Arsenal 1-1 Burnley: Nasri should have replaced Cesc

Arsenal 1-1 Burnley: Nasri should have replaced Cesc

The game's pivotal moment: Cesc goes off

For all of the penalty appeals, woodwork hits and disallowed goals – the biggest moment of Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Burnley came when Cesc Fabregas signaled to the bench that he had tweaked his hamstring and could take no further part.

He had by a country mile been our best player up until that point, scoring the opening goal and controlling the game with some excellent passing. And while his replacement Aaron Ramsey did not have a poor game after coming on we badly missed our Spanish captain as his absence robbed us of a player with ability to carve open a Burnley defence that worked exceptionally hard for the full 90 minutes.

Burnley showed why they have such a formidable home record with a performance full of commitment, power and efficiency while for our boys it was Sunderland all over again. Disappointingly Thomas Vermaelen erased our early advantage by giving away a thoughtless penalty and from that point on it we were second best as Burnley created several decent chances and restricted our team to very little.

Burnley’s outstanding player on the night, Chris Eagles, almost scored a fantastic second goal after leaving Mikael Silvestre and Samir Nasri for dead but it wasn’t to be as Manuel Almunia, who had been a train wreck up until that point, tipped his shot onto the post. Meanwhile Diaby, Ramsey and Alex Song were struggling to create clear chances for Andrey Arshavin, Nasri and a very quiet Theo Walcott as we passed and passed and passed without much final product.

It would be easy to berate the team after a performance and result like this but I’m not going to. The way the game turned out this was very much a point gained rather than two lost and in that respect I do feel a little fortunate. Two of our most reliable performers in Vermaelen and Song had arguably their worst games of the season and that was felt across the board.

When Burnley equalised just shy of the half-hour mark I was frustrated yet utterly confident that, given the way Fabregas was playing, we would find another goal. Unfortunately that all changed with his departure. We lost the focal point in our midfield and it seemed like Ramsey and Diaby were looking at one another to try and work out who should take over, the result being that neither of them did. It meant that no player attempted to play the difficult passes to open Burnley up and we were treated to a whole lot of tippy-tappy possession football played at snail’s pace.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing for the armchair football observer but in my opinion is that Samir Nasri, who had been decent in the opening half-hour if a little peripheral, should have stepped into the captain’s shoes as the playmaker. I think the manager should have said to the Frenchman and the rest of the team at half-time – “this guy is going to be our Fabregas in the second half, he is going to be the focal point and the one responsible for the killer passes” – instead of relying on 18-year-old Ramsey and Diaby the dribbler to take the initiative. That way we may have maintained our flow and continued to make the sort of clear chances that came our way before Cesc went off.

Many people will be frustrated that we have followed up such a great win at Anfield with a failed effort at Burnley, but that’s football. In truth I expected both Chelsea and United to take maximum points from their last two games and if you compare our results with theirs, we’ve kept pace with Chelsea and pulled one point back on United from two far more difficult fixtures. In other words, it’s not all bad.

Things to worry about are the severity of the injury to Cesc and the wayward performances of Almunia in goals. It pains me to say that he looks to be playing without a speck of confidence at the moment and has a very generous linesman to thank for sparing him the embarrassment of being punished for a truly horrendous error. I said before the game that I had hoped to see Lukasz Fabianski at Turf Moor and that view has only sharpened.

Hull are next at The Emirates this weekend and there’s no reason why we can’t bounce back. A win there would keep us in the race and with the Premiership being as unpredictable as it is this season it’s all still up for grabs.

Have your say on Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Burnley by leaving a comment.

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42 Responses to “Arsenal 1-1 Burnley: Nasri should have replaced Cesc”

  1. joakim löf
    December 17, 2009 at 8:04 pm #

    Totally agree with your analysis of our midfield in the game. However, the main problem is and remains the absence of a striker with power and physical presence. Adebayor saved a number of difficult games last season by scoring a header or fighting himself to a chance by winning the ball in the box. Why not utilize Diaby in the central striker role until Bendtner is back or we buy a replacement and use Arsjavin and Eduardo (or Vela) as flanking wingers? I still think selling Adebayor was the good thing to do given his mental attitude problem and his lack of tactical ability but not buying a replacement was a big mistake by Wenger.

  2. Opus
    December 17, 2009 at 8:18 pm #

    i dont agree with u on the issue of song. I think song had a good game yesterday. We were just too unlucky not to have buried the game in the first half.

  3. radads
    December 17, 2009 at 8:20 pm #

    The game wasnt supposed to be tough, our boys were just IRRESPONSIBLE.It was who faded away not Burnley being the better team.we could have dominated that game from start to finish and could have been 4 or 5-0, if the boys followed the example of the captain or just woke up their mind to be more responsible on that pitch.

  4. kwocho
    December 17, 2009 at 8:29 pm #

    amjust pissed off.

  5. Frichie
    December 17, 2009 at 8:48 pm #

    I dont know how you can still remain so positive. I knew it would be a tough game, but seriously, Burnley looked like they had an extra man because we had so many passangers in the team. The sad fact of the matter is players like Walcott, Eduardo, Diaby coming back after injury, shouldnt be thrown into tough games away from home. By all means let them get confidence at the Grove against Hull, but not a cold winters night in Burnley.

  6. Wambam
    December 17, 2009 at 9:00 pm #

    CAN someone please please please f*****n learn to SHOOOOOOOOOOOT frm outside the box.

  7. billi
    December 17, 2009 at 9:00 pm #

    I haven’t seen the match, too tired, christmas-stress, but again a penalty! o.k. you can probably say they goal could have fallen in that or this situation but it was a penalty, how many penalties did you got, is it league average?

  8. Hans Monsma
    December 17, 2009 at 9:25 pm #

    for pete sake get rid of diaby – he belongs in another team – maybe french 2nd league

  9. jebo
    December 17, 2009 at 9:40 pm #

    just the next game after everybody on this blog hailed the team for winning poor liverpool…

    we need a winning team, who can win even difficult games…but arsene has not delivered that…..

    that’s all…..we have not to fool ourselves on each and every game….let them buy a player who can change a game not the one who learns from our own loss.

  10. Johno
    December 17, 2009 at 9:59 pm #

    Never has it been shown more clearly that we need a striker with a physical presence. Our apology for a ‘keeper has lately started to hoof the ball up-field to our diminutive forwards at every possible occasion. By doing so he invariably gives away possession. I’m sure that Almunia’s incompetence has affected Vermaelen, he obviously has no confidence in the ‘keeper’s ability to deal with crosses and high balls either by catching or punching.

    Is walcott’s left leg longer than his right? He always seems to drift to the right no matter where he starts from. I know he has been injured a lot but his progress has simply stalled, maybe a spell on loan somewhere with less pressure on him would be beneficial.

    Eduardo is another who’s displays have been a bit more than just disappointing.

    A draw last night was not the end of the world, but the overall performance of the team doesn’t prelude the dawning of new era of success.

  11. rehan siddiqui
    December 17, 2009 at 10:09 pm #

    EPL is a marathon and the the present arsenal team is just not equipped to last full distance. Get rid of the likes of diaby, almunia, walcott the sooner and replace them in January otherwise another blank season.

  12. Le Panda
    December 17, 2009 at 11:26 pm #

    Everyone needs to chill out. Too frequently do pundits and fans look at every game as the be all and end all, and just wait and see how the season unfolds.

    Sure we have deficiencies within the team, but point me out a team who doesn’t. I’d be all for Lloris taking Almunia’s spot and a tall centre half. But look at the team who is playing for us, and the team that could be playing in a few weeks when we have some returns. I’m just sick of everyone getting frustrated and saying we’re shit when we draw or lose. Go and take your negative opinions elsewhere.

    Good post Andy, we lacked a general direction today after Cesc went off.

  13. Filipino Dan
    December 17, 2009 at 11:44 pm #

    Agree that with Nasri in the playmaker role and Vela/ Eduardo on for Fabregas we would have provided us with a better chance of killing the game last night. Very disappointed.

    Almunia is a big worry now.

  14. Arsesession
    December 17, 2009 at 11:55 pm #

    How do you start an attack, when your GK’s distribution gives immediate possession to your opponent?

    We can complain about Song, Vermaelen, the others, but my interpretation for Arsenal’s draw:

    (1) Arshavin’s poor performance; I can’t find fault with his midfield support; Arshavin’s passes were awful; most of his 1st touches were inexcusable for his talent level; he allowed his marker to deny him possession (except a couple of times) most of the match; he is 29 yrs old, captain of national team; we don’t accept this level of sloppy technique from Nasri, Cesc, Rosicky, Eduardo, RvP!
    (2) Theo – his absence of contribution must be haunting Arsene.

    With the parity in our league, no team can sustain the poor performances from so many key players and expect points.

  15. notes_12
    December 17, 2009 at 11:57 pm #

    with all the opportunities arshavin had, he should have done better. its time for walcott to shake off the rust and start playing.

  16. theicehammer
    December 18, 2009 at 12:24 am #

    Opus, i agree wid u about Song. He did not reach his ususl level but played well enough. He needs some help or a rest before he picks up a strain. I can bet u his performances will dip in the next few games because he has far to much covering to do in each game because Wenger has not promoted enough strong ball winning players in the midfield. As i have been saying there is too much silk in the squad that is why the team drops so many points each season to teams like this. Small lightweight players can not keep up the high energy level it takes in order to run and pass they way round stronger teams for game after game after game especially in weather like this. Again Theo went amiss, Diaby did ok, considering. Although i still believe the teams deficiencies are not totally of their making. Wenger builds the squad. We knew it was going to be a difficult game, and it was so clear that the boys could not match burnley for spirit and drive, Burnley even played some very good football. As a boss dont you ask yourself the question, Why is it that a team like Burnley look fitter, faster and stronger than us. We are keeping the ball well but cant create enough chances. What can i do for plan B when the passing is not working and my captain has gone off injured. BRING ON JAY THOMAS, thats what! This boy is da Don, e’s a real baller, e can twine any team up to rarse.

  17. theicehammer
    December 18, 2009 at 12:41 am #

    Le Panda these fans dont support ‘other teams’, ‘wait and see how the season unfolds’. Wat say u if nothing is wan at end of days. It’s time to man up and kick arse. Just one of my Bruce Willis Die Hard moments.

  18. sa gunnar
    December 18, 2009 at 12:43 am #

    le panda, I understand what you re trying to say,but you must also understand the fans who have supported the team for the last 4 seasons and what they going through, we demand top performances especially since wenger had so long to improve his team, yes the epl is a marathon but it would be important to keep in touching distance especially if the side is able to cope with injuries which seems less likely now since fabregas seem temporary injuried, from a 100% to 70% chance of succeeding at emirates facing hull city. defense-alumnia no way near van der sar, midfield -diaby, I have no idea if he even capable of showing a average performance.attack-eduardo still got a scoring down syrodome, hoping prove me wrong

  19. sa gunnar
    December 18, 2009 at 1:02 am #

    U work your butt off, everyday and then you know satursday is the day that is book for arsenal and nothing but the gunnars,even my dad(manu) fan mumbles to himself when arsenal miss chances,I believe he enjoy arsenal possession ball activity, but end results are nothing much to compare with,the club management must understand that supporters are paying top pounds to come and see their team play,it time wenger concentrate on the team and leave outside matters to club officals, issues such as wolves reserves, rvp compensation beliefs and complaining about petty things.

  20. Rian Joubert
    December 18, 2009 at 2:00 am #

    I am a dedicated gunner fan but I am now at the point where I have to admit that this team as it stands does not have what it take to win the league. Normally even though we play bad I enjoy watching arsenal but the game against burnley was terrible. I was so glad when the final whistle blew. They looked flat,no flair,no dangerous attacking moves. It was awful

  21. shambogunner
    December 18, 2009 at 2:27 am #

    hello all,
    le panda nice call wit lloris but i cant agree with anythin else…are we supposed to hibernate durin the season and come back at the end to check our position and points tally and then cast judgement on ability??its week in week out performances where they are judged be it for awards or criticisms,this is wot they signed up for and wot they are highly paid to do,if something is not working or if there are question marks they should be addressed.man utd and chels when they hav won leagues still scrutinised performances and consolodated to stay competitive
    the inconsistant nature of nasri,theo,eduardo,eboue,bendy and rosicky hav all been frustrating,whereas almunia and diaby simply arent good enough yet are regulars in the team when fit
    icehammer nice call bout thomas he done well at blackpool and deserves a look in
    at the moment villa are flyin and there is a great work ethic and att/def balance in their side…wot is the difference between young,milner,downing,agbon etc and theo,nasri,diaby,eduardo???CONVICTION…something we really lack…..how many of us find ourselves roaring ‘for christsake shoot!!!!’ at the screen when we play….hav some belief and conviction when you try something theo!!!
    we wer fortunate against liverpool and fortunate again last night…lets hope we can field a consistant 11 over xmas,get bendy back in the team and fit and control our own luck and go on a winning run
    lloris and kenwyn jones please santa

  22. Geocross
    December 18, 2009 at 2:37 am #

    You’re right Andy, it’s not that bad. But in this order, we need to win the next 8 games, in those games we’ll have Bolton and Aston Villa twice, but the games against Villa, are massive and we must win them. I think. again sorry for my poor english.

  23. Longtail
    December 18, 2009 at 3:36 am #

    Theo has not been the same since his return from injury. He is no longer a dangerous blinding speedster causing havoc down the wing. Has has become a mediocre winger. What will it take to get him back to form?
    We are constantly being muscled of the ball by ‘inferior’ teams. We do not, right now, have the speed or guile to make defenses quake. The Sunderland, Chelsea, and Burnley games show that unless we can consistently field our highest quality team, we will continue to be mediocre. The Liverpool games was an aberration against a team in crisis who at times muscled us off the ball as well.
    Finesse is fine and beautiful to watch, but it needs to be tempered with steel and resolve.

  24. shambogunner
    December 18, 2009 at 5:02 am #

    nicely put longtail

  25. georgetown gooner
    December 18, 2009 at 5:57 am #

    the injury jinx has struck again this time the capt,in all the years i have supported the gunners i,ve never seen anything like this before unbelievable.any way we have to do our best with what options that are available at the moment.jan 1st is still a few weeks away and thats if wenger decides to strengthen,the 2 games coming up against villa are vital until then we have to get as many points as possible starting with hull on saturday.with cesc missing i agree andy nasri should be given the playmaker role as ramsey isnt quite ready yet,yes theo,eduardo,nasri have had some bad injuries recently but its time to deliver too many passengers again last night.

  26. Andy @ Arsenal FC Blog
    December 18, 2009 at 7:48 am #

    @ Le Panda / shambo – Panda’s comments about people complaining whenever something goes wrong is fair. Just because we lose or draw a game doesn’t necessarily make us a bad team, just as winning a game doesn’t necessarily make us a good team. The hard thing to accept is that people – not usually on this blog, mind you – can be so fickle with their praise of the team and then so harsh a week later. It’s exhausting!

    I know Panda’s point of view on the team because I regularly talk to him about it and the thing that he and I agree about is: what’s the point in declaring people not good enough or saying we need signings when we have players injured who will come back into the side. I realise that we have a lot of injuries and that means we need perhaps more depth, but at the end of the day people are castigating the manager for “not replacing” Adebayor when he had a fit van Persie banging in goals and Bendtner providing able support. Without those two players we are going to struggle, but so would Chelsea if they lost Drogba and Anelka.

    At this point in the season we just need to fight it out until our players come back. We need to discuss what we can do with the players we have, not say “Walcott will never be a good enough” or “Diaby is a joke” when they’re clearly still trying to find their feet. The last two games we’ve pulled 4 points from two tough trips to Anfield and Burnley, so it’s not all bad!

  27. Andy @ Arsenal FC Blog
    December 18, 2009 at 7:49 am #

    🙂 By the way Shambo, that comment is not aimed at you – I just noticed that you replied to Panda’s comments so I was just alerting you to my reply.

  28. liam
    December 18, 2009 at 7:54 am #

    Anyone would think we had lost at home to a 4th division side. Uh Mike, Utd already lost at Burnley this season. They are a good team at home. That was a good draw last night. And who is saying ¿we havent got any money¿? Where on this board did you last see that excuse used. We have 100million cash reserves sitting in our account right now and AW has 25million extra from the Adebayor/Toure sales. Who says ¿we havent got any money¿? What people might be saying is that we shouldnt be spending money on crap. I imagine you would probably think spending 30million on Robinho, 25million on Adebayor, and 20million on Lescott is ¿good¿ business. Yeah right. Those three also have 8million a year EACH in salary. So that is 100million on those three players that City spent. Gee, they got value for money. Were you one of those people asking that AW sign Felipe Melo for 20million last summer, you know the guy just voted ¿Flop of the Year¿ by the Italian public for his abysmal displays for Juventus? spending money is easy. Spending money wisely is difficult. Chelsea are still being rewarded for the wonderful 49million that Mourinho spent on Essien and Drogba. Without those two Chelsea always start looking like a very average team (playing without those two is what got Scolari fired last year). So tell us Mike, where is the equivalent of Essien and Drogba out there right now, as we will of course listen to yopur wise and sage advice? We realise that is the more difficult option and requires some patience and effort, but we feel that it is actually worth it and makes supporting our beloved Arsenal so much more rewarding. Try it sometime, simply breath and relax for a moment before doing something radical¿¿¿.thinking. I know its scary. But it can be very very exciting when you try.

  29. Andy @ Arsenal FC Blog
    December 18, 2009 at 8:24 am #

    @ liam – Hear, hear. But who is Mike? 😀

  30. California_Gooner
    December 18, 2009 at 9:35 am #

    Our injuries have really started to take a toll on our performances.

    You can’t expect a team with a 2′ striker to be holding the ball up and troubling defenders too much. Our midfield lost all of it’s forward momentum once Cesc went off.

    Armchair critics like to jump on bandwagons and I’m no exception – the real problem at the moment is Almunia. He isn’t commanding his area, he’s indecisive and his distribution is horrendous.

    It’s definitely time for a new keeper, let’s give the job to Fabianski until we work out who the replacement should be.

    Up front we need to get Eduardo and Vela scoring. Walcott as well. They seem to have lost all confidence – Vela at least retains a good touch and movement, Walcott seems to have temporarily lost the lot, as does Eduardo.

    Let’s give them a good slagging on the internet to help restore their confidence.

  31. C-Bass
    December 18, 2009 at 9:38 am #

    We can’t win a title with this team blah blah blah. The next game is against HULL CITY and it’s at the Emirates. Let me tell you we can win THAT GAME WITH THIS TEAM, but not if the fans are going on about how Peanut Head will never be good enough to play in the EPL or that TW-14 will never be any better than he is now.

    Get behind our lads. For Christ’s sake lets not doom and gloom till at least after the transfer window.

    Everyone have a cry and get it out of your system. With our injury list and with Burnley’s home record this wasn’t anything close to the end of the world.

  32. Andy @ Arsenal FC Blog
    December 18, 2009 at 10:12 am #

    @ California_Gooner – Vela, Walcott and Eduardo are rubbish, they’ll never make it as play…. Oh, I get it. Sarcasm.

    😉

  33. Andy @ Arsenal FC Blog
    December 18, 2009 at 10:14 am #

    @ C-Bass – Good chat, love to hear comments from you. Agree with you about Almunia too, unfortunately. It’s time for Fabianski to step in, methinks.

  34. Darragh
    December 18, 2009 at 2:34 pm #

    Totally agree with the Nasri comment, I think we were talking about it when we watching the match, Andy. There was a very brief period when Nasri came into the middle, and he slipped a killer pass to Arshavin (or was it Eduardo), who fluffed it.

    I have always seen Nasri as a more centralised playmaker rather than an out and out winger. He is not fast enough on the wings. I would, if Rosicky is not playing, play Cesc, Nasri and Song in the middle.

  35. GetGunMN
    December 18, 2009 at 3:03 pm #

    You guys go back and look at the beginning of the game. We could have scored a couple more goals and killed the game. Wasn’t it that happened when we scored for fun at the beginning of the season? I have always thought, if we converted most of the chances we created we would have scored over hundred every year. But that’s not how it works, does it? Luck, fitness, form, injury, and confidence always have a tendency to conspire against you.

    If we are as bad as some of think we are, how come we are still sitting in 3RD PLACE while struggling to adjust to the mounting injury list we have? Shouldn’t we be applauding and encouraging our young players or players who are coming back from injury to get back to form? Do you think the players who came back from injury re-injure themselves by just being passengers, I mean not trying harder? Please sit back for a moment and take a deep breath. I think we are just hyperventilating.

    @Andy & Panda you guys are absolutely right. There is no reason to buy knowing injured players will come back sooner or later. Isn’t that what the coaching staff assess everyday and make a decision as to who to play or recommend who to buy in JANUARY? We are in December on my calendar.

  36. Ianinja
    December 18, 2009 at 6:01 pm #

    Don’t despair guys, Wenger really can’t do anything untill January, in the meantime check this out

  37. Hey Nonny Mouse
    December 18, 2009 at 6:27 pm #

    I’ve kind of lost interest in this Hull game now. We really are an unusual team. There’s certainly no one else like Arsenal’s current squad in the Premier League. They’re so talented and skillful, so entertaining to watch – but so consistently inconsistent. Time and again they’ll win the game that people think they won’t but then fail to win that important one that they should. Time and again they’ll trounce some opposition with scintilating attacking play only to disappoint in their very next game with a dawdling, aimless display.
    I feel that if only we had Tony Adams on the pitch with us again to take control, to tell the players what they need to do, to lead by example. To command. But we really have no captain. Cesc is a fabulous footballer but he’s not a leader of men, not yet anyway, not at his age. He can control a game with his passing but he can’t control players. He can’t grab them by the scruff of the neck and force what is needed out of them. Walcott, Sagna, Traore, Nasri, Denilson etc. who can they turn to on the pitch for guidance? They just have Arsene looking pissed off and waving his arms around on the touchline.
    I feel like we need to crush Wolves to get our mojo back. We need to destroy them. To annihilate them and send them back to the midlands wishing they’d never come to the Emirates. I want them to be embarrassed, shocked and humiliated and to make the rest of the Premiership take note and be afraid. That will get me excited by our team again.

  38. Hey Nonny Mouse
    December 18, 2009 at 6:36 pm #

    @Ianinja – thank you. I feel MUCH MUCH better after viewing that link. Everyone – you’ve got to see this – absolutely BRILLIANT.
    I’ve got a smile on my face a mile wide.

  39. shambogunner
    December 18, 2009 at 9:02 pm #

    andy
    i agree with you dude that they wer 4pts gained,performance wise defo as we wer well short of our best in both,im not disputing that or disregarding pandas take on things,or sayin hes necessarilly wrong at all,hes right that we need to be optimistic,i just think the players you mentioned hav had ample time to find their feet and im concerned at the lack of conviction and drive sometimes,and even when we hav a fully fit squad im worried we are still not strong enough physically…i share the view we hav to ride it out until guys come back,im a huge fan of bendy but wud it really wud delight me to see an approach for a kenwyn jones type player,i say him becos hes prob in the bosses category as far as age,price and scope for improvement go,not to mention hes a big powerful guy with great hold up,inter play and heading skills

  40. Hey Nonny Mouse
    December 18, 2009 at 9:27 pm #

    we’ve got Porto in the chumps leage

  41. Hey Nonny Mouse
    December 18, 2009 at 9:35 pm #

    bit boring but winable surely? and hopefully we’ll have a few more players by then. fist leg to be played mid-feb.

  42. georgetown gooner
    December 19, 2009 at 5:09 am #

    @ianinja that link is hilarious, thanks.

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