A hugely disappointing non performance

How can you write a post match report when it wasn’t a match?

I have very strong feelings about the way we are heading and my crystal ball is working overtime.

Out of interest why was The Ox the last man covering the post, look who was in front of him.This is not a knee jerk reaction but why oh why didn’t the team start on the front foot to show Chelsea we meant business.This game on paper was pivitol to our season, at least to lay down a marker.

It was always going to be a difficult game but in all honestly Mourinho didn’t need a master plan to beat us.Three times we have been humiliated by the other title contenders,to the extent the games have been lost before half time,and it’s not that we had a makeshift team on the pitch.Seventeen goals conceded in three Away matches is disastrous.

I don’t know if Walcott or Ramsey would have made a difference or even if Flamini had started or even a fit Jack, but that is irrelevant as one can only play with those available.

As I said last night every single goal Chelsea scored began with mistakes by one or more of our team.The high line can be a dangerous tactic as shown in this game.

I also don’t accept that if Giroud’s scuffed shot would have gone in it would have been a different result.

Wenger may well be leaving a legacy and a team to really challenge but not without buying at least 4 players. But the real question is that when it really matters our play becomes erratic and there is no real leader on the pitch and I am afraid Wenger can’t motivate them anymore. He may not realise it that he is being found out time and time again and maybe it’s really best for him to leave at the end of the season as a proud man who had glorious years but now the game has passed him by when it really matters.

In all probability Sagna will leave, who IMO was again our best player yesterday from an average performance. Arteta has had his best days. Gibbs is injury prone and Monreal is another Santos and it looks like Szczesny is no better on occasions than Fabianski who is also leaving. There is a doubt about Vermaelen so this new defensive approach which works against some lesser teams is detrimental to the way we have been used to seeing the fluidity of pass and move,which is a joy to watch, and needs new players.

If that is the case we have to rebuild the understanding between the defence and midfield and attack.

All in all Podolski is a disappointment and Giroud despite his reasonable stats is not the player one needs when a vital goal is needed to change a game.

We still have a good chance to win the FA Cup but within a few weeks we have gone from top of the league to nervously look over our shoulders so that we don’t get drawn into a battle for fourth.

On a side note Mourinho showed his class yet again walking off just before the final whistle and IMO Wenger should have showed his face to the TV cameras however much it hurt. Remember his words “mental character” 🙂 He is hurting and I wonder what is really going on in his mind.

A hugely disappointing non Performance.

Written by kelsey

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161 Responses to A hugely disappointing non performance

  1. Oh Dennis where to begin ………..

    Players unprepared?

    Arsene unprepared?

    Rubbish tactics – on our part?

    Players falling apart?

    Mid-field sadly lacking some spite?

    Too much nice football played against each other in training?

    Just for starters ………………

  2. kelsey says:

    Spill it out peaches 🙂

  3. Our mid-field has been out of sorts for months ….. not entirely Arsene’s fault as we have injuries but Flamini should have started yesterday …….. he’s the only one who bollocks people constantly.

    Our CB’s have been superb but they can’t defend an onslaught on their own ………… our mid-field was practically non-existent yesterday ………… what happened to possession football????

  4. Rasp says:

    Thanks Kelsey,

    The obvious mistakes in the game were starting without Flamini (one of the few players who showed some grit) and sending the team out without clear instructions to play tight and defensively for as long as it would take to get a grip on the game.

    The other mistakes are much more fundamental and need to be discussed in greater depth on another day.

    We continue to make it easy for Maureen to beat us. It’s very simple for him because we play into his hands every time.

  5. Last week we lauded 1-0 to the Arsenal and laughed about us parking the bus …… WTF

  6. How rude of me ……. thanks kelsey

  7. I have to walk the dog but ……… I’ll be back 😉

  8. Rasp says:

    Kelsey, your point about Sagna was well made. He worked his socks off. We kept giving him the ball but then not providing an outlet and he was closed down. I sensed his frustration – I also expect him to leave in the summer.

  9. Dundonald Gooner says:

    In the days of writing letters on paper, you would have seen the smudges caused by my tears !!
    I’ve followed The Gunners a long old time and don’t think I’ve ever seen them that bad. (I was at the 8-2 as well.)

  10. RA says:

    Well done, Kelsey.

    You have perhaps taken a sensible decision to muse on the peripheries or incidentals surrounding the game, as a report would be difficult to rationalise.

    It is difficult not to be downbeat and despondent about such a humiliating thrashing, which it was!

    But I laughed for the first time since the kick off, yesterday, when I read Terry’s tragic and yet so funny story of his childhood, which was redolent of pathos, and told with such masterly aplomb;

    –“As a kid, I would wait in some floozie’s flat whilst they (dad and said floozie) were doing ‘it’. That’s why I now associate Wine Gums, Tizer, and Donald Duck cartoons with sex.”

    Made me laugh, again, as I typed it. 🙂

  11. kelsey says:

    I hope Shard comes on as I disagree with nearly everything he says.

    I am not anti Wenger,never have been, but having total contol is just to much for him these days.It’s nearly 18 years since he joined us, he is older,the game has changed dramatically and he won’t change his fundamental approach. He may tweak it as shown this season with many of our defensive displays but he needs a quality back up team to advise him on occasions and not get too involved in everything about the club. He is paid to manage the players and get the best out of them.
    The bottom line is lack of consistency and constant failure to get the better of the clubs that really matter and even if he did bring in better quality players woud that actually change things. Suarez would have been an exception and whoever did the negotiations,cocked up big time.

  12. Motning all, thanks for your thoughts on yesterdays debacle.

    There is little there, IMO, to disagree with and when I woke up today I was hoping the events of yesterday lunchtime were just some sick dream. No such luck.

    After the 3rd went in I felt, like White Stick, it was time to go into hiding and instigate another Mugabe media lockdown. Sigh.

    Something else that worries me is that Wigan will be licking their lips at the prospect of facing a team so bereft of confidence and feeling their name is on the FA Cup.

    Swansea too will have their belief bouyed by yesterday as they’ll come to our place on Tuesday evenetning looking to repeat the result from last season.

    I think I’m going to back to my regime of lots of pre match relaxers in the Tavern before the game on Tuesday.

    Mines a treble.

  13. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Good morning all,

    Well done Kelsey, to create a post after that performance is over and above devotion to duty.

    To answer an early question, I think Oxlade-Chamberlain had given the ball away and was rushing back to cover/retrieve it and got himself into a good position on the goal-line. Which begs another question…where the f**k was Podolski at that point, in fact where the f**k was Podolski throughout the twenty-four minutes he was on the pitch.

    On the whole, our problem is, and has been for several seasons, an entirely inadequate squad lacking in quality, experience and numbers.

    Why are we continuing to put out on the pitch a striker who is knackered, out of form and totally lacking in confidence? Answer, because the only alternatives are today’s equivalent of The Three Stooges, Podolski, Bendtner and Sanogo.

    Wenger has been heavily criticised for not starting with Flamini, I suspect that was an attempt to keep eleven players on the pitch for as long as possible. He may be a sleeves rolled up hustler but he is never far short of a red card.

    There are times when it is necessary to have a Plan B, yesterday was one of them. Maybe we should have started with both Arteta and Flamini plus Vermaelen playing just in front of the back four, stifled the Chavs by parking the bus for an hour and then changing things around if we were still in the game. But that’s not the Wenger way.

  14. RA says:

    For me, the gloves are of, in terms of what can, and should, be discussed, and to try to come to grips with why we have so consistently produced such insipid displays, not just in yesterday’s game, but whenever we play ‘must win’ games against the ‘top teams’ whom we like to think of as our nearest competitors.

    Some of us, me included, have remarked, time and again, on how fragile we are when the best teams press us hard, and have reached the inevitable conclusion that our physically small midfield are unable to compete with bigger, more athletic and faster opponents.

    To begin, don’t take my word four some of this, just listen to what the managers, Moaning Maureen. and Wenger said after the game;

    –“We (Chelsea) pressed very, very high up the pitch. We know they (Arsenal) want the ball, so they can build from the back, and they want to be comfortable with the ball.

    We pressed them very high immediately, recovered the ball and we attacked the spaces (behind them) very, very fast.”

    Did it work? Of course it did. Our guys were easily out muscled, and away the Chavs went into the wide open spaces, and the first two goals became easy peasy, and to see Arteta treading water trying to get back completed Mourinho’s wishes — power, pace and tactically astute.

    Arsene said, ” It’s all my fault! We got a good hiding, and you don’t want to prepare all week to experience that.”

    There is no disloyalty in agreeing with our manager’s self assessment and noting that Mincing Maureen’s tactics were so utterly predictable.

    Was it all Arsene’s ‘fault’? No. The players, individually and as a team were woeful.

    Let’s see.

    — Oxo lost the ball, in midfield, under Chelsea pressure from Schurle, and his pace took him through our statuesque midfield and passed to Etoo — boom!
    — Cazzor lost the ball, in midfield, to 6′ 4″ Matic, he passed to the flying Schurle — boom.

    — Then that ‘giant’, Oscar, out muscled Arteta (?), passed to the most skilful player on the pitch, Hazard, and via Oxo’s handball — boom, the penalty made it 3:0.

    [Is there a pattern developing here?]

    — Kozzer seemed to completely miss a tame clearance, and Hazard scored again.
    — Rosicky got into the act and passed across the face of the penalty area to Oscar with the paceless Arteta unable to get to it — boom.
    — Resorting to our own high line with only 10 men, a gentle chip over the top to the speedy Saleh — boom — number six.

    Summary:

    a) Arsene said it was his fault – tactics- team selection – who knows.

    b) Many of the Arsenal players are lacking in pace or are physically unsuited to the modern Premier League.

    c) Age has taken its toll on at least one of our midfielders.

    GN5 and DanDan may be disappointed to read the above, but it is a fan’s dispassionate analysis of yesterday’s game, which could be applied to other games earlier in the season. too.
    In addition, even Arsene has admitted it was a humiliating defeat, and accepted the blame, so all I have done is to take my lead from him.

    The solutions to the above malaise is obvious to me, but you will each have your own views on that, so I will leave you to it — but surely the state quo cannot be allowed to carry on, if we really have aspersions to winning trophies, which Arsene has said it is.

  15. arnie says:

    well done, Kelsey. thank you for putting your hand up, and doing a good and thankless job of surveying the wreckage.

    if only there was half as much sense of responsibility and camaraderie in the team and its management as what we have on AA, we would not be here moving like zombies with scrambled brains. Period. 😦 very very sad. 😦

  16. arnie says:

    Mobbollix puts Chelsea as firm favourites for the EPL crown, at 61% and Shitty at 30%. Even the best results next week will take our odds from 9% to only 13%.

  17. arnie says:

    chums: those interested in cricket, Glenn Maxwell is playing one of the most exciting innings ever in 20-20. worth following, I think. 😀

  18. Big Raddy says:

    Arnie. I am watching him as this morning I have no interest in football.

    Great stuff.

  19. Big Raddy says:

    Kelsey. Thanks for the post. As ever you state your opinion clearly.

    It will not surprise you to know that I look at this season differently to you and many others. A shocking defeat yesterday should not cloud what has already been a very enjoyable season.

  20. RockyLives says:

    Well done Kelsey.

    I can’t disagree with anything except the question of whether it’s time for AW to go.

    I think we need him to stay, but I’ll admit to having been seriously rattled by yesterday’s non-performance.

    Arsene rightly gets uppity about amateurs and lay people trying to suggest they know better than him regarding tactics, but yesterday pretty much every fan, pundit and ex player felt that Arsenal needed to play it tight and build from there. Instead, for the first two goals, our fullbacks and half the midfield were marauding upfield so that as soon as the individual errors were made (first by Oxo then by Santi) there was a red carpet laid down for the Chavs straight to our goal line.

    The only thing I can imagine is that our tactics were an attempt by AW to play a double bluff on Maureen: “Maureen will assume we’re coming to park the bus, so let’s go hell for leather at them for the first 15 minutes and try to blow them away.”

    If that was the case it was clearly scuppered by the individual errors and by the Chavs’ powerful start to the game.

    The end result is that – sadly – I will wake up on FA Cup semi final day full of fear, not hope. And if we get to the final I will be expecting us to choke again, regardless of the opposition.

    No doubt my mood will improve, but that’s where I am today.

  21. LB says:

    Well done Kelsey for coming up with something this morning.

  22. RockyLives says:

    I know some will say that those of us who have been seriously affected by yesterday’s game have lost a sense of perspective, “it’s only one game” etc.

    But if LB feels compelled to stop watching for the first time in over 20 years, you know something is wrong.

    I was close to doing the same by stuck it out.

  23. arnie says:

    well done, Norfolk, Redders and Rocky. it would have been very difficult to compose your thoughts and write sensible things, so thank you.

  24. RC78 says:

    Disastrous, once again against the Big Boys! This is symptomatic of our team in the last years and this is why pundits do not give us any title credentials because when it matters, we falter! This year has been actually embarassing against the Big Boyz: lost to Utd, City, Chelsea and Liverpool away…conceding 5 goals or more against three of these opponents…We only beat Liverpool at home, drew to Chelsea and we are waiting to host City and Utd but it is not looking good (except vs Utd…)…And we lost to Bayern Munich, Napoli and Dortmund!

    What does that mean for us? Well, we are a good European team but we do not have the quality nor quantity to compete at the higher levels. We are definitely punching in our weight-range and we cannot go beyond the following objectives:

    – Bottom of the Top 4, if that
    – 1/4 finalist of the Champions League at MOST
    – Top 4 finish in one of the Domestic Cups

    We are not a rampant scary victorious side – we are a good team and we need to be OK with this.

    Let us not hope for big signings but if the Board has any sense, it would be wise to get 2 world class players:

    – 1 Striker and
    – 1 Defensive Mid

    and some top talent winger (Meertens would be great) and some solid replacement for Sagna and Gibbs as Sagna is leaving and Gibbs is not yet the defender we expected.

  25. Rasp says:

    I hope no one wants to use the incorrect sending off as an excuse for yesterday. Nevertheless, it would be good to know the refs thought processes that led to his decision.

    I can’t quite believe the reports I have heard. Is it true that the ref didn’t see the handball and neither did any of the other officials and the Ox was sent off because John Terry told Mariner about it?

    Surely this can’t be true, but if it is, he should never referee in the EPL again. I’d like to know the true story.

  26. RC78 says:

    Why Flamini did not start is yet a mystery for me…

  27. arnie says:

    top comment, RC78, you have my full agreement.

  28. RC78 says:

    Szecesny – Piczek, BFG, Kos, Shaw – Ramsey, Veloso, Wislhere – OX, Walcott,? Ozil

    ? – Jenksinson, ?, Vermaelen, Gibbs – Rosicky, ?, ? – Gnabry, ?, Cazorla

  29. Sub says:

    Surely the red card should only have been yellow at worst!? The shot was not on target and therefore not preventing a goal (ala Suarez in worldcup) and therefore it should have been treated as any other handball in the penalty area. No one has seemed to bring this up anywhere (press and blogs) so I’m wondering if i’ve missed something. I believe Arsenal should not only challenge mistaken identity but also the severity of the punishment. Not that I have any faith in the FA to do the correct thing of course.

  30. arnie says:

    Rasp: maybe JT told him also that he has checked his “Hawk-Eye” and it said the ball was curling in, so it was a red card as well? bloody barstardos!

  31. Rasp says:

    Hi Sub, the red/yellow decision is subjective so I’d expect them to transfer the one match ban from Gibbs to the Ox – simply because they seem to close ranks when one of their own is being criticised. But if the ref and none of the other officials all failed to see it, the only course of action was to do nothing. It looks like he believed John Terry about the incident but didn’t believe the Ox when he tried to tell the truth – how does that work?

    Gibbs was playing like a winger up until the sending off any way so it may have been a blessing. What was he thinking getting so far forward at the start of a game away to the chavs … its suicide

  32. neamman says:

    I feel there is an overreaction as I truly believe we are not that far away. Take out the 3 away games to MC, Chelsea and Pool we have been defensively strong. If there is one thing I still think we are missing its a dominating leader. An Adams or Vieira who perhaps would scare his own players as much as the opponents.
    I think the old codgers like me who remember the 60s appreciate that even in our worst times we are still so much better than then. Most seasons we were like Everton, a tough opponent at times but always destined to finish 5-8. There were a couple of years where we were like todays Villa, a once proud club whose main concern is remaining in the top flight every year.
    Give us a McLintock, an Adams or a Vieira next year and lets see what happens!!!
    I truly think we are close especially if we can pull together for our last 7-8 games, Cup included. When the games in hand are played we are just 4 points out and City/Chelsea and Liverpool all play each other. 2 draws there , two wins for us and we are back in the mix. Never give up and at worst the Cup “should” be ours anyway!!!

  33. arnie says:

    neamman: a (serious) smiley from me, finally. 🙂

  34. arnie says:

    Chris Gayle and Dwayne Smith! ha ha ha ha ha

  35. RC78 says:

    Neaman – the “Vieras and Adamses” do not come to Arsenal – they want to win trophies and go to gritty, powerful and victorious teams with depth and talent in abundance…

    Wenger is looking at Schnerderlin for next year – he is a good player but again, he is no Fernandinho or Paulinho or even Mikel or Lucas. Our team needs players that can break plays and that know how to win trophies and critical games…Do you think Schweinsteiger, Alonso, Busquets , Pogba, Vidal would join our team? No chance, even if we win the FA Cup…The top players join teams that have a chance to win the Champions League and the League. At this stage, we are not able to offer this guarantee…It is a vicious circle…We cannot improve if we do not attract top players and we cannot attract top players if we do not challenge realistically for top trophies,,,We managed to get Ozil but it s because Real needed cash desperately…And they know that Jese, Isco and Bale could easily make up for that loss…

    Think of the Top 8 players in each position in the EPL and in the world and none of them would be keen to join us…How are we supposed to improve our squad? I think that the Stadium brought us financial sustainability but it s damaging our sporting credibility has taken a hard knock…

  36. sweeps says:

    Enough is Enough if you can’t learn from your mistakes from the Citeh and Liverpool team selections and performances it’s time to go.

  37. RC78 says:

    Shall we list the Top 8 players in each position and see who could join us? I M so upset 😦

  38. arnie says:

    If players do not want to put on an Arsenal shirt, good riddance, we care a flying fig. This is a club which has a rich history and traditions, and we play the game in an attractive and fair way. We will do well nevertheless. We are fighters, we will fight.

    The problem yesterday was the lack of fight, but this does not happen often.

  39. arnie says:

    we need to find players who are on the ascendant, and are not (yet) too big for a club of Arsenal’s stature. I am quietly confident we will do this.

  40. Great comment Redders @ 11:21am !.

    And I thank you for your coded simple solution to the malaise !……..I will kidnap Wenger and torture him !. I will have to do it on my own though, as my usual partner, Transplant is in love with The Sith Lord and has even had it written in to his will that his ashes are to be sprinkled over Arsene whilst he is making love to Stevie Bould !. hahaha

  41. RC78 says:

    We need STEEL, PACE and GUILE! At the moment, we are lacking all three of these key ingredients to win any sort of title…

    the other thing is that we may want to change our 4-3-3 to a 4-2-3-1 but for that we need the right type of players…

    Szecesny – ?, BFG, Kos, ? – Ramsey, ? – Walcott, OzIl, Ox – ?

    RB: Ideally, Piczek but I can live with a guy like Abate or De Sciglio

    LB: Ideally, Shaw but I can live with a guy like Nagamoto

    DM: ideally – Dembele or Witsel as they are steely and can also carry the ball forward. if impossible, then Veloso would do

    Wingers: ideally, Meertens or Insigne but I can live with Menez (he is free and will do well in England) or Remy

    Strikers: ideally, Hulk or Jackson Rodriguez but i can live with Chicarito or even Wellbeck…

    Szescesny – Piczek, BFG, Kos, Shaw – Ramsey, Dembele – Walcott, Ozil, Ox – Hulk

    Scezescny – De Sciglio, BFG, Kos, Nagamoto – Ramsey, Veloso – Walcott, Ozil, Meertens – Wellbeck

    Wellbeck is not outstanding but makes great runs and if you give Ozil good runs (and you will with Walcott, Meertens or Oz and Wellbeck), he will make things tick very quickly….

  42. Gööner In Exile says:

    Thanks Kelsey for putting troubling feelings on paper (well on the screen but you know what I mean).

    So I have skim read the comments and I looked for criticism of a name but do you know what I didn’t see it, and I’m not surprised I said it would happen a while back. Remember? When everyone was lauding Bould for our defensive security, I asked the question will it be his fault when we take a tanking? Answer? Apparently not as I predicted those that lauded Bould are the same that are now knives out for Arsene.

  43. arnie says:

    GiE: As far as I am concerned, Arsene is the leader. He takes the plaudits and he receives the brick bats as well. He knows that, and he takes it well. I am sure he is busy getting the team into shape for Tuesday.

  44. dandan says:

    Well guys all is as I expected, Gn5, Neaman and I look at yesterday’s presentation and compare it subjectively in our Arsenal memory pack with the real hard years gone by, smile and say here we go again.
    Rasp asks that we discount our injuries, how can we they are a fact? Kelsey as loyal an Arsenal fan as ever, continues in his belief that the main man is past his sell by date and that his philosophy is the starting point for all our troubles, whilst seeing worse times ahead in the dissolution of our squad over the summer months.
    Yes, we need some changes but then what team doesn’t. Surely our problems stemmed mainly from the midfield yesterday, where we were bullied and outmuscled, strange then that is the main area beset by injuries. Which of our challengers I wonder? Could have absorbed the level of casualties we have in that area and still been able to put together a side capable of maintaining a position at the top table of the premier league? None I fancy. The real problem of course is that due to the lack of pace caused by the absence of our quick experienced players, we have no out ball for the opposition to fear when they press us in our own half. How can we counter attack at pace if those guys are not available? Yes we have some quick players coming through but are they really ready to take the responsibility that a top of the table clash demands? Sure we could have tried to park the bus but having been hit whilst still cold that option rapidly went out of the window. How often have we done that to opponents ourselves and gone on to pass our way to Wengerball to the delight of the watching fans
    So we need a couple of players, an animal with skill would be a dream come true in midfield, but then they are rarer than hens teeth and the dream acquisition of all teams, an extra defender with pace and a real striker hungry for goals, capable of terrorising six foot plus defenders in the penalty area. These additions and the return of our own injured warriors would make I suggest a significant difference to our fortunes next season, but will cost a fortune even if they can be found.
    So the cries of anguish from the fans and derision from the feeding dogs of the media will fill the internet and the airwaves for a while, a result at against Swansea will of course be presented as the natural fulfilling of the heights of our ambition and if you think this weekend’s breast beating is bad, be prepared to don full armour if we fail to win the FA Cup that many of these noisy commentators are suggesting has our name on it and is a foregone conclusion.
    As for Kelsey well done my friend keep sticking to your guns at least you shake some of us out of our lethargy and solicit the comments that are the life blood of the blog a sphere.

    Oh by the way Arsene Who? the best manager I have seen in sixty plus years of watching the Arsenal will I hope sign a new contract and lead us through a few more years of watching the Beautiful game with all its ups, downs, disappointments and thrills that make it the addictive drug that fastens so many of us with all our diverse backgrounds, views and expectations to its multi coloured revenue generating ever changing shirts.

  45. RA says:

    Cockie @ 2:21, you are a rascal! 🙂

  46. arnie says:

    Dandan: my second smiley today. 🙂 I agree with all of that. However, I believe Arsene will leave within the next 2 years not because I would like him to, but because I think he is building his last team with us, which will peak by that time, and because of what I view as signals of a change of guard being planned.

    Arsene has been fantastic, but is perhaps a bit too inflexible in his convictions and maybe losing his touch a bit. Which mature man does not? But he still has a lot to give us, and he will do so until his final day with us. A top Gooner.

    The pity is that his 1,000th was not like a dream, as was his 500th by the way. But in between there was some fantastic stuff. Long may this continue.

  47. Rasp says:

    Hi dandan,

    We have to discount our injuries as they are, unfortunately, the norm for Arsenal. The club have not successfully addressed the problem of our high incidence of injury. The statistical chances of finishing in the top 2 of the injury league for the last 5 years when there are 19 other teams is hundreds to one against.

    I agree our problems were in the midfield. We lack power as a team but particularly in the midfield – this problem has been around for several years.

  48. arnie says:

    My belief is that our problem with the injuries is compounded by teh fact that we have an abnormally thin squad for a team of our stature!!! 😦 that also is a problem of our own making

  49. wally says:

    On the field leadership would count for so much in this side. There’s plenty of talent But who will provide it? Where will it come from?
    We’ve got a bunch of nice boys in the team. We need more sandpaper.
    Jack might have the personality but he’s not in the side often enough. Walcott might because he gets the goals but he’s another nice boy.
    I think Ramsey is possibly the best candidate because he can get the job done, defensively and offensively. If he were supported by the previous two it could happen.
    Barring that they have to buy someone who will ‘lead’ the team. Who that individual is or where he comes from is the $64 question.
    The other issues will get sorted but that leadership needs to get done NOW.

  50. Big Raddy says:

    Dandan. Thank you for writing a long comment which mirrors my own thoughts.

    Only lacking the point that we played with 10 men.

  51. RC78 says:

    +1 arnie

    All our expectations were met this season:

    – Thin squad when injuries hit us
    – Lack of an enforcer in the midfield will cost us against big teams
    – Lack of a world class striker will dent our title hopes

    – Top 4 secured
    – Group stage success in CL but not past 1/4 – secured
    – Domestic cup run – secured

    It is the season we all expected…but it could have been very different if we bolsted our squad during the winter window…

  52. Bayonne Jean says:

    “Thin squad” has been an issue for some time. Reasons given are the building of the new stadium, economic downturn, etc. But also, AW has always spoken of not wanting to sign the extra quality CB, FB, midfielder, striker because those players would not be willing to live with reduced playing time. He may also have been guilty of assuming that the relative lack of injury that was a hallmark of his early tenure would be a standard. Let’s face it, the Invincibles were a pretty thin squad, but when a side has big, physical, hardened players at their peak one can get away with what you’d consider a smaller quality roster than you can in today’s football.

  53. kelsey says:

    Dandan
    I respect your views as much as you do mine 🙂 However we both can’t keepliving in the past.
    Football is a passion but now it is a huge business first and foremost.
    Wee are the forth richest club in the world (I believe) have an ever increasing wage bill,about to hit 180/190 million but our scouting system and negotiations to bring the very best players is poor.
    Chelsea and City and to an extent United are in a different league but just taking this season as an example,Ozil was a last minute buy only because RM had to sell in order to buy Bale, and there is no doubt Ozil is a great player but will blossom next year.
    Flamini was a good short term buy but Sanogo might turn into a wonder buy but surely not to be included when we were top of the league and then with literally minutes of PL football is asked to lead the attack against Bayern of all teams, and quite honestly the loan deal for Kit Kallstrom was to me actually embarrasing.

    We definitely need more of a physical presence in the team maybe in two or three positions but quite frankly I don’t have the belief anymore that whoever is ultimately responsible in initially choosing these players and the intricate negotiations,could be doing a far better job.

    If Wenger has carte blanche on all these things and he alone then I am afraid his judgement isn’t as it was.

    He needs a better team of advisers even a David Dein type besides him (forgetting his monetary gain,as we all assume that Dein walked out on the club purely for financial gain which i am not convinced by) and if not and Wenger remains for another two years IMO we won’t see much change.

    It’s frustrating but I can see the same thing repeating itself.

    So near yet so far.

  54. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Oh b****r that puts the tin lid on my weekend!! Stinky Spuds get an injury time winner. My wife keeps asking me how Arsenal got on yesterday and warning me the gap is closing. I’m just going to have to plead a headache! 😀

  55. Big Raddy says:

    Mertesacker 98 German Caps
    Podolski 100+ German Caps
    Ozil Voted best German player 2013.
    Giroud Top scorer in France the season before he signed
    Cazorla Brilliant Spanish International
    Monreal. Fine back up LB

    All signed within the last 2 seasons.

    Are these the poor quality signings being talked about?

  56. RockyLives says:

    BR
    @ 3.56
    A very good point – we have, indeed, brought in some great players and several who have been “winners” elsewhere.

    But doesn’t that beg another question….?

  57. kelsey says:

    Raddy

    if that was directed at me 🙂

    mertesacker has improved dramatically,reads the game well but stats prove his best games are when he plays with Kos but no argument from me except haaving numerous international caps doesn’t always relate to club football.

    Podolski on the whole is a disappointment at Arsenal, Wenger gives him very few starts and I expect him to leave,hardest shot or not,his contribution has been minimal.

    Ozil I have already stated he will become a great,it was the way we accidently bought him, he wasn’t our first choice.

    Giroud, great stats but never ever going to be a clinical striker.

    Cazorla. now as you know my favourite current player but like wine doesn’t travel well and goes missing in many games especially Away,but hopefully he will become more consistent.

    Monreal to me is very average.

  58. arnie says:

    when Vieira left, Arsene developed Song as the midfield enforcer, when he left he have not done enough. maybe The Ox but that is for the future, perhaps next year.

    when Henry left, we developed BSR, when left, he we have not replaced him.

    top established stars often imply they are close to their peak or even slightly past their prime. we need to find players who are on the ascendant, so that they can have their best years with us.

  59. Norfolk Gooner says:

    BR, Podolski…back-up striker/left winger. Has hardly set the Premiership alight, regular position …. on the bench.

    Giroud… top scorer in Ligue 2 not Ligue 1, Is he really a top striker? I don’t think so. Regular starter in the absence of anyone better.

    Ozil, Booed by German fans in an International 2014, Disappointing after a good start, unable to get to grips with Premiership football. Jury still out.

    Three out of six ain’t brilliant.

    Sanogo, injury prone, totally unproven in top class football.

    Kallstrom, yet to appear in the first team only ten possible starts left.

    Three out of eight is worse than “ain’t brilliant”

  60. David Stewart says:

    One hundred caps for the German national team must surely reflect form at club level?

  61. arnie says:

    well, Giroud, early find, potentially on the ascendant, I think he was a good buy. but not quite the star striker we want.

    Ozil, jury still out, yes, but there is potential, good buy.

    Sanogo, potential is there, so good buy.

    Mert and Santi were mature when they came, but have done really well for us.

    That is about it. Poldi was a star, and past his prime. We have neglected the enforcer to play the foil for Ozil/Santi.Rambo. And we have neglected a striker. IMO.

  62. arnie says:

    For the enforcer role, we got stop-gaps in Arteta and Flamster. Where is the medium run plan?

    For striker, we tried Suarez, but where is the backup plan.

    And in defence, our players are getting older. where are the youngsters to play in rotation?

    Hopefully, these issues will be sorted out in the summer.

  63. jnyc says:

    I feel like I’m in an abusive relationship. I keep hoping they won’t hurt me again, they’ve been good for a while, think of all the good things they do. Then, something horrific happens again. I’m left feeling hurt and a bit ashamed.
    In this case, I’m not leaving, but I wonder, will they ever change? They want to, but are they committed to try? Do they have what it takes as constituted to make the big changes necessary.
    I believe in our core of talent. Will we make the few big moves needed to step up a level?
    Shocking results like this are seen all over the world. It doesn’t help our case in recruiting top talent. After yesterday, what player would choose Arsenal over Chelsea. Well, that’s who we are competing with for a top striker, for example. Some players may be put off in general. Koscielny may want to leave. How long would Ozil put up with this?
    We don’t like that Hazard didn’t take us seriously as a possible destination. How does yesterdays match make his estimation look?
    Fighting for Fourth place is a disappointment, with, or without the FA cup.

  64. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Arnie, despite the number of games Giroud has played since his arrival, is he the kind of striker we should have, back to goal target man? He’s willing, he’s a workhorse, but his first touch isn’t that good and he lacks real pace, without Walcott there is nobody who can get up to him when we try long balls out of defence and good defenders snuff out most attempts at winning the ball in the air anyway.

    We desperately need Ramsey back, then we can rest Giroud and play with a “false number nine” and bring a bit of pace to the team by playing Gnabry on the right instead of Rosicky.

  65. arnie says:

    Norfolk: agreed. my limited point is that when he came, Giroud was on the ascendant so we did not know what he would turn into. he gave us good service, but it is now clear he is not what we want. agreed.

  66. Shard says:

    HI Kelsey.

    Although you state you disagree with almost everything I say, I actually don’t disagree with much of what you wrote. About the game. Even about some of the players, their contribution and their future. (Although I disagree about Sagna’s performance being great. I am starting to see what GIE means ) (I also disagree about Monreal)

    Where I disagree with you is about our direction, and your questioning where we are as a club. Losses, and ‘performances’ like yesterday’s are embarrassing, but not indicative of our worth as a team. Reading all the criticisms, it’s either about tactics, or mentality, or lack of leaders on the pitch etc. All these things are basically conjecture since there is no real way to know from the outside. Why I did blame the players is because regardless of a manager’s tactical input, if players don’t play well, it is unlikely to matter. And can anyone argue the players played well? Yes, Wenger must take his share of the blame, or as he has done, all the blame. I just think this talk of the game having passed him by is easy to say in light of the result yesterday, but I don’t get what that is supposed to mean. How can a manager who has been overtaken by the game, still routinely finish top 4? Is it your contention that he has reached his level and can’t go beyond? Perhaps he has. But the evidence for that, is again, not conclusive, as we are only now emerging from a tough period where he can start to shape the team without having his hands tied. Players being tied down to contracts is to ensure a stable squad, to which players can be added. Last season, the contention was we must show improvement. We have. Next season, we will continue to show improvement. Will it be enough to win the league? Who knows? Maybe it won’t be. We are unlikely to be favourites in any case. But I am certain we will improve as a side.

  67. LB says:

    “Surely our problems stemmed mainly from the midfield yesterday, where we were bullied and outmuscled” (Dandan)

    And yet the one player who would have certainly helped avoid this started the game sitting on the bench.

  68. Shard says:

    Here’s the thing about Podolski. I have no problem with him sitting on the bench, since you can’t have a deep squad and not have someone on the bench. But he has had a disappointing season. And that might suggest that his time is done. Does that make him a poor purchase? Not for me. He was brought to do a job in the team as it was then, and he did. Maybe for the evolution of the team, he needs to be discarded. That doesn’t take away the importance of the purchase.

    Same with Arshavin. He gets labelled a poor buy, and in the end he did give up, but he did the job he was brought to do, and if a 15m pound player at Chelsea had produced the number of goals and assists he did for us, he would be labelled a more than satisfactory purchase.

  69. Shard says:

    Last one. I don’t think we have a ‘thin’ squad. With the exception of a striker, I don’t think we’re thin. A case can be made for CB but Chelsea have just Terry, Cahill and Luiz there, with Ivanovic able to fill in. Chelsea also have one Fullback less than us since they have used Azpilicueta on both sides. Cole and Ivanovic are the other FBs. Liverpool have more defenders and strikers but less of a midfield. City.. probably the closest to a complete squad but even they have had issues with their defense having to play Garcia there.

    So no argument in terms of a thin squad as far as I’m concerned. Injuries to key personnel, definitely an issue. Quality of players, not ideal…yet… But there is depth in the squad.

  70. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Sorry Shard, just what job has Podolski done for us, apart from warming the bench, since signing in July 2012 he’s made 44 appearences and scored 23 goals, only 32 appearences and 14 goals have come in the league.

    He has been rightly condemned for ignoring the defensive side of his game in many of his starts, surely by now, just eight games short of two seasons, he should have learned what to do when we don’t have the ball.

    £11 million and God knows how much in wages, hardly a bargain.

  71. kelsey says:

    Shard hi

    It depends what ones expectations are. I didn’t say Sagna was great yesterday,I said he alone ran his heart out,usually into blind alleys.

    If we were consistently mid table we all would be having a different discussion,but we aren’t and it’s admirable to keep finishing in the top 4 on the restrictions we have had,but I just don’t see an improvement against those around us at the top of the table,if anything our performances are worse.
    Our goal difference is half of the other top three teams.
    We find it difficult to put teams away when we go one nil up more and more these days.
    Recently we have won some games but just hoofing the ball away to no one, not the counter attack and fluidity of pass that we were used to.
    Maybe the players themselves are confused and unsure and then prone to making hurried passes often to the opposition or out of play,often because other teams know how to press us into making mistakes and that leads us to our training methods.
    Wenger is tactically outwitted more often than he used to be,especially by the teams we need to beat.

    no one has mentioned the absurd signing of Kallstrom,please don’t tell me no one else was available.
    Bedtner ruined himself and Raddy he is a current international 🙂 so what do we get….Sanogo.
    club of our standing should be aiming a lot higher.
    All clubs have duff buys but the real blame this season was waiting to long in the Summer to buy and not being more pro active in January.

  72. stevepalmer1 says:

    Evening, A tough post to write after a humiliating defeat but we are getting acclimatised to it by now. On all the blogs many are saying that Arsene Wengers best days are behind him, and after such a disasterous result who can blame them.I just wondered if any of you have looked at the situatiopn and thought about the finances as i believe that this is where the problem lies. Arsenal tell us that money is available for Wenger to buy whoever he likes but when the time comes to put that money to the test Wenger doesn’t, Why would Wenger keep humiliating us and himself with displays such as yesterday when money is no object. Power struggles in the owners of the club i believe is is the culprit. While Kroenke wants ultimate control he keeps the vastly wealthy Usmanov firmly in place, Kroenke although he is just a billionair Usmanov is a multi Billionare but he wants a seat on the board before he gives any money to better the team and Kroenke knows that will the start of his downfall so wont at any cost allow that to happen. Slowly the club are starting to make progress but huge amounts of money is still not available so Wenger has to make what he gets go a long way. The £42 million paid for Mest Ozil was to calm the fans down who became restless and demanded signings, You can’t blame them for that with season tickets the price they are. The sales of previous players brought in a fair few quid and the exidous of who we considered deadwood also freed up some cash as well and so Wenger could buy his Marquee signing, of course Wenger would rather have Suarez but his bank roll just didnt match Liverpools price. Don’t for one minute expect Wengers departure to change things at Arsenal as if the money is not there any manager coming in will Struggle. Wenger is over achieving at Arsenal with what he is being handed in cash but don’t think for one moment that should cash becomes available that he wouldnt spend it. Wenger has used what money he had left to secure the good players we do have to long term contracts but he and the rest of us must see the dangers as players leave at the end of the season. Many leaving for free leaves Wenger even more problems and i don’t think the future looks that good.

  73. Shard says:

    Podolski scored important goals. 10 go-ahead or equalising goals last season, and 4 other goals that increased our lead to 2 goals. Without those goals we wouldn’t be in the CL.

    Beyond that, he offered belief and an option to a squad that had lost a star striker. And he of course had some important assists too. Not bad for 11m in today’s market I’d say.

  74. Shard says:

    PS. Those goals are in all competitions. The point remains he has won us games.

  75. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Kelsey, you can only play counter-attacking football if you have players with pace. Without Walcott we are without pace.

    Gnabry is our only fit option, with pace, and for whatever reason Wenger won’t give him the game time he needs.

    I watched the Spurs game today and was interested in Southampton’s tactic when defending corners. They left a player up-field in the centre circle thus forcing Spurs to leave two defenders with him. It gave The Saints an out ball. Yesterday we pulled all eleven players back into our box, thereby allowing Chelsea the freedom to crowd into the area and deny us any means of relieving the pressure.

    Tactical bollix? Maybe! But it might work for us.

  76. kelsey says:

    So why is Wenger reluctant to start him in league games,because in his eyes he is yet another cameo player,doesn’t track back and has a lack of stamina.

    Steve,Arsenal made a loss in the first half of this season as we didn’t sell one of our star players.So where does all the money go. Kroenke doesn’t take a dividend,but we certainly overpay many players and possibly under a few others.
    I do agree that if Wenger stays not much will change as he is set in his ways.I still believe he would rather create a payer rather than buy an established player,especially from within the PL,but has no quarms in selling to our direct opposition.
    RVP to United, SIlvestre a little earlier to us, is more than a joke. .

  77. Shard says:

    Kelsey

    I honestly don’t find much wrong in signing Kallstrom. We’ve discussed this before, and I know most people disagree with me, but if..if..Arsenal found out about his injury at the last minute, the other option was to sign no one. I think this is better.

    Also, while I would love to sign Bender/Gustavo or any other fantasy signing, it was not going to happen in January, and apparently we did try in the summer, before signing Flamini. To sign someone better than Kallstrom, but someone not as good as Bender (e.g.) leads to a situation where Arsenal are stuck with ‘deadwood’ down the line, since they have neither the money nor the position to then buy an upgrade.

    By the way, our Goal difference was pretty bad in 2000-2001, and jumped up drastically next season. Similar in 2006-07 and the following year. Liverpool had a GD of +28 last season and is +44 as it stands now. GD is a very good indicator of where a team will finish in the table, but it shouldn’t be taken to mean a liability in terms of next season. Since it is something that can be rectified.

    All our title challenges in the lean years are based on stable squads. 2007-08 was a squad which had been together 2 years. 2010-11 was the same, and this one the same. The difference next season is that we are likely to continue building on it instead of having the heart ripped out of it.

  78. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Kelsey,

    “So why is Wenger reluctant to start him in league games,because in his eyes he is yet another cameo player,doesn’t track back and has a lack of stamina”. Is that from your crystal ball or do you have inside knowledge?

    Inexperienced mid-fielders tracking back give away penalties and get full-backs sent off.

  79. Shard says:

    Kelsey

    Established PL players are generally overpriced.Arsenal sold RVP because a) they needed the money from a player with a one year contract, and b) RVP would have been poisonous to keep in the squad, and c) he would only go to ManU despite Arsenal accepting a lower offer from Juventus.

    Wenger bought Sol Campbell on a free (and paid him record wages) Wenger bought Arteta from the PL for 10m. He bought Francis Jeffers (ok that didn’t work out after his injury) and I’m sure there must be some others. None of our PL rivals have had the same money problems that we have had and in his early years he could find better players abroad anyway. I don’t know what the point is here.

    As for Podolski and why he doesn’t start. You already answered that question yourself. I never said he had a great second season. He’s had a disappointing season and looked poor many times this year. My contention was that Podolski still was a worthwhile purchase. Regardless of how it turns out in the future.

  80. stevepalmer1 says:

    Good points Kelsey you obviously know your stuff, You also know that Wenger was had to sign an agreement of not demanding money for players when the Emirates deal was done. And as we still owe quite a lot that is still a restriction. I believe that Arsenal like to send out the impression that we are healthy and we can compete with any other club, but we all know that is not the case we spend what we take in and after all our outlays not much is left for the team. Youir right of course that we have sold some of our best players to our rivals and yes your right again we sold them to the better teams, that of course is because they can afford what we have asked for them. Thats just business you dont like it nor do i but that is what funds our cheap buys. How many rich clubs enlist young free signings and then plays them, when we all know we need ready made players why do we do it and why do we still have loaners because its cheap thats why, and i expect a few more at the end of the season.

  81. Big Raddy says:

    kelsey. How can Podolski not be a decent signing at €10m? If we had a fit first 11 Pod would be on the bench where he would be a fantastic sub.

    As to RvP. What do you do with a player who wants to leave and is in the final year of his contract? Do you really believe that if AW could have sold him elsewhere he wouldn’t have done?

    Perhaps I see things through rose coloured glasses but IMO we are better than last year and will be better next. That we cannot compete with teams who have spent hundreds of millions is no surprise, nor is the fact that a-holes like Me-rinho choose to work for the clubs which have a high financial advantage.

    Shard makes a good point about building upon the very good team we have, the foundations are in place with the long-term contracts for Gnabry, Ramsey, Walcott, Jenkinson, JW, Ox, Gibbs, Szcesny and Zelalem. BFG and Cazorla have just signed and Kos is in discussions.

    A couple of signings in summer and we are kushti

  82. Big Raddy says:

    BTW. That really was a crap w/e for the teams I support. Not a single team won. West Indies, Aus & England in the cricket. AFC, S’ton, Fulham in the PL etc etc.

    I will have to buy new lucky socks

  83. Big Raddy says:

    Steve Palmer. You write some fine comments but could you add some paragraphs? It makes it much easier to read.

  84. stevepalmer1 says:

    I think we all know that should we have all the players fit we would have a team that would give anybody problems but of course we all know that we have problems every year with injuries. Many of our players have history with the treatment table and many always will, we’ll be up there at the end but not as winners. Wenger will get the team to semis maybe finals but without our first team fit we will probably come up short. Maybe this year we might get the rub of the green but of course we have to negotiate Wigan first.

  85. stevepalmer1 says:

    Sorry Big D 🙂

  86. I am still pissed off at what we showed up as yesterday. like Raddy, my favourite teams lost this weekend A.F.C., West Indies, and Orient could only draw.For Wenger to seemingly be unable to shake the monkey on such a monumental occasion, leaves me wondering whether his being designated as a specialist at failure is more bothersome to me than him.
    Peaches commented yesterday that ” when we lose, we don’t half lose” too right Ma’am,Seems there is no respect anymore.
    Despite all this, I would love Arsenal to win the F.A.Cup, achieve a fourth place finish and give Wenger another two years contract. It will be interesting to know how good/bad he now really is. Give him the two years to show his direction. We can wait and many questions should have been answered by then.
    I still am astonished at the great man not even seeming to bolster our title efforts in January. Wow! That I still support this Manager to be ours for another two years is testament to my yearning for a good outcome. I don’t despair because this is not the abusive affair as jnyc suggested earlier. We are outsiders looking in. But the best outcome is on all our agendas. I am not adverse to Wenger being sacked because, in the long run , I prefer Arsenal over Arsene.

  87. neamman says:

    Big Raddy, I am luckier than you. Rangers won and Orient drew!!

  88. chas says:

    Thanks for the match review, kelsey.
    When I suggested there wasn’t much point having a match report, it was largely because I didn’t think anyone would write one. So kudos to you for stepping up.

    I can’t really comment much on the game as I only saw a small part of it. Last time I decided not to watch a Chelsea v Arsenal game, we won 5-3. This time I thought I’d just watch the first few minutes to see how it would start.
    I so wished I hadn’t and must shoulder some of the blame for the defeat. 🙂

    From the 10 minutes I did see, I was disgusted with our full backs being stuck in Chelsea’s half when our midfield play broke down. What on Earth were they thinking? I find it hard to believe they’d been asked to play that far forward so early on in such a big game.

    Yesterday was a huge embarrassment for the team, the manager and the supporters.

    Our season has fallen away dramatically, but I’d imagine that that was exactly what most would have predicted in the face of Death Clusters 1 & 2.
    What does seem obvious is that conceding 6, 5 and 6 to the other 3 in the current top 4, points to something seriously wrong.

  89. Gööner In Exile says:

    Some interesting discussion points this evening.

    As I have said on a few occasions we are actually net spenders since Kroenke took full control of the club, within our means yes but still spenders.

    As for squad improvement of course there is scope. And one thing Arsene looks at is our Youth setup before adding above. Is there a player that can do the job an overvalued/hyped new signing could do? To an extent that is why we see Jack in the team now and Gibbs and Szczesny. Now can we look to the youth presently? Well there are Akpom and Aneke, Aneke doing well at Crewe for the second season, 20 years old two stints there 22 goals, 13 assists from 76 games….not bad for a midfielder….bit of a beast too. He’ll be in the squad next year I’m sure. Also represented England at all youth levels apart from under 21.

  90. dandan says:

    Kelsey there lies the problem, football is only truly a business to those who A, rely on it for their salary or B, own shares in it.

    For the rest of us it is either a passion, a way of life or in many cases a family tradition. For me it has been a distraction and motivation through life that has taken my mind off business and filled the boring hours on uncountable motorways and airports and created opportunities to meet and make friends on many a terrace and in many places when I would have been lonely without it.Indeed I have a fond memory of standing in a foggy tropical garden high in the Asian hills looking down on the clouds that covered the city below and being asked by a young man in a JVC shirt if i could take his picture. He having seen my posh western world camera. Funny game football. 🙂
    Which is why I find it amusing that so many of us who have no first hand experience of the business called AFC feel qualified to pass judgement on the course and direction of an entity for which we have no first hand knowledge. Even the mighty guardians entrenched in the fourth estate pontificate their perceived wisdom based on at best second hand information or at worst self published clap trap.
    As for living in the past knowledge is gained through experience and what we see today is often relevant to the history of which we are all part.

    As for goal difference should one of our resident stato’s care to ferret back to the early part of the season before we were ravaged by injury I think you will find that goal difference was a whole different ball game with the exception of a free scoring City.

  91. stevepalmer1 says:

    I feel that many would agree that at the start of the season, not many fancied our chanches of winning the league, i bet most only saw the cups as a possibility should we get decent draws.

    Many would have been like myself shocked to be at the top of the league as Christmas approached. Many would have been dreading the month of March as that looked as if it could upset our season.

    Many would have been surprised that we got through the group of death in the Champions League, I know the pundits and media were more surprised than us, they even said at the end that we should have won our group You know as well as me that we had our fair share of luck in the first part of the season and in the CL, but that peetered out in the draw with Bayern. Yes we drew what many had classed as the best team in the world at this point in time, Then the tough run in with the best teams in the league.

    Yes you feel disappointed at the result i do too but deep down you hoped for a win, but really expected the loss. Players get injured throughout the season, but to be without the likes of Ozil Ramsey Wilshere Monreal Walcott is quite a big ask to conquer Chelsea.

    I still believe we are over achieving with what we have, semi final of the FA cup and sitting in fourth is as much as we could possibly had hoped for, beating Wigan would put the iceing on the cake with a Wenbley visit but one step at a time.

    Arsenal is still only a top four club, and we will stay that way or lower until we can spend the same as the others, and that is still a long way off

    Yes we drew what many had said is the best team in the world at this present time

  92. Big Raddy says:

    Looking forward to the diving contest in Madrid

  93. andy bishop says:

    It was obvious the lessons were not learnt from the humiliations at Man City and Liverpool. Why set up yet again in attacking mode when all the world knew Chelsea would come at us. We have had some memorable defensive displays but once again out thought and muscled by a real title contending side. We have a cup to win which is not a done deal. Wigan threw everything at Man City I just hope Wenger is prepared for that.

  94. Big Raddy says:

    Cracking 1st half. Great football, superb skills and top theatrics.

    Andy. Reverse psychology. AW will be prepared – let’s hope his players are

  95. Gööner In Exile says:

    “Giroud… top scorer in Ligue 2 not Ligue 1, Is he really a top striker? I don’t think so. Regular starter in the absence of anyone better.”

    By the way this bugged me when I read it so just checked 2011-12 Ligue 1 Golden Boot Winner ……. Olivier Giroud 21 goals and a championship medal in the bargain.

  96. arnie says:

    nice discussions, all

  97. GoonerB says:

    Evening all, family day so sorry I am late to comment. Well done Kelsey for putting up the post. There seems to be a lot of common ground with many comments but with each person having their own individual take on it. yesterday I was angry. Today unfortunately I am still angry, but also frustrated and sad as well.

    I have analysed my anger, frustration and sadness and I think I know it’s true source. You see for me I can understand that injuries played a part in yesterdays debacle, and I can understand that we are 3-4 top players short of competing at the very top and are maybe still in transition. However, for me, I still feel we were not as debilitated by these factors as is suggested sometimes and I think yesterday’s calamity was mainly down to pure human error, and unfortunately I lay the blame at Arsene’s door.

    That would make me sound as if I want AW to be shown the door and that enough is enough, and although my belief in Arsene is somewhat wavering, this is actually not the truth. My anger and frustration have nothing to do with my own personal gratification as an Arsenal fan or a sense of entitlement. i was still overseas yesterday and had little choice where to see the game so ended up watching the whole game with my Chelsea supporting mother in law before being picked up by my Spud supporting father in law to be taken to the airport, who looked around at me and gave me the biggest smug grin before setting off.

    These things I can personally deal with though and in reality the main source of my anger and frustration actually stems from my desperation for Arsene to cement his legacy with us on a high note. i wanted his 1000th game to be special and I didn’t want, once again, to see the media fawning over the Portuguese twat while panning Arsene, but my feelings are that he is unnecessarily shooting himself in the foot with a repetition of errors.

    Where I feel the errors lie have been mostly covered by others but primarily centre around not tightening up in front of the back 4 against good sides away from home, and not putting enough pace up top. I can also see the issues with the positions the FB’s take up at times as well. With the amount of goals conceded against Pool and Chavs you would normally blame the defence but I feel that the main problem was in the defence in front of the defence, particularly yesterday, where we were so porous that the defenders were constantly chasing back every time we lost the ball.

    We maybe don’t have the most ideal available options to play this way currently, but I don’t believe we have no options. Gnabry and the Ox have great pace and power and cause most top defences problems. They can both score goals but even if they are not they cause enough havoc that they bring others into play in dangerous positions. Why the Ox in particular is still playing so deep is beyond me.

    In the DM position after seeing how it went at Liverpool without starting Flamini why on earth would you not start him away at the Chavs. Most of the public, never mind Wenger, know that Mourinho’s tactics against rivals is to play 2 DM’s in front o the back 4 and to break quickly through the front 4. I would have gone one further and played either Vermaelen or Koscielny alongside Flamini with the other next to the BFG. In other words match Mourinho’s line up. It may not have won the day bt i bet it would have at the very least kept us in the game til late on.

    I have the greatest deal of time and respect for GN5, Terry, Dandan, neamann and the others on this site who never falter in their belief in Arsene and where we are heading, and are able to put this into a perspective based on many years of experiences as a fan, (or in Terry’s case because of sheer lunacy), and I feel lucky that they frequent this site. I do however wonder that, among the hundreds of thousands of global Arsenal fans and indeed even those that regularly attend the Emirates, how many of them will remain as steadfast as our stalwarts here.

    That leads to my sadness because for me it doesn’t matter how much faith and patience some of the regulars here have, I unfortunately believe the vast majority will not be this way. That means that the vast majority of fans will not give Arsene a huge amount more time before they let it be known, from the terraces, that time is up. This would be a terrible way for his time with us to end when he has given us so much, so yes i am angry, frustrated and sad that I he is in this position and for me through what i feel is his own making.

  98. arnie says:

    diving match indeed. el cashico

  99. This is all a shambles and the die hards here are still wanking over a proper reply. Maybe Wenger is not even deserving of a goodbye. Kick the loser out. It could be his just deserts.

  100. chas says:

    Shocking cheating and refereeing in Spain. 3 non-penalties.

  101. neamman says:

    I never look at foreign games, complete indifference to whether Barcalona beat Real or Bayern beat Dortmund. I would rather watch Orient play Brentford!!

    I know I am in the minority!!! :>)

  102. Big Raddy says:

    chas. True but very entertaining.

  103. Given the stated thoughts of the mainstream here, I hope your bubblegum gives you the satisfaction you want. I like A winning mentality My woman does not see what I see sometimes, So she overlooks much of what I consider to be of essence. So do many of you. Therefore I am starting to feel despair.The old timers among us seem to be anxious to point out that it could be worse. But couldn’t it have been easily a bit better? A great ape beats it’s chest in belief. We are something of a great ape, rather than a little horse
    6-0 later we are still contenders, but can we do it? No . We would have to apologise if we were to be that fortunate. As for Arsene Wenger to be a winner in the long run, only his stiffs can do it for him. Two more years and we will be sure. One way or another.

  104. arnie says:

    nice comment, GoonerB. It was frustration and sadness for me as well. Wenger has been brilliant and a fantastic servant to the club over a very long period of time. This is why it is so much more frustrating.

    Wenger will not waver from his convictions. Yes he has changed our formation this year to a more defensive focus, even to the extent that all attacks start right from the CBs. Even then, when its time to defend we find large space in front of our back 4 and teh back 4 themselves out of position.

    Second, he has steadfastly refused to use the winter transfer window even when we and everyone else knew we were short of numbers.

    Third, we know that we lack a midfield enforcer but we have ignored this problem altogether. Our midfield looks strong on paper but they are not strong enough to wrestle for possession. Both in possession and out of.

    Fourth, Wenger will retire at some point. We all want him to go out on a high. In fact, we all wanted him to have a fantastic 1,000th. This did not happen. But the question is what we should do now so that we can have a sense of fulfillment before Arsene leaves. Unfortunately, many (and myself included) feel this will require changes. Fundamental changes to the way we organsie our team and play the big games, home and away.

    Unfortunately as well, I think Arsene is too headstrong and will not change. And this is where it is all so frustrating. What should we do then? Back to the beginning?

  105. arnie says:

    Wenger is only one side of the story. Do we have a team that is proud to put on the club shirt and feels motivated to put in a big effort? Professionally and with passion? I think personally I am no longer so sure. And this is what make me angry as well.

    And I have not even started to discuss individuals!

  106. Rasp says:

    Hi Tony, no need to take it so personally. We just strive to be as positive as possible and not get swept away with the mass reaction without at least considering all aspects.

    I think we will see sooner than 2 years. In fact, the team selection and way we play against City at home will tell us if the players and the manager have learned anything from yesterday’s defeat. The current City team is stronger in pretty much every department than the available Arsenal first eleven at the moment (with the exception of the CB’s). If we start that game in the same gung ho manner and get spanked again then I think even the most ardent supporter will question whether its time for a change.

  107. Gööner In Exile says:

    I still think 4 + 1 should be able to cope with their 4. If the players do the job they are supposed to do (ie not get caught out of position). When Santi loses the ball for the second is anyone close? I’ve only watched it once at the time. My guess is no-one. I don’t care what tactics are employed that is inexcusable from players who are supposed to be a team.

    Sometimes when I see this group I see a collection of individuals rather than a team, I value teamwork over anything else and I value players who work for their teammates over any skill merchant. It’s why I like Giroud it’s why I like TR7, Rambo and Flamini it’s why I like BFG and Koz.

  108. There is some form of mocking seemingly portrayed by the establishment at Arsenal towards us fans, I fail to believe that those in control there have much respect for Arsenal fans. Period.It seems to be too easy to keep us interested.
    Give Wenger two more years. He may twist himself into a knot that he himself cannot loose from. Come on Arsenal. transparency need not be too bad!!

  109. arnie says:

    GiE: “Sometimes when I see this group I see a collection of individuals rather than a team” sad but true. 😦

    Tony: dont despair, please, we all have had our heads scrambled since yesterday. many of the commonly held convictions are beginning to waver, not as firm as we thought they were. hopefully, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and it is not the headlights of an oncoming train that will run us over. 🙂

  110. Rasp says:

    Hi GiE, I know exactly what you mean. The fragility of the ‘team ethic’ has been a problem for a long time. Terrible as it was to witness Eduardo’s injury, it is generally accepted that the shock cost us the title that year. Why didn’t we adopt a ‘let’s win it for Eduardo’ bunker mentality?

  111. neamman says:

    TonyC
    Of course we could be better but put it in perspective.. given the money spent by MC and Chelsea..if we had been asked back in September whether a cup and top 4 was good we would have grabbed it. I respect our directors because they will not bankrupt us for short term gain but have a long term view. Us oldsters by the sheer fact we have supported the club for 50+ years know its far more important AFC exist as a top club than whether they win every year.
    In the past 10 years we have virtually paid for a new stadium and have a financial model that will benefit us with FFP. If we had not achieved that over the past 10 years I would also be more angry but I know what we have done. Chelsea have a 40,000 capacity stadium, as do MC, spurs and Liverpool. When their benefactors get bored and move on… who will give them the money?
    We look at Leeds, Villa, Forest, Rangers.. great clubs who all lost their way due to financial idiocy. Arsenal haven’t done that and are soooo close to being competitive. I am willing to be patient and remember.. our generation has a lot less time left than yours!!!

  112. Thanx for you response Rasp i am not hankering for a change per se . i want to see Arsenal intelligently addressing the issues which cause us to seem in denial, or unable to address the recurring inabilities we unfortunately seem to flaunt
    I am embarrassed to say the least,but. give Wenger the two years he wants and see what the argument will then be for his continued tenure.

  113. arnie says:

    A succession plan will take about 2 years in any case. I am quietly confident that, unlike ManUre, we will do this in a planned way.

  114. neamman says:

    Re Giroud I have noticed he scores in streaks. The sad thing is his last streak finished 3-4 games ago and he probably wont start another one for 2-3 games. Unfortunately we don’t appear to have anyone currently hot to step up.

  115. I’m afraid but somewhat pleased to state that Arsenal as also-rans doesn’t wash with me much nowadays, We are firmly fixed as foremost runners here in England. When will the current regime admit that we are now ready to compete seriously for the available prizes? Will they ever make such a statement. Maybe not, because it seems that the Olympic ideal is now ours,i it is better to have loved and lost etc. Will we be ready to compete next season, or the next, or ever. I am so sceptical but realistic. I am only 63, so maybe impatient. 2 years more for Arsene> Could he imagine more?

  116. Gööner In Exile says:

    I have to admit the times it lookalike individuals is when things go wrong, like concede a goal.

    It’s coupled with my other bugbear of taking responsibility on the pitch, it seems to me others are prepared to let their teammates be the scapegoats, and maybe that is Arsene’s biggest flaw, he has allowed himself to be the scapegoat too often. Again on Saturday when in my view he should very occasionally allow his protective nature to drop and put the players in the firing line.

  117. Shard says:

    Good morning everyone.

    The 1000th game was terrible, but perhaps it represents the end of the ‘last 500 games without a trophy’ 🙂

    Swansea will be interesting. To see who plays, and to see how the entire squad responds.

    I’m slightly amused by the rumours of Wenger’s resignation going around simply because the press conference has been cancelled. Among his critics, ‘Facing the media’ is suddenly becoming one of Wenger’s prime responsibilities which he’s ‘running away from’.

    If the club feels that a press conference is only going to lead to more destabilisation to the team, and that it is best to keep the harsh words and plain-speak in-house, I have no problem with that. I mean who cares about a press conference? Nothing that is said can change the result, nor will it signal a catharsis. Only good performances from now on can do that.

  118. arnie says:

    motning all, motning Shard. You are in NY, right? midnight oil?

    I say shut all doors and get house in order!

  119. Shard says:

    Me in NY arnie???

    Nope.. Me is in Delhi. 🙂

  120. arnie says:

    oh, sorry Shard, well into the morning then. When are you coming to Scotland?

  121. Shard says:

    As soon as I can arnie.. I might travel to the UK (and hopefully Europe) sometime this summer, but no concrete plans as yet.

  122. arnie says:

    reminds me, have not been to Delhi in a long long time. last time passing through airport was 2011, last proper visit was 2009, I think.

  123. arnie says:

    let us co-ordinate. I will be in the US Midwest from June 23 I think.

  124. arnie says:

    probably return to the UK 1st week of Sept.

  125. Shard says:

    You should visit Delhi again arnie. This time it’ll be nicer because you’ll have me for company 😀

    I don’t even know if it’ll be possible for me to travel this year, but I certainly hope to. If I am coming to the UK, I will inform everyone on AA and hope they can meet. Even if a lot of them are old fogies 🙂 (Present company excluded of course :D)

  126. arnie says:

    yes, will do, Shard. I will probably be in India Dec-Jan. Let us see. 🙂

  127. Shard says:

    Probably best to avoid the summer heat. Yes. We’ll see 🙂

  128. arnie says:

    I am OK with the summer heat. I grew up in Durgapur. my better half finds it difficult, though. It can be quite extreme in the US midwest as well. 🙂

  129. Shard says:

    Haha.. I suppose I didn’t think of that.

    As for the heat here. I find it difficult at times too..

  130. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Well, well Kelsey
    Bravo indeed. I don’t know what the climatic conditions were like yesterday in the East, or in Canada and Denmark for that matter, but I expected a run for the hills.

    Some great comments. Like this one:

    jnyc says:

    March 23, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    I feel like I’m in an abusive relationship

    Ha ha

  131. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Awoke to a massive water leak. Dave will be here in the hour. Oh bloody cosmic, really in the mood to hear in minute detail about every creature he slaughtered this weekend 🙂

  132. White Bear says:

    I watched el Classico last night. It was a different sport, far more beautiful than football as we know it. There is no team in EPL that comes even close to the Spanish giants.

  133. Gööner In Exile says:

    “Awoke to a massive water leak.”

    Sign of old age…..

  134. arnie says:

    water leak? oh dear, Micky! 😦 watershed moment, anyone! for Arsenal, I mean! this might have been the shock that teh system needed. Onwards and upwards!

  135. Big Raddy says:

    Does Dave surf?

  136. arnie says:

    surfing on leaked water?

  137. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Exile

    Comment aimed at me or Kelsey 🙂

    Does Dave Surf? Yeah right. He’s here now if you want a word. Had tea with three heaped sugars and told me all about the three deer he murdered, and we haven’t begun to discuss the feathered creatures. When talking about a “kill” his eyes glaze over and have a very sinister far-away look.

  138. arnie says:

    killer surf!

  139. Adrian says:

    Maybe a bit late to join the comments today, but I just rewatched the nightmare first half. Like a few others have mentioned, I am shocked how easily our players tend to panic and lose the ball at times with sloppy passes when opposing players push just that little higher up the pitch. Mourinho’s a twat but his tactic of sending his entire front four to harass our players high up our final third was spot on. Our team’s mental state is fragile to the extent that once we get off to a shaky start we tend to make more mistakes and Mourinho exploited this. Wouldn’t be surprised if more and more managers start to adopt this tactic. For players with superb technical ability like ours it is a little surprising how easily they buckle to high pressure pressing.

    The work rate of the Chelsea players in the early minutes of the game were incredible as well and our players looked like sloths compared to them especially when we do not have possession. Managers or players fault? A bit of both I’d say, but I’d lean the fault a bit more to Wenger as I felt that besides not motivating the players enough his tactics were made to look non existant next to Mourinho’s.

  140. Didit……………..If Dave turns up late like the computer guy, will you keep him waiting and then tell him to Eff Off and carry on treading water ?.

  141. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Dave says “Hi” to you all.

    Rather ominously, he followed that by stating in a rather animated way how much he can’t stand anything to do with football or it’s followers. It appeared to me to a kind of neck wringing action, followed by him conjuring a snapping sound. Yikes.

    I shall slip down into the bunker until he’s gone.

  142. Adrian says:

    One thing I have to disagree with a few people though is Wenger’s media lockdown. I think he did the right thing, what else can he possibly say about that performance to make things better? Might as well let all hell break loose towards the players behind the scenes, time to give them good old hair dryer treatment. Tell them to get their shit together whenever we play the big boys, or else City would have a field day next week. Wouldn’t go amiss once in a while especially after a horrow show like that.

  143. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Cockie,

    Worryingly, Dave thinks he and I are like minded souls. Truth is, I have been out stalking with him.

    Massive difference being, I have shot a deer for meat and culling purposes, whereas for him it’s pure pleasure.

    He likes the act of killing, I don’t.

  144. Oh ….I see, he`s already there !……and It takes a brave man to tell a plumber wearing holsters with colt 45`s to piss off !. hahaha

  145. Big Raddy says:

    Can you smoke a deer?

  146. Big Raddy says:

    On a serious note, I have come to the realisation that there is a schism amongst our AA flock and perhaps I need to think hard about my attitude towards The Arsenal.

    I want us to win but winning is not paramount, being part of the Arsenal tribe is what has always given me pleasure. Does this make me a “diehard” or an AKB or any of the other epithets thrown at a fan who supports the club whatever the circumstances?

    Mmmm there is a post in this and as kelsey often says one which many will disagree with 😀

  147. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Raddy,

    Yes, and I do smoke them, although properly and not in your old hippy way 🙂

    I don’t think there’s a schism on this site, just different expectations and that’s normal. Football means different things to different people, and let’s face it, if we all thought the same way our pub chat would be very dull.

  148. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Mind you, I don’t think there would be any harm in you “reviewing your attitude”

    🙂

  149. Big Raddy says:

    True Micky.

    I take a yearly inventory – perhaps it is time ….

  150. RA says:

    That’s an interesting observation, Raddy.

    It is not so much a schism between the bloggers on AA but a very spirited difference of opinion and certainly youth/age have a bearing on that, in my opinion.

    But like you, I have had a seminal moment this season with the substantial and unexpected losses to Citeh, Pool and now the Chavs. like you, I have always rated the experience of being part of the club and enjoying the brand of football we play,but now I realise I have changed.

    Losing is part of the game, but I do not like the feeling of humiliation such huge losses bring, and I think many others feel the same.

    Wenger is right when he said that winning (trophies) is a key objective of the club – and I find I want them to win trophies in a way I never previously felt – perhaps the gloating of small minded men like Moaniho have influenced me – but none the less the feeling is there.

  151. arnie says:

    I dont think there is a schism, just different shades of grey. None of us expect the Arsenal to win all the time, but expect teh good guys to put on the shirt with pride. Pride as a professional hired to do a good job or pride as a Gooner with passion. There is a growing feeling that both may be somehow lacking somewhat in some quarters, I think, and that I think is a cause for sadness.

    Here is one for our resident historians. Has there ever been a season when we have had such away results against the top three, plus away loss against ManUre, plus poor performances against the top teams at home? Certainly not in the Arsene period, but before?

    Let us hope the team picks itself up and play with some pride against Shitty at home and Evertom away. If they do that, I am sure all fans will be very happy and forget all about our sorrows now. Fans are relatively myopic and therefore easy to please, but they are hurt easily as well. Because they have passion, and that I think is right.

  152. arnie says:

    Redders, what time is it? I think we are saying similar things.

  153. Rasp says:

    Morning all,

    Hmmm, schism …. I’m not sure (and also not sure the differences are age related RA 😛 )

    As Micky says, it is the differences which stimulate debate.

    It is possible to enjoy the ‘being a part of’ type of support but also strive for better. Trophies are one of the rewards for hard work. Everyone needs goals, mountains to climb etc etc. Arsenal should have won the CL by now. The Invincibles should have won the CL. Ambition is what keeps us going. We should be aiming high and have a right to be disappointed when we under achieve because that is proof of our ambition. As long as there is progression, we can be optimistic.

  154. Rasp says:

    Was it something I said? 🙄

  155. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. Very true. Would an FA Cup appearance be progression enough? (I am too superstitious to say win)

  156. Rasp says:

    Hi Raddy, for me, the FA Cup and top four would be progression, I’d be happy with that.

    The acquisition of a top striker and beast of a midfielder over the summer would be progression and a 2014/15 season where we don’t come in the top 2 of the injury league would be an absolute revelation 😆

  157. arnie says:

    Rasp: I agree, plus not conceding more than 4 to any team over the whole year will be good. I will put this at number 2, after FAC.

  158. Rasp says:

    Hi arnie, the beast of a midfielder is one means by which we stop falling apart under pressure and conceding multiple goals.

  159. Rasp says:

    And on that note, I am proud to announce that we have a …….

    …. New post …..

  160. arnie says:

    yes, agreed, Rasp. 🙂

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