Does Anyone Want To Win The Title This Season?

Arsenal 2 – 3 Tottenham Hotspur

1 – 0 Nasri (9)
2 – 0 Chamakh (27)
2 – 1 Bale (50)
2 – 2 van der Vaart (68 pen)
2 – 3 Kaboul (86)

A home defeat to Tottenham is never a pleaseant occurrence; one where an abject second half performance was inexplicably at odds with the impressive nature of the previous forty five minutes is sickening. It is one  which has seen some sections of the support stoop so low with personal abuse that they have not scraped the bottom of the barrel, they ploughed through and continued unabated to the bowels of the earth.

Where the defeat cuts deepest into the soul that it was entirely avoidable. The strongest of foundations had been built for victory, dominating the first half to render the visitors entirely impotent. The second saw talented players capitulate through their own mistakes, architects of their own downfall leaving the manager furious and bewildered in equal measure.

The defeat rests ultimately on his shoulders for that is where the buck stops but each member of the squad must look at themselves this morning and ask if they have the mental strength to cross the rubicon, to breach the citadel walls of title winners, leaving the land of potential behind them.

Despite this, the team still remains two points from the summit. Chelsea’s defeat at Birmingham means that they rule the roost by that margin from Arsenal, goal difference from a distinctly ordinary Manchester United side. Arsenal cannot continue to rely on the largesse of their rivals; at some point they must stand up and make the victories achieved on their travels count for exactly that rather than making up for their home travails.

It was all so needless. Spurs had been swept aside in the opening half. Half chances had been traded before Fabregas lofted a pass over the top of the visitors’ defence; Samir Nasri chased it down but Gomes came to make the ball his and failed, hesitating instead of being brave to collect. The Frenchman nicked the ball past him and from the tightest of angles, dribbled the ball over the line with enough power to tantalise the chasing defence but sufficient to tease the pursuers into the net as well.

Pressure mounted on the Tottenham goal, most notably when Fabregas wriggled free and shot past the far post. The lead was doubled as Tottenham pressed on their left, Sagna cleared the cross to Fabregas who swept the ball wide to Arshavin, the Russian’s cross glanced into the net by Chamakh’s boot. Two-nil, complete control assumed. The Moroccan spurned two opportunities before the interval but nothing that had been seen gave any indication of the mania to follow.

Within five minutes, Tottenham had their foothold as Bale sprinted onto Defoe’s flick, beating Fabianski with a shot across the goalkeeper. Even so, fifteen minutes of stability would have taken some of the sting from the moment. It never happened.

Modric should have equalised before Song was deemed to have fouled him with half of the second period played. The freekick was curled at the wall by van der Vaart, Fabregas lifted his own and Chamakh’s arm to block the ball at above head height. A penalty was awarded; van der Vaart converted. This picture (thanks to Ole for the link) highlights the folly clearly. Had the ball struck either, play would have stopped if the power was deemed that sufficient. Absolute lunacy, the softest and most foolish of penalties to concede.

Arsenal came back to life from the crevice of despair. Fabregas was offside as he played the ball back to Squillaci, the defender still buried the chance. The Spaniard would also go close with a volley moments later before Gomes turned his effort away with fifteen minutes left. The most culpable of misses though fell once more to Laurent Koscielny. Having incomprehensibly headed over the bar in the opening minutes at Stamford Bridge, he missed a glorious chance to deflate the visitors, heading over from close range.

It was the first of two costly late interventions. With six minutes remaining, he felled Bale. The resultant free kick found Kaboul poorly marked, his flicked header gave Tottenham their first victory at The Emirates, only their second at Arsenal in the Premier League.

For Wenger, it is a tough week ahead.  He is being criticised for the mental failings of the players in this match. There was enough experience on the pitch for those in red and white to have closed out the match. Indeed, having shown that calmness at Everton with a two-goal advantage sealed inside 48 minutes, the capitulation is staggering. They have this knowledge yet no-one stood sufficiently tall to bring the group to heel. That was a failing of all, not just the captain. Yet Fabregas should have done that but did not.

Hindsight is a wonderful gift but Wenger made an error in playing Koscielny. The defence did not need changing. Djourou had played well in the previous two games, his understanding with Squillaci had handled the Wolves and Everton frontlines well. Denilson for Wilshere was understandable, the Brazilian having played at Goodison Park impressively as a second half substitute.

It is however not a time for individual finger-pointing. The burden of the defeat rests squarely on the shoulders of all. Damaging as it was, fatal it was not. However the slovenliness of recent home form has to be removed. Winning at home is how title winning sides build their success. Defeats such as those already suffered have been costly in that a potential seven point lead at the top had they all been won, has not materialised.

Two tough away games ahead this week; the players have to respond meaningfully, winning both with good performances. Two victories in Braga and at Villa Park bring December into view, a month for driving forward. At this particular moment in time, that is by no means certain.

’til Tomorrow.

162 thoughts on “Does Anyone Want To Win The Title This Season?

  1. Deano we ARE in a strong position but unfortunately we are complacent. It’s not so much that we are two points behind the leaders but that we would have been SEVEN points ahead had we won the three homegames against admittedly weaker opposition. It’s such things that come to haunt us later!

  2. theBigM

    We were priced out,Everton wanted 19 million for Jagielka and Bolton a similar amount for Cahill.

    Besides Squillaci has done a a great job since he’s been in the team and Koscielny is adapting and has shown his ability in the majority of games he has played. We have Vermaelen to come back, Djourou looks great and Song is a more than competent centre back.

  3. KG form is temporary, Class is permanent.

    This bad home form will not last…. this great away form may well continue.

    We should have buried Spurs yesterday.

  4. Deano

    Yes we are 2pts off the top but we all know it wont last.We were 6pts clear with 9 games to go in 08 and level on pts last season with 6 games to go.Im season 07/08 we were unbeaten till december yet only finished 3rd.

    And as for the CL as soon as we meet one of the big teams we are out it always happens

    The beer cup is our best hope of silverware and that shows how far we have fallen

  5. Deano as a fan of Brazilian football your term on class reminds me of how we tended to brag even we lost. The Brazilians decided class wasn’t enough though! Sometimes you need a Gilberto Silva or a Dunga to win the world cup. And as a progressive I’ve always had a problem with class. Sounds snobish to me. But that’s just me, I hold nothing against you.

  6. Deano – But why was Kos playing yesterday? It was a strange decision for a big game. Vermaelen is quality and I like Djourou. Squillaci is an ok back-up, but not convinced about Kos yet.
    Why do we never bring any centre backs through from the youths/reserves?

  7. I miss the real Frank where has he gone?

    Frank no, every season is different. We have the ability to beat any team. We have not been outclassed this season by anybody, even in defeat.

    As for always going out to the big teams I’d love to know how Real Madrid and Juventus would feel about that. As well as the Porto’s Villareal’s etc.

    Anyway in cup competition the best team scarcely wins. If they did Germany would have won the World Cup, Barcelona wouldn’t have been in the CL 09 final etc..

    The league represents a massive opportunity. You disregarding us is exactly the type of negativity that hampers our progress. It’s ok to be down after defeat. But we aren’t the only team losing. Sport does not have a script. With a good mentality and good support we can win this league. Stop dooming.

  8. Dunga didn’t too well in the last World Cup.
    Mauro Silva was the real CM star for Brazil in ’94.
    Phil Melo’s World Cup ended in him showning that he has the temprement of a confused toddler. His opponent’s were laughing.

    What was that line about goldfish bowls and memories? I’ve forgotton.

  9. Here’s my favorite line today from “Realistic Gunner Fan” at 2:30:

    “A problem I have with AW is that he has an explanation everytime we lose and if he knows so much why cant he just prevent the losses.”

    Absolutely priceless. It takes a genius to make up stuff this stupid.

  10. Finsbury Dunga started the ’94 wc as deputy Captain but ended up lifting the wc as captain! As for your claim that Mauro Silva was better that’s a personal opinion I wouldn’t argue with. But they were similar players anyhow! As for Melo he didn’t win the wc and I didn’t compare him to Dunga or Gilberto either!

  11. theBigM

    I think Wenger just wanted to keep Koscielny’s run going and let’s face it none of us minded too much after 45 minutes that Djourou was dropped.

    I prefer Djourou for now but anyone who has watched Koscielny properly can see he has exceptional quality about his game. Unfortunately he had made 2 or 3 high profile errors but never the same one twice. He is learning a new league and will be a star. I personally don’t think he had a bad game at all yesterday. We were desperately unlucky to concede from a free kick 40 yds from goal.

    As for CB’s coming through the academy, there are, Nordveidt for one but more often than not CB is a position that requires experience. Or an exceptional talent for reading the game. I’m sure you’d point to Pique and howard marks at Barcelona but the game is slower in Spain and Pique is dog shit anyway.

    Kenyan Gunner

    Dunga got the sack.

  12. Dean0 I’m talking of Dunga the footballer and not the manager. I disliked his style of football but he was effective playing in two wc finals. I disliked him as a manager and was glad he got the sack. But that’s football. My favourite Arsenal players are Walcott and Denilson but they don’t get the first look. Cest la vie!

  13. @ Harry Flowers, if you cant take it out on Wenger then keep your frustrations to yourself instead of playiing down those of us fans that really have the guts to do so. To people like you, Wenger is never wrong so you’d rather blame everyone else but him. He is responsible for the team. Managers lose their jobs based on the performance of the team. Not that I am saying that Wenger should be fired, but that we should come to the reality that an approach that hasnt gotten us there is the past 5 seasons is not likely to this season.

  14. I sense there is something different about this team this year. I know we are repeating situations where we look as if we are mentally frail but there are also signs that the team is growing stronger. There will be setbacks on this road – we must be prepared for them.

    This weekend should be the low point, the team need to come out fighting and start demanding more from each other. There’s no point playing a top 4 Spurs team off the park to then be overcome with fear when mistakes are made or tactics change. Belief is key.

    COYG

  15. Talking of favourite Arsenal players. I’m not saying he would have necessarily affected the result, but I think we missed Jack Wilshere yesterday.

  16. KG, you mentioned Melo as a possible signing earlier.
    Fair enough, Dunga was a Captain of a ‘winning team’. Brazil got whupped in one of those finals, and the other was very boring. A distraught Baggio thought he should’ve won that game for Italy, and to be fair, being a Football G*D, he deserves the accolades, not Dunga.

  17. Deano

    How can what i say hamper the team.Does Wenger sit there waiting for me to post get real. Its muppets like you who swallow all the crap Wenger feeds you and never question him.

    As for Koscielny the guy is out of his depth and until TV is fit Djourou must always start before him
    yesterday Wenger got it wrong

  18. *deservers the accolades, the game was decided by the lottery of a penalty shoot out.

    The same old trolls are back out of the cave.

  19. More potency in front of goal and this would have not been a problem. Thought the starting lineup was pretty good but AW took too long to adapt to the scums changes. We left our defence out numbered and exposed too many times in the second half, a little too proud to sit back and defend when a team is throwing the kitchen sink at us even though we know that our counter attacking game is very effective.

    AA really pissed me off yesterday. Just about 4 clever passes in the whole match and still he refuses to get up quickly and hound the ball even when its in play 2 feet away from him. The guy is not pulling his weight and he is niavely arrogant about his own ability to beat people. Losing possesion and then turning the other cheek and sticking his tounge out is frankly pathetic and hugely disrespectful to the team on the pitch, the players on the bench and of course the fans. Rosicky offers the team so much its simply not befiting that he get so little minutes. Simarliy theo would have been less desperate had he been given half and hour or more. 12 minutes each is pratically counter productive as it puts them under more presure to deliver each time they get a touch.

    Chamakh offers the team a hell of a lot but a striker needs to be more goal hungry. Hopefully he learns from this and I for one would like RVP to be supporting him from the left so RVP doesn’t waste his energy holding up play.

    wenger strengths and weaknesses lie in his princibled academic like philsophies but the lines of truth become blured in his rose tinted lenses as his mind tries to merge his vision of how things could be and how things are… ok thats a pretty frivolous statement but I just feel he could think on his feet a bit more and adapt quicker to the form the players bring on the day.

    2 points form the summit is hardly the end of the world anyway, we know that any team can beat anyone on their day. the chances of teams like man city or spurs taking points off chelsea or man u are actually very high so lets just hope its a case of swings and roundabouts and that we continue to grow as a team.

    just because chelsea and man u are showing the first signs of decay doesn’t mean they are spent forces. certainly we have not proved anything yet but the future is ours.

  20. Finsbury Romario deserved that wc more than Baggio and he got it. It was a dour final though. Cafu was my man of the match. Taffarel was also outstanding in the tournament. Dunga, Mauro Silva and Manzinho in the Brazilian midfield were very “un-Brazilian.” Baresi for Italia was a legend. But the best team won on the night. Hard to see if we’ll see anything like the entertaining teams of Brazil prior to ’86 anytime soon! Goodnight all it’s 22:20 hrs in Nairobi and I’ve got to be up early!

  21. The Kos will be an excellent player. Yesterday he and SS were bad. Our entire defense was bad in the 2nd half. It was a very close choice between the Kos and Djourou. No way that prospectively you could criticize the team selection.

    I have not been an Arsenal fan for as long as many of the people on the blog but I think this is the single most demoralizing defeat I can remember. Both because of the way we lost and the team that beat us. I doubt even AW really understands what happened which is probably the most concerning part of the whole thing. That said we are only 2 points off the lead. A run of good games which we take 18 of the next 21 points would see us on top. This team clearly has the personnel to make that type of run.

  22. I thought our back 4 played well. I’d give Sagna an 8, Squillaci 7, Kos 7 and Clichy 7. Even though we conceded 3 goals and surrendered a 2 goal lead!

    I haven’t gone mad. None of the goals was the fault of the defence.

    Goal 1. Nasri did his thing of playing the free kick into the wall or nearest defender. Then, as the centre backs were sprinting back into position, none of the forwards went to close down Assou-Ekotto. I think it was Song who eventually went to close down.

    I’ve been on this point for so long now. When you have 8 players in and around the opposition box, you can’t afford to lose the ball on the edge of the box, unless you’re sure there’s a covering player nearby to win the ball or force a duel with the defending player who wins the ball. Mistake 1. Then mistake 2 was that for several seconds nobody closed down Assou.Ekotto. That was just very stupid because the worst position to be is when your centre halves are caught in no mans land, the opposition has transitioned into attack, and you can’t make the opposition act predictably. When that happened I was screaming close him down, close him down we’re going to concede. From then onwards, Clichy lost a header to Defoe which can happen, then the ball could be laid perfectly for Bale & from that point there was no way to stop the goal.

    The second goal was a penalty, the defence had nothing to do with it either.

    The third goal, someone (Kos perhaps) conceded the free kick 45 yards from goal. Cesc and RVP gave the goal away. Cesc didn’t attack the cross, RVP allowed Kaboul to the ball. Goal

    Again, not really the fault of the back 4.

  23. we gave away too many free kicks i thought, the players have been a lot more rash with challenges this year and we need to reel that in a bit without losing our competitive edge.

  24. Word- good point. We seem to be comitting a lot of fouls and taking a lot of cards this season. It’s good to see us getting stuck in but it also means that we are facing more threat from set pieces

  25. Gah…. I’ve inherited a ticket to Birmingham vs Arsenal at st. Andrews on new years day…..with the home fans.

    Shall I wear my Arsenal shirt with pride and see if I can get on 2 good 2 bad on MOTD 2 minutes before my death?

  26. kos a seven? Fukin ell oleg i thought you knew a bit about football. He had a mare. Couldnt out jump a fukin midget yesterday.

  27. What do we expect? His scouts work only in France, recruiting French players season after season and not delivering. They don’t know what this Derby means to Arsenal fans. I could hardly eat yesterday.

    He’s not doing much developing Lanbury, JET but Vela and Denilson the donkey.
    Too many foreigners destroying the spirit of the team/club.

  28. If yesterdays result is not mentioned again I may well get over it within the next five to six years!
    Grrrrrrr

  29. For all of you that thinks this defeat was down to AW.
    Its really not AWs fault that Cesc puts his hand up and handballs in the penalty area. Another manager Murino or say Hiddink, non of them could have prevented that from happen. Only thing that could have prevented that from happen was if we never bought one of the worlds best midfielders in the first place. I mean who the hell sticks up their hand in the penalty area??? that was the single action that led us to point of no return for us. Our match was lost with that handball. A handball from one of the worlds best players. A handball that NO manager in the world could have prevented, nor any tactics in the world could have prevented. Yes, actions before the fatal freekick could have been handled different but still, that single point of time, that handling of the ball changed our game last nite. And the only living person on this planet that could have prevented that from happen was the arsenal players, not the manager, not the fans nobody but cesc could have prevented that, and only he knows why he did it.

    I dont mind aw critics,but please. cesc and his crew has brains, they have responsibility they are GROWN UPS on high salarys and they are really good playes. this is the teams fault. Not AW. They should know better than to loose a 2 goal lead with or without bad coaching. I mean look at tottenham! do you really need AW to bread down your neck to take a game like that serious? Do you really need AW to tell you in the dressingroom to not be complacent?? Do you?? its ridiculouse! Are we to belive a team like arsenal has players that are incapable of doing anything without AW telling them exactly what to do? Harry aparantley never tells Tottenham anything, surly Cesc, Nasri, Arsharvin, Song, Denilson, Squilly Clichy and the rest should manage the same. No blaming all on AW is to easy, its letting the players off the hook. this was down to the players. they should not need to be told not to do stupid stuff on the pitch,

    Shame on you, clichy, Sanga, Squilachi, Kos, Shame on you Song, Denilson, Cesc(!), shame on you Arsharvin, Nasri, Chamach, Walcott, Rosicky and RvP. If Arsenal has a wall of shame your pic should all be up on it.

  30. I agree with Ole in one respect, it would be churlish to point the fingers at individuals in the defence. I think it would be fair comment to say that our overall defensive performance is up for criticism, particualy after the first goal and the manner in which it was conceded. Why we had to have so many players forward when we already 2-0 up is the big question.

    I think that some of the shortcomings of team have been exaggerated because of the nature of the team and the opposition. But there is no denying that another important lead was not held on to, and this has happened before. The real question now is whether the team can change it’s tactics and do what a lot of other teams would do if they were 2-0 up, and park the bus. We have never parked the bus; well, the last time I can remember was against the mancs in the 2005 FA Cup final, and the Villareal semi final of the champions league. Could we do that now ? I seem to remember after our customary run of the 2 or 3 defeats in November, the team taking a different tact and going for clean sheets and then eventually wins. Perhaps it would be good if we did the same.

    Final thoughts – In my view we have not see the real arsenal forward line this season. Chamakh has done an excellent job, but the forward line to me is really about VP, Bendtner and Walcott . The former 3 players will hit form, and it is with that, that I believe we have plenty still in the tank. Just 2 points of the top off the lead at the moment. Can’t believe a lot of people wouldn’t have taken that at the start of the season.

  31. Absurd that people call the team complacent. Even more absurd are fans who question the team’s mental fortitude but have no mental fortitude themselves. NONE. ZERO. ZIPPO. Credit for Spurs for going for it when three down and having a lot of luck go there way. Shame on Cesc for being an idiot — he was clearly cheating (he knew what he was doing) but got caught. Hopefully he will cut that out. Koscielny, a brilliant talent, seems to switch off at times. And collectively, of course, the team simply needs to learn to play with more restraint and caution. But there are some bounces of the ball that one simply cannot control.

    This team is really close to being a world beaters, but some of the fans (and some of you one this site) seem to have projected their own whinning, loosing, “Oh my god the world is ending” attitudes onto the players. I’m just glad none of you are on the pitch. For 17 years you’ve been taking the piss out of your Spur’s mates at school or work, now you need to take the piss from them for a week. You are Arsenal fans; you can do it.

  32. California Gooner,

    Today is one of those days I wish someone would explain things to me. What did Koscielny do wrong yesterday?

  33. Sorry, Ole — there was that header from about 5 yards out, for one… a near repeat of Chelsea… but maybe he just missed it.

  34. Ole, and since you never got an answer as to which midget outjumped Sagna, they were referring to Defoe. Of course, it is just sour-grapes by fans who are looking for a finger to point. Defoe was in a better position, that’s all. Even Messi scores headed goals from time to time.

  35. We’re all hurting but a centre back misisng a header from that position, I am sorry is something we see all the time in football. It’s a weird reason to criticise a centre back’s defending.

    No they claim a midget outjumped Koscielny. But it was Clichy who was outjumped. Defoe was in space because the set piece broke down. Clichy ran a couple of yards to contest the header.

  36. I think folks need to put this all in perspective.

    First it was a dissapointing defeat, but in reality the direct causes are much different than we think.

    1-2
    – Jermaine Defore (a 5’7″ guy once publically described by his former girlfirend as an “ooompa loompa”) should not win a free header on ANYONE, not Kos, not Squil, never mind whether Djourou was playing or not. But then again Arsenal have been loosing headers for years, even when Gallas was here.
    – Denilson switched off – he was supposed to be tracking back to cover the space where Bale was heading, and in the sequence he slows up at one point, instead of sprinting

    That was it – basic errors. No conspiracy theory required or inquisituion over whether player x or y should have started. We could have played Nordtveit and Eastmon in this game and reasonably expected both to a) win a header vs Defore and b) sprint to cover the obvious open space.

    2-1
    1) Song didnt foul Modric – it was a shoulder to shoulder charge against a smaller player, the likes of which refs in this league NEVER call in favour of say Nasri, Ashavin, Walcott and Rosicky. Week in, week out, those calls go against us and are clearly not considered fouls in this league. Why on earth does Phil Dowd suddenly decide it is a foul there?
    2) Forget the one-frame picture presented here and instead look at the video. What you see is that the players CORRECTLY linked arms to keep their bodies together and prevent openings in the wall. When the kick was taken it was bending and heading towards their FACES very fast – not above their heaeds, but toward their faces, and BENDING unpredictablly in a LATERAL directon. If you dont understand what kind of threat this poses to their nasal bones, you should try finding a professional footballer and lettting him try to kick a ball towards you at face height from 10 or 12 yards. When said ball presents itself on course towards your nose, I think you’ll find that your ELBOW will come up pretty quickly towards your face. Which is not illegal actually. Its flailing the arm outside the frame of your body or seeking to use the arm to CONTROL the ball that is illegal – not protecting your nose. Again PHIL DOWD lost his bottle here, not Fabregas. The players in the wall are free to protect their faces with arms and that’s where the ball was headed. Whether their arms are linked or not is NOT the matter. The pertinent fact is that ball headed to wards their faces hit the arm of a player held IN FRONT OF HIS FACE T PROTECT HIS SEPTUM. If that is a a penalty then I think the game of football needs to forget having a future – this is becoming a spectacle of drama and a random chance of meeting a bad ref – not a game of skill.

    2-3
    – Here Kaboul is a big guy but seeing the video the defense had been set up such that he was marked by a man in front and a man behind. The man in front failed to get the ball first and the man behind helped kabout inadvertently as Kaboul’s weak and lucky header spun off of him – otherwise, Fabianski probably pushes the ball away.

    All in all this was a dissapointing loss, but at the end of the day a loss of collective errors, plus a simply BAD REF who made two awful calls that ended up having the effect of losing us the game..

    I cant see where Wenger is to blame tactically, although I would have to agree with Lee Dixon’s post-game assessment that Wenger’s standards of quality in players have dropped. These days he seems willing to field players who make elementary errors and put the result up for grabs by their opponents or bad refs. The kid of errors of judgement in positioning and gambling on tackles that the likes of Diaby, Kos, Clichy and sometimes Denilson make, well turn the clock back to 7-8 years ago and one can see that these guys playing at that level would have been marginal guys on the squad, not players holding starting jerseys or considered to be first rank replacements. THAT difference in quality is why those players would not lose a game at home after going up 2-0.

    And that’s the real problem at Arsenal. You look at the “invincibles” and the reason they dominated was that their skill levels was immense, allied to iron discipline. They did not make dumb mistakes and if you went behind 0-1 to that Arsenal team, the opponents knew that they had pretty much ZERO chance of 3 points, and that even a point was gonna be a lottery result.. Because those guys did NOT make dumb mistakes defensively and they were clinical offensively, so 1 goal down to them was game over. You werent going to breach their defense and when you tried, they made you pay, you’ve opened up your own defense and 1-2-3 passes and someone was sticking the 2-0 knife in you.

    Truth is that Fabregas is the only player in todays squad who could for sure hold a starting jersey if you time-travelled these players back 8 years. He has both the skill, the desire to win and the discipline that those old school guys showed.That anyone would doubt his quality or commitment in this game is an utter joke.

  37. Interesting viewpoint on the penalty. Didn’t spot that Cesc’s septum was 6 inches above Chamakh’s head. Take a look at the still photos. 3 of the 5 players in the wall had their hands above their heads. None of them had linked arms. Let’s not make excuses for simple poor defending.

  38. according to Arry the Spuds are going to win the title and their new captain Gallas thinks the arsenal fans were kind to him. we coudn’t really be bothered to pay him too much attenion because he is a meaningless charcter in the Arsenal history. he will always be remembered for his clown act at Birmingham.

  39. I knew Naga would post today.

    I think we lost the game on Cesc handball, that just took all the wind out of our sails.

    I wouldve much preferred us sit back and defend in that match.

    I heard Cesc talking about the team being complacent against Shaktar, I just cant understand why we are still complacent in any matches. What are these players thinking?

    After all the dissapointment, this team can still achieve greatness if they would take every match serious for the whole match.

    ARSENAL!!!

  40. Yes, the weekend’s capitulation was unacceptable. Yes, the subs were abit mystifying. Yes, I feel bad for all those that spent good hard earned cash at the stadium and to a lesser extent people like me who pay for the matches on the telly. And finally, yes, losing to the Spuds hurts.

    But all this over the top, sack Arsene hooplah is ludicrious.

    Let’s put it all in perspective, we’re still only TWO points off the pace. Just dont get all these “supporters” trashing Arsene and Arsenal right now. If they want a team that will walk over everything in their path go support Barca or RM. Really doesnt take a halfwit to figure out / see what Arsene and Arsenal are trying to do and when they finally do do it, what an example our club will be!

    Just another blip on the road to success, we’ll have more no doubt, but its not exactly like we are out of the race yet and we’re fighting for 4th, we’re still fighting for 1st and thats the bottom line.

  41. Seriously, ACLF comments are becoming very disappointing. You are allowed to vent after you lose the North London Derby. It’d be a poor Arsenal blog if you can’t! It’s one of the best blogs on the Web, I like Arseblog a bit better, but mostly coz I love the in-your-face-humour, but all these attacks on anybody who dares to say anything that remotely sounds Anti-Arsene or against any player! I’m not anti-Arsene, but when players seem to stop trying on the field, fans have every right to say that. You give credit to them when they win, you blame them when they lose silly like that, and there’s nothing wrong with that because they’re supposed to play well. That’s their job. You don’t do it well, you get stick. Saying so doesn’t mean you deserve to be called names and anti-Arsenal and all! Trying your best and still losing is different. This is taking no-Arsenal-player-can-do-wrong to ridiculous heights.

  42. I know we can still win the league. More thought needed to go into the substitutions, knowing that there were tired legs from international nonsense during the week. Rosicky came on too late in my opinion.

  43. Watched the game again. What at all did Koscielny do wrong as a defender that’s earning him criticism with people saying he’s not ready, he’s like Cygan etc.

    Bollocks.

    Well Gael Clichy would be happy it’s not him they’re piling on without reason.

    Talking of which Clichy had a great game yet every single action, Kenny Sansom on ATVO was tearing him apart.

  44. Thanks Yogi.

    Well that ws one of the most frustrating performances from Arsenal I’ve seen since Wigan last year. Amazing first half, making the spuds look like the mid table obscurity ridden cunts that they should be. Going back to 2-1 was a worry, and that’s when the team needed to dig in, stop the inevitable flurry and finish them off.

    What the hell was Cesc thinking? That’s not the first time i’ve seen him do that kind of ridiculous handball either. Can’t remember what game it was but it should have been a huge lesson to one of our most experienced players.

    I hope Wenger blasted them for such a demoralising capitulation. They need to learn from this and bounce back. Fortunately, we have a month where we should regain some dignity with 3 wins. Then it’s Chelsea. We’d better be up for that one.

    When we were knocking it about and taking the piss before half time, i was thinking, let’s just get up there and get a 3rd, that’d really finish them off. Chelsea or Man U would have done exactly that.

    Sorry for the negativity this morning, but i’m still reeling from the match. I had a really annoying Villa fan with me and he wouldn’t stop goading through the 2nd half – made the defeat even more unbearable.

    We can win the league, we just need to stop thinking we can cruise through to victory. They should know that by now.

  45. Spot on regarding Kos. He is not the finished article – a lot of raw edges and a lot to learn positing wise, which is not suprising considering he was in the french 2nd division not long ago.

    On the other hand, what is pretty clear to anyone with two eyes is that he is the first defender we have had in a long time who has a shot at being what Sol Campbell was in his prime: the perfect central defender.

    If you look closely, this guy is pretty fast and has the ability to be incredibly precise with his tackling. He passes the ball better than many midfielders in this league, practically on par with the likes of Rio Ferdinand.

    What’s he missing – he needs a bit more raw strength, which is already coming and will continue too, as the Arsenal fitness team works on his body. He also needs to get more exposure to playing in this league because the best players here faster than he is used to and his game is all about making quick judgements on timing. But the potential is there and you can see he is sharper mentally than Djourou and senderos for example.

    I would say shame on anyone who compares him with Cygan, but even that would be unfair to both as Cygan was a actually good defender who simply lacked the footspeed to make it in the premiership. But Kos does not have any issues with speed – all he needs is just the playing time.

  46. Hope our boys will at least learn how to form a wall and be ready to take a knock for Arsenal if need be without the use use of the arms. And Song, pls keep your eyes open; closing them will not stop the ball from hitting your face.

  47. Many of the reactions to our defeat on Saturday have been shameless and revealing. Most unedifying was the immediate search for scapegoats. After an excellent 1st half and then our gifting the game to the Spuds by a series of unforced errors, the search for a perpetrator began. Despite picking the bones for individual errors, it is noticeable that it was difficult to find the usual suspects. Hence Messers Ablogger and LeGrover decided it had to be Arsene Wenger. He must be at fault for sending out a team in the 2nd half who lost concentration. What a revelation!

  48. There is nothing as dangerous as having an entire club ethos built around a manager. He is in this ivory tower where nobody is applying the remotest bit of pressure on him. Players jockey for the position if they have competition (Clichy take note, when Gibbs comes back), but until Kroenke or Usmanov get their feet firmly under the table to remove the Hill-Woods once and for all be prepared for these outcomes season on season. Wengers subs baffled & his post match comments bemused.

  49. @ shotta… that is what baffles me most of all… really… What exactly did AW do wrong that its his fault his team cannot defend a 2 goal lead, like they didn’t do it just last weekend against Everton… I cant even remember us being 2 goals up and losing in any recent memory… still against spurs we had that last 4 – 4 which springs to mind.

    These things are not easy to accept, but they happen, and we will bounce back!

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