Arsenal draw with Villa in a game they should have won/lost

Very rarely in football do you see a game where you feel that your team were both unlucky not to win and lucky not to lose, but that is exactly what happened for Arsenal in the 2-2 draw with Aston Villa.

Our boys were were dominated all over the park in the opening 40 minutes of this game but somehow went into the break with the lead. Villa hit the frame of the goal three times in the opening half and also had a shot spectacularly cleared off the line by Bacary Sagna before Denilson pounced to open the scoring.

Then, astonishingly, we extended our lead shortly after the break. Abou Diaby broke clear with some lovely skill before combining with Emmanuel Eboue and lifting the ball over the Villa keeper. 2-0 and you wouldn’t have believed it. Arsene Wenger’s men could have even extended their lead when Robin van Persie hit the post but Aston Villa came fighting back with great intensity.

Villa then pulled one back from the penalty spot through Gareth Barry after William Gallas clumsily brought down Gabriel Agbonlahor. It was a poor challenge given the wide angle that Agbonlahor had and the fact that Kolo Toure and Mikael Silvestre were both providing cover in the centre. Gallas looked distraught after the decision but he only had himself to blame.

The final half-hour of the game was thrilling. We had a couple of half-chances but in the end Villa’s pressure paid off and they managed an equaliser in stoppage time. They whipped a cross into the area which was flicked on and Zat Knight smashed an unstoppable shot to Manuel Almunia’s left.

So 2-2 it ended and another frustrating result for Arsenal. On one hand they could easily have lost but the inability of Wenger’s boys to shut the game out at 2-0 was almost infuriating. That the critical mistake came from our most experienced player just added insult to injury.

Positives to take out of this game is that we still remain just three points off Villa as opposed to the six we would have trailed by had we lost the match. I thought Sagna was superb today while Aaron Ramsey showed what he can add to the side in the middle. He displayed real bite in the challenge after coming on for Song and his game was best characterised by an 80-metre track-back he made after losing the ball late on. Great signs for the future for him.

Negatives were two more injuries (Johan Djourou and Alex Song) and team’s inability to fail to hold onto a lead yet again. This is the third game running that we’ve taken the lead and failed to take maximum points and it suggests that the notion that our young side play with more confidence when they’re up may be incorrect. Wenger has some work to do in this area.

In summary though this was just another example of the frustrating side that Arsenal are at the moment. I’m not going to concede the title at this stage but I stand firm in the belief that changes must be made in January or there will continue to be more performances like this one.

What do you think?

Have your say on Arsenal’s draw with Villa by leaving a comment.

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78 Responses to “Arsenal draw with Villa in a game they should have won/lost”

  1. Moray
    December 27, 2008 at 9:43 am #

    we’re not very good any more. We’ll just have to get used to that. Pretty depressing to see the team line up nowadays, even without injuries…

  2. Simeon
    December 27, 2008 at 10:01 am #

    Villa fan here. I thought, all things considered, that you’ve submitted a pretty fairminded post. Personally, I’m disappointed by the point, although after 85 minutes I’d have taken it! I think unless you guys spend massively in January (probably £50m), we will be finishing above you this season, and I’d be surprised to see you spend half that. We will strengthen I’m sure, because MoN has recognised the rick he made in not having a 3rd striker in the squad (expecting Carew and Gabby to do it on their own was ridiculous). Some sort of wide player is also on the cards and, as ridiculous as it sounds, with these two signings, we can still challenge for the title, as none of Chelsea, Liverpool and Man Ure look nailed on for it. Which puts today’s result into its right perspective, i.e. 2 points dropped by Villa in their pursuit of the Premiership. Good luck for the rest of the season. Without Fabregas you’re going to need it.

  3. darragh
    December 27, 2008 at 11:26 am #

    What a great match of quality football. Arsenal need to learn how to defend leads a bit better in order to seriously challenge for the title…it is slipping away now.

  4. Al
    December 27, 2008 at 1:01 pm #

    We’ll only ever win anything again when Wenger goes and takes the dead wood (Almunia, Gallas, Silvestre, Eboue, Song, Rosicky, Diaby, Bendtner) with him.

    If the new manager can bring in 4 or 5 solid replacements, then maybe we will be challenging in a year or two.

    But for now, Villa are better than us. Sad but true.

  5. Panda Bear
    December 27, 2008 at 1:12 pm #

    @ Moray, don’t be a negative nancy… Consider our perfect lineup without injuries.
    Almunia
    Sagna – Gallas – Djourou – Clichy
    Rosicky – Fabregas – Blank – Nasri
    Adebayor – v Persie

    If you think that’s not very good, then you’re tremendously hard to please and you should go and support a team like Real Madrid or Barcelona. Don’t bring your negative outlook here.

    The game was slightly frustrating to loose, and we were rattled after the penalty. Had there not been a penalty we surely would’ve gone on to win 3 or 4 nil.

  6. Al
    December 27, 2008 at 1:17 pm #

    Before you ask, any of Hiddink, Sven, Capello (tough ask), Trapatoni, Rijkaart, Van Basten/Bergkamp, Maureen. All saner than AW at the moment.

  7. Sean
    December 27, 2008 at 2:20 pm #

    This game was the summary of the first half of our season in 90 min. in the first 40 min. we looked totally disintrested as we do against pretty much any opponent that’s not favored to beat us. We got two magnificent goals dominated for 10 min. and then fell back and waited for them to equalize. For me Villa tieing was never in doubt. Arsene Wenger needs not only top class players but players with passion, and fight. They’re really what Arsenal need to make us true title contenders. They’d give us the consistency we long for by empowering the other players and giving them someone to rally around.

  8. voley_gun
    December 27, 2008 at 2:51 pm #

    Great view SF and all facts.Missing Fabregas, Rosicky , Walcott, Adebayor and Edurado with potentially noone else from Vanpersie and Nasri to pose a threat to goal ,we did great.It is important for Arsene to give them defending lessons and stay confident when opponent scores a goal.I am proud of this team more than my disappointment.

  9. ss
    December 27, 2008 at 3:13 pm #

    first of we will finish above villa. No offence but I can’t see them going the distance. That’s just my opinion tho and not because I’m an arsenal supporter. An arsenal do not need to spend 50m r u mad?! Ok we got injuries we kno that but 50m?! Dnt need a keeper almunia will do. CB would b helpful get rid of gallas imo he just seems like a negative impact on the team. Obv need a CM now, who tho I’m not sure, there’s talk of alonso but do we want sum1 who’s cup-tied? N no need for a striker not with rvp actually lasting more than 5 games without injury! N eduardo bak soon Walcott n vela r also covers so think we r ok. I reckon wenger will but a CM/DMF who do u think he will buy? & people calling for his head is ridiculous he’s not gonna get sacked he’ll leave wen his contract runs out he’s never broken a contract an the board could never sack him realisticly!

  10. MoMONEY
    December 27, 2008 at 3:35 pm #

    Thats arguably 5 of our best 6 players out… Tbh if any other squad had that kind of luck they very well may be in a worse position than ours…

  11. Demetrio
    December 27, 2008 at 4:29 pm #

    Im really getting tired of hearing people use the injury excuse in this blog. We dropped points to Villa both games because Villa are better. Period.

    In yesterday’s game (like the 1st meeting), Villa were faster to the ball, stonger on the ball, and like the 4 teams that beat us, and when they beat us, they had more desire. This team lacks desire more then it does Ade, or Fab. If you think we dropped points to Villa because Fab was out, or Ade was out, i suggest you go take a look back at who was on the pitch when Villa beat us at home 2-0. Fab and Ade wouldnt have made a difference today had they played. So blaming injuries means nothing other then people are trying to make excuses for why the poor form instead of blaming the real reason which is we have poor players like Almunia, Gallas and Silvestre and our boys show no desire. If we show anything in games its we have a team that plays scared. Soon as Villa scored, Arsenal tucked their tails between their legs and im sure most of you could see the second goal coming. Villa absolutly ripped into our boys after the pen.

    The injury excuse is getting old and played out. Either face the fact that we have a lot of players on this team that couldnt even make it into an Everton side, or come up with a new excuse.

    What we need is new signings. Not only to add some depth, plus to add some real class to the team, but to also raise the confidence. Alonso for example, if he came to Arsenal, yes he may not be able to play in the CL, but he would inspire A LOT of much needed confidence to our boys. As would a world class CB and DMF. The boys just need confidence, and apparently Wenger isnt a very inspirational speaker, and we deff lack leadership because tehres no one on the pitch that can do it. Which is why we need to buy. Deff not 50m worth. But we need either Yaya, Alonso, Veloso, Inler. We need one of those and we need a Chiellini style defender. But Chiellini wont be sold until summer at the earliest.

  12. SCOPE KNIGHT
    December 27, 2008 at 4:31 pm #

    I just could not sleep.I even brough over my girlfriend who gives me goodluck in matches and i knew we would either draw or win the game.
    Haven said my life history let me get to the positives of the game.
    1. The best player on the pitch end to end was backry sagna.
    2.Denilson and song showed great passion
    3. Aluminia is okay
    4.God is on arsenals side

    Summary of Arsenal: If we do not buy an english player we will never win the league.There is racism in football and believe me the FA and media hate arsenal because it is predominantly french.Imagine graham poll castigating the ref of everton and chelsea for taking off John Terry.I watched the stoke vs Man u match Ronaldo and ronney should have being sent of 10 times for stamping but no it was a stoke player for a foul of ronaldo.
    In my opinion Gallas took a lot of critism for his horror performance against gabby at the emirates so i can understand why he was so defensive.
    Secondly the league is won by the bench.Berbatov came in to united game and changed the pace and direction before he gifted tevez for the goal.What was our sub stitution Song (great game) was subed for ramsey.Lets not kid ourself ramsey would not have got into the first team in everton.Imagine if we had changed song for gilberto or diarra? Our bench is weak.
    Thirdly i think it is high time we analyze the goal of AFC.Our gaol if i am to remind you is not to win throphies but to play beautiful football so the emirates can pack 60000 week in week out.It might seem ridiculous but we have had this problem for 4 seasons and has it changed?
    Mistakes made by Wenger: I am not and will never support wenger to be sacked but he is guilty of the following
    1.Playing cashley cole in the champions league final
    2.Not selling henry quick enough
    3. Selling Helb,Gilberto and not improving flaminis contract in one season
    4.No replacement for these guys.I must say NOOOOOOOO Nasri is no replacement for Helb.
    5.Relying on youth without mixing with experience

    I feel we will finish 4th but it is so sad that we are in december and we are already fighting for our title(best 4th team.All we need is a centre back with Gallas not allowed to leave.A defensive midfielder to cover song and an attacker cos ade is going at the end of the season.
    I dont know if i can watch these guys again but I love arsenal,arsene wenger and this blog.WE WILL COME 4TH (So sad)

  13. Ianinja
    December 27, 2008 at 5:16 pm #

    I aggree with SF that new singings must be made. If not then monsieur Wenger have to do something drastic. Its sad that even with a so called defensive position we still cannot defend. Imagine we take the attacking route(if our attack is any good), Villa will just maul us with counters. Credit to Villa, they played well. I thought we are the ones who had all the luck but (like an ungrateful beggar) after two goals we became complacent and arrogant and threw it all away. Wenger I know you will never care what the fans think but you have to know that we stuck with you and your trust in youth is not working. How about a plan b (signings) just to instill some dignity of us being a so called title challenger. An early new year to all! Keep it gunning!

  14. Hey Nonny mouse
    December 27, 2008 at 5:23 pm #

    Thanks for another positive, but realistic, look at the game, Mr Fry. I don’t know why but I feel sort of quite optimistic all of a sudden. We were, what…a minute away from a win there, away at Villa who are on a roll, and with half our first team out, two of them that very day (and both defenders). Actually defending late on as always been an Arsenal weak spot under AW, nothing new about that – cos we’re an attacking team, not a defending one. That may sound crazy considering we won the league unbeaten but it was our goals that acheieved that, not our defence. I think I feel cheered cos for the first time in a long spell I saw the Arsenal that we know and love emerge from out the shadows there. We actually had the Villa rocking when we scored the second goal, which was a cracker, they were on the ropes and, dare I say it, the fear factor was creeping back. Diaby’s goals was very classy. Denny’s great persistence paying off. That’s more like it, lads. Do that every week and we’ll soon be off your backs.
    But then we had the penalty and well, we were back in the shadows after that unfortunately. The penalty was Gallas’ fault. The Villa player dived but who wouldn’t? He wasn’t gonna score from there. Wait for the tackle – go down. Gallas should have known better but Gallas never knows better. Gallas only knows Gallas.
    So – I’m not saying we don’t need those new players everyone’s asking for – just that there is hope and I believe Arsenal will re-emerge playing the Wenger inspired football we love. I’d invite Mr Simeon from up there to comeback and have a pop at the end of the season and we’ll see if you’re looking so smug then, pal.
    ‘Pursuit of the premiership’? You’re having a laugh. This is 2008 not 1908.
    One more thing – the Messiah (or Arsene Wenger as he’s commonly known) will rise again, you’ll see. And when he does he’s gonna have a nice big pair of hobnails on. I’m looking forward to seeing him use them on his critics.

  15. Michael Gillon
    December 27, 2008 at 5:40 pm #

    How many times have we seen teams play Arsenal and concede 20 shots on goal to no avail. Be completely outplayed and yet somehow snatch a late draw or even win. How come we can’t get that kind of luck.

  16. Anonymous
    December 27, 2008 at 6:19 pm #

    Oi, Al. Why stop at the manager and half the team? Why not change the whole team? Oh and the board too. Let’s get us in a sugar daddy instead. And the name too, I don’t know about Arsenal, let’s change it to something like…I dunno…’Chelsea?’
    Sad you are.

  17. parisianrob
    December 27, 2008 at 6:45 pm #

    The sign of a good team is when they get out fought out played for long periods of the game and still have the class to score and win comfortably
    No offence but dont concentrate your presence and minds on beeting us (villa) for forth look over your shoulders Everton devastated by injuries are on your shoulders for 5th
    This is a year of shocks like the very first year when the premiership was born before it settles down again but with a different top four teams villa amongst them
    cheers up the villa

  18. Radads RSA
    December 27, 2008 at 7:36 pm #

    Hey Nonny Mouse, I also see it that way my friend, first time I could see some real Arsenal run and way of play.One of the pbm I could also notice is that AW dont know how to encourage his team on the pitch.I dont think he is very good at talking, but a good coach really needs that chrctr.As I ve alws said: AW NEEDS TO STAND UP, GIVE A CONSTANT INSTRUCTIONS TO THE PLAYERS DURING THE GAME.LOOK at Guradiola, Scolary, Ranieri, Benitez, Ferguson, etc… Our players are currently down psycologicaly, and not only that but they are still young, THEY NEED A CONSTANT ENCOURAGEMENT AND INSTRUCTION DURING THE GAME.That late goal shud have never been scored.We dont lack pace and quality at all, and Toure’s presence has been a big impact for our back line and the whole squad.The game yesterday was a good game for me, could see some nice run from Eboue whch influenced Diaby to change his game completely,and gave RVP more space along with Nasri.Thre was an attack where we could see Nasri very open at the far left but RVP could not pass the ball, That shud have been a goal!!!We were generally outplayed by Villa but VILLA’S DEFNSE WERE ALWAYS OUTPLAYED WHEN WE ATTCKED.@Villa Fan: I dont see you guys really that gud as I thought you are.Your defense is also very disorganised and we could have also scored many agst you if we had Ade ystday.Ofcourse we must admit that you guys have been better than us yestday but that doesnt mean that we are rubbish, and I can see our team rising up psycologicaly step by step.Our only pbm at Arsenal is that AW doesnt know how to lead and get the best out of his young players,ofcourse he has chosen to do this and its new for him as he has always led and coached mature players,but his tactical and technical perspectice are RIGHT.He just need to change his approach toward his players.HOW COULD WE STILL END UP 5TH ON THE PL, AND STILL MANAGE TO BE ON THE CL KNOCK OUT ROUND IF WE WERE THAT BAD, AND I CAN STILL SEE US GETTING BETTER THIS SUNDAY AS WELL AS NEXT WEEK WHEN ADE IS BACK.Vila wont go far, 2 game draws from u guys +2 wins from us,then we will outrun you.

  19. ivan
    December 27, 2008 at 8:40 pm #

    I cannot imagine Arsenal without Arsene Wenger – but he seems to be losing the plot a little at the moment.The kids are the future but they must have experienced heads on the park to guide them.Use them for the FA Cup as well as the Carling and sparingly in the Premiership until they are ready for the constant blood and thunder that’s the norm there. We HAVE to spend . It’s a no brainer.We need to get shot of Almunia(how many did he come for yesterday and miss?)Gallas,Ro’SICK’y and Ebouy.We’ve let a few go who never should have(Flamini,Manninger- playing out of his skin at Juventus)and ,even worse, not replaced them.Wengers dream seems to be winning the title with a team with an average age of 20- mine is simpler than that – just winning the title!!Come on Arsene , it’s not your money and it’s also not your business where it comes from or how much is left at the end of the financial year.Please do what your paid to do and let the money men at the club worry about the money.

  20. Berrern
    December 27, 2008 at 8:47 pm #

    Despite us wasting away a 2-goal lead, I definitely did see some positives from yesterdays game. My biggest frustration is that we often seem to play bad in the first half, and then when the lads enter the pitch for the second half we’re a totally different team, dominating the pitch. Why can’t we do that from the beginning? Wenger definitely needs to work on his pre-match teamtalks..

    @ Demetrio: I don’t agree that Villa’s side are better than ours, however they are better at depth. With our first team out, we could beat anyone. And blaming injuries at this moment is fair, I can’t believe you could say the opposite!!

    We have three home games in a row coming up now: Portsmouth, Plymouth and Bolton. If we could go on to win the three, I can see us building some momentum to take us through the rest of the season.

    I don’t believe Aston Villa will last the race, and I’m sure we’ll get at least a 4th place.

  21. Gibbs
    December 27, 2008 at 9:11 pm #

    What in the world happened to Wenger Ball? We are scrappy, we give away the ball too easily, we struggle to get the ball away from dangerous areas. Its really pathetic

    Aluminia makes not attempts to stop the ball, he couldve atleast streatched for Villa’s 2nd goal. Sagna is the best RB in the world, the guy is wonderfull, Young didnt stand a chance against him.

    At least January is just 1 game away, we will bounce back if we get Veloso (7mil), Yaya (5mil) and Arshavin (20mil is too much so ill go with 16mil). Eduardo and Rosicky are coming back next month, i expect Dudu to play against Bolton. So £30m in January please Le Boss.

  22. Johno
    December 27, 2008 at 9:53 pm #

    To be two nil up away from home and come away with a point isn’t too bad, except that this Arsenal, a top side in european and world terms. so dropping two points to Villa from that strong position is unacceptable.

    The teams inability to close out the game demonstrates a lack of character and team spirit.

    I believe we not only need some new players in January but also e new first team coach to work alongside Wenger to instill that character and spirit.

    Unless something drastic happens next month we will be fortunate to finish in fourth place, we cannot rely on Villa dropping more points than us.

  23. Ice Baba
    December 27, 2008 at 11:15 pm #

    Pple, what a game we saw yesterday.
    The game was full of GOOD, BAD, & URGLY moment. But lot us all know that we have a wonderful team that just need 2-3 world class inclusion come Jan.The only thing I am proposing is for us all to put pressure (stage a street protest)on AW and the OWNERS to enter the mkt without thinking of what it will cost to get the needed players to balance this present squad.We all know that when we start having our injured players back we will leave AVFC behind the table but lets not take chances. Another thing I know is that AW is finding it difficult to let go some of his NO-DO-WELL players, I will rather he offloads not less than 5 of them including SLY and get some fresh and DIE_HARD players to sail us thru THE RED SEA at the moment.We all know that we can definately fight for the title if we do the right thing now.
    God helps us all

  24. darragh
    December 27, 2008 at 11:50 pm #

    Anyone suggested AW has to go seriously needs to have their head examined.

    Arsene is one of the most successful coaches in premier league history – any number of rival teams would be happy to have Wenger at the helm. Arsenal sit in fifth, still in the title race, somethings haven’t gone their way particularly with injuries, such is life. United were in a similar position a few years back and look at them now. Success comes in waves and troughs, Arsenal are simply in a trough at the moment, they’ll come back. There is nothing constructive in such pessimism.

    Those suggesting he has to go cannot be seriously considered true Arsenal fans – simply they are trophy junkies as bad as any of the bandwagon jumping United and Chelsea supporters.

    Wenger has provided Arsenal fans with such joy over the past ten years, to suggest knifing him in the back because of a few bad results is slightly shameful.

  25. gunner32
    December 27, 2008 at 11:57 pm #

    So, five league games unbeaten. Not perfect by any means, but certainly better than the two defeats that preceded the change of captaincy. And certainly not bad when the run includes three of the teams currently above us.

    And even more so not bad when you remember that the heart of our team has been ripped out of us either by wreckless insanity, a kick around on international “duty”, insane yellow cards and the inevitable sheer bad luck. Eduardo, Rosicky, Walcott, Fabregas, Adebayor, Clichy – these are the people who make a champsionship winning team and none could start against Aston “if you go down and they’ve got the ball, hold your head” Villa. Take out the young up and coming players like Djourou and Song, and you can see how far back we are being pushed.

    Two things occurred to me last night as I thought over this. I happened to glance at the Championship league table, and saw Charlton preparing themselves for the drop into League One. That reminded me of the time when Charlton were punching way above their weight, challenging in the top half of the EPL. But after the club failed to get into the Champions League, after challenging for a place, the muttering started. The common phrase was “Curbishley has taken us as far as he can – time for someone new.”

    Curbishley eventually had enough, left the club, and they went into freefall – and now look where they are.

    The other thought arose from reading “Arsenal: The Official Biography” which I was given for Christmas. It made me think, following all those endless “best 50 goals” type DVDs, just how easy it is to forget. Somehow the past is an eternal Unbeaten Season, in which Henry scores a wonder goal in every game, and Pires gets a tap in.

    But just read the ups and downs of 1999/2000, as an example, and you’ll see what I mean. It was not all wonderful – it had its ups and downs – but ultimately Wenger delivered everything he promised and more.

    There is a danger. a danger that the mumbling and muttering of discontent will eventually make Wenger think, “I’ve had enough” and go on to take any one of the million other jobs he could walk into. It would give me no pleasure to watch the subsequent decline.

  26. darragh
    December 28, 2008 at 12:11 am #

    Good points gunner32. I am also reminded how Leeds got rid of David O’Leary and how Newcastle got rid of Bobby Robson and look what that got them – a one way ticket down the league tables.

  27. Ianinja
    December 28, 2008 at 12:46 am #

    @gunner32

    Again taken from another site. Just my two cents worth Arsenal is not Arsene fc. No one wants to see him go, even if he goes doesn’t mean we cannot cope. Chelsea sack Mourinho, Real Madrid always sack their managers, even Liverpool did it. It’s part of the game let’s not be too worried about it. If its Arsene’s time then its Arsene’s time. Let’s just support the team whever they end up on the table.

  28. Ali
    December 28, 2008 at 2:04 am #

    Again the points surrendered to an average side which throws the ball in the air and arsenal again not able to defend…It is very difficult to digest this kind of a performance…as an arsenal fan I am seeing it for the past four years. We have lost key personal in our squad and to our surprise we are still looking for replacement and we are hearing a excuse of young talent. But we need to understand that an young always need the experience hand on them to be successful. For good sake ARSENAL please sign some good hard tackling,Tall CB . If you want them on cheap you can go for Alex for Chelsea who is desperate to leave. We cant go on an blame Gallas if any body can look his performance in the field throughout his career he is a world class player with good experience. It is just we people who are getting into his skip. I think we should back him in his difficult situation. And now the most concern part of the squad in midfield. Come on we know walcot,rosciky,nasri are all injury prone. We need at least one midfield(CDM)gaint who is a good header of the ball and just the scrapper like MAK in Chelsea. And one in RMW which we are lacking…..Come ARSENAL enough is enough sometimes you should listen to supporters. We are not able to watch games because of this poor result

  29. Raj
    December 28, 2008 at 2:33 am #

    Villa are not a weak side -anyone thinks they are, needs their heads examined/ Utd drew their game there. Yes our problem is the defense and we cant hold on to a lead to save our life…
    C’mon we really need a strong performance against pompey tomorrow.
    would love to see us whop them by 4 or 5 goals to nil

  30. Anonymous
    December 28, 2008 at 4:52 am #

    @Raj – Yeah. I just wish ‘Mr Arsenal’ wasn’t there manager though!

  31. jay-jay
    December 28, 2008 at 5:18 am #

    I just want to say Sagna was easily MOTM, not only did he superbly deny Villa a goal but time and time again he was blockking, covering, breaking. A quality RB, so glad we have him.

  32. Demetrio
    December 28, 2008 at 5:57 am #

    Sagna is brilliant, the only player against Villa that really showed any desire to win. If the two CBs could play half as well we’d have a much better defence.

    @ Ianinja – You are absolutely right. One day Wenger is gonna leave, and when he does, it does not mean that Arsenal will fall down the table like darragh and gunner32 suggest. No one man is bigger then Arsenal, nit Ian Wright, not David Dein, not Thierry Henry not even Arsene Wenger. And if you think he is darragh and gunner32, take darragh’s own advice and go support Chelsea, because that attitude of thinking when Wenger goes we are finished is worse then people who follow Chelsea just for the trophies. Just like all BIG European clubs, we will always bounce back, even when Wenger does decide his time is over as a manager. This ridiculous attitude that Wenger is the only reason we are good needs to go back in the idiots head that thought it up. We are a GREAT team because we are THE ARSENAL not because we have Wenger.

    But Wenger is not leaving at the moment, and probably wont until he turns this around. So instead of talking about Wenger, the real issue is this team has no confidence. Even when Fab is there, or Ade. I think Eduardo coming back will make spirits a little more joyful, but we still need at the most 3 BIG buys to really give belief to this side who plays scared at times. Alonso to me would really boost spirits, but i would oppose Veloso or Yaya either. But we desperately need cover at the back because. AND YES, we need a replacement for Almunia, he will do until the summer, but over the summer, if next season we are to really push for the title, we need a replacement for Almunia. Everyone and their mothers see that he is shit. Ex Arsenal players, football experts, majority of Arsenal fans.. Almunia is not any way good enough. He doesnt even make attempts to save shots. Its like if you dont kick it directly at him, its a goal cuz he isnt gonna stretch for it, and its due to his shit reaction time. But those are the real issues of the team, not when Wenger will leave.

  33. Ice Baba
    December 28, 2008 at 8:18 am #

    Pple. Plz let us not ask for WENGER’S head for the manager does not mean bad to the club, rather he is only trying to rewrite the way the game of football we have always know should be. That is by managinging the unknown to become football famous, the only proble here is that the big clubs re spending cash which downplay his dream of graduating players thru the rank to win trophy.AW can only win this battle if FIFA steps up with a srtong rule that all clubs should be self sustained. But while we wait for that lets watch what the manager will do in Jan. We still have loads of chances to be back and probably win the title. Sail Gooners!

  34. Steve-O
    December 28, 2008 at 8:51 am #

    I thought it was a tremendous game and that Villa’s movement was top shelf. Made it difficult for Arsenal to get into a rhythm. The other thing I was impressed with was the defensive effort. Almunia made a couple of great saves and Sangna made a clearance off the line which was all backs to the wall stuff. The only thing that was dissapointing was the body language of AW. He needs to show a bit more encouragement instead of just bollockings! I certainly wouldn’t want to see him go though.

  35. darragh
    December 28, 2008 at 8:54 am #

    Demetrio – It is falsehood to suggest that Wenger believes he is ‘bigger’ than the club, as much as it is a falsehood to suggest that I think the same thing. I’m simply saying that people suggesting that sacking Wenger is the only way for Arsenal to move forward is a mistake.

    History doesn’t tell no lies and the history of the English top flight shows that. Arsenal have gone for long periods without winning major trophies (approximately 20 years between 1969 and 1989, if I remember correctly – I was only a youngin back then). Liverpool were unbeatable in the 80s, and then won nothing for 10+ years. We’re only ten points behind the leaders at this stage, and while we probably won’t win the league, it is no cause for suggesting sacking a proven manager for someone who may or may not be better. That is a huge risk. Just ask our North London rivals and their experience with Ramos.

    With that point I’m saying that our current frustrations as fans are short-term, and in the long road Wenger’s vision will pay dividends. It ain’t a coincidence that Wenger is the clubs most successful manager of all time.

  36. C-Bass
    December 28, 2008 at 9:39 am #

    This is all IMO so feel free to disagree.

    The Good…

    Sanga is god. Denni played well and is finally starting to relax a little. Eboue put in a good shift. RVP is so gifted technically. I’ve not always been a supporter of Mr. Van Persie but the last few games his skill has been enlightening. Diaby played in his best position. Not CM, SM or DM, AM/SS hybrid. Gallas put in another solid shift despite the penalty. Everyone was working their socks off trying to improve.

    The Bad…

    Silvestre worked hard but is clearly past his prime against anyone with average pace. It took Toure a full half to do anything that wasn’t rubbish, it’s a good thing he still has pace to cover it up. Song was very aggressive and wasn’t giving an inch but had several clumsy challenges and unforced giveaways. It was not good that he picked up an injury but it was good he left the pitch. He was a second yellow waiting to happen. I didn’t really notice Ramsey not sure if that’s good or bad. Nasri disappeared again (two games in a row for me, although others thought he was quality last game).

    The Ugly

    Almunia made a concerted and noticeable effort to do what everyone has been clamoring for, control his area and dominate play. Unfortunately he made a hash of it fifty percent of the time. I like Blondie but I’m really starting to question if he’s what this team requires.

    Arsenal will come good. Stay behind the lads! C’mon you Gunners remind Adams and Pompey how it’s done!

  37. MoMONEY
    December 28, 2008 at 9:45 am #

    Wenger runs a club the way it is supposed to be run… The people calling for his head are IMO arrogant to feel they know enough about the club to make decisions… Wenger knows what he is doing and has proven it. Period. If you are frustrated by his transfer policy go play Football manager, but running a real team in the modern world is done by people who have the credentials. Wenger has them and more and will prove it very soon. I feel like the board supports him fully and that is good news but the recent fallout with member makes me think if his position is part of the argument… I hope Wenger stays as long as possible…. Call me blind, ignorant, or a follower but I know a good leader when I see it- and Wenger is the best manager around…

  38. old timer
    December 28, 2008 at 12:55 pm #

    Yerp – I’m right in there with you, MoMoney, and some of the other pro-Wengerists above. It’s not that The Great Man is bigger than the club, and he himself has often said exactly the opposite, but he’s proven quality. And he’s stability. And he’s one smart cookie.
    If he goes we’ll be Totnumb mk2. Chopping and changing managers, staff and players all the time, searching for the right combination and meanwhile sliding down the table.
    The Villa game, as Steve-O said was a actually a fantastic match, very entertaining with some good football played by both sides. No, I do not like seeing my team run ragged but credit to Villa that they are currently playing their best football for years and credit to The Gunners that even with over half our first choice players out we still nearly beat them in their own backyard. And don’t forget it took a dodgy penalty for them to get back in the game.
    Since we’re not title contenders in our current condition I’m going to enjoy the battle for 4th place this season. Remember The Great Man has delivered us Champions League football every season.
    Also Steve-O I agree with you about AW’s body language. He’s terrible! Just relax, Arsene. Chill. Sit and make notes or something and let Pat Rice get up and do the arm waving. You’d make me nervous if I was on the pitch and saw you pacing up and down.

  39. KURUPT
    December 28, 2008 at 4:13 pm #

    PPL callin for wengers head SERIOUSLY do not know what they are talkin bout and theses are ppl that are band wagon supporters. GO SUPPORT CHELSEA WANKERS U dont deserve to support OUR team.

  40. TayGoon
    December 28, 2008 at 5:16 pm #

    Too much negativity to the point I had to skip some comments. Sorry.
    After watching the game I do not feel negative about the performance. These are players(young players) being put under unneccessary preasure NOT to lose so it affected their game when the oldest player gave away a needless penalty. I don’t blame Gallas for that because it could happen to anybody. The team played well and I do not think villa has what it takes to finish 4th. The title is out of our hands, but we will be in there with a say for a long time to come.

  41. MoMONEY
    December 28, 2008 at 6:03 pm #

    Quote from Wenger that gives me hope of some BIG signings in January:

    “We’ll keep going and see where we get. If I say now we will be champions, you will say I’m crazy, but I believe we can be.”

    Like I have said before- I think we will be pleasantly surprised during the transfer market

  42. Mexican Gunner
    December 29, 2008 at 12:56 am #

    Quote from Wenger that dont make me dream to be in the Champions League the next season:

    “But in Europe this year AC Milan are in the Uefa Cup, they are not in the Champions League. Last year Bayern Munich played in the Uefa Cup, and they are not less prestigious clubs than any of the teams who play in the top four. BUT THEY DIDNT DIE”

    Sorry but the truth is out there

  43. MoMONEY
    December 29, 2008 at 1:02 am #

    Whats the truth? You think Wenger has given up or doesnt want the champions league? We will regroup over the break and come back strong in the second half…

  44. Mexican Gunner
    December 29, 2008 at 1:04 am #

    I answer you later.

    The second half starts.

  45. MoMONEY
    December 29, 2008 at 2:00 am #

    Wasnt pretty but Ill take the three points… Is RVP injured? Chelsea drops points as well- we are only 6 behind them now and if Liverpool drop the points everyone is expecting them to… My point is that the situation isnt as disastrous as it seems. When the signings come and when everyone gets healthy we will surely get the 4th spot… Especially if Ashley Young heads to Madrid somehow…

  46. Adam
    December 29, 2008 at 2:01 am #

    1-0 Arsenal thanks to Bill. He’s redeemed himself to an extent after the Villa game, pressure on them to get a result away at Hull now. I think we should stave off their challenge at this rate, and secure at least 4th spot.

  47. Hey Nonny Mouse
    December 29, 2008 at 2:05 am #

    He was being sarcastic, Mexican Gunner…

  48. Hey Nonny Mouse
    December 29, 2008 at 2:11 am #

    That was a ‘Phew! for me. I just kept thinking ‘here it comes, late goal against us.’ But it didn’t. 1-0 to the Arsenal. We’re fourth – for now. We’ve sneaked into the New Year held together by sticking plaster. When Jan comes, Arsene, get down the bank quick and get some cash out!!
    In the meantime – well done, lads. Sagna, Clichy, Vela, Nasri best for me today. And, I have to say it, Wild Bill Gallas.

  49. Johno
    December 29, 2008 at 2:29 am #

    One nil to the Arsenal! where have I heard that before?

    Adebayor missed a couple of sitters, why was RVP on the bench? is he being kept fresh to play against Plymouth?

    Speculating about January arrivals and departures is futile you will just have to wait and see.

  50. Demetrio
    December 29, 2008 at 2:41 am #

    It helped that Portsmouth offered no real attacking threat. The only bad thing is we didn’t either really. I am glad Vela and Ramsey FINALLY got their chance to play more then the last 5 mins. I think they both did well. Sagna once again was the best man on the pitch. Ade was absolutely the worst.

    @ MoMoney – Why so sure Wenger will buy in Jan.?? I know most of us think we need a few new players, but most of us have been saying that for years and he has not been active i the transfer market. So i wont be convinced until i see it.

  51. MoMONEY
    December 29, 2008 at 2:48 am #

    I think he has to for the mentality of the team… he said that a signing could have a positive impact by creating hope within the squad- even if its not better in terms of football… but i doubt he signs anyone not worthy of playing…

    In the end I am just speculating but the logic says he buys imo

  52. MoMONEY
    December 29, 2008 at 2:50 am #

    Also his insistence that we will still be in the title hunt makes me think he has an ace up his sleeve…

  53. Demetrio
    December 29, 2008 at 3:20 am #

    I agree with you, we do need to buy. We need at least 2 players to bring up the teams spirit. Nothing could do that better then adding a few experienced, world class players to the squad. The team plays too nervous right now.

    Hopefully you are right and he has an ace up his sleeve. I still think Chiellini should be his main pursuit for a new defender.

  54. Fatboy
    December 29, 2008 at 5:20 am #

    1-0 against Portsmouth at home would, in any of the previous 5 or 6 seasons, be viewed as a disappointing result. Today we’re all heaving a sigh of relief that we’ve held onto a lead. We were outplayed and outfought for long periods of the Villa game, and other recent results have left us looking vulnerable for that vital 4th place spot. The sad truth is that we currently have the worst team of the last ten years. There are a few players of real quality such as Fabregas, Sagna and Clichy, but there are also too many average ones like Gallas, Almunia, Denilson and RvP. The squad contains several poor players like Bedntner, but this has always been the case (remember Stepanovs and ?). It’s true we are suffering badly with injuries, but it’s also true that there has been underinvestment in the squad for 3 years running. We’ve lost great players like Henry, Pires and Vieira and replaced them with promising but currently average players. We’ve let other players go in vital positions and not replaced them at all. Is this due to financial constraints following the stadium move, or has the manager just lost his touch? Let’s be realistic, Wenger has signed his fair share of donkeys over the years (as mentioned above), it’s just that he’s also produced some stunning singings as well. January is crucial to us now. It’s a sad state of affairs that the team is doing so badly that we’re desperate for reinforecements during the winter window, when really class players are rarely available, but that’s the situation we find ourselves in. I truly admire the people clinging to the belief that can still mount a serious title challenge this year. I hope you’re proved right, but I doubt that you will be. To my mind our only aim is to finish 4th. This modest target would normally be viewed as fairly simple to achieve for a club regarded as one that sits at Europe’s top table, but it’s far from a forgone conclusion this year. It concerns me no end that Wenger’s made the comments quoted by Mexican Gunner about the Uefa Cup not being too bad. Bloody Hell, if our manager is now talking like this we should be very worried. Wenger has proved over the last decade that he’s one of the world’s best managers. Like any player, he will have periods of poor form. The last season and a half represent just that. The best players come back as good or better than before, and this is what Wenger now needs to do. His performance in the second half of this season will determine his future.

  55. Gibbs
    December 29, 2008 at 5:28 am #

    Not happy with the performance but im happy with the result. Its good to see us end this crappy year with a win. Hopefully, 2009 will be a great year for us, FA cup/CL, i will be happy with any of the 2.

  56. jay-jay
    December 29, 2008 at 5:31 am #

    Adebayor missed TWO sitters, i was watching the game biting my nails! Why RvP was on the bench ill never know. Vela and Ramsey did well. Our defence was really good I think. Gallas winning goal, he sure does score a lot for us doesnt he?

  57. Ice Baba
    December 29, 2008 at 9:17 am #

    @ Demetrio,plz cut Mr Wenger some slack. We all want the best for the club including the manager. I know it can be so painful to see what u love some much been BOXED. Relax, Jan. will restore ur TRUST,LOVE & RESPECT for Mr Wenger.
    You & I will soon begin to smile out our frustrations. I know teams like Pool,Woman USA,Villa,Cheski will soon be bashed with Injuries and they will go down, trust this game, it is no respecter of any club.
    DRY BONES SHALL RISE AGAIN!

  58. Mexican Gunner
    December 29, 2008 at 10:32 am #

    @ MoMONEY

    Man I think Arsene is a conformist now!

    Nobody wants him out BUT we want him bringing 2 or 3 experienced players, STOP puting faith in players like Bendner, Eboue, etc etc and STOP making his very late substitutions.

    Honestly that words about Milan and Munich hurts to all the Arsene lovers like me.

    He is the face of the club and have to say something like “we will do absolutely everything to finish in the top 4 we will reinforce the team in the market” or something like that, because now he is not giving us any hope.

    A couple weeks ago Madrid sack Schuster when he say before the clash agains Barca that it will be impossible to win to Barca.

    I dont want Arsene out I just want him making something.

    I dont know what is worst now that we are not winning or that we are not playing beautiful anymore.

  59. Mexican Gunner
    December 29, 2008 at 10:35 am #

    Speaking about the game, what a game for Diaby!!

    I know that Arsene try with him as DM in the preseason and didnt work, but maybe if he stick with him a few games he could be good there.

  60. MoMONEY
    December 29, 2008 at 10:51 am #

    We all agree that signings are needed and I am very confident they are coming… However, even with his comments, I know Wenger will try as hard as he can to get in the Champions League… In fact he still has hopes for the title and is quoted as saying that. His quote about Milan and Bayern was just meant to emphasize the point that absolutely nothing is a given in sport. We will make some signings and we will be in the champions league next year- I am confident in Wenger’s leadership and by achieving these goals I hope the fans will lay off of him for a while…

  61. MoMONEY
    December 29, 2008 at 10:57 am #

    more evidence:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2008/dec/28/football-premier-league-arsenal-arsene-wenger-andrei-arshavin

    I think Ashavin and Inler would be a realistic prediction of this January but I am PRAYING for Ribery somehow… I am not 100% sure of Arshavin but if Arsene signs him he obviously sees something in him…

  62. Mexican Gunner
    December 29, 2008 at 11:03 am #

    I dont want to break your dreams (specially in Christamas) But do you know how much Bayern will request for Ribery?? He is at least 35 mill.

    Do you really think Arsene will pay that??

  63. Demetrio
    December 29, 2008 at 11:06 am #

    Im not too sure of Arshavin either. I know Inler pretty well cbecuase he plays here in Italy and i think he’s very “Flamini like” which really suited Cesc, so he would be a very good signing. Arshavin i feel is a waste of money. Maybe he will be good but i think its a pretty big risk to take for the money they want. I’d hope more that we swap Bendtner for Ribery who we know is a world class player in big leagues.

  64. Mexican Gunner
    December 29, 2008 at 11:11 am #

    @ Demetrio

    Inler is expensive?? how much he could cost??

    And how on earth Bayern will accept a swapt for Bentner?? do you think Bayern is managed by monkeys or what.

  65. Demetrio
    December 29, 2008 at 11:16 am #

    Inler wouldnt cost more then 8m at the most. He is not very well known outside of his country or club yet. So he wont carry a huge transfer fee.

    Yes Bayern is managed by monkies but thats besides the point. The reports linking Ribery said Bendtner + 10 m for Ribery. The reports probably hold no substance. But it is nice to think about Ribery at Arsenal and more importantly.. Bendtner leaving.

  66. Mexican Gunner
    December 29, 2008 at 11:24 am #

    Well I never seen play Inler or Veloso so I hope both are awesome cuz I read their names linked with Arsenal many times.

    Ribery is AWESOME but he will go at least for the same that City payed for Robinho and I hope Bendtner return to Denmark and they destroy his passport.

  67. MoMONEY
    December 29, 2008 at 11:28 am #

    I understand that Ribery is expensive and I am most likely dreaming but we are going to spend money, he fits what we need, a swap has been reported, and Wenger named him as one of the players he wishes he didnt miss out on earlier… I am aware that its a long shot but its ideal IMO and as a fan I can dream lol…

    Also Wenger said he doesnt want to name anyone because it will hurt the transfer chances significantly- If it were Arshavin, Zenit has already mentioned Arsenal by name so that casts a bit of doubt… I hope Wenger surprises us all and somehow snags Ribery but its an extremely doubtful tbh

  68. Gibbs
    December 29, 2008 at 1:04 pm #

    Guys, lets not get carried away here. Wenger said he does not have £40m to spend, i think he wont spend more than £30m. He said he wants a “creative midfielder and another midfielder”, thats 2 players, maybe Arshavin, Yaya/Veloso/Inler. Toulalan wont suprise me either, we all know Wenger’s French connections. LeBoss loves doing things behind closed doors, lets have faith in the man and let him work his magic, it is IN ARSENE WE TRUST afterall.

  69. Gibbs
    December 29, 2008 at 1:06 pm #

    Ribery is too expensiv IMO

  70. MoMONEY
    December 29, 2008 at 1:43 pm #

    Yea he is im just being optimistic and hoping for some kind of swap…

  71. old timer
    December 29, 2008 at 1:51 pm #

    Gooners, our team is playing very poorly at the moment. It was a real struggle just to overcome a fairly passive Portsmouth, at home, by a single goal. We have major players out injured, we’re lacking top class players in the squad anyway and apart from poor general form overall our confidence is right down low – but here’s a thought. Despite being probably in our worst shape since AW took over we’re heading into 2009 in fourth place (fifth if villa win or draw) and not so many points behind 2nd and third place. My point being that if we can still be where we are now – playing our worst – just think what could happen when we hit form again. All teams have their ups and downs – 2009 may see the Gunners come back with a vengence.

  72. old timer
    December 29, 2008 at 1:54 pm #

    Or should I say – a ‘Wengence’ ?

  73. TayGoon
    December 29, 2008 at 2:14 pm #

    It is definetely NOT going to be fun, but a bit interesting to see how people are setting themselves up for disappointment. I think Wenger might buy this Jan. but come Feb, the team will be made up of the usual suspects at the grove. Chill out on name throwing people.

  74. TayGoon
    December 29, 2008 at 2:27 pm #

    @ old timer:

    Our team is built for fancy football. WHat is happening now is that they are being asked to put in “heart” performances and forgo the finesse that they are accustomed to. All would have been ok but gritty performance is not their strong suit. The fans wants a scrappy performance and they don’t like it because we look shackier than when we play “sexy” football. Pass and move is more practical than just trying to be fancy. It is what makes arsenal what it is.

  75. Gibbs
    December 29, 2008 at 4:15 pm #

    We are in a good position i think. There was a time when we had 8 players injured, and we should be greatful that we are not further down the table. If ManU, Chelsea and Pool were in the same situation, they wouldnt cope. ManU struggled against Stoke on friday with a full strength squad and the Chavs were held by Fulham. It shows that things arent all bad at Arsenal. All we need is a few adjustmens here and there and we’ll ok, Wenger knows it and he will fix the problem areas in the team by buying a 2-3 players.

  76. Demetrio
    December 29, 2008 at 5:20 pm #

    Saying Ribery is too expensive is not legit for me when we are being linked with a 20m move for Arshavin. A guy who is not really proven outside the Russian league, and the PL is a HUGE HUGE rise in class from the Russian league. Alonso was supposedly 17m. I mean i’d rather save 3m and buy Alonso who is proven rather then buy Arshavin who may turn out to be rubbish like that Rottenham player.

    Inler wont be a lone signing if he is one Wenger wants. Wenger has said he thinks the team needs a little more experience. Thats not Inler, becuase he is rather young. So Ribery may be an option if we can swap Bendtner+money.

    I dunno maybe like MoMoney i just enjoy the dreaming of having Ribery at Arsenal.

  77. Jacobs Femi
    December 29, 2008 at 5:22 pm #

    The nature of man is on display. Most of us never even thought we could get draw from Aston villa. Now we got draw (which was not supposed sha) and we are are blaming the boys. Thank God we Won this on3e

  78. Jacobs Femi
    December 29, 2008 at 5:26 pm #

    Why is Adebayor always behind players? A good striker is supposed to face the ball, take it, control and pass or do the necessary.

    But, our Adebayor is used to staying behind players always. Please someone should advise him.

    Diaby and Bendtner should reduce dribbling and play a fast game that we are known for.

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