A Point Gained, Two Lost As Arsenal Stand Still

Arsenal 2 – 2 Liverpool

0 – 1 Suarez (5)
0 – 2 Henderson (60)
1 – 2 Giroud (65)
2 – 2 Walcott (67)

I don’t know why Arsenal bother with the first half, better to offer the opposing manager a velvet bag with numbered balls and whatever is drawn, is taken as the half-time lead. We’ll then play out the second half, any complaints about the deficit can be lost in a slew of risque jokes. 

The perversity of this Premier League fixture continues with the home side at either ground, failing to win for the eleventh time in the last dozen meetings. At the time, gaining a point felt almost as good as winning. Retrieving a two-goal deficit so quickly provided an immediate elation following the slough of despair. That quickly passed and the feeling that this was two dropped quickly moved in, emphasised with Tottenham’s failure to win at Carrow Road. The end result is no change in Arsenal’s situation in the pursuit of the top four, a sense that once more the squad have got away with it.

From the kick-off, it was apparent that there would be goals in this match, neither defence settling quickly. Liverpool capitalised on Bacary Sagna’s slip, advancing quickly through Johnson. What followed would send the coach of any Under-10s team to drink; Vermaelen failed to connect properly with the ensuing cross, Ramsey couldn’t make his tackle tell, Szczesny made a great save only for the ball to fall to Suarez, whose deflected shot found the net. Architects of their own downfall, Arsenal were a goal down through calamitous defending. Prior to the season’s start, there was a groundswell of opinion that Pat Rice’s departure and replacement by Steve Bould would tighten the backline. The specious blaming of Rice has been shown for what it was, a house of cards which has collapsed in on itself; the problems are deeper-seated.

The response was swift, Reina saving smartly from Walcott following a great pass from Wilshere. The pressure from the home side intensified but as with the rest of the match, Liverpool offered a genuine threat on the counter. Sturridge has served one warning but then Szczesny showed why he is a goalkeeper; Pele, Maradona or Cruyff he isn’t, a poor attempt at executing the latter’s trademark move ended with him toepoking the ball to safety as Sturridge sought to capitalise on the youngster’s inexplicable madness.

Football’s equivalent of rope-a-dope continued. Giroud and Walcott waged war on the Liverpool goal, where wayward finishing was corrected, Reina stood firm; not for him, a repeat of the goalkeeping errors which have beset him in other fixtures between the two clubs. To keep Arsenal on their toes, Agger beat Szczesny to a header, the Pole grateful for Podolski’s goalline intervention. Arsenal came back for more, pushing forward with lax defence in tow.

Defensive suffered once more when Kieran Gibbs departed for a three week break in the medical room thanks to hamstring-twang. Andre Santos entered the fray. A poisonous online atmosphere around the player turned vile with abuse on social media. Quite what that achieves bar making a strong case for chemically castrating the abusers so that they cannot polute the gene pool further, is beyond me. Had Agger’s header beaten Szczesny, that probably would have been blamed on the wayward left back. Again Arsenal retaliated but were unable to connect, Henderson retorted with a chip onto the roof of the net following a rush of blood and out of the area by Szczesny.

The second half followed the path of the first, the Wisdom of Andre pushing Podolski was questionable, as were other refereeing decisions that saw shoves, tugs and pulls unpunished. Usual Premier League fare. And then more comedy defending saw Arsenal fall further behind, how Jordan Henderson scored is the stuff of Tim Burton’s nightmares as deflections and failed intervention left the Liverpool midfielder with a goal he won’t forget easily. The trouble is Arsenal will have probably done so already.

Arsenal were reeling and in danger of sinking despite enjoying the majority of play, possession and pressure. It was playground football at its purest; the next goal wins. Giroud got it, freeing his marker’s shackles and heading home from Wilshere’s free kick. Within three minutes, Walcott had buried the equaliser following good work from Cazorla and Giroud. Parity, deserved and hard fought for, the pressure ratcheted up  a notch on Liverpool. Pepe Reina responded and combined with wayward finishing, the score remained level.

The outcome puts a different perspective on the squad needs. We do require another striker, if for no other reason as maintaining strength in depth but rarely are Arsenal troubled scoring. The problem is that they cannot score enough to compensate for defensive weakness. Letting Djourou go on loan with no cover is concerning but the Swiss international, as much as I like him, would not necessarily be the solution. Szczesny spoke this week of the need to defend as a team and it is the attitude towards defending which needs to be addressed. There is too much emphasis on attack with the caution of the opening games deemed to be too detrimental to the greater good.

The hallmark of the Wenger era has been attacking football but his successful squads knew how to defend. In recent seasons, this art has been lost and the price has been paid with no genuine challenge being launched for the title. This is nothing to do with competing on financial grounds – and that to my mind is a red herring, masking the inconsistencies displayed by players – it is about the culture of Arsenal.

Boring, Boring, Arsenal was a refrain sung with mocking pride, opponents knew that once Arsenal scored, it was going to be a Herculean effort to save the game. Arsène grasped that concept and refined it, adding attacking finesse. Now that resolute defence has fallen entirely by the wayside, lost in the mists of time with attack the sole solution to all problems. The pendulum has swung too far in the other direction, the balance redressed and then progress can be made. Until then, we career ahead, slamming from one defensive error to another. Will this be addressed in the current transfer window? I am not holding my breath.

’til Tomorrow.

251 thoughts on “A Point Gained, Two Lost As Arsenal Stand Still

  1. Disappointed we’ve not taken a risk and brought in some more quality. Not just to make top four, but to start building a team to win trophies again in the seasons ahead.

  2. @harry well its better than nobody, we get a quality lb in for our injured lb, we should have had a CB too imo but we can survive with ramsey finding his feet and arteta back.
    Afobe is back from loan i hear, maybe he will play understudy to the front three?

    the CB pairing worrys me though. I would have felt more comfy if we kept JD and loaned out squillachi tbh.
    Reality is that we are still one or maximum two injuries away from fielding a player we have said “can go for free to anyone he likes”.
    Both him and Arsh have gooten that message. its not very reassuring when either pops up in the sub bench imo…

  3. I’m not savvy to Arsenals HR files, but taking speculation into account it seems Samba is now being paid as much as anyone is rewarded at Arsenal…madness!

  4. Pray for fourth exactly that. hang on Im having a dejarvou moment…this position…this feeling…just like last season.

  5. I think if we miss out on 4th it will be a new manager making those summer transfers!
    Pray for 4th, pray for 4th…

  6. Gibbs injury and Santos being playing absolute shite means we signed Nacho.Would we have signed him if Gibbs didnt get injured?At least it spells the end of Santos which is the news all Gooners what to hear

  7. Not seen enough of Diame to suggest a bid. Is he currently better than Coq or Frimpong? As I think we do need that kind of player and its hard to see what you can loose for just 3.5m, if it doesn’t work out we’d easily resell for that figure.

  8. Interesting rumors going about that this guy was going to sign for us in the summer but was brought forward. With this in mind maybe our summer business is planned/done as we speak.

  9. Perhaps Santos as back up for the left forward role ? I know we have Podolski and Gerv there but he is not a bad attacking player, just not that pants at defending.

  10. @gunner guru, you loose a spot in your 25 man squad for 4 years if you sign him on a long time 50k a week contract.

    Thats the problem with Squillahi etc, not that they were expesive to buy but expensive to maintain plus they take space in your squad.

    Mind you we got 4 of 25 registred first team players out on loan so our 25 man squad is really only a 21 man squad?

  11. Poodle
    I thought there was an age criteria on the 25 man squad part which always gave us some breathing space. The thing with Squilly, Chamakh etc is they weren’t proven in the prem and failed at first attempt. If we brought Diame at 3.5 and after 18 months he was involved but not quite cutting it Im convinced we’d get offers from a number of mid table prem clubs.

  12. @gunnerG what you say about the squad and age is true, do we got enough young good kids though to compensate for that though? that can help us push to rach 4th?

    Atlest Spurs were as dreadful as us in this window, with the expention of holtby nobody came in…

  13. well if we got an extra LB we can push gibbs forward to the wing and use him there if any of the strikers get injured and Poldi has to play cf

  14. Official website.

    ‘Nacho Monreal agrees to join Arsenal
    Spanish international defender to sign for Gunners”

  15. haha arsenal are slow and takes ages and dont sign many. but when they first sign they sing quality!

    muahaha, i need this, i really did, some positives at last..

  16. Very happy with Monreal
    Wonder whether the 3 weeks Gibbs is out for, is a “Diaby 3 weeks out”, which fast tracked the signing.

  17. Scraps for poor men my friend.

    I expect I’ll be much jollier (is that a word) in the morning after some coffee and a video of the invicinbles 😀

    I’m going to look for videos of this chap in the mean time.

  18. Heard that this Nacho chap is quality.

    Good good.

    Why don’t we just buy Malaga as a feeder club. Can’t go wrong.

  19. Cool
    I have always been partial to NACHOS. welcome sir. Even though you can’t play for us in CL we wish you the best of luck and the best of times at ARSENAL. Good choice in coming to the best club in the world….

  20. Never heard about this Nacho chap until now. All the pundits are giving positive reviews. So he might be good. One thing this tells me is that we probably wouldn’t have bought anyone if Gibbsy was not injured. Think we are taking a massive risk as race for our 4th place trophy is not at all going to be smooth. A few additions would have really helped in that.

  21. He is an excellent Crosser…2nd best LB in Spain, behind Alba…very good delivery…Better than we have for sure…Will give gibbs a real run for his money…

    And we can pushy SANTOS further up field to do his thing without giving some heart attack ,
    MONREAL. Sounds like royal something.

  23. The lad is considered the 2nd best LB in Spain. Physical, pacey,poaitionally exceptional, great in the air with an eye for both the killer pass and a great crosser of the ball. He is technically gifted as Barca and Madrid were eying a move for the lad for the past 3 years but he chose Arsenal(for all those that say we lose the battle, we beat Barcacunts even though they have Jordi Alba).

    No disrespect to Gibbs who will with time be a brilliant LB but he is now going to play 2nd fiddle to Nacho! Trust me when I write this, we will only be even that much better.

  24. C
    Thanks bud
    Now that’s what I call qualideeeee
    Good character too it seems
    GIBBS still our boy and first choice till they settle it between themselves,

  25. Nice to see us signing someone of real quality. Santos was really starting to piss me off. Hopefully Gibbs can bounce back quickly, although they are saying 3 weeks. The thoughts of Santos being our LB against Bayern Munich is terrifying. Arjen Robben would eat him alive. We will most likely see TV played as a LB. Which opens up an equally scary prospect of having Squillachi providing cover from the bench should either Per or Kos get injured. Or sent off as Kos is wont to do at times. Still I guess Santos can provide some cover for Podolski on the left wing.

  26. Kam – Can’t wait mate! The Girlfriend went to college in Baltimore, so she is a huge Ravens fan. I have to say I have a bit of a soft spot for them myself too but I don’t see them winning it to be honest. Plan on having one hell of a hangover on Monday morning either way.

    Saturday should be fun as well with the Orc army sullying The Emirates with their very presence. I would love it if we hammered them 5 or 6-0. I wonder if Giroud can get a hattrick? It only took the Dutch c**t 6 years to get his! Or was it 7? Overrated tosser!!

  27. I’ll go for 5-0. Irish.
    Won’t mind at all. Get. YW to join you in the festivities. At the blind pig. Have a ball.

  28. Holy fuck, we actually signed a left back!? Arsene really doesn’t rate Santos anymore does he?

    His willingness to drop 10M euros for a cup tied player who can’t help us in the CL says it all. Poor Santos. I really liked him (until he did that stupid shirt swap thing with RvP).

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