West Brom 2-2 Arsenal: Relief cannot mask frustration

West Brom 2-2 Arsenal: Relief cannot mask frustration

It is exceptionally difficult what to make of this Arsenal team at the moment.

Prior to kick-off at West Brom I spoke of my rising doubts as to whether we would be able to banish our apparent psychological demons, take the final step and win the league this season. Ninety minutes, an awful defensive performance and an almighty Manuel Almunia cock-up later, those doubts have only grown.

Surely more confident than Almunia?

It was an almighty relief to steal a point from two goals down with twenty minutes, but that relief could not mask the frustration of how we got into that position in the first place. We’ve lost a host of games this season and performed extremely poorly at times but this was the worst of the lot.

I don’t care which players are available or unavailable, there is no excuse for lethargy at this stage of the season and with a full week’s rest under our belts, and the sluggish nature of the performance had me yelling at our players on more than one occasion. As for the goalkeeper’s contribution, it was so bad it was unbelievable. He looked so shot of confidence at the moment that it seems feasible that Jens Lehmann will replace him in a fortnight’s time.

If there was one positive to take out of this game it was the overall performance of our attacking players and the Manchester United-esque way we pulled back the deficit with sheer force. Marouane Chamakh and Nicklas Bendtner assisted a goal each from the bench, Andrey Arshavin provided two moments of magic and Robin van Persie kept his good run going.

Arsene Wenger’s second-half performance was uncharacteristically brave too. Removing Denilson at half time time took balls, as did playing three out-and-out strikers and a trying to win the game with a midfield duo of Samir Nasri and Jack Wilshere. That it worked was no surprise really and we can only hope the positive outcome of the manager’s changes encourages him to be more proactive in the final games of the season.

Speaking of the rest of the season, there are just so many things to consider at the moment.

We go into a well-timed international break five points behind Manchester United with a game extra to play. The current leaders still have to play us at The Emirates and taking all of that into account the ability to win the league remains in our hands. It seems ridiculous after the last weekend and indeed, the last month of frankly dreadful results, but that is the state of play.

However, fact that we fell just short of completing a miraculous comeback and Manchester United stole the points at Bolton from an equally improbable, if completely different, situation seems to represent the difference in mentality between the two sides at present. I may be looking into things too deeply — after all it was only a terrible Jussi Jääskeläinen error that allowed United to score their winning goal — but at the end of the day they won and we didn’t.

Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song, Theo Walcott and perhaps even Johan Djourou (rather freakishly) may yet return at Blackburn in a fortnight’s time but with twelve of the current squad called up for International Duty it would be churlish to think it will go to plan. Our season may yet be defined by who manages to stay fit over the next fortnight and which starting eleven steps out to play at Blackburn on the 2nd of April.

To hold our nerve over the final stretch we need mentally strong, reliable players and that is exactly what the likes of Song and Fabregas provide. Our midfield against West Brom contained a young player starting his first game for the club in over a year, another young player woefully out of form and the youngest of the lot carrying them. It is not good enough and it will not win us the title.

But put Song and Fabregas in there, maintain van Persie and perhaps get a lucky break with Djourou’s fitness and we all of a sudden look formidable, even despite our nightmare goalkeeper situation.

There’s still a long way to go and even after a shocker of a weekend we’re still in with a good chance of winning the league title. However, with all the variables at play it is almost impossible to figure out just how good of a chance we have.

I fear it is going to be a very long couple of weeks.

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53 Responses to “West Brom 2-2 Arsenal: Relief cannot mask frustration”

  1. paul mase
    March 21, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

    i dnt understand why season after season we get most of our players injured buh we dnt make effort to buy players of their calibre to back them up buh refer gambling on inexperienced players? please our first 11 and reserve must always be strong

  2. MTY
    March 21, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    I’m convinced now that there’s some problem with our treatment room because year after year we tend to lose several of our key players at the business end of the season. In contrast, most of the other big clubs get back their injured players in less than the initially estimated time. There is surely something that has gone wrong in our case.

  3. Just a fan
    March 21, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

    The problem is wenger. I’m not saying sack him because I think he’s fantastic but he needs to stop telling the team that they deserve to win the league, they deserve to win the champions league, ect, ect. U can’t tell a team they deserve to win something u have to challenge them, tell them to prove they are the best team in England by winning the league, or champs league or whatever we are goin for. I’m tired of hearing about the belief and togetherness or what this team deserve to win. It time for wenger to really challenge his team and make them prove it and not tell them it will come because they deserve it.

  4. MTY
    March 21, 2011 at 7:08 pm #

    And unless the following list of players leave the club, we won’t win anything –
    Denilson
    Almunia (Howler Master)
    Rosicky
    Diaby
    Squillaci
    Bendtner (?)

  5. Silas Ngozi Eke
    March 21, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

    I did not watch the last Arsenal match because I was on a journey but the report I heard was sad. I pray fpr Wenger and Arsenal that this year will give them a trophy but please advise Wenger to buy players with experience and stop gambling and breaking our hearts. Nigeria

  6. 1NiltoTheArsenal
    March 21, 2011 at 7:57 pm #

    I pointed out elsewhere and I’ll do so here, is that sometimes the contrast can be glaring. At a weekend when we needlessly once again dropped points, Liverpool beat Sunderland, Chelsea vaulted over Man City with an impressive display by their Brazilians (I am now a David Luiz fan, at least until we play them next season), and United – how I hate them – still managed to grind out a win down to 10 players. THAT’S the stuff. We can look so inept in comparison to these teams on a weekend like this.

    And yet somehow we’re still in it. Despite it all, injuries, bad luck, poor decisions and bad games, something somewhere IS working. Being a Gooner is certainly not for the faint-hearted, but we are in 2nd and still very much gunning for a big celebration come May. I plan to be there.

    Cheers,

    1NTTA

  7. rehan siddiqui
    March 21, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

    with worst keeper of epl one should not accept to win the world’s most difficult trophy. almunium is a curse ever since he joined the club and the man who recommended him should be shot. In almost every match lets a goal or two. If we somehow manage win the league which I doubt having a blunderbus keeper it will be due to slip ups by manu and chelsea. For the next season to win trophies get rid off shits almunium, denilson, diaby, bendrtner, rosicky, squalid and flapinski and buy a quality keeper, a cb and combative midfielders in the mould of vieira otherwise 2012 will be no different.

  8. Neilo
    March 21, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

    I’m so frustrated with Arsenal, I want to cry!

  9. retsub
    March 21, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

    I’m frustrated to, but theres still hope. If we can get through the internationals and get Fab, song and theo back (Djourou???) we might get some momentum going.
    We do have some positives, Jack looks better every game, Bendtner and Chamakh seem to have an appetite and hopefully Ramsey will begin to shine.

    the goalkeeping situation is tough Chez (not going to try and spell it) was looking the part. As much as i am a Lehmann fan, I think we should stick with Almunia.

    If we can get past Blackburn and Blackpool with 6 points hopefully we’ll get back on track. I think the Hammers may trouble Manure next game

    Come on you Gunners nows the time to be counted

  10. oluwasegun mimiola
    March 21, 2011 at 10:53 pm #

    what i can say concerning our situation is that i see arsene wenger as a coach wihout ambition the zeal to stir up the team is not in him,as for me i blieve in our young lads if they can get a coach tha will motivate them both onj and off the pitch they will be unstoppable and also there is one thing arsene don,t do,if a player is not playing well instead of arsene to subtitute the playerbefore things get out of hand no he won,t do that instead he will wait till things get out of hand before subtitiuting i think wenger should apply force on some players that are performing below expectation e.g,diaby rosisky, berdtner, denilson, squilacci, charmack and the worst keeper in the world almunia. wenger should also stop using french connection to bring in pleyers to the team or to sellect the squad its killing the team i hope all our key players will bounce back from injury so that we can standn a chance of winning the title. up gunnerssssss

  11. Terry
    March 21, 2011 at 11:55 pm #

    @MTY – Agree totally with your list – right down to the question mark over Bendtner. I still think the bloke can add something to the squad but he can drive you nuts at time. As for the others – they’ve all had enough chances and have consistently failed to step up to the mark. Shame about Rosicky cos he was outstanding before his injuries. Eduardo mark 2.

    Andrew, what’s this about JD – thought he was definitely out for the season.

  12. JJ Pittman
    March 22, 2011 at 2:25 am #

    Best thing about the draw(if anything) was that it shows we have to worry only about our own performances. ManUre only started pressing after(!) they were down to 10 and they still won. So we have to win against both Blackburn and Blackpool. No questions asked!
    To score on only 2 of 11 shots on goal is pretty bad, but to give up 2 of 3(!) shots on goal is pathetic. Almunia cam make reaction saves, but he had absolutely no reason to be out all that way with no threat.
    Then, after we beat back the “Blacks”, we have to beat the new Liverpool at home (!?) and win our game in hand at Spuds. If we do take all 12 of these points, we can begin to think about the Prem.
    That said, we are 1/250 to stay in next season’s Champions League, even money for top 3(no play in home-and-home).
    Top 3 would be stagnation in a season where we were supposed to be moving forward.
    “You are what your record says you are”(Bill Parcells) I am now going off blogs until after Spuds game. Will continue to hate ManUre forever, but all speculation about the Arse can wait until we take those 12 Premiership points. No slip-ups or it’s stagnation, for sure!

  13. JJ Pittman
    March 22, 2011 at 2:44 am #

    Oops! Since ManUre will play Man$hity in FA semi on April 16, our game in hand will be home to Liverpool that weekend. ManUre will have make up their game at St. James’ some time later. Same philosophy applies, however!

  14. dennis10
    March 22, 2011 at 3:19 am #

    You know, on the show ;Whose line is it anyway?’, Drew Carry would always have an example to demonstrate how a skit has no point. I would add two things to that list: an Arsenal corner, and a game in hand, as they mostly turn out to be pointless. But one can always hope. To quote a Catch 22 character, ‘What else is there?’

  15. Ianinja
    March 22, 2011 at 4:03 am #

    @Andrew

    Have to agree on with you on this one. Almunia’s lack of confidence is a liability on our already dodgy defence. Not to say that the defenders are crap but they seem to miss the telepathic understanding prominent in our rivals; ManU, Chelsea, even Liverpool…

    I just don’t get what is wrong with Almunia, he is not a kid for god’s sake, Wozzy is much more confident than him, even Fab who consistently self-destruct have more determination to be number 1 than Almunia.

    I’m not too keen on Jens being in goal, he was a monster goalie in his prime but now he seems to display a certain eccentricity which can work against us. Why do all our goalies display traces of psychiatric disorders….*sigh*

    Wozzy- Overconfident, too much dreams, addicted to social media
    Fabianski- Bipolar, superb reflexes but flap on crosses
    Almunia- Skitzo, likes to talk to himself and hides in the goalpost instead of shouting and going out for crosses
    Jens- Godzilla, Superhero, Shaolin monk, basically anything you want him to be, he is it….

  16. imwaddle
    March 22, 2011 at 4:16 am #

    @MTY & Terry

    gotta say bendtner can be a useful target man, the problem is only that he isn’t molded into one in arsenal. against wba there seemed to be three strikers but did you notice where bendtner was very often? the right flank, where he had no pace to offer, and his heavy touches make him an ineffective ball player ALTHOUGH he’s keen to dribble. in a nutshell he’s not quite a natural arsenal-style player trying to do what he’s incapable of.

    credits to him for being in the penalty area to set up the equalizer, but more often than not he’s outside the area when a cross is played in. he just needs to let defenders feel his presence by staying with the center backs! when your midfield doesn’t have the guile and time and physique to pass our way forward, he’s an ideal outlet. i want to see him or chamakh playing in front of rvp against the likes of bolton or blackburn. but i won’t expect this to happen…

  17. imwaddle
    March 22, 2011 at 4:24 am #

    @Ianinja

    wozzy (really can’t spell his name) is confident but inexperienced. i think he can be a worthy future no.1 ALTHOUGH he must improve his kicking. and i have speak for fabianski: he improved a whole lot since he took over, and i was surprise how he found his confidence again. i would like to see him given an extended run.

    almunia’s problem, to me, is always his decision making. when he has not time to think his reflex takes over and he looks superb. when there’s time to think and a decision to make he messes up big time. no future EXCEPT under arsene…

    for jens i don’t know. can he get the match sharpness in 2 weeks?

  18. Nicholas
    March 22, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    I’m thinking our only chance for the rest of the season is to constantly have our best XI available. We all saw it by now, throughout the season, everytime the backbone of this team wasn’t there on the pitch we struggled to barely win, draw, or lose shamefully at times. A couple of players will have to go, though I still can’t explain myself why they don’t step up now, why don’t they do the impossible and show us all that they’re worthy of being at this club. As it’s been said, the talk about what will be, who will go, who will come will probably be left for after the season’s end. Right now we have to go with what we have, but I’m afraind it’s become mathematical. If we have our best XI available in every match from now on, we have a chance to finish 1st. If we don’t, if we’ll be marred by other injuries, it’s all over. I’m not even hoping for something, I’m only waiting.

  19. Aman
    March 22, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    Hmmm i still do not understand why everyone is getting on squids back for the goal, it was all down to Almunia and his fault alone, he had a howler against WBA, and another howler against the same team, and why on the earth do the ref’s always screw us, there was a clear penalty late on for the foul on sagna when the scores were level and once again the ref missed that, and how do you like it Matt taylor i think missed an easier goal than what bendtner did against barca, no one marking him no pressure, he still gives van the man catching practice.

    But i really am fedup of hearing stuff that when our first XI plays, the mancs played w.o. their first line of defense vidic, ferdinand, and rafael lost a def through a red card still went on to win, the only error by Jasseklinin was punished, how? Pressure, the want to win, the mentality and that i am afraid utd players have, which is missing in this lot and from a very long time let me tell you that, how rare have we done this?? Once i remember against bolton 2 goals down 45 mins plus a man down, we won 3-2, we need that drive from somewhere something, wengers press conference are always full of shit. i think none of the players get the hairdryer treatment the ones like fergie dishes out.

  20. GUNNER_RUNNER?
    March 22, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

    After the home match against WBA said “if nasri finds 1000ways to score goals,almunia will find 1001ways to let goals!”.Almunia just proved it again in WBA’s home.time to sell them.its time to buy some good players!

    Our matches against liverpool,manu and spurs are important..but seeing our present condition,all the 9matches seem to be difficult!hope things get better

  21. ebyington
    March 22, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    The mental capacity of this team is the most infuriating part of this current side. When we concede; heads hang, sulking ensues and looks of petulance cross the faces of many of our “leaders” including our manager. Wilshere and Cesc, when’s he been there, have been the only two I’ve felt have looked to light a fire under the teams proverbial ass when needed. I’m so tired of seeing everyone look around for someone else to provide the answer as to how we may have possibly conceded, what are often, such ridiculous goals. Both of the goals against WBA were ridiculous. Why on earth was one of our shortest men marked up on one of the tallest men WBA offers?? As a former goalkeeper, I place partial, if not full, blame on Almunia (once again). That’s your friggin box, YOU (Almunia) own it and YOU tell your men where they are to be – no questions asked! The second goal doesn’t even deserve to be discussed.

    Andrew, I agree that Wenger’s decisions in the second half were out of the ordinary but I think brave is too strong a word. They were smart. It was a change in formation and personnel that we had to have and the type of change many great managers do not hesitate to make week in and week out when their team is in need. Wenger has proven me wrong on many, many occasions but his tactics often boggle me. I was happy to see him make a smart tactical change that paid off. I share your sentiment of hope for the future and that seeing the impact his tactical change made will encourage him to do more of the like in the future.

    As a footie player, we grow up hearing from each and every coach that the game is 90% mental and 10% physical (adjust the numbers as you see fit but this was the ratio used most often by my coaches). The mental mistakes in our back line will kill us and keep us trophy-less once again if extreme measures are not taken.

  22. delano
    March 22, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    I think the title race has already been settled and the competition is for who finishes in second place. Let us not fool our selves that United will slip up. If they are managing to win games with mediocre players then what will happen when their first team comes on. We even have harder games to think about. With the form Liverpool is having you cant guarantee any 3 points with a howler in Almnia.We must pray that Money city doesn’t beat us for third spot as we are likely to play qualifier games again. Until WENGER stops his arrogance and complacency on buying players we shall not win anything. I was just happy that he didnt play Rosicky. A half fit Ramsey is better than 2 fit Rosicks.Does Diaby have any justification for the salary he earns??

  23. kel
    March 22, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

    I just saw the WBA game and every time i see Arsenal make school boy errors at the back i just get so mad at wenger How the hell can we after 6 season still be making these mistakes???

    What goes on in an arsenal training session what is wenger teaching thees guys.
    Arsene wenger Almunia has been horrible for the last 2 seasons how could you not have seen this in the summer? You had the chance to buy Mark Schwazer for a small fee and you refuse.

    You wenger must take all the blame for us not winning anything this year, fans here can be as optimistic as they want but i know we can not win this league, for sure.

    And to compound all that has happen this year noone will leave in the summer, well may be Almunia but noone else am taking a bet on this….

    But you know what wenger??? Sadam, Gaddafi and Mubarak and a host of others taught they would never be asked to leave, but guess what?? So your time will come as sure as the next full moon

  24. shambogunner
    March 22, 2011 at 11:18 pm #

    My god, I am sick of the teeth with people confusing Almunias fundamental lack of ability with confidence issues, as is the seemingly popular route for many an Arsenal fan who will simply not come to terms with the blatant mediocrity of some of the players at this club. So please me what the excuses are for the ever so confident Bentdner who is every bit as incompetent only in front of goal. It was evident in the CL final loss to Barce that Almunia isnt even related to a footballer, his shocking inadequacy played a bigger part that night than any Barce sharpshooting, go look at those goals again, he simply falls on his ass, and what does Wenger do???? Nada, because selling him would be an admission of poor judgement and that mans ego cant handle that.
    You guys are part of the problem rather than the solution as you are not demanding a standard, you are buying into the’ one more year’ bullshit, then taking moral highground on ‘doom and gloomers’ when you cant handle the facts.
    I said the other day that Gael Clichy is the prime example of the problems with Wengers failed philosophy in recent seasons, he has come from the youth investment category and is at the age where he is an experienced pro, he is one of the ones Wenger told us to have patience with and that had the ability, belief and will to win win to add to the collective, hence trophies would be a natural result, afterall the foundations have been laid….fastforward 5 years and Clichy has seen the best players go and seen us become more reliant of players like Diaby, Denilson, Almunia, Bendtner, Squillachi, Silvestre etc,etc……now as a fan we have seen Clichy himself go from reliable, pacy marauding LB to nervy, poor crossing, gaffe prone, penalty conceding liability.
    So whats the problem shambo? Il tell you the problem, the problem is after all this, the player himself, now still aged only 25 is pondering where his future lies, after all our years of patience with him and Wengers philosophy, one of Wengers prime examples of his masterplan is ready to turn his back on Wenger, the club and the fans, and do you wanna know why……..?
    HE WANTS TO WIN SOMETHING before he hangs up his boots, can you blame him?
    Does it remind you of anyone, oh yeah, Flamini, another product of Wengers youth investment who we were told we would see the best of ‘ in the near future’, yeah were seeing the best of him alright, in a Milan jersey, how much did we get from them for one of the best players in the CL that season..NADA.
    The club is plagued with incompetence because the standards are not high enough throughout, the place the standards are set and met are in the spreadsheets, and thats a fact you can take to the bank boys.
    If that makes you happy, congrats.

  25. Terry
    March 23, 2011 at 2:36 am #

    I doubt that consistent qualification for the champions league, current second place in the EPL indicates a place “plagued with incompetence” and low standards Shambo old chap.

    But there is something really wrong with our defence and has been for the last two or three seasons. Until the goalkeeping situation and central defence is sorted out we are not going to achieve our potential. I don’t know the reasons why Wenger has not adddressed these two areas – stubbornness, ideoology, principles, cash flow, stinginess, or whatever. As a long distance fan down under I am not privy to the inner working of the club.

    What I am saddened to see is Wenger’s legacy being eroded. he has done so much for the club and that should be acknowledged. I hope for his and our sakes that we somehow manage a credible, spirited end to the season (whether we win it or not – at least show some balls) and the defence is strengthened in the close season.

  26. Nicholas
    March 23, 2011 at 8:16 am #

    “Djourou out for a minimum of four weeks”, headline from the official site. And here is where this international break really helps us. If things go well, he will miss only 3 matches and be back for the clashes against the big teams.

  27. Ianinja
    March 23, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    On a totally unrelated comment, Ryo’s brother is undergoing trial at Feyenoord.

    ps: Malteasers give you sore throat…

    Thank you, have a nice day.

  28. Nicholas
    March 23, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    @ Terry – I just read you comment again and feel the need to make an assertion. It’s a personal thought, don’t mean to start a fight or say you’re not entitled to your beliefs 🙂 I feel that regarding our defense, compared to the last season at least, Wenger has actuallty tried to do something, to fix the problem. If we remember Gallas underperforming – even though I heard he’s playing quite well for Tottenham now – or Silvestre and compare them with the signings of the last summer, Koscielny and Squilacci, it’s a plus. More than this, I’ve been thinking these days of the changes that could be made for the future for this team while keeping the spirit of the club and not spending tens of millions – being an international break, I didn’t have anything else to think about related to this club.

    And I think Wenger kinda took the possible precautions at the start of the season and will stick to them in the year to come. He couldn’t know Vermaelen was about to miss almost the whole season, he had Djourou back, Koscielny and Squilacci available. There are 4 central backs, 5 if we count the young Miguel who can work his way and skills given the chances to perform. The general consensus is that Vermaellen and Djourou are really good defenders, and I would add here Koscielny any time of day, but some people still question him. And this brings me to a thing Wenger said in the mid-season transfer break, if he has 6 centre backs, when will they get the chance to play? From my point of view, we could have quite a solid defence with our current players – I actually consider that Squilacci had quite a good starting season in the EPL, but of course, he needs to improve – provided they get enough cover and our tactics are right and adaptated for every match.

    As for our goalkeepers, again, I feel the problem is solved already and there’s no need for new signings. Ianinja pointed above their faults in quite an amusing manner, as they definitely need to improve, but let’s consider Szczesny (yes, I had to google his name), we hailed him throughtout the season and couldn’t he be a solid candidate for No1? My personal favourite is still Fabianski, who I think people quite hastily put unde the radar after his injury, but we was astonishing in the first part of the season. I would say also bring Vito Mannone in the mix for backup and we’re quite set. I know I am stubborn, but I still think our defensive weaknesses are more the effect of our overal strategy and less the quality of our players. – oh, and the injuries –

  29. kel
    March 23, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    Well what a story, I just read where petr Cech the chelsea goal keeper is revealing some very interesting past occurences.

    This is what he said:
    [“Before I went to Rennes I was watched by Arsenal but when I couldn’t get a work permit the situation was missed,”
    “And at the last minute I think the person who was the chief scout at Arsenal didn’t think I was good enough for the English league. So in the end it didn’t happen.” ]

    I’v heard wenger say this with Ronaldo, Drogba, and a host of other top quality players and it makes me wonder we say that our scouting system at Arsenal is great But based on some of the players they have missed i beg to differ how could you miss Cech and sign Almunia.

    Every day the running of Arsenal behind the scenes and especially on the field is becoming the laughing stock of the football world all because we have given 1 man so much power and now even the board is afraid to say anything.
    This is a lesson for any other club, don’t give anyone power to the extent that they are not held accountable.
    Mark my words regardless of how doom and gloom it may sound we will win nothing unless drastic changes are made at Arsenal and it must start at the top……

  30. kel
    March 23, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    By the way i almost forgot i remembered when we were linked with Mark Schwarzer in the summer
    a lot of arsenal fans were saying we should not buy him because he is too old , How old is he now?? 38 and wenger made an issue to pay 1 more million for him.

    Now fast track, Lehmann, how old is he??? 41 so we refuse to sign a proven goal keeper to preserve our interest BUT now we have a 41 year old past his best. What a club!!!!!

    Bravo!!! Bravo!!! Bravo!!!! wenger and the arsenal scouts and the board too for selling the fans Sh*it for the last 6 years, continue to bite the hands that feeds you, you will pay eventually.

  31. morrco
    March 23, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

    I think this article in the DesiGunner blog is well worth a read –

    http://desigunner.wordpress.com/2011/03/22/of-television-sets-marriages-and-football-teams/#comments

    “Of course, players and pundits are just as guilty of this as the fans. After the West Brom game Mulumbu repeated the tired line that Arsenal lacked mentality. He went on to claim that Manchester United would have come back to win the game but Arsenal couldn’t.

    — “It comes down to mentality. Manchester are very strong. In a game like Saturday’s, I think they could come back and equalise and then win the game. I believe that’s what Arsenal is missing a bit.” –

    Now if we look at the facts, this season Arsenal and United have both won 9 points from losing positions. More interestingly, Arsenal have dropped 9 points while winning whereas Manchester United have dropped 14!

    If mentality could be accurately ascertained from dropping or gaining points, not that I think it can, these stats would contradict the popular opinion. But it does show that those who think the games like the ones against Tottenham or Newcastle show Arsenal’s weak mentality haven’t paid much attention to the relevant details.”

  32. Scott Watts
    March 23, 2011 at 6:28 pm #

    I truly believe Arsenne Wenger is not a winner. This is not to say that he is a loser, he is just not a winner. The team’s problems (i.e., lack of depth in general, maturity and skill in the center back, goalkeepers, etc.) are too consistent from year to year to have been unaddressed at this point. That these problems have remained unaddressed is evidence of the fact that Wenger hopes to win, but does not plan to win. By win, I mean 1st place. Not 2nd. Not 3rd.

    The boys bring incredible skill and excitement, but the team lacks depth and the team lacks leadership. Wenger lacks a killer instinct. The manifestation of these problems is the perpetual act of “falling short”. But I love the Gunners, and I will faithfully cheer them as they fall short again this year.

  33. Shard
    March 23, 2011 at 6:36 pm #

    @kel

    The revealing part of Cech’s statement is the “i think” part. For the rest he does say about work permit issues doesn’t he? How much did Chelsea pay for him? I’m not sure but I think it was around 20mil..A little out of our price range when he did become eligible for the work permit. I don’t know about Drogba, but I believe with Ronaldo, we had actually identified him before ManU, but ManU had a first option on Sporting Lisbon players, meaning that there would be a bidding war for him. Not something Arsenal were or are in a position to get into. We also missed out on Ronaldinho because of work permit issues.

    As for comparing Mark Schwarzer with Lehmann, I think you’re missing the point. One was supposed to be brought in as the Number 1. The other is actually a stop gap backup because THREE goalkeepers at our club are injured, and during a period that the transfer window is closed, meaning only an emergency loan deal can be done. Lehmann is at the least more experienced if not better than any keeper who is likely to be available on loan at this point.

  34. Ooh2BeAGooner
    March 23, 2011 at 7:50 pm #

    I agree with Andy, you can’t blame anything on injuries. Every side in the league has to deal with ’em, and a true champion overcomes fitness issues when every player on the squad steps up, from top to bottom.

    That being said, looking at our “ideal” starting XI, i.e. one with everyone healthy, and looking at what we have to throw out there now, I counted eight of eleven players missing at least some time with a serious injury. RvP, Nas, Teddy Quick, Cesc, Song, JD, Sagna, the list goes on and on. That’s not to mention Arsenal have lost three different number one keepers to injury. Here’s hoping Jens’ bones aren’t as brittle as most 41 yr olds.

    Kos seems to only play well when JD tells him what to do. With Squilacci the Statue next to him, its a nightmare. I’m doing everything I can to find other reasons for this disappointing last 4-6 weeks, but DAMN. When will we get a break? Even if we fall short of the league title, it will be interesting to see if Wilshere can lead the team they way myself and Fabio Capello think he can, especially with Cesc’s future so cloudy.

    However, this is a huge weekend off for the mental health of the team, and my own. With baseball starting up here in the States, I need a bit of a distraction before plunging into this final drive to get the Prem.

  35. kel
    March 23, 2011 at 8:49 pm #

    @ Shard

    Listen mate i think you are the one missing the point, AND for your information chelsea paid 7mill pounds for cech from Rennes so don’t come here making excuses for Arsenal and their cheap scate ways. (I think, and you might agree, 7mill is out of our price range too HA HA HA HA)
    The all so lauded scouting network that we proclaim to have have let some world class talent slip through their hands AND on the Drogba issue wenger himself said i missed out on signing him.
    The point is Arsenal have had a real problem with goal keepers from way back, not yesterday, so based on some of the rubbish we have bought in recent times i would tend to agree with cech they must have taught he was not good enough why did they not go back after him to sought out the work permit issue, The fact is Arsenal have a blind spot for keepers simple as that so don’t be making excuses.

    On the Mark Schwarzer issue i know that this was an emergency BUT the fact is we could have avoided this situation, we could have gotten him for scraps and if we did we may have been top of the league, Almunia alone has cost us 5 points against westbrum alone.

    This is a prime example of us failing to address the issues we have in the team, Mark Schwarzer basically begged to be bought only for wenger to keep faith with Almunia, who lcost us so much points last season
    Would it have been so bad for Mark Schwarzer to come in add experience and some much needed confidence for about 2 or 3 season and then Wojciech Szczesny could have come in after and take over.
    The fact is, a great scouting networks don’t miss top class players as it appears we have done so often.
    The goal keeper issue that has plagued the club since Lehman is a real joke everybody can see, well accept wenger and those who are sheepishly following him armed with the mother load of excuses.

    As i said some months aback take all the money we make put the board, wenger and staff and parade them through London come May in an open top bus cause to them with all the money we make they have done great. The board continues to sit by [and am DAMN sure all of them don’t agree with what is going on, but they can’t say sh*t] as we buy average players and spend a whole lot of money on youth development with no end product.

    Look @ Robin Vanpersie (27 yr) he is injury prone and getting older ,do you think his injury problems will get better??? what should we do then wait until he is 30 then get someone else.
    is that optimism or being stupid.(ask wenger)

  36. Shard
    March 23, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

    @kel

    There’s no need for me to make excuses for something I believe is heading in the right direction. Ok. So I may have been wrong about Cech’s price.I admitted I didn’t know anyway. And you may be right about all the transfers we miss out on. There might actually be more than you think even.. Does that mean that it’s a bad scouting system? Wenger has admitted to missing out on signing Makelele too. We had Vieira and Petit at the time so despite identifying his talents, Wenger decided we didn’t need him. Similarly, Cech was probably looked at before Lehmann came to the club.I’m sure there will be literally thousands of such players looked at and eventually not signed for a myriad of factors. Some of those turn out to be great players at other clubs, most remain anonymous.

    You think our spending money on youth development has no end product?? You are being serious when you say this? Cesc, Clichy, Djourou, Song, Bendtner, Szczesny even.. Wilshere of course, all came from the youth system at our club. And its just the start of the academy prospects turning out. The youth development represents the future of the club, and with the homegrown rules in force both domestically and Europe, the club is ahead of most others in that regard.

    And as regards your earlier post, contrary to your assertion that we are the laughing stock of the world, both the club, and Wenger are very highly regarded throughout the globe. It is only the British media that over-emphasises our shortcomings and paints a negative picture of the club.

    You seem convinced that everything at our club is mismanaged. Board thinking money coming into the club being a good thing is bad ( as opposed to ManU, Liverpool, Chelsea’s boards who are so concerned about the club and its fans) Van Persie should go, the youth system is a waste of time,our scouting system being good is just a myth, and we don’t buy players when we (seemingly) need them..

    I agree with the last one actually, but I do believe it’s mostly a case of sacrificing a little now, in order to have much more later.

    As for making excuses for Wenger, there is absolutely no need for me to defend the most succesful Arsenal manager in history. If you think he’s got to go to take the club forward, then that’s your call.

    Anyway, the sad thing for me is that if this team does win the title this year, it would have done it not just with so many ‘pundits’ or the media doubting it, but it’s own ‘fans’ who seem to take pleasure in kicking it when it’s down.

  37. Shard
    March 23, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

    @kel

    Also, please list all the ‘rubbish’ we have bought in recent times.

  38. Darragh
    March 23, 2011 at 10:33 pm #

    As much as Almunia’s mistake was a shocker, I just note how easily people forget how great he was against Barca the other week.

  39. Terry
    March 23, 2011 at 10:48 pm #

    @Nicholas – to some extent I agree with you re the defence – I was very glad to see the back of Gallas and Silvestre, and bless his cotton socks, Sol too. But I think Squillaci has been found to be not up the standard we need, and Koscielny is just too error prone for my liking. I also think there is a bit of an “Eduardo” myth building up around Vermeulen cos he is injured. He had a great start to the season last season and banged in a few goals, but our defence was still not brilliant, and he lacks the height to really trouble the Drogbas of this workd. Don’t get me wrong I would much prefer to see him and Djorou being given a chance to have decent run asa a pairing as I think they would be the best we currently have on the books. But I would also like to se us get someone like Gary Cahill. As for the keeping issue I agree with Kel up to a point. Should have got Schwarzer at the time. But in Wenger’s defence, who would have forseen that we would lose three of our keepers in one season?!

    Good debate guys, let’s just keep it objective and rational and agree to disagree on some points.

    It’s still our title to win!

  40. Shard
    March 23, 2011 at 11:10 pm #

    @Terry

    I think you are being just a bit harsh on Squillaci. I think that considering it is his first year in English football, and the experience he has, he deserves a place in our squad even next season. I don’t think we will find a better 4th choice defender.

    I agree with the Vermaelen bit though. We did concede a good few goals last season even with him around. But what he did have was that will to win.. that leadership.. I guess the intangible something that our defense seems to lack at times. Koscielny has come on leaps and bounds and I see no reason to worry about him. I think he’s good, and will get better. If Vermaelen, Djourou, Koscielny and Squillaci are all there next season, I don’t think we’ll buy anyone, and will (deservedly) promote Kyle Bartley. He’s looked a real proper defender whenever I’ve seen him play, and by all accounts is a natural leader.

    I’m not sure I would have wanted Schwarzer. I think the only thing going for him was that he isn’t Almunia. But aside from that, he most likely wouldn’t have been spectacular. Of course, you never know, but if we were to buy a keeper it should have been someone else. I’m not sure I see a keeper coming in the summer either. Though perhaps an older head to replace Almunia.

    Coquelin and Frimpong to provide cover for Song, and Lansbury to come in in midfield, with perhaps Henderson too?
    Up front, I just have a feeling Bendtner will go. I don’t want him to, but I think the club (and fans) might lose patience with him, and Vice versa.. Vela should come back. Hopefully Miyaichi gets a work permit. And maybe JET comes in too. We probably could do with buying a striker though.

    Most of the areas should be strengthened with just the reserves coming through. I think we will improve as some of the deadwood will be let go, some new, young, players come in to show they belong, and maybe ONE major signing.

    But as you say, the league title is still there for the taking right now..

  41. kel
    March 24, 2011 at 12:12 am #

    @ Shard

    Man you seem not to get the point. You say you didn’t know the fee Chelsea paid for cech BUT yet you place a high figure (20mill) which would suggest from an Arsenal prospective that he was over priced, (1 more excuse to hide blindness) as i said he cost 7 mill which highlights the fact that we missed out, “he’s not good enough” (Bad Scouting on this one)
    Mate if we remove cesc from this team it becomes very ordinary, are you aware of that??? Other than him name the other world class player in the squad, tell me i want names. The players at Arsenal are not developing quick enough in a sport with a short life cycle, and they seldom go on to world beaters. I wonder if walcott was at MAU if he would have been better.

    “You think our spending money on youth development has no end product?? You are being serious when you say this? Cesc, Clichy, Djourou, Song, Bendtner, Szczesny even.. Wilshere”

    mate i can’t believe you have the balls to mention some of the names on the this list.
    Clichy’s decline alone should highlight our short comings. You said that Bendtner has the tools to be a good striker and that he hasn’t gotten the opportunity is that really true??? or he hasn’t taken those that he got. The thing is, almost all of the names you mentioned, and i can mention more, can’t make any other team than Arsenal, and that’s a fact.
    Tell me What factors are you measuring the players to,??? Playing in the PREM, finishing 4th??
    What measuring stick are you using to measure these players????

    Now you tell me when the home grown rule come into effect we will be well placed. I have news for you there will be loop holes as usual. Funny enough its the same way we’ve been waiting for everyone in EPL to go broke so we can win, has that happened???
    The fact is there will always be people with money.

    I don’t think that everything at the club is mismanaged on the contrary i am proud of our financial position BUT is that all in football, we were promised better footballing results
    now six years later were still finishing 4 is that improvement, we may not have gone back but we have not progressed either.

    I never said vanpersie should go, I said he is injury prone and we can’t depend on him.
    That is a fact What should we do wait 2 more seasons, he’s 27, we keep doing the same thing over and over.

    Wengers greatest achievements no doubt is the Invincibles But i took a deeper look some days ago. We have won 3 league titles in 14 seasons and not one champions league medal, so if you want to proclaim that as great success then thats your opinion
    i don’t agree though. He has given arsenal a spirit and a new way to play But it has fallen short of justification.

    I wish i could still dream like you and HOPE we win the title but am passed that stage
    there is too much wrong with this team for us to win the title, that was the case 3 seasons ago and still is if you guys can’t see that then for sure wenger has drunken you all with the excuse drink.

    And for your information i don’t wash my dirty clothes in public, i go on Arsenal blogs and vent my anger no-one is going to have me following them around blind.

  42. hazmi
    March 24, 2011 at 4:15 am #

    I’M late in reading this e-mail. Hope it’s never to late to comment. Let face it .:
    1 We have a bunch of highly paid high school player.
    2.We cut the budget just to be good in accounting report.
    3.We are proud of playing classy football.
    At the end of the day where is our result. What else can we be proud of!!!! Do we need to wait for another season so that supporter will keep on hoping and hoping and wait for more money to come. Any winning mentality have to come from the TOP. Every team know how Arsenal Play. So pls Change. Do not be proud only but no result.

  43. Ianinja
    March 24, 2011 at 6:07 am #

    Okay AKBs and AMBs, settle down now. There’s no need to stray off the point here.

    Why are we arguing I endured the years of Graham, and man was those times boring but of course the players then had more bottle than some players now, just that they lack the technical skills.

    Anyway I’m starting a new hotline for Arsene Knows Brigade guys and Arsene Must Go Brigadiers. You can call me to vent your frustration limited to 2mins per call, 2pounds per call, international charges apply. First 50 callers get a signed Arsene poster doing the chicken dance or a poster of Diaby giving the boot to John Terry’s face.

  44. Shard
    March 24, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    @kel
    I wasn’t trying to make it look like Cech was overpriced. For some reason I tend to remember that Chelsea bought 3, 20mil plus players, namely Drogba, Essien, and Cech. That was what I remembered. Wrongly as you have pointed out. I don’t think the missing out on certain great players (especially when we don’t know the reason for it) is enough to claim that the scouting system isn’t good.

    As for naming World class players, I can only think of Cesc and RVP who will be recognised as world class. But the thing is I really don’t know what World class is used to denote anymore. I mean Reina is supposed to be world class but I don’t see it. So maybe I’m wrong about RVP too. Regarding RVP though, you are right, we shouldn’t count on him to be fit the entire season. I do think we need another purchase up front.

    As for Clichy’s decline. He had a very bad spell last season, and probably was at the point where I would agree he should go. But he has improved again.His form had gone south following his back injury by the way.. Defensively he is very good. He has the most interceptions among our players, and his tackling is second only to Koscielny’s. His crossing is pretty much useless though.
    Regarding Bendtner. It’s a bit of both. He hasn’t had enough chances in the central striker position, but also he hasn’t grabbed the opportunities when he’s had them. I never said he deserves to start. I just said that if he leaves, as I think he will, we will regret it in the years to come.

    How do you know they won’t play in any other team? That is just your opinion and not a fact as you claim..Song is very very good. I would rate him as the best DM is the league right now. Wilshere would be playing no matter where he was. Clichy, 2 seasons ago was voted the best LB in the league, and as I said his form last season was horrible, this season he has improved. Djourou has been very good for us, and I don’t care if any other team would want him or not. Who does that leave? Bendtner and Szczesny. I can agree with the first on the basis of form, and there’s no way to tell about the other.

    I’d like to know what loopholes you envisage in the Homegrown rules and the 25 man squad? We are supposed to plan on the basis of seeking a way around it? Oh there’s always a way? If we do that, then I’m sure you’d be the first to accuse Wenger and the club of negligence, and in that case rightly so. Oh and we haven’t been waiting for anyone to go broke. We just plan to make sure we don’t.

    3 league titles and 3 FA cups. Before Wenger, were we even a force in Europe? In the early years of Wenger’s reign I remember viewing Europe as only a bonus. I think our European ranking was 38 when he took over. Now it’s 9 or 10. That is real improvement.

    Finances are not all there is in football. But what have we achieved in the last 6 years? 0 trophies. 3 finals. 4 semi finals. 4th,4th,3rd,4th,3rd,? Ok. so not brilliant, but hardly miserable reading. But this with a young, maturing team, which was there partly as a result of curbed spending. A major transition effort which is hugely overlooked now, mainly as I’ve said before, because it was managed quite well, and pretty smoothly. The beginning of the youth coming through, have provided us the core of our first team now. The others are coming through, and our debt level is starting to come down. I do not see why there is such uproar, just yet.

    I fully see the deficiencies of this team. Still we are second in the table. With the title, improbably, still in our hands. We cannot make changes to the personnel at this moment. If this isn’t the time for blind support, then what is? We haven’t won a trophy in 6 years. Time to change that. Back this team blindly till then. Regardless of the end result, I still think certain changes have to be made, and should be asked for. But not now. And not with such venom.

  45. Nicholas
    March 24, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    Well, I see the international break provides us with some cover to address a couple of “touchy” subjects like the end of this season or the start of the next one, so I’m gonna dive in. What can I do, I have to think about something sports-wise untill the Formula 1 season starts on sunday. 🙂 There are two things I would like to mention, the first being this homegrown rule that while it definitely encourages some parts of this sport, it hampers others. And since I mentioned F1, there was a debate there for forcing the teams to have a similar budget for research or something in the lines of that, anyway the details seem less significant to me as is the decision to force a limitation on something or someone. As much as I hate the way Chelsea and Man City spend millions upon millions and I can find nothing special in this, I believe it’s their right to do that. If they have those money, let tem spend it, if the culb has debts, then force it through legal ways to pay them. The same with this homegrown rule, it’s like forcing something upon someone’s throat.

    The club’s policy should be it’s own choice, the board, the manager, should have the freedom to chose their team as they see fit. Like kel says, there will always be people with money, so they should be entitled to spend them however they see fit. The rule seems more like help the poor rather than help the one that plays fair. The thing is, I don’t really mind our economic strategy, our byuing policy, I will just love it when the day comes and Arsenal sits on top of the EPL spending smart rather that spending a lot (and even though I followed the above debate about scouting I still think we’re spending smart), when we will show that there’s more to football than just money. The thing is, this has a tradeoff, it’s asking the team, the manager and the fans to work harder, to be more pacient, more supportive, in order to achieve something, and sometimes it seeme like too high a price to pay.

    The other subject I wanted to express my opinion about was that of our strikers. Bedntner is clearly a big topic amongst fans, and my opinion is similar to Shard’s on this, and probably in minority. I agree he is not Van Persie, that’s clear to all of us, I agree he doesn’t add that strike force to our team, that he can’t find his pace at times, I agree his first touch of the ball sucks. But, there is potential there, beyond that veil of confidence that seems arrogance at times, I feel he can be the man to make a difference and he proved it a couple of times this season. He needs something though, maybe more playing time, more matches, maybe, despite his self-assuring nature, something certain from the manager, I can’t exactly put my finger on it. But I feel that once he has that something to assure him that he will be part of this team, he will come to fulfill his potential.

    As for the signings in our attacking line for the season to come, I don’t know, I don’t see too many strikers joining the squad. Let’s look at the facts for a bit, we just bought Chamak last summer, he has only one season at this club, he will stay, specially since he was incremental for the first half of the season. We have Van Persie, who I feel won’t leave because he wants to win something with Arsenal and I see him as our future captain in case Fabregas will leave. We have Bentner and here is indeed a possibilty that he will leave on his own will. I too wouldn’t like to see that happening, but still it might. Vela signed a couple of months ago for an extended contract, so it’s safe to say he’ll also stay; and Myiachi, the emerging talent who many fans already see as being part of the first team. Excluding Bendtner from this calculation, we still have 4 pure strikers. All I can see adding to this is one more in case B52 will leave, but to be honest I’m not sure it’s necessary. Something needs to change, but I have this feeling that is a bit deeper that replacing a man or two, even though a strong signing could make the difference. But at the same time I can’t help to notice that we are on the second place in that EPL goal scoring chart.

    Where I would definitely see the need for e new signing, or even two, is in the middle line, more exaclty some experienced players who ca fit Song’s role. Our DM’s were by far, in my opinion, our weakest point this season and cost us a lot. I know I said in a prior topic that I would like to see more sharpness in our attack rather than a rock solid defence, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have defensive capabilities at all. Not to mention that, by my simple knowing of things, the DMs should not only provide cover for the defence, but also act a creative link with the attack line, which a couple of our players failed to do in so many matches this season.

  46. Shard
    March 24, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    @Nicholas
    Regarding strikers. I think if Bendtner goes then there is scope to bring in another player. I don’t think Vela can play the lone striker role just yet, and Miyaichi is definitely a winger, not a striker. Why I mentioned him there was because he is an attacking player. JET could of course be a replacement for Bendtner, but it depends on how ready Wenger thinks he is. There was some talk about him not training hard enough and some attitude problems. Don’t know how true those rumours are, but that might be an issue as well. I do think we shoudn’t consider Robin as available for more than half a season.
    I agree that Song’s replacements haven’t been there. But I really do think Coquelin, and Frimpong maybe, can come in and do a good job in that position. With Lansbury, and a hopefully improving Ramsey, we should have enough there. Denilson, and Rosicky are the ones probably most at risk. All this is supposing Cesc stays of course.

    I see what you mean about the artificial rules being imposed, and hampering, competition I guess. My view on the rules are that the 25 man rule is useless, and should be scrapped. It is pretty much unsustainable. What happens when all the u-21s become older? Squad spots simply won’t be available, and it may actually preclude people from developing their own talent since it won’t be worth putting that much effort in them only to have them surplus to requirements if they aren’t top class by their 21st birthday. The homegrown rules are stupid as well, but I don’t see that much of a problem with it. It won’t help England become any better though. Quotas never do that.
    The financial fairplay rules are only UEFA’s. They do not apply to the domestic leagues as such. It might actually lead to someone like ManCity giving up on Europe for a few years to buy the Premier League title, and then work down their costs. As I said, I see what you’re trying to say about people being allowed to do what they want with their money. But I do believe it’s reached a point that such free market economics do not work. Certain regulations are required. The prime example comes from US sports, which though they operate in a more closed environment, are still quite brilliantly administered. I think they are the model we should follow.

    One problem I do have with the financial rules though is that I think they are intended more to keep the status quo rather than promote fairness so to speak. Chelsea have bought their way to the top, and now they do not want that ManCity should do the same. Also, I do not think that any of the big clubs will be barred by UEFA. They simply cannot afford to throw out the likes of ManU, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Inter etc. Won’t happen. They’ll find a way around with the accounting and the percentages allowed under certain heads, or create a new parent company etc. I actually think the rule should be more strict rather than less, and abundantly more clear and define accounting principles too.

    To conclude, who do you support in F1? 🙂

  47. Nicholas
    March 24, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

    @ Shard
    I gotta say I’m a huge fan of Robert Kubica, too bad he’s gonna miss this season. I used to think that if he had a better car in the past years he would’ve surely made it as champion, there’s tons of talent there, of fighing spirit, of skill and – unlike Arsenal – he’s consistent, he’s working hard for the team, using his experience as a pilot to actually guide Renault in taking the right steps. Oh, it may also be that he’s Polish, and I really have a soft spot for certain polacks, be they sportsmen (Kubica, Fabianski), writers (Sienkiewicz, Mostowicz), musicians (Riverside, Vader), or game developers (CD Projekt). Phew, there you go, lobby, and I’m not even a polack myself :))

    Coming back to Arsenal before Andy kicks me outta here for being way offtopic, I was thinking of something, of a sort of strategy for the next season and I’m curious if it could possibly be effective. I was trying to identify other problems than namely a few players for this season. And beyond the differences in opinion regarding some of them, we kind of pointed out the weak individual spots. Other than this though, we talked about mental strength, consistency, perseverence and specially the lack of a fighting spirit. This last thing must definitely be addressed in the future, there’s no way we should continue this way, I don’t ever want to see entire first halves of matches where Wilshere is the only one fighting. It’s Wenger’s job to motivate them, to do something, and he should act quickly and without hesitation.

    Which points me to a thing some of us were saying some time ago: priorities. First, for the starting XI. Bring the players together and keep a family meeting, get up in front of them and say: you, you and you are the first choice for defence. You are second choice for attack, you are on the bench. Prove that you deserve to be in the first squad, work hard and we’ll see, but don’t come complaining to me that you don’t have the chance to prove yourself. You will be given that chance from time to me, make a difference every time you touch the ball, earn your right to play more. The second thing: priorities for the competitions.

    And here is where is my thoughts about this came in: why not have two teams, team A and team B. Two teams, four competitions, have it all organised so there’s no complaining during the season. Team A gets UCL and EPL, team B gest FA and Carling Cup. If players from team B have an outstanding performance during the season, move them to team A, tu supplement the hunt for the first priority (I think this is a pleonasm, but heh, what to do). Now I’m not sure if something like this is possible and would actually be feasable, be it could prove a starting ground for a healthy competition between players.

  48. Shard
    March 24, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

    @Nicholas
    I think Kubica is a very good driver indeed. I hope he recovers quickly and well enough to race again next year. But I’ve always been a ferrari fan so my loyalties lie elsewhere 🙂 Though I must say I don’t like Fernando Alonso. I find it difficult to support him.

    Anyway, as you say, onto things Arsenal. I agree that there are certain things we have to work on, and I pretty much agree with the speech bit, and letting people know their roles, and telling them to prove themselves before they demand anything.

    But I do not think the idea of having 2 separate teams is feasable, nor necessarily desirable. I remember Chelsea did that a few years ago, while Ranieri was still in charge. I didn’t think it worked really. But we do have 4 competitions, with some players quite clearly on the fringes, and some players coming in from the youth and reserves, so a natural order would develop anyway. So that sort of differentiation will take place itself, rather than as a stated thing. I think our performances, and some mental issues will be resolved by a competition for places developing as you say. With some hungry reserves coming in, it should happen.

  49. theicehammer
    March 25, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    @shambo and others who walk it as they talk it! I watched the England u16 match against the irish on Thursday night and the talk of the town was about Jack Jebb and Tuba Ackpong (not sure of spelling) both 15 years old and play with my son for the Arsenal u15s squad. i was told by those players that Mr Liam Brady texed his congratulations on their fantastic performance and assured them that they will be the future of Arsenal in the very near present. 15 years old………….cant you see that’s what it all about. Get the players in young, ask the fans to remain patient with them, then they move on through lack of real success or the club moves them on or the fans demand that they are moved on……….mean while the profits keep on flowing. Its strange really that i find myself being so angry with Arsene even when as you know i carry the clarrot and blue. But im a lover of good football who was mesmerised by the quick, sliky, powerful and flowing football of your team 7 years ago ,which. has all been changed for this. Why cant he see that its not working…….and give the squad what it needs. A real leader with drive and strength for when the going gets hard. These players will always be little boys no matter how experienced they get. Will Walcott look any more manly in 5 years, i think not. He is to good and well brought up. There is still the outside chance that the league can be pulled out of the bag……..or should i say thrown out…but do you have the will and guts to grab it…..only time will tell.
    Good wk end to you all and Up de ammers. By the way Shambs would Parker get into your midfield

  50. shambogunner
    March 25, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

    Ice,
    how you keepin dude, the answer is no Parker would probably not get into our midfield…..but only because wenger doesnt rate this type player, afterall Diaby and Denilson have proven that they are well up for this League week in week out…..I just vomited in my own mouth then.
    I told you the hammers would turn things round, thats what shrewd investment gets you, progress. I even predict a top 12 finish next season, watch and see.

  51. Ron McCole
    April 4, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    I watched the awful performance against Blackburn on Saturday with despair. There is absolutely no doubt that we have lost any chance of securing the Premiership Title for yet another year.
    For a top club (certainly second or third best in the league) our trophy record is just not acceptable.
    So where do we go from here? I have the greatest respect and admiration for Arsene Wenger, but I have this nagging feeling that he has done all he can for the Arsenal, and reluctantly I believe it is time he moved on.
    I get the feeling that there is a philosophy in the Arsenal hierarchy that a fourth place spot is all they aspire to, so the financial rewards of the Chamions League keep the books firmly in the black.
    For an Arsenal fan of 60 odd years that is NOT good enough for me.
    I feel the only way forward is for Wenger to go at the end of the season, and a new man to be appointed. (No, I am not going to name names, but I must admit to some admiration for Harry Redknapp who has done wonders at White Hart Lane.!).

  52. mike perry
    April 5, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    Where are all the comments after the Blackburn game. I presume that some opinions have changed and hardened after that fiasco !

  53. Brad
    April 5, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    Would be to much for Arsenal to look at a possible 1-2 year deal on Brad Friedel for goalkeeper since his contract at Aston Villa is up in the summer.

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