Arsenal 1-2 Birmingham: Nervous performance as disappointing as the manner of defeat

Arsenal 1-2 Birmingham: Nervous performance as disappointing as the manner of defeat

On Sunday at 8pm I left the Oscar Wilde in Berlin, headed out into -10˚C night and shivered on my way home. I played the final goal over and over in my head, considering whether what I had seen was real or just some sort of horrible joke.

Two days later I am in Barcelona to enjoy a break from the Berlin cold before Arsenal play Barcelona in the return leg of the Champions League. The sun is shining and the world feels like a different place.

It is tempting to use the change in mood — indeed, the change in scenery and weather — to turn the page on our Carling Cup failure and look towards the future. But unfortunately it is not so easy.

Jack Wilshere feels the pain of defeat

The manner of Saturday’s defeat was such that the scars — both psychological and physical — will be smarting for some time yet. Losing via a mistake like this is truly exasperating, but the fact that we started the game in such a nervous manner, reflective of the importance placed on winning the final and the pressure that came with it, was even more disheartening.

Although Birmingham only had one shot on target in the second half — Obafemi Martins’ winner — I genuinely felt that the men in blue deserved to win the game. They started in a more focused manner, were denied the opportunity to open the scoring and play against 10 men for the remainder of the game after just two minutes, and generally played to their maximum potential.

I’ve written before how much I dislike this Birmingham team — and Barry Ferguson’s push on Koscielny after the final goal provided the perfect microcosm as to why — but they deserve credit for turning up on the day and playing their most effective football. They realistically could have been two or three goals up in the opening half hour as they held the ball reasonably well and used Nikola Zigic to great effect.

In contrast, until Robin van Persie’s fantastic equalising goal, we were well below par. If Birmingham played at around 90% of their potential then we surely didn’t go any higher than 60%. The passing was sloppy, the likes of Djourou and Koscielny were jittery throughout and without Cesc Fabregas we looked nervous. Only Robin van Persie and Jack Wilshere looked particularly calm and comfortable, the former to be expected and the latter a remarkable feat given his age and lack of experience.

I do not believe the mix-up between Szczesny and Koscielny was symptomatic of the nerves we showed early in the game. It was a freak incident, the kind that happens so infrequently as to be labeled as comical, but yet it decided the game.

It left us with the feeling that Birmingham didn’t win the Carling Cup, but that we lost it. Regardless of how highly you value the trophy, it is not an easy feeling to deal with and simply re-energises the notion that we are not capable of performing as a team when it matters most.

In terms of individual performances on the day I have been surprised by some reactions. Tomas Rosicky has been criticised for a poor game and Arsene Wenger slammed for persisting with him in such an important role. Yet those people appear to have forgotten that Samir Nasri, fresh from being used sparingly on the flanks, came into the contest as the game wore on and looked the one most likely to win the game.

Likewise there has been strange criticism of Wenger for substituting Andrey Arshavin, who enjoyed a fine afternoon. But he’s never, ever been a 90-minute player and a Cup final doesn’t automatically modify someone’s aerobic processes.

While I would like to sweep this game under the rug and move on completely, the truth is that I really wanted to see us win the Carling Cup. When you really want something it usually hurts when you do not get it and when you don’t get it because of a mistake like the one we saw the pain simply intensifies.

What’s more, with Robin van Persie joining our injury list the possibility of us being provided with the elixir that would come with overcoming Barcelona now looks unlikely. With Theo Walcott, the one player that Barca are genuinely fearful of, out of the game and big question marks hanging over Fabregas and van Persie’s heads our task has become more difficult. It’s certainly not impossible — just ask Birmingham! — but it is more difficult.

In the end the manner of our defeat and the tempered quality of our performance made for a disappointing day out at Wembley for both the players and the spectators. How we all respond to it will be telling.

Spread your love for Arsenal by leaving a comment.

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51 Responses to “Arsenal 1-2 Birmingham: Nervous performance as disappointing as the manner of defeat”

  1. Nicholas
    March 1, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    Thinking about this game in the last few days, after all the anger and bitterness, after all the frustration caused mainly by the fact that Birmingham deserved that victory, I find only one thing that works for me: to look ahead and to believe. Given the injuries you’re talking about it could all be doom and gloom, but for some reason I still need to think we’re gonna make it. Is this wishful thinking? It could be, I admit it, but at the same time the prospect of remembering the Carling Final over and over again drains away all my energy. We lost, we failed that test, and it wasn’t just their last goal, it was our team. And I bet there isn’t a single fan out there that didn’t feel that sour taste of defeat. And we cried, we cursed, we let it out, each with his own view of the game, with his own opinion and we were right to do that, the team let us down. But we can’t dwell on that forever. I can’t. I’d rather look ahead for the game against Leyton and hope the boys get their heads right and start playing footbal the Arsenal way, like when they beat Barca or Chelsea.

  2. tau
    March 1, 2011 at 11:03 am #

    it was painful losing the way we did, i certainly agree with those who question Wenger’s persistence with Thomas. I have checked all the matched he’s started we have either lost or ended up drawing, can y do a proper check on this. As for Asharvin, the guy is frustrating, come Aug we do away with both. how about Song, he was below par. overall i feel the team needs 2/3 new infield players. The truth is, it sucks

  3. ^_^GUNNER^_^
    March 1, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    I know that our team played badly on the day and let us down but all I can say at the moment is that we as Arsenal supporters should support our team NOW more than ever.

    It is in times of crisis that we should stand behind the team MORE than during times of glory…..And BELIEVE ME, our team is not in a crisis. [ I mean, just ask Liverpool fans] .

    I cannot say much more because I am as every bit saddened as all of you BUT I will never stop backing our team and I know you all will do the same once the bitterness of the result is healed by time.

    GUNNER FOR LIFE !!

  4. sinol
    March 1, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    Mate its impossible – messi and co will be licking their lips at the prospect of rosiky an co – just hope we dont get humiliated like last time – once again wenger will be proved to be a idiot once again when he has no trophy

  5. Andrew Weber
    March 1, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    @ tau – The truth is, it sucks? *sigh*

  6. Emmanuel
    March 1, 2011 at 11:17 am #

    Hi Weber;
    It is a sad and painful decision. But following the events of Sunday night. I have come to the conclusion that nothing is really unfair to Arsenal except football itself. Because of my psychological health, I officially declare my permanent and irrevocable withdrawal from the Arsenal fan group (after 25 years), and my interest in English football as whole. My main preoccupation will now be watching Banghra music from Lahore.

    Emmanuel Ngala, Malindi – Kenya.

  7. abdirahman mohamad
    March 1, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    MARK MY WORDS, we will win the premier league.

  8. Emmanuel
    March 1, 2011 at 11:27 am #

    Sinol ya right. May be I will reconsider and return to the Arsenal fan club if – We don’t have to win because we wont – but loose by less than 3 goals. I would also roast and eat a whole goat for every single goal scored by Arsenal.

  9. wale
    March 1, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    andy, tanks for this write up… but i want us to look at the game again and look at us a little closer and we try to knw wat went wrong…firstly, the selection for this game by arsene wenger was bad… i don’t knw wat rosick was doin on that field,.. he shls have played bentner for that game out wide and nasri in the middle… and i think that he shld have started with chamak instead of vp..why?… cos chamak wld have make dem tire n wen vp comes in the hunger wld have been there…secondly, did u notice song in this game?.. d guy looks tired, he his not d song we use to see week in week out for the past 3 games now.. he really need a rest… and lastly look at the dat game as a whole.. i cld not see any drive frm us,.. we look as if we have won it wen we have not even done dat.. we where not closin dem down like we did barcelona n we where tinkin dat we can cme n win it… dat is wat i thought of the game

  10. Neyyor
    March 1, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    Whao!!! Every Arsenal is bettered right now but its ok….lets get behind our team & keep prayin & hopin 4 trophies… 2 some of us in Nigeria Arsenal 2 us is like breathin.can stop till we “tooz”

  11. omixy
    March 1, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    this defeat show how fragile our team is, anxiety and jettry caused us the cup, I could not beleive, b’harm would be more composed, confidenced and more hungry than us after 5 years of waiting. It is so sad

  12. Dennis
    March 1, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    Your article is a spot-on reflection on the game and I cannot agree more with your assessment.What our team sorely lacked on Cup Final day was the lack of leadership throughout.Yes, Van Persie was our Captain on the day but even so, how often do we see the likes of Fab and Co cheering our boys on when we go 1-0 down? In fact, the only player I have seen do this is Fabregas himself…This team needs a leader out there to lead on the occasion we are not performing to our best…losing that 4-0 lead to Newcastle was a perfect example. I foresaw injuries having a major say in our chances for any trophy this season and now that we have Van Persie highly doubtful for Barcelona, Cesc a 50-50 and Walcott completely out of the frame, the next game against Sunderland will test our mental strength that Wenger so often lauds on about and then the big one against Barcelona…my faith in the team has waned since Sunday…Yes, it was only the Carling Cup but I hope the injuries and calamities that hit our team towards the end of last season does not derail this season that promises so much…we can only boast so much of beating Chelsea and Barcelona but if we do look back on another trophyless season (I really hope we don’t)…we as Arsenal fans can only ask the same question again…What if…?

  13. Neyyor
    March 1, 2011 at 11:54 am #

    @ Emma. Please dnt stop supportin Arsenal….i understand ur position bt dnt worry i will personaly be prayin 4 u bt dont stop luvin Arsenal…

  14. retsub
    March 1, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

    OK so we had a bad day at the office. But the world has’nt ended. What we need now is a lift (come on chelsea) if we all start throwing in the towel we may as well give up now. He may not be the most gifted player, but now is the time for some grit and I think Bendtner maybe the guy to do it for us.
    No matter what happens Arsenal are in my blood! Real supporters cannot change sides

  15. Ianinja
    March 1, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    Their goal made us look comical alright, a greek tragedy if you ask me. Just bad communication btw kos and Woz. it was embarassing because it was the type of goal you concede on Sunday in a muddy pitch after a previous night out at the pub have made you tubby from all the Jager.

    However I don’t blame them but I hope the 4 defenders and our keeper start to rectify this situation of not communicating at crucial times esp in a final. Woz is really gutted, he lost the “Bendtner confidence” checked his twitter last night, still not updating.

    Anyway have a gd time Andrew at Barca, send my love to all the lovely mamasitas in Barca jersey’s for me :P

    Gonna start my camel bbq to piss off my cricket watching neighbours. If we win against Barca I’m going to eat one whole camel.

  16. JJ Pittman
    March 1, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

    Menjar be, cagar fort, i no tingues por de la mort!
    Catalan: eat well, shit strongly, and have no fear of death!
    Apropos of nothing?

  17. Aung Myin
    March 1, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    As usual,after 85minutes the gunners will allow equalising goals or winning goals for the opponent team.Who will stop this mystery?Great hope for The Carling Cup has gone with the wind.Arsenal fans should consult Cardiac-Physicians or Psychiatrics for upcoming games.

  18. The Birdcatcher
    March 1, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

    Arsenal’s precocious talent is built on sandy foundations. They have been stronger, more determined this season, but were seriously under par on Sunday. Even without Fab and Theo, we should have dominated them. Every time Birmingham pressed forward their intent was more determined, and more single-minded. How this chance was lost, i don’t know. How could they have played with such fear on such a wonderful stage? It should have been an opportunity for their talent to flow, not be hampered by self-doubt. Mr Wenger has some serious questions to raise, let alone the job of picking up his players before the important games coming up. I dread what’s going to happen at the Nou Camp….maybe Sunday will have taught them something. The tragedy of their failure on Sunday is made all the more great because of their talent. The slip up at the end was absolutely a culmination of 90 minutes of fear and panic..i know, i was there and felt every moment of it. I pray the mental attitude of our boys will toughen sooner rather than later. Too many vital games coming up. C’mon the Gunners!

  19. Midfielder04
    March 1, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    i strongly think that arsenal still have a big say in both CL and BPL despite the loss at wembley. What we supporters should do now is give the team our support and not pointing fingers at any players. yes the goal was really a freak incident but that doesnt mean that the young arsenal side dont have a say in winning silverware this year. I really believe that losing the carling cup will be a major boost for the gunners as they will want to prove everyone wrong that arsenal still dont have the mentality to win silverware. SO PLEASE STOP BLAMING PLAYERS AND GET BACK THEM AND GIVE THEM THE SUPPORT WHEN THEY MOST NEED IT.

  20. zulu gooner
    March 1, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    Your blogs are usually positive. I am hoping you are not becoming negative like some other inferior ones out there. we must all keep our chins up – it was only the league cup – and besides – class before trophies please – we are the Arsenal after all! rather be a Gooner than a Birmingham “supporter” – not so?!!

  21. niggapls
    March 1, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

    im sure wilshere would have traded some of arsenal’s “class” for the cup.

  22. boss
    March 1, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

    Who was the dirty brum player who pushed Kos’s head down after the goal? My guess is Lee Bowyer as he is a dirty weak prick and that was the act of one of those.

  23. The Birdcatcher
    March 1, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    I don’t think you’d have heard any Arsenal fan saying that it’s ‘only’ the league cup before the match. This was an important day for Arsenal, a chance to show how far we’ve come in the last few years, and an important opportunity to silence our critics. The perceived unimportance of the Carling Cup is the VERY reason we should have played with freedom and greater self-expression. After all, if the occasion got to them, what would a CL final be like? Here’s hoping the lads pick themselves up and do the business against Barca. Was it Mandela who said, ‘Succes should be measured by the ability to pick oneself up after defeat’, or words to that effect? Never a truer word spoken!

  24. eboueLOL
    March 1, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    it was so important, arsenal didnt bother turning up in their suits, came with tracksuits on talking bout who should lift the cup after cesc, etc etc…

    “haha its only the brums….cesc shud totally life that cup man”

    lol fags.

  25. brengunner
    March 1, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    A part of me saw this coming,i don’t know.it was just a feeling i had,just hope if we can go all the way in the champions league,or F.A,we can take from this game,learn from our mistakes,also maybe this can turn it around for us,use the anger,changed it into positive energy on the pitch…….lol

    GO GUNNERS!!

  26. jesse
    March 1, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    I tried to find something to be happy about , I just can’t find any as I got a promised a friend that arsenal will collaspe in feb. which I did not agree but what just happened . obafemi martins is a january acquisition for birmingham and he made the different if he was not there at that point the mistake will not be obvious . from sunderland away , wigan away and Newcastle home and away it was clear that we have problem defending though attack did not turn up in wembly, Any other manager will do what birmingham did strenghten in january but that is not arsen , the last time we got to the final it was not major competition for him by playing a weak team now he come out and admitt he failled as he wanted to win this . The problem of the team mental toughness which is a persisting problem . let arsenal employ some one who can do that for the team because this is major weakness arsen management . this is very important for our games , Liverpool home, Manu home and tottenham away
    Funny enough I believed that we can go through barca but it hurt me to think that we might not turn up in the final and lose it , by my judgement Barca is the best team in this competition so any team that can remove Barca had to win the competion if not don’t stop them

  27. unchained
    March 1, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  28. leftcoastgooner
    March 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    Hola dudes y dudettes,
    Thanks for the posting Drew, as always well considered.
    Sure Birmingham played a more relaxed game but when you depend on roughneck tactics and not skill and precision it is a little easier to execute under pressure.
    They did win the game and fairly at that but only in so much as we gave it to them at the very end. Had we made the same dreadful blunder with 20 or 30 minutes to play the results would have been undoubtedly different but we shot ourselves in the foot on the last lap and there was no time to recover.
    The important thing now is that we don’t take aim at the other pod en Espana tomorrow and just do our beast.The worse has certainly already happened and there isn’t much more to dread in terms of humiliation and self-inflicted gunshot wounds so let’s just get on with it and see what happens.
    @emmanual See man you’re already coming back to it. You can’t quit being a Gooner just because you want to, or it hurts, or any of that crap. It’s like the Mafia my brother,yer in for life. Grab that borrego by the scruff, a bag of mesquite briquettes and fire up the q-er dude. We,re in3, that’s right 3 more competitions. Sweat it.

  29. leftcoastgooner
    March 1, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    Hey drew, I looked at the store last week. Is it possible to get an “Art of Song” hoodie
    In Red with white lettering? I’d like one as close to squad colors as possible. thanks.

  30. Darragh
    March 1, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

    Hrm, Andy you call the criticism ‘strange’ but only really explain your thoughts on Arshavin.

    I think the criticism of Wenger and Rosicky is due – he was a poor choice to start in place of Fabregas. It was clear that Nasri would have been a better playmaker in that advance midfield position. Even putting Diaby or moving the midfield around to use Denilson would have been better.

    It’s all empty words now, but I think that those tactics would have been much more ‘smart’ against a physical Birmingham.

  31. Byo
    March 1, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

    Andrew- Great prose, as always.
    But I will have to disagree with you that the men in blue deserved the win. You stated it right, they had one shot on goal in the second half, while we peppered them all through. We lost the game, period.

    Now some will call for Wenger’s head, or for some in the squad to be quartered and drawn, or pray to the gods(as if they don’t have enough on their plates already) , or whatever else…

    But the loss still sucks. The next day I returned to work to deal with issues of life and death. And did that put it all in perspective for me, quick.

  32. kel
    March 1, 2011 at 4:36 pm #

    You know what’s the most worrying thing about this loss? This team seems unable to learn from past experiences. Every time we get a bad result we say “Hope they learn” But look back, have they?.
    Wenger i know ur a gambler and a really bad one BUT how the hell can you have Chamaka & Bedtner on the field at the same time they do not complement each other waste of space.

    Why would any manager in there right mine put Bedtner out wide or chamaka for that matter? this is madness but wenger is and will always be the boss at Arsenal.

    I know MAu will drop point for sure BUT we will drop points as well am dam sure, When MAU loose so too will Arsenal that just how it has been.

    Koscielny has improved and he’s young so i will excuse him and our keeper too, But pls don’t let this happen again. for the rest.

    Bite mee!!!

    Press on Gunners…………..

  33. Lil Weezy
    March 1, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

    The assessement is very simple: Arsenal Team makeup is made of 2 individuals that gives us a competitive advantage:
    1.Cesc Fabregas: His crisp passing, vision, drive is world class and cannot be matched by anyone.
    2.Theo Walcott: His sheer pace is simply inexplicable and will second guess any defense in the world.

    With these 2 players on the field,we will always gives have a natural competitive advantage against any opponent week in , week out.. the rest of the crop players are great and will provide moments of brilliance at times..Without those 2 above, we always become defendable, and beatable on any day. and the fact is , every Janaury or February.. those 2 are injured, we will always get close but never win.
    Look at Barca, Messi, Xavi, Inestia – they are always available, hence why the team is stacking up trophies.. If Messi was injured as much as our RVP, they would not have any trophy. RVP is not made for the premiership, it way too physical for him.. sorry to say..

  34. Mwarury
    March 1, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    @Emmmanuel wakwehu!! i feel you man…someone once said watching Arsenal play is like going to the dentist.
    Its well understandable for fans to put their chins up, in face of adversity, however the manager and the players owe it to the fans. In Kenya Arsenal fans are so so passionate, one committed suicide in Nairobi when Gunners lost to Manu champs league , another one fainted on Sunday in Mombasa when Arsenal lost the cup..Well we accept that its just a game, the big Q is are do these fans have more belief in team than the manager and the players?

  35. Davidinlondon
    March 1, 2011 at 5:40 pm #

    rvp out 3 weeks – game over lads

  36. leftcoastgooner
    March 1, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

    ESPN Deportes reports Robin out for three weeks. Ouch.
    @Mwarury Yes,sometimes I believe we are the keepers of the faith.
    Good for us,may it always remain that way. The least/most that could be said is that we a doing our part.

  37. Jordan
    March 1, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

    Arsenal loses Carling Cup

    Arsenal loses money

    Arsenal lose Van Persie

    In other news this week: Santa doesn’t exist and happiness actually causes cancer.

  38. Carlos
    March 1, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

    @ Neyyor Do not beg anybody to support the team. What 4 trophies? It’s 3 now. I’m annoyed at a lot of things. For example with Wenger’s total lack of tactical choice, not amending the defense, not having a leader in the pitch, keeping bad players, having a huge number of players on loan and pay (minimum the most of) their salaries. Still I never ever thought about not supporting the club. If somebody loves the club he will not leave it, whatever happens. With this mentaity Liverpool should have very few supporters.

    If we want to be succesful on the long run:
    1.) We have to reorganize the team (selling the long term bad/weak players and some of the loanees and from that money buy a classy LEADER. Preferably who could play as a central defender and a defensive midfielder. It is ridiculous to waste a 4-0 lead in 20 minutes.
    2.) Wenger has to start using tactics. Even Squilacci and on a bad day the whole defense could play much better, if you don’t expose them unnecessarily.
    3.) Start doing proper defensive training.
    4.) With all the above you can show enough consistency to obtain the Asian market.

    If Wenger fails to do the necessary the following happens to the club in the long run:
    1.) The stars will leave and serious players will not come to the club.
    2.) Half empty or 70% full stadium. Many people complain about the staggering ticket prices (and they want to raise it). Declining income from everything (stadium, souvenirs, T-shirts, etc.) and they don’t like the fact that anybody, even a league one team, can humiliate our.

    That’s the reality. I still think we can win the league and with some luck the other 2 trophies. Let’s hope for the best.

  39. MAC
    March 1, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

    Same old story with us. Since our last trophy we seem to have a good first half of a season, but come Feb we fall apart. I find it so frustrating that we produce the goods early on but when we get a opportunity to go top of the table, easily knock a team out or win a trophy, we make things difficult and don’t take our chances. We lack die hard hunger in the team. Yes we may have a great bond of young players, but they all lack that fight within them.
    Arsenal are a great team we would always love but when are we going to stand up and be taken serious and not easy push overs come the second half of a season. When are we going to be that team who everyone fears even Man U. Of late not many teams fear us compared to the other top clubs as they know we are a slightly fragile and stubborn. We play one way and one way only….Put 10 men behind the ball and we struggle.
    We are too relaxed and don’t seem to take many games serious. Every game these days are becoming a cup final because if we slip up the other teams around us always takes full advantage. If only things were different with arsenal. The amount of chances we create is amazing but how many of those do we convert? We still end up loosing or drawing. Its a joke. If we took most of our chances arsenal as a club would be winning something every 2 years at the least. But no we don’t.

    Wenger needs to wake up a realise yes we are getting more mature and experience but the same issues are stuck with us. Him as a manger needs to be less relaxed living on this philosophy and actually show some sort of improvement by winning a trophy or two. To go to a cup final, chuck 20 shots at a keeper and still loose is crazy. Us having to rely on 3 players is crazy. Its a team game. Regardless if Fabregas, Walcott, Van Persie are injured, they should be good enough to beat most teams. Obviously not. How many times have we had to rely on them because the others can’t cope. Plenty. He needs to get rid of a few and bring in others. He doesn’t need to spend millions as i like him bringing in gifted youngsters but he needs players who would affect a result in our favour not throw away all our hard work, which we seem to do every season in important matches.

    Now Van Persie’s out i will be praying that we survive NOU Camp and in the league. One slip and i believe our season is over. Bendtner and Chamack cannot fill in for the lose of VP. They are 2 individuals who are decent players but lack quality, and to make things happen on their own.

    I know myself and many others have our doubts about arsenal, but the best way for them to respond is to go on and win a trophy!

  40. Carlos
    March 1, 2011 at 8:05 pm #

    @ MAC We agree on nearly everything, except for one. “…they all lack that fight within them.” Jack doesn’t. He will make a great leader later on.

  41. Terry
    March 2, 2011 at 1:12 am #

    Chelsea have beated Manure. We have a game in hand on them and we still have to play them at home. FFS people, get a grip. We lost a game we should have won because we didn’t take our chances and a defensive disaster late in the game which meant we had no time to pull it back.

    Now is the time for Diaby, Rosicky, Chamkakh and Bendtner to show they have some bottle. We must beat Sunderland and put some more pressure on utd before they play Liverpool – without Ferdinand and Vidic too I might add.

    Don’t care so much about the Barca result. We know that we can match it with them at full strength – we proved that. it’s the Premier League I want. It’s still up for grabs!

  42. Darragh
    March 2, 2011 at 3:15 am #

    Chelsea did us a massive favour.

    Vidic also sent off. Means he won’t face liverpool. There is hope!

  43. Al barney
    March 2, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    On a day we were short of our standard Alex song needs a decent hair cut and Wenger has to instill discipline and winning mentality on this boys cos a lot of them didn’t know what was at stake at that stage, i saw a Wilshire trying to enegize the game but on the contrary Koschileny and Sczeny didn’t understand each other even up till the last minute to gift Martins such a cheap goal am Nigerian but i Had to calm my nerves that day cos i had a very terrible sunday my girlfriend mess up and Arsenal whom i turned for consolation add salt to my sore. My question is are sure of any trophy this season? Cos if we had won one we would have be inspired to gun for more.

  44. Nicholas
    March 2, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    We have a crucial week ahead of us, with strong battles on all three fronts, FA Cup, EPL and UCL, with our squad hampered, but it’s true that this is exactly the right time to respond to the Carling Final. Wenger will have to gamble, and my guess is he’ll do it tonight rather than saturday. Quite frankly, I would have it this way, this Cup match is important, but not as important to me as the saturday game against Sunderland, when we can really close the gap on Man Utd. There will most likely be squad rotation, probably Miguel back, we already know that Almunia will be in the starting squad, Diaby etc. And my guess would be that Wenger will let the stronger squad for saturday. The real gamble though is between that and the Barca tie and I don’t know what a manager, any manager, would do to find a balance. I know one thing though: I don’t want to see the likes of Denilson and Rosicky anywhere near that pitch. I usually try to refrain from placing harsh judgements, on the principle that we are all subjects of human error, and mistake, but these two players didn’t help our team at all this season, we’ve had proof after proof. Anyway, looking forward to the match tonight, the hype is building up again and I find myself in that confort zone where believing is enough… a confort zone that will fade away with the starting whistle.

  45. Byo
    March 2, 2011 at 6:36 pm #

    Delano-
    Wenger like African dictator Museveni? Why not go for Idi Amin or Qaddafi? Or maybe the Khmer Pol Pot?
    You are way off base, and really do not make any sense. We are talking football here. Dictatorships? Most tactically inept manager? Oh my…

  46. shambogunner
    March 2, 2011 at 9:43 pm #

    The great thing about football is that it moves on fast, you can live with the final defeat and sulk or choose to move on and look forward.
    Personally I see the fact that we made it to the final as progress and its great for Wilshere and the likes to learn how to lose….it will make him hungrier if anything.
    Last Night Utd were beat in controversial fashion, and I loved it, working behing the bar listening to the hypocrisy and idiousy of the 60 strong Utd choir moaning about refereeing decisions and ‘hometown’ persuasion. Their manager came out and said two of his players were ‘done’ by David Luiz, he also said there was ‘nothing’ in the Rooney incident at the weekend, they are piling unnecessary attention onto themselves and they will buckle, its just a case of whether we can capitalise.
    I am deligthed to see Chamakh has just scored in our fa cup game as I was becoming disillushioned with his performances in recent months, we need him now.
    Just one bit of negativity to add before I go. Rosicky, who Iv always been a huge fan of, has gone backways, his decision making and execution leaves so much to be desired, watching the final on sunday with 6mins left and after 20 mins of attacking Birmingham, he surged forward as the opposition tetreated to their box …18 yards out with a rocket right foot and no defender within 4 yards, he elects to pass a ridiculously STRAIGHT ball to a half interested Chamakh, a ball that went out over the line still travelling at pace….when hes 40 yards out hel have a pop into row z but with mins left in a cup final and a chance to be a hero he makes a, just, shocking decision. Thats when I knew we wouldnt win. Gutted for Wilshere.

  47. Terry
    March 2, 2011 at 11:30 pm #

    i don’t know what drugs you are on Delano but i don’t want them and I reckon they should be on the banned list! My two year old makes more sense than you do.

  48. GunnerBoss
    March 3, 2011 at 12:10 am #

    @Byo – where’s ur stick to whip Delano with?
    You must be a TEACHER. Dont u have a perspective? What do you want Byo? What Delano wants does not even matter….its just his momentary anger. What do YOU want Byo? No solutions by you….are you s..k. You are just okay. arent you?

    @all – All is said already….B52 should have started on the right, Rosicky should have relaxed while Nasri takes FABs place. We need more people that can SHOOT a football from outside the area in this team…..we lost (A final) again cos we failed to convert begging chances.
    Didn’t really feel so bad though….those guys certainly wanted it more. We did not respect them enough….hence the surprise. We felt we should just turn up and take the cup….I think we forgot to play

  49. delano
    March 3, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    @Terry am not on drugs for heavens sake. @ Byo you seem to be missing the point like you have always done. I very well appreciate the fact that we all never have a uniform reasoning capacity.Am simply saying Wenger has made so many costly tactics which have cost the club success on the pitch and at best let the fans down. This is by being stubborn to bring in a few players and by relying on unpredictable substandard players at times. He is simply never answerable to any one for the psychological torture he impacts on the fans. Its only a fool like you who would be a “yes” man. We are tired of mediocrity and excusses we need results. Chamakh must step up and be more aggressive never mind his lack of pace and skill.

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  1. Ten games to win the league. But can we do it? - March 18, 2011

    [...] First the Carling Cup was thrown away in extraordinary circumstances. [...]

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