatima is not one to be sniffed at! 🙂

  32. MickyDidIt89 says:

    You’re a fool and a pervert:-)

  33. MickyDidIt89 says:


  34. gunnern5 says:


    When our team is playing well and winning the crowd are up – they are up because we are winning i.e.the 1st half of the Spurs game. But when the team needed the crowd in the 2nd half the crowd went into their typical “I knew this would happen” sulk.

    They need to get over themselves and get behind the team instead of helping to make their prophesy come true. The team needs the crowd when they are down not when they are up we are up and winning.

    Our home crowd is nothing short of pathetic and show little or no passion.

    I guess that growing up in a rabid Arsenal clan I grew accustomed to only positive support. When we were at a game we always gave our full support, and as a kid that meant being in short pants on a freezing winters day and still loving every minute of it.

    If you grew up, as I did, kicking a rag football against the gate on Avenell Road
    you would better understand both my unflagging love and passion for my team and my repugnance of today’s “supporters”.

  35. Red Arse says:


    You do me a great honour! I am indeed a Fool. How did you work it out? Was it all my rushing in? 🙂

    But what sort of fool? April Fool; Motley Fool; or as I have just had lunch, perhaps a Full Fool! 🙂

    I will give you a clue. I wear a tri-cornered cap with a bell at each end, signifying the donkeys ears and tail.

    Now I have a riddle for you. I will assume your obvious answers as we progress.

    Q1. Are you, Micky, the front end of an ass? [Micky: No!]
    Q2. Are you, Micky, the back end of an ass? [Micky: No!]

    Then, Micky, you have confirmed that you are no end of an ass! 🙂

  36. Red Arse says:

    I had a leisurely troll through some Arsenal staistics on Monday last, and I came across one that puts the Spuds defeat into perspective.

    Sadly, I forgot where I saw this snippet and wondered if some of you guys with long memories could confirm the following.

    The shock of our second half collapse on Saturday, together with subliminal complaints in comments I subsequently read, about the Emirates and it’s lack of atmosphere, which indicated such a thing would not have happened at Highbury, made me pause.

    I read, in this now forgotten item, that Arsenal were 2:0 up against Norwich (yes, Norwich), at home (Highbury), and subsequently gave away 4 goals in the second half to lose 2:4 courtesy of Robbins (?), ex Man U player. They may have finished 2nd or 3rd around 1987 (??).

    Can anyone remember this, or did you see this game?

    If so, it shows there is nothing new under the sun! How did we (Arsenal) finish that year?

  37. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Naturally the fool for taking me seriously, although would I be correct in assuming something wet was consumed with lunch?

  38. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Honestly I was there. Strangley, also against Norwich at home a year or two later, I had a tenner on 4-1, and was standing on the North Bank as we were 4-0 up and Norwich came forward to score. One gooner going mad!!

  39. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Believe me, I share your concerns about the crowd, and would like nothing more than to blame, I don’t know, say the commercialization of the game, or the new Wenger/Emirates crowd, but its not true. I remember watching First Division games at Highbury with 16,000 quiet miserable fans.

  40. Rasp says:

    The thrust of the post was not about the role the crowd play in the team’s performance. I refuse to accept that the crowd are to blame when the team lose a game. Yes, vocal support helps, but these guys are professional international footballers who should have the self motivation to perform at the highest level under any circumstances.

    If you want to expand the visible/vocal support theme, you could include that the manager sits huddled in his seat for most games rather than shouting encouragement from the edge of the technical area. I have noticed that the crowd is more vocal when Arsene is active. He doesn’t send out the right message to the payers when he is looking stern and frustrated in his seat.

  41. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Back to something I said earlier, “I don’t think the likes of Tony Adams could care less about the crowd, rather that he loved Arsenal and hated losing”. The crowd simply have no-one to identify with.
    Look how Chelsea have coped without Lampard or Terry dropped a few points) and how Pool have always punched above their weight as a result of Gerrard and Carragher(despite arguably worst managers). Even Utd wobble when ithout Scholes, Giggs or Neville. Frankly, the only reason we are within two points of them.

  42. Rasp says:

    As I said earlier Micky, Sol Campbell would try to lift the players last season. Cesc is a great player but not a great captain. The same is true of TH14. Vieira and Adams were the last two proper leaders we had on the pitch.

  43. Smith14 says:

    I can see GunnerN5’s point to a degree, it has to be said that when Tottenham got the first on Saturday a feeling of nervousness crept into the crowd which, until that point had been excellent. It would have helped if the whole crowd had kept up the noise levels, we certainly try to in Block 10.

    The only thing is that as a fan it’s very difficult to keep up the atmosphere without letting a bit of anxiety creep in, especially when you’ve seen this team throw a way leads, in games both big and small, on so many occasions.

    I don’t think it was a case of fans not getting behind the team, for large portions of the second half we still looked like we’d get a 3rd, it was more a case of being nervous and desperately hoping we wouldn’t throw it away again.

    Whilst I disagree that our fans are all quiet or not real supporters, I would say we could do more to show encouragement rather than bemoainng every lose pass or missed opportunity.

  44. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Sorry everyone, I am not writing or thinking very clearly. Work is prodding me. He’s is so vulgar. Am off to deal with the little sod. Get him back in his box. Bye for now.

  45. Big Raddy says:

    It’s chicken and egg regards whether the crowd motivates the players or vice versa. Either way we should never have lost in Braga.

  46. Red Arse says:


    You have touched on something that has also struck me, although from a slightly different perspective.

    Over the years, Arsene has become more openly frustrated and his body shape more contorted with anxiety and anger, a la Basil Fawlty.

    This must chime with the players and induce additional anxiety in them.

    I much preferred the old studious, laconic Wenger who gave little away and outwardly displayed a calm, confident demeanour.

  47. gunnern5 says:

    Wait just a minute here. So now one of the reasons the crowd are under motivated is because Wenger does not motivate the crowd. Come on now – that is really a bridge to far.

    When oh when will the home supporters take some responsibility for their lack of vocal support.

    Smith 14,
    We are pretty much in accord.
    I’ve been to many a quiet home game over many years of watching some plain awful football. But today’s crowd are overly intellectual and lacking in gut passion.

    Red Arse,

    August 15, 1992 – Arsenal 2 Norwich City 4. These things really have happened before.

  48. RockyLives says:

    Great post Rasp – I can’t find anything to disagree with.
    Like Micky, I remember games at Highbury back in the 1970s and ’80s when the crowd were pretty quiet.
    I was watching Saturday’s game on the TV and it sounded like the home crowd responded quite well for a while after the first Sp*ds goal but, frankly, as the game wore on the Sp*ds silenced the crowd by playing with a lot more energy and determination. The home support could sense the fragility of the players and the noise level dwindled. Well, that’s how it seemed on a TV set a few thousand miles away.

  49. Smith14 says:

    I think another thing to remember, as I commented on a different article last week, is that Football is different now and therefore so is the support. Every game is scrutinised more than ever before so it’s no longer possible to turn up to a game, sing your heart out regardless and then go home. Nowadays we all go to games armed with endless stats which in itself breeds an expectancy among supporters. Single results take on too siginificant a meaning so the atmosphere changes accordingly.

    When we play small teams we are expected to win so if we aren’t winning early the crowd get tetchy. Against Tottenham, the fans knew all to well that we are good at throwing away results and they are good at salvaging them. It all culminated into an anxious atmosphere. I’m not saying it’s the right way to be but it’s understandable and hard to avoid.

    I sang for 90 minutes but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous at 2-1 and perhaps a little bit jumpy from then on.

  50. Red Arse says:


    As an “occasional” visitor to the Emirates, and a one time season ticket holder at Highbury, (West Stand, Upper, right by the halfway line, just above the TV gantry, and previously standing on the North Bank … oh what memories) 🙂 I am somewhat “neutral” when there is an argument about fans’ support.

    The so called Highbury Library was often a cauldron, a cacophany of sound, despite the stadium having “open” corners, rather than a bowl shape. But I also heard jeers and booing there too.

    We have discussed, ad nauseam, the poor acoustics of the Grove and I have also heard comments about some fans sitting passively watching games. But in my limited experience I have seen/heard many groups of zealous young fans shouting at the top of their lungs, only for the sound to dissipate into the aether.

    In short, I think it is a mistake to rely on the sound you hear on TV, and blame the fans in attendance. They care, they have paid big bucks to buy tickets and many of them “support” as loud as humanly possible.

    Arsenal need to improve the acoustics!

    I don’t have an axe to grind on this subject, as I am also mostly a TV fan thru circumstances nowadays, but I know what I have seen and heard and, in fairness to those regular attendees, I feel constrained to say so.

    Oh, by the way, Happy Birthday! 🙂

  51. Red Arse says:


    Thanks for the Norwich confirmation. 🙂

    I looked thru loads of data, and at the end of it became so hornswaggled I could not remember where I had seen the item or what the date was.

    Reading the blogs after Saturdays dismal result, the impression given was that it was close to the end of the world. It was nothing of the sort. Better and worse things have/can happen.

    Anyone know how we finished in 1992/3? 🙂 🙂

  52. gunnern5 says:

    Red Arse:


    W15, T11, L16, GF40, GA38, Pts 56 and we finished 10th.

    Less than one goal for per game and almost one against.

    What dross that was – how soon we forget.

  53. RockyLives says:

    By the way, happy birthday GN5 🙂

  54. Red Arse says:

    Thanks, GN5,

    Glad I missed that season then! 😦

    It just goes to show those who have been spoilt by our successes since the inception of the Premier League, how much worse times past sometimes were!

    You are a veritable mine of info. I should simply have asked you if there had been a similar 2:0, 2:4 reverse! 🙄

  55. Red Arse says:

    Everyone has gone bye byes, even my man Micky, so nite, nite all! 🙂

  56. Big Raddy says:

    Ramsey on loan to Forest.

    That is a strange one, exposing him to the brutalities of the lower league.

  57. SharkeySure says:

    Excellent post Rasp. Great balance to it.

  58. chas says:

    An excuse to re-watch a great goal…….he did used to shoot, didn’t he?

  59. chas says:

    That bit in the game on Saturday when Rosicky refused to accept the opportunity to shoot, but instead passed sideways to no-one, resulting in the spuds breaking upfield and winning the free-kick for the 3rd goal…….feck, can’t even be bothered to finish off that sentence, a bit like the boys after a 23 pass move.

  60. Carlito11 says:

    Chad- hear you on that one. Was all we talked about on the way home. Not you came blame him for the defeat but still. Some of the comments today have been wonderful and a great pleasure to read. Cheers fellas! The thing about the crowd as I said yesterday is blown out of proportion. I wrote the piece last week about the lack of support damaging the team but when you are cruising at 2-0 and show signs of throwing it away is it any wonder that we get nervous? I use we in the collective cos I was shouting too much to notice but asked my mates after yesterdays discussion and they confirmed I was on my own at times in the uppe north bank. Fuck it. We throw away winnable and drawable situations too often and that transmits to the crowd. On quiet games there are too many tourists but against spurs and braga that cannot be said to have a bearing and I remember the trio of games we played against Norwich in 1992 too- dunno where I’m going with this! In vino veritas- in beero smashitas!

  61. Carlito11 says:

    Chas- sorry for the typo 🙂

  62. RockyLives says:

    Carlito: “In vino veritas- in beero smashitas!”
    Excellent mate!

  63. Sorry Rasp, first chance to chat about your post.

    Happy Birthday gunnerN5

    Its interesting that only certain parts of the post were picked up for discussion – surely the parts in which we as supporters feel we have an influence as supporters at the ground.

    I’ve been to almost every game at the Emirates – now I’m a grown up my mum thinks its ok for me to go to football again. I’ve sat in many sections all around the ground apart from Platinum level so I feel I can be informative on this subject. There are vociferous supporters and there are very quiet supporters, when the ground appears quiet there are still sections that are singing.

    Reading gunnern5′s comments about how he used to go to games when he was young and the noise didn’t stop it occured to me that we watch football now in a completely different way to 50, 30 or even 20 years ago. Generally, most of us can watch almost every game on tv or through a stream and that means seeing a live football match feels very familiar.

    When gunnern5 was growing up – and for all of us to a certain extent – unless he went to Highbury he didn’t see the game – the masses that went to games were very very lucky as they got to see their team in the flesh. If they couldn’t raise some noise on the occasion of a home game what would be the point of going.

    Basically what I’m saying is that as we’re awash with football on tv, those that go to games possibly aren’t ‘up for it’ in the same way they were pre sky tv.

  64. ……….and while I have been in love with AW since 1998 I have to say that the rest is his fault.

    The system is fragile, as Rasp says we’re great with the ball, the thought of playing 6 up front appeals to me immensely but we have to have an end product and at the moment we don’t. kelsey’s post last week
    showed us that although we tend to whinge more about the defense it is in fact the lack of goals scored that’s holding us back.

  65. RockyLives says:

    You’re up late Peaches.
    Kelsey’s post that you highlighted was among the most thought-provoking posts I’ve read in the last couple of years.
    We’re so used to bleating about defensive frailties that we overlook the very salient fact that we never replaced TH14.

  66. gunnern5 says:

    Well folks my 1st post of the day was over 13hrs ago.

    I’ve just finished a wonderful family birthday dinner; and even though my side of the family is now rooted in North America they are still Arsenal nuts – I ask ya – really – what other choice do you think they have?

    I’ve mulled over my thoughts and responses to the events of the past week and the main thing that stands out in my mind is the singular lack of respect that is shown to AW and his extraordinary achievements at AFC.

    Having watched the vast majority of our games for the past 63 years I consider myself to be a tad more than a casual observer.

    I do, and I will continue to get more than pissed off with the ludicrous opinions of the passion deprived. trophy seeking, day trippers to the Emirates.

    As a boy there was absolutely nothing that could stop me getting into Highbury to see my heroes. Lack of money, high walls. turnstiles, stewards, none of those small obstacles were big enough to stop me – or many of my cousins getting into Highbury.

    I may offend some of the Arsenal Arsenal posters with my forthright comments but frankly I don’t give a damn.

    I just abhor the way folks try to intellectualize football and wax poetic about what is right and wrong about our team and our manager.

    The FACT of life is that the past 14 years have been the best that we have ever had and it’s due to AW. Just how people can think or believe any different is way beyond my comprehension.

    I an not an AW lover – not on your bippy – I love Arsenal through and through – from cold feet to hot head – but I was there almost 50 years before AW and I know – really know! just how horrible it was.

    Having observed for 63 years I’ve seen how bad it can be and how wonderful it can be.

    The saddest day in my life will be when AW retires – the worst day of my life will be if AW gets hounded out by the passionless trophy seekers.

    Goodnight all…….

  67. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning all/anyone,

    Very good point about football exposure and Sky in regards to atmosphere. I suppose it was inevitable that success brings in a certain “prawn sandwich” brigade. Arsenal, Utd and Chelsea all suffer.

    So, Ramsey out on loan. I think this is a good move as the reserves are simply too far off the pace to bring players up to speed. Why not RVP?

  68. MickyDidIt89 says:

    For the first time, I am delighted we have an early kick off. I am off for a two night mini break in the worlds’ most beautiful city (Bath), and kick off will tie in nicely for when my laptop and I need our midday siesta!

  69. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Where are you? Are they still cricketing?

  70. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Just seen the score. No expert, but does this mean there could actually be a result with lowish first innings scores?

  71. gunnern5

    I bow to your greater knowledge and experience in all things Arsenal but our greatest manager ever, who brought us the delights of Wengerball, watched with awe by football supporters all around the world has slightly lost the plot while sticking to his principles in rather a stubborn way.

    I, like you, will be incredibly sad when he decides its time to retire but feel that in addition to the highs he’s given us there are also the lows where the system isn’t working.

    I don’t think it matters that other teams have worked out how to play against us as we get ourselves into enough good positions to score that we should always be safe if only some chances are put to bed. I accept that not all chances become goals but the ‘tippy tappy football’ around the goal mouth that too often leads to nothing is costing us. Its only a little tweak – ‘if you’re in a goal scoring position, be intelligent, have a go, don’t try to squeeze the ball through 3 defenders to Cesc if you’re in space’

    The point about Wenger’s body language during a game is a valid one, he looks submissive and that sends a signal out to the opposition in addition to our own team.

  72. Rasp says:

    Morning all,

    peaches point is extremely relevant. We are desensitised from the match day experience by the amount and quality of coverage we see on TV. I know people wh choose not to go to games because they think they get a better ‘picture’ of the game from Sky. This may in some way explain why the atmosphere at the emirtates is not as good as some perceive Highbury was. I can assure any overseas supporters that the ‘Highbury faithful’ are just as vociferous as they always were, but their effect has been diluted by ‘new fans’ and the size and acoustics of the stadium.

    As far as I can see, no-one was disrespectful to the manager in yesterday’s debate so I assumne GN5’s comments were aimed at different blogs. As far as our right to discuss difficult topics, that is one of the reasons this site exists with the caveat that any debate should be civilised and reasonable.

  73. ziya says:

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  74. […] Arsenal …. Why don’t we learn from our mistakes? […]

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