Ten games to win the league. But can we do it?

Ten games to win the league. But can we do it?

The last few weeks have been difficult for Arsenal.

First the Carling Cup was thrown away in extraordinary circumstances.

Then a terrible refereeing decision at the Nou Camp ended hopes of pulling off a Champions League upset against the best team in the world.

Finally, Manchester United, our major title rivals, put out a severely-understrength team in our FA Cup quarter-final clash, but still managed to knock us out of the competition in an utterly frustrating and familiar manner.

Jens is back

Yet as we prepare for the final sprint in what has been an eventful and emotional season, the reality is that the trophy that we crave the most, the Premier League title, remains there for the taking.

Just three points separates us from Manchester United at the top of the table and with a game in hand, and Sir Alex Ferguson’s side still to play as at Emirates Stadium, the ball is in our court.

With no other competitions to tire and distract us, despite a poor run of results and bad luck, including a veritable waterfall of injury problems, our chances of becoming the champions remain as strong at this stage of the season as they have been since we won the Premier League in 2004.

It was thought that one of the biggest hurdles we would have to overcome would be the strain of injuries to key players. But the sudden clearing of our football calendar means that this is not the case.

It is true that Johan Djourou and Wojciech Szczesny are more than likely to miss the rest of the season — hence the return of 41-year-old Jens Lehmann to provide some emergency goalkeeping cover — but the story is decidedly better for the rest of our injured players.

After tomorrow’s clash with West Brom there is a rather convenient two-week international break that will allow the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song and Theo Walcott the opportunity to get fit and prepare themselves for the run-in.

Indeed, given that we only have to play two games in a week just once before the end of the season, there is nothing stopping us from playing our best available team for every one of our last ten league games. The usual requirement of rotating to keep the squad fresh becomes irrelevant: if our players can’t give their all once a week for the rest of the season with the league title up for grabs then it’s safe to conclude they never will.

All this means that given the disappointments of recent weeks there is much to be optimistic about. We are right in there with a chance, perhaps even taking on the status of favourites given our ability to focus completely on the league, and that is an exciting proposition.

Despite this there is a growing sense that this group of players appears incapable of taking the final, most difficult step of actually winning something.

While the Carling Cup final defeat was freakish and the Champions League exit was more than understandable given the quality of the opposition and the performance of the referee, there was no excuse for the loss to Manchester United in the FA Cup.

They had an inferior team on the pitch, a tricky Champions League tie against Marseille to play three days later and were there to be beaten. But despite most of the possession and a multitude of good opportunities, once again at Old Trafford, we couldn’t get the job done. And they did.

It was the manner of the United defeat that gives me the feeling that despite our good position in the league, despite our ability to focus completely on one competition, we will probably fail to take that final step again.

As such, I go into the final ten games of the season with a hell of a lot of hope but very little expectation: a psychological state fine-tuned over the past six seasons to soften the blow of failure and maximise the joy of success.

How about you?

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111 Responses to “Ten games to win the league. But can we do it?”

  1. MTY
    March 18, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    “…It was the manner of the United defeat that gives me the feeling that despite our good position in the league, despite our ability to focus completely on one competition, we will probably fail to take that final step again……”
    That perfectly sums up what this current Arsenal side is made of. Thanks mate!

    As you put it, if we manage to get a win tomorrow, then all our big guns will be back for the run-in starting 2 weeks from now.
    As for the 2 crucial injuries you mentioned, Almunia’s performance in his last 2 games has convinced me that we won’t miss WS that much. But JD is a big, big loss. A quick look at his stats tell you the whole story.
    And it’s confirmed now that TV5 won’t return this season (what was Arsene doing back in January if he “didn’t expect him to be back”???); that’ll raise a lot of questions if we fail to win the title due to defensive blunders.

  2. GunnerX
    March 18, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

    Well said mate, whilst I fully expect us to capitulate when things get difficult, we’ve just been handed a huge advantage (cl draw), so maybe our luck is just about to change for the better. C’mon You Gunners!

  3. realistic_gooner
    March 18, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    The acid test starts now. Good position in the league (not because we’ve been brilliant, but because the opposition this year has been equally crap), no other competitions to distract us (cough cough), and our main rivals are probably the weakest Man U team in years.

    Time for Arsene and his boys to stand up and be counted worthy of their high wages. No more excuses please!

  4. si
    March 18, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    The WBA game is huge now, with Chelsea & United playing each other three more times before the end of the season & United’s defence being in almost as bad shape as ours, we’ve still got a huge chance.

    I think it could all hinge on the WBA game. If we can get 3 points there, it’s another home game for Utd gone without us falling behind & after the international break we should get Song, Fabregas & Walcott back

  5. harry
    March 18, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    Hopeful but doubt it – not with Dave and Sqiz at the back – I mean WTF is it we have a french back line

  6. courage
    March 18, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    REad this comment from Lawro: ” The Gunners undoubtedly have great ability but there’s no mental strength or leadership. Arsene Wenger says captain Cesc Fabregas is a great leader. No. Fabregas is a great player but he’s not a leader and I don’t think he ever will be. When things are going wrong it’s the leaders who come to the fore and Arsenal don’t have any. ”

    Never really agree with this muppet but for once I think he is spot on.

  7. w
    March 18, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

    we dont have the mentality to get thru a final against a team fighting relegation. why on earth should we believe we can win the league.

    there was nothing freakish about any defeat. for the last few years we have bottled it, and bottled it spectacularly when it mattered…

    United v arsenal champions league semi final: bottled it “freakish slip”
    Fa cup semi final chelsea v arsenal: bottled it “goal keeping error”
    premier league last year: bottled it – injuries
    carling cup this year: bottled it “freakish” error
    fa cup this year: bottled it even tho we KNEW how united were going to play out tactically

    what is there to be optimistic about. We have the best squad in terms of quality in the premier league. but we’v lingered in 2nd place. why? no winning mentality

  8. Nicholas
    March 18, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    I think that for the next 10 games I’m going to just forget – or rather put on hold – everything that happened this season so far. I’m going to forget about that game against Newcastle, I’m going to forget about the Carling Final, the Barca 2nd tie display of our team, I’m going to forget every little stept we made in the EPL. And I think the players should do the same, it’s all here, only here. Denilson and Rosicky should forget about their bad shape and man up, look ahead, there’s 10 games to prove they are top players and that we should believe in them. It’s all clear now, it’s like we start from scratch. Like Andy says, no midweek games, international breaks, nothing else to distract us. I expect we drop some points in the process, I just hope not too many and we will need at least a draw against Man Utd when they come on Emirates. If they beat us there, it’s all over. But first thing first, WBA, tomorrow, payback. GO GUNNERS!

  9. John K.
    March 18, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    Sadly I’m with you on this one. I don’t think Arsenal have what it takes to take that last final step. I’ve been a Gooner for almost 15 years now and I must say since the days of Viera & Bergkamp, I just haven’t had much faith in our squad in the last few seasons.

    Sure they play well enough to be in the top 3 or 4, but they just seem to lack that last bit of edge that makes them champions.

    Man U & Barca are teams that used to shake in their boots at the thought of meeting Arsenal back in 2004-2005, now they just laugh it off and send second rate squads just to show much they don’t even have respect for us.

    Arsene needs to re-evaluate his strategy & shake things up a bit, otherwise, we’ll just keep repeating the same thing season after season.

  10. Ian Botannic Gooner
    March 18, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    To be blunt not a hope! Too inconsistent.

  11. Alan Wong (HK )
    March 18, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    Get the three points att WBA f irst before we can talk about winning the title. This is a crucial match for both teams.The gunners need the points for the title push.Albion for avoiding relegation.IFArsenal play the same way ie 99.9% possession ,pattern weaving and pass after pass,then it’s goodbye.The problem is the gunners are too predictable.
    MU and other teams have shown the way.Pack and stifle the midfield.The gunners are very fond of interchanging passes against a massed defence.
    As has happened many times in the past and don’t bet against it happening in future,the pass will be misdirected/inttercepted and a swift counter and ball in the gunners net.
    That’s how the gunners lost to MU,Chelsea,Hull,Necastle,etc. Then it would be another lost season.Wenger will ask for more time and keep the faith. Frankly fans faith in him have been misplaced.No more excuses.

  12. Shard
    March 18, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

    @Ian Botannic Gooner
    We’ve actually been very consistent in the league..

    @Andrew
    I’m suprised at your overly cautious optimism.. Whatever happened to the brash Aussie spirit? 🙂

    I agree about there being no excuses for the FA Cup loss. But I actually think that our players want the league and will be more focussed and more determined.. I’m actually saying we’ll win it, even with Koscielny and Squillacci at the back (provided they don’t go and get injured now).. As you rightly point out the timing of the international break is convenient. Of course, we have the WBA game to win first, It begins with that. I would say we have 10 cup finals left, but perhaps best to avoid that feeling in the players 🙂 Come on you Gunners

  13. king gooner
    March 18, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    tommorrows game is MASSIVEwe’re missing 5/6 first team players & a makeshift defense-if we can nick/steal/mug/fluke 3 points it could make all the diff with the two wk break coming up & a chance to regroup & reorganise fot the run in-lose & we’re f***d-it’s backs to the wall & the vultures are circling-can arsenal man up-if they can’t it’s a total rethink with regards to this squad & the chequebook has to be opened up big time!p.s -surely he has got to recall kyle barclay from rangers-the guy is 6ft 3 7 knows how to head a ball-inexperienced yes,but arne’t they all?

  14. omixy
    March 18, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

    I think i have stop believing in wenger and his boys, they are good yes, entertaining yes, winning mentality no. how best can you explain bendtner last minute miss against barc. What can you say of kocy and scin mess in carling cup final. what can you say of a team that gave a way 4 goals lead in less than 30 mins.They always to deliver when it matter most. Consistency is the name. Arsenal need winners who can motivate these guys. Wenger should stop his gambling and buy when it is necessary. just to central defenders to prosecute 10 league games will not work. He should have gotten a defender in January when he had the chance.

    I still love this team and continue to support them. Gunners for real!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Daniel Marino
    March 18, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    Dear Gooners,

    I do not understand this issue all the time. Arsenal can even win all other games. They have the capacity to do it. But to day they have a problem.

    1. A manager who thinks they can twich their brian at some point during the game and can win. He should have concentrated on who is doing well and who is not… this thoughts should be during the match.

    2. Arsenal lacks pitch leader to run around the players. If you notice all Arsenal players at the same mind level destroyed Barca. But later on the mind become individual. The culpurts are few.
    Bendetner not good, easily demoralises, could not run, Diaby the worst sleep walker, Denilson demotivated during the game at some point. Thomas Risdsky on and off, Ces injury, Koscily at times hesitation… all these are few examples of behavioural attitude.

    But beleive me Arsenal can even beat a national team. Consider Barcelone, (includes 12 world cup winners) in one team. Technicaly, Arsenal beat Spain which England could not do.

    Rest assured just prey all the players come and finish with good mood and mind set up.

  16. Ian Botannic Gooner
    March 18, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

    @Shard I take your point but those home losses, WBA, Newcastle and Spurs and the 0-0 with Man City may cost us dearly. Still too many players in the squad who just aren’t good enough. Denilson, Bendtner and Squillaci should all be released at the end of the season. Arsene’s claims that this is the best squad of players he has worked with is rubbish, why doesn’t he just swallow his pride, admit project Wenger hasn’t entirely worked and buy the world class and experienced players we need to win the league and other trophies?

  17. theusualsuspect
    March 18, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

    Has anybody else been following the progress of Ryo Miyaichi since his loan to Feyenoord? he was put straight into the first team and has set the team alight. He has started every game since joining them and has already been suggested as the next Messi? I have watched quite a lot of the highlights and the lad look`s the real deal. Two great feet,very quick and very skillful. To be honest he already looks better than the likes of Arshavin,Vela,Rosicky etc. Shame we were unable to get a work permit sorted as this lad would have offered us a lot over the closing stages of our season.

  18. Shard
    March 18, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

    @Ian Botannic Gooner

    Those losses did cost us dear. But Wenger did point out that we have to improve our home form, and it has happened. We’re quite strong at home now, and fans have had, and still have a part to play in that too. The ManCity draw, I’m not too disappointed about. Probably points to a shortage in quality finishers at the club though.

    Actually, this squad is very good, and quite deep. But certain players have not performed to the level they can, and should, when called upon. Some of them should be sold. I think of the 3 you mention, Squillaci will stay. He’s not done too badly (though he did for a while) but keeping in mind that it was his first season in England, I think we’ll struggle to find a better 4th choice CB. Denilson, unless he steps it up big time, I think should and will go. Bendtner is the tricky one. I think he’ll lave on his own because he’s not had chances to play in the central striker role. I don’t think he’s necessarily merited that role, but his chances have been fewer than he would like. I think he will go because he wants regular chances, and because he’s not appreciated by the fans anyway. I think we’ll regret that in a few years though. I think he has the tools to be very very good.

    I don’t think pride has anything to do with his decision making in that regard. If it did, i would be the first to say that his judgment is compromised, and that he should be overruled or even sacked. But I honestly see no reason to believe that.

  19. Gooner21
    March 18, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

    we need to play jens as a center forward!!!

  20. 1NilToTheArsenal
    March 18, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

    I definitely think we can win the league, but the the real problem is in our heads. This is a great team for many reasons and I love being a Gooner. But not for this: it’s been said ad nauseum but it’s the simple truth that despite our technical skill and aesthetically pleasing style we any killer instinct whatsoever.

    The top teams claw and fight and struggle. Manchester United were just pipped to the title last year and despite their recent lack of form and injuries they are STILL the team to beat again this year. Chelsea’s demise has been greatly exaggerated. A win against Man City on Sunday and they’re right back nipping at our heels in 3rd place. Liverpool slowly but surely has crawled back to a respectable 6th.

    Money can buy technical quality but it can’t buy attitude and mindset (Balotelli is an extreme and obvious example). Where do we get that?

    1NTTA

  21. Ponzing
    March 18, 2011 at 4:36 pm #

    I think my expectation is more than anyone else’s,after being missimg out on three solid competitions in two weeks is enough to boost our moral of winning the league.i think the recent injury woes we have should not be an excuse for not being prayed for our inability to win the league,because i believe that any player in the team is capable of giving positive result,i’m urging all the players to give there all to at least make arsenal fans smile for once in six years. I remain a gunner for life.

  22. Danish Gooner
    March 18, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

    Forget it !!!! it wont happen,there is a bigger chance that i will pull Cameron Diaz or Jessica Biel then Arsenal winning the league,Wengers bottlers are already gonna slip up at WBA and are certain to lose at Shite hart lane and at the Emirates against Manure and come unstuck at craven cottage,we will finish 3 or 4 mark my words.I predicted that it wouldnt be easy against Brum and that we would crash out to Barca and Manure so i am a bit like Nostradamus.

  23. realistic_gooner
    March 18, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

    I can already see the hymn sheet being prepared for May if we bottle it again:

    1) We were unfortunate with injuries. When you see the injuries we had, we’ve actually done very well to get to where we are.

    2) We finished way above expectation where everyone was expecting us to drop out of the top 4.

    3) Finishing 4th is equivalent to winning a trophy.

    4) We are a young team with great potential, and improving all the time. We’ll win things next year.

    5) Winning trophies is not the be all and end all of the club. Developing an ’emotional connection’ to the fans is.

    6) We wont have to sign anyone as the transfer market is inflated and there are no good (and cheap) players available. Moreover, we wouldn’t want to kill the likes of Diaby and Denilson will we? Plus, our injured players returning will be like new signings.

  24. Shard
    March 18, 2011 at 5:52 pm #

    @realistic_gooner

    As opposed to the hymn sheet you’re singing from now?

    1)We haven’t won a trophy in 6 years

    2) We haven’t won a trophy in 6 years

    3)We haven’t won a trophy in 6 years

    4) We haven’t won a trophy in 6 years

    5) Denilson is useless, Squilaci is useless, Diaby is useless, Cesc loves barcelona, we haven’t won anything in 6 years

    6) We’ll never win anything while Wenger the Stubborn is in charge because we haven’t won a trophy in 6 years.

    And for proof that this is the hit song that will rule the charts and sell a billion gazillion copies and define the voice of a generation, just listen to it again..and again…and again..and again..Until you like it, or you ‘prove’ yourself to have no ear for music.

    Sigh…Leftcoastgooner..If you’re still around..I agree.. Broken ankles to the bandwagon jumpers.

  25. kel
    March 18, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

    @ Shard

    Very Interesting and Informative post, but do you really think that any of these players will leave in the summer?? Lets Take a bet none of them will leave they will all remain hear to frustrate us all over again.

    What tools does Bendtner have to suggest for one minute that he can be very good?? Pls tell me i would love to know.

    I think at arsenal we tend to take very mediocre players and say their top quality.

    On the league, as mentioned by weber and i also said last week we have no excuse for not winning the league this season, am willing to for get everything if we win the league.

    MAU have really hard games coming up and they also have injury problems so were not the only ones. We have the easier run-in and no fixture pile-up so no excuses wenger.

    I think wenger’s project can be justified or thrown out the door after these last 10 games for frankly it should have been thrown out long before

  26. Shard
    March 18, 2011 at 5:58 pm #

    @kel

    LOL..I think you were referring to the earlier post..

  27. Nija Bloke
    March 18, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

    First of, Andy nice blog. This is about the first time l see you take a dig at the team in a positive manner, namely that you have pointed out the fact that success is ONLY possible IF we up the ante and take our game a noch higher.

    However, l must say that ascribing our CLand CC defeats to any thing other than our willingness to win would in my humble opinion be living in self denial. We didnt want to win those matches enough and thats why we lost. We are in the same situation we have found ourselves before and it jut amuses me because most people are also making the same assumptions that were made in these same situations in the past. “A game in hand, just three points behind, international break, our injured players would be back, no distractions” , bla bla bla. All these are just blind optimism if you ask me because we have had countless chances of going top of the table this term and on each occassion have blown them in the winds. I also disagree that the team want the EPL more than the CL cos in terms of value they are not even comparable. When we talk of distractions l just shake my head because we seem to loose sight of the fact that only the best compete on all fronts and go on to win on those fronts. Barca did it, Man U did it and last year Inter did it, so what are we talking about?

    On the final analysis, l do want this team to succeed, to win but they can only win IF they are prepared to win. It would take guts, perseverance and a dogged determination but then who said to be at the top was a tea party?

  28. realistic_gooner
    March 18, 2011 at 6:20 pm #

    @Shard

    I said IF we bottle the league (never insinuated we will bottle it), I can (fore)see these excuses being trotted out. Why? Because I’ve heard them so often I know what’s coming.

    And yes, anti-Wenger fans have been singing from that hymn sheet, except that the number of years trophyless has been increasing year after year. It may not be 6 trophyless years but 15 or 20 if Wenger’s not held to proper account in due course. And their hymn sheet is at least as valid as the one Wenger and the board’s been singing from.

    I also wholeheartedly agree; broken ankles to the bandwagon jumpers. Except I’m not one of them, in case you happen to think so. If I were, I’d have sod off and support Man U or Chelsea long ago. If fans who question Wenger and his pet project and excuses (or ‘valid reasons’ if it sounds better to you) are bandwagon jumpers, then fans who make excuses for him and wholeheartedly believes everything he throws at them are mindless sheep with wool over their eyes.

  29. realistic_gooner
    March 18, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

    @Nijia Bloke

    Good post, we all want Arsenal to succeed but when the same mistakes keep haunting us repeatedly, questions must be asked.

  30. Nicholas
    March 18, 2011 at 6:56 pm #

    @Nijia Bloke – “A game in hand, just three points behind, international break, our injured players would be back, no distractions” – I wouldn’t look at these things as bad excuses or blind optimism, even though they can be interpreted that way. I would just call them facts 🙂 And I agree, we spoke about them before, as we did when we were in 4 competitions, and that was a fact too. I think at any point the team’s task is to maximize their advantages, as is the case now. If they manage to do this – at least now, it would be the damn time – they could achieve something.

  31. Shard
    March 18, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    @realistic gooner

    Why I reacted the way I did is not because I think your arguments are entirely without merit. But I still think that ultimately instead of debating it in a reasoned or rather detailed manner which would put your argument in the proper context, you are only saying things out of frustration, and with the lack of trophies as the only basis. The key words in there are ‘hymn sheet’ and as you even say in your clarification, ‘bottle’ it.. If you really were being totally objective, those are not the terms that you would use. It is possible to make a point without suggesting our board, Wenger and fans like me are singing from a pre defined ‘hymn sheet’, and also, it is possible to not win the league despite having all the ‘bottle’ in the world. I think even if we show all our talents, and play well, but ultimately fall short, you would still say we bottled it and point only to the ultimate result.

    Now I understand that some of those words can come out as a result of frustration, but bear in mind that even fans who back Wenger, like me, are dealing with exactly the same frustrations as you. And if I can try and explain my point of view without resorting to rhetoric, then you should make that attempt too. That is the foundation of a debate in my view, and the reason we have been able to talk as much as we have.

  32. Shard
    March 18, 2011 at 7:50 pm #

    @kel

    I do think there will be changes to the squad in the summer. Some of our reserves and players on loan are I think at the stage that they are ready to be included in the first team squad, and as a result some existing players will either have to make way, or fall even further down the pecking order.

    Bendtner has a poor first touch and his finishing can be very bad at times. What he does have is physical attributes, and a belief in himself. However misplaced you think that belief is, it is a very important quality. Some of the goals that Bendtner has scored have been very good. I’m not suggesting he’s top quality..YET… As I said, I don’t think he’s necessarily merited a regular place in the side, but the chances he has been given in his favoured role, have been very few. You are judging a player that has been played out of position mostly. He’s still 23 (or 24).. Do not think of him as a world class player like Messi, who was tearing up the world at 19. Think of him more like a Drogba, who had no first touch, and horrible finishing when he came to the Premier League. I think Drogba at Bendtner’s age was playing in the Ligue 2 in France. And yet, Drogba became the most feared striker in the league. Whether Bendtner will be as good remains to be seen. But in my opinion he CAN be.

    You refer to very mediocre players being referred to as top class. I’d like to see who you rate top class at our club, and which players are just a notch below the top class ones.. Which would leave the mediocre and useless ones as ones you probably think should not stay at the club.

    I would say there is no excuse to not give everything in every match remaining, and to play to the best of our abilities. Whether we can, or will even have to, excuse not winning the league will depend on how things go from here.

    As for throwing out Wenger’s project (I still think Wenger gets far too much credit/blame for it), and that it should have been done way before, please try and expand on it, because I strongly disagree.

  33. Shard
    March 18, 2011 at 8:23 pm #

    @Nija Bloke

    “However, l must say that ascribing our CLand CC defeats to any thing other than our willingness to win would in my humble opinion be living in self denial. We didnt want to win those matches enough and thats why we lost”

    With the Carling Cup final, I can agree that we didn’t play like we wanted it. I think the team let itself and us down that day. But the Champions league game away at Barcelona, I can only say, that I was proud of that performance. I know all the talk later was of us not being able to put a shot on goal, or not passing etc, but I’ll say it again. All i felt was pride.. Well, pride and frustration at the referee. The real annoyance for me was the reaction after the match from the media, and oh so mighty Barca themselves. (and of course some Arsenal fans)

    “We are in the same situation we have found ourselves before and it jut amuses me because most people are also making the same assumptions that were made in these same situations in the past. “A game in hand, just three points behind, international break, our injured players would be back, no distractions” , bla bla bla. ”

    When were we last in this situation. of being more than 3/4ths through the season and still having the destiny of the title in our own hands? The one thing I will agree with though is about the distractions bit. I wouldn’t call any match, or any competition a distraction.

  34. realistic_gooner
    March 18, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

    @Shard

    I understand where you’re coming from. But there were points made in my ‘posts of frustration’, albeit made in a implicit fashion. And there was nothing satirical about ‘hymn sheet’ or ‘bottle’, because I call a spade a spade and thats exactly what they are.

    Points are:

    1) I’m ambitious. I love the club unconditionally whether they win things or not, but Im far from content about the way things are at the moment. If you guys truly believe finishing 4th each year is a huge achievement, then good for you cos in all likelihood, you’re in sync with the board’s ambitions and Wenger’s been the man for you these past 5 yrs.

    2) Throwing away games and leads from time to time is one thing, but to have the same collapse happen year after year, and in very familiar circumstances (failing to win key games, injury issues, getting knocked out of a few competitions in a matter of days) is RIDICULOUS. For me, it speaks volumes about the manager’s ability to motivate his team when it really matters.

    3) Failure to strengthen when it matters: In Jan, Wenger said he expected Vermaelen to be fit so he didnt sign any cover. In Mar, upon news that Vermaelen willl be out for the whole season, Wenger said he never expected Vermaelen to be fit again this season. Self contradictory? And its not the first time he failed to strengthen either. For me, thats gross negligence. Which brings me to the ‘hymn sheet’ point….

    4) Trotting out the same excuses year after year without doing anything noteworthy to remedy the situation! I don’t see an improvement in the injuries list (Get to the root of the problem for goodness sake! Is it training regime, persistence in buying crocked players on the cheap, medical team or what??) Many of the players who are supposed to mature never do or do not do so fast enough. And if they cant mature fast enough, what are they doing in the 1st team??

    5) Now I understand there’s got to be a transition period, but how long is long enough? 6 yrs? 15 yrs? 20 yrs? Ok maybe some of you are prepared to give Wenger 20 yrs (I’ll still be a gooner even if they win nothing after 20 yrs but I’ll definitely not sing ‘Arsene Knows’), in which case I have nothing to say. I personally feel we’ve waited long enough and what with all the season ticket price hikes, I do feel we fans deserve more than what we’re getting from this team. And finally….

    6) We should be making our concerns heard. I’m not expecting wholesale changes, just some very necessary tweaks (get a hairdryer, I think many times, our players need it. A good tactical coach will be useful too) that will put us in a better stead to challenge for honours. For me, if Wenger can’t or refuses to do that, then he should not be the man to take us forward anymore.

    7) And finally… Ok I promise this time… The above scenarios only apply IF we bottle it again. A very winnable league this season, we play our cards right, we should come through. If we don’t, then serious questions have to be asked.

  35. Nija Bloke
    March 18, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

    @ Shard, my point of not wanting to win at the Nou Camp is based on the fact that we played a tactic alien to us and most of the players namely Diaby and Denilson didn’t help matters. Forget that we were down to ten men becos that in itself is no exuse. We all know the rules of the game and if your team has to play a man short, you also have to deploy a tactic to ensure that you donot loose. Spurs have done it twice this season! Even the commentator had to voice out tha t ” Wenger’s men donot realise dat they are jus one goal away from qualification”. This was at the stage of the match when they were still being lackadasical. I think if we had put in the same effort we put into the last ten minutes of dat game from when RVP was red carded, it wud hav been a different result

    @ realistic_gonner, l share most of your opinions and if l recall l had asked Shard the same question in another post how long this transition is. We cannot remain in perpertuity since every project has a time frame. So Wenger would hav given us a time frame so dat he wud be judged fairly in that time frame based on his achievements or otherwise.

    That said we owe this club our unalloyed support in victory and in defeat. But it is also our rights to question when things seem to be going adrift. Going six years without a silverware is a clear sign that things aint going well. Except we seize this golden opportunity and win the league, then no one can convince me otherwise. Pessimism? I don’t think so. I’m only being as factual as they come.

  36. Shard
    March 18, 2011 at 10:43 pm #

    @realistic_gooner

    Your proof of being right, is that you call a spade a spade. So we have always bottled it in the past only because you say so? I have said that it is my contention that a team can lose even without ‘bottling it’. Tell me when all we have bottled it, and why, not winning this league will only be because we’re bottlers.

    1) I’m ambitious too, and love this club. I’m not content at our position in the trophy count. I want us to win, and to do better. In my view finishing 4th in the circumstances that we have had has not only been an achievement, it’s been an over achievement. But I still want more. The real question is, what do you want done about it? What changes do you want made?

    2) Or the players’ ability to motivate themselves. I’m with you here. Certain weaknesses have persisted for too long. And maybe if I was a bit more reactionary I would call it ridiculous too. But again, what do you want done about it? I personally would like to see some players get kicked into a performance (the hairdryer you mention somewhere in your post). But that may be happening already. If it is, and the players are still not responding I would like them gone. But with finances restricted, who do you bring in as replacement? With the players still being young there is a chance they might learn and improve. Taking both factors together, it isn’t unreasonable that they stayed.

    3) I KNEW someone would bring up the Vermaelen (non)issue today. I just knew it. Have you watched that press conference? You do know what you’re alleging right? You are saying that Wenger deliberately threw the chance at the league.. If you haven’t watched it, then please do. Wenger was asked when Vermaelen would be back. He said out for the season. The reporter asked him if he was suprised, and Wenger said that he never expected him to play anyway. So your argument hinges on the word never. And you already feel Wenger isn’t right for Arsenal so you attach a sinister meaning to it. What exactly does never mean? Since time immemorial? Since Vermaelen was born? Since he was bought? Since he was injured in September? Or since his latest setback? So Wenger upon hearing of his setback (which was in March itself) did not expect him to feature this season. Shock, Horror!!

    That aside, the Gross negligence that you allege, I remember that we didn’t strengthen the striking department last year. I disagreed with that. Despite the logic that I see behind waiting 6 months for Chamakh and the difficulties of bringing in a player, I still disagree with that. Please remind me when else we have shown ‘gross negligence’.

    4) I’m sorry. I struggle to make sense of this point. It’s really not one point at all. All I understood was the injuries (which you mentioned once in an earlier point too) Regarding injuries I have explained to you in our conversations a few times before why it isn’t as simplistic as you say. And while i agree that they should sort it out, what do you expect them to do without knowing the cause. Also, while we see injuries as being a consistent problem, that is all post facto.. When they first occured it was considered a freak occurence. To even recognise it as an issue means that it has to have happened consistently. And hence the investigative process is delayed.

    5) What defines a transition period according to you? I’d say if it’s only the financial side which represents transition then we would be in deep trouble now. Because finances will not be completely free for near that 20 year mark you put. (the stadium bonds are I think for 10 more years) But what makes and has made our transition easier is the forethought of bringing in the youngsters (like cesc, Djourou, etc) from 2003 itself (which has given us a core of the team now). And also bringing in the 9-10 year olds that now form our reserves at around the same time. (who form our future core) And with periodic additions both to the first team, and the youth and reserves, it has meant that we haven’t dropped out of the top 4 at any point, and barring some bad luck (or maybe getting some good luck) would have won some of the trophies that we have challenged for during that time. (and we have CHALLENGED) I really think the scale of the transition, and how excellently it has been managed is completely overlooked now, in the overwhelming obsession for a trophy.

    6)We should be making our concerns heard. the club, the manager, the players are kept on their toes if supporters are voicing concerns. Voicing concerns is a little different from what has been happening of late though. Besides, at THIS point, when the team is at a low point having faced a number of bad (and unfortunate) results, but are still in with a shout for the title, to ‘voice concerns’ is nothing but counter-productive. If anything all you are doing are covering all bases. If we win, you get to celebrate the triumph. If we lose, you knew it anyway and were proved right. I’m sorry. That doesn’t cut it with me. Either back them to the hilt and then claim disappointment at being proved wrong, or disown them now and give up claims on any victory.

    7) THIS is actually what I have said about you, and why I feel your argument lacks strength and context. You say all the above applies only if we don’t win. Why? Either there are issues with the running of the club or there aren’t. So basically all you are arguing about is a lack of trophies. As long as you have that, you’ll accept everything that, in your view, is wrong with the club. The ticket prices, the ridiculousness of giving up leads, trotting out of excuses, the lies about Vermaelen’s injury status..ALL of it would be forgotten if we win the league? And you hold that a virtue??

    I’ll say this now without any doubt. You are arguing what direction the club should take ONLY on the basis of a lack of trophies. You do not care about the context of our last few years. You do not care about our achievements both off and on the field these last few years. You do not care about anything in fact, other than winning trophies. In effect, the obsession with the shiny glory that trophies bring, have blinded you to all that is RIGHT with our club. And without appreciating the rights, you cannot argue the wrongs.

  37. Shard
    March 18, 2011 at 11:00 pm #

    @nija bloke

    Firstly, Denilson didn’t even play that match. That alien tactic that you mention actually kept us ahead in the tie and was suited to taking advantage of our demonstrated ability to finish games stronger than them, and should also show a few people that wenger is open to changing his tactics. (or, conversely, that the team is capable of adapting when things do not go to plan) To say we didn’t put in effort in the last 10 minutes discounts the fact that we defended for our lives against a very very good side for almost all of the time, with the previous 25 mins (plus the last 10 mins) with a man down, and that we could only bring on 2 outfield players because of the injury to our goalkeeper. Add to that the number of matches that we’ve played since December, and you can see that the team gave EVERYTHING in that match. they left it all out on that field. No one can ask for more. As for the rules of the game bit, is it your contention that the sending off of RVP was justified?

  38. Nija Bloke
    March 18, 2011 at 11:26 pm #

    @ Shard, Sorry, Denilson should have read Rosicky. You got me wrong though. What l said was the input made by us in the last ten minutes if applied from the moment RVP was sent off wud have made the result different. Our boys esp Jack pressed the opposition as best they cud in those last ten minutes ans cud hav qualified if B52 had taken that glorious chance. If you recall, almost the same thing happened against Newcastle. At 4-2 our boys sat back and decided to soak up pressure (again smthg we aint too good at) until it was 4-4. At that point they came out to play the Arsenal game and also almost scored but like in the Nou Camp it was too late. You don’t chnage a tactic for the sake of it , u use your comparative advantage and Arsenal’s is to attack the opposition.
    On RVP’s sending off, one thing Arsenal fans fail to address is his first yellow card. Why did he have to earn such a cheap first yellow? It was avoidable by all standards. Now the second yellow is a question of the ref’s discretion. I personally felt the ref shud hv been lenient but that doznt take away the fact that an offence was commited. RVP saying he cudnt hav heard the whistle is debatable and truth is ONLY him knows the truth. But based on the rules of the game, it was a bookable offence!

  39. Shard
    March 18, 2011 at 11:33 pm #

    @nija bloke

    http://www.whoateallthepies.tv/kits/66795/barcelona-offer-fifa-new-snood-alternative.html

    Please refer to this for why RVP picked up the yellow card.

  40. Shard
    March 18, 2011 at 11:43 pm #

    @nija bloke

    For the second yellow, you say the ref should have been lenient, but that an offense was committed, based on the rules of the game. Messi did the exact same thing a little later. No yellow card. Messi committed an intentional handball. No yellow card. the rules of the game were not so strictly enforced throughout the game. (as evidenced by the link above too)

    Besides, the rules, or laws, are not just what they state. Jurisprudence requires the rules to be applied in letter AND in spirit. The referee failed in his duty as an arbiter of the game by giving that yellow card. And the fact that it was totally out of character with the rest of his performance, shows that this was not a discretion that was fairly practiced, nor that can be anticipated. Especially as the ‘offense’ itself came one second after the whistle, with the ball once kicked rebounding off the advertisement boards almost into the GK’s hands.

  41. Nija Bloke
    March 18, 2011 at 11:48 pm #

    @ Shard. Your link doznt provide the reason for RVP’s first yellow, jus the incidents leading up to it. Now my question to you is if a crime was not punished in the first instance, does it make it right then for you to go on and commit a similar crime? And l give you the answer; a comprehensive NO! RVP allowed the frustrations of this earlier incident to get the better part of him after the game had restarted and lashed out at Alves’s face when he was in not a too good position to win the ball. That was what earned him the first yellow. Go watch the match again if in doubt.

  42. Shard
    March 18, 2011 at 11:49 pm #

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CA41zz2WGc

    Plus Barcelona have done THIS before.. So why should any striker stop while he has a chance at goal to confirm whether the flag is raised??

  43. Shard
    March 18, 2011 at 11:55 pm #

    @Nija bloke

    I’m not saying RVP’s reaction was ideal. It was understandable. If the referee takes no action for what is a red card offense when it happens right in front of him, then players often do react. It’s called standing up for yourself if someone like Rooney does it.. Anyway, since we’re calling a spade a spade over here, I will say that the referee in that match had an agenda to see Barca through. I see no other explanation for his performance. It is not an attempt to make excuses for our loss. It is for me, the only explanation that makes any sense.

    But my pride for our performance is separate from that contention anyway.

  44. 1NilToTheArsenal
    March 19, 2011 at 2:35 am #

    @Shard,
    Your erudite and informed posts beg the question, why don’t you have your own blog? Or perhaps you do? I can’t defend RvP on this one, though. He’s one of the best strikers in the world on one of the very best teams on the planet and just ought to know better. I had a few straight reds in my playing days and plenty of yellows, but I was NEVER booked for a 2nd transgression. Not once. A yellow is a warning. Suck it up or your guys are down to 10. I found other ways to let down my team, but that’s a whole other subject!
    It’s that lack of mental fortitude and discipline that’s killing us right now. We need what Wilshire and Fabregas have x 11. Until we approach that level we will never fulfill our potential. Let’s see what the next 10 games bring.

    1NTTA

  45. Chris M
    March 19, 2011 at 2:46 am #

    Oy all, I wrote up a little preview of the big match this weekend:
    http://theproudgooner.blogspot.com/2011/03/west-bromich-albion-preview-nothing-but.html

    Give it a read. I talk about-
    -Favorite starting XI
    -Predicted scoreline
    -A wee bit of tactics
    -Lehmann
    -Miquel
    -Other stuff!

    Come on, give it a try!
    http://theproudgooner.blogspot.com/2011/03/west-bromich-albion-preview-nothing-but.html

  46. Ianinja
    March 19, 2011 at 4:47 am #

    @Ian Botannic Gooner
    Mate what do you grow in your garden? Will it lead me to the double rainbow………….
    …..

    ..
    .

  47. realistic_gooner
    March 19, 2011 at 6:16 am #

    @shard

    We can play well and still lose granted. But as I pointed out before, these kind of losses reflect in the ‘freak results’ category. Statisticians call them ‘deviations’. Whats consistent, however, is we constantly throw away games from a good position. This obviously affects our chances of a trophy. And many times, we never stood up to be counted with a good performance anyway when it mattered most. So what was your point again about playing to the best of our talent and ability? Did we even do it most of the time?

    1) So you think that we’re overachieving already? Ok fair enough. I’d hold up my hands and say we cant splurge 50m outright on a Fernando Torres. But pls don’t tell me we don’t have the spending power to buy at least a couple of players better to strengthen in key areas and at crucial times. We have one of the highest wage bills around, and our stadium prices are exorbitant, so don’t tell me we’re peasants because we aint (The majority of your excuses for Wenger and the board and the paucity of trophies seem to centre around the pillar of ‘financial restrictions’ btw. Im not sure I buy that).

    What changes do I want? Simple. Ship out the overrated dross (we all know who they are) Wenger’s been trumping up; that’ll free up some cash to buy players of better quality and worthy of the shirt. I hope I don’t need to go into specific players here; anyone following AFC games seriously would know what I’m talking about unless you’re truly blinkered and would rather blame misfortune or reffing decisions for failure to perform. Stop the sabotage of potential signings all because of stinging on a couple of pounds (Mark Schwarzer comes to mind).

    2) You say you’re with me here on this point. And that weaknesses have persisted FAR TOO LONG. Now who selects the team? Who places, or misplaces faith in players? Now we’re not talking about one or two seasons, but 4 or 5 long seasons, and many of the problems are still around. Many of the culpable players are no longer as young as you might imagine btw. You asked what should be done about it? Well, maybe u shld ask Wenger first. He’s being paid millions to solve those problems, not me.

    I also find it funny that you constantly sweep my points under the carpet of ‘Financial Restriction’. So something shld be done but Wenger can’t because the poor guy is restricted by finances? How about clearing out the deadwood for a change? How about not pegging average footballers to long term contracts? That would sure free up some funds. Also, you’ve not addressed my point on the manager failing to inspire his charges. Whether he uses the hairdryer or not, one things clear: The lack of motivation and belief that permeates through the squad like a cancer. Its been the case for YEARS. Now, you tell me whether Wenger’s truly ‘overachieved’ like what you like to say.

    3) Fair point on Vermaelen. Having watched the interview, I must say Wenger’s comments can be interpreted one way or the other. Im gonna give him the benefit of the doubt for this one. However, if the truth was that he never expected Verm to be fit and refused to buy, then he truly was negligent. As is his constant reliance of players who obviously do not have the talent or heart to play for Arsenal to tide us over our injury issues.

    4) Injury problems are not simplistic. Guess what? Nuclear science isnt either. Either way, folks are being PAID (good money) to sort it out. And if they cant, someone else should take over. And if you think its reasonable that it took Wenger the whole of 5 seasons to recognise this as a chronic problem when we were crying out for solutions 3 yrs ago, then its pointless to go on debating because its obvious that you bend over backwards to make excuses for the man.

    5) Yes, I understand we’re in transition. But as mentioned above, Im not convinced we’re paupers because of the transition. The board has reiterated there are funds available. Wenger himself has come out on occasion to say he could splash the cash but chose not to because he believes the current crop are good enough (has he been proven right on this yet?). Now if we have money to strengthen but choose not to year after year, and as a result we choke every time, who’s to blame??

    6+7) I’ll address these 2 points together because they’re connected. Ok I didnt make myself clear in my earlier post. Far from your assertion that I’d forgive all things if we win the league this season, I’d still be questioning Wenger and his decisions (its possible to win in spite of him and not because of him).

    What I meant to say in my earlier post was, let’s observe what happens at the end of the season. I’m not calling for questions and concerns to be raised NOW. We still have a league to play for, and ASSUMING we don’t win it, the usual ‘hymn sheet’ excuses will be trotted out again. THATS WHEN we have to start seriously pondering the points i raised in my earlier post instead of singing from the same hymn sheet like MINDLESS SHEEP, year after year. And if we do win the league (the least we should do in my reckoning, given the favourable conditions), then I’ll be the first to tell Wenger “Well Done, but don’t repeat same mistakes that you made the past 5 seasons for next season”. In which case my points will be irrelevant since the ‘hymn sheet’ will not be rolled out.

    Lastly, Shard, you don’t know anything about me, so don’t presume you do. Yes, I do covet trophies but so do you I’m sure. And Im not blind to many aspects of our club that’s being done well. We’re financially sound and have a long term plan. Wenger deserves credit for that. All I’m saying is that if not for Wenger’s stubborness and mistakes (obvious to many gooners except a small minority like yourself), I feel we could have gotten more out of the past 5 barren seasons. And its this same stubborness that I feel will hold the club back in the long term if he continues AS MANAGER. I’m not slating his achievements and his attributes; just saying maybe they should reconsider his role at the club. Promote Wenger to Director of Football, let him manage the finances, academy, club vision etc since these seems to be his forte. But get in a world class manager who’s forte is MANAGING the team and WINNING TROPHIES.

    FOREVER ARSENAL FC

    Realistic_Gooner

  48. realistic_gooner
    March 19, 2011 at 6:40 am #

    Having said a whole load of those ‘negative, hateful’ things, let me just qualify by saying we should support the team unequivocally, like what Shard, Nijia Bloke and others have mentioned. Esp now that we’re in with a genuine chance of winning the league. Those points i threw out earlier are just food for thought for every gooner. Playing devil’s advocate if you like. COYG!

  49. GUNNER_forever
    March 19, 2011 at 9:05 am #

    we don’t seem to have the killer instinct of the team of henry,pires,viera,ljunberg,etc. Also,once if a player gets injured, v don’t seem to have able replacements.see our midfield.fabregas and song get injured and we get denilson and diaby as replacements!diaby is not good.he is easily losing the ball.its time for Wenger to sell few players and buy some.

  50. Shard
    March 19, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    @realistic_gooner

    I do not think your comments are ‘hateful’. In fact they are not even overly ‘negative’. I just think that you fail to put them in a proper context. And hence fail to see the larger picture if you will.

    You say we consistently throw away games from a good position. I do not know how much of that is actually true. It’s mostly your ‘feeling’. Again. I do not say that it doesn’t happen. But when you in the earlier posts gave examples of a farcical display, you listed 5 examples of matches. Of which I agreed with 3. Now if you add a lack of bottle into that same argument, I could maybe agree with 4. (though a more accurate description of it would be the ‘deviation’ as you call it)

    Go back and read my point. I did not say we are overachieving. I said we have overachieved in the past. When the likes of Cesc, Denilson, Song etc were all a few years younger, it was an overachievement to finish 4th. Nothing to feel very happy about, but still an overachievement. Our stadium debt also peaked in 2008 (i think). the year that we challenged for the trophy and at the end of which the likes of Flamini couldn’t agree a new contract and Hleb liked his ice cream a little too much.. Coupled with Rosicky’s injury that meant that at a time when our debts were at their highest level, we had to basically rebuild our entire midfield. As for us being peasants, we certainly aren’t. But we do have to manage our finances (while competing with clubs who either don’t have to, or simply don’t)
    Cash being available doesn’t mean you spend it on what is an asset that in accounting terms will only depreciate. In a sense, players aren’t really assets at all. They are liabilities. They cost you money to buy, and even more money to keep, and contracts running down only means their value depreciates, and they can pretty much up sticks and leave when they feel like, contracts notwithstanding. On top of that bringing in a player, no matter how expensive or how talented, is no guarantee of improvement in the team’s performance. What I’m detailing here, are the inherent risks that are there in running a football club. Finances are not an excuse. They are the basis of a club’s existence. No matter how mundane or hypothetical they may seem. Football does not exist only on the pitch. Do you really think ManU would have won all those titles in the 90s if they did not have a financial advantage over the rest of the pack?

    Your solutions of shipping out the overrated dross ignores the fact that if they are such dross, then who would buy them. It also doesn’t say which these players who are fit to wear the shirt will come from and on what basis will they be considered more fit without having played for us. And Wenger trumping up players is not an indication that he is blind to their flaws and deficiencies. There is a difference between public statements and true beliefs, and no, that does not constitute lying. If Wenger had said that our players aren’t good enough for the title yet, and that we’ll need time, what motivation would the players have to perform at all? We wouldn’t even have finished 4th. Keeping the faith in certain players has been misplaced, and very much the opposite in others. He wasn’t right about all of them, but to focus on only the ones that he hasn’t been proved right about, is churlish and ignores his limitations to act. The same financial restrictions that you malign as an excuse. Address the points about how to offload the players, and on what basis would you identify the players who will be better, and how they will be payed for, and you will have presented a valid, irrefutable argument. Though you STILL would not have shown how Wenger should have known for a fact that these players would not develop like some of the others have.

    As for the stinginess about a couple of pounds. I believe I have addressed that before. If you pay 20 m for a player who’s real worth is 10m. You pay 10m extra which you can afford. So no biggie right? Except now, whenever you go in for any player, that is the comparative scale you will be judged on. If so and so was worth 20m, our player is worth at least 15m, and so on. You’ll lose those 10m or near about on EVERY transfer. Which you cannot afford. (the same logic applies to player contracts as well)

    Phew…and that was just in response to the 1)

    2) I do say certain weaknesses have persisted too long (not 4 or 5 seasons as you allege though) Now I would look back and think back and try and refute that but I can’t make that effort really, especially because I think it is incumbent on you to say what weaknesses have been there for that long, and give me examples of it being a repetitive and persistent issue. And the keeping faith in players part has already been addressed by me above. As has been the clearing out the deadwood/dross and the financial restriction bit.

    3)You agree about the Vermaelen bit, and then you raise a different issue which you have already raised in both the points above. So no comment on this one.

    4) The point about injuries and nuclear science both being complicated. What does that mean apart from an attempt to be witty? There is absolutely no correlation. As for the rest, I tried finding a record of our injuries over the last few seasons, but couldn’t. I do not believe that it’s been 5 seasons of it being the same. As I recall this would be the 3rd season that we have seen an extraordinarily high number of injuries. The first season can be put off as a freak occurence (especially when you consider the broken legs, a small squad, and other players having to cover in their absence and hence being overworked) The second season is when it became apparent that this was an issue. The club did start examining training regimes, diet and such stuff. At the start of this season we put those GPS trackers on the players to monitor the level of stresses they go through in training. At the time, the club did say that this won’t be a quick fix because data needs to be compiled on each player and their specific response to stress. Anyway, if you think that the same level of injury problems have been there for 5 seasons then please tell me how. I do not believe that is the case though.

    5) I have addressed this point before. Not just in this post but throughout in my conversations with you.

    6+7) It was not MY assertion that you’d forgive all those issues if we won the league. That was all you.. As for the ‘it is possible for the league to be won in spite of him rather than because of him’…HA!.. Theoretically anything is possible. But if the players are such dross as you like to point out, then over a 38 game season, pray tell me how it can be in spite of the manager?

    At this point you change YOUR previous assertion about the points applying only if we don’t win the league. You’ll say to Wenger to not repeat the same mistakes as the past 5 seasons, by which presumably you mean the ones on the ‘hymn sheet’, which the ‘minority’ like myself follow like ‘mindless sheep’. You really think this lends weight to your arguments? Again, I have tried to not refute, but present to you an environment in which your points exist. Your contention of all of that just being excuses, a hymn sheet etc, actually weakens your arguments.
    I do not presume to know anything about you. In fact I do not doubt that you are a true Arsenal fan, and will be a lifelong supporter. I did not cast aspersions on you personally, only on the basis of your arguments. You have certain valid points. You however fail to look at the other side of the coin, as evidenced by your repetition of the same points you hold, while referring to the opposed points as simply excuses. Try and look at the merits and demerits of both sides of the argument and only then do you get the complete picture. You could still contend that Wenger’s faults override his achievements. But at this moment, the only overriding factor in your mind is the lack of a trophy, which blinds you to the rest, and prevents you from presenting your case in its proper context, in a reasoned or logical manner. There are gaps in your theory which you fill at your convenience. I do not believe I will change your mind in this regard, simply because I feel that even despite your attempts to be reasonable and logical, your world view, as regards Arsenal, is limited to the trophy cabinet at this moment.

  51. Shard
    March 19, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    @1NTTA

    LOL. Much as I appreciate your appreciation, I do not believe I’m capable of having my own blog. I’m not much of an original thinker, and need the bouncing off of ideas with others to express my feelings. Thank you for the sentiment though 🙂

    If you do not agree about RVP then that is your right. Because that is entirely a subjective matter.In my view though, that 2nd yellow was undeserved and could not be anticipated by Robin anyway. I think a lot of the feeling that he shouldn’t have kicked the ball comes from the camera angle that we saw it from, and that we could see the flag go up. And while it can be debated that Robin had seen the flag too, it can be argued that he was only focussed on the ball, as strikers are taught to do. Even if he had seen the flag(which I’m not sure about), I still think that the referee was entirely wrong to give a second yellow for it. It makes no sense, neither in isolation, nor in light of the rest of his performance. As I said before (and suprisingly didn’t get pulled up on) I think the referee in that match was acting on the basis of an agenda to put Barca through. I also know that most likely such an allegation will not go down well, and also the Messi penalty appeal will be pointed to, but I have looked at that match 3 times, and I have come to regard it as being the only possible logical explanation.

  52. Joakim Löf
    March 19, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    I DO think this thing with Vermaelen is an important one. Most teams would think they would like to try to recruit some of our offensive players, even the one’s who rarely play like Vela, but our defensive players except for the first-teamers are not very sought after. Wenger has an unbalanced team with too much emphasis on offensive players. It’s obvious we really struggle without Song, Vermaelen and now Djourou is out too. Now our title hopes rest on Ramsey or Denilson stepping up and Squillaci becoming consistent.

  53. delano
    March 19, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    Guys we should worry more about the faith put in Rosicky and Diaby than any thing else. We have not won a game this season when Rosicky has started neither even comming on late since this year begun . The best we can do is a draw. Has any one noticed that statistic. The guy is out of sorts and a total disgrace this whole season. Diaby whom i think is Wengers son has been diabolical throughout. Am happy that he is injured. Get rid of Rosicky play either Ramsey or B52 or even Eboue but not rosicky. Denilson much as he has been average i have no blame for him since he hasnt gotten first team football. He is always a second choice. I wonder why some fans criticise Vela . This kid is supper good and just hasnt gotten enough games to judge him. He is always brought in when the team is loosing or has already lost. But as long as Rosicky is not there we shall win. He was the same suspect route at Newcastle. Look at the Barca game and tell me how he helped. Look at the Carling cup. He is just a total mess. I hope this is his last season. Enough of mediocrity. We are winning the title though as we expect a favour from Liverpool and Toten ham is beatable due to many games and their C/L ambitions. Afterall Rednapp has already conceeded.

  54. Nicholas
    March 19, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    @ Joakim Löf – I actually like the fact that team is a bit unbalanced towards the attack rather than the other way – I know it may sound weird at this point. I just love the way we play forward when the game works. What I am worried regarding defence is not necessarily the quality of the players, but the team’s strategy and tactical movement at times. For example in the last game against Man Utd there wasn’t any sort of cover on the flanks and Sagna was going forward way too often. I agree that it’s necessary in order to put pressure on the other team but a good counterattack will break us to pieces.

    Another concern I have is with our second choice for attack, namely Bendtner and Chamack who don’t step up to fully take Van Persie’s role when he isn’t there. It’s all a personal opinion, but I think the best defense is attack and that it’s a play style that fits us quite well, that would justify the imbalance. Of course it doesn’t mean we should forget about defending, but if we would be as sharp as we – or Wenger wants – attacking, then our defensive weaknesses wouldn’t come up front so easily.

    @ delano – One of the things that bugged me this whole season was that I couldn’t really find a reason for Rosicky not finding his shape. He started really well, I remember that because I watched him carefully, he was one of my favourite players in the squad and it seemed that he would really make a difference this season. And then I just don’t know what happened, maybe he was sidelined a few consecutive matches, he just didn’t get back really. I may sound like an incurable optimist here, but I still have some faith left, I feel that our Little Mozart is still there somewhere and I would be one of the happiest fans to see him shine again.

    As for Denilson, I’ve criticised him for a couple of months I think and I said to myself that I will stop doing that in what could be considered a hateful manner. As for Diaby being like Wenger’s son, I think I could understand at times why. On a good day he is really great, I was amazed not this season, but the last one, of how good his controll over the ball was, he had vision, he was a really good dribbler (I hope this is the right word to use), there is a ton of potential there, the way I see it – and not only I, as far as I could see on the comments on this blog. Unfortunately, he will need time to get over those injuries, he will need to constantly play so as far as these next 10 matches go, I fear using him will be a gamble. We’ll gamble with a lot of things though, so heck, it might be inevitable.

  55. leftcoastgooner
    March 19, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

    Having lost a weeks wage on a 2 goal gunner win at 33/1 last week, I’ve got a fiver on it with the kid next door who hardly follows footy but thinks (and I quote) “Big time Meltdown Dude” He’ gets his new from ESPN in ten second burst which I think is about twice his attention span. Thinking of which it looks like Squillaci though I had hoped for the rookie Miqel.
    Seb makes a good wage it’s time to earn some.
    Well, 20 minutes to go let the nail biting begin.
    Come on You Gunners!!!!!!!

  56. voley_gun
    March 19, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Agree with you totally except that we got defeated due to a decision crisis with Barcelona rather than lack of commitment to push or die for the winning situation.I pray to God that some bit of luck or spell to happen in the team to make them win premier league.This team desperately needs a confidence of a cup to step up for the next level.Our boys should start thinking professionally , that results matter at the end.

  57. jet
    March 19, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    a goal for wba in 3 minutes? it’s getting harer and harder to pretend the season will turn out well.

  58. maltagooner
    March 19, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

    Last time I looked we were losing to WBA – again! How can the above bloggers keep hoping that we can ever win anything with this bunch of losers. I won’t even bother to watch the rest; i know how it will end with another loss but AW praising his players for trying (!!) so hard and being unlucky. Time to move on, Wenger – you have wasted too much of our hopes already!

  59. Nicholas
    March 19, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

    Now if this, today, isn’t humiliating, I don’t know what passes as such nowadays.

  60. leftcoastgooner
    March 19, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

    The rooskey scores.
    Not quite going for the billfold.
    But I know where it is.
    One thing I have in common with the gloom & doomers
    Squillaci,Denilson and almunia must go!

  61. leftcoastgooner
    March 19, 2011 at 5:43 pm #

    A wonderful,scrappy,shitty goal!
    Is 3 too much to ask?
    Evans sent off for ManU(re).
    My God, Squillacci just saved the GOAL!!!
    WTF????

  62. voley_gun
    March 19, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

    A draw . One down 9 to go. Same old story of no silverware this season has started to haunt

  63. NotGoonerGloat
    March 19, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

    Beware the bloody Ides of March! Bloody hell!

  64. NotGoonerGloat
    March 19, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

    Does this mean every team that beat us at home we will draw with away?

  65. Mike
    March 19, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    Here’s what I was going to write at half time:

    ‘Arsenal = geldings.’

    I am so glad that I don’t pay any of my hard earned cash to see Arsenal play against teams like the mighty West Bromwich Albion or Birmingham City or indeed any team. Man Utd win against 10 men. Can you Arsenal doing that? Of course not. All I can expect is Arsenal throwing away a two goal lead against Spurs (three points gone) and a four goal lead against Newcastle (two points gone), beaten today by Super Stoke. No team can fear Arsenal and with good reason. They aren’t very good.

    Was it really so freaky that Arsenal lost the League Cup final? Or were beaten by Barcelona? No. It was all so sadly predictable. It was the same with MUFC’s second team. I tuned in for a laugh. I got it. What a giggle we had during that match. Oh, how we laughed !

    Two goals down to WBA is not on. Only managing a draw is unforgiveable. Time for some players and management to go? Or fellow bloggers, lower your expectations of the clapped out Arsenal.

    Or perhaps Arsenal’s crapness is because some players are in the pay of others? Betting scandal on the cards at Arsenal Football Club? How can so many talented players play like shit match in, match out. No evidence whatsoever, but who knows what may emerge?

    Arsenal = geldings.

  66. Nija Bloke
    March 19, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

    Now, no one should come on here and tell me crap about this match being of one point gained. Just look @ Man U; with a man down they still end up increasing the lead. Why can’t our boys have such dogged spirit. Well, yesterday it was ten matches to go. Today its just nine and pliz spare me the “game in hand” song cos until the match is played and won it counts for little or nothing at this rate. End of rant

  67. Demonhead
    March 19, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    Just so much pain yet the realization that there have been so many moments in this season that we just haven’t grasped comes back to remind me that this isn’t particularly new.. I really believe that somethings gotta give next season.. I have no more expectations left for this season – the injuries are our perennial deterrent to mount any serious challenge.. I wish everyone lays off individual blame as it is obvious to every single one of us.. We just need to bottle up the frustration and believe that we will finally learn the lesson of why experience eventually matters if our focus is on a trophy.. I will trust Wenger to make the right calls in the next transfer window and look forward to the next season.. Mark my words – Somethings gotta give soon – the tipping point has arrived.. No point anyone losing the plot now.. Take a deep breath.. Let it be.. The joy that will come when we finally DO win will just be unparelled.. Place your trust in that anticipation..

  68. leftcoastgooner
    March 19, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    If this draw means that we see the back of Denilson,Squillacci and Almunia it would be a well dropped 2 points.
    But if it means we go on with the same non-achievers, I don’t know.
    I guess it could have been worse.
    But did you notice ManU(re) won with 10?
    THAT”S the difference between us & them.
    Come on gunners,close-up,move on.
    @Jet and Maltagooner, I’m a hopeful person and never give up type I guess.
    It’s really the only way to be when things aren’t going particularly well…
    …like now, for instance. Did anyone notice if Le Boss took notice?

  69. MTY
    March 19, 2011 at 6:51 pm #

    A.L.M.U.N.I.A ……….. what a joke!

  70. MTY
    March 19, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

    Points dropped against SUNDERLAND= 4, WBA= 5 & NEWCASTLE= 5. Total lost = 14. With just a little effort in these games, we would have been out of sight by now!

  71. Lil- Weezy
    March 19, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    Denilson should start every game I think, terrific performance from him as always !! Way to go Wenger.. Way to go…

  72. Morgan
    March 19, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

    I didn’t see the game, but this team blows. Yes, I am a gunner fan.

  73. Nicholas
    March 19, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

    this way we’re only gonna get ourselves in a new pile of sh*; it we don’t win against these smaller teams, we will HAVE TO win against the strong ones, against Liverpool, Tottenham, Man Utd, it will only be another layer of pressure on the team, and those morons from the media, oh, they all know how we fall under pressure; the stupid thing though – I fear – will be that again, they’ll have the proof they need.
    @ MTY – 14 points indeed, and that’s why the guy who said that you win the championship against the smaller teams is right, maybe we’ll learn that for the next season 😐
    @ Lil-Weezy – LOL, class A sarcasm

  74. realistic_gooner
    March 19, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    @shard

    First, don’t assume I don’t look at the big picture, or weigh the merits vs demerits because I do. However, I just do not come to the same conclusions as you. Not sure many Gooners do. Was having a discussion with some Gooners during the WBA game, and many agreed that Wenger should be sacked if the team bottles the league this season. You say it shows in the way I constantly repeat my points, guess what? So do you. LOL

    You also said I fail to ‘present my points in a reasoned and logical manner’ and that there are ‘gaps in my theory’. On whose basis? Yours? Care to enlighten me on what the gaps on my theory might be? Ok fair enough, it may seem that way to you. You’re entitled to your opinion. But I don’t recall having made any condescending remarks towards any of your posts or points; instead I have tried to address your points the best I could. So I don’t really see why you need to do that.

    Also, please stop assuming that my world view is limited only to the trophy cabinet. I find that extremely insulting btw. Again, have I ever painted you as a diehard AKB who bends over backwards to give excuses for Wenger? No. I have my personal opinion on that but I’ll let others judge for themselves. Look, trophies are one thing, but what I see as mismanagement is another. I can live without trophies but what I cannot tolerate are players not giving their all for the shirt, players who have no motivation and fighting spirit, and above all, a manager who allows all these to happen time after time, and sometimes even rewarding the aforementioned undeserving players with starts and new contracts.

    Im not interested in my theory being proven right, neither do I take pleasure when the team fails just so I can say “There I told you so”. Far from it. What I’m only interested in is getting rid of bad practises and fixing the problems we have at the moment, so that THE CLUB CAN PROGRESS TO GREATER HEIGHTS.

    Anyway, as i’ve said before, you’re entitled to your opinions, and I to mine. Lets just agree to disagree from henceforth.

  75. baltazar
    March 19, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

    I didnt see the game but i’ll just blame Denilson

  76. realistic_gooner
    March 19, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

    Just came back from seeing the game; cracking game it was but the result was disappointing.

    My thoughts:

    1) What in the world was Almunia doing for that second goal???

    2) Thought Chamakh had a great game, we looked much more threatening when he came on. Good pass that set up Arshavin to make it 2-1.

    3) What a good goal by the Owl. He’s been getting some stick but I always maintain Arshavin is a world class player who has the innate abiity to conjure up magic.He played well and I truly hope he can replicate the form he showed when he first came. Really miss those long range thunderbolts he scored against Pool and Man U.

    3) Denilson, as usual was dire, but I found it interesting that Wenger saw it fit to sub him at half time. He usually waits about the 60+ min mark to make his changes. Couple that with throwing on Bendtner for Rambo (has he ever used all 3 strikers at once before??) shows you how important a game it was to him.

    4) Ramsey did ok but was clearly not 100% fit. So glad to see he’s back and running. Gotta love his courage and spirit to recover from that awful injury. He’ll be an important player for us in years to come.

  77. leftcoastgooner
    March 19, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

    @Realistic: What is Almunia ever doing?
    Bendtner, whom I so liberally bad-mouthed last year is trying at least and Chamahk made a big difference also. Did anybody checkout the 4-4-2 look we sported out of sheer desperation? Is this the beginnings of a plan “B”?
    Truly Wenger must be desperate to actually try something different.
    Thinking of different since the season is too far gone to trade,sell or loan Denilson
    could we give him an orange windbreaker and make him a steward?
    Why do I see pitch invasions as our next big problem?

  78. Roberto
    March 19, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

    I stil think that our big problem remains in defense , not mutch experience.

  79. vishrut
    March 19, 2011 at 10:21 pm #

    we cant win the Barclays premier league if we continue to drop points; childhood defending what is ALMUNIA doing????
    we have to get our defence right,
    Look at MAN UNTD they won today and they were down to 10 men. Well no matter what happens WENGER has to get it right till the end of the season.

  80. leftcoastgooner
    March 19, 2011 at 11:01 pm #

    @baltazar
    Spot-on mate. but you forgot All moonia and squidiki
    See, it pays to watch.

  81. tom
    March 20, 2011 at 12:45 am #

    Wenger’s failure to address the defensive and goalkeeper problem while having the money is Gross Negligence and he should be sacked for it. He is the manager and it is his sworn duty to do everything in his power to try to win. Plain and simple he is not doing that. I’m a die hard Gunner fan but I’d rather see Arsenal be a mid table team with some fight and pride than see this perennial collapse when the going gets tough and have my beloved club by the joke of football. It’s ridiculous that we can’t win a header. The players deserve to win a trophy. Wenger does not. This saddens me. If I were the agent of any of the good Arsenal players I would advise them to leave. Wenger will never win anything until he recognizes you need veteran leadership and defence and a strong goalkeeper to win.

  82. Dennis10
    March 20, 2011 at 1:33 am #

    How is struggling to draw a winnable game a show of mental strength? Or has the meaning been changed without our knowledge? Red nose team is down to 10, and they win. They lack key players, and they win. Weird.

  83. leftcoastgooner
    March 20, 2011 at 2:10 am #

    @Dennis 10
    Come on Denny we know,you know Wenegelese.
    What he meant was we could have easily conceded a third goal and it was an act of sheer determination not to.

  84. dennis10
    March 20, 2011 at 3:31 am #

    Ah! Wengelese. Good one leftcoastgooner. This in addition to the five languages he already speaks!

  85. Ianinja
    March 20, 2011 at 4:06 am #

    @Tom

    Your avatar is a gross negligence……

    😛

  86. chris
    March 20, 2011 at 7:09 am #

    where is GUNNERBOSS? Where has he disappeared? He whopromised that Arsenal will win something more then just THE EMIRATES CUP….i told u guys i’ll have the last laugh didn’t i?

  87. Shard
    March 20, 2011 at 8:16 am #

    @realistic_gooner

    Ya. I agree.. And we do have common ground after all.. I apologise if I offended you. That was not my intention at all.

    As for the match yesterday, I saw it on a jumpy internet stream and hence I’m not totally sure what to make of it. I pretty much agree with all you say though. Arshavin’s goal was very well taken and I think he showed a desire to win. I also think that while the defense will be slaughtered again (and with good reason), we didn’t show much in attack either. We seem to coast a bit and hope a goal will come our way, UNTIL we go behind and feel we need it.. Even in the match against ManU, Arshavin ran straight at their RB with real intent, just after they had scored. Why can’t it be the same from the off?? Somehow though, I’m not totally deflated by the result yesterday. Maybe it’s that I see the comeback as a sign that we’ve thrown off some of the demons that were bothering us, or it’s just that supporting this team is a tiring job and I’m just drained.

    Weird to think though that the title is STILL in our hands. If we win all our games we’ll be champions. One thing that has been said a lot, I think is wrong, is that we have the easier run in.

    ManU:
    W.Ham A
    Fulham H
    Newcastle A
    Everton H
    Arsenal A
    Chelsea H
    Blackburn A
    Blackpool H

    Arsenal:
    Blackburn H
    Blackpool A
    Liverpool H
    Tottenham A
    Bolton A
    ManU H
    Stoke A
    A. Villa H
    Fulham A

    So discounting our match against each other, apart from Chelsea, ManU have very winnable fixtures. the only thing counting against them is their poor away form.

    For us, we face Liverpool at home, and travel to Spurs, Stoke and Bolton.. Not easy games at all. Away to Fulham can be tricky too, but if we need to win our last game to win the title then I think we’ll do it. Trick is staying in the race till then.

  88. Nicholas
    March 20, 2011 at 8:19 am #

    Wenger: “Mathematically, we [have] lost two points but psychologically we have won a point because when you are 2-0 down with 20 minutes to go, you are not to unhappy to come back.”
    Now, I may be defending Wenger from time to time, but this is just crap. You have to be realistical about this, I understand the need to encourage the players, but for 70 minutes we didn’t play a damn thing and our goals were thanks to Chamack and Arshavin’s individual skill and, to quote leftcoastgunner for the second one, “a wonderful,scrappy,shitty goal!”. And if overall the manger gets to the conclusion that after a game like that he is “proud of the spirit we have shown'” then to me it’s not ok. I hope he’s not telling them the same thing in the locker room. I would’ve been proud of this team’s spirit if it was 3-0 for us, we’re second in the league and they are – or were – near relegation zone.

  89. Shard
    March 20, 2011 at 8:34 am #

    @Nicholas

    Would you expect anything else from Wenger? He (almost) never criticises his players in public. Perhaps he should from time to time, but that is simply not his style. He knows the players better than we do, and his job is to get a performance out of them. Whether its through coaxing or criticising.. Where the frustration comes from is that it doesn’t seem to be working with some of the players. In any case, I didn’t expect him to say anything else to the media.

  90. Terry
    March 20, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    If Almunia and Squillaci aren’t on Manure’s payroll then they fucking might as well be. You can add Denilson to the list as well. How many cock ups do we have to have? Our defence without Djourou and Vermeulen is a complete joke. And without Fabregas we seem to be totally lacking in creativiity and speed of thought and play. I am feeling thoroughly depressed. Nine games to go and I can see us being caught by Man$ity and Chelski unless there is a major turn around. I don’t want Wenger to go but I do want him to face up to the inadequacies in our squad. We all know what they are – it’s not fucking rocket science.

  91. peter taylor
    March 20, 2011 at 10:39 am #

    rubbish really if we are honest !

    all season we have said the same thing-No cenral defender of quality
    I heard during the man u -bolton game that no body had approached Bollton during January with any interest in Cahill….
    Oh really –
    There is no Way we can win the premier league with this team.

  92. realistic_gooner
    March 20, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    @shard

    No worries mate. We may have differing viewpoints but we both want the best for the club. Now over to the game…

    Agree with you that we tend to coast leisurely at the start of games. Why do these players all decide to wait till the 70th min mark to start showing some real urgency to their play? This is something that we must address, and soon, if we want the title.

    Also the defence will surely come in for much stick after the 2 goals conceded last night, but I actually felt we did well for most part except for the slack marking on the first goal, and of course, Almunia’s antics for the 2nd goal. I thought the much criticised Squillaci actually had a decent game alongside Kos. We really need Song back soon to screen our defence. At the moment, I don’t see anyone really filling his role to great effect. We all know about Denilson (I think he’s lacking in motivation and probably has his heart on leaving the club), Diaby’s not really suited to that role either.

    There’s still plenty to play for however, and with a bit more consistency and mental fortitude, luck, coupled with the fact that Man U will now play Chelsea two more times in the CL (hopefully these games will really drain them), we may yet bring the title to the Emirates for the first time.

  93. Johnson Durbs
    March 20, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

    Arsenal. We play the beutiful football,. You dont need that to win the league. You need strikers who has the ball at his feet can only see the BACK of the NET, like Henry. Suddenly Bendtner thinks he is Ronaldo after scoring his HATRICK.,he wants 50K pounds. He could not put the ball in the BACK of the NET at Nou Camp..We should be still there in the Champions League despite 10 men and Cesc error. There is nobody that could score from 25.30,35,40.metres out. One we had Vermeulen, remember he scored about 8 goals with his strikes. As for Sanya, whenn he runs down the righ flank, he is 99.99% predictable, that he going to cross the ball for somebody to jump up and score. This even Chamak could not do, although he was Europes most profilic headed scored. I think he left his Head behind in Europe
    I say if there are unheard of strikers like “TOUH” or whatever his name, that is on loan from Spurs that forced a replay at LEYTON ORIENT, Why pay BENDTNER, ROSISKY 50K Pounds when this guy is not even earning 5K Pounds at L O. WE simplu dont have a player of this caliber, like even Beckham, who was lethal from a dead ball situation. I PRAY that ARSENE WENGER could think carefully before selecting BENDtNER or ROSISKY(So Risky) as potential goal scorers. They are shot in the blue.

  94. shambogunner
    March 20, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    Fisrt things first.
    Gunner_realist,
    I actually couldnt agree more with your points, you have managed to put across the way I feel in a much better manner than I am capable of, without frustation or over emotion, you my friend are spot on.
    Andy,
    Agree wholeheartedly with your article and it says something when a diehard optimist and true Arsenal fan such as yourself is resigned to an all to familiar fate. I think we all feel that way, I for one do not have the same energy or enthusiasm of late, I cant even be bothered to argue with idiot, generic Utd fans anymore when we go 1 down away to west brom, when we went 2-0 they didnt even seem bothered anymore either, they dont respect us, they EXCPECT us to bottle it.
    On the game, well I dont wanna go over old ground on the Almunias, Denilsons or Squillachis, I would though like to point out, with no satisfaction, that when I said these guys would cost us (and got berated for not being a true Arsenal fan) that I was right, now it doesnt mean Im right on everything else I give out about but maybe some of you should start asking more of the players and manager now and stop labelling fans doom and gloomers when the points being made are, and always have been, valid ones. Maybe you should question your own outlook and ask what is it you want for your team, and before you say it trophies are not what Im talking about.
    What I wanted used to be consistancy, now Iv re-evaluated where we are I just want to see progression, we are now outside the top 10 teams in Europe, and I may be being kind there, so I want to see the club, board AND manager make the changes to get us back to the level we should be at, these changes should have been made years ago but for the managers obsession with proving everyman and his dog wrong that this group are good enough.
    What are we to do if these changes arent introduced, are we to be left simmering with rage when a player like Gael Clichy who is firmly in the bracket of ‘give them time to mature’ is reluctant to sign a new contract after all he owes the club and especially the faitful and patient man in the stands, serioulsy how can any Arsenal fan not want to pull his hair out, Flamini, Nordveit and Merida are others, we are told when we fail to achieve that they are kids and need time to reach their peak, fat lot of good they are to us though if we lose them before they get there, we groomed Flamini for Milan, were grooming Fabregas for Barcelona, you have Diaby and Nasri talkin about wanting to play for Barce before the second leg, as we had with Adebayour also, we have players like Gallas and Toure leaving for rivals telling anyone who will listen that we have no heart or togetherness, we have a goalkeeper who cant goalkeep questioning the teams heart aganst Barce and then he goes and does that yesterday, we have a manager who uses the same ingedients every year but thinks the outcome will be different this time (true sign of madness by the way), his answer to our problems from last year were Sebastien Squillachi for 8M, and we have now asked a 43 year old ex player who hates Almunia to be our back up keeper….I could go on all day with the many things that are not right.
    But I will tell you the biggest thing that is wrong with Arsenal football club right now, from board to manager to players to coaches to fan.
    We all want teams to slip up for us the achieve, thats not success, the Bergkamps, Adams and Vieiras didnt cross their fingers and hope bolton would do us an unlikely favour at Old Trafford, they went out and won, they set targets and achieved.
    This has been the worst PL in years and its like no one wants to win it,a quite average Man Utd team are walking it because no one will fight them.
    We could still win it, but quite frankly I would be embarrassed after some of the results weve had this year, especially against the relegation battlers and newly promoted teams and if Im honest I think the far more realistic outcome is that Chelsea beat us to second.

  95. Shard
    March 20, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    @realistic_gooner

    Agree completely with your above post (funny how that works eh?) Squillaci did most things very well. Saved a sure goal too with the block, but was indecisive for the 2nd goal. Almunia contributed to that in no small part of course…Koscielny was very very good in my view..
    You’re right that we need Song to cover. No one else in the team is suited to that role. Hopefully with the break now, he’ll be back for the next game. Due to the jumpy stream I couldn’t really see how bad a game Denilson had, but as you say, and I’ve said too for a while, I think his head is gone, and the rest of him should and probably will follow.. When was the last time Wenger made an unforced change at half time, and even a second before the hour mark? I actually think he did well yesterday. And as I said, it’s either the comeback or that supporting this team is a draining, emotional rollercoaster, but I’m actually quite hopeful we’ll still come out on top, despite us having the tougher schedule in the league. I hope those Champions league games have the effect that you say. But if they get good wins in that tie, it might make them feel better about themselves and give them more confidence.

    @shambogunner
    Whether we deserve it or not doesn’t matter. If we win it, we deserve it. That’s the way it works. I can understand your fears, but I do have a feeling this team is different from some of the previous years’. I just have a feeling we have more of a resolve and determination. I think we need to come out each game and play like we did in the last 20 mins from the start.

  96. leftcoastgooner
    March 20, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

    @Terry Alumunia,Denilson and Squdiki Heretofore to be referred to as “Axis of Feeble”
    are actually on loan from ManU(re) This clever but discrete arrangement allows them to get valuable first team experience while we pay their wages.
    @shambogunner good to hear from you. But Jens is 41 and could chew the nails from inside his casket, claw his way to the surface and perform a better service as a goalkeeper than Almunia even if he were 141 and had been dead for a number of trophy-less decades.

  97. shambogunner
    March 20, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

    @leftcoast,
    Ha ha ha, your right on both counts my friend, that Sir alex sure is sneaky.

  98. kel
    March 20, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

    just saw chks beat city the new defender they bought look topdraw ,you get what u pay fir by the way chls are 2 points behind us now am sure were go ing to finish 3rd

  99. despondent_gooner
    March 20, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

    Almunia, fabianski, squillaci, koscielny, denilson, rosicky & bendtner = recipe for disaster. Until these 7 leave and are replaced by quality, arsenal will never win anything. I am selling my jersey’s. Cudnt care less about this team anymore.

  100. leftcoastgooner
    March 20, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

    Later dude, good luck.
    Why don’t you hook up with Chelsea or ManU you can always come back if they have a bad spell. (it could happen ya know).
    Cheers.

  101. Cisco de Tours
    March 21, 2011 at 1:35 am #

    @ despondent_gooner
    Your recipe needs the principal ingredient: “Arsenal Fans making a destructive atmosphere in gunner’s community”

    Don’t think about 6 years without a title let’s think in the immediate future….our team have 2 weeks to take a deep breath and recover their form.
    Our season resumes to mathematics:

    9 games are 27 points
    5 points behind MU (-1)
    100% efficacy
    ——————————
    Title

    I’m not good in math HOPE our players can teach me a litle….

  102. Terry
    March 21, 2011 at 3:18 am #

    Looking at the remaining fixtures I don’t think we have a prayer. The way we have played our last few games (in all comps) I am not confident that we can get three points against Spurs, Manure or Liverpool, and am not even confident we can beat Blackburn/pool. I hope I am wrong but the sense of deja vu is almost overwhelming. Still, on the positive front, I hoep Chelski and Manure kick the crap out of each other over two legs and extra time, Spuds get totally Ronaldoh’h and Man$ity can bore Manure to death in the Cup semi! It’s the dersion about our defensive cock ups that I find hard to take. How old is Martin Keown? Maybe he could pull the boots on again…

  103. leftcoastgooner
    March 21, 2011 at 4:21 am #

    @Terry
    I was just doing the same thing over at soccerway.com
    We have some winable games (like wba?)some tough ones and some really tough ones.
    My plan of attack goes like this. after I log off I’m going to have dinner and start the two week break with Godzilla versus the Smog monster. Work as usual M-F I’m not going to watch the game again or read any more footie blogs. Thursday before the game I’ll get back to the footie blogs and maybe watch a canned match to get ready. But to be a useful supporter for the run in I really need a break.It’s been what,21 days since the Carling cup final? It seems like a long old season ago. g’nite all.

  104. Gruggy
    March 21, 2011 at 8:21 am #

    I’ve coated myself in cotton wool, ready for the barrage from my Man-Poo supporting mates, and the wave of disappointment that will wash over me if we ultimately are not successful.

    This cotton wool isn’t permanent though, it can easily be ripped off if Cesc raises the trophy in nine games time 🙂

  105. delano
    March 21, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    Whata joke of football i have watched again.Witha trophy there for the taking and Almnia fumbles like that. Who on earth can give us an explanation for that goal apart from Wenger.Agood goalie earns his team 10 extra points like Vandesar has done. Has Almnia added for us or reducted even the least we gained. Am very sure Shezny would have deflected the pattern of that first Messi goal at Nuo camp unlike Almnia who was always flattened ready for slaughter. He is an embarrassment to a big club like Arsenal and am sure our rivals are always smiling when they see him in goal. As if finishing second this season is unbearable it will be catastrophic if Chelsea go past us.People say we are going to have a two week rest. But even our opponents will have the same and they will be more fresher. I pray V.persie is not called for international duty.Why on earth is Miguel not playing as our center half. He looked so composed and is within the same heights like Louise and comfortable on the ball. We must buy Chek tiote to replace Denilson and a striker of same caliber with Persie and not these mediocres in B52 and chamak. Fans is there any accountability for high ticket prices. Why should hard earned money be spent on fools like the management and Wenger in particular. We should boycott this nosense.

  106. imwaddle
    March 21, 2011 at 9:40 am #

    faith lost after i saw the wba game and then the fixture list.

    frankly when almunia is in goal you can expect something to go wrong with his decision making. lehmann’s form is in doubtful. squilaci reminds me of stepanovs. denilson is a round peg in a square hole, same for diaby BUT WHO ELSE DO WE HAVE? fabregas and song aren’t back, rosicky isn’t fit, ramsey is coming back, wilshere himself can’t do everything.

    without our 1st choice XI 4-3-3 becomes terribly ineffective. without song and fabregas we shouldn’t rely on the 4-3-3 passing game which our current central trios simply can’t play. against wba wenger quickly changed to 4-4-2 after the break, credit to him, but the new problems are:

    1) we do not have a right winger when nasri is moved centrally, which is where he plays better. rosicky can put in great crosses but would naturally shift infield and no longer has the pace; eboue has a lot of pace but he drifts infield and doesn’t cross well; bendtner offers no pace, tries too hard to beat people, doesn’t hold the ball well and doesn’t cover for the fullback well enough.

    2) playing 4-4-2 we have no steel in central midfield. we were overrun against wba and almost lost a goal from a left-wing cross, if you still remember. denilson and diaby have some strength but little else, and neither are disciplined enough.

    and then i saw the fixture list. assuming that big teams drop points against each other, we have the likes of blackburn, bolton and stokes, none inspiring confidence when we look at our central defence.

    enough moaning. is there anyone who can ease my worries?

  107. theicehammer
    March 21, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    Morining all, how the hell did my boys pick up that point, luck and guts and a new will to win.
    ON ANOTHER POINT, there has to be changes or else………..
    up de ammers.

  108. Boris
    March 23, 2011 at 3:18 am #

    What i dont understand is the majority of the English Knitwits and your media are discounting Chelsea as Title contenders??

    Im a gunners fan and I see Chelsea as being a major contender still. They will likely win all their games from here till the end of the season. Arsenal and Man U will not.

  109. Sheffield Builder
    March 30, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    Hi all

    I completely agree that this is the time to get our most priced cup. The thing is all we need to do is to get past these mental demons. We are great when we are playing games that are not all that important but when we are playing for a game that really matters like jumping to the top of the table it seems like all the flare and ingenuity that we all know the arsenal team has all disappears and we become blundering idiots. I think that until Arsene Wenger solves this problem I am in doubt that we will win this title

  110. hugewanderer9263.shutterfly.com
    May 20, 2014 at 7:31 am #

    Un post rempli de superbes conseils

  111. déguisement coquin malicieuse
    June 12, 2014 at 9:03 pm #

    Je souhaiterai vous dire que c’est vraiment du plaisir de passer sur votre site

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