Arsenal 0-1 United: outplayed but still alive

Arsenal 0-1 United: outplayed but still alive

Diaby had a tough night at Old TraffordI’m having a bit of trouble try to work out what to write in the aftermath of our 1-0 loss to United, I have to say.

One part of me says that although we were well and truly outplayed, we’re only 1-0 down and it’s a deficit that we are more than capable of overturning in the home leg. We may have conceded a sloppy goal but we also got the sort of luck that often decides these sort of ties when Cristiano Ronaldo’s second-half shot crashed off the bar. It leaves us only needing to win 1-0 to level the tie, while a 2-0 win – a result we would have achieved at The Emirates earlier in the season had it not been for Rafael’s late consolation – would put us through.

However, the other part of me says that things look pretty dire. As an attacking force we were as blunt as we’ve been all season while Manchester United forced Manuel Almunia into no less than seven saves not including the goal. Should they manage another at The Emirates then we will need to score three and although it’s sure to be a different game, I’m not overly confident we can achieve it. 

In terms of our performance, personally I don’t think we were as horrible as a lot of people have made. Aside from the opening 20 minutes when United ran us ragged, our defensive effort was quite solid. The back four functioned reasonably well as a unit while the midfield five worked hard to provide them the protection they needed. Indeed, if you had told me before last night that United would only score one goal, I probably would have taken it.

I mentioned before the game that the key to getting a good result was hard work. And while I don’t think you can fault our defensive efforts our work-rate in attack left a lot to be desired. Emmanuel Adebayor looked like he’d taken a couple of valium before the game while Abou Diaby, Theo Walcott and Cesc Fabregas rarely took the opportunity to push forward to provide him with support. I didn’t mind the tactic to play patient keep-ball at times without looking to penetrate the penalty area – it took a lot of pressure of the defence – but our inability to get even two or three men forward when we had opportunities to hit them hard on the break was disappointing.

Arsene Wenger has said that we can expect to see a different Arsenal in a week’s time and I sincerely hope he’s right. To me the experiment to play Fabregas behind Adebayor didn’t work tonight for a number of reasons and it wouldn’t surprise me to see us revert to 4-4-2 with goals a high priority. Robin van Persie could well return while Eduardo or Nicklas Bendtner may get a start if the Dutchman does not recover from his thigh problem quickly enough. It would mean that Fabregas would play deeper and Nasri would switch left, a decision that looks inevitable given Diaby’s really poor performance last night.

I guess the final thing to remember coming out of this game is that it’s only half-time. Manchester United might have the lead but it’s not over yet. The manager has a week to consider his options before sending out a team he thinks can make up the deficit in front of our home supporters. The Chelsea-Liverpool quarter-final second-leg showed us that however improbable scores like 3-1 or 4-2 look on paper, they are still a distinct possibility.

United were certainly the stronger side tonight and they definitely the lead, but home advantage and the knowledge that we can play at a much higher level means things are delicately poised.

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

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64 Responses to “Arsenal 0-1 United: outplayed but still alive”

  1. Suffolk Gooner
    April 30, 2009 at 6:18 pm #

    We should all genuinely feel lucky that we are still in this tie at all. Adebayor’s inability to do anything other than give away possession immediately the ball came to him put us under pressure all night and clearly illustrates that he is not capable of playing at this level. United will almost certainly score at the grove meaning we will need 3 at least. It can be done but a 100% improvement in the final 1/3 will be required…

  2. Simplesimon
    April 30, 2009 at 6:19 pm #

    Gotta say mate i’ve never been so happy to have my live streams go down tbh.
    We were poor and thats being quite generous. That said surely it can’t get any worse & at least we got the 2nd leg but i agree with you in sayin i can’t see us stoppin them from scorin.
    Roll on next tuesday let’s show we’re better than that showin
    Up the Arsenal

  3. Fatboy
    April 30, 2009 at 6:27 pm #

    In a game of this importance, against a team of Man U’s quality, it is vital that the tactics are right and that ALL the players put in a good performance. Neither criteria was fulfilled last night, but we rode our luck and have a brilliant performance by Almunia to thank for us still being in this tie. I agree with you SF that the Fab-in-the-hole tactic doesn’t work against a team like Man U, who pressed us hard from the start. They pegged us back deep in our own half, preventing our full backs and wide players from pushing forward. This meant Fab was starved of the ball, and had to drop deep to get involved. This in turn left Ade totally isolated. This, plus his very indifferent performance, meant we offered absolutely nothing going forward all night. Considering the pressure we were under, I thought we defended heroically, although we must count ourselves very lucky to have come away with onl;y a single goal deficit. I must say I thought Gibbs was magnificent last night. I posted yesterday that I thought the game was too big for him and that Sagna should play left back, but AW kept faith and the youngster repaid him big time.
    We need to go for it at Emirates next week: 4-4-2 definitely, I still think we can nick it if we score early.

  4. Gibbs
    April 30, 2009 at 6:34 pm #

    Great piece SF. People seem to forget that this was an away leg, we have been terrible playing away in the CL this season being outplayed by Roma, Porto and Villarreal but our home record has been impressive. We have not conceded a goal at home in CL, thrashing Porto, Villarreal and outclassing Roma in the process.

    So i fully expect us to outplay ManU at the Emirates, we will be a totally different team im sure of it. Im going with 2-0 in our favour at the Emirates.

  5. Spanish Fry
    April 30, 2009 at 6:53 pm #

    Good to hear some rational thoughts by some regulars and some newbies 🙂

    I have to say I really hate knee-jerk reactions and some of the “We’ll never win anything with Wenger!”, “Adebayor is a lazy prick”, “Diaby is useless” comments floating around are just ridiculous.

    We’re still in it, I’m less hopeful than I was at the start but let’s wait until next week until we judge our season.

  6. Gooner
    April 30, 2009 at 6:59 pm #

    Very good defensive performance. United did run us ragged (as good as I’ve seen them play all year) for the first half an hour. After that we pretty much broke even, although we didnt have many opportunities.

    Stop the Adebayor hate.
    He actually played very well with the lack of quality service He chased and hassled hard and he also kept possession well most of the time. If anyone was poor it was Cesc, he was quite average. Song was fantastic and Diaby did well defensively shielding Gibbs, and he only ever lost the ball when there was no one to pass to.

  7. frankie10
    April 30, 2009 at 7:01 pm #

    Much as I hate to say it, it looks all over for another year, bar the tears and excuses. We should have been dead and buried after a predictably shambolic display at OT (despite all the pathetic pre-match sabre rattling from players who should know better by now). Apart from Almunia, we were sloppy, half-hearted, disjointed and so weak. They won every 50-50 and seemed far hungrier. We were just powder-puff. I can see a similar result at our place, meaning we’ll have to grit our teeth and watch Man U and Chelski (who should beat Barca at the Bridge) contest the final. At this point in my post I’d run through our substandard players’ myriad shortcomings and enter my usual plea for Wenger to take decisive action in the summer, to get a grip and sign at least three top players – if only to maintain our lead over the chasing pack (we’ll need several more experienced players if we’re to truly rival the Big Three – otherwise these sorts of lame results are just gonna keep happening). But I can’t see Wenger abandoning his infuriating, unnecessary stand, despite the growing unrest at being also-rans every year. Making up the numbers is enough for some of the Arsene-lickers on here but even the most desperate of ’em should be able to see what a few better players could bring to our fortunes. Apart from that, the only solution with Wenger in charge appears to be wait until Man U, Chelski and Pool go broke, then watch us dominate. Trouble is, those clubs will be sold to new, well-heeled buyers long before that happens. I say it again – we were told the Emirates (if that’s really creating a financial burden) would allow us to compete for big players on an equal footing with our former rivals. We were also told it wouldn’t impact on the “player side of things”. So someone’s lied. But what’s the solution? This will be another year without ANY silverware. Is that really good enough?

  8. Dan
    April 30, 2009 at 7:02 pm #

    SF. u kno i am a realist, i dnt like to paint a rosy picture where none exists. yes we were outplyed n we did nothing about it, n yes away fixtures in the CL have been terrible for Arsenal, butit shuld not be that way all through. yesteray was atotal collapse of everything,nothing worked EXCEPT for Almunia we culd have been roasted there.AW shuld just stop being naive n invest also in experience, thats what we saw with MAN U,where was Gibbs when O’Shea was just standing waiting to tap ij the ball where he was supposed to be. just standing on the post. goooodness…….

  9. AlGunner
    April 30, 2009 at 7:19 pm #

    Is this the season for us …this is what all gunners fan are thinking because this is only realistic silverware we can hope now. I don’t want to be Sarcastic of our team but really disappointed with performance except that of gibbs and almunia. although they were penetrating through that left flank most of the time. Need to give him the credit. SF is true with his word. Fab need to play in midfield and samir nasri on the left. Fab is the heart of the team and need to be in the middle for the balance of the team. 2nd Half we defended very well. One goal deficit??. Just forget about all the things gunners this is the season we are going to play at home we should back over self we should think we are the best. Come on Arsenal. Do this to your fans because this is it. Reaching CL final and winning it or nothing. This is our season.

  10. patrick mwabila
    April 30, 2009 at 7:30 pm #

    We were realy outplayed because our were shadows of themselves and couldn’t show any compossure and so could loose the ball easily.Wenger should talk to the boys strongly to see them overturn the table at Emirates in a couple of days coming.I was very disappointed with the overall performance last night, we should change the state of issues next time we are meeting Manu.Defence wise, we were porlous(centre wise).Patrick.

  11. enemyairships
    April 30, 2009 at 7:55 pm #

    I’m pretty down about this result, mainly because of the difference in form of our clubs over the last few weeks. We’re unbeaten in about 20 odd games now and were playing some incredible football up until this match. In contrast, United were hanging in on the title race by the skin of their teeth with countless one goal wins and a shambolic defensive record. I honestly thought we would murder them. Even Spurs knocked 2 past them at the weekend. I’m so disappointed because I don’t rate the Man Utd team at the moment.

    Hopefully we can put on the demolition job I was expecting at the Emirates, but I’m not holding my breath. Every year we can blame injuries for our woes, but why not strengthen the squad instead? We had a thin defence last season, so we remedied this by signing Silvestre (up there with Francis Jeffers) and letting Traore, Senderos, Gilbert and Hoyte leave the club. I’m no mathematician, but where’s the sense in that!? The result is we have an unproven 19 year old marking the world player of the year in a champions league semi final. Chelsea’s first choice left-back was injured – did they have an academy player marking Messi? No! That’s the difference between our teams I guess.

    This certainly isn’t an anti-Wenger post. I am proud of the club he has brought up and hope he remains at the helm until he retires. He is unique amongst football managers and we are lucky to have him. It’s just that I’ve been using the same excuses on my friends for about three seasons now and even I’m starting to get bored of hearing them!

    Sorry this is so apocalyptic. I’m just hoping Kolo doesn’t leave at the end of the season and that Gallas can stop getting any older.

  12. Steve-O
    April 30, 2009 at 8:05 pm #

    I like everyone else on this blog was dissapointed with the tactics Arsenal displayed against Man U. I’m convinced there must have been a pre-conceived plan to play as unadventurous as that, believe it or not. It’s the only explanation I can come up with. Lull the enemy into a false sense of security, then hit them hard at the Emirates – I hope!

  13. nigelp
    April 30, 2009 at 8:12 pm #

    Sorry frankie
    . Wenger just does not throw away money. Just look at Tony’s main point. Would you want Nani and Anderson at Arsenal? I wouldn’t, not Carrick or Fletcher either. It was not a good performance last night but I really do not think that manu had a better team than us on the pitch. It just wasn’t a good night.

    Something went wrong but my brain can’t be sure what it was. I bet Arsene knows though.

    Oh, and if Arsene wants to spend, then he will. He always has. Get your eyes off the media and look at his buying record.The stadim was our best ‘buy’ ever.

  14. nigelp
    April 30, 2009 at 8:13 pm #

    So I make a heartfelt plea Professor after the game last night. Whatever reasons you may have about changing a formation that has worked well for us for such a long time and instead persisting with this delirious notion of logic in pursuing a 4-2-3-1 simply are not backed by the results on the pitch.

    We destroyed Villarreal with a 4-4-2 to the point of suffocation, Cesc was back to his best and spreading out the quarter-back passes and the whole team had a sense of positioning and purpose to their fluidity, which I believe is the exemplification of the principles you have founded your life’s work on with Project Arsenal. What is clear to all but yourself is that the new formation simply highlights the opposite, which no such sense of purpose, no such sense of fluidity.

    I beg you to change this for not only the sake of the players who’s confusion and unhappiness is all too apparent to read on the pitch and return to what they understand, enjoy and communicate with such breathtaking style when in play. To nullify Cesc in such a way, to isolate the lone striker into passive submition, to have players out of position in the hope a performance will justify the change…It. Does. Not. Work.

    So I make a heartfelt plea Professor, not just for the return leg but for all games and all fixtures. The beautiful football with kids is viable and not so far away from mastering, but you must use your intelligence and compare notes from all games to realise that the only way to see it through to it’s conclusion is to stick with our tried and trusted 4-4-2 and kick the 4-2-3-1 up the arsehole goodbye. Otherwise those like me who have stuck with you choices and haven’t logged onto the vocal distension will soon be asking questions they have been doing ourselves…

    I wonder though if something else isn’t going on there in terms of Cesc. I wonder if there are concerns throughout the club that he is looking to leave, hence the captaincy, hence the new position despite all the years we have taken to turn him into the best quarterback in football. It just all seems a little too, ‘Let’s try keep him happy’ to me…

  15. Neilo
    April 30, 2009 at 8:28 pm #

    It’s all been said here. For my part, I thought Adebeyor was really negative and Diaby was so wasteful. We just did NOT have a go … at all. We hardly had a shot. Van de Saar could have sat down on his gola line and watched the game for the amount he had to do. We have to go ALL out at The Emirates and show some real character. I was worried from the first minute when we did not look like a team that had played its way into the CL SF. A night to forget but AMAZINGLY we are still in it. Almunia played out of his skin.

  16. Dally
    April 30, 2009 at 8:56 pm #

    I hope Wenger realises that we are not going to catch Chelski with 4 matches left, two of them against manure and Chelsea themselves, we showed last night that getting a win at old trafford was beyond us. Please rest the important players, we should still have enough in our back up players to beat Portsmouth. Play Willshere, Ramsey etc. Getting back to last night, I was very relieved that it was only 1 goal, I thought they could have got 3 or 4 quiet easily. We didn’t penertrate their back 4 at all, I thought Ade, who had said he would score and was really up for it, was absolutely rubbish, Diaby was not much better, he needs to realise that he can’t dribble his way out of the defensive penalty area and get away with it all the time. Fab was not so fab in the advanced position. I did think Nasri was okay and Song had a good game. Almunia to all those doubters including me was immense some of the saves were top draw especially the first from Rooney’s header, that was destined to go in. On to next week please lets go back to 4-4-2, may be if RvP is back we can partner him with Eduardo up front, put Nasri back on the left, Wallcott on the right with Cesc and Song in the middle, not sure about defence, apart from the goal which was a mess they played well to keep the score to 1. Hope I haven’t just repeated everyone else but good to get your thoughts in. I think this will be a long weekend, but at least we don’t have to wait until Wednesday like the Chelski supporters do. If I was a godly man I think I would be praying.

  17. jebo
    April 30, 2009 at 8:59 pm #

    what happened to wenger, he ruined the last 10 minutes by making eduardo a lonely striker inaddition to allowing diaby to stay in the field….

    and adebayor shoudl betold to concentrate on the football.

  18. Norfolk Gooner
    April 30, 2009 at 9:22 pm #

    It’s still all to play for but I must admit to being very nervous about the second leg.

  19. JohnW
    April 30, 2009 at 9:27 pm #

    I know what went wrong, and i’m certain many of you know it but are used to criticizing, so you don’t want to take it.
    Fletcher was deployed to do the job at Cesc and he did it fine. Between Rooney and Ecra, they managed to kill of Theo, and the fact that Diaby failed to tuck back and cover Gibbs meant that Oshea would have the easiest 90 minutes of his life.
    Now, all that will not happen on Tuesday, because should RVP come back, then he will play the deep playmaking role, Cesc goes back to his fevoured position, and I think Nasri will be sacrificed for Edouardo on the left.
    I have no doubt that we will score atlast twice, however do we have the mettle to keep a clean sheet? I don’t know, but so far this season we have not conceded a single goal at the Emirates.

  20. jay-jay
    April 30, 2009 at 9:29 pm #

    I feel a bit like I did after the 4-4 draw, maybe a bit more dissappointed. But we all knew it was a hard task to beat United at Old Trafford and we can thank Ronaldos shot hit the crossbar and Giggs goal was offside. Its simple we have to play better at the Emirates, we have to, and Im sure we will. But whether we can keep them out for 90 mins or 120 mins is a major doubt of mine, we can achieve that better if Clichy returns and Djourou starts. But if they score I really dont think we can sink 3 past them, we could score 2 at the very most but its a hard task and very much advantage United. I feel we should rest key players v Pompey – Adebayor, Fabregas, Nasri, Walcott. Play Eduardo to give him game time, Bendtner, Arshavin, Denilson, Ramsey, Wilshere etc. Our players who arent in our starting X1 but can still get us the points at Pompey while resting key players for the United game.

  21. jay-jay
    April 30, 2009 at 9:31 pm #

    @ JohnW – That is the reason I remain optimistic but our hardest opponenets have been – Totti/Baptista/Rossi/Lisandro and now we got to keep Rooney, Ronaldo and Tevez quiet in the same game. Its a hard task.

  22. DJ Dragonfly
    April 30, 2009 at 9:36 pm #

    Hi Spanish Fry,

    This is my first visit to your blog. I have to say it’s top drawer. I also had a listen to your podcast. Excellent content. Keep up the good work mate.

    Although we didn’t play very well last night, we are still in the tie. I felt Almunia, Toure, Gibbs and Song were absolutely outstanding for us, in particular Almunia. He kept us in the tie with a number of quality saves.

    Wenger picked the correct team last night; however he played key personnel in the wrong areas, which for me was a ludicrous decision to do, especially in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

    I still can’t believe Wenger continues to persist with playing Cesc in the hole behind Adebayor. It just doesn’t work. Fabregas is our best player. He should be played in his BEST position, which is as a deep lying playmaker (The same role Nasri carried out last night). He was wasted in the second striker role because he hasn’t got the attributes to play in this position, i.e. pace, scoring ability, ability to hold the ball up, quick agility etc.

    Despite scoring two goals against Boro, whilst playing in the second striker role, we are just not getting the best out of Cesc by playing him there. He is much better operating from a deeper position so that he can dictate our play from there and provide the team with an array of short and long attacking passes.

    Another strange decision by Wenger was to play Diaby at left attack. Everytime he has played at left attack, he has been very ineffective. His best position is as a second striker. What was Diaby going to offer us on the left wing? Pace – no, width – no, crossing opportunities – no. Defensively he was very poor and at times, Gibbs had to do the job of two men in order to cover Diaby’s inefficiencies. The fact that he didn’t crumble goes to show how well he played.

    Theo also needs to go searching for the ball a lot more instead of hugging the touchline in order to get into a game. Ronaldo was a great example of this. He was having no joy at getting past Gibbs on the right flank, so he moved into central areas in order to get on the ball. Hence the improvements of his play in the second half.

    Adebayor was VERY poor. He couldn’t retain the ball, in order for our support players to come up and help him and he was constantly drifting offside, a trait sadly I can’t see him ever improving on.

    I can see us scoring two goals next week, but sadly I can’t see Man United not scoring against us.

  23. Spanish Fry
    April 30, 2009 at 9:59 pm #

    @ DJ Dragonfly – Thanks for the kind words. I pretty much agree with every statement you’ve made.

  24. DB10
    April 30, 2009 at 10:04 pm #

    Next Tuesday it must 4-4-2 Arsene.

    No passengers on this train either.

    You are taking the patience of us loyal followers to breaking point.

  25. Joshua Asante
    April 30, 2009 at 10:31 pm #

    Arsenal to win 2-0,3-0,or 3-1 on tuesday

  26. AgentDavis
    April 30, 2009 at 10:59 pm #

    What troubled me about the match is that (after all the talk about playing solid defence) the boys looked stunned and they did anything but play with a sense of urgency.

    Having said that, Mau-U is more than beatable and they didn’t play very well either. I like Arsenal’s chances on Tuesday. I think that Wenger has to get in the match and make changes earlier than he did yesterday.

    Attack Man-U and don’t let up. Being passive won’t do it. 2 goals and you’re in PLAY SOLID DEFENCE…the chance to pick up silverware must be more than enough motivation.

    Go Gunners!

    By the way – love the Podcast SF!

  27. tish
    May 1, 2009 at 12:41 am #

    having said all that,let’s 4get the dissappointments and focus on the 2nd leg.I still have a positive feeling about it.2 goals are not so hard to get,atleast @home infront of home fans but the attacking should be one very lethal.There’s a reason we’re still in it.It could have been worse,but we gotta learn a lesson from that game n capitalize on their 1nil advantage.Goals should come.GO GUNNERS.

  28. Gibbs
    May 1, 2009 at 12:42 am #

    The official site says Eduardo is injured again and has been ruled out of the Pompey game with a groin problem, RvP and Silvestre have also been ruled out.

  29. corn p
    May 1, 2009 at 1:02 am #

    In as much as we were outplayed last night,i still think we can do much better at home.The fact that Ade didn’t have a good game does not mean his a bad player.Remember how well he did against villareal when he played almost as lona.we still have a chance , we have beaten Man u before at Emirates and we can still do it.

  30. MoMONEY
    May 1, 2009 at 1:15 am #

    I was and still am hoping its Eduardo and RVP up front for the return leg…

    Heres a positive from last night- Gibbs nutmegs Ronaldo

  31. Arsenal Jet
    May 1, 2009 at 1:42 am #

    Arsenal go go go and go high no stop

  32. mehargnz
    May 1, 2009 at 1:42 am #

    I agree totally with you Spanish Fry on our attack being blunt. Ade had nothing to offer, and sure, keeping the ball and a bit of pass around can work, this should all lead to at least someone taking a shot at goal at the end of the move.
    I was also unimpressed with Nasri, sure we were retreating alot, and he is classy when going forward, but he just wasn’t in the game for me.
    I was worried about Gibbs before the game, but didn’t think he looked out of place, or lacked any of the skill level that is required for a big game like this.
    Almunia was the hero no doubt, and I would be paying him his clean sheet bonus, even with one going in.
    The great thing is that the tie is very, very open. We can get a result at the Emirates, I have no doubt about that, even if they do score an all important away goal.
    I would be going back to the 4-4-2 formation for the next leg, just for more fire power.
    Great podcast too Spanish Fry. Looking forward for more to come.

  33. GetGunMN
    May 1, 2009 at 8:59 am #

    I believe it is a one off. Alex got his tactics spot on. And he picked it up from Rafa. He did exactly what Pool did to United. Put pressure up the field (this also keeps the backs pinned down) and go hard on 50-50 to breakup any movement in the middle of the park. Remember united buckled in the pressure and conceded 4 goals. No excuse here, it wasn’t pretty, but we did not concede too many goals. I’m not giving up just yet.

    This is not new, but Wenger is never known for studying his opponent and plan his tactic and lineup accordingly. He never talked about it and never seen a line up to take advantage of a weakness of an opponent or to neutralize a treat. He sends his team out to play the way they always played. Specially in CL he implemented a 4-5-1 away and 4-4-2 at home. As SF mentioned it before the only issue I saw was where he played Fab. Fab is never effective on an advanced position on his own in that hole. Play him deep and come forward when the situation dictates. The other is Diaby. He really doesn’t have awareness in tight spaces. When he has the ball, he completely forgets there are opposition players around him. I wonder if Bendtner would have done better on the left.

    If we are not careful, United probably come out of the gates fast to force an away goal early on. But at home ground we are well equipped to counter attack quickly with a 4-4-2 lineup. If we put enough pressure, their two center backs are known to crumble. The only way they can keep pressure off their back line is by keeping the pressure on the opposition up field.

  34. georgetown gooner
    May 1, 2009 at 9:08 am #

    With regards to wed nite yet again we didnt perform and the question has to be why? if you cant be motivated for a cl semi then you shouldnt be playing football.A few weeks ago against chelski we were poor in the fa semi now another flat performance in the biggest semi of them all.We have one more chance to put this right and that means come tues nite NO HIDING every man must come off that pitch knowing they,ve given their all because if that happens i know we,ll be in the final,ITS THE MOMENT OF TRUTH.

  35. darragh
    May 1, 2009 at 10:30 am #

    @DJ Dragonfly “I still can’t believe Wenger continues to persist with playing Cesc in the hole behind Adebayor”

    Umm, correct me if I’m wrong, but Wenger has done this once all season before the CL semi and that was only last week!

  36. NZ gooner
    May 1, 2009 at 2:07 pm #

    Phew – thank God that’s over – I sweated out the first half and was really relieved that United didn’t manage to punish us more. We could have easily been in the situation of going to the Emirates 3 down. Playing one up front was basically a white flag – the message was – go ahead and attack us cos we won’t attack you! Let’s all pray for a Robin VP return in the second half.

  37. censored
    May 1, 2009 at 5:53 pm #

    Dam 1 leg ars were poor.
    i tot diaby and nasri were poor. Ade and walcott were too quiet.
    However, i tot the defence was at it top except for the goal( silvestre’s fault).
    Almunia was the hero of the day.

    For the 2nd leg, we really really need RVP for the extra creativity.
    We must be sharp defensively and extra good in attack. Hope rio ferdinand is out woohoo sucker ur rip is broken!

  38. kingsley
    May 1, 2009 at 7:11 pm #

    hi fry my comment on weds match against united,is that the plays did queit well, but i think danielson would have played better instead of diaby i don’t know why always pass the ball to the opponent,and we play too slow with no counter attack,and for adebayo i don’t think he ios good for a lone striker maybe wenger should use 4-4-2 in the second tie but song let him keep it up.

  39. DJ Dragonfly
    May 1, 2009 at 7:45 pm #

    @ Darragh – Arsene Wenger has played Cesc in the hole in the following games for Arsenal in April 2009:

    Man City (H) 2-0 Premier League

    Villarreal (A) 1-1 Champions League

    Wigan (A) 4-1 Premier League

    Chelsea (Wembley) 1-2 FA Cup

    Liverpool (A) 4-4 Premier League

    Middlesbrough (H) 2-0 Premier League

    Man United (A) 0-1 Champions League

    In each of the above games, Cesc has struggled to adapt to the playmaker role. Instead of supporting the lone striker, he decided to drop further back in order to receive the ball, which then left a huge gap between him and the lone forward. This is one of the reasons why Adebayor struggled very badly against Man United on Wednesday night.

    He is just not effective in this position. He is much better playing in a deeper role, so that he can dictate our play from there and provide the team with an array of short and long attacking passes.

  40. jay-jay
    May 1, 2009 at 8:00 pm #

    I have seen a lot of stuff on the news and in the paper etc that Arsenal are after Santa Cruz and that all the other clubs are no longer after him. I would love to see Santa Cruz at the Emirates but for 12 mil I think its a bit much and although when Adebayor plays bad he is awful but when he is good, he is on of the best on the planet. I have no doubt Roque will make an iompact he is great for Blackburn so he would be great for Arsenal but I dont know what to make of it. If we sign Santa Cruz, Adebayor will be sold. I personally want to see David Villa at Arsenal, as it is inevitable he will be sold in the summer to calm down the financial melt down at Valencia.

  41. censored
    May 2, 2009 at 12:09 am #

    Honeestly, i think will stil have a chance in the 2nd leg!

    Our away form in the UCL has been terrible all season, we should be thankful that its only 1-0 in the 1st leg with out experienced players like RVP and clichy. With them coming back i have utmost confidence in getting a 2-0 or (more realistically 3-1) at home.

    At the Emirates we really thrased teams that were prominent in Europe: Porto, Villareal and Roma. Our only hope is that Man U repeat a Milan(2006/07) where they were totally exhausted and get somw of their kep players injured at the Riverside.

  42. 2pac ** Arsenal
    May 2, 2009 at 2:34 am #

    This is why I think we need a new striker next season.

    We had Thierry Henry 2 seasons before. He was generally recognized as the greatest striker of his generation and for that, Wenger deserves plenty of credit.

    However. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. After our Invincible season Arsene Wenger became King Herod. Aka the lunatic who went from noble man to murdering his own family.

    In this case, the Arsenal family.

    When we released the best striker in the world at the time – a season too late and for a minimum of 20 mil less than he should have gone for the season beforehand – Atletico Madrid were willing to meet our enquiry for Fernando Torres.

    It is true because Gil Marin of Atletico said so himself. The logistics of it were simple: pay us #21 mil and Torres is yours.

    Like with so many other things however, Wenger realizes that spending big bucks on a player means that he cannot hide behind the excuse of spending less than everyone else. If he spends on quality – and no one is asking for crazy buys here, but if El Fool can afford one major investment every summer (and they are also in the process of moving grounds and are mroe cash-strapped than us) – then so can Arsenal.

    Wenger however ‘knows’ that this would mean he could no longer play the underdog card. So instead of going out and signing a replacement for the next seven years – a fabulous bargain when one considers how incredible Torres is at his age (strange that for a team with a sol-called ‘youth policy’ we preferred to sign an older statesman than take a chance on youth).

    Instead Wenger wanted to stimulate his ego by going out there and signing a player from a league you cannot even watch on dodgy internet streams, so obscure is that league championship.

    As I said at the time of signing him: EDS is a very good finisher and a squad player but you do not release the best footballer of his generation and replace him with an 8 mil alternative. From the Croatian league. Crazy.

    I think EDS is quality but put it this way:

    Chavs have Drogba as their main man.
    United have Rooney.
    Bin Dippers have Torres.

    Does EDS measure up to any of those? Don’t be ridiculous please.

    The even funnier thing were all the usual apologetic nonsense about ‘needing time to adapt’. Funny because when Torres came over I remember people claiming he was ‘a flop’ after only one month and how he had proved nothing at Atletico (apart from terrorizing Barca every time he came up against the like).

    It took the young Torres no more than two months to start absolutely tearing defences to oshreds. In his first season he officially became the most successful foreign debutant striker in the history of the Premier League.

    Meanwhile we continued to hear about how the much older Eduardo ‘needs time’.

    We have become excuse-makers at all levels. If not that it is injuries. If not that it is the IMF. If not that we need to blame it on sunshine. If not we blame it on moonlight. If nto we blame it on the boogie. If not we blame it on the sleeping satellite etc…

    One thing that has never ceased to amaze me though is how, when everything is going right Wenger is given full credit. When things go wrong then it almost always has to do with external factors of the board – never Wenger.

    We lost 15 mil on the Vieira transfer, 25 mil on the Henry transfer but people complain about what we can/cannot afford. Especially when you are turning down 25mil for the Bayor. Heh.

    In business they call this bad decision making.

    At Arsenal we call it ‘next season is our season’.

  43. Le Gunner
    May 2, 2009 at 6:30 am #

    Come on guys why the negativity. The old fox Fergie had it spot on he knew we had a problem in defence and it was tactical to throw the kitchen sing at us in the first 20 minutes before our defenders settle in their surroundings and organise themselves . The second half was different after the young players calmed down and we were better organised. But the second leg we will not fall for that again it will be a very different game the formation will be different Nasri will come to the fore Fabregas will drop in his favourite position Adebayor cannot have another stinker I’m sure of that specially at home. Its pay back time

  44. MoMONEY
    May 2, 2009 at 6:39 am #

    Wenger likes having a big imposing striker. IMO that can be Bendtner for the future. I like Ade when he is focused on being a nuisance- not just running a lot which he always does. I dont think he has the first touch or control to be what we need. IMO sell him and bring in David Villa. Valencia will want a lot of money but he specifically said he prefers Arsenal so they will be OK with granting him his wish after he served them so long… Some call it wishful thinking- I call it the next step to Invincibles 2.0

  45. Swift
    May 2, 2009 at 9:42 am #

    All of that was conjecture 2pac, all of it.

    I think we should keep Adebayor, I remember reading a quote from John Terry saying that Adebayor was the hardest striker in the world to mark, because hes so athletic and strong. We should not give up this advantage. Hes only 25 and if hes not having a great game, we do have many other players who can score goals.

    As far as the Champions League tie goes, I think we can continue the pattern of dominating euro games at home.

    Against Villareal away we were rubish, but played amazingly at home. Similar story against Roma.

    Man Utd haven’t had a convincing season in my opinion despite being league leaders (so many last minute goals etc) so here hoping

  46. Ianinja
    May 2, 2009 at 2:21 pm #

    2pac, chill mate its good to hear an opinion but now your even bringing down Eduardo who was unlucky to have his ankle broken into the equation. Yes he is not Torres, but come on, lets try not to blame a single player for the problems of Arsenal as a club.

    I aggree with Swift that we should keep Ade not because I believe he is world class(at least for now) but because he owes the Arsenal supporters a performance next tues and prove he deserves to be up there amongst the Henry, Wright etc. One superb goal against Villareal is not the marker, I’ve seen Wright, Henry, even Jose Reyes score superb goals along the years.

    Lets wait till the EPL finishes to speculate on what Arsenal or Arsene should have done.

  47. Old Timer
    May 2, 2009 at 3:29 pm #

    I was reminded of the 2005 FA Cup final. We had Bergkamp, Pires and Viera in the team, all experienced top players but United were still all over us. They had Rooney, Ronaldo and Van Niss up front. It was excruciating to watch, we didn’t have a shot on goal for almost the whole match. But we got lucky. United seem to be the only team able to do this to us and I don’t know why? Remember the 4-0 FA Cup match last year?
    In the match just gone they came at us hammer and tongs and we couldn’t seem to cope with it. I mean what were they expecting from United on their home turf? The only way we’re going to get through to the final is if we get lucky again. But we can ‘help’ that luck by being much much more positive. In the first leg Rooney came close to scoring within two minutes. If we’d had an early chance it may have given our players a bit more belief. As it was their tails were up and we were timid. Scared even. There’s nothing to lose now so the lads have got to put their balls on the line, bust a gut and get at them.
    Realistically we’ve missed a genuine chance to get through to the final because with a different approach we could have taken that game. I do believe, with a couple of exceptions (Diaby, Sylvestre) we have the players to do it. But it’s too late now unless we can get lucky again…

  48. ALGunner
    May 2, 2009 at 4:08 pm #

    Realistically we are still in the tie and hopefully we can turn around the tie with an early goal. An early goal will be like an gold for us. So can’t comment more on that as we are edging closer to the clash. I have thought might not be sounding very good but what if the next season AW bring back Vieira,Henry,Pires for 1 or 2 Year contract. I think this will be an huge boast to our talented squad. Vieira still can fit in the CDM role and Henry and Pires are still to my mind good enough to represent arsenal. I think this will help the likes of Denilson,Diaby,Wilshere,Ramsey,Vela,Theo an real good. We Can than have an squad which is good mixture Class,Experience and more importantly the team will bind. I mean just thinking of it only pulsates me. I think we need experience in our team. I never doubted the team but we are playing at an high level league we we require people with experience. It is just an kind thought towards the team.

  49. Old Timer
    May 2, 2009 at 8:17 pm #

    That’s an interesting idea, Al, but would V, H or P come back? I expect not. In any case it’s kind of a step back isn’t it? And I’m certain Le Boss wouldn’t be in to it. We do need new blood though – Arshavin has proved that – he’s been an immense improvement to the whole team. I really want to see us get a major defender. A monster. Someone who will go through walls. Who scares the opposition. A Tony Adams.

  50. jay-jay
    May 2, 2009 at 11:49 pm #

    I want an Alex, Michael Essien type Defender or Midfielder. Someone with bite, with attitude but an attitude to win and put his body on the line. Strong, physically and mentally. To stop these teams pushing us off the ball (Bolton, Stoke). A no nonsense player to help us out.

  51. Gibbs
    May 3, 2009 at 12:57 am #

    Wow, there are fans who are targeting Eduardo now? unbelievable.

    Anyway, its 2-0 to the Arsenal at HT. Bendy got both goals.

  52. Gibbs
    May 3, 2009 at 2:27 am #

    3-0, Vela got the 3rd. Bring on the Mancs.

  53. jay-jay
    May 3, 2009 at 10:49 am #

    If you actually look at the team sheets, its a much more impressive win that it looks. Away from home, a very youthful arsenal, with Ramsey, Vela, Song etc. Our bench read : Mannone, Emmanuel-Thomas, Coquellin, Randall, Merida, Frimpong, Bischoff. All reserve players and I reckon only Djourou, Walcott and Song will start against Mancs, oh and Gibbs. Crouch missed good chances for Portsmouth, who put out arguably there best possible team. What si remarkable is Arsha made the first, he won the penalty, which he then shook his head and wagged his finger to tell the ref it wasnt a penalty yet the ref gave the penalty (not moaning), Arshavin was right but he has added even more likability to him for saying it wasnt a penalty. He made the 3rd aswell. Arshavin is amazing. Next up UCL, please get the right result arsenal!

  54. MoMONEY
    May 3, 2009 at 2:15 pm #

    Has the winner of the shirt been announced yet? Im really hoping I get it somehow lol

  55. amiaq_ferguson
    May 3, 2009 at 3:02 pm #

    if we play the right tactics, Arsenal will not have chance to win or even no chance of scoring at all. Rooney must play on left side to peck Walcott.

    ***********Tevez*************
    Rooney****************Ronaldo
    *****************************
    **Giggs**Carrick**Fletcher***
    *****************************
    Evra****Vidic**Rio***** Oshea
    *****************************
    ************VDS**************

    Anderson is somehow tricky choice. He is prone to make mistake and also incomplete passing and perhaps SAF will need the experience of Giggs for the first 20mins.

  56. Ianinja
    May 3, 2009 at 6:03 pm #

    ManU supporters love arsenal blogs. A testament that Spanish has done a great job. Well done!

  57. MoMONEY
    May 3, 2009 at 6:07 pm #

    It will be 1-0 then the legend that is RVP will give us the 2-0 in extra time.

    Though tbh honest we will need an amazing performance to keep them from scoring…

  58. censored
    May 3, 2009 at 10:54 pm #

    Rooney Vidic Evra O’Shea Berbatov played, so maybe our players will turn up freshser coz there’s 7 1st team players rested.

    Anyway, well donw to the youthful squad. I can see an Arsenal/ Man U dominating the premier league in the future.

  59. amiaq_ferguson
    May 4, 2009 at 2:38 am #

    i have to admit that this is the best football blog ever.. the most active and frequently updated. for me it doesnt matter which club, as long as i can deliver my opinion and this blog has being very kind to other clubs’ supporter. credit to Spanish Fry. Ianinja, I think you are quite new to this blog arent u?

  60. Hey NonnyMouse
    May 4, 2009 at 11:46 am #

    Right at the Arse end of last year, when we drew 2-2 with Villa (who were above us at that time) a Villa fan came on this blog and said: “…unless you guys spend massively in January (probably £50m), we will be finishing above you this season.” – Well, pal, we spent just 15 mil and look who’s laughing now. Champions League football again for us. The usual crap for you.

    Tell you what though – we’ll swap you Gareth Barry for Abou Diaby…

  61. gunning
    May 4, 2009 at 2:08 pm #

    Check out the new site. Support needed if poss. Cheers peeps.

  62. gunning
    May 4, 2009 at 2:10 pm #

    sorry guys, I mean this one.

  63. Arshadin
    May 4, 2009 at 3:38 pm #

    I think we already had enuf forward to really make the scoring, and a very good back and best G/keeper.
    It is proven when we are unbeaten up untill now in the BPL.This shows that it is though to score against Arsenal.

    What’s important this summer is to get 1 or 2 more most telanted MF who can create chances and good pass for the forward to score.

    We must be busy going forward everytime.Our opponents will be busy attacking our back if we do not attack at them.To say, if we dont attack, they will.That’s why we need a very good MF to keep the ball at Arsenal’s half.

  64. Ianinja
    May 4, 2009 at 9:27 pm #

    Hi Amiaq, I don’t know wheter I’m new or an old timer lol but I’ve been around not always though.

    I aggree that this blog is quite receptive towards alot of other clubs supporters, some other blogs regulars can be quite ‘difficult’ to share an opinion, even to arsenal supporters.

    Anyway its good to see supporters coming together for the love of football. Cya around mate, good day!

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