Arsenal 0-1 Sunderland: Abject Rosicky and Nasri let the rest down

Arsenal succumbed to a disappointing 1-0 loss to Sunderland on a rainy Saturday at the Stadium of Light.

Strong performances by Alex Song, Cesc Fabregas and William Gallas were overshadowed by the lacklustre efforts of Tomas Rosicky, Samir Nasri, Eduardo and Aaron Ramsey as the effects of the international break well and truly took their toll on the team.

There was no lack of effort or desire but a distinct lack of urgency as our boys huffed and puffed throughout the first half, creating a couple of decent chances but ultimately failing to really test Martin Fulop in the Sunderland goal.

Sunderland put in a superb defensive performance to stifle our attacking play in the second half and capitalised on a lucky deflection in our penalty area to score the game’s decisive goal. While the introduction of Carlos Vela and Theo Walcott later in the game increased our attacking threat with a couple of incisive runs, it wasn’t to be for our boys as Sunderland held on to record a win and keep us scoreless for the first time this season.

The starting team was the one that I predicted with the only difference being Armand Traore at left-back instead of Emmanuel Eboue. In hindsight Arsene Wenger may have rued that decision as the Frenchman struggled in his first game of the season, often giving the ball away and not really helping the attack in the way the manager would have envisaged. He was not really helped by his teammates.

While Song was our best player for the umpteenth time this season and Fabregas did well with the space that was provided, Rosicky and Nasri were particularly disappointing. The pair’s usual strength is their quickness of thought and continual movement but for two players who did not have to do much during the international break, their contribution to this game was unacceptable. They left Eduardo completely isolated and although Aaron Ramsey certainly could have played better, two players with the quality and experience of Rosicky and Nasri must do better.

It was always going to be a tough test playing away from home against a good Sunderland side following the international break. Yet with the stakes so high – a win would have put us within touching distance of the top of the table – I can’t help but feel we could have done a lot better. As I mentioned earlier, Rosicky and Nasri were particularly abject and with Nicklas Bendtner and Robin van Persie out for a little while yet they will need to pull their finger out.

The pressure is now well and truly on to get a result against Chelsea next weekend with a loss leaving us 11 points off the pace. Standard Liege before then though.

Thoughts?

Have your say on Arsenal’s 1-0 loss to Sunderland by leaving a comment.

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37 Responses to “Arsenal 0-1 Sunderland: Abject Rosicky and Nasri let the rest down”

  1. Ole Gunner
    November 23, 2009 at 6:50 pm #

    Unfortunately, I have to agree. It’s unusual for Arsene to call his players out, and he did point to one or two players not at their best.

    When Gallas, Sagna & Song who had long-international matches play with more intensity than you, you know you didn’t play well.

  2. Rob
    November 23, 2009 at 7:13 pm #

    I think Traore did well, all things considered. He got little or no help from Nasri who I blame for the sunderland goal.

  3. GunnerPete
    November 23, 2009 at 7:17 pm #

    Aftaer all these years with AW I have got used to the team raising their game against the big boys then letting the club down against sides that although strong and efficient are no more than that. Aw puts alot of his life blood into chosing skilful players who are small and fast and at home are devastating, but year in year out they bottle it in Lancashire or the north East. All though there is no way of proving it, I believe that our reserve or Carling team would have got at least a point Saturday.

    Final moan is that AW is the worst manager in the league for using his subs too late in a game. As was proved against the Cats….the subs although not fit made Sunderland look very ordinary in the final 10 mins but what a different story it could have been?

    Sorry Arsene as you proved with Vermaelen you cannot win most games with midgets who bottle, you must have 3/4 tough guys who can play.

  4. Rian Joubert
    November 23, 2009 at 7:28 pm #

    So disappointed. In a sense the sting has been taken out of the Chelsea game. You do not expect players like Nasri and Rosicky to put in 2nd string performances, especially if you have a point to prove that your age does not affect your ability. I don’t see Chelsea letting that lead slip.

  5. PapiJ
    November 23, 2009 at 7:49 pm #

    too dissappointed to write anything….

  6. walter
    November 23, 2009 at 7:57 pm #

    The king of spin is back lads – So it goes – we did an experiment with an experimental line up, and it didn’t deliver. If it had, Wenger would have been the greatest genius of all time, the wonder kid, the inspiration of a generation of managers – at least until tuesday.

    It didn’t result in a victory. But it wasn’t a flop or a major set-back as some of the blogs are saying after the defear. “Massive Setback to Title Hopes”. Oh come on.

    It was just one of those things that someone did not quite come off. The ball never got to Eduardo, Rosicky and Nasri together didn’t quite look right, and because of previous evils done upon our team Denilson, Vela and Theo were not quite ready.

    If you really want to know who beat us, it was UEFA and FIFA with Van Persie crocked, Gibbs crocked, Arshavin tired. And evil Birmingham.

    But let’s look on the positive side.

    Denilson had another few days rest. Vela and Theo had a quick run out, and they can see how they reacted and perhaps have another bash on Tuesday before meeting the Evil Empire of the KGB next weekend.

    I had hoped for more – but shit happens, so we move on.

    We ended the game with a record identical to Manchester United after the same number of game…. except for two things – a better goal difference, and a better financial position. They also have internal rumblings we don’t.

  7. John Iilende
    November 23, 2009 at 8:17 pm #

    Yes they performed poorly and on the other head i also not happy Ashavin left out and Theo,,Ramusi and Nasirr in the fleld its a miskate, to me its a massive disapointment i do not have much to say.

  8. stuartlondon
    November 23, 2009 at 8:33 pm #

    It’s a disappointment, on a good day we would have scored 3 or 4, but it’s not a disaster. The key thing is for team morale to survive, and for the players to show character and determination in the next game, as they did after previous setbacks this season.

    The referee’s approach to managing the game also played a significant part, allowing some highly physical play, and disregarding at least one incident that might have led many referees to award a penalty. This favoured Sunderland’s game plan, which was to defend in depth and disrupt our attack with ‘robust’ tackling.

    Not that I am alleging deliberate favouritism. We should have the ability to deal with teams using these tactics. However, I was slightly sickened to see the overt level of chummy familiarity shown by the referee towards one of the Sunderland players when the teams left the field at half time. I feel that to be fair and objective requires referees to show detachment, and this was not evident in the referee’s behaviour.

    What was also demonstrated is that our attacking style of play relies for its success on scoring several more than we concede. When we are unable to field our best attacking side, we become vulnerable to teams who are set up to defend in depth, and who can hold onto a single goal lead.

    So for most of the match we looked composed and had much of the posession, but didn’t show our usual level of enegy, and couldn’t sufficiently disrupt their defence to score. When, in the last 10 minutes or so, we had a more actively attacking lineup, the chances came much more frequently, and we were denied a very credible appeal for a penalty.

    As for World Cup football, not really interested. See you at the Standard Liege game, but probably not at the Chelsea match because I cant get a ticket. Stu

  9. stuartlondon
    November 23, 2009 at 8:34 pm #

    walter – good points. To be honest ive been surprised by the reaction to the game in arsenal blogs. yes it was a loss and yes we need to beat teams like sunderland. but i agree with you in that i think we learned alot. why is everyone always so quick to freak out?!?

    i think that with rosicky and nasri out wide, we looked alot like we did much of last season. lots of passing and not enough penetrating. when vela, shava and theo came on we looked alot more dangerous.

    i really like both rosicky and nasri. but they arent wingers. they are offensive playmakers. arshavin seems to lose the ball alot but hes trying to do the unexpected all the time, i dont see nasri and rosicky being those kind of players.

    the problem is, if they are best in the middle…will we ever see the best of them? with song as the anchor, and cesc guaranteed his place that leaves alot of players fighting for one spot. denilson, diaby and ramsey seem to be preferred by wenger.

    rosicky and nasri can both play up front for us. but not at the same time. we need to balance the team with someone more direct or inventive.

    they are both awesome players but im not sure they will ever get a chance to shine in their natural positions.

  10. senior citizen
    November 23, 2009 at 8:48 pm #

    Let’s hope there will be a difference come Sunday against always defensive Chelsea.

  11. Ernie
    November 23, 2009 at 8:55 pm #

    After the whole day removing the autumn leaves in my garden and rethinking what went wrong yesterday I could summarize it like this.
    The first 15 minutes we were on top and Sunderland created nothing. The ref had a decent game, Sunderland defended deep but not on the edge. Then for some reason the crowd raised their voice and the Sunderland players began to chase down our players, fouling them in various ways (pulling players by the arm is still a foul Mr. Wiley) and when our players tried to respond to this physical play… they got punished all the time by the ref. No I don’t mind that the game is played physical but than as a ref you got to let both teams use this approach and not one team only. After 5 minutes playing like this the Sunderland players knew they could do almost what they wanted. From then on we began to lose a bit of the battle.

    Sunderland had only one shot on goal and they scored from it. So in the whole we had a good defensive performance just one unlucky fluke where the ball should have gone out by the cornerflag, came of the knee back to the player who scored. If you speak of unlucky goals….

    I also would have left Eduardo on the field. He just didn’t get the service that RVP usaully gets. The absence of Diaby could explain a bit, the rather cautious approach from Song to avoid a yellow card (still had a good game) another bit.

    And then something that should not be forgotten. With Rosicky, Eduardo and Nasr we had 3 players in attack who have sufferend long and serious injury the past years or months. The first 15 minutes the game was not venomous and they played without fear. Then I saw tackles, unpunished and dangerous form behind, that gave me goosebumps. I must say I have ended my, not so impressive, football career after a leg breaking tackle and I know a bit of how a human being reacts to playing football after such a thing. If you see possible leg breaking tackles flying in, without the ref doing someting, you may think in your head: safety first. A normal human reaction. So our 3 attackers with maybe one percent caution in mind is a big difference.
    Maybe this was also the reason that Wenger decided to take Eduardo off the field at the end. Better a healthy Eduardo over the next months in stead of anotheer leg breaking incident that shatters the whole team ?

    The penalty…. well if even the MOTD pundits said ‘it was a strong call” says it all. They couldn’t say any more because they hate the Arsenal. If it was Liverpool they would have said: it was a clear penalty. And it was. But like I said earlier, or was it on the Benelux site, even if a defender would take the ball in his hands and walk with it half a minute in his own penalty area the ref still wouldn’t give us a penalty. He would punish an arsenal player and book him for claiming a penalty instead.

  12. billi
    November 23, 2009 at 8:58 pm #

    totally agree, couldn’t have said it better, :wink:, especially the players who had a rest like Rosicky were really disappointing, there seemed to be a total cut in teamwork I thought, hopefully an exception but title race could be over yet, you don’t know, it’s said that there are contract talks with Rosicky at the moment, I wonder if this affects his performance?

  13. GunnerCesc4
    November 23, 2009 at 9:08 pm #

    I would have bet my house on Eduardo scoring from that interchange with Song, when he is on form. i just hope he gets back to his sharpness. And why noone is talking about Vermaelen losing his man ‘again’ in the box to concede from the corner ???

  14. Okpanachi
    November 23, 2009 at 9:20 pm #

    Hello Andy,i must not lie for you,our Manager actually fell my hand in that match. Reason,the impact of Vanpersie’s combination with Fabrigas a.k.a. Solomon can not be over emphasized. Now that we cannot however help his(Vanpersie) absence due to injury, why did Winger gamble to rest Arshavin even a minute? Look,its a big blow on us as winning our next match lies in God’s hand.

    Winger must stop to play or gamble with us(gunners)or we unleach wicked hatred on his person.

    He must do everything within his reach to win our match against Chelsea.

    Andy,please warn Winger.

  15. Filipino Dan
    November 23, 2009 at 10:19 pm #

    Disappointing after a long drive to the Stadium of Darkness. After last season I thought it couldn’t get worse – how wrong was i?

    Great to see Vela come on but agree that Rosicky and Nasri were very below par. I’ll not mention the penalty shout apart from the fact that I knew it was a penalty as Vela kept pointing to his foot towards Wenger in the dug-out.

    Overall a dull day but we will rise to the occasion on Sunday. A win against Chelsea and all is forgiven!!

  16. shambogunner
    November 23, 2009 at 11:37 pm #

    spot on andy,
    @gunnercesc- i think no1s being critical of TV beacause he has been awesome this season and imo rosicky was awful on the post he never reacted…am saying nothing bout almunia but on sat i stated sund had 3 shots on target i was wrong they had 1…and scored.i mean no team who concedes at least 1 in every 3 attempts on their goal deserve to win a league

  17. Ernie
    November 23, 2009 at 11:37 pm #

    where did we finish in the champions league last year? what stage did we get to the season before? and bearing in mind if it werent for a moment of madness and a stupid penalty we again would have reached the semi-finals. in my books that is ‘competing with europes elite’. i think you wont ever be happy until we’re winning the champions league every season, along with at least 3 domestic trophies…

  18. Ianinja
    November 23, 2009 at 11:41 pm #

    Verma losing his man? How about almunia coming out to claim the corner for once and putting his body on the line like other keepers: Cech, reina and old man Van Der Sar.

  19. radads
    November 24, 2009 at 12:34 am #

    they just need more games,as well as Eduardo, To me he wasnt only isolated.DuDu, Rosicky, Nasri just need more games.I hope that AW will put DUDU startin 11 on tuesday.

  20. shambogunner
    November 24, 2009 at 1:01 am #

    now laninja wer not supposed to speak ill of aliminium,u shud know that by now…..just when i thought id hav to wait til the liege game to be cheered up cesc comes out and sez hes no interest in barca and sez hed be happy to stay at arseanal for life…much love for ya cescy….legend

  21. Dan.
    November 24, 2009 at 1:18 am #

    to sasy the least, it is not a game worth commenting on, i dont know how we intend to beat chelsea with that kind of perfomance.
    what about ambition, it seems there is nothing in the minds of thses players to win a title, if when they are just within the reach of Chelsea and above Man U,they let in a defeat of that kind!!!, well.
    to say the truth, i am not very much optimistic of the game with Chelsea being anything more than a defeat.
    However, lets wait and see.

  22. GunnerBoss
    November 24, 2009 at 1:35 am #

    @ICE – good to see you back…was wondering where u were.

    WENGER cost us that game by watching as if he was the rest of us…I mean, why are people put on the bench? When people dont combine properly, why not change?….even if it means doing so in the first half.

    The physical presence of CANA and THOSE tackles really made matters worse in the second half.
    @ERNIE – Very good and well meaning arguments concerning our attacking trio…You are spot on with that. I dont know why RAMSEY could not just step up his game Saturday, he never had a long term injury.

    I guess our Carling Cup team would’ve done justice to Sunderland, they are a good team….but we just let that win slip.

  23. GunnerBoss
    November 24, 2009 at 1:51 am #

    @SHAMBO – I dont know why ALMUNIA is still the no.1 in the squad. That was not a difficult corner kick, was it?
    @ANDY – Why is ALMUNIA not getting some stick for the goal?

    I mean, we all know DUDU, NASRI, ROSICKY will be afraid of tackles. It took RVP a lot of games to start scoring again cos he forgot he could be injured. There were times i’d be shouting…Dont put ur leg in that…cos even i know he is injury prone, but he started scoring. Later on it started looking like he’ll never get any more injuries as in you dont get too nervy when he gets tackled and all that.

    I guess the others will need a couple of games and tackles to be more confident….so i dont really blame them, rather the referee and WENGER who watched.

  24. ogigbo
    November 24, 2009 at 1:57 am #

    it was a disappointed display

  25. shambogunner
    November 24, 2009 at 2:14 am #

    @gunnerboss- dont tempt me to start again bout almunia mate as i get told off when i do….rooted to his line as usual and not brave at all…1 shot 1 goal for sund….enought said
    i think we can beat chelsea as these are the games the guys lift their games for,i just wish they had the hunger and grit of our title contenders

  26. GunnerBoss
    November 24, 2009 at 2:26 am #

    @SHAMBO – Hope so too mate….Chelsea r also rough with the tackling….It will be an interesting game though

  27. theicehammer
    November 24, 2009 at 3:42 am #

    Eve all,
    Ive ad time to watch the Asnl & Chelsea game today. Purely through footballing eyes, i cant see how yr boys are going to get the 3 points with the injuries you ave. Chelsea were without some big players but still looked so powerful. Song will ave his work cut out keeping Essien,Malouda,Ballack,Mikel, and Lampard quiet. Not that they are all going to be on at once. GOOD LUCK THOUGH

  28. Andy @ Arsenal FC Blog
    November 24, 2009 at 7:46 am #

    I know I defend Almunia consistently but the reason for it is usually because he gets blamed or brought into the conversation when he doesn’t deserve it. Sunderland is another one of those games.

    The stats will show that we conceded from their only shot on target, but to expect Almunia to claim what was a near perfect corner (flat, hit with pace and curling away from the keeper to land roughly 9 yards from goal) is ridiculous. He did all he could on the goal, was faultless for the rest of the game (for the little he had to do) and there’s not much more to it.

    I don’t mind criticism of Almunia but it loses credibility in my eyes when he is blamed for moments he completely does not deserve.

  29. GetGunMN
    November 24, 2009 at 9:03 am #

    For me, it wasn’t even the goal that worried me as Campbell didn’t know what hit him. It deflects off him and came back perfectly for Bent, I don’t know what Almunia could have done about that. I believe there were a few other excuses we can have this time. Our pivot of attack is obviously missing, RVP that is. Edwardo, Rosicky, Nasri need more games to be sharp. Troure is relatively new and back from injury. International break and playing away game. All these factors came in at the same time. Did you notice sometimes when Fab had the ball he looks up and both Nasri and Rosicky were just hanging out, not open, but just around? I don’t get what Ramsey’s issue is, really though. Is he trying to impress so badly that things don’t come off for him?

    Around the hour mark we seemed to run out of ideas or we just run out of energy. We really looked stale. At the end, after the subs finally came in, for the few crosses we had, there was no one in the box to meet them. we looked really tired. If we beat Chelsea, come this weekend, all this negative vibe will disappear. Whether we like it or not, there are a lot riding on this one. Slow down Chelsea, get some believe in ourselves and get our confidence back, we might as well win over some critics too. Because Chelsea is almost the polar opposit of Arsenal in everyway, if you will. They are taller, physically stronger, boring, older, and efficient. Otherwise Prof. Wenger will become superstitious about November, and who wants that?

  30. Andy @ Arsenal FC Blog
    November 24, 2009 at 10:15 am #

    @ GetGunMN – Good points. Regarding Ramsey: he’s 18 and sometimes 18 year olds will have games like those. He’s obviously desperate to impress and perhaps the psychology of the situation is having an impact on him. I’m much more concerned about Rosicky and Nasri, players who have been there and done that, to be honest.

  31. Hey Nonny Mouse
    November 24, 2009 at 6:35 pm #

    @ Okpanachi – I love your expression – “unleach wicked hatred on his person” That is superb, mate. Thank you. I also agree with you that the absence of Van Persie appeared at any rate to make a big difference. We lacked that ‘catalyst’. The urgency. I guess we all hoped we’d cope without him but – well, it looked like a tired and subdued performance. I thought Fab looked very weary and lacking his usual inspiration. Bloody Internationals. We were in red hot form previously but looked a shadow of that for this game. Yes, it was always going to be a big ask going away to Sunderland after the break and, as AW said, they may well have won had the game been at home – but it wasn’t and they didn’t. So they failed ultimately, whichever way you slice it.
    I don’t believe we’ll win the league – and never have this season – because I’m sure there’ll be other failures and disappointments ahead – but I’m hoping the Gunners can pinch one of the lesser trophies this season – like The Champions League! Up the Arsenal!

  32. olabintan olatunji
    November 24, 2009 at 7:29 pm #

    it was a huge mistake on the part of wenger for allowing three players who are just coming back from a long spell of injury to dominate the attacking line up against a team like sunderland who almost stole three points from Old trafford. this is simply a show of overconfidence, if arsenal must win anything this season the manager ant the entire crew must have a laser beam focus and no that nothing gained until something is actually gained.

  33. George charles
    November 24, 2009 at 10:15 pm #

    Deja Vu. Every season we have a fair run (against some ordinary sides) and everyone almost starts believing we can win things. Wake up, the squad players, at the top level are…Not good enough. Wenger is deluded. Eboue, Almunia, Traore,Song,Bendtner,Denilson,Diabyetc.will not win us trophies. Its been 5 years now, get real and admit it, we are not good enough year in year out, who says so? The trophy cabinet!

  34. chris Agazi.
    November 25, 2009 at 3:13 am #

    quite a disappointing game for us, we should have been aiming to top the table and even go further to win more games. i the players needs to seat up immediately to avoid any further loss!

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