Love Hurts

Arsenal 0 – 2 Swansea City

0 – 1 Michu (88)
0 – 2 Michu (90)

It crushes you in the end, being a football supporter.

For the generation who have only supported the club during the Wenger reign, this is a new feeling. Those of us around since the 1980s and before, we’ve got our Arsenal back. The old inconsistent Arsenal who could go on serious runs without scoring more than a goal a game or not even at all. The old Arsenal who were more than capable of turning out a performance like this on a regular basis. The old Arsenal who were capable of playing appallingly at home and then turning on the style in the next away game, winning by several goals when you least expected it.

We’ve got our Arsenal back. Next time be careful what you wish for.

Thirty-one years ago, Swansea arrived at Highbury and took the points back to South Wales, climbing to second in the table as a result. Arsenal descended into 18th place following that game. Now we find ourselves 10th in the Premier League, just six points off the Champions League places but never has a points difference felt like such a gulf. Personally, I don’t agree with booing the team off the pitch but I understand why. After a performance like that, I would never condemn those who chose to express their opinions in that manner either. Something has to change but what is that something?

Explaining all of this, the ups and downs of football, the joy and suffering it brings, to a ten year-old is one of those rites of passage that a father has to endure.

So Dad, does this mean Arsenal are like Liverpool now?

Ouch. It had more cutting edge than Arsenal.

It is hard to fathom why Olivier Giroud was dropped to the bench. Starved of service at Villa Park, he led the line well at Goodison Park. Gervinho might be more unpredictable perhaps that’s why he was included. It is the only unpredictable thing about Arsenal at the moment. The attacking dynamic has been blunted, the passing in crucial areas has become ponderous, laboured; there just isn’t the speed about the forwards or midfield that was there when afternoons were sunny. Or if Tottenham are the opposition.

It’s not the failure, I can live with the failure; it’s the hope that kills you.

Swansea were the better side in the first half, no question of that. They passed well and when you look at the midfield that Arsenal had, it is hard to see why. Cazorla, Wilshere and Arteta are some of the best passers in the country but the game passed them by. When you have an average squad, it’s easy to improve them, to buy better. When you have good players out of form, playing badly, the solutions are incredibly hard to find and implement. Were it so simple as buying a player or two in the footballing Habitat, Arsène would have done it already, announced it and have them ready to join on January 1st. Maybe it is that simple, maybe that will happen; I remain unconvinced. Then again, if I had the answers, I would have told Arsène already.

It isn’t just about one result, in the unbeaten mini-run which just ended, where were the good performances? Where was the dominance, the slow-burning improvement that left you thinking it was all coming together nicely. No, I didn’t see them either.

Five points off third isn’t the end of the world, it isn’t insurmountable and I wouldn’t be surprised if this Arsenal squad closed the gap and reeled them in. You just wouldn’t be surprised but you don’t expect it. There are not the outstanding teams that make you think it is out of reach. That’s the plus, the hope comes with an improvement in Arsenal’s form, you can’t give up before Christmas. You can’t, can you?

But is this the season when the wheels come off?

I asked the question on Friday about complacency and I don’t think that is a problem with the players, they aren’t confident enough to be complacent. Suggestions that Wenger has lost the dressing room? I don’t think so, can’t tell you why but I don’t think so. Yet. Not speaking to Bould? Don’t believe it, the former centre back is too strong a character to put up with those working conditions. And so is the manager.

More questions than answers.

A win wasn’t out of the question, Giroud might have won a penalty – I thought it was, I’m sure the replays will show you whether Clattenburg was right or wrong but when you are left looking at that sort of non-opportunity as to where three points was coming from, you know it was bad. Appalling. Papering over cracks.


And onto Greece. Pick themselves up, work on the training pitch. I would suggest that some will be left at home but not that many. Give Cazorla a rest, Squillaci a game. Finishing top or second, it is not that much difference in this season’s Champions League. A new game. Forget the past. Or the game that passed us by.

’til Tomorrow.

453 thoughts on “Love Hurts

  1. He did say the mid ’70’s, Georgiaki. Many people lived before then.

    When Utd were winning stuff in the 50’s, who saw that on TV?

    How hard is this?

  2. Umm Georgaki, my point was we had an entire network of Arsenal fans out here way before the advent of TV

  3. You might try telling your ten year old the truth that we have a deluded has been for a manager and is past it and we’re never going to be any better as long as he remains in that position.But i suppose like all the other AKB’S you still don’t believe it.

  4. @consolsbob at 8:05 pm

    So how do you suggest people saw Man U and became world wide fans back in the 50s? I don’t think that’s when they became a world brand. I think that was in the 60s.

  5. Just to reiterate Georgaki, I became an Arsenal fan in the year 1970. tV arrived in 1976, and there were no arsenal matches on TV then anyway. At best towards the late 80s we saw the FA Cup final if we were lucky.

  6. Trooper Mike !

    People had to be a bit more imaginative – a bit more patient – in their interests and support of football teams in days gone by

  7. i would argue utd became so popular because
    they were travelling around europe playing

  8. Yes JJ, Manu had a pretty impressive team in those days, and Munch added a huge aura to the club and attracted world wide sympathy and following on top of that.

    As for actual footage, same as n my Father’s Day when he was an Arsenal fan out here too, there used to be a black and white newsreel that got played between adverts before the feature movie. Even when I was young, that was how we saw footage in small clips along with general world news and other sports.

    When I was at junior school (boarding), we were allowed to go down to Rhodes University in Grahamstown where I was at school to watch the newly released movie about Pele’s life on 16mm movie, we saw 1 reel per week. From that, Pele will always, to me, be the greatest football player of all time (followed very closely by our own Dennis!) 🙂

  9. @MikeSA at 8:12 pm

    You might also bear in mind that you lived in a part of the world that had historical and cultural ties with Britain. So, it may well be more than being won over with good football.

    @consolsbob at 8:05 pm

    This may or may not be relevant. Have you seen the documentary on the life of Bobby Moore? Absolutely, brilliant. Post WWII and into the 50s England were still reluctant about taking part in world cup qualifiers. They considered it below their lofty status as the inventors of football. But they were humiliated by Ferenc Pushkas’s Hungary,7-1 in 1954. They were stunned by the technical brilliance of the Hungarians. The English were trying to kick them of the pitch with their physical approach. It was this display that inspire Malcolm Allison to try and implement this ‘entertaining’ technical style of play at West Ham. That’s when the hammers got their reputation for their academy and for playing good football and for producing Bobby Moore. So, I doubt the world was won over to beautiful football coming from these shores in the 50s. It must have been later in the 60-70s with the spread of TVs.

  10. What does it matter ? It wont make the slightest bit of difference who did what and when,come next Saturday.
    City are top dogs now.They are the big club .Ask their fans.They could care a fuck what happened 100 years ago .Or even 10 years ago.
    History is nothing in sport .Unless you are writing a book.

  11. @MikeSA at 8:15 pm

    So it couldn’t have been because of the quality of the football. It certainly wasn’t for me and I was born 3 miles from Highbury and used to go to every home game. It was not very entertaining stuff but I was a member of a tribe…

  12. Well Georgaki, we didn’t watch much footage other than the newsreel stuff, but we read and heard plenty about it, either in football magazines, or in letters from friends and family, or in telephone conversations with a group of us hanging around the phone trying to hear what the guy on the other end was telling us about the game.

    TV wasn’t the only way of following the team and the games.

  13. @consolsbob at 9:03 pm

    Nah, not apples and pears it’s all very relevant. Never mind it was quite a digression anyway….but I am right 😉

  14. Anicoll 5.28,”Dein was not a football man ” Seriously,are you even an Arsenal fan? You may have only been a fan since 1998 but try and do a bit of research about the team you support.Dein helped set up the Premier League for gods sake Jeez.He used to go to watch the youth team train and gasp. knew all their names,their parents names god their fuckin hamsters names.He grew up on the north bank and when he was chairman the first thing he thought about every day was how to make Arsenal better.God Wenger would never have been here if it wasn’t for Dein.”We are treading water.What we are doing now (by being at Hghbury)is to keep putting prices up in order to try to meet overheads and you now have a different supporter.And that in my opinion is not right.” Who said this? David Dein,putting to bed the myth he didn’t want to move.Yes,he did consider renting Wembley,but the rest of the board considered BUYING it “We actually made a bid before the FA bought it from Wembley plc” Who said this ? PHW..Dein did plenty wrong,but he also did plenty right,and to say he is not a football man is ridiculous.

  15. My word – a David Dein fan

    I am sure Dein stood on the North Bank about as often as Levy stood on the Shelf ie never

    I love a good myth though

    Dein is a businessman who made a substantial sum of money out of his involvement with AFC – same as everyone else who buys a stake in AFC

    Ps 8.9.64 1-1

  16. you can hate a team as much as you like but something like munich is fucking tragic..
    you dont wish that on any fucker…

    isnt this the reason why bergkamp wouldnt fly? something about the plane carrying the dutch team had a crash landing, or a crash take off or whatever it was and he decided he was gonna walk everywhere..

  17. as for the cl fixture..
    id send all the first team over and make em play it as a punishment for being shit..

    then for the pl fixtures up until xmas id play all the kids..

    fuck the first team..were 10th..they can sit and watch the kids for a month and think about how shit theyve been

    then in january id splash a whole heap of cash, buy 4 or 5 top top top top quality players, offer the players we dont use to other clubs for free and start again..

    try and get to wembley as well..give the fans a day out and try not to lose this one..

  18. I honestly don’t think buying in January will necessarily be the answer. Theoretically we have a good side, they’re just not producing. Whether that’s formation, tactics, line-up, confidence, attitude, who knows ? It’s Arsene’s job to sort that out, whether it’s adapting the system to the players or picking the right players for the system, or playing players in their natural positions or simply giving them a good kick up the arse. Adding one or two new players to a disfunctional team won’t change anything. We’re playing slow, predictable, vulnerable, nervous football. That needs to change before anything else. The other stuff is longer term.

  19. A few years ago most teams would shit themselves about playing Arsenal as they knew there’d be a good chance they’d be slaughtered. They didn’t think about winning, just keeping the score down to a respectable level. The game was almost won before kick-off. Then our reputation preceded us. Unfortunately now our reputation precedes us. We need to change that.

  20. well thats the problem aint it..
    there was a time when fergie was thinking of retirement becuase arsene was in cruise control..

    nowadays fergie makes personal phone calls to wenger and takes his best players off him, tells the media how hes going to beat us a week before they play us and pisses himself laughing in the post match interviews..

    there was a time when arsene would toy with the media..he was the king of one liners, now hes just dejected and tired and has to explain himself in every interveiw..

    there was a time when wenger would have no problem shelling out millions for players like wiltord and reyes, even though he had players like henry and bergkamp and kanu..

    these days he sells his ‘henrys’ and his ‘bergkamps’ and replaces them..and hes done it for that long now i dont think theres any way back..

    he bought henry to play with bergkamp for example.
    bertie and edu to play with vieira..

    he was a manager who looked at stats and let players go because they ran 10 yards less than they did the year before yet he hangs onto players like diaby and rosicky who havent featured in the first team together since 2007 was it someone said the other night?

    whats exactley happened to him?? i want my arsene back 🙂

    but the biggest giveaway is we dont even play wengerball anymore..its a mish mash..i dont know what it is..theres no balance, no depth, no rotation, no consistency..

    no trophies..

    its all very ‘unwengerlike’..and its been this way a few years..

  21. @JJ
    I would suggest that this team and every single position on the field was tailored to support Cesc in the best way possible to get the maximum out of him. And ever since we lost Cesc, we have been trying out various things in an atempt to adapt, but somehow there is still this Fabregas shaped hole in our team.

  22. Evil
    agree how the team was shaped for Cesc…….but I don’t believe this team has played sufficient matches to develop the chemistry to pass a final judgement. Giroud, Gervinho, Theo, Podolski, Ox, Ramsey all have shuffled in line ups.

    Again I say the loss of Song was not expected by Arsene. Maybe his belief that Frimpong or Diaby could offset the loss – I don’t know. I don’t see Arsene having much faith in Coq.

    Too many questionable issues to pass an opinion. Arsene is on a short leash with most fans and boisterous negative comments at matches aren’t helpful for player confidence in Arsene.

  23. JJ, Dennis had a bad flight over or back from the USA WC. That’s when he decided he wouldnt fly again.

    To the best of my knowledge it was one of the clauses in his contract when he signed with us.

  24. I am from India and only seen Wenger’s Arsenal, say since 2000. I love football we play but even more the philosophy of doing things ideally (I love Arsenal hierarchy for that). I never write comments because I dont consider to be an expert of sorts. But after seeing all this I have some points
    1) Pep is not good with transfers and man management (Zlatan, that 25 million defender, Sanchez etc). So he could be a big flop with EPL clubs given the pressure.
    2) Klopp should be seen as a long term replacement, even AVB could do.
    3) Jose only does it in his own terms, and he’s pretty egoistic and WILL talk bad about his former clubs.
    4)Ferguson, with all due respect, will ruin Man Utd. Eg look at their current state. Their owners leech the money out publicly and Fergie supports them. His team is punching above weight and still he has to depend upon Giggs and Scholes. He dont have a good bench to fight superior clubs like RM, Barca, Munich or even Borussia. He is a fox and when he leaves he’ll make sure that Man Utd was good only because of HIM. They have already sold their 10% shares (Class B) in NYSE and reduced the debt by 70 Million only (more than 100 million went to Glazers). All in all he gives a fuck about Man Utd.
    5) Now it comes to Wenger. He must have given some commitment to board. We fans are not supposed to know what they are.He sacrificed every personal achievement for this club. He earns 5 million less Jose, for the same job he turned down. Yes he was wrong in many cases but he wronged it for Arsenal. He stood for the Arsenal way. He stood by its Motto (Man Utd, Doesnt have one). He is the courageous knight of football, who laid down his personal glory for this club we all love…

    Thank You.

  25. In terms of the playing style we have all come to love about wengerball:

    We have seen some glimpses of it this season, even fairly recently (I seem to recall and astoundingly good passage of play on our left flank recently, I think it was against Schalke?

    The problem seems to be that such passages of play have become infrequent in that we seem to only see it in a few patches every few games, whereas before we could expect play like that in spurts amounting to 20-30 minutes in every game.

    My frustration is that I know these players and this squad are perfectly capable of that kind of football, so why is it going AWOL for long stretches?

    I recall reading a blog or comment from someone somewhere yesterday who purpotedly attended the game, and their comment was that the players were shouting at each other for not being on the end of their passes.

    I only see on TV what the idiot producers allow us to see (some play interspersed liberally with shots of the crowd, the managers, the back of some arbitary chop’s head, his foot, the ball in close-up, some player ambling along picking his nose nowhere near the action, etc, etc), so while I had a bit of a go at Gibbs in the last game where he stopped and passed the ball abckwards near the end of the game when we desperately needed to attack, maybe the bit I and other TV fans are missing, is the lack of movement up front?

    Nevertheless, my point is I dont think this is just about money or new purchases, although I think a striker in the mould of Eduardo (a genius buy by Wenger btw), Saurez, Aguero, Tevez, etc., i.e. a dynamic, tough, driven striker to feed off Giroud would be a good thing.

    I would even go so far as to say it might need to be a high profile purchase, dare I say a Neymar or a Falcoa?

    The reason being that although I would normally be totally opposed to a “statement” purchase, with the situation the club currently finds itself in, I think it’s neccessary to boost morale within and without the club.

  26. And although I would support him if he did indeed arrive, I dont think Huntelaar is what we’re looking for right now. Or Loriente for that matter. Or a striker who is 3rd choice at some club and with a history of getting a goal every 3rd game or so.

  27. Wenger must stop being a Finacial Manager and become a Football Manager again.

    We need Yann M’Villa in the middle of the park

  28. if we are looking at strikers then i think theres a few candidates..
    i do like llorente..but i see a similar player in giroud..

    i think we misses a trick with michu..hes looking like another eduardo pre assualt.. he doesnt miss..

    im not sure about huntelaar either, hes another one who doesnt miss but he lacks pace..

    personally, im liking that bentake fella at villa..

    but whatever we do we need to sort out where we play our strikers because when i see podolski and theo running up and down the wing and gervinho playing as a cf i question what the actual plan is..

  29. if we want a marquee signing then go get that big ugly bastard with the afro, put him in a red shirt and put him in the centre of our pitch..

    id sign beckham as well

  30. im reading reports that arsene locked tham in the dressing room and unleashed the bould on their arses for letting everyone down..


    now make em all play in greece..

    then drop em..

  31. What about Louic Remy? He’s quick, don’t know too much about his conversion ratio?

    What seems to have gone missing is that Henry, Wiltord, Reyes, etc were actually reasonably high proced purchases at the time.

    Possibly the equivalent of spending 20-30m today?

    As I have stated, I’m normally very opposed to a “name” purchase foor the sake of it, but right now I do think we need a proven goal-scorer, a name that can hit the ground running and lift the club.

    Personally I don’t think Theo’s close control, though much improved, is up to the standard of what we require from a striker apart from a select few games against specific opposition.

    I think he’s gone anyway. As soon as a player starts moving he goalposts around (I want to be a striker, I want to start more often, I need to have a brass peg in my locker instead of a silver one, etc. etc), then you know they’re just dodging any commitment.

    I would still like him to stay, I just don’t think it’s going to happen.

    Sagna’s situation bothers me.

    I think he’d like to stay, i’m nt so sure the club isnt trying to pull the same shit with him to get rid of him.

    Imo, that would be a serious mistake, and the club has made more than just a few monumental abortional manouvres recently to blunder into yet another.

    in terms of a DM, I’d like to see Coquelin trusted a bit more. I’d also like to see a bit more of Eisfeld.

  32. Apologies, I’m sort of making entries while I’m working, so my checking on my spelling etc is aleaving quite a bit to be desired.

  33. theo and sagna are both gone mate..
    theo made his mind up 18months ago and sagnas pissed off that we sold song and didnt approach him with a new contract becuase of his injury..even though weve thrown money at diaby…

    also, with sagna, is that hes coming to arsenal retirement age..and from what ive witnessed over the years, very soon we’ll be looking for a backup to jenks..which would be another monumental cock up if you ask me..

  34. Unfortunately I think you’re right JJ.

    Funny, you’ve been picking up on things a lot earlier than many of us, including me for a while now.

    There’s still a few things I’m not so sure on, but maybe many of us have a had a large dose of reality recently?

  35. “I think he’d like to stay, i’m nt so sure the club isnt trying to pull the same shit with him to get rid of him.”

    If that is correct, Mike, then we will Know a lot more about IG and the Board than we actually do now. Some of us might suspect it, but this would be evidence.

  36. ive not picked up on things earlier, to be honest..
    everyones being seeing the same thing..

    i just wanted to know what the fuck was going on and how do we stop it from snowballing because im an inquisitive mouthy little fucker and always have been… whereas others just wanted to find excuses or just thought thats the way its supposed to be.. like george, and his rusty banger 🙂 or GP and this bible hes got, written by two fruitcakes about how weve always been shit 🙂

  37. the board have been having our pants down for years..

    and when i say board i mean owner..becuase nobody on the board has a say in anything..the other only man who does isnt even allowed on the board..

    riddle me this, for all those who cant do with usmanov, fair enough..but putting all names and nationalities and historys aside, when youve got one majority shareholder, telling the other one that he doesnt want him to see the books or have a say or be in meetings, then it doesnt matter what you think the 2nd guy is or was or will be..

    you gotta ask the question what the fuck is the first guy upto??

    ive never liked american isnt a franchise..

  38. That’s something I am finding surprising, how many people seem to think that Arsene was the first manager to achieve anything with Arsenal, that we had been an average club before.

    I read people saying things like ‘history doesn’t matter, and then go on to tell us that manu and Liverpool have always been bigger clubs.

    That clubs like Leeds have similar histories.

    Then it sometimes moves to a logic whereby people who point to our great, and unique history are merely claiming that ‘we are entitled to win’ or belittling Arsene’s achievements.

    It’s like a wall with the past was erected at the date of Arsene’s appointment.

  39. Arsenal Started the season with 3 natural ball-winners. Sold 1, lost 1 to injury and loaned one.

    Now we never win back the ball until its gotten to our Area. Playing a single pivot with a deep-lying playmaker is a joke. Coquelin-Arteta in a double-pivot would suffice with Wilshere taking point and Carzola in a pires/nasri role outwide.

    Wenger bought Lukas to increase our goal threat, but with Theo doing that on his own, Santi should play a free role out wide (and as such not loose the ball in dangerous positions so often).

    I assume with Tomas back in the squad this will happen more often. Santi through the middle makes our midfield too easy to penetrate.

    We aren’t dead yet. We just need someone to take some responsibility

  40. Consolsbob- are you just trying to be difficult or what? The argument has been made that Arsenal was already a big club before Arsene arrived. But only in England. The point being put across is that it is Wenger who gave the club its global appeal. That is what you should be debating not to keep going back to the same thing. You are beginning to sound like a broken record

  41. I will be the last to say AW should go. Especially when I don’t know what is on the menu, but after the last few performances I would like to see a lot more happening.

    This is the rot of a 7 season decline against the ‘new’ top teams which was, until pretty recent, unavoidable – we had few ‘sustainable’ options. The sale of Song and RvP tore the rest of the ‘Fabregas’ (for want of a better expression) Team apart. It is to all intents and purposes a new era and the ones who are going to lead this have to start showing themselves, or we have to start bringing them in.

    Most of all I believe that something is missing in the training though. lack of purpose, lack of concentration and little imagination suggests as much that the team is lacking a brain and purpose. Defend, distribute, dictate, delve and deluge. All the d’s are missing.

  42. highbury
    we werent only big in england, we were big in ireland as well..ha

    and as was discussed yesterday, wenger did not soley give the club its global brand…
    he wasnt the one that set up sky telly, or the pl..
    he wasnt the one who decided to move to a 60thousand stadia..

    we were pulling 90thousand into highbury in the 30s..weve been in the top flight forever, we were winning doubles and titles as much as any other fucker and we were almost going unbeaten 13 years before arsene did it..
    we could have done well in europe but we’ll never no becuase we werent allowed in the fucking thing..

    not many clubs were big outside of england..utd had munich and liverpool dominated europe..

    if it werent for sky and the tinternet no fucker would no who any fucker was but we did more than just ok globally..

  43. I don’t understand why so much reliance was put on Diaby. On his day he is a world class player but when was the last time he managed three games without breaking down. Surely this came as no surprise.

    In hindsight the sale of Song is looking very rash as we are missing an out and out ball winner in midfield

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