Arsenal 3-1 Chelsea: A win worth getting carried away with

Arsenal 3-1 Chelsea: A win worth getting carried away with

There are two reasons for the “day late” nature of my match report for Arsenal v Chelsea: the first being the need for a day to ponder of the importance of the result in the grand scheme of things. The second? A personal desire to be outside throwing Swedish-produced snowballs as often as possible.

Going back to the first reason I have reached a conclusion: this win was absolutely massive for our boys. Achieved in the style that we always attempt to produce, it was a performance and result that well and truly confirms that we have what is required to win the Premier League this season.

Unlike the timid performance against Manchester United two weeks ago, our boys were as bold as brass on Monday night. It started with Arsene Wenger and his brave team selection — Johan Djourou in for Sebastien Squillaci, Theo Walcott in for Andrey Arshavin, Robin van Persie in for Marouane Chamakh — and continued throughout the 90 minutes.

Djourou was superb against Drogba

My biggest gripes against United a fortnight ago were twofold: our midfield seemed unwilling to push forward and help the attack and Gael Clichy was left horribly exposed for Nani to run at. Against Chelsea Wenger completely rectified this problem.

Walcott’s presence on the right not only pushed Ashley Cole right back, nullifying his potential attacking threat and leaving a small brown stain in his pants every time Theo got the ball in the process, but it allowed Samir Nasri to play a more protective role on the left. Clichy prospered with the extra protection, snapping into tackles and getting forward more often than he has anytime this season.

Meanwhile Alex Song was clearly instructed to play more conservatively by Wenger, working in front of the Laurent Koscielny and Djourou and restricting his forward runs. When he did push forward late in the first half the result was devastating: a brilliantly-taken goal that was precisely what we deserved for a stellar opening 45 minutes.

And what of Johan Djourou’s performance to shut Didier Drogba out of the game? Absolutely magnificent. I have been harping on and on about this guy for three years now and was immensely disappointed when he injured his knee at the start of last season, but this was a performance that confirmed his quality to the world. He’s had a lovely season thus far after a few games to get rid of the rust and credit also has to be given to Wenger for the way that he has managed Djourou’s injury. He looks sharp, focused and ready to make a huge impact in the second half of the season.

Aside from his immense aerial presence the attribute that Djourou adds to our team most is a calmness at the back. That and wonderful, understated pace. If this sounds like a love-in it’s because it is: I think the world of this guy and am so happy he was able to produce such a brilliant performance against our chief tormentor in these fixtures.

At half-time at 1-0 up I thought Chelsea would come out all guns blazing. The last thing I predicted was for us to be two goals further ahead within ten minutes.

Cesc Fabregas and his FIFA buddy Walcott were responsible for both goals as the captain took advantage of Theo’s pace to score the second and Walcott smashed home the third after a delightful through-ball by Fabregas. There was a tempered reaction in the crowd to Fabregas’ goal but when Walcott’s went in all hell broke loose. We couldn’t possibly throw away three points from this position and everybody knew it!

Chelsea pulled one back through a decent free-kick but we produced a solid defensive performance to close out the game in the final half hour. There were some stressful moments — there always is when you’re on the brink of a fantastic result — but any neutral watching the game would have put their house on an Arsenal win.

When the final whistle finally went with the score at 3-1 my satisfaction and pride at the Arsenal boys was beyond anything I felt this season. We had finally done it, we had finally beaten Chelsea and the monkey was off our backs.

I’ve covered the brilliant performances of Song and Djourou but credit also has to go to the rest of the team. Every single player played their role superbly — think about Nasri’s less spectactular defensive role that allowed Walcott to get at Cole or Jack Wilshere’s tireless midfield role that freed up space for Fabregas and allowed Song to sit deeper without any impact on our dynamism — and we absolutely deserved the three points.

Credit to to Arsene Wenger for a terrific managerial performance. I have been highly critical of his decisions in big games but he got absolutely everything right tonight. As I mentioned earlier dropping Arshavin for Walcott and Squillaci for Djourou were bold moves, while van Persie’s presence up front gave us a more dynamic feel than in recent weeks. The extra protection Clichy was given galvanised his performance while a clear word to Song to play a little more conservatively was just what the doctor ordered.

So where to from here?

Manchester United delightfully dropped points last night against Birmingham which means that if we beat Wigan, the team with the worst scoring record in the league, we will go equal top. Will we do it? I think so. I can’t see the boys dropping points after a result like the Chelsea one and with two weeks of rest preceding the Chelsea game and our squad looking fresher and deeper than ever, we have the resources at our disposal to register another win.

As for the rest of the season you have to think that things are looking pretty good. When you compare the three substitutes that Chelsea used on Monday — Ramires, Kakuta and Bosingwa — with our own — Rosicky, Diaby and Chamakh — the contrast is remarkable. When most of our pieces are there we have, in my humble opinion, the best squad in the Premier League. And now we have the confidence of beating one of our major title rivals.

It’s been a great couple of days to be a Gunner. A win tonight and it will get even better.

Thoughts?

Have your say on Arsenal’s 3-1 win over Chelsea by leaving a comment.

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54 Responses to “Arsenal 3-1 Chelsea: A win worth getting carried away with”

  1. MTY
    December 29, 2010 at 11:20 am #

    A massive win that will hopefully banish the fear factor that unsettles our boys when they play the so-called big teams.
    Credit to AW for picking such a balanced & fluid team that fought for each other. The protection provided to Clichy, as you quite rightly pointed out, was very crucial to our success.
    The question is, can these boys play with the same level of intensity & focus week in week out? And constantly harass opposition players all over the pitch? Why not? And if they do so, we are guaranteed to finish the season with some major silverware.
    The most important thing is to repeat this performance on all occasions.
    Let’s hope AW gets his team rotation correct tonight against Wigan. Here’s to a 2-0 win.

  2. SIAG666
    December 29, 2010 at 12:06 pm #

    Totally agree that it was an bold move by AW because as usual I was spitting feathers regarding the changes but what do I know. What I do know is that with Tommy V back in defence it will shore the back four up even more and protect the keeper. With the the back 4 being a tighter outfit we can expect to see a few clean sheets which will be invaluable in the run into the title. For a new years present i would like a Tommy V and Gibbs “fit as a fiddle” for the remainder of the season!!!!

  3. Senkayi in Uganda
    December 29, 2010 at 12:18 pm #

    My compliments go to AW for da brilliliant team selection. Wallcot inclusion in the wing immobilised Cole from moving forward, den as much of the attention by defence (CFC) was on Nasri , Wallcot moved with pace to mess CFC up. Dis squad is promising.

  4. John the Pom
    December 29, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    Yes that was a very good performance. I can’t, however, agree that van Persie brought anything significant to the party. He was constantly dropping deeper into midfield out playing out wide, by doing so he let the Chelsea centre backs have a reasonably quiet time. One question I would like answered is why does van Persie take corners? His delivery is nothing special and surely he would be better occupied attempting to get on the end of balls coming into the box, he is a striker after all.

    On at least two occasions both of our centre backs went for the same ball, a result of the ever changing combinations. Please Mr. Wenger settle on your best pair and play them at every opportunity. The whole team will benefit from the closer understanding which will inevitably develop.

    Man of the Match….. Alex Song, no question.

    Hey all you Aussies! Did you notice that England retained The Ashes. Thought I might need to bring you the news as your countrymen seemed to have mislaid their tickets to the MCG.

  5. Andrew Weber
    December 29, 2010 at 12:34 pm #

    @ John the Pom – I have to take issue with your comments made about van Persie.

    Regarding him dropping deeper, did you notice how much space his movement allowed Walcott to move into? He dragged their defenders out, allowed Walcott space to cause Cole and Terry all sorts of problems and his fighting qualities set up our second goal. Walcott meanwhile, had a strong game as a result.

    Regarding his corners: they are sensational. We troubled Chelsea all night from set-pieces despite scoring and van Persie is arguably the best corner taker in the league in my opinion. So what if he is a striker? He’s the best we’ve got and RARELY, if ever scores with his head anyway. By the by, Drogba set up Chelsea’s goal from a set piece and he’s a striker.

    And finally regarding the Aussies: I have no comeback. Well done 🙂

  6. GunnerBoss
    December 29, 2010 at 12:38 pm #

    Excellent write-up Andy…..just brilliant

  7. voley_gun
    December 29, 2010 at 1:04 pm #

    Wonderful blog andrew.you expressed everything with your excellent touch.

    @John the Pom
    you would have felt the difference when van perise is substituted with Chamakh.The reason we fear drogba or rooney is that if they are not closed propely ,it’s a guaranteed goal threat.The same happens for other team when they don’t do the same for van persie.But it’s not the same with Chamakh.

  8. voley_gun
    December 29, 2010 at 1:09 pm #

    @John the Pom
    Andy already explained to you everything.To further support his statements you can watch the second goal of the match

    http://www.caughtoffside.com/2010/12/27/arsenal-3-1-chelsea-premier-league-highlights-video/

  9. JJ Pittman
    December 29, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

    Wonder if manure supporters are grousing about yesterdays result? Still believe we must get another center back. TV5 is not back and his return date keeps being pushed off even with some kind of special boot. Achilles injuries are serious: operation or indeterminate rest. That leaves only 3 of them, and Squillaci still seems a bit below what we need against quality opposition. Loved Djourou’s performance, but wasn’t long ago some wag said he looked as tough as a dish of rice pudding, harsh, but any injury would be hard on us. I’ve always loved Koscelny, but he seems to get in trouble occasionally, more than the “high line” theory accounts for. So let’s buy a good one in January, or cross our fingers no one gets hurt. Do remember Song playing center back at least one game last season. Win was the best I feel since that match at the San Siro where Flamini totally shut out Kaka, how many seasons ago!?

  10. Lazarus Machevele
    December 29, 2010 at 1:18 pm #

    The win was ok. Pesonally i was bored when we lost to Manchester United. The reasons are of two fold. 1. They are one of the contenters for the title. 2. The nonsense uttered by Nani and Evra was worth a serious punishment on the field of play by defeating them. H/ever our guys did not see it that way but instead handed them the win as if to prove their assertion that Arsenal is training gound not worthy for any title. The win against Chelsea is important. titles come though winning and i hope this time we are in for it. My last prayer is for Chelsea to overcome Manchester United.

  11. Andrew Weber
    December 29, 2010 at 1:36 pm #

    @ Lazarus – “The win was OK”?

    You’re a hard man to please!

  12. Aman
    December 29, 2010 at 1:41 pm #

    Just one question to andy and the rest of the gunners, if alex song dint score that goal would the ref have given a penalty for a foul on fabregas, that definitely did look like one to me..

  13. voley_gun
    December 29, 2010 at 2:19 pm #

    @Aman – I feel yes for the penalty .

  14. Jordan
    December 29, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

    Big Cesc confirmed in an interview after the game that the ref confirmed he would have been given a penalty shot had Song not scored.

    Great analysis Andy. I cannot praise Djourou’s performance enough. There were so many moments of pant wetting through ball attempts to Drogba that were stuffed by Djourou. Arsenal defended with a vigour I have not seen in a long time. From the moment Chelsea touched the ball, Arsenal swarmed and rarely gave the Blues a chance to cycle the ball.

    I thoroughly enjoyed watching Nasri on the left. While he can turn on the flair and leave us all mouths gaping, his skill of controlling the game is improving vastly. Arshavin has spurts of trickery on the left, but Nasri’s poise, control, and creativity were responsible for a great deal of possession. Also, his ability to move into the centre and trouble goalkeepers like that beautiful chip is something I definitely want to see more of.

    Great night, great result, and let’s hope for a solid thrashing of Wigan tonight. Top of the table, here we come.

  15. 1nittothearsenal
    December 29, 2010 at 2:32 pm #

    “Achieved in the style that we always attempt to produce,”
    Andrew, you are spot on, and what a warm and cozy feeling it is to have on the holidays that our club really is the club Gooners imagine it to be. I was beginning to think it was all in our heads until the sustained performance against Chelsea finally proved we are what Le Boss has been claiming.
    I have always believed that we are the most talented squad in the league. But this belief derived mostly from many instances of individual display over the course of the last few campaigns and rarely from the complete team performance we saw against CFC. It is evident that when we are healthy, mentally strong and playing as a totally committed group of XI on the pitch that we have a quality that is unmatched in Europe save but for 2 or 3 clubs (let’s leave that to another discussion).
    Ahh, what a relief. A high point of 2010. What is your high point of the year, either from this campaign or the last one? The nadir unfortunately is an easy one for me and I’m sure many others: Going up 2-0 AT HOME against The Ones Who Shall Not Be Named (I can’t even bear to mention them – honestly), and then losing the match and the derby 3-2. Absolutely horrible. I can’t wait for April 30th for absolution. Anyway, let’s flush that out of memory for now, and bring on Wigan. Enjoy your Swedish snowballs – it’s 6 centrigrade in this balmy part of Canada.
    Happy New Year,
    1NTTA

  16. kuzzy
    December 29, 2010 at 2:33 pm #

    i was very happy with the score line.i think fabregas, song and wilshare combination was fantastic and should be maintained , go high gunners.

  17. JJ Pittman
    December 29, 2010 at 2:34 pm #

    @aman: should have been penalty, but, probably would not have been called(too many bodies-too close together) could also have been offside since RvP was in off position, but, obviously, ball was not played to him. Still, have seen that call made way too often. Officials almost always favor the defending team inside the 18, except Ronaldo!

  18. Radads
    December 29, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

    @Aman, Definetly yes!! Cesc asked him during half time.Well done to our boys.Ive never stopped on asking: Why not Theo instead of Arsha? and not ONLY THAT BUT WHY NOT PUT THEO ON THE LEFT? He can create more trouble to defenders and will be muich more efficient than this.

  19. JJ Pittman
    December 29, 2010 at 2:42 pm #

    @1niltothearsenal: how about blowing 2-0 lead to the guys we are playing today in last year’s away fixture? One of the worst! We need a long steady run of wins against the lesser teams, although even the great sir Alex has observed the league is better top to bottom. Guess that’s why they have so many draws. They will lose one of these days, and we must be ready to pounce.

  20. 1nilToTheArsenal
    December 29, 2010 at 3:34 pm #

    @JJ Pittman: Thanks a lot JJ – as if we needed that:) Yes, it’s true, I nearly tore a hole in the shoulder of one of my Arsenal t-shirts ripping it off after that loss. Wigan @home is a tough gig for anyone (remember too, that Chelsea lost to them last season). They are in the drop zone and Roberto is a good man. He will be clawing for a good result before the new year. Still for me, that loss pales next to The Ones Who Shall Not Be Named who unfortunately have become one of the best sides in the league and in Europe now. (Very) grudging props to old Harry, I guess…
    As for Fergie and MUFC they had better lose and soon. After all, that’s OUR record they’re mucking with. I’m sure May 7th is marked on your calendar as well, though I’m hoping we should have wrapped things up by then.

  21. Aman
    December 29, 2010 at 3:43 pm #

    Thanks people our midfield was just too awesome i for one want to take out special praise to a few individuals, my first pick Jack Wilshire he was absolutely awesome he was on par with perhaps one of the worlds best DM Essien (At least in my books he is the best), his intelligent play was superb he got so many fouls in our favour just when it looked like chelsea would break, for a kid at 19 in such a big match he was too good, ramsey is gonna have a tough spot to fight for when he returns. Secondly Samir Nasri on the left, as someone mentioned excellent controlled possession of the ball, wonderful, unlike some supposedly best winger in the world right now, who would just push the ball down the byline and run like a madman and then produce a cross which half the time wont bear anything even if crouch was playing. Thridly how can we forget Djourou he just put Drogba in his pocket, dint give him an inch to breadth with have to mention abt kosc also, i really like this guy he is gonna be a great defender in a years time, but i dont know why half the world including gooner fans hate him.

  22. John the Pom
    December 29, 2010 at 3:47 pm #

    @Voley_gun,

    Never mind the second goal, watch the goals scored by Chamakh this season. He’s the player in form.

    If and when van Persie reaches full fitness then he can be rotated with Chamakh but at the moment he’s a long way from his best.

    Check out the story on caughtoffside.com. Juventus are willing to pay £27 million for our perennially injured striker, alternatively they will offer cash and Philipe Melo. Dare I say? not a bad deal.

    Still ecstatic about retaining The Ashes!

  23. Jafar Jack Wilshire( J. J)
    December 29, 2010 at 4:23 pm #

    From Fabiansky to Djourou to Alex Song to Cesc to Samir Nasri to Theo,it was wonderfull,it was a night that allowed us our bragging party….. In my opinion putting off Didier Drogba from the game was the diffrence…13 goals in 13 games that to me was painfall statistics and Djourou should get all credits.

  24. Emmanuel
    December 29, 2010 at 4:32 pm #

    Me thinks that AW got his selection right this time and it gave us a filip. Guys you see why our criticsm of AW is not because we love Arsenal less, it is because we have passion for the club. Like it is stated in the Bible “spare the rod and spoil the child”. What a great performance we put up!!!!
    The playing of Djourou in that match made the defence more stable. In short we were not short on tactics that night. AW should read read some of our comments and not act so imperial. My thought, whilw we wait for tonight’s match.
    I wish you and all Gunners a wonderful 2011.

  25. philgregory
    December 29, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

    With renewed confidence for our title tilt after a comfortable win over Chelsea, it’s off to Wigan after a mere day’s rest for the Arsenal. The Christmas fixture list is crazy at the best of times, but a single day between games is just plain daft. It is clear as day that we will be forced to rotate our squad just to avoid inevitable muscle injuries: it is simply not possible for a top sportsman to perform and remain fit with such a short amount of rest.

    No doubt Wenger will be annoyed at how the fixtures have fallen, by playing a day earlier than us Wigan have had twice as much time to rest between the games than we have had. The same unfortunately applies to Birmingham for the following match too, though after last night we’ll forgive them the misdeed.

    There’s nothing we can do about such things, and while it’s not ideal, there are other things going in our favour during this crush of fixtures. With both Wigan and Birmingham being smaller sides than us, with correspondingly smaller squads, we have the ability to rotate a lot more than they do. Even if they’ve had longer out resting, we can bring entirely fresh legs into the team and not suffer too much of a drop in quality.

    As for the Chelsea game, not much more can be said. It was an outstanding team performance, with the only real concern being the brief wobble we had when Chelsea pulled one back. We dominated the midfield and were shown to be unperturbed by a few hard challenges from Chelsea. Once their traditional physical approach had proven to be futile, Chelsea didn’t seem to have much else to offer, looking flat in midfield and lacking potency up front.

    It has to be top marks for Wenger for that game, really. There were a couple of surprises in the team selection, with Djourou and Theo coming in and doing superbly. Walcott was a big part of the second-half goals, but also did a great job defending from the front and pinning Cole back. When you compared the bench we had to Chelsea’s, you sensed that if we could deal with the eleven they had out on the pitch, they wouldn’t have much ability to change things up, and so it proved.

    Big wins such as those count the same as any other win, so it is vital we follow it up with three points from the DW Stadium. Wigan are one of five sides that are in with a real chance of getting relegated in my eyes (the bottom five, bar Villa instead of Birmingham), so we’ll be in for a battle. There are ghosts to exorcise after the capitulation at the DW last season; the less said about that game the better.

    Given the expected rotation of the side, predicting the line-up will likely prove to be a bit of a wild goose chase. However:

    Fabianski

    Sagna Djourou Koscielny Clichy

    Song Denilson

    Rosicky

    Nasri Chamakh Arshavin

    I’m expecting the back five to remain the same as the Chelsea game. Eboue in for Sagna is our usual defensive rotation, but given the changes further forward I imagine Wenger will want to keep the defensive unit constant if at all possible. Similarly, I don’t see both Wilshere and Song being rested, with Denilson coming in for the former.
    Rosicky replaces the suspended Fabregas, who looked back to his best on Monday night.

    I’ve also gone for Arshavin in for Walcott here, which mightn’t be the most popular of decisions given how he played against Chelsea. However, Theo came in and performed well in a specific set-up, looking to pin back Cole and/or exploit the space behind him. Wigan will surely play a deep line against us, and lacking space to run in behind, Theo might under-perform. Arshavin’s ability to produce searching passes, as well as his general link-up play will be much more important for us.

    Van Persie, on the other hand, is exactly the sort of player that in a perfect world I’d want starting this game, given his creativity. Chamakh would work well coming off the bench to get on the end of crosses if we needed a plan B. Given the lack of a rest between these two fixtures,I simply don’t want any gambles with Van Persie’s fitness to be taken.

    Nasri stays in despite covering a lot of ground on Monday. The Frenchman can be indefatigable and given how he’s been playing I think Wenger will want him on the pitch.

    Wigan aren’t a side that should be troubling us, but given the turnaround last season we have to be cautious. There’s always a risk that you can be surprised during the Christmas fixtures, with the lack of time between games causing some players to turn in sub-par performances. With the Mancs dropping points last night, a scrappy 1-0 to the Arsenal will do me fine for tonight.

    There was no injury news on Arsenal.com at the time of writing, so I’m hoping no news is good news and the squad is more or less the same that beat Chelsea.

  26. Nirvanajan
    December 29, 2010 at 5:35 pm #

    This plan is better.Good Wenger,hero song,hero Walcott and hero Cesc

  27. kel
    December 29, 2010 at 5:55 pm #

    Great win for the arsenal no matter what the situation, we deserved it.
    Lets hammer home the point today by beating wigan.

    By the way
    I respect peoples comments and i must agree with john on the vanpercy issue, he should go into the box and provide more height, let nasri or one of the smaller players take corners.

    Weber you make mention of drogba but he has a consistent end product with dead ball situations, by this i mean people score from his corners regularly and he scores free kicks, ( all arsenal fans can testify to that).
    Most arsenal fan base arguments on facts when it lines up with arsenal, So base on stats to compare them would be ridiculous. When last had vanpercy scored a free kick? I can tell you, about 3 seasons ago against westbrom @ the emirates arsenal won 5 nil.
    Having said that he played well against chelsea, BUT i still can see him as our #1 striker.

    If a world class player was judge on technique only he would win regularly, BUT sadly there is more to it, walcott is evidence of this conclusion he does not have a good technique BUT his pace will scare the day lights out of defenders the chelsea game confirmed that. what is there to fear from vanpercy?
    for me he too indirect to be a front man, has no pace, and is not a CLINICAL FINISHER, therefore he should play behind a frontman.
    BUT, that’s my view, what do i know.

    Go arsenal………

  28. brijesh
    December 29, 2010 at 7:11 pm #

    A lot depends on the maturity of the players tonight and their willingness to learn from past mistakes…….if we remain 100% focused and committed then we should be taking the 3pts back to london tonight however if we get complacent after monday night then a kick to the bollox is on its way for the players. Arrogance and complacency is even obvious amongst the fans as some are already looking ahead to the brum game at the weekend…….never look ahead further than your next game and concentrate on that instead of surmising over what result we would need in brum to be top new years day

    Personally I doubt rvp will start and I would guess that sagna, theo and even song might be rested – does that smack of arrogance from the manager then cos it suggests that he is already looking beyond this game ? Overall I suppose you have to consider the fact that it is only 48 hours since the last game and in todays world players simply cannot be asked to play 2 games in such a short space of time If it was down to me I would pick the same team again if possible with the exception of arshavin replacing suspended cesc and nasri moving back to cesc’s position…….we need to get a run of consistant form going and the best way of doing that is to get a settled team in place

  29. snehal
    December 29, 2010 at 9:39 pm #

    Thank You God

  30. LAGunner
    December 29, 2010 at 10:44 pm #

    This team giveths and takeths away…goodness!!

  31. Dan Brookes
    December 29, 2010 at 10:45 pm #

    Vintage Arsenal.

    What a way to blow our own leg off.

  32. Ianinja
    December 29, 2010 at 10:48 pm #

    Pure conjecture, 1 win against Chelsea dosen’t make us title contenders. Why get carried away like a spurs fan, we can’t even beat Wigan.

    Untill the team can win 5 games in a row then i will consider Arsenal title challengers.

  33. Jordan
    December 29, 2010 at 10:49 pm #

    I think that was the football gods’ way of saying, “KEEP PLAYING DJOUROU!!!”

  34. LAGunner
    December 29, 2010 at 11:41 pm #

    It really wasn’t a totally horrible game from the squad. The penalty call was complete BS, and the set piece goal was more of the same from this team. One of the few positives to take away from this game is that it should certainly force the boss to get another center half. Yes the Verminator is returning, but we shouldn’t expect him to perform miracles after being out so long. Second, he will need to be rested a few times as the medics monitor his achilles and fitness. Wenger needs another center half so that the gap in quality between first choice center backs and second choice center backs is small to nil. This goes for defensive midfielder, as well. Diaby, who I rate highly has had an injury plagued season. The drop off in quality between Song and Denilson is too great. In a sense Wenger was right and wrong for making his changes. He was right because the first choice players simply cannot play every single match. It’s ridiculous for them to do so. Wenger was wrong, however, because the gap in quality between players is too great. This match is not about one Arsenal squad. It’s about TWO different Arsenal squads. This loss is about depth of squad. Some players get it and some just don’t. This squad doesn’t need dramatic changes to start punishing people. We just need ONE more rugged defensive midfielder so that we can rest Song more frequently and not pay the price. The team needs one more center half so that the medics can ease Vermaelen back to health, while also giving Wenger the opportunity to rest Djourou and Koscielny more often and not allowing the team to suffer for it. Finally, we don’t even need a new GK or winger or striker (though I would love to see Eden Hazard in the squad), just PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE allow Vela or someone else to replace Arshavin.

  35. malta gunner
    December 29, 2010 at 11:46 pm #

    Back to the usual Arsenal we got used to earlier in the season – clearly the Chelsea game was a blip! Against a classless and physical team like Wigan you don’t fiels players like Denilson, Bendtner and Arshavin, who prefer to retreat rather than face a challenge. The irony is that the two worst players were the ones to score. And why does AV have to act so suicidal, changing 8 players from a winning combination? Leaving Djourou out today, and intoducing Nasri and Walcott in the last ten minutes, does no credit to Wenger’s vision. If we cannot beat a 10-men Wigan, then let’s just lose hope, and just be happy when we manage some important win. Let’s forget of winning any silver again this year.

  36. Ian Botannic Gooner
    December 30, 2010 at 12:08 am #

    @Ianinja and malta gunner I hear you loud and clear mates but there are a lot of other Arsenal fans who are buying the Wenger propaganda. I have consistently posted that I feel our tactics have been wrong in too many games and that we are so inconsistent its scary. Arsene got it wrong again, Djourou is much better than both null and void (Squillaci and the TOTALLY USELESS Koscielny). Both Denilson and Arshavin should be shot for lack off effort and as for Diaby, take him to the vets and get him put down, he will amount to nothing. Taxi for Wenger folks!

  37. jay-jay
    December 30, 2010 at 2:00 am #

    I hate the fact that when we win, everyone is here cheering us on, but when we drop points, everyone puts us down! Yeah I am also dissappointed with the loss and also think 8 changes was a bit rash, but i can also understand the reasoning, with us playing a fully charged london derby v chelsea 48 hours earlier.

    I said after the Newcastle loss we wouldnt have what it takes to win the league, however we are still in with a shout of a trophy. Semi-final v Ipswich in the Carling will surely see us through to the final where we can take on brum/hammers to clinch the cup. I dont wanna sound complacent, but i strongly believe we will lift the carling cup. The fa cup is also a possibilty, however i cant see us advancing beyond Barcelona, though I would enjoy it very much if we did.

    What im saying is dont just slag off the gunners as soon as we drop points. We are in a good position, we are close to our first trophy since 2005 in the carling cup, we are still in all competitions and sit 3rd in the league with plenty of games to play.

  38. voley_gun
    December 30, 2010 at 7:53 am #

    @John The Pom
    Given the situation stated by you van persie is a player worth £27 million and more by Juventus .If they can see the best in him, though they also know that he is injury plagued.Why don’t we?.

    My point is that Chamakh is a good player but he needs to improve a lot to do that role.while van persie is the best we have for now and selling him will reinforce MANUTD comments about training club and a lack of depth in the squad.

  39. voley_gun
    December 30, 2010 at 8:41 am #

    With a draw to Wigan the win against chelsea is not one to be carried away with.

  40. Hey Nonny Mouse
    December 30, 2010 at 9:27 am #

    Cheer up Gooners all. A point away at Wigan is not such a bad result. I think we can feel a tad unlucky given that Wigan didn’t actually score a single legit goal to get their supposedly ‘deserved’ share of the points. The Great Man gambled on his team selection and it almost paid off – and in the greater scheme of things it may yet if we can go and get all three points off the leg-breakers this Sat with rested players.
    It may help some of you if you stop imagining we can win the league this season. Frankly that is not and never has been a plausible outcome. Not without a proper defence. Just t’ain’t possible. Never has been never will be. Maybe next season, assuming we do, at some point, buy a top class, tall, central defender. In the meanwhile just enjoy what’s happening in the league which is all rather unpredictable for a change. Personally I think man shitty might win it, specially as they’ll be buying yet more superstars in Jan.

    I see Arshavin has become the latest ‘He’s no good. Let’s sell him’ figure for fairweather fans.
    Bollovks – he’s brilliant. Aside from Arsha’s goal my fave moment of the match was seeing Dopey taken off injured. Hopefully he’ll be out again for the forseeable future. Now that piece of team selection was a mistake, Arsene.

  41. delano
    December 30, 2010 at 9:48 am #

    Why would some one blame arshavin. Look at chamak and tell me what he added to the team last night. Am just bored of that lad.He just cant be direct. Our best 11 played the game against chelsea and there was no way Chamak could start ahead of Vela.

  42. Joakim Löf
    December 30, 2010 at 12:55 pm #

    Everything has been said about the Chelsea game except that Chelsea were not very good, not by miles as good as Man U were when we lost to them. We corrected some defensive problems from that game, notably Djourou being better in the air and in manmarking and the Nasri protecting Clichy. But I’m still a bit worried about Wilshere’s performance against top oppositions, defensively. Will he cut it against Barca and Man U and later-stage CL teams? Maybe we might be better off starting with Denilson and putting Wilshere on in the 2nd half in those games.

    About yesterday’s game it was obvious some players are a drop in quality Chamakh, Rosicky in particular right now. Bendtner put himself before Chamakh in the pecking order as no.2 striker, and Djourou’s place is secure now as no. 1. Did Wenger gamble too much? I think it’s weird to have just one day between games and given that I don’t blame him too much. Their goals came from defensive mistakes so it was about player quality rather than tactics.

  43. snehal bumbhatt
    December 30, 2010 at 1:40 pm #

    Anyone in here still think that Wenger is good tactically? If you do you need sectioning, why hasn’t the FA brought Wenger to rule like they did Mick McCarthy for making do many changes? No excuses Wenger, especially ridiculous ones like you have just come out with, if you can’t beat teams like West Brom, Newcastle and Wigan then you shouldn’t even attempt to make excuses, someone please tell me where this apparently good squad is because players like Koscielny, Squillachi, Denilson, Bendtner, Rosicky, Diaby and Fabianski shouldn’t even be in it. Time and time again this happens and he just does not learn, we do not have two teams that can compete , we only have one. It would have been better to start the same team that beat the Chavs , than as the poor little lambs begin to flag through tiredness to replace them with the second string. These guys are meant to be athletes not once a week footballers. We will never win anything with this sort of mentality guiding the team ! We are sick of the same old excuses time and time again.
    Arsenal can play well enough to win this league, they just cannot do it consistently. And Wenger’s confidence in players that are clearly not quite good enough undermines the team’s chances when there are better options left on the bench. I could have lived with four changes to the Monday night team, but eight is too many. Granted, Arsenal were unfortunate in not being given a blatant penalty for handball at the death, but they should not have been in a position to need that decision to take the three points.

    It’s not over yet, it’s far from over. In this of all seasons, we know that more points will be dropped by all teams. But Wenger must learn that he cannot change a starting line-up so dramatically and expect to gain all three points, especially away from home. The players enjoyed a two week gap between matches before the Chelsea game, and the sides they are playing face equally demanding fixtures over a similar period of time. So it’s honours even. Wigan are relegation candidates and as such should not provide a huge obstacle. But Arsenal seem to make a habit of struggling on visits there.

    After the ecstacy of defeating Chelsea, it’s back to reality. Birmingham on Saturday. Do you think they might test Fabianski with some high balls knocked in at every opportunity? My, how I look forward to that…

  44. jet
    December 30, 2010 at 2:44 pm #

    why 8 changes? at least keep the defense that looked so good against chelscum in the line up. DJ needs more games, was he injured? that handball at the end really hurts too. hopefully we’re back to the effective side that played chelscum for the next match. there are a lot of games coming and while some rotation may be called for, 8 is too much. we need a cohesive side that can gel together which will only happen through a number of games played together. so frustrating….

  45. shambogunner
    December 30, 2010 at 3:19 pm #

    Chelsea result was fantastic, first time in a long time we had a near full strentgh team to call on with a strong bench to turn to aswel……..everyone who played did their job, then Wenger makes EIGHT changes to a winning, Im sorry but there is no defending it. Our Christmas schedule hasnt been demanding and it was a shocking decision from wnger to rest important players for an away game, whatever about changing it up for the home game saturday, he showed no respect for Wigan and we lost important points. He was only talking about psychological importance after the Chelsea win, then he goes and does this and lets Utd off the hook with their draw and Gives Chelsea a boost aswel after thier win…..careless is an understatement and it would have been nice for him to come out and say he got it wrong and take responsibility but he wouldnt even do that.
    @Everyone who thinks I slate our players for the sake of it I hope your seeing a little of what Iv been saying since the start of the season; Sebastien Squillachi is an accident waiting to happen!! Iv said it 100 times and if you think that was a one-off for him your mistaken, the guy is just shocking, who heads the ball towards his own goal like that, his positioning is so bad its unreal, why wasnt he goalside facing OUT the field……just not good enough and Wenger would want to sort it out.
    @Laninja,
    Dead right mate until this team can put together at least 3 back to back wins you can stop dreaming about a League Title.

  46. Gunna shah
    December 30, 2010 at 6:15 pm #

    Kos is better than squillachi by a mile and i think he will make a fine player for us,but squillachi is not gonna cut it at arsenal,too error prone,as long as he´s there,we´ll still be droping points.

  47. Hey Nonny Mouse
    December 30, 2010 at 8:06 pm #

    @shambo – Sats game against the leg-breakers is away.

  48. bencivenga
    December 30, 2010 at 9:28 pm #

    Having got home about an hours or so ago I am still seething over last nights game. I do not mean this lightly as I truly mean seething. I now read 8 changes were made to the team that killed off the league Champions just a couple of days before. Obviously Fabregas was out but what the hell was going on with last nights selections? When we saw Eboue and Denilson were starting we were pretty much gob smacked and then the rest of the selection came to light. Really bad planning and very poor selections. As for the game, well we were far from the better team, the ref has an absolute howler for two definite looking penalties and I am not convinced that theirs was even in the box but none of that matters as had we had a better selection we would have more than likely have been well ahead of Wigan anyway. For me this is 2 points dropped and Wenger is fully to blame.

  49. Aman
    December 31, 2010 at 8:01 am #

    @ shambogunner this is totally useless what u say he made 8 changes OK so what, the ref screwed us out of the game, firstly it wasn’t a penalty even if there was contact it was outside the box, secondly we weren’t given a penalty for a similar handball which was given against spurs. How can you people even bang on squalichi here zzz he was never gonna be a starter but because of TV5 injury this is happening, it really isnt his mistake, he can only get better.

  50. voley_gun
    December 31, 2010 at 8:21 am #

    @delano – I accept your comments about Chamakh.I am not slating our players but instead why don’t they improve.Why don’t Arsene see them like we d do?

    Why don’t Arsene train his second team like the first and fix them roles . I expect this to be our team capable of playing at any situation .Arsene enough with your experiments.Start thinking about winning league and not about experimenting.Give the players a definite roles.
    The format
    1st choice/2nd choice/ 3rd choice/4th choice – Position
    Fabianski/Sczensky/Alumnia -GK
    Sagna/Eboue -RB
    Clichy/Gibbs – LB
    Vermaelen/Squillaci – LCB
    Koscienky/Djourou – RCB
    Song/Denilson – DM
    Fabregas/Rosicky/Nasri – RM
    Wilshere/Diaby/Emmanuel Thomas/Nasri – LM
    Nasri/Arshavin/Vela – LW
    VanPersie/Bendtner/Chamakh -CF
    Walcott/Nasri/Bendtner/Rosicky/Eboue – RW

    Allow them to fix themselves into that positions and roles.Change their position only when it is needed. Otherwise the team will never gel.Choosing the team in the order should always allow them to play naturally and without problems.Make them first or second choice based on their form

  51. voley_gun
    December 31, 2010 at 8:34 am #

    To be frank every player in the squad is not Nasri to play in all positions.

    Just see what happened to Denilson. He initially came out as substitute to fabregas and played the role of Fabregas and we all expected him to be a great successor .Then Arsene allowed him to play with Fabregas and eventually to change his role from offence to defence.At that moment even Fabregas played defensively to accomodate.Then denilson totally turned into a defensive role and now he really don’t have any idea to play offensively or defensively.

    Think of Eboue , now Song

    Making everyone versatile is not going to work.

  52. shambogunner
    December 31, 2010 at 4:03 pm #

    @aman,
    What are you banging on about now ; ‘Squillachi was not meant to be a starter, its cos Vermaelen is injured’………What has that got to do with anything? Wenger still went out and paid 8M on him at a time when we needed strength and quality at the back, he told us in the summer he would rectify last years defensive frailties and this guy was to be one of the key signings, fact is ,hes useless and always has been, as usual with Wenger his judgement was clouded by the fact that a player is French, it seems to be the thing that tips the scale with him in favour of some of these guys.
    I know Aman from talking to you before you have a very limited knowledge of how this game works but let me just say that whether he was bought to play 100 games or 5mins of one game he still has to be able to do the job he is payed for…..and this guy has been a LIABILITY from day one and Im telling you now theres more to come from him……I said a month ago when Andy asked what should our CD partnership be that it should be Djourou and Koscielny when everyone else was slobbering about Squillachi and Djourou, look at how well Kos and Djourou did against Chelsea on Monday night and then he puts that Numpty back in the team……can you tell me what happened Aman, apart from his shambolic defending and positioning for the own goal, did he have a good game?
    Very hard to find an objective Arsenal fan, Wenger has done major damage in that respect…..we keep it up well be like the Utd zombies believing, I mean REALLY believing everything Sir bollix says, if Arsene Wenger believes half the stuff he says then Id be worried about him.
    ‘ we deserved to win the game’ – LIE,
    ‘ I dont think the changes made a difference’ – LIE
    ‘Squillachi is a good defender, he has presence, he has positional sense, hes fast along the ground he can sense and clear danger’ – WHOPPER

  53. jummer
    December 31, 2010 at 4:09 pm #

    I still feel, that the problem was not with the team selection. The team worked its ass off on Monday night, and those players were tired. Plus it would be idiotic to play guys like van Persie and Djourou, with their injury histories, so soon after a full match — it would be asking for another injury. The team that played, other than Denilson and Koscielny, were all full internationals with a lot of experience. And man for man, we were superior to Wigan. The players who played are responsible for winning that game, and they did not step up. From what I hear we were pretty poor the entire match with the exception of that 3-4 minute span at the end of the second half. And failing to get a third goal to kill off the match with Wigan, the team with the worst goal differential in the Premiership, down to 10 men, is inexcusable.

    It does seem like we got a bit unlucky with the refereeing. From what I’m reading the penalty was not a penalty in two respects: (1) it wasn’t a foul; and (2) even if it was a foul, it was outside the box. That’s certainly unfortunate. Between that and the Carlos Vela no-penalty call against Braga, it certainly seems like we’re ending up on the wrong side of a lot of things lately. And supposedly we should have gotten a penalty when Wigan handled Nasri’s free kick in the box. If he does his job properly and doesn’t bottle both those calls, we almost certainly win this match and we’re having a different discussion today. But honestly, for all that, we were up 2-1 against 10-man Wigan, blaming the referee in this instance would be the worst kind of excuse-making. You got terrible refereeing decisions, but great teams find a way to get past them.

    Diaby went off injured in the 27th minute. At this point, with his inability to stay fit and the host of young midfielders improving on a daily basis at Arsenal, I think Diaby’s future at the club is in real jeopardy.

    Squillaci certainly seems to be living up to the storied #18 shirt at Arsenal, doesn’t he? He looks to be the latest in a long line of sub-mediocre French defenders to wear the shirt — Cygan, Disastre, etc. And we conceded from another frakking set piece. Possibly the most worrying piece of information to come out yesterday was Wenger’s post-match quote: “Nobody looks from the outside to take charge on the organisation side. There is no voice when the focus drops a little bit. You don’t feel that anybody takes charge on alertness and we need to communicate much better than that.”

    It makes me want to throw things against the wall. Most teams have that, and it’s called coaching. Get Keown or someone in as at least a part-time coach to work with these guys — “You stand here, you stand here, you stand here. If this happens do x; but if this happens, do y.” I know it’s not an easy thing to do, but honestly, it’s not rocket science. There are ways to make sure that we don’t leave guys unmarked or knock the ball into our own net. We may never be a great set piece defending team, but surely we can look better than the Bad News Bears out there. And considering that we have conceded half our goals from set pieces, improving that would make a huge difference in our standing at the table. But it drives me crazy when Wenger seems confused and blameless over this stuff. If the players aren’t organized and communicating with each other, that’s because they haven’t been coached property to do so, end of story.

  54. Ibrahim
    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm #

    this was a victory arsenal desperately needed to show that they could win against difficult teams.
    Arsenal also needed the three points towards the title match. This is a big boost
    for the team and the encouragement they received, I want them to take all the tough matches. I think it has
    been an improvement since last season and that arsenal can improve performance against
    Manchester United home and Barcelona in the Champions League. in this season.

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