Arsenal 1-2 Hull: defeats OK as long as we avoid draws

Arsenal 1-2 Hull: defeats OK as long as we avoid draws

Well that wasn’t exactly the result we were expecting, was it?

For those who went away to the moon for the weekend, Arsenal have dropped to fourth on the table after losing 2-1 at home to Hull City on Saturday afternoon. That’s right, Hull City. And yes, at home. Ugh.

Before I give my thoughts on Arsenal, it should be said that Hull deserve some serious credit for their performance. There have been very few teams – particularly newly-promoted ones – who come to Emirates Stadium and put in such a strong effort. Sure, there were times when they had ten men behind the ball but for the most part they tried to play attacking football and if they keep up this sort of effort then they could go far this season.

From an Arsenal perspective there were some worrying signs, not only in the result, but in the performance as a whole. Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor both had off days up front, missing the handful of chances that they were presented with. The Dutchman in particular frustrated me, sometimes I wish he’d just place the ball in the corner and resist the temptation to belt the cover off it.

Emmanuel Eboue and Theo Walcott were both guilty of doing an Alex Hleb in the first half, the former passing when he had a great opportunity to shoot and the latter attempting to control Bacary Sagna’s cross when he should have volleyed home. Although Walcott did well in the second period to force home the opening goal, it did not prove to be enough as first Geovanni smashed home an equaliser and then Daniel Cousin punished some slack William Gallas marking to head home from a corner.

The first Hull goal was unstoppable in every sense of the word. You can’t really defend against that sort of thing and Manuel Almunia can not be faulted for stopping Geovanni’s cannonball. But the second, quite simply, was shambolic.

If you watch replays of the goal you can see Gallas not even looking at Cousin when the corner kick is taken, an unforgiveable piece of defending for someone so experienced. I make no secret of the fact that I’ve defended Gallas so far this season but this was inexcusable. He was clearly too worried about what everyone else was doing and not focused on his own task of sticking with Cousin. 

When I was a young pup, my mum had a habit of saying to me: “Get the log out of your own eye before worrying about the speck in someone else’s”. In other words, sort out your issues before you worry about anyone else’s. Maybe she should have a word to Gallas, because this is not the first time he has been caught out personally while trying to organise his side on an Arsenal corner.

With regards to conceding another set-piece goal, Arsene Wenger had this to say after the match:

“It is a weakness in our team but that’s as well linked with the level of concentration. You can work for hours on the training ground but if you don’t attack the ball on the day of the game it will cost you. I believe that’s more down to how much you want the ball.”

What is interesting about this comment by the manager is that he is effectively distancing himself from blame and putting it on his players. He’s saying that he’s put in the effort behind the scenes, but at the end of the day it is down to the players to do the right things when it comes to crunch.

Although it seems to be a decent point, I do have one problem with what Wenger is saying. If he is going to make the statement that it is down to the players showing the right mentality then he has a bigger role to play in this then perhaps he realises. He has got to make sure that the players that will show the right mentality are on the park at the time. In other words, if he’s blaming Gallas for not attacking the ball then he has got to take responsibility for having the Frenchman out there in the first place.

I don’t want to criticise Gallas too much because I still feel that he deserves to be in the starting team. But I do think that Wenger needs to have a word to the captain about the way he organises and remind him that it is more important he get his own house in order before he starts to worry about the players around him.

Once Hull did take the lead I thought the response from our side was rather good. First van Persie fired wide with Arsenal’s best chance of the second half, then Gallas hit the bar before substitute Carlos Vela kneed agonisingly wide. Then Cesc Fabregas hit a superb long-range effort which was tipped over before Kolo Toure sliced wide from the resulting corner. You can see all the highlights on video here.

On another day the boys would have taken one of those chances and likely gone on to win the game. But it wasn’t another day and Arsenal left with no points after losing just their second match ever at Emirates Stadium, dropping three places down the Premiership table in the process.

It has to be said that big four sides losing games in the Premier League is still something of a novelty. The media play it up like it is the biggest disaster in the world when, in reality, it is not. A draw is worth just one more point than a defeat so at the end of the day this loss to Hull is not worth that much less than Liverpool’s draw with Stoke City last weekend, for example.

The worry is that Arsenal have now dropped six points in their opening six games of the season, having yet to play any of the more difficult sides in the league. However, this loss to Hull will prove to be only a minor blip if the boys turn up and get results against the Manchester Uniteds, Chelseas and Aston Villas of the Premiership. It’s a big if, and the pressure is undoubtedly starting to mount.

But if you can put aside the novelty of losing to Hull and realise that two losses is equivalent to three draws then we are not in the worst position in the world. Manchester United lost five games on their way to the title last season while Chelsea and Arsenal only lost three. United won because they made sure they focused on turning draws into wins, not defeats into draws, and if Arsenal can continue winning matches then they will stay in the hunt for the Premiership this season.

Next up is Porto in the Champions League and I’m confident the boys will bounce back.

Have your say on Arsenal’s loss to Hull by leaving a comment.

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22 Responses to “Arsenal 1-2 Hull: defeats OK as long as we avoid draws”

  1. kebab
    September 29, 2008 at 10:33 am #

    Van Persie is a real dissapointment today more than last season, what is wrong with him, theres no accuracy and his efforts were soooo not him.

  2. Mama Fry
    September 29, 2008 at 11:12 am #

    If you want a Gallas improvement this season SF, I probably needed to discuss “the log” with him 10yrs ago – it’s taken you that long to learn!!

  3. Arsenal Diaries
    September 29, 2008 at 11:58 am #

    I thought Van Persie did quite well, everything except putting the ball in the net. It’s his style – always tries to be one helluva cracker. But he put in more work than Adebayor who’s now looking like a waste of money keeping him around.

    Gallas should be removed of his captaincy, and Wenger should explain it the way you suggested, Fry. Let him work out the problems in his game first. Meanwhile, let Fabregas lead the team for the moment. The only problem with this is that Gallas is more likely to throw tantrums than anything else.

    We’ve lost twice already but still fourth, not bad really. We know that Liverpool will draw too many, for one thing. 🙂

  4. Spanish Fry
    September 29, 2008 at 12:48 pm #

    @ Mama Fry – Your patience is/was most appreciated. 🙂

    @ Arsenal Diaries – Hmm, I don’t know if Gallas should be stripped of the captaincy. I just think he needs to be talked to regardless.

  5. Nirav
    September 29, 2008 at 2:08 pm #

    I was quite disappointed with van Persie. Sometimes I even wished that we had Bendtner is his place in the line-up, given the way the Dane has shaped up this season…

    Maybe this calls for drafting in Djorou in the line-up at the expense of either Gallas or Toure

  6. jay
    September 29, 2008 at 4:40 pm #

    Didnt see the game. Gallas-Djourou should be tried and if its a Gallas mistake we concede put him on the bench for a game!

  7. Spanish Fry
    September 29, 2008 at 6:29 pm #

    Agreed. I would love to see Johan Djourou brought in to the side. He never deserved to be dropped.

  8. JAY
    September 29, 2008 at 7:10 pm #

    Adebayor is not performing, Van persie is having a nightmare. Eboue is terrible and isn’t a premiership player.

    The work rate on saturday was not good enough. Hull outfought us and its worrying.

    Gallas needs to be dropped. The massive lack of effort to stop that 2nd goal (awesome header, fair play) – Just made me feel sick. Djourou needs to given a run in the team, and Vela needs to start more.

    We desperately needed a midfielder in the second half to change things – Nasri wasnt fit, same with rosicky. So we were left with Song and a 16 year old (A very good one though)

    The point is there was no strength.
    I feel Vela should have started with Adebayor. Van persie seems think he plays for RVP fc.

    Walcott had a decent game, but Hull done well to defend against him.

    Overall, we havent played any of the “harder” games yet, and we are bound to drop points in them, so the points early on a vital.

  9. gazzap
    September 29, 2008 at 7:34 pm #

    Theo made our goal then was taken off. he was our only creative force left on the field. nothing happened after he went off. all our moves then went very narrow and it was too easy for Hull to defend against it.
    the fact that wenger says we showed a lack of committment is more worrying than a lack of anything else. how can Arsenal players not be committed? If Gallas wasn’t committed to winning that header then he shouldn’t be in the team.
    wenger could make 8 or 9 changes to that team if he was being fair. As it is he will probably make 2 or 3 and those players will feel hard done by because they will not have been the only ones to look half asleep for 90 minutes.

  10. Fatboy
    September 29, 2008 at 7:54 pm #

    A pathetic, dismal performance. There can be no excuses for any team with Championship pretensions to lose at home to any newly-promoted side. I agree with some of the other comments about our work rate, and I’ve always thought Van Persie’s needed 4 chances before he scores- that seems to have gone up to 8 chances this term. Saturday was simply humiliating. I watched the Fulham game with horror, but was able to convince myself it was one-off. How wrong I was. Can anyone honestly see Chelsea or Man Utd putting in such an inept display? We’re fighting for third again I’m afraid.

  11. benjamin
    September 29, 2008 at 8:03 pm #

    we the suporters here in nigeria are not happy to that match but we know the are try but the players can do better besause we won many clubs hull shoutd not bit us next time

  12. Spanish Fry
    September 29, 2008 at 8:15 pm #

    @ Fatboy – You make some fair points but I don’t think the performance was as ‘inept’ as you say. I personally didn’t think the boys played too badly. The result didn’t go our way but that was more a result of poor finishing than a serious lack of commitment.

  13. C-Bass
    September 29, 2008 at 8:31 pm #

    Arsene has it right. Corners are all about concentration and simply wanting it more than the other guy. Sure quickness plays a part but not much. We need Gallas to realize that most importantly as the captain he should want the ball to go his way and be ready to clear it out when it comes.

    I’m still behind Ade. His first poor performance of the season really. He did look quite lazy. But outside of this game he’s been quite solid. His contributions on the pitch go beyond scoring goals. I still say we’d be in much worse shape if we had sold him.

  14. RasDef
    September 29, 2008 at 9:01 pm #

    This weekends game was a prelude for the rest of the season, Hull did what Arsenal normally do, concede and then go off to win the game. I agree with SF, that the boys do not lack commitment, especially Gallas since he hit the cross-bar AND HE’S A DEFENDER!They do lack concentration and that showed in the first half and with the goals conceded. Ade + VP were not in their game. A higher work rate was needed and the midfield play did not notch up the pace. When Hull where talking the corner kick, i was telling my friend ‘yeah watch them score’ and they actually did, how sick!!! If Vela is such a good player, why do we still need VP? I think the answer to this question is that if we do try to sell him, no team will buy him since he is injury prone and hasn’t bounced back…, yet! I wanna see him score 20 goals this season, and that should be enough. All credit has to go to Hull, it just shows the strength of all the premiership teams this season, and we are in for quite a ride…

  15. trugun
    September 30, 2008 at 3:40 am #

    sorry sport cannot agree with your view of the game, i only ask one thing of the arsenal when they play, that is that they try their best, win or lose. i didn’t see any of that during the hull or fulham games, commitment zero if there had been even 50% effort we would have been talking about two matches won not lost

  16. RBP-The Next RVP
    September 30, 2008 at 6:40 am #

    how bout toure-Djourou?

  17. Demetrio
    September 30, 2008 at 8:04 am #

    I would rather see Djourou-Silvestre to be honest, and i think Wenger should stop being stubborn and give Toure a run in the DMF spot. Denilson has had a decent start but we still lack a DMF and Toure fits that role better then Denilson. Cesc has been below average so far, i’d personally put him on the bench, even if just for a half to send him a message that if he doesnt pick it up his job is not safe.

  18. LuxinBrasil
    September 30, 2008 at 8:23 am #

    Once again i only caught the “high” lights…so ironically called…but must admit that their first goal was simply superb and worthy of being a winner in any match for any team….the more worrying thing for me is that their second goal was almost a carbon copy of davies goal last weekend at Bolton…and i can not accept Wengers explanation of a lack of height! in truth, in years gone by, we have benefited from the clearance off the line by some superb heading (Cole and now Clichy)….probably more times than any other team…our defense of corners must be a huge focus and man marking as well as jumping should be top of the training list….we cant afford to give away goals at corners that simply.
    A loss is a loss and this early in the season is certainly not the end of the world….however consistency is a necessary if we are to win anything this season!

  19. butterfingers
    September 30, 2008 at 9:10 am #

    hopefully we will start with vela against porto as he has played in spain the last 2 seasons and I know porto is from portugal but the way they play is very simular to the spanish. I would still like to know why it takes 2 arsenal players to take a corner as I think get the ball in there and cesc or rvp could be on the edge of the 20 yrd area ready to play the ball back in when it pops back out. Ade really needs to show it now as we all heard his “I should get paid the same as henry” Well now you are score like henry!!!!!

  20. Spanish Fry
    September 30, 2008 at 10:34 am #

    @ Demetrio – I don’t know about Djourou-Silvestre. That’s a pretty radical change. Personally my preference, as I’ve said previously, is Gallas and Djourou at the back. However, I think Wenger has waited too long and now it would be very harsh to drop Toure when Gallas has performed as poorly as he has lately. The move should have been made earlier, I’m afraid, and now the only logical decision is to drop Gallas. Which he won’t.

    So I think we’ll be stuck with Gallas and Toure for the visit of Porto unfortunately…

  21. C-Bass
    September 30, 2008 at 11:17 am #

    @Butterfingers…

    Great point about the corners. It bothers me we waste two men over there as well. Occasionally Toure or Gallas will come up to tonk a clearance back in but usually not.

    I’ve never been a fan of short corners anyways. Just whip it in and get a head on it. If it get’s cleared then have someone on the top of the box to retain possession or shoot. It’s almost like that’s too simple for Wenger.

  22. highbury1913
    September 30, 2008 at 5:56 pm #

    Wenger is getting stubborn in transfers for last two years. Anyone who understands football can easily say Toure-Gallas combination can never work in the premier league and against teams who concentrate in set pieces. CB combination failure was one of the main reason we didn’t win anything last season. Still Wenger think it’s gonna work. It’s not only fulham/bolton/hull but we gonna suffer more from our CB’s this season given that Almunia is also not commanding in air. Djourou is immature and cannot lead our defense line at least for this season. Next season maybe?

    Every Arsenal fans were waiting for Wenger’s involvement in the transfer season but he did nothing right except for Nasri who is wonderful talent but still a crock. He released Flamster and Gilberto and replace with Bischoff(absolutely crock, hasn’t played football for 2 years) and Ramsey(not ready for at least 2 years). Team was begging for a strong CB but he got Silvestre crock again, Manu reject. Blah Blah….

    Cesc not performing well this season is all because of not signing a top notch partner for him in the middle. He need a CDM like Flamini who can win a ball and pass to him, who can tackle and dominate the middle park so Cesc can attack frequently. This season Denilson is deloyed there who is more attacking mid than defensive. Cesc was seen defending more than attacking to help Denilson who is not the answer for a DM who can play alongside Cesc for Arsenal.

    Arsenal are already humiliated twice and it’s gonna repeat more often due to inexperience in CM and no command in the aerial balls.

    For tomorrows game I want Ade, Denilson, Gallas dropped to make place for Bendy, Ramsey and Djourou. Its going to be a tight match and we have to be at our very best to get 3 points and confidence back in the team. Mentally this team is so fragile it’s hard to imagine they are good to play for Arsenal. Toure being scared of Hull was a joke. I thought he is a top man but if he is scared of Hull than he is not good enough mentally to play for us.

    Looking for a good response.

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