My opinion on Arsenal’s loss

My opinion on Arsenal’s loss

Today’s post is focused on my opinion of many of the talking points surrounding Arsenal’s first loss of the season, to Sevilla in the Champions League.

I have a feeling this one might entice some debate so and I encourage you to voice your thoughts on the matter by leaving a comment. Cheers!

Fabregas is not worried about finishing second, and neither am IOn not finishing top of the group

Finishing second in the group, on the outset, seems like a bit of a problem. It is true that if Arsenal do finish second they are likely to face one of Real Madrid, Barcelona, AC Milan or Inter Milan. While any of these games would provide a huge test for Arsenal, I have no doubts in my mind that Wenger’s young team could defeat all three. Indeed, when you look back at Arsenal’s recent history in the Champions League knockout stages there is a distinct pattern of them losing games they were expected to lose and winning games they were expected to lose.

As Cesc Fabregas said following the Sevilla loss, if Arsenal want to be the best then they’ll have to beat the best at some stage. Better sooner than later in my opinion. There’s also the small matter of Sevilla having to beat Slavia Prague away and they have shown to be quite a tough proposition on their home turf thus far, so those concerned about Arsenal finishing top in the group can still hang on to the fact that it is still quite possible.

How the team’s morale will be hit by the loss

Not at all, in my opinion. If the young side’s morale is affected by losing a match like this then I wouldn’t hold much hope that Arsenal can achieve much this season. Sevilla are one of Spain’s top sides and have finally started to hit their straps after the losses of Antonio Puerta and Juande Ramos, so to lose to them with a much-changed lineup is no disgrace. Supporters should remember that Sevilla have won the last two UEFA Cups and their home record in European competitions is formidable, to say the least. The reactions of Fabregas and Wenger as well as Kolo Toure to the loss suggest that Arsenal know they deserved to lose and are not too concerned about it. As such, I would not expect any sort of hangover to be affecting the squad when they travel to Villa Park this weekend.

Wenger’s decision to play a much changed team

The decision by Wenger to rest Emmanuel Adebayor and William Gallas was a good one. Although Arsenal are unlikely to finish at the top of their group in Champions League, the opportunity to rest top players without harsh penalties does not come around very often, and Wenger was right to take it. Adebayor and has played a lot of football so far this season and deserved a rest, whilst people should remember that despite Gallas’ imperious form of late, he would still be recovering from the groin injury he suffered at Blackburn earlier in the season. If Arsenal want to keep challenging at the top in both the Premiership and the Champions League then players need to remain fresh, and resting them in a game that Wenger’s side did not have to win was definitely the perfect time.

On the other side was the opportunities that were given to Armand Traore, Justin Hoyte, Philippe Senderos and Nicklas Bendtner to have some precious game time. Whilst the former three did not take their chance, the likes of Traore and Hoyte will have been shown a valuable lesson in top-level football. They were caught out on numerous occasions trying to play the ball out of defence when it was just not possible and hopefully the pair can learn from it.

Senderos was a different story (more on him in a moment) and Bendtner took his chance well, in my eyes the second best player on the pitch after Eduardo da Silva. However, the assertion that Bendtner should replace Adebayor based on this performance is absolutely wrong – the Togolese striker has been instrumental this season and in my eyes, his position is not under threat. It is nice to know that if Adebayor does hit a rough patch then Arsenal do have a player who is ready to step into his boots.

Gilberto is still a quality playerThe performances of Senderos and Gilberto

I spoke in detail about Senderos in yesterday’s post (check it our here) so I’ll focus more on Gilberto today. He has copped a lot of criticism for his sluggish performance and I tend to agree with most of the comments, however the notion that Gilberto was not putting in 100% because he is angling for a move away from the club is difficult to understand. More than any of the players in the current squad, Gilberto is the one should never have his loyalty questioned. He is in a difficult situation at the moment and may indeed leave when the January transfer window opens, but for so-called supporters to suggest that he does not care about playing for Arsenal anymore just annoys me.

I also don’t buy the suggestion that Gilberto has no longer got the quality to play for Arsenal anymore. He is the Brazilian captain and was, in my eyes, the outstanding performer in what was a difficult season last time around for Arsenal. The arrival of Lassana Diarra and his bright start at the club and the continued excellent performances of Mathieu Flamini do not make Gilberto any less of a player, and I think some people need to realise this. The Brazilian is the type of player that always requires time to work his way back in the side and despite the fact that he was evidently poor against Sevilla I would be more than happy for him to play in central midfield if Flamini gets injured again.

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What do you think?

Have your say on the fallout from the Arsenal-Sevilla game by leaving a comment.

30 Responses to “My opinion on Arsenal’s loss”

  1. angel_CHN
    November 29, 2007 at 9:19 pm #

    Gilberto offers an aerial threat, as well as vast experience to a young side, but if we still complaining those youngsters ,it’s no fair…it’s not.It ‘s known to us all, make no more mistakes in excuse of youth !As one famous book said ” I return young, I hope earnestly to start on .”um….GO gunners!I ‘m so proud of you ~

  2. 433
    November 29, 2007 at 10:30 pm #

    Gilberto was surprisingly out of form against Sevilla. I wouldn’t want to see him in the side ahead of Denilson and Diarra in that kind of form. He looked like a player completely sapped of confidence. But if he comes back into form, gets back into the first team, and leads Arsenal to a league and Champions League double, I’ll be as happy as anyone.

  3. le gunner
    November 29, 2007 at 11:24 pm #

    Sf Reagarding Gilberto there is no doubt he is one of the very few player who you can call loyal. In the Sevilla game he looked out of sort and that is down not to wether he is Loyal or not but to a lot of factors just before the game he said himself he is ready for move to Juve if it happens and that is playing on his mind you can never perform to your best when you are not settled in your head.I can bet you if Wenger say to him here is the armband you are starting every game you will see the Gilberto we know. Sadly that is not going to happen and the speculation about his future will effect his game even more.I would love Gilberto to stay but I can’t see it happening.

  4. Stan
    November 30, 2007 at 12:17 am #

    Senderos is the reason we lost, not team rotation, he has regressed in my opinion, instead of developng into a solid defender. Maybe he was rusty, but he has been horrible of late. If we are to be a complete team, AW should sell Senderos, and buy an experienced centerback to deputise for Kolo in January. He has no pace, no composure, and just not developing as expected. I will try to sign Naldo from Werder Bremen, very good defender, moblie, and very tall too. Did anyone notice how Sevila players were behaving as if it was a cup final? They were just too thuggrish and cynical, well, it’s Arsenal, so christmas came early for them.

  5. Spanish Fry
    November 30, 2007 at 12:28 am #

    The atmosphere in the stadium was explosive but I don’t think the Sevilla players were overly physical. I thought they were just a bit harder at the ball and generally played better than Arsenal in every aspect of the game. I have no complaints. Even though we were outplayed I thouroughly enjoyed the game as a spectacle, I wish more Champions League group stage matches were as fiercely fought as that.

  6. Spanish Fry
    November 30, 2007 at 12:31 am #

    By the way, Naldo is a great suggestion. A lot of the time big names are thrown around by Wenger normally looks for quality players and Naldo is definitely in that category. And you’re right, he is very, very tall!

  7. Howard
    November 30, 2007 at 1:19 am #

    Why can’t we buy a good English for once. Arsenal hasn’t done so for a long time. Micah Richards for me is the guy even for 25+. He is still 19, and can play for the club for over 10 years so 20/25 won’t be a bad deal and we have the money. He’s strong in the air and a good tackler. He has pace and good positional ability. Like Gallas, he can play in all the positions in defence. On top of that, he’s an Arsenal fan. The price will still be good taking his age into consideration; Sven might not agree but if the player insist on playing for us which i know he’ll prefer then there is nothing Sven can do. Arsene should go for Richards.

  8. Fares Kar
    November 30, 2007 at 1:28 am #

    I agree on Sendy’s comments. I am a big believer that CB can do a lot for a team. Teams like Arsenal pushes forward, uses the build up play from passing. If a pass is not completed and the transition to defense is slow and if the CB cannot have the correct decisions on when to delay and when pressure, then Arsenal cant have this player.

    Look how much it made a difference with Gallas and Toure playing in one line up.

    Sendy could be a great fit in a different line up or style of play. I can see him do very well in other leagues.

    But for Arsenal, we need a CB in January. One that we can trust when Toure is out.

    As for the loss. Too bad we couldn’t keep the winning streak. But half of the team is the second string. Good experience for them. Will be back in top of it this weekend.

    Also, you cant take this from Sevilla, they dealt with the Arsenal style well. They recognized that they can stop their passing game by playing physical and be quicker to the ball. That simply frustrated the young gooners. Should Arsenal played with the first string, these tactics could well not worked. Note that the change of the game came with the first goal by Sevilla, it mentally took a lot from the young gooners.

  9. Frichie
    November 30, 2007 at 1:57 am #

    While I always think Arsenal will beat any team, I had a feeling with the squad we went with it left too much open. Looking at the team, Wenger was giving some of those guys one hell of a test against a really good Spanish side, on their own home turf. To put Senderos up against their forward line, after only just returning from injury was suicide, even worse waas playing an inexperience (talented he may be) Traore against Alves, Fabiano and Kanoute. Gilberto was their to add experience, but when you have barely played in a season, no matter how much experience you have, you never really going to be able to influence a game. So if anything it was Wengers decision, and maybe he saw more benefit for the youngsters to play against a strong side and lose than, play his stronger team, and win.

  10. Jay
    November 30, 2007 at 2:41 am #

    I think AW made a mistake (he rarely makes mistakes) he played Traore, Hoyte and Senderos in defense agaisnt a very attackin footballing side, with people like Kanoute, Fabiano, Alves and Navas. If he had played Gallas, the story would have been different. Defo! Bendtner and Eduardo played really well.

  11. Stan
    November 30, 2007 at 2:49 am #

    I really think Gilberto wants to leave, and probably will get his wish in january. I can’t see him benching Flamini in that team, so, for his pride, he will leave. As for Sevilla game, he was very poor, and i don’t believe it’s rust because he just played two matches for Brazil last week and has been training with the first team. The problem with the team against Sevilla was Senderos, and a lack of leadership in the team without Gallas. Sevilla played well (game of their lives)but if we played our first choice, and qualification was on the line, we would have spanked them silly. My wish for January is sell Senderos,a new centerback, Agbonlahor, and we will win the big double this season. This Arsenal team is just two players away from making history, and i know that AW is ready to deliver big time, no matter what.

  12. seedof
    November 30, 2007 at 2:54 am #

    I actually agree wth the guy who said throwiing Senderos into a match of dt nagnitude was simply suicidal,i believe d team will bounce back n ds seasion belongs to us, the Gooners

  13. Stan
    November 30, 2007 at 3:04 am #

    Seedof, did you watch our game at home against Portsmouth, FA game against Blackburn last season at Ewood park, how Benny Mcarthy turned him and scored the winner, or the constant raping he receieved from Drogba every time we play Chelsea? How many chances are you prepared to give a centerback who continously makes such expensive mistakes. He has not progressed as expected period. If AW continue to play him, then we are not winning anything again this season.

  14. India-Gunner
    November 30, 2007 at 4:10 am #

    I would be more than happy to see AW spend even up to 20mil pound in Micah Richards. He is next Gallas in the making.

    MICAH RICHARDS PLSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

  15. Jay
    November 30, 2007 at 5:51 am #

    20 mil on Richards
    20 mil on Benzema
    18 mil on Modric

  16. sa gunnar
    November 30, 2007 at 7:43 am #

    gilberto takes time to get in the arsenal team, don’t 4get he still hold the record of scoring the fastest goal in the uefa league.he stil the back bone for arsenal , it stil hard to 4get that the captaincy was taken away from him in a way of him not knowing. so come on guys believe in him,we need that wall and his experience,we once wanted him to commit to finish off at the club, rememberand gilberto must take a note from giggs when sitting on the bench.

  17. Funwayo
    November 30, 2007 at 7:51 am #

    I have no problems with the mistakes of Sanderos because I have never expected much more from him. For me he has another Cygan, who easily clears the ball back into his own danger area. At his age he needs to encourage by a loan at best.

    As for our Gilberto, for me he has been on the decline. I have paid attention to his game since Copa America. He struggles with fast pace games and the opponents are closing in quickly on our attacking forces. Simple put he is at his best when the game is slower and the other time is not having a go at us. He miss places passes in crucial situations even when he has been playing for his national team. Case in point Brazil vs Uruguay.

  18. le gunner
    November 30, 2007 at 8:24 am #

    Gilberto is no longer the record holder of the fastest cole in the CL new record holder is Bayern’s Roy Makaay 10.2 seconds .
    Does anyone think Carlos Vela can cut it at Arsenal Wenger speaks highly of him Apparently he will be allowed to play in England and will come back to Arsenal in the summer after his loan and Wenger beleives he’ll go straight into the first team.

  19. Spanish Fry
    November 30, 2007 at 8:37 am #

    I think that Vela can cut it, definitely. Top scorer in a Youth World Cup is not to be laughed at – look at Lionel Messi 🙂 I think he will go into the first team and Arsenal will have six very good strikers, when you consider that both Walcott and Bendtner will be further along in their development and Eduardo will be settled in. Wenger may have to make some choices…

  20. le gunner
    November 30, 2007 at 9:01 am #

    I have never seen him play so I can’t say much. All I know is that he’s been talked about for sometime now.Can you compare him to any known players? If he is good one of the current strikers is going to lose out. Wenger is ruthless when comes to decision making.
    SF-here is a tricky question for you. If Vela is really good who would you drop or ship out from the current strikers?

  21. Spanish Fry
    November 30, 2007 at 10:04 am #

    That is a tough choice. There’s such variety in the striking department at the moment; Adebayor’s industry and unpredictability, van Persie’s class, Walcott’s pace, Bendtner’s strength and ability in the air, Eduardo’s poaching ability. At this stage I would say Eduardo is the least impressive but that’s not to say that he won’t improve – I’m confident he will. I’ve not seen much of Vela apart from that World Cup and I’m not really in a place to say what type of player he is. Maybe one of the other readers could help out? MexicanGunner, we need you!

  22. darragh
    November 30, 2007 at 12:51 pm #

    I’d love for Arsenal to get Richards…on the basis that he doesn’t cost too much (i.e. like darren bent!)

  23. Sujith
    November 30, 2007 at 4:50 pm #

    I do not understand how Diarra is considered as a replacement for Flamini ahead of Gilberto…he did not do anything to prove that in the last 1-2 matches I saw of him.
    Senderos is a spent force in Arsenal…we definitely need a CB

  24. bernasphiri
    November 30, 2007 at 5:03 pm #

    goodday the gunners.though we were temporally gundowned by sevilla does not mean we are not the best,this by the way should not make our morale to decline but should make us understand that, thats the way football is.sevilla are avery good side they beat barcelona which has the best players in the world.if i may borrow fabrigas’ words and i quote “for us to be the best we need to beat the best” and we are half way to achieving that. i must say that senderos needs serious attention,his sleeping too much.well as far as im conserned im not so much bothered by the loss because i know we are the best and we will surprise the rest.

  25. DENIS WISEE
    November 30, 2007 at 5:42 pm #

    the game asrenal played with servilla was so far the most sluggish and poorest performance of the season and i’m not happy about it but that’s all about games, the only thing to do for now is let the players concerntrate and work hard beat the next team to be faced in the next stage.thanks that is all i have.

  26. DENIS WISEE
    November 30, 2007 at 6:02 pm #

    To say generally i’m not happy of that unexpected performance of Arsenal in that match they played with servilla as a matter of concern they started well and at the end they relaxed that was why there was too much pressure on them but as football is all about winning,losing and at the same time drawing.It’s good that they have qualified for the next knock out stage,so facing any giant team like R. MADRID, BARCELONA,AC-MILAN.shouldn’t be threatening to us, as the young team of arsenal is also not easy as they used to be in the previous season. so to conclude with i personally have that hope and trust on the young stars and i hope they can even perform better in the other match to come.thanks that is all i have at the moment!

  27. BB
    December 1, 2007 at 9:13 am #

    Keep moving the gunners.

  28. Arsene
    December 3, 2007 at 5:57 am #

    carlos vela (stature and pace)seems like a poorman’s messi for now , but he’s still developing . Mixture of walcott’s pace with better positioning and sence….very raw though.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Arsenal FC Blog » Blog Archive » Could a dog play for Arsenal? - December 1, 2007

    […] Finally today, Wenger has spoken about the possibility of bringing in a central defender to cope with the absence of Kolo Toure during the African Cup of Nations. Quite frankly, I’d be happy just to have Johan Djourou back but if Wenger did dip into the transfer market then he could do worse than Werder Bremen’s Naldo, as suggested by Stan in Thursday’s post. […]

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